Archive for September, 2008

Disrespectful
September 12, 2008

This ad is really stupid. And very inartfully phrased.

Just throwing this out there: If Sarah Palin really takes that much umbrage at being accused of lying, then maybe she should stop lying all the time. Insulting the intelligence of the American people is pretty disrespectful too.

Sarah Palin: Not Particularly Smart
September 11, 2008

This is pretty amazing:

“Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

“In what respect, Charlie?”

“The Bush … Well, what do you interpret it to be?”

“His worldview.”

I really wish Charlie Gibson had asked her if she knew what the Bush doctrine is. Or maybe if he had asked, “Wait a minute, are you seriously running for vice president?” Or maybe just laughed in her face hysterically until he started crying because a major party vice presidential candidate doesn’t know what the doctrine that’s defined the past seven fucking years of foreign policy is.

Admirably, Palin at least managed to get through this whole exchange without suggesting we go to war with another nuclear power.

What the fuck, indeed
September 11, 2008

I think Mike’s pretty much got exactly the right reaction here, and I have nothing to add.

Except to say that it should be pretty obvious that a McCain-Palin administration would base their foreign policy on trying to figure out what the most insane use of American military force would be and then doing that.

“Lipstick on a pig.”
September 10, 2008

Now that we’ve observed the strategies of the two candidates in action, it’s pretty easy to see the exact point of wild divergence:

Barack Obama is running his presidential campaign on the fundamental assumption that, as he puts it, “Americans aren’t stupid.”

John McCain, on the other hand, is gambling everything on Americans being really, really, really fucking stupid.

Either way, America’s going to end up with the president she deserves at the end of this.

The best you can is good enough
September 9, 2008

Okay, so Barack Obama’s speech at the convention was inspiring, historic, waterworks-inducing, so on and so forth, but if I had a choice to be anywhere while he was delivering that speech, it wouldn’t have been in the front row. It would have been in California, watching the Radiohead concert that was going on simultaneously. Fortunately for us, they’ve got it uploaded in podcast form over at All Songs Considered.

Listen guys: If Bob Boilen is gushing into the mic that this is one of the best concerts he’s ever seen, then it’s a damn good concert. Everyone needs to drop whatever they’re doing and find out when’s the soonest they can see Radiohead live.

Thanks to that concert, I listened to the song Optimistic for the first time. Like really listened to it. It was always one of those “skip over” tracks on Kid A for me, but now I can’t get enough of it. I think it’s one of my favorites now.

So that’s what’s good about the concert. The bad news is that listening to too much Radiohead is a lot like reading too much Sartre – there’s not a whole lot of music out there that’s better at producing a deep sense of alienation and sending you spiraling into an existential funk. And I’ve been listening to Radiohead all goddamn day.

New piece on NYU Local
September 9, 2008

The money quote:

My point isn’t that our whole school sucks – I kind of like it here. It’s that NYU, even moreso than a lot of other Universities, is a massive bureaucracy, and massive bureaucracies are by their nature, lumbering, slow-witted beasts. To a certain extent, it doesn’t even matter how good the professors – most of whom I’m sure are very intelligent and spry – are. Our education is suffering from an institutional problem, and the larger the institution is, the longer that sort of thing takes to fix. This is especially true given that universities by their nature are particularly resistant to change – hell, the modern lecture hall is an artifact of the Middle Ages.

You know what would help, though? More administration responsiveness. Let students audit their classes and their departments. Let us be partners in trying to make our education a little more relevant to the modern world. Getting some of these classes into the 21st century might be a bit much to ask, but for now I’d settle for the mid-20th.

I guess I just spoiled the whole piece for you. Read it anyway.

Sarah Palin still responsible for every bad thing ever
September 9, 2008

Holy crap. The more we find out about this woman, the more I become convinced that she can’t possibly actually exist. She’s like some terrible political novel’s version of what a hateful neo-Nixonian fundamentalist apeshit lady should look like.

I can’t imagine the mind of a human being who thinks it’s perfectly reasonable that the government subsidize hockey but not medical testing for rape victims.

I can’t wait for the VP debate. Tell Joe Biden to bring a goddamn fork with him.

UPDATE: Kay Steiger says that this actually isn’t all that uncommon in the United States, which is even more mortifying.

Do-it-yourself Woodwarding
September 8, 2008

God, I love it when news publications partially outsource their document combing. I’m going to do a little bit of digging when I have the time tomorrow – anyone else who wants to should chip in as well.

New Media
September 8, 2008

I just wrote a very long post (practically an essay) for NYU Local, trying to introduce novices to the whole New Media/Old Media journalism debate, and the ‘Local’s place in it. Check it out, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“A poor attempt of humor.”
September 7, 2008

The doucheknobbery of Carl Cameron is something of a wonder to behold. If you watch Fox News – and I know all of you do – you’ll notice that the organization is basically split up into two camps. Think of them as the “trolls” and the “ogres.” The “ogres” are the nakedly aggressive partisan hacks like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Their job is to relentlessly attack liberals, and if they make some shit up along the way, well, we expect that of them. They’re basically talking, bipedal (and ostensibly sentient) spam emails from your crazy right-wing grandma.

The trolls are a little bit more insidious. Those are the guys, who, like Brit Hume, actually have some journalistic pretensions. They impart the same information and blatant falsehoods as O’Reilly and Hannity, but they do it cloaked in the magical robe of balance and objectivity. They lie too, but like bringing a poisoned sword to a duel, their lying is outside the bounds of the contest as defined. We expect wingnut hacks to be full of shit, but only when that’s part of their public persona.

Carl Cameron is a troll. A cheap Republican backbiter disguised as a low-rent Anderson Cooper wannabe. And it’s worth noting that in any media institution that took “journalism” or “truth” as anything more seriously than a clever way of branding propaganda, calling a blatant lie a “poor attempt at humor” would not protect Cameron from getting unceremoniously shitcanned and sent to labor at his new job in NewsMax purgatory.

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