Monday, June 06, 2011

Was Michael Moore guest-blogging at The Dish today?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Political flameouts this week

Newt Gingrich, of all people, decided to go Left in order to earn "strange new respect" from the New York Times.

Ron Paul, a.k.a. "Mr. Gold Standard", wants to sell off the national gold supply to pay down the deficit. That makes a lot of sense if we want China to go onto the gold standard...

Eight years of being the California governmor seems to have morphed Arnold Schwarzenegger into John Edwards.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Daily Loon

Andrew Sullivan sees the Middle East revolutions reaching near-Obama levels of audacity:
I remain stunned both by the courage of this immense younger generation - from Tehran to Tunis - trying to move past their sclerotic elders. But what really amazes is the speed and breadth of the change. Merely what has happened in Egypt would be historic enough - and Egypt, to my mind, remains the indispensable nation here. And yet, from Yemen to Morocco, the spirit of revolution has accelerated. Quite how this became the tipping point will be decided by historians. But one suspects the combination of a huge teen bulge with the communications revolution were central.

I also see some parallels with America. Of course we already had a democracy. But the mass young support for Barack Obama, his vision of a less polarized country and world, his biracial identity, his restraint and inspiration occurred first of all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Post #700: The NY Times adopts the ObamaCare paradigm.

You'll have to pay through the nose to get the NY Times, unless you're slick enough to pick up on the wavers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The world situation...

Here's the world situation as we know it:
  • American troops are still trying to aid Afghanistan and Pakistan in their struggle with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

  • Iran is still developing nuclear weapons.

  • American troops are still on duty protecting Iraq for Al Qaeda and other insurgents.

  • Turmoil, upheaval, and revolution has spread across the Middle East.

  • We're launching air strikes on Libya now.

  • Out-of-control deficit spending could cause the European economy to collapse any day now.

  • Out-of-control deficit spending could cause the American economy to collapse any day now.

  • The drug war in Mexico is expanding beyond restraint.

  • We have political power struggles from Washington D.C. to Wisconsin.

  • The American government is threatening to shut itself down on a week-by-week basis.

  • There is the ungoing humanitarian apocalypse in Japan.

Now we come to the worst disaster of all. A disaster that President Obama regrets more than all of the others put together, yet, as it turns out, was tragically self-inflicted. A disaster that future generations will point to as the 21st century's darkest hour.

That's right: Sascha and Malia won't be visiting Machu Picchu this year. Weep, humanity. Weep.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Girl Named Mary Sue

I just finished "The Girl Who Played With Fire." At this point, it would be helpful to review the attributes of the title character, a Swedish girl named Lisbeth Salander.

  • She has a photographic memory;

  • is an untraceable, unblockable, world-class computer hacker;

  • and has talent with mathematical analysis at the level of Fermat's last theorem.

  • She is mysteriously sexually attractive to both men and women;

  • yet the Swedish police find her to be an untraceable, wraith-like ninja who can elude a nation-wide manhunt at will.

  • She is fast enough, if not strong enough, to go into the boxing ring against male boxers.

  • Through a combination of wits, speed, and ruthlessness, she has managed to overpower half-a-dozen adult men, including professional criminal members of a biker gang.

  • She has managed to terrify, admittedly irrationally, a man the size of Andre the Giant who is immune to pain.

  • She has survived hurricane-force winds.

  • She has survived three gunshots wounds, including one that left a bullet lodged in her brain.

  • She has survived being buried alive.

How do we explain all this? There really is only one explanation. She is not actually mild-mannered Lisbeth Salander at all. She is really Sal-El, daughter of Zal-El, last survivor of the planet Krypton!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News Flash: Fantasy Fiction Still Sucks

Leo Grin decided that he could stand only so much crappy writing in the fantasy genre and wrote an essay about his disappointments. Here's his breaking point:
But it was only recently, after decades of ever-increasing reading disappointment, that I grudgingly began to admit the truth: I don’t particularly care for fantasy per se. What I actually cherish is something far more rare: the elevated prose poetry, mythopoeic subcreation, and thematic richness that only the best fantasy achieves, and that echoes in important particulars the myths and fables of old.

This realization eliminates, at a stroke, virtually everything written under the banner of fantasy today.
Congratulations, Leo. You've outgrown a literary genre. Pretty soon you'll be reading Dostoyevsky and loving it.

The next question that Leo Grin takes up is why he outgrew the genre. In his analysis, his taste didn't get bigger; the genre got smaller:
The other side thinks that their stuff is, at long last, turning the genre into something more original, thoughtful, and ultimately palatable to intelligent, mature audiences. They and their fans are welcome to that opinion. For my part — and I think Tolkien and Howard would have heartily agreed — I think they’ve done little more than become cheap purveyors of civilizational graffiti.

Soiling the building blocks and well-known tropes of our treasured modern myths is no different than other artists taking a crucifix and dipping it in urine, covering it in ants, or smearing it with feces. In the end, it’s just another small, pathetic chapter in the decades-long slide of Western civilization into suicidal self-loathing. It’s a well-worn road: bored middle-class creatives (almost all of them college-educated liberals) living lives devoid of any greater purpose inevitably reach out for anything deemed sacred by the conservatives populating any artistic field. They co-opt the language, the plots, the characters, the cliches, the marketing, and proceed to deconstruct it all like a mad doctor performing an autopsy. Then, using cynicism, profanity, scatology, dark humor, and nihilism, they put it back together into a Frankenstein’s monster designed to shock, outrage, offend, and dishearten.
All I can say is this: the third way between order and chaos is renaissance. The only way to move the genre forward is for people to explore and take risks and birth monsters. They might also birth the next masterpiece along the way. The problem is that we don't in advance what directions the genre needs to go in to produce that next literary titan. What we do know is that blanket condemnations of the literary opposition are not going to take the genre where it needs to go.