Sunday, September 30, 2007

But I thought religious people were morons?

From yesterday's National Post, in their story on Father Neuhaus: "First Things has no charts and photos, just words." What, not even cute little New Yorker-type cartoons? How on earth can anyone stay awake long enough to read it? Surely they must leave the TV on in the background or something. This calls for further research - paging Dr. Hitchens!

UPDATE: By the way, for whatever it's worth, I think Neuhaus is mistaken about the Charter being too American - if only! I don't know about y'all, but I for one wouldn't mind a constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech (and to bear arms!) myself.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Kim du Toit!

Yes, the Kim du Toit. Moxie had him on. Unbelievable. She already had Althouse, and now du Toit. Meanwhile, I, contemplating the possibility of my own show, am so desperate for company I was wondering whether it would be immoral to pay a Korean hooker to be my co-host for an hour. Anyway, check it out (mp3 link). He's on in the second segment; be warned, the first segment is about midget porn.

In related news, Moxie might now have a bit of competition in the world's-sexiest-celibate category (via HotAir).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why We Hate Us

"George Whittemore. 17 September, 1862. Antietam."

There are 136 such entries carved into the marble walls of Harvard's Memorial Hall. 136 students who gave their lives for the Union. From the doorway, you can see the steeple of Memorial Church. There, hundreds more names are carved into stone, honoring those who died in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Above the names, these words: "While a bright future beckoned they freely gave their lives and fondest hopes for us and our allies that we might learn from them courage in peace to spend our lives making a better world for others."

There will be no memorial for my generation. The names of my classmates will never be carved into those hallowed walls. What, after all, would there be to inscribe? "George Whitmore. 17 September, 2062. Goldman Sachs."

What with Ahmadinejad taking a break from killing American soldiers for a photo-op at Columbia, I've been thinking a lot lately about what fuels Ivy League anti-Americanism. I think I've finally figured it out. What I think it comes down to, in a word, is shame.

A thought experiment: you believe, you sincerely believe, that you live in the greatest nation ever known to man. A nation of heroes. You look around, and you see men and women, just like yourself, who freely give their lives, their fondest hopes, for the nation. No, not just for the nation, but for all nations. For universal rights, for freedom. To make a better world. Then, you look at yourself. You are evaluating some stocks, or perhaps studying for the bar, or working hard on a dissertation. You look again at your beloved country, at the heroes around you, and, worlds away from all that, again at yourself. What would you feel?

Cowardice. Embarrassment. Shame. You would, I think, be sick to your stomach with shame.

It is to escape this shame that my generation of future world leaders lacks patriotism. Way I figure, you're either ashamed of America, or ashamed of yourself. The choice, especially for a thoroughly self-satisfied Harvard type, is not a hard one.

Everything bad about themselves that these students know deep down to be true - their narcissism, their petty materialism, their ultimate emptiness - all this is harshly revealed by the shining light of America's righteousness. They can delude themselves, can live with themselves, only so long as America is wicked. If America is evil, then they don't have to feel ashamed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Don't judge me, bro

Pretty much every angle (and remix!) of the taser incident has been covered by now, but I wanted to talk about a larger issue: the role of university police. In short, I'm against them. University police, at least as I knew them at Harvard, exist not to enforce the law, but to subvert it. Let me explain: a university campus is a hotbed of drug abuse and underaged drinking. The university police, like everyone else, know this, but do nothing about it. Presumably they have taken an oath to uphold the law, yet they make no effort to do so. They basically serve as a free taxi service for the drunk and incapacitated, taking them to the hospital in extreme circumstances, but never arresting the louts (after all, as we always hear, the important thing is the kid's health [physical health, natch]).

If this is so, you ask, why are the police even around? Well, college kids, being morons, leave their valuables lying around everywhere and are easy prey for thieves. The campus police are around to chase bicycle and laptop thieves. And that's what really gets to me. When it comes to important things, like the damage to themselves and others caused by drug and alcohol abusers, the campus police look the other way. For meaningless material concerns, though, like a stolen wallet, the sirens are a-blazin'.

I am not saying that the university police should arrest underage drinkers; if we are intent on preserving the inebriated sanctity of the college "lifestyle,"* however, I think I would prefer if we got rid of such police altogether. You see, it's the hypocrisy (!!) that I can't take. Screw the law as long as you're enjoying yourself, but run crying to police headquarters when your Ipod is stolen.

Of course, I think I would have a much different opinion if, once, just once, the Harvard police would have tased the nipple rings out of an idiot protestor.

And as for cases of sexual violence, the police are hopeless, too. A friend of mine was being stalked, and the cops told her they couldn't do anything about it unless she was actually attacked! Furthermore, sexual relationships have become so depraved and demeaning of late, that even if the police were determined to prosecute predators, they could never separate them from everyone else. What, they're going to arrest every frat boy? Video-surveil every one night stand? Once society has cast aside the principles upon which the law was built in the first place, it is absurd to expect the police to pick through the mess we've left behind.

*As Michael writes here, "looks like people think they can justify a[ny] degenerate set of behaviors by calling it a 'lifestyle.'"

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm out, I'm out, thank the Lord, I'm out

Bigshot Harvard English professor Stephen Greenblatt recently gave an incredibly pompous and self-absorbed speech to undergraduates, extolling his own bravery as a writer (via ALDaily). I'm going to leave aside the arrogant cluelessness of teaching great writing by quoting extensively from your own works, as well as the gushing, schoolgirl account of being able to actually touch the hem of Bill Clinton's garment. Instead, I bring your attention to the very end of the speech, what is clearly meant as the surprising, shocking conclusion. Here is what this renowned Shakespeare scholar, who taught many of my friends, thinks is a daring example of risk, of taking a chance, of bravery. Here is the example through which he exhorts the students of Harvard to rebel against the establishment, to tap into the secret fears of our times, to make the jaded audience squirm guiltily in their seats:

"I go on in this vein for several long, unnerving pages. Only after I have fully mimed a voice of fear and hatred, do I turn in the direction that some of you may have anticipated. For, as you may have noticed, I have already begun to conjure up the situation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. I have tried to do so in a way that enables me to suggest the play’s uneasy contemporary relevance, a sense at once fascinating and disagreeable that it is playing with fire. All my life I thought of the combustible material as anti-Semitism—or, to put the matter more carefully, Christianity’s Jewish problem. But the queasiness of Western cities no longer centers on the synagogue. It takes only a small substitution for the word 'synagogue' to tap into current fears: 'Go, Tubal, and meet me at our mosque. Go, good Tubal; at our mosque, Tubal.' "

I can picture the moment as if I were there (I have been, far too many times). Without a doubt, he paused, to let his breathtaking, courageous substitution sink in. Members of the audience gasped, then, composure regained, nodded knowingly - perhaps even applauded. Why, they suddenly realized, Muslims today are *just like* the Jews! And fear of Islam, well, it's the new, perhaps even more vicious anti-Semitism! Yes, I see now, yes! Oh, I hope the Professor doesn't get fired for daring to say it!

As the title says, I wasted a lot of money and a lot of years, but I'm finally out, thank God.

I guess I'm just too repressed, too cowardly, too blind to the truth, man. I guess I just couldn't handle playing with fire.

Rosa Parks didn't beat the bus driver unconscious

That's my take, and Jason Whitlock tells you everything else you need to know. (h/t)


Get over yourselves, people. If I were a woman (and boy, if I had a dollar for every time I've said that), a team of doctors would still be laboring over the photographer, trying in vain to remove the camera.

That story, at the time of this post, is the sixth most-emailed story at the NYT. This is the fifth. Coincidence? I think not.

Please see the amazing Barbara Kay for more. Good ol' fashioned marriage has become unfashionable. The only way it appeals to people now is as an exercise in narcissism and reality TV.

There are exceptions, of course. I was blessed to be present at the marriage of a friend this summer, and here are some thoughts I had at the time (with names changed and in-jokes expunged):

"I just want to repeat basically what everyone else has already said, except I figure that if I say it, it sounds more handsome. Nick and Nora have so much to be arrogant about. They could be the biggest jerks in the world and totally get away with it thanks to their talents, like so many great artists, or me, or whoever. But, instead, they, and their love, are full of humility. Picking up on the mysterious theme of Harvard relationships, I think the reason why Harvard kids have such a hard time dating is that they're full of themselves. They long not to love, but to be loved. They think they deserve no less. There is not even a hint of this false, ego-driven desire in the love of Nick and Nora. They deeply love not themselves, but one another, and that, to me, is divinely beautiful.
To illustrate the extent of their generosity, the genuine way in which Nick and Nora strive to share their love with others, well, I don't know if I should be saying this, but they did make me an offer. Unfortunately, I had to decline, as I don't swing that way, or at least not with that ratio. But I've been thinking it over, and, in honor of this happy occasion, if you're willing to throw in a couple of the bridesmaids, my answer is yes"

The moral of this story: don't let me anywhere near your wedding!

UPDATE: See here (via Ace)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I refuse on principle to think of a dirty play on words on a children's classic with which to title this post

You know how we conservatives are always saying that liberals have absolutely no moral compass? Well, it may usually be a slight exaggeration, but not today, not in the crazy mixed up world of NYT reporter Alessandra Stanley.

Stanley today writes a review of the TV adaptation of the Gossip Girl series. The very series that, not long ago, was rightly eviscerated by Naomi Wolf in these same pages, revealed as the repulsive piece of trash that it is. So what does Stanley have to say about the soulless, materialistic, drug-fueled, sex-obsessed characters? Why, that they remind her oh so very much of the Little Mermaid! Or, no, wait, perhaps Sleeping Beauty. Well, in any case, definitely Willy Wonka. You see, folks, it's just another fairy tale!

"Like 'Peter Pan,' 'Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland' or the 'Harry Potter' series, these novels are fantasies and projections of an imaginary world where parents are dead or peripheral, and lost boys and girls struggle on their own with good and evil, or in this case, Bergdorf Goodman and evil.
Even the characters’ names — Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen — are as fancifully evocative as those found in children’s books ...."

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. I know, I know, Judy Blume is still banned in some places for her sexual themes, Alice got high from her mushrooms, and some Harry Potter fanfic has just gotten way out of hand. But, and I will try to muster the deepest reserves of my eloquence here, come on!

The moral of this story: if you have kids, make sure to keep them away from Alessandra Stanley!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More MoxVox

Like I said, great show, check it out. In the show I just heard, they were talking about Nicole Richie's decision not to abort her baby even though she's a (quite literal) pinhead. I'm as pro-life as they come, but even I will admit to feeling very uneasy about someone as unhealthy as Richie having children. But, don't despair, I've figured out the solution: she should have the baby, and then eat it.

Moxie then blew my mind by talking about Matthew Good. Man, I haven't heard that name in ages. Good times. I'm not a fan myself, but I remember this video was huge when I was a kid. We all used to hang out in the junior room after the Saturday morning tennis clinic to watch the MuchMusic Countdown, and this is what we saw:

Like I said, not a fan, but nostalgia will do wonders. A Canadian band that I liked a bit more that never broke through in the States is The Tragically Hip. This is my favorite (oops, favourite) of theirs:

And I'll admit to a bit of a Sarah McLachlan fixation back in the day:

Ooh, ooh, (it's all coming back to me now), don't forget Our Lady Peace. They were HUGE:

Meanwhile, the ones who did make it big were Celine, Nelly, and Avril. Yuck.

Well, to end this post on a high note, I hope we can all agree to love Shania!

UPDATE: OMG, I almost forgot... Robin Sparkles! Wait for the Mulroney cameo!

He's guilty... of saving the world?

Hewitt and Medved were both complaining a great deal about the OJ coverage yesterday, lamenting that the media were in full frenzy mode over the arrest at a time when they should be focusing on truly important things, like the latest huge developments between Israel, Syria, and Iran, not to mention the war in Iraq.

I think they might be wrong on this. What they forget is that the media is not our friend, it's our enemy! It's an ultra-liberal, anti-Israel, anti-Bush fifth column. So wouldn't you much rather it focus on OJ than on anything serious? I know I much prefer to hear news of a leaked OJ audiotape than a leaked Israeli plan of attack! Every moment they spend squeezing the Juice is one less moment spent on uncovering the misunderstood, loving side of Hamas!

By the way, the OJ murder trial was my first foray into the bizarre and thoroughly disheartening world of racial politics. There was only one black kid at my school (that's Montreal for you - a now obsolete joke was that our black population doubled with every Expos home game). The day of the verdict, our teacher gave us permission to leave class and hear the decision, so we're all huddled around a TV in the gym, and they make the announcement, and we're all absolutely stunned. I remember distinctly wandering outside, feeling almost shell-shocked, everyone around me just gaping in disbelief - except for the black kid. He was literally running around the playground, pumping his fist, yelling with joy, and taunting all the visibly upset kids! What a world.

Great Minds, as they say

After writing my talk radio post yesterday, I see that Kathy Shaidle put up a similar (well, much better written and more interesting, but same principle) post about listening to Prager and Co. And both of us referenced Woody Allen in the title. Creepy!

The New Attorney General

Blah. I say, bring Janet Reno back, give her a freaking platoon, and tell her gunshots were heard inside CAIR headquarters.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cultural Immersion? Hardly

So as that last post might indicate, I'm not exactly in a rush to experience the local life. I listen to American radio, read American blogs, cook up American food, and wander wide-eyed through the American shops in the mall next door. Three cheers for the internet and globalization!

Radio Days

So to give you an idea of how adventurous my life is, my favorite thing about the time difference here in Seoul is that I get to listen to Hugh Hewitt every morning while eating breakfast! I'm basically living off of online radio these days, Hewitt every morning, and if I have the day free, Michael Medved and Dr. Laura, too. (Yes, I'm a big Dr. Laura fan, been listening to her all my life, and I am my kids' mom [no, not really, but I have been very diligent with child support]). And, before I go to sleep, a little Dennis Prager, too, he's probably my favorite, seems like such a wise, decent man. Last but certainly not least, MoxVox. I just discovered Moxie's blog and her podcast a couple days ago via Althouse, and they're great, you should check her out. Radio, as you may have noticed by now, plays a big part in my life (I remember being ecstatic, driving home from Boston, that I was able to hear Laura Ingraham all the way into Montreal before it cut out [talk radio in Montreal is awful, just awful, that's when I catch up on my music]) and, believe me, Moxie and her crew are terrific.

Just to prove I'm not a complete radio slore, by the way, I can't stand listening to Mike Gallagher, Sean Hannity, or Bill Bennett. I'm reading Bennett's book now, though, America: The Last Best Hope, and recommend it highly (it's so depressing, though, that there actually is a need for such a book, one that actually defends rather than defames America).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I have the excuse of jetlag, he's just a moron

Hello from Seoul! Sorry I haven't been posting, I was busy packing and flying and settling in and everything, and am inexcusably behind on my blog-reading. I'm still very jetlagged (I'm writing this post at four in the morning!). I'll write all about Seoul and my job (teaching US History) and all that soon (hopefully after I get paid I'll even be able to buy a digital camera and do my best Althouse impersonation!), for now I just wanted to post this short clip of Dalton McGuinty being a complete moron, because it's been cracking me up all day (or night, whatever):

Silliness, I know. For the more serious example of the guy's cluelessness, see here.

PS: This reminds me of when John Kerry came to my high school during the campaign and spoke to us, an auditorium full of high school kids, about his promise that, as President, he would institute a program of mandatory community service for high school kids. Didn't go over too well, as you might imagine. Then there was the time that Jean Chretien spoke at my (other) high school graduation, and, I kid you not, delivered an entire speech about Star Wars, concluding, in his trademarked unintelligible mumbling, "May da force be witchu." The dominant Canadian leader of my youth, ladies and gentlemen. Is it any wonder I left the hemisphere?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I like her!

Check it out.

Wouldn't it be awesome if Rachel Lucas or Kathy Shaidle or someone like that had a TV show in which they just yelled at bums and hippies? Please, Rupert, make it happen!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

You can take the looter out of New Orleans..

This post (and the linked article) over at Relapsed Catholic brought back some memories.

My dad visited New Orleans once, years ago. He was headed to dinner at a place about two blocks away; so close that, as he tells it, he could clearly see the steakhouse sign from the hotel lobby, practically smell the beef. Even so, the concierge all but forced him to go by cab - they assured him, if he risked the walk, he would be taking his life in his hands!

And a friend of mine at college told me his family owned part of an apartment building in Texas. After Katrina, the other owners wanted to open the place up as a free shelter for refugees, like other buildings in the neighborhood, but his family refused. They had spent their fair share of time in New Orleans, it seems, and wanted none of it. Sure enough, a year goes by, and the once furious co-owners are falling over themselves to thank the uncharitable holdouts for saving them from the (oh-so-very natural) disaster that has befallen all the other poor, kind-hearted, naive (or perhaps not so naive, but unwilling to appear mean or racist) landlords in the area: property destruction, crime, the usual. Theirs is apparently one of the few buildings in the area that didn't become a dangerous slum.

I'll admit, I don't know if I could turn refugees away myself. I wouldn't exactly have sympathy for those who come begging, but I'd probably welcome 'em, write the building off, and throw another log onto my growing martyr complex. But I certainly won't hold it against those who take a less fatalistic view, who see not Mary and Joseph seeking shelter, but Breau and Broussard seeking silverware, and who decide to close (and lock!) the door.

Incidentally, this reminds me of one of my very last encounters before leaving Cambridge. I was in the bank to close my account, and, to my great bemusement, found myself waiting in line behind one of the local homeless. He hangs out right outside CVS in the Square, and I've given him change a few times. Now here I was in line behind him as he filled out some form and talked to the teller about his apartment. Yes, his apartment. 'Homeless' beggars with bank accounts and bachelor pads - not bad if you can get it!