Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The basic idea is to parody the way that conservatives who have been huge supporters of the Bush administration have been looking for ways to justify ending that support and have thus been forced to come up with ever smaller fig leaves.
So I wanted to create a fake press release from The New Criterion--which has published some of the most vicious and misguided attacks on literary theory among many entrants in this culture war marathon--blaming the Bush administration's disastrous embrace of postmodernism for the Iraq debacle. It would trumpet shocking revelations stemming from recently uncovered documents from Bush's undergraduate years and pre-political career. Among them: Skull and Bones was an early adapter of poststructuralism and secretly invited Derrida and De Man to participate in ceremonies; Bush's cheerleading and general anti-intellectual pose during his time at Yale hid from public view his enthusiastic participation in these ceremonies; a gentleman C student, Bush overconfidently kept reading postmodern and poststructuralist texts on his own after graduation during the 1970s and 1980s, yet horribly mangled key tenets (Foucault's power-knowledge, death of the author, discipline and punish, and analysis of Bentham's panopticon; De Man's aporia and writings on apologies and excuses; Lyotard's differend and incredulity toward grand narratives; Baudrillard's simulacrum; Debord's society of the spectacle; and so on); Bush's much-celebrated reading of a French existentialist novel a few years back was a new attempt to smokescreen his long-standing dalliance with French theory; and more.
Basically, I would use the fake press release to make fun of long-time editor of The New Criterion Hilton Kramer's "blame postmodernism" approach to everything, and now to the Bush administration--to lines like "I'm the decider," to Bush's confidence that American power would allow him to write history, to his accelerated implementation of a surveillance society, to his cavalier attitude toward facts and justifications, and so on. As if the Bush administration's pop postmodernism were the biggest reason to stop supporting it. As if I care why conservatives or liberals stop supporting Bush (never having thought it would be a great idea to support him in the first place myself).
Problem is, I don't have time to research any of my best lines, much less the basic background for the piece. Like, was Kramer ever a supporter of the invasion of Iraq? Is he even still editing The New Criterion? When exactly did Bush graduate from Yale? Could he ever have taken a course from one or more of the infamous Yale theory gang? Moreover, I haven't read enough of Kramer or The New Criterion to parody his/its writing style.
What actually writing this piece calls for are the talents of a Michael Berube (imagine the accents) or a Scott Eric Kaufman McLemee Lemieux or a Chris Clark(e) or an itsy bitsy professor. Do YOU have what it takes to win this contest?
[Update: I've left gauntlets all over Left Humorstan, but feel free to promote the conference on your own and participate in it. I should give a shout-out to The Poor Man Institute, Sadly, No! and Jesus' General for indirectly inspiring the contest idea.]
Monday, February 26, 2007
WAAGNFNP faithful will no doubt have realized already that it is no coincidence Party wannabe Dick Cheney was hanging around Japan and Australia around the time an inimitable Party leader was in an undisclosed location in the latter and I was in the southwestern corner of the former giving my long-awaited Star Wars talk. His efforts to impress us were pitiful, as usual, and I didn't have to change a word of my talk last Saturday.
But why talk politics when we can talk golf? I mean, when the results of the first two events on the LPGA Tour show that week in and week out you're going to have to grind it out and stay at or under par just to make the cut in most tournaments this year, be able to offset one or two off rounds with two good ones or a great one just to get in the top 20, and shoot the lights out to have a chance to win, there's so much more to follow in the golf world than, say, Tiger Woods forgetting to fix a ball mark this weekend. Karrie Webb came into Hawaii blazing hot but forgot how to go low and had to settle for a third place and T14 finish the last two weeks that together put her right behind Julieta Granada on the money list, who missed the cut this week after finishing alone in second last week. Like Julieta, Ai-chan was inconsistent in Hawaii, missing the cut the first week but bouncing back with the second-best round of the last day of this week's tournament to get a third place finish (1 ahead of Cristie Kerr, who also missed the cut last week and was the only player to beat her last Saturday). So basically there's a great mix of veterans and young stars gunning for Annika on the LPGA this year.
From the veterans I predicted would do well this year--Karrie Webb, Jeong Jang, Mi Hyun Kim, and Se Ri Pak--we've seen some pretty good grinding, but nothing all that special, besides Karrie's third-place finish last week. From the young guns I picked--Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Meena Lee--we've seen a lot of early inconsistency, but only Meena has failed to make a cut and besides her only Natalie has failed to get a top ten so far this year. Seon Hwa Lee, who I kicked myself for leaving out of my predicted top 10, has played at least as well as my young guns, so I'm glad I added her in to my predicted top 11. Morgan Pressel, and especially Paula Creamer and Stacy Prammanasudh have played much better than the people I picked to finish the end of the year ahead of them. But it's a long season, with 20 people each week having a better-than-average chance of winning, so I don't think there's going to be a big gap between the #1 and the #15 on the money list this year. Which means that Annika's going to need to come out blazing when she finally gets around to playing an event this year. And Michelle Wie will have to really rock the relatively few tournaments she'll play in this year to even get in the top 20, IMHO. Hopefully the competition on the LPGA will entice her into something close to a full-time season on the tour once she's old enough for a full membership.
Wondering when golf writers will start advocating for "purse equity" between the men's and women's tours, as the tennis writers started doing a few years back....
Anyway, check back here in early March for more LPGA blogging and something maybe even more, uh, explosive!
[Update: Oaktown Girl will no doubt need to read more LPGA blogging after this little piece, so without further ado, I link to The Florida Masochist.]
[Update 3/6/07: And here's a link to Seoul Sisters, another LPGA blog/ezine worth reading, despite not having as punny a name as the Korean restaurant that opened in my grandparents' increasingly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Cho-sen. I agree with their recent critiques of the Rolex Rankings and the terrible coverage of Seon Hwa Lee in 2006 wholeheartedly. With sites like this, we'll get Oaktown Girl LPGA-literate yet!]
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Here's hoping this is actually original, unlike my earlier attempts with "blogoramaville" and "the Blogocalypse."
[Update: As Suzan-Lori Parks might put it, fucking a.]
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Your life is not complete until you've seen at least 100 episodes of Inai Inai Ba! It's what Sesame Street wishes it could be. Okaasan to Isho can't hold a candle to it, IMHO, although their effort to bring Broadway to Japanese kids is to be applauded. Pitagora Suichi, on the other hand, is entertaining geekery of the highest order--Framy and Juppon Anime are the bomb! I'm less of a fan of the paired language programs, Eigo de Asobo and Nihongo de Asobo, although both onechan and I learn a lot from them. But sometimes in between them you get Zen Mai Samurai, which features a dango-slinging samurai and a pint-sized ninja who solve all the problems of an Edo-era Japanese village in the best parody of historical drama cliches one could ever hope to see in a single lifetime. Without even mentioning the quality European imports, I can say with complete confidence that Japanese kids' morning tv kicks Dora's ass.
Now around dinner time you get some reruns of the morning shows but also a pair whose names I don't even know but whose theme songs are simply amazing. I call them Cooking School and Ninja School, but you can call them pure genius. [Update 4/6/07: if you look up "Miracle Nanachan Mimika" on teh YouTubes, you'll see a bunch of live-action/anime hybrid clips of a little girl cooking, but this usually takes up less than half the actual show itself.]
Then there's the weekend. Pretty Cure 5 has started off fairly terribly, but I'm holding out some hope for it becoming more than a transparent attempt to sell crap (of the merchandizing and genderizing varieties) to kids, in part because, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, onechan and I have been going through old episodes of Max Heart (and look forward to catching up on the early Splash Star episodes we missed)--and you know what?--they're not terrible at all. And we've repeated "when you're older" so many times when any Pretty Cure commercials come up on tv, onechan says it for us by now. My Melody, though, has to be the strangest mainstream kids' cartoon ever. Oh, and Power Rangers and its ilk has gone all Frank Miller, so the boys anime/action shows are actually fun to watch when onechan has patience for them.
Unfortunately, since she started Baptist yochien, we don't get to watch any more morning tv, and since I'd been working late lately in Fukuoka, I've missed the pre-dinner programming. One of the nicest things about hanging with the family in Chiba is we get to immerse ourselves in the cuteness morning and evening, which helps a lot when you look at the bloggy and non-bloggy U.S. media, as I have to daily, as my big political punditry effort commences in T-minus 10 days. I'd applaud the recent progress in the Clinton-era-style North Korea negotiations, but I'm too worried the Bush team is trying to get Asian crises out of the way so they can concentrate on invading Iran.
So Happy Valentine's Day to everyone trapped in the belly of the beast, from its throat!
[Update: Upon watching more am tv, I realized I forgot to give a shout-out to You Gotta Quintet, Otoosan Suichi, and Algoritmo Sumetaiso. And upon reading JPS's comment, I realized I had a second and much more embarrassing typo to fix. I'm just happy the new Blogger gods are smiling on me access-wise today!]
Monday, February 12, 2007
P.S. Oaktown Girl will appreciate that it took me a million times to get Blogger to accept the label "golf" for this post. Karrie Webb will likely not appreciate my standing by my original prediction that this year will not be as good as last year for her.
[Update: Onechan got an ear infection and has had a high fever each of the past two nights. Coincidence or a sign that Karrie Webb has made deals with various dark forces this year? You decide!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Back in 1969 at the Disney studio, when I first interviewed Ward Kimball, he showed me the two-and-a-half-minute film he'd made the previous year, called Escalation, an anti-Vietnam war, anti-LBJ cartoon that makes scatological use of Lyndon Johnson's nose. Now, almost forty years later and almost five years after Ward's death—and at a depressingly similar time in our country's political life—that cartoon has shown up on YouTube, courtesy of the Kimball family and Frank Thomas's son Ted.
Here's the link. I'm told that WAAGNFNP wannabe Dick Cheney is addicted to this film, alternating between giggle fits and the urge to blast someone in the face with a shotgun.
Friday, February 9, 2007
Watching the piteous national political media at play in so many different fields of the Lord this past week (bloggers, planes, leaks, and my fave: Gosh, there was corruption early in the occupation of Iraq! Why weren't we told?) brought to mind a somewhat tangential (but apocalyptic!) diary I had posted at DailyKos a few months back.
The Four Postmen of the Apocalypse
First, after Grantland Rice ( the "Dean of American Sportswriters", back when being the Dean meant having a clue.)
Outlined against the troubles of a nation, the Four Writers wrote again. In Internet lore they are known as arrogance, pomposity, cluelessness and idiocy. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Broder, Woodward, Howell and Hiatt. They formed the crest of the cyclone before which the reputation of the Washington Post was swept over the precipice these past ten years as a million readers peered at the bewildering panorama spread out on their breakfast tables and computer screens.And thence on to more Ancient Sources
9. [Broder] And I saw when the rabid lamb opened one of the links, and I heard, as it were the sound of wankery, one of the four courtiers saying, Come and read.
10. And I read, and beheld two fatuous quotes: and he that spoke them knew not his hypocrisy; and many spots on Sunday morning television were given unto him: and he went forth being arrogant, and to show all that he well and truly was a dick.
11.[Woodward] And when he had opened the second link, I heard the second courtier say, Come and read.
12. And there I read another work of stenography: and power was given to him that wrote therein to transcribe the thoughts of the mighty, and that they should flatter one another: and there was given unto him great riches for his efforts.
13.[Howell] And after she had someone help her open the third link, I heard the third courtier say, Come and read. And I read, and lo, she that wrote it had a pair of balances in her hand.
14. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four courtiers say, A measure of column space for a Democrat, and three measures of column space for a Republican; unless the news is bad and then the measures shall be reversed; and see that thou hurt not the status quo.
15.[Hiatt] And when he had opened the fourth link, I heard the voice of the fourth courtier say, Come and read.
16. And I read, and beheld a mass of distortions and lies: and his name that wrote it was Idiocy, and The wingnuts followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the estate, to mislead with pen, and with words, and with images, and with the shameful iniquity of their lies.
But, Hey! Who's complaining? at least they're the Liberal™ Media.
[cross-posted at ignis fatuus]
Thursday, February 8, 2007
The Blogoramaville Times
from intertubes reports
Citing widespread criticism of his language, Vice President Dick Cheney announced that he was firing himself from the Bush administration late last night. Early the next morning, after having left the Republican Party to join the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party, he announced that he had rehired himself.
"I'm not leaving the Republican Party," he stated. "The Party has left me. That's why I joined the WAAGNFNP."
WAAGNFNP spokespeople declined to respond to repeated requests for reactions.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
OK, so I hereby open nominations for Least Harmless [Bloggy Misuse of an] Historical Analogy of 2007. Surely someone in Blogoramaville can top the [
[Update: And since this post does double-duty inaugurating MH's BerubeWatch (which Adrian will no doubt love!), here's yet another plea for the glorious resurrection of Floating Head Professor from the unwashed masses of Blogoramaville. This won't appear first in the hopefully ongoing series when you click on the label to your left, b/c I added it to earlier posts that turn out to have already fit the bill.]
[Update 2/7/07: I nominate this post for Most Ambiguous Award Nomination Call in Blogoramaville. I've added some clarifications (in square brackets) so as to limit the range of ambiguities. For good measure, I've even edited the first update, but you'll have to use some sort of intertubesque time machine to identify those changes! I hear that's all the rage these days.]
[Another Damn Update: Just to prove that blogspats can generate light as well as heat, Ralph Luker has helpfully (if inadvertantly and somewhat nonsequiturly) pointed out that Timothy Burke has already written the rules for judging egregious historical analogizing, bloggy or otherwise. I just wanted to make him feel better, because otherwise he did not come off that well. Plus, doing this gives me a chance to strike ambiguous parts of a supposedly clarifying addition from a prior update--and feel like Glenn Greenwald at the same time. Whee! Now if only we could harness blogspat heat, we'd be well on our way to diversifying world energy sources.]
Sunday, February 4, 2007
What does it mean that the latest Weblog/Valve blogspat is happening right as blogospheric debates over the Mooninite invasion of Boston are beginning to take on War of the Worlds proportions? (You don't need me to point you to other more interesting and amusing takes; that's what the [Update 2/7/07: insert "now updated"] blogroll's for.)
What do these rumblings among academic and pop cultural bloggers have to do with the assassination of Hrant Dink in Istanbul fairly recently? (I will link to bloggers Mostly Harmless readers are less likely be reading.)
Why does all this--and so much more of this crazy decade--feel like the Golden Age of the Culture Wars (say, from Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind  to Levine's The Opening of the American Mind , no, wait, from Hirsch's Cultural Literacy  to Berube's Public Access , or, even better, from Kimball's Tenured Radicals  to Nelson's Manifesto of a Tenured Radical ), writ large in American and world media culture? Why is Blogoramaville beginning to feel like a huge graduate seminar that's open to (slices of) the (mediated) public?
What's your latest "deja vu all over again" moment?
My gift of Gojira Vison™ sees the content of a possible WAAGNFNP site as pretty simple, but possibly radical. Submissions would be invited from all Loyal Party Members, so we'd have posts from both experienced bloggers/writers and new bloggers, as well as everyone in between. It'd basically function as a community site, but blog posts would be submitted to the administrator before going up. This would be more for organization rather than editorial control over content. Since Party membership is diverse, with decent participation, we should see widely varied topics. A fair goal would be 3 posts a week to start out if all goes well.
A community blog where anyone can sign up and post diaries won't work. It's a full-time job overseeing that shit. And unless somebody's got a rich man for me to marry right now so I can quit my job, I don't have time for that by a long shot. But that's OK because the MOJ is already established in the WAAGNFNP storyline as the Supreme Authority, (now that Our Ex-Leader but-still-Chairman-for-Life is retired), and no Loyal Party Member should quibble about submitting their posts through the MOJ instead of being able to post directly. On a more traditional community-style blog note, with the support of brilliant image contributions from our Minister of Visual Propaganda, I'd like to have Open Threads and see how that goes.
Ministry of Justice intel has revealed that I can set up a site with all the bells and whistles we are used to for a reasonable price by hosting with Dreamhost at about $10.00 a month. I don't doubt that we can come up with this sum. Intel also tells me that their (Dreamhost) customer service is pretty good, so if we have site problems, we'll actually get a human response fairly quickly.
But set-up is the easy part. Maintenance is the real issue, isn't it? I'm willing to be the lead administrator and put my name out there with the full weight and authority of the Ministry of Justice, but I need help. It can't be like that Mother Goose tale about how everyone wanted to eat the bread, but no one wanted to help bake the bread. If all the responses from our core group here are "I'm too busy", then we need to just back away from the cliff right now and call it a day. (If you're not sure whether you'd be too busy or not, we can discuss that further. I think there's a way to make this as minimal a time-suck as possible we if all work together).
I'd need one person to volunteer to be a "co" or "assistant" administrator, and we'd need at least two more people to volunteer for blog-watch duty to keep an eye out for and eliminate spam or grossly inappropriate comments should they appear (which, hopefully they won't, at least not very often). Plus, our core group would have to step up big time with blog posts in the beginning until we get the ball rolling with submissions.
The goal is, of course, to generate the most fun possible for everyone without it being this incredibly stressful time-suck for the blog-keepers. I believe that his can be done with some strategic planning with regard to sharing the work load. A rotating schedule of duties would even allow (in theory) the blog-keepers to have a week off from all blog-maintenance duties every few weeks. I emphasize the "in theory" part because in reality, it's all just guessing. There's no way to tell how fast it would grow (or sink), and what's going to be needed. All we can do is try to be as organized as we can possibly be for the launch.
Everyone needs to chime in now. Thanks.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Michael Bérubé: And I want to know if the new Pandagon will feature Schrödinger’s Cat blogging.
I am afraid you had to have been coming to Mostly Harmless back in the day for that. - JPS]
The GNF may or may not arrive while you are reading this post. Reading to the end of the 2nd entry will collapse the waveform. Proceed as your personal apocalyptic stance dictates.
Jan 3, 1961 5:30 PM - Schrödinger’s Cat
Starting tomorrow I will be bringing a unique cat’s eye view of the world to cyberspace. And I am not just any old cat! I am the pet of a world famous physicist!
But right now, it is dinner time. Is the food out yet? It may or may not be, if I go into the kitchen and check, I will know for certain, but for now it is much more “delicious” to just sit here tasting it in my mind - which I can do regardless of the actual state of food-outedness.
Is There Anybody Out There?
Jan 4, 1961 7:00 PM - Schrödinger’s Cat, ... Maybe
Dang! Just checked Sitemeter, and so far no one else has read this humble blog. Well, write it and they will come … I hope.
I have had the strangest feeling all day, very dream-like. It is like I am both here and not here, all at the same time. It makes me somewhat apprehensive, as if some important event were about to transp
Friday, February 2, 2007
So the talk is now an 18-page monstrosity that I'll be tinkering with on and off over the next three weeks (in between grading, finishing a 15-pager due in a couple of weeks, and playing with the girls' cousins, who will be bringing their mom and dad to Chiba to coincide with our visit to baba and gigi). I meet Monday with the Secretary-General of the Japan-America Association of Fukuoka--he who not only invited me to give the talk but who also crafted the awesome invitation poster that I decided to run with in it--and possibly with the translator I'll be working with, so I'll get some early feedback from them then. If any among this "insignificant microbe" of a blog's readers (or authors) want to offer me some feedback of their own, I'd be happy to email you the current draft. Over the next few weeks, I'll post some outtakes from it here when the spirit moves me.
Here's one that Star Wars fans may get into. The decision to cast Al Gore as Jabba the Hutt in the invitation poster is hilarious, particularly when you recall that Leia is Hillary Clinton in it. The Secretary-General assured me this was just a design decision--sounds like plausible deniability to me....
OK, here's another: the Bush-Calrissian casting decision also lends itself to much fun, especially if you see Vader as Cheney.
So let's get those one-liners flowing--I promise to steal and use them in the Q&A if the opportunity arises.
Oh, and thanks to Quiet Bubble and Wax Banks, I've just found out there's going to be a Star Wars blog-a-thon on the 30th anniversary of Episode IV's release. Occasion for another WAAGNFNP event?
Thursday, February 1, 2007
I refuse to link, as I'm way behind both the news cycle and the snark cycle (I just checked and it's the #2 Technorati search, so you can find it yourself!), but, man, will I go to my grave regretting missing the unfolding of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie advertising-campaign-cum-terrorist-
The right-wing mediasphere--priceless!
[Update: Will. not. break. no. link. pledge. Check. blogroll. on. your. own.]
[Update 2/5/07: This is not a link that purports to answer the burning question of what Hawthorne would make of all this.]