Sunday, October 31, 2010

Article on Woofing

The Vancouver (B.C.) Sun has published a short article I wrote about the Woofing trip Jenne and I took this summer. The online version has a few typos. Please disregard.

UPDATE: The print version with pictures:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rally to Restore Fear

In an attack on conventional wisdom, Timothy Noah over at Slate urges Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to stay home October 30, the date of their conjoined satirical rallies. Noah seems to think the spectacle of privileged young people poking fun of Tea Partiers will ultimately damage the Democrats' prospects in the upcoming midterms. I disagree--contemporary elections, in my admittedly inexpert view, seem to hinge on whose base is more enthusiastic, and I think Stewart and Colbert will succeed in rallying the Democratic rank-and-file--but I thought that Noah was his usual incisive self when parsing "Stewart-Colbertism."

"[It} scorns extremism of all types, but especially conservative extremism, and most especially conservative extremism driven by ignorance or religious extremism. It is mildly critical of liberalism, but mainly for failing to combat conservative bombast more effectively. It endorses, implicitly, whatever liberal consensus has managed to survive these past thirty years, but isn't terribly interested in the details."

I think this is mostly right. (Although a recent, cringe-inducing segment lambasting labor unions was more than mildly critical of a leftist stalwart.) I appreciate Stewart's satire of extremism. I regret that he can't be bothered by the details.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christine vs. Beulah

In a recurring segment, we juxtapose crazy right wingers...

with characters from great dramas...

(Okay, so I can't find the video online, in which case we'll have to make do with the transcript)

BEULAH: Your husband plowed under his corn and built a baseball field. The weirdo.

ANNIE: At least he is not a book-burner, you Nazi cow.

BEULAH: At least I'm not married to the biggest horse's ass in three counties.

ANNIE: All right, Beulah, do you want to step outside?


Yes, I am suggesting Christine O'Donnell bears a striking resemblance to Beulah from Field of Dreams.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paulie v. Paladino

To be a person of mixed Jewish-Italian descent and watch this...

As far as crazy Italians go, I prefer Paulie:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fiction Reading in the Internet Age

A rather 
poignant essay by Kevin Hartnett over at The Millions about the challenges of reading fiction in a life caught in the Inter-web. 

"A yen for fiction," writes Hartnett, "is something like my canary in the coal mine, an early indication, when it ebbs, that something else is wrong." He also writes that "there's something intrinsically optimistic about the process by which tragedy and frailty are turned into art," and that "the more I'm engaged with life--and particularly with other people--the more I want to read fiction."

I spend a fair amount of time both reading fiction and going through periods where a story or novel can't seem to hold my attention, and I often wonder about the combination of environmental, behavioral, and psychological factors which produce such impatience, such inability to focus. Hartnett's essay seems to me a good start at teasing apart some of this complexity.