Light blogging this week with a 40% chance of rain
Just remember: The only good dissertation is a signed dissertation (hat tip: The Cranky Professor).
Commentary on movies, politics, society and those pesky orbital mind control lasers.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to try firing the counselors and sending half the deans back into their classrooms, dismantling the football team and making the stadium into a playground for local kids, emptying the fraternities, and boarding up the student-activities office. Such measures would convey the message that American colleges are not northern outposts of Club Med. A willingness on the part of the faculty to defy student conviction and affront them occasionally -- to be usefully offensive -- also might not be a bad thing. We professors talk a lot about subversion, which generally means subverting the views of the people who never hear us talk or read our work. But to subvert the views of our students, our customers, that would be something else again.As an alumnus of a university with a 50,000 seat stadium that recently experienced a classroom shortage, I couldn't agree more.
Bush hatred flopped big on Tuesday. That's not a problem for The Guardian's editors, who have to sell papers in Britain, but it is for a Democratic Party that has to sell itself in the US. Michael Mooronification damages everyone who gets it.2005 terror highlight: Osama bin Laden adds "mocking your friends and family with your obessesion to save money on your car insurance" to his indictment of the United States.
Look at the recently resurrected Osama bin Laden. Three years ago he was Mr Jihad, demanding the restoration of the caliphate, the return of Andalucia, the conversion of every infidel to Islam, the imposition of sharia and an end to fornication, homosexuality and alcoholic beverages. In his latest video he sounds like some elderly Berkeley sociology student making lame jokes about Halliburton and Bush reading My Pet Goat.
This may be true, but it tells us not why but how we are divided. For the why, I wonder whether or not the nearly even red-blue split can be said to be a kind of statistical artefact of the final and total extraction of principle from politics.(Author's italics). This is true up to a point, although Brooks hits upon an important truth when he observes that
In this campaign the two candidates do not just describe different policies. They describe different realities. In short, the partisan rivalry fuels itself. Once an electorate becomes tied, there is a built-in emotional pressure that keeps things that way. Even people who claim to be independents find themselves sucked into the vortex.The best explanation that I can offer for why the partisan divide in the United States is so passionate is that it is due not just to a triumph of politics over principles but also to a triumph of propaganda over politics. Start with the postulate that contemporary politics is defined by a clash between two adversarial propaganda campaigns directed by the two major political parties. The individual voter, when faced with two mutually contradictory but equally imperative points of view, has two relatively sane responses to escape the logical dilemma. One response is to endorse one propaganda campaign, at random, to the complete irrational exclusion of the other, while the other response is to irrationally exclude both propaganda campaigns by ignoring politics completely. Thus, we would expect a strident 50/50 partisan split with a major turnout problem if this postulate were true.