EDWARDS V. COOK [Jonathan H. Adler]
That is what CWA's Tom Jipping predicts. This would be predictable, and very unfortunate. Whatever her faults, Justice Cook stands head and shoulders above her colleagues on the Ohio Supreme Court, and would be a welcome addition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Fortunately for her, she has the enthusiastic support of both Senators Voinovich and DeWine.
Posted at 10:48 PM
GEEZ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Between the weird British infighting and the Louisiana dispatches...where am I again, oh, yeah, Middle Earth, right? Thank goodness I'm in the middle of the greatest city in the world, the one that never sleeps, 'cause I need a drink. Enough snippy posting for now.
Posted at 10:27 PM
DERB'S GEOGRAPHY [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Fens, Ely, Wisbech? That’s Cambridgeshire - miles to the west.
But, John, while we’re on the topic of those naughty poppies, here’s what Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote (in 1808) about your native territory:
"I shall deem it a sacred Duty to publish my Case, tho' without my name -- for the practice of taking Opium is dreadfully spread. -- Throughout Lancashire & Yorkshire it is the common Dram of the lower orders of People -- in the small Town of Thorpe the Druggist informed me, that he commonly sold on market days two or three Pound of Opium, & a Gallon of Laudanum -- all among the labouring Classes." (CL, iii 125-6)
Posted at 07:04 PM
MEDGAR FLOWERS IS A GREAT AMERICAN [Rod Dreher]
In Louisiana, if somebody invades your house, you can shoot their sorry butt dead, and the police don't care. It's the law. And it's a good law, too.
Posted at 06:28 PM
STUTTAFORD ROOTS [John Derbyshire]
East Norfolk, hmmm? Let's see.... "In the Fens, where suffering from rheumatism was universal and opium was a sovereign remedy, most people grew it in their gradens... Ely was known as 'the opium-eating city'... Women and children were the biggest consumers, but everyone seems to have taken it occasionally. In Wisbech, you went into a shop, put a penny on the counter, the shopkeeper asked 'The best?' you nodded, and a package of opium was handed over..." (Paul Johnson, The Birth of the Modern)
Posted at 04:29 PM
BLAST FROM THE PAST [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s an intriguing story in today’s New York Times about Dr. Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s new minister of defense. Her father was an air force general who worked with the Allende government. He died in prison under the Pinochet regime. Appallingly, General Bachelet was tortured, torture that apparently contributed to his death. His daughter too was jailed for a few months and, disgracefully, tortured, “beaten and blindfolded”, herself. To that extent, her new appointment represents a satisfying turn of events, especially as (at least as portrayed by the always suspect New York Times) she appears a rather sympathetic character.
But the past is never straightforward and the Times’ piece contains rather more nuance than might usually be expected from that source. We read that the fact that General Bachelet was required to “work with” (“collaborate” would, I suppose, have been too loaded a word) “Cuban advisers and members of groups advocating armed revolution did nothing to endear him to his fellow officers.” Indeed. Torture, of course, is not exactly unknown in Castro’s Cuba, and we can suppose that any “armed revolution” in Chile would have been far from gentle.
Eventually, Dr. Bachelet’s mother was expelled and “the two women went into exile, first in Australia and then in East Germany.”
Australia, I can understand, but East Germany? The GDR, a grim, gray suburb of the Gulag, a country of barbed wire, political prisoners, and the Berlin Wall, was a curious choice for people (I would imagine) describing themselves as refugees from oppression.
Bachelet’s story is a reminder of the trickiness of history, that most essential of disciplines. Elsewhere in today’s paper, that point is underlined by a story (on a new museum dedicated to the British empire) concluding with this quote from Cicero:
“Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born is to be condemned to live forever as a child.”
That’s something to remember the next time you read about dumbed-down history teaching.
Posted at 03:48 PM
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Claude Vorilhon (‘Rael’) has just announced that he wants to be ‘plastinated’ after his death.
Posted at 03:03 PM
BRITISH JUSTICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s what it boils down to. Remember that the UK is a country with a tendency to jail people who defend themselves, but if the state can't (or, increasingly, won't) what alternative do they have?
Posted at 02:41 PM
BRITISH GUN CONTROL [Andrew Stuttaford]
British Blogger Michael Peach gets it.
Posted at 02:29 PM
DUBIOUS DUBAI [Andrew Stuttaford]
This story from Dubai looks deeply disturbing, to put it mildly. A French visitor to the country accuses three men of rape. Now she is now facing possible prosecution for 'adultery'. The French foreign ministry shows itself to be a worthy winner of today's Tallahassee Democrat cowardice prize for saying that it "cannot make too much noise for fear of upsetting religious sensibilities over there".
Posted at 02:16 PM
PURITANS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Speaking of Puritans, a number of people have written to complain that my recent post referring to the anti-smoking vigilantes of Bowdoin College as 'Puritans' was unfair. The original Puritans, I was told, were fun-loving folk, and one reader referred me to this website.
Is this true? I've no idea. In 17th Century England the Puritans were a pretty grim crowd. Perhaps they were more cheerful over here.
Posted at 01:56 PM
LEFT LUXURY [Andrew Stuttaford]
The British Labour Party is, now, selling Champagne. There seem to be worries that this may shock some of the puritanical folk all too often found on the left of the politics. It shouldn’t. There is an entertaining (and possibly even true) story about one of the Labour grandees (either Nye Bevan or Ernest Bevin, I forget which) of the early post-war years being criticized for being seen to indulge in Champagne with rather too much gusto. Champagne, it was felt, was too elitist a choice for such a supposedly egalitarian politician.
Bevin/Bevan disagreed. “Nothing,” he said, “is too good for the working class.”
In one respect, and one respect only, Stalin seems to have felt the same way. In pre-revolutionary Russia ice cream was associated with the richer classes. In the new Soviet paradise it was decreed that this delicacy should be available for all, and that is why (it is said), up until the mid-1990s at least, it was always possible (in Moscow certainly) to buy delicious, if slightly sinister-looking, ice cream from ladies manning little vendor carts near Metro stations and similar spots all over the city. The cost? A few Kopecks. The taste – delicious, particularly in winter.
Posted at 01:46 PM
DERB DE LUXE [Andrew Stuttaford]
That’s typical Derbyshire, that is, a new American always trying to claim that he was indeed one of the huddled masses. Don’t be fooled by his self-pitying depictions of a rain-lashed childhood amid the cobblestones, clogs and class resentment of Northern England. Piccalilli, indeed! The Derb was clearly brought up in conditions of sybaritic luxury. In the flatlands and marshes of East Norfolk we could only dream of such delights (it is, I somehow seem to remember – a one-off treat, doubtless – very good with ham).
For more in this vein, please see the appropriate Monty Python sketch.
Posted at 01:06 PM
BRANSTON PICKLE [John Derbyshire]
Let me hasten to inform my fellow Americans that Branston Pickle is popular only among the effete, smooth-skinned, Frenchified lotus-eaters of Southern England. Up north, where men are men and women are glad of it, the condiment of choice is Picalilli, a.k.a. "Lancashire kimchi."
Posted at 11:48 AM
ART'S NOT SMART [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's a long article in this week's New York Observer about cartoonist Art Spiegelman and his split from the New Yorker. Spiegelman is apparently preoccupied with producing a new comic strip, In the Shadow of No Towers, which he is quoted as describing as follows:
"Recollections of September 11, 2001, and the feeling of imminent death that it brought with it seen from further and further spiraling distances as we move towards a present where we're equally threatened by Al Qaeda and my President."
No further comment necessary.
Posted at 11:44 AM
IMMINENT MA WANTS MARMITE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is shortly expecting her second child, apparently has a craving for Marmite. Thanks to reader Kevin Orlin Johnson for sending me this important story. If any readers are intrigued by 'Branston Pickle', they should be. It's delicious.
I note that part of Ms Zeta-Jones' problems appear to come from the fact that she seems to be based in 'Los Angeles', a provincial spot located, I am told, somewhere in the west of this country. Here in Manhattan we face no such problems.
Posted at 11:21 AM
NYPD BLUE [Rod Dreher]
Here's why you can't win as a New York cop. Deliverymen from a restaurant serving a black neighborhood kept getting robbed in the same building. The police sent a couple of undercover cops into the building, one dressed as a deliveryman from the restaurant. A black teenage thug, presumably the same one who had been robbing the deliverymen, jumps out and puts a realistic-looking fake gun to the head of the "deliveryman" -- whose undercover partner, presuming that his buddy is about to be executed, shoots the thug dead. What happens next? Is there a sigh of relief from the community that this crook, who had a criminal record, will no longer be able to prey on their community? No, the rabble gathers to protest police brutality. Dysfunctional ingrates.
Posted at 10:43 AM
Friday, January 03, 2003
ATTN WEST VIRGINIA CORNERITES [Rich Lowry]
If anyone out there know how to get into touch with one of the striking West Virignia doctors, please let me know. Thanks!
Posted at 06:00 PM
TOLKIEN, SMOLKIEN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The GFILE is up. Stop sending me hate mail. For every nasty message I get about the timing of its posting, I will add a minute to delaying the next GFile's posting. So far, assuming Jonah sends his next file to me by 3 in the afternoon, it will be posted around midnight.
Posted at 04:46 PM
OUT OF MY HANDS [Jonah Goldberg]
If you're waiting for the G-File -- which is long and odd like a Stanley Kubrick movie -- take it up with NR-NYC. I sent it in. And, yes, yes, it's largely about Lord of the Rings. And no, it's not a review.
Posted at 04:20 PM
111 [Andrew Stuttaford]
Hmmm, 111. That's about the number of pages I'd read of LOTR before that glorious moment of liberation when I gave one final sigh, threw the book down and ran out of the room, laughing with relief as I finally escaped that dreary realm of hobbits, elves, orcs, stoors, and (if I remember correctly) Carvilles. OK, maybe not Carvilles.
Posted at 01:45 PM
HAPPY B-DAY JRRT! [John J. Miller]
Today is J.R.R. Tolkien's eleventy-first birthday--i.e., #111. As the Tolkien Society reminds us, this is a date of some significance in LOTR.
Posted at 01:29 PM
MORE BRITISH GUNS [Andrew Stuttaford]
More on the increase in gun crime in Britain, this time from the London Times. Key extract: "The ban on handweapons above .22 calibre, which was introduced in 1997 after the Dunblane primary school shootings, forced many legitimate owners to surrender their guns but did nothing to stop underworld supplies." Well, there's a surprise.
Posted at 01:25 PM
DUMB AND DUMBER [John Derbyshire]
British drug laws are dumb, British gun laws are dumber. Here's the Daily Telegraph on both topics.
Posted at 01:21 PM
RE: CHILLING EFFECT [Rod Dreher]
Just to be clear on my earlier post, my problem is not with CAIR, but with the cowardly editor who suspended his columnist. If I were a Muslim, I'd probably be cheesed off too by what the guy wrote in his private communication. If he had said something similar about Christians, I'd be personally chagrined. But it would still be wrong to suspend the writer for that opinion. American newspapers are terribly bland, in large part because the men and women who run newsrooms are scared to death of offending approved victim groups.
Posted at 01:10 PM
CONFIRMATION FROM NORMAN PODHORETZ [Jonah Goldberg]
Dear Jonah Goldberg: It's true that Al Pacino was the Commentary office boy for about a year--or maybe only six months or so--in 1960 or 1961. The magazine was then definitely in its leftwing phase, but I don't think Pacino cared one way or the other. He was then studying acting and probably took the job instead of waiting tables. Anyhow, he was good at it: cheerful and competent and willing to do whatever was asked of him. I haven't seen him since, except on the big screen, though if I remember rightly, there was a time when he told interviewers about having worked briefly as an office boy at Commentary. Yours, Norman Podhoretz
Posted at 12:17 PM
UNBELIEVABLE! [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm going through some articles for my G-File today and I stumble on a piece by John Podhoretz from a few years ago. In this article John reveals that when Al Pacino -- yes that Al Pacino -- was 18 years old he was an office boy at Commentary magazine. I am still having trouble processing this. And, John, if you're reading this -- and I think I am speaking for everybody -- we would like more information. Before I can start making jokes, I need to know if this was during Commentary's radical Left days or during the neocon days. When the latest issue of Partisan Review came into the office did he yell, "Hoo-ah!"?
Posted at 11:03 AM
IN THE MEANTIME... [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's my latest syndicated column. There's an unfortunate typo in this line: "How about because Iran and North Korea are different places?" That should be Iraq not Iran. Let's see if the guys at Townhall are Corner readers and test how long it takes them to fix it.
Posted at 10:23 AM
LATE START [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry, got started late today. G-File Decker in five.
Posted at 10:10 AM
ANOTHER VICTIM OF VICTIMIZATION [Roger Clegg]
It has always been refreshing to me that white Southerners have consistently refused to play the victim card, even when caricatured as drooling, interbreeding, redneck thugs. Alas, the Governor of West Virginia has demanded, and gotten, an apology from the University of Virginia for its pep band’s portrayal of a West Virginia female contestant on a parody of “The Bachelor” as an overall-clad, pigtail-wearing, square-dancer who wants to move to Beverly Hills. Said the governor in his apology demand, “[T]his type of performance merely perpetuates the unfounded stereotypes that we in West Virginia are fighting so hard to overcome.” And said that UVa president in his apology, “[We] crossed the line between humor and ridicule that … simple decency proscribe …. We respect our colleagues at West Virginia University and also West Virginians generally.” Ugh. One hopes that West Virginians generally can take a joke better—and aren’t as ashamed of overalls, pigtails, and square-dancing—as their governor.
Posted at 09:57 AM
A CHILLING EFFECT [Rod Dreher]
Check out this this press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLORIDA JOURNALIST SUSPENDED OVER BIASED COMMENTS
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/2/03) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations
In a letter of apology to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic
"On behalf of the Tallahassee Democrat, I apologize to all of our readers,
"Bill spoke, via company e-mail, in anger and frustration to a reader.
"'I was wrong and I am sorry,' he said in an unsolicited statement to his
"'It would be bad enough if my comments reflected only on my own lack of
"He said that he should have stopped to consider that people would believe
"Bill has been a valued and respected employee of the Democrat for almost
"We thank the Tallahassee Democrat for its swift action in response to this
"We will continue our strong support for the First Amendment right to
In an e-mail to a concerned Muslim, Cotterell had written: "Except for
In December, CAIR called for an apology from the Tallahassee Democrat for a
Posted at 09:38 AM
BORED OF THE RINGS [John Derbyshire]
I have wakened the lurking legions of Bored of the Rings fans. They are telling me all their favorite bits. Sample: "Best of all the names was the Thesaurus, a large corduroy-covered monster who shouts synonyms as he devours his victim." Yes! I have got to re-read BOTR. One reader tells me there is a reprint out... Yep
Posted at 09:31 AM
COLUMNS I WISH I'D WRITTEN, SERIES #119 [John Derbyshire]
How to deal with Kimbo.
Posted at 08:53 AM
JUSTICE HATCH? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Chief Justice Thomas? Both are possibilities according to rumors reported in The Washingtonian.
Posted at 08:44 AM
NO FURTHER COMMENT [John Derbyshire]
The ruling coalition in the new Kenyan p-arliament goes by the name "Narc."
Posted at 08:40 AM
BUSH AND RACE PREFERENCES [John J. Miller]
The Bush administration apparently still hasn't decided whether to file a brief in the University of Michigan/racial preferences cases coming before the Supreme Court. This is a gut check for the White House, and conservatives are watching its decision closely. What we hope for is a brief that argues against allowing "diversity" to serve as a rationale for racial and ethnic quotas. What we fear is that the administration, always leery about race policy and still smarting from Trent Lott's dumb remarks, will take a pass and file nothing. What we remember is this: A candidate survey George W. Bush filled out in 1998. See his response to question #9.
Posted at 05:45 AM
CHALLENGE TO THE WHITE HOUSE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Take away her press pass!
Posted at 02:18 AM
SHOCK! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Raelians aren't being straight with us.
Posted at 02:16 AM
Thursday, January 02, 2003
HOME [Rod Dreher]
Well, we're back in NYC tonight after a week in balmy south Louisiana. On New Year's Eve, my wife and I left Young Master with his grandparents, and spent the evening here. As it turned out, to both our relief and chagrin, Young Master didn't seem to miss us a bit, and actually stayed up later than we did, to shoot fireworks at midnight with his cousins. The kid is three! What old coots his mom and I are. We did have a grand time earlier in the evening drinking with innkeepers Pat and Laurie Walsh (well, I was the only one who drank, but Laurie mixes a swell Manhattan), and trading hilarious stories about town eccentrics. Like I keep telling Yankees, Flannery O'Connor was a realist. Anyway, the Tigers lost, but I'm over it, and I came back with my backpack stuffed with an old dog-eared Robertson Davies novel, and several packages of frozen boudin, both of which will be mighty warming Friday night in the ice storm predicted for NYC. What a treat not to have to think much about the world for a week. That's what vacation is for, innit?
Posted at 11:47 PM
RE: BORED OF THE RINGS [John Derbyshire]
I mis-remembered the last name of Dildo, hero of Bored of the Rings. His full name was, in fact, Dildo Bugger. Any suggestions that my mis-recollection of that name is yet more evidence of my well-known obsessive aversion to certain practices, will be sturdily refuted.
Posted at 07:28 PM
RE: BORED OF THE RINGS [John Derbyshire]
Reader Tim Hartin has supplied the link: "What should be a crusade of Good against Evil becomes a litany of foolish escapades, as Goodgulf the wizard journeys with the boggies Dildo, Frito and Spam, assisted by Stomper, and assorted hangers on such as Legolam, Moxie and Pepsi as they wage war against the wicked Sorhed..."
Posted at 07:26 PM
FOLLOWING THROUGH [Jonah Goldberg]
True to my word, here’s a blogger who’s named his email address after my couch.
Posted at 06:26 PM
LOL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Andrew, I was just on CNN (don't laugh--bash'em and they come calling) and one of the guests referred to Mike Bloomberg as the "darling of the Republican party." Oy. Know any Republicans in NYC who aren't holding their heads in shame that they had to vote for him? If only Rich Lowry had run.
Posted at 05:07 PM
BORED OF THE RINGS [John Derbyshire]
No LOTR talk should be allowed to fade out without at least a passing mention of the hilarious parody Bored of the Rings put out by, I think, the Harvard Lampoon in the early 1970s. The hero's name--though I am working from memory here--was Dildo Baggins. Perhaps this would be more up Andrew's street?
Posted at 04:54 PM
MORE CHIMPS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, John, 'common' chimps can indeed be a tough crowd (something which, in a sense, the remake of 'Planet of the Apes' got right). Come to think of it, I seem to recall that one of the (non-Bonobo) chimps watched over by Jane Goodall turned murderous. His name? Frodo.
Posted at 02:14 PM
ANDREW... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...that was one brave confession in this crowd. Let me know if you need protection.
Posted at 02:01 PM
CONFESSION [Andrew Stuttaford]
OK, I'll just write this and then I'll run away and hide. I tried to make my weary way through LOTR (the book) years ago. Couldn't stand it. And so I gave up.
Posted at 02:00 PM
WAIT A MINUTE. WHEN IS CHIRAC’S TERM UP? [Rich Lowry]
Hagel in ’08.
Posted at 01:59 PM
RE: CHIMP TALK [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: The drivel about those peace-loving, polygamous Bonobo chimps was all exploded by Steve Sailer in this piece a couple of years ago. As Steve points out (but all the Bonobo-loving lefties fail to), this endearingly PC species of primate is a Darwinian dud, hovering on the edge of extinction, while the common chimp, whose basic social unit, according to Steve, "resembles the Hell's Angels," has proved much better at preserving itself.
Posted at 01:59 PM
I WORKED… [Rich Lowry]
…like crazy on my book over the holidays. I think this column may have been the product of too much isolation, and laughing at my own jokes, but if you’re interested in stir crazy-induced whimsy, here are some. (P.S.—thanks for all the NFL e-mails.)
Posted at 01:40 PM
CHIMP TALK [Andrew Stuttaford]
This looks like impressive news. However Bonobo chimps are, in some ways, the lefties of the chimpanzee world, so be careful before believing everything that Kanzi has to say.
Posted at 01:32 PM
AARON BROWN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'll stop soon...and stop picking on CNN, but I think MRC could write a book on Aaron Brown alone. (Anyone ever watch his whole show? I'm not sure it is possible...)
“I find myself at exactly the right place for a reporter tonight. I’m annoyed at both political parties, and you can’t be more fair and balanced than that. Last night’s event in Minneapolis [the Wellstone service] — calling it a memorial insults the dead — was totally tasteless....Equally shameless has been the reaction received here. There may in fact be non-partisans upset with the event, they may in fact exist. They did not make themselves known in our in-box today. Instead, what we received was a series of identical letters....I don’t mean thematically identical; I mean literally identical. Word for word....So here is what last night proved: One side can be tasteless and the other side has the computer skills to cut and paste under the guise of genuine outrage. Which is worse? To me it’s a tie.” — Anchor Aaron Brown’s “Page Two” commentary at the start of CNN’s NewsNight, October 30.and here's another:
“There is hardly a troubled place in the world he hasn’t visited, worked in, in a quest to bring peace and spread democratic values....Jimmy Carter told Larry King today he is slowing down some, cutting back. Age makes globe-trotting especially hard. But in many places, dusty and difficult places, James Earl Carter has brought hope and dispelled, as well as anyone alive these days, the vision of the ugly American.” — Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, October 11.
I'll stop now. Lot's to read at MRC's site. Enjoy.
Posted at 01:16 PM
THE DARYN CHRONICLES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Have a little piece up on the Media Research Center's worst-reporting awards. Just realized I forgot to mention two of the memorable "notable quotables" that did not win, but is just so typical, both from CNN's Daryn Kagan:
Anchor Daryn Kagan: “You know what, Kate? Shame on all of them. They’re sitting there playing politics in Washington. I know we have a lot of viewers at home, a lot of older people who their simple, simple request is just to be able to afford the drugs that they need.” Reporter Kate Snow: “Yeah, they will say it’s a lot more complicated than that. And, you know, that there, again, there are policy differences and it’s hard to get agreement when you don’t agree on how to do it. That’s what they’ll say to that, but I think you’re right, that I think a lot of seniors are going to be disappointed.” Kagan: “Tell that to our grandmothers and grandfathers and uncles and aunts who are just trying to kind of put together the bottom line.” — Exchange August 1 during CNN’s “Breaking News” coverage of the end of Senate efforts to create a new prescription drug entitlement for senior citizens.and...
Daryn Kagan: “As that reporter was telling us, from Berlin, this isn’t over. They’re not sure if just the one gunman or there’s other gunmen out there and so the search and the situation at the school still goes on.” Leon Harris: “It’s incredible, incredible.” Kagan: “Not the kind of thing we want to export from this country.” — Exchange on CNN about a school shooting in Germany, at about 10:25am EDT on April 26.
Posted at 01:07 PM
PROHIBITIONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Isn't it terrible? It's almost as if I don't care anymore as long as you'all are posting. How many LOTR posts have we seen in the last month. And punk rock, goodness gracious. At least I confine my '80s rock Corner titles to off hours and weekends so people know I am a dork, without question. When you're doing it at 11 in the morning, it looks like you're just eating work time!
Posted at 12:34 PM
GOOD POINT ON AIRLINES [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader observes:
Did you ever wonder why airlines serve food and drinks in the first place?
Posted at 12:32 PM
LAST WORD ON STOORS [Jonah Goldberg]
A Reader settles it:
I may put myself in the running for nerd of the (new) year here, but Stoors are a sub-type of hobbits. There were three types, characterized by their physical attributes and tastes (river folk, tree folk, etc). I think that Gollum's folk are stated to be akin to hobbits, and Stoor-like in their habits, but it is not said definitively whether they are hobbits or not.
Posted at 12:30 PM
DANG [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader sends me this:
Stoors are hobbits.
Posted at 12:22 PM
GOLLUM CLARIFICATION [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader notes:
Posted at 12:02 PM
HOW DO I PUT THIS....? [Jonah Goldberg]
The commercial that annoys me more than any other these days is the one for Cottonelle toilet tissue. You've probably seen it, if you spend any time watching TV. It features all sorts of scenes of people from all walks of life, wagging their butts in the air like they just don't care. Oh, they're wearing pants, fear not. But they wiggle their tushes around on the bowling alley, at the airport, etc. Why are they doing this? Because their toilet tissue is especially efficient and comprehensive in achieving the things we've come to expect from toilet tissue. You can watch the ad like a thousand times and not think twice about it, but once you listen to what they're saying you realize how disgusting it is.
But now get this, I go to the Cottonelle website website in search of a link to one of the commercials. I click on the icon of the little TV set. But instead of the ad, I find out it's a chat room. Am I the only one disturbed by the image of people hanging out in a toilet paper chatroom? And I'm not talking about The Daily Worker either.
Posted at 11:59 AM
RE: CONTEMPTUOUS USUAGE OF "GAY" [John Derbyshire]
Around a quarter million readers have e-mailed in to tell me that the usage of "gay" that I remarked on was current among teens and pre-teens at least as far back as the late 1970s. Thanks to all. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. Truly, I am hopelessly out of touch with teen culture. It's nice to know, though, that NRO has such a firm grip on the 30-something demographic.
Posted at 11:51 AM
GETTING CLOSER [[Jonah Goldberg]]
Here's an explanation that works for me from an amazing site.
Posted at 11:26 AM
GOLLUM [[Jonah Goldberg]]
Okay, okay. Here is the official storyon where Gollum’s name comes from. I confess to not remembering that his name comes from the clicking – gollumy— sound he makes with his throat. But that’s not my point. I knew there had to be a reason in the text for his name. What I’m looking for is the sub-textual reason Tolkien used the name "Gollum," if there is one. For example, John Miller recently wrote about how the "secret fire" (of which Gandalf is the keeper) was actually in Tolkien’s mind the (Christian) Holy Spirit. There’s little or nothing in the actual book which can prove that, but Tolkien apparently said it was so. What I’m curious about is whether Tolkien – who most certainly must have known of the Golem myths (which inspired Frankenstein) – was making something of a metaphorical statement about the nature of Man, or in this case, Hobbits. Gollum was originally a hobbit who was turned into a pitiable creature through the power of the ring. The Golem was a living creature made from clay. I’m just wondering if maybe Tolkien was saying something about what happens to man when he loses God’s grace, or some such, and is therefore reduced to something less than man, a creature made from the same stuff as man, but contemptible nonetheless. Just something I was pondering.
Posted at 11:23 AM
RE: SOURCE OF THE NAME "GOLLUM" [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it comes from the sound a crime-scene automobile makes as it's lowered into a Louisiana swamp. Perhaps an authentic Cajun could help out here. Where is Iron Rod?
Posted at 11:10 AM
MORE CHIPPER NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Tony Blankley's predictions. Have mercy on us, Hillary.
Posted at 11:08 AM
RE: WELCOME TO 2003 [John Derbyshire]
K-Lo: So DC's first baby of the year was born to a lesbian couple. New York's seems to have been to a black single mother. Don't you sometimes feel like giving in to despair?
Posted at 10:59 AM
TOLKIEN SCHOLARS [[Jonah Goldberg]]
Has anybody read anything on what the source of the name "Gollum" is? I was wondering if it's supposed to allude to Golem -- i.e. the Jewish mystical creatures. I don't remember reading anything about this, but we do know that Tolkien took words and language very, very seriously.
Posted at 10:49 AM
WELCOME TO 2003 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The first baby born in the Beltway is to a lesbian couple.
Posted at 10:47 AM
FORGIVE ME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I've just realized, reading the Washington Post that I have helped cloud the debate on cloning with words like "human dignity"--a no-no in the relativistic world Richard Cohen's column lives in.
Posted at 10:44 AM
GOLLUM & CARVILLE [Rick Brookhiser]
They may look alike, but Gollum had the remains of a conscience.
Posted at 10:40 AM
RE: GUN-CONTROL PARADISE [John Derbyshire]
Reader Chuch Allen drew my attention to this quote in the Daily Telegraph story I posted a few minutes ago: "Chief Supt Dave Shaw said the victims were among around 25 to 30 young people from across the West Midlands at the party. 'There has clearly been some sort of dispute which has resulted in people coming to the premises with guns, discharging their weapons and causing this incident,' he said."
As a specimen of acute forensic analysis, this is hard to beat. Nothing gets past those bobbies!
Posted at 09:24 AM
I'M FOR IT... [Jonah Goldberg]
The Wall Street Journal (front page of the Personal Journal) has a story about how the America West airline is starting a test program to sell meals on some of its flights. I think this is great news and a great idea. It seems to me one of the problems with the airline industry -- much like the telecom industry -- is that the product has been commodified. Like when you buy water or electricity, the only thing which distinguishes venders is price. Do you really care who you buy your copper from, so long as it's cheap and arrives on time? The same thing has happened with airlines. The price differentials between the high-added value product (first class) and the bargain basement product (coach) are so huge, few people are willing to pay for anything but the cheapest product, so long as it gets you there on time. I think it's long past due for the airlines to add more and better products for travellers. For too long the choice has been between first/business class and steerage. There are signs here and there. Jet Blue is by far my favorite airline now. The owner of Hooters is starting his own charter airline with Hooter girls as flight "attendants." And United introduced slightly pricier extended leg room seats in coach a while back. Personally, I am convinced that the first airline to provide an in-cabin kennel for dogs which travellers can sit next to will make a fortune. Trust me on this.
Posted at 09:23 AM
THAT'S NOT THE DANGER, FOR SURE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Remarkable op-ed piece in the New York Times today by a bioethicist warning that people are in danger of confusing "reproductive cloning" and "therapeutic cloning." First of all, one of the biggest dangers in the Clonaid presumptive fraud is it has given folks on Capitol Hill who oppose only some cloning (the "reproductive" kind) the chance to push through a half-baked cloning ban. Secondly, if you read many of the press reports, it is that false dichotomy that reigns these days. The Kass Commission does a clear job setting out key defintions--that report is a must read for anyone who cares about the future of human life and should be required reading for any reporting covering these issues.
Posted at 09:16 AM
FYI [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We're back to our regular weekday posting routine. There's Connerly, Derb, Nordlinger, Shiflett, Miller, Kurtz and more today. Enjoy....
Posted at 09:05 AM
GUN-CONTROL PARADISE [John Derbyshire]
Life in totally gun-free Britain.
Posted at 09:02 AM
REPORT FROM THE SLOPES [John Derbyshire]
"Skiing in the rain, just skiing in the rain..." That's how it was New Year's Day on Hunter Mountain. Interesting effect: we ended up sugar-glazed, covered all over with rain that had frozen to ice. Snowboarders now around 50 per cent on the slopes--amazing. Seems like just yesterday I saw my first-ever snowboarder (actually about 7-8 yrs ago, I think). Nellie Muriel declares that green & blue slopes (i.e. beginner and intermediate) are "gay" -- the latest, and I think rather interesting, sub-teen synonym for "beneath contempt," "babyish," "lame," etc. The way snowboarding is coming up, I'm afraid that pretty soon skiing with two skis will be "gay."
Posted at 08:44 AM
OH, MY PRECIOUSSSSS.... [John Derbyshire]
Just saw LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS. Excellent. As a Tolkien fan from far back (read 'em all at age 16), I am pleased--a thing I very rarely am when watching movie adaptations of books I love. One thing kept nagging at me, though: the almost supernatural resemblance between Gollum and James Carville. Be interested to see a log of Carville's movements when the movie was being filmed.
Posted at 08:37 AM
BEAMED UP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NC senator John Edwards is in the race for the White House. What a long race this is going to be.
Posted at 07:35 AM
HELP--NFL COACH HIRING POLICY [Rich Lowry]
I'm going to start the new year the way I ended the old--with a campaign of shameless blegging to augment my column research. If anyone has any profound thoughts, cool links, expert suggestions or anything else about the quota-mongering NFL hiring policy for coaches, I'd love to hear from you. But please don't send anything after 12:30 pm today...
Posted at 01:34 AM
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
PHOTO OF THE YEAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:00 PM
TEXAS 35, LSU 20 [Rod Dreher]
If my wife (UT '97) doesn't quit singing The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You, I'm going to jump out the window. We were in the grocery store this morning on the way home from mass down here in Louisiana, when we heard on the radio that LSU was ahead in the Cotton Bowl. I taunted her mercilessly. But that was the first quarter. I've been eating crow ever since. Woe!
Posted at 07:55 PM
THE OFFICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
I don’t know if this comedy series (a sort of ‘mockumentary’) is available anywhere in the US. It does for office life what Spinal Tap did for Heavy Metal. Don’t miss it, if you get the chance.
Posted at 03:08 PM
BURGLAR'S DELIGHT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
British notions of ‘self-defense’ are, quite evidently, spreading. Thanks to the reader who sent in this story from the New York Post.
Posted at 03:03 PM
PURITAN WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
From today’s New York Times :
"Bowdoin College already has the requisite alcohol-free dormitories, vegan entrees in the dining halls and state-of-the-art fitness facilities. Now smoking…has been banned from dorms and other student housing.”
Oh, good grief.
One student, “a fan of the new policy", intones that, “You obviously don’t respect yourself if you smoke and destroy your lungs,” a remark so devoid of originality, tolerance and psychological insight that one can only despair, yet again, about the state of the American education system.
Posted at 02:57 PM
PROGRESSIVE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s an old complaint, but check out the number of times in that New York Times piece that the word ‘progressive’ is used as a synonym for ‘liberal’. What’s so ‘progressive’ about liberalism?
Posted at 02:45 PM
MEDIA MOANING [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s an interesting – and revealing – article in today’s New York Times about how “outflanked Democrats” are looking for ways “to play catch up in media battles”. The spin? That the blame for recent electoral defeats can at least partly be attributed to the way in which liberals are allegedly outgunned by a (doubtless "vast") conservative presence in this country’s media. What presence? Fox News, apparently, and a chorus of “prominent, outright partisan media voices”. By contrast, when it comes to identifying their sources of reliable media backing, the poor old Democrats can, apparently, only point to ‘a scant few’ outlets.
This is nonsense (and it shows the unease felt by a Left confronted, at last, with some debate), but it is, in particular, worth paying attention to that reference to “outright partisan media voices.” The key word is “outright”, better translated as “honest”. That there is a liberal bias in much of today’s media seems undeniable, but, if there’s one notable thing about it, it is that it is not “outright”. Rather, it comes in under cover, camouflaged as ‘public television’, objective ‘reporting’ (Dan Rather, are you paying attention?) or as a sub-text of much of today’s entertainment programming. The political agenda is there, but it's not admitted to.
If liberals want a more ‘partisan’ presence in the media, that’s fine (particularly if it could be provided by the likes of Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand), but they should have the decency to acknowledge the outlets that those far from ‘outflanked’ Democrats already have.
Posted at 02:37 PM
GANGS OF NEW YORK [Andrew Stuttaford]
Finally got to see this movie – quite a spectacle, but not much more: ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’, other, presumably, than as a none too subtle comment on today's immigration debates (you can guess the line that Scorsese takes). As Bill the Butcher, Daniel Day-Lewis was as good as the reviews suggest, but check out Jim Broadbent too, marvelous as Boss Tweed, sly, shifty, crooked and very, very smart.
Posted at 02:19 PM
FRANKENCURRENCY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Now it’s official: there’s nothing natural about the Euro.
Posted at 02:08 PM
LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND [NRO Staff]
NEW!: The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature! Get this new, unsurpassed collection of timeless works (personally selected by William F. Buckley Jr.) from great authors, including Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Bret Harte, Howard Pyle, Thornton Burgess, and many more. This beautiful hardcover edition (528 pages, hundreds of enchanting illustrations) makes a great gift! The cost is just $29.95 (additional copies just just $24.95 each). Shipping and handling is FREE! Click here to order (and to read a sample story by Jack London!).
Posted at 09:20 AM
THE SCI-FI DEM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The problem with John Edwards running for president (he announces tomorrow on the Today show), is that he has got name recognition none of his colleagues will be able to match. This is why.
Posted at 08:26 AM
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
HAPPY NEW YEAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An hour or so early, but am offline for awhile. (It is New Year's Eve, afterall!) Thanks for your support in the past year and in advance for staying with us in the new year!
Posted at 10:38 PM
TIME FOR ACTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
David Frum on the new year, from the NAtional PosT.
Posted at 10:32 PM
2003, AND THIS IS WHERE WE ARE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Bin Laden's al Qaeda network is suspected of carrying out the hijacked airliner attacks that killed about 3,000 people."
Reuters, where else?
Posted at 09:14 PM
U.N. PROVES ITSELF ILLEGITIMATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Annan says no excuse for immediate war.
Posted at 09:05 PM
PLEASE MAKE IT STOP [John Derbyshire]
The tsunami of e-mails, that is, telling me that (a) Alan Bates was in the Flashman movie but DID NOT PLAY THE PART OF FLASHIE, and (b) the movie stank like a bear in heat. (Surprising unanimity on (b).)
Posted at 08:50 PM
FLASHMAN [Jim Robbins ]
Derb, the movie in question was the 1975 "Royal Flash" starring Malcolm McDowell, screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser. I don't think it did justice to the books, mainly due to the lack of Flashy's interior monologue, which is critical to the character and one's appreciation of him (if it can be called that). The books on tape read by David Case are so much better.
Posted at 08:49 PM
BEST OF DERB--CORRECTION [John Derbyshire]
I am sorry, Kathryn, sorry sorry sorry. A phrase unaccountably got left out of my earlier post headed "Best of Derb." What got posted was this: "A webzine simply can't justify those kinds of resources. NRO, and every other webzine I know of, is held together with wire and string, like a WW1 biplane. (In this analogy, NRODT would be an F-16.)" What ***SHOULD*** have got posted was this: "A webzine simply can't justify those kinds of resources. NRO, and every other webzine I know of, is held together with wire and string, like a WW1 biplane. (In this analogy, NRODT would be an F-16. Which is why you should have a subscription to the print magazine.)" There, that's better.
Posted at 08:45 PM
IS ALAN BATES JEWISH? [John Derbyshire]
Does anybody know? His parents, I see from a web bio, were musicians. (He was born, by the way, in Derbyshire.) He played the hero of Bernard Malamud's The Fixer. On the other hand, he was a Nazi in Sum of All Fears... I'm just curious.
Posted at 08:42 PM
THE DEBATE CONTINUES... [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Virginia Postrel has an interesting post over at www.vpostrel.com ("Clone Wars"). I think she goes wrong, though, in the following passage: "Both neoconservatives and traditionalist pro-lifers accept the Blade Runner definition of 'humanity': We are human, and therefore free, because we have the right DNA and were born without 'manufacture.' As I've written elsewhere, 'They are the ones who measure the worth of human beings by the circumstances of their conception and the purity of their genetic makeup. They are the ones who say "natural" genes are the mark of true humanity.'"
Most of the traditionalist pro-lifers I know oppose the creation of human embryos through cloning (or nuclear transplantation or whatever you want to call it). But they have no doubt that the embryos thus created are truly human beings. That's why they are even more opposed to the intentional destruction of those embryos than they are to their creation. (I'm speaking, again, of the pro-lifers, not necessarily the neoconservatives.) In the debate over embryo research, it's not the opponents who keep harping on the fact that cloned embryos are brought into being in a lab rather than a womb. It's the supporters.
Posted at 08:40 PM
G-PHILES CONTINUED [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm over my speechlessness. The G-Philers are hemming and hawing now about the name of their site. I kind of know how they feel. I feel very awkward when people tell me they read my column. Psychologically, I still write the thing as if no one is reading it except a few friends, which in a sense is sometimes true. So when I see things like this site, I'm more than a but stunned. And deeply, deeply flattered. Thanks very much. No aplogies are necessary and the least I can do is check in from time to time.
Indeed, I am establishing a new policy: All sites which name themselves in a laudatory way after a NRO-nik will get mentioned and noticed here in the Corner. So yes, that means if tomorrow TheDerbFiles.com sprouts up, it will be mentioned here, so long as the context is complimentary. We will not be paying heed to RichLowryIsCheap.com -- however much I would like to applaud such an effort. But K-LoRocksBlogSpot.com, ImpromtusWatch, CorneritesRus.com etc. These things will get our attention.
Posted at 05:05 PM
G-PHILES [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't often link to blogs for a number of reasons. But my wife just sent me an email with subject header, "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid." It contained this link. I am speechless.
Posted at 01:06 PM
(HELP!) DON'T LAUGH: MORE CORNER RESEARCH BLEGGING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Does anyone know any malls in the New York City-area that have sonogram setups for "fetus photos"? Thanks in advance.
Posted at 12:28 PM
ALAN BATES [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Too many to mention. And reviewing that, I see that Bates appeared as Harry Flashman in a movie. I didn't even know there WAS a Flashman movie!!! How did I miss that????????????
Posted at 11:13 AM
KUDOS TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...and the FDA...for appointing Dr. David Hager to an FDA oversight panel on women's health, despite a feminist PR assault on him (which the media gladly lead). Their main beef with him: He was part of a Christian Medical Association review of the abortion-drug-cocktail RU-486, daring to question its questionable safety. And, of course, he's Christian and pro-life--illegitimate positions in medicine (to be pro-life, for sure!!!), as far as they're concerned. (Here's more background on he anti-Hager campaign.)
Posted at 11:01 AM
RE: HONORS [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, Alan Bates--absolutely. Also tremendous as Guy Burgess in An Englishman Abroad amongst many other highlights in his career.
Posted at 10:51 AM
GOOD IDEAS YOU RARELY HEAR ABOUT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
15-year-old cord blood provides hope for cancer patients: one of the many alternatives to embryonic-stem-cell research.
Posted at 10:50 AM
BAD IDEAS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The worst of the year in the book industry--amusing.
Posted at 10:42 AM
MORE MAYOR BLOOMBERG STUPIDITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
He lets the "artist" Christo loose on Central Park. Here's Roger Kimball in the Journal: "In some ways, Christo Javacheff is the ideal artist for the Christmas season. At least, he is the ideal artist for the Christmas season in the postmodern age. The fellow wraps things, you see. It's almost as if he were presenting a gift (the Christmas part), but it always turns out that the gift is a joke--a joke on the viewer (the postmodern part)."
Posted at 10:38 AM
DRINK UP! [Jonathan H. Adler]
This is better news than Jonah's lab grown meat.
Posted at 10:35 AM
RE RE UM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
LOL. I really hope no one is reading The Corner!!
Posted at 10:33 AM
STOP THE "TESTOSTERONE-POISONED RHETORIC"! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's such a shame some of the loonier antiwar projects are below the mainstream radar screen--some of them are just so colorful. Betcha didn't know about "Code Pink," for instance. At Lafayette Park, across from the White House, women sit vigil since November protesting the war, and will be there until International Women's Day in March. "From a park bench in the shadow of Andrew Jackson on horseback, the pink-clad activists distribute briefing papers, chat with passers-by, pose for tourists, collect signatures of women in support of the cause and plan their next steps." Says a spokeswoman: "Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George Bush--they use violence against violence, and we are saying that there is a better way," she says. "It is time for women's voices to be heard."
Posted at 10:24 AM
RANGEL'S DRAFT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Rep. Charles Rangel wants to bring back the draft to ensure "shared sacrifice." (This is how Democrats show they are strong on defense?) If Rangel is serious -- and he says he will introduce legislation in 2003 -- an Instapundit reader suggests Rangel apply the principle to education, and introduce legislation requiring that all members of Congress send their children to public school.
Posted at 10:20 AM
RE RE UM [Jonah Goldberg]
And here I went and deleted my "Um" post so as to avoid confusing people. Good thing virtually nobody is reading the Corner today.
Posted at 10:18 AM
GOOD IDEA [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb is on to something. I too thought that I would selected a different "best of" piece for myself. I have to finish (AKA) start my syndicated column, but later on I'll sift through the morass and see what I find.
Posted at 10:15 AM
RE: UM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'll stop apologizing today when I disappear, I think. Jonah, I posted a Ramesh post on "Bootism" in the middle of the night (RP was having technical difficulties) and misattributed it to Max Boot. What planet am I on? Anyway, it's fixed now, but apologies to anyone I managed to confuse between the hours of 3 am and 10 am.
Posted at 10:07 AM
"BEST OF" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Next year, if I don't make more than a dozen slots available and take more time to put together the "best of" the year on NRO list, I simple will kill it. Minutes after I swore I would never bother Aaron Bailey again with things to post over the holidays, I started realizing the many people who I left off the list--most egregiously the Derb. (How many NRO writers have a nickname?) The list, as Derb has noted, was a quick one; it's far from all-inclusive. It's based on emails from Corner readers, actually--as you may recall, we did an impromptu survey a few weeks ago. Of course, when you write "anything by Derbyshire" that means more work. I put it aside. And then, lazy holiday girl forgets. So, anyway, do know the list is nothing official--and far from all-inclusive. It's just a few links (multiple numbers of) you all asked for--and not even all of those. You'll note the Derb, Larry Kudlow, Jonathan Adler, Doug Bandow, Jim Boulet, James Bowman, Jack Dunphy, Roger Clegg, Ariel Cohen, Ross Douthat, David Frum, Robert George, Tom Hibbs, David Klinghoffer, Susan Konig, Dave Kopel, Mark Krikorian, Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, Steve Moore, Joel Mowbray, Deroy Murdock, Michael Novak, Mac Owens, Mark Riebling, Dave Shiflett, John O'Sullivan, Ramesh Ponnuru, James Swan, and many, many, more regular and valuable contributors (I hesitate to ever stop listing them!) are missing. That's not because they were not among the best pieces of the year, I assure you. We couldn't--and wouldn't want to--do this thing thing without them.
Posted at 10:01 AM
INTERESTING... [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader from Abilene, Texas has a lab-grown bone to pick with me. I'm not sure I buy all of this, but it makes for interesting reading:
Posted at 09:49 AM
BEST OF DERB [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have e-mailed to grumble about me not being included in the "Best of NRO 2002" thingy. What does this mean? they want to know. Answer: It means that I was away from my desk for a few hours while Kathy Lopez was desperately trying to round up choices from NRO's numerous contributorsm, most of whom at that point in the seasonal festivities were either drunk, hung over, or out on a ski slope somewhere. This illustrates a general phenomenon. Spoiled by the flawless, long-cogitated, multiply-edited, thoroughly fact-checked world of print magazines like NRODT, readers expect the same quality from a web magazine. Sorry, folks, ain't going to happen. It's a different world here on the web. We all do our best, but in the nature of things this is transient stuff. If I write something for a print magazine, it will be hanging around in orthodontists' waiting rooms for months, years, afterwards. It has a permanence that justifies all the resources print magazines put into their product. If I do something for the web, on the other hand, it's gone and forgotten the next day. Our web columns are only glancingly edited, and never fact-checked. A webzine simply can't justify those kinds of resources. NRO, and every other webzine I know of, is held together with wire and string, like a WW1 biplane. (In this analogy, NRODT would be an F-16.) A tiny number of horribly overworked people keep the thing in the air. In a perfect world, K-Lo would have put out her APB for "Best of 2002" three weeks ago, giving us all time to sift through our stuff and offer up mature reflections. K-Lo, however, has 1,001 other things to attend to, so that we, and you, have to take our chances. Got that? And which of my 2002 pieces am I most pleased with? That's another one of those question that I might give a different answer to on a different day. Strictly as what in the trade we call "a think piece," I like "Minoritarianism." I am also fond of my EFTA piece, I am not sure why. For a combination of actual reporting (I do call myself a journalist, after all) with measured indignation and respect for a good man departed, I think I am most pleased with 2002's very first column.
Posted at 09:43 AM
HONORS [John Derbyshire]
One of my favorite actors, Alan Bates, has been elevated to the knightage in the Queen's New Year honours list. Among countless other roles, Bates was a perfect Gabriel Oak in "Far From the Madding Crowd" (he was Gabriel Oak down to the gaiters) and a creepy landlord in the movie version of Harold Pinter's only play, "The Caretaker." (NB: Pinter later produced the same play under numerous different titles...)
Posted at 09:39 AM
IRAQ IS HIDING SCIENTISTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bill Gertz reports.
Posted at 03:26 AM
BOOTISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Max Boot is an awfully smart guy. But isn't it a little odd that he defines "neoconservatism" in a way that excludes from the category both Irving Kristol (who does not believe that Third World countries can afford to be democracies) and, arguably, Charles Krauthammer (who opposed the Kosovo intervention)? And that includes the editors of the New Republic? And that he apparently believes that "laissez faire" economics is compatible with today's welfare state?
Some people with foreign-policy views similar to those of Boot attempt to claim Ronald Reagan for their school. Boot, at least, comes clean about the fact that his views are more Wilsonian than Reaganite. I suspect he will find in time that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld are no more Wilsonian than Reagan was.
Posted at 02:57 AM
CANADIAN LAXITY [Jonathan H. Adler]
People can criticize U.S. airport security all they like, but in Canada it's a real joke. If someone is going to hand-inspect my luggage, I'd like them to be thorough about it -- if for no other reason than to indicate that the inspection serves some purpose. No such luck. The Canadian inspectors explained that they had to search my bags because I was flying into Ronald Reagan National Airport, but they hardly inspected a thing. By comparison, TSA inspectors are models of proficiency.
Posted at 01:06 AM
NOT FUNNY, NOT ORIGINAL [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yesterday I noted Al Franken's comment on ABC's "This Week" that the nation's best golfer is black and most popular rapper is white. This is an interesting observation -- but it was not original to Franken. The statement is generally attributed to former NBA star (and potential future Alabama GOP gubernatorial candidate) Charles Barkley, and has also been made by comedian Chris Rock. Franken provided neither attribution on ABC.
Posted at 12:49 AM
Monday, December 30, 2002
END OF THE YEAR GIFT! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I forget to post the "donate to NRO" link to The Corner until readers remind me! So, by popular demand, here it is! Feel free to put your money where your reading is.
Posted at 03:41 PM
DAVID FRUM ON CLONING AND MORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Check out his diary.
Posted at 03:13 PM
ONE OF THE BEST PIECES ARGUING AGAINST CLONING... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...was written by Ramesh Ponnuru. Reason, not faith-based. Accessible to all.
Posted at 03:11 PM
NEIGHBORS [Rod Dreher]
Greetings from Louisiana. Interesting story here in my hometown. After 9/11, some of the locals began to worry about a Saudi man who had purchased a house in the center of this small town, but who was rarely here. One of his neighbors supposedly asked him prior to 9/11 what he did for a living. He said he was a professor at LSU. After 9/11, the suspicious neighbor called LSU to ask about this guy...and the university had no record of such a person ever working for them. The next call the neighbor made was to the FBI. That's the story I got from my family, anyway. Lately, though, I'd come to think of it as kind of an urban legend. But two days ago, I ran into one of the town's leading citizens (I'm being deliberately obscure), who was asking me about terrorism in NYC. Come to find out this man is one of the Saudi's neighbors, and he said the story I'd thought of as an urban legend was absolutely true. Said the Saudi hasn't been seen around here since 9/11, but one local woman who wanted to buy his house tracked him down in Saudi Arabia, where the fellow expressed surprise to hear from her. Why would a Saudi want to buy a house and maintain a residence in a tiny south Louisiana town, where there are exactly zero Muslims living? Could it have something to do with the nuclear power plant five miles south of town? Just asking... .
Posted at 02:23 PM
HEY...COOL [Jonah Goldberg]
The government has come up with a way to get idiots to publicly register themselves. Employers should tack this list up in their offices.
Posted at 01:35 PM
SPEAKING OF CLONING [Jonah Goldberg]
Fascinating article about steaks grown in the lab.
Maybe it's because I've read the Dune books so many times (remember slig meat?), but I've long thought that we'd eventually be able to replace farm grown meat with lab, or factory, grown meat. Now I don't think it's necessarily an entirely good idea. As with all new technologies, there are pluses and minuses. But I am curious what the animal rights and eco-types would say to the proposition of lab grown meat -- assuming they could get past their deep luddism. After all, the suffering of farm animals would be sharply curtailed if not eliminated. Forests wouldn't need to be cleared for cattle and billions(?) of acres of forest land around the world could be allowed to revert to wilderness, improving the quality of our air and water.
Of course, even if we perfected the technology overnight (which we wouldn't), there are some obvious downsides: millions of farm animals would probably have to be killed since their would no longer be much economic utility in feeding them. Worse, billions of people around the world would have their traditional social, political and economic arrangements shattered. Our attachment to the land would be even more attenuated. Whole new quasi-religions and political movements would develop around the need to eat "authentic" meat. Anyway, it's an interesting topic for lazy-day pondering.
Posted at 12:36 PM
CLONES, SDI ETC. [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of liberals -- Ralph Nader, Peter Beinart come to mind -- hinge their opposition to "Star Wars," or National Missile Defense, on the assertion that it just doesn't work. This has always been an unsatisfying argument since all new technologies don't work until they work. Why spend money on a cure for cancer since, so far, the cures don't work? Saying missile defense doesn't work is a fig leaf argument used to conceal the fact that liberal opposition to missile defense is based on a love of parchment and arms control arrangements. They know that saying America shouldn't defend itself against missiles because it will anger other countries just won't fly.
But I do find myself making similar arguments about cloning. It is almost inconceivable that the Raelians -- Hale Boppers without the good sense to take themselves out of the gene pool -- succeeded in cloning a human being, especially on the first try. But I find it very difficult to reach a conclusion on the larger issues around cloning. So, I simply point out that it should be banned for now because it doesn't work and attempts to clone a baby today would likely result in scores of mangled and deformed mistakes before a single successful baby was produced. My thinking on the subject has been heavily influenced by my very good friend Ronald Bailey. Ron is a hardcore libertarian and decidedly in favor of cloning and pretty much every other form of biotechnology. But he favors a temporary ban on cloning because scientific ethics and plain old morality demand one. See his latest piece on the subject here.
Ron is absolutely right that eventually scientists -- not cults -- will figure out how to clone successfully and he can't wait. I'm still ambivalent -- and in search of a better argument against it.
Posted at 11:04 AM
FLIGHT DELAYS [Jonah Goldberg]
North Korea announced it was expelling UN observers a while ago, right? You know why they haven't left yet? North Korea has only two scheduled flights per week leaving the country. That means Cleveland, for a random example, has thousands more flights per week than the entire nation of North Korea.
Posted at 10:05 AM
RE: WHAT THE HECK IS A NEOCON [Jonah Goldberg]
Boot is, of course, absolutely right. But I'm furious -- at myself -- because I've had a similar piece in my computer for months that I promised to another publication. Anyway, the only place I'd disagree with Boot is his willingness to adopt the label neocon. The term does more damage than good because it allows people to hide their real intent. People who want to denounce the influence of Jews get to use the word "neocon" when they really mean "Jewish conservatives" without being held accountable. Doves refer to neocons when they mean "hawks" -- when there's no evidence that all neocons are hawks or Jews. The paleos -- when they don't mean Jewish conservatives -- claim that neocons are more beholden to the welfare state, i.e. more liberal (a silly bit of analysis which endures beyond its Cold War context), but Pat Buchanan is vastly more statist and anti-free-market than virtually any known neocon in captivity. The neocon term distorts more than it reveals and should be thrown over the side. If you want to refer to hawks, call them hawks. You want to talk about Jewish conservatives, talk about Jewish conservatives. But don't hide behind one word when you mean another.
Posted at 09:51 AM
A MARK STEYN YEAR IN REVIEW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 06:56 AM
"WHAT THE HECK IS A NEOCON?" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This Max Boot piece should provide some Corner fodder.
Posted at 06:21 AM
THOUSANDS WAIT FOR CLONES... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...the Raelians claim. I do hope they are liars. But, of course, given the ever-misleading media reporting on clones, I would not be surprised if their list of victims is extensive.
Posted at 06:13 AM
LAND OF HIS FATHERS [John Derbyshire]
Andrew, don't be too hard on Rowan Williams, the new Archbishop of Canterbury. He is a Welshman, remember. They can't help the way they are, poor souls.
Posted at 06:04 AM
IGGY PUNK [Robert A. George]
Finally on the punk front, a most agitated reader of the corner (you know who you are, Rob in Ohio), won't rest until The Corner deems Detroit-born Iggy Pop (and his Stooges) the true Creator-King of Punk. Okay, Rob, we've said it. But what about Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground? What about MC5? What about...?
Posted at 05:59 AM
MORE PUNK [Robert A. George]
Hate to flog a dead punk horse, but here's another reason why the New York Times drives people up the wall. In a Week In Review obit/appreciation of Joe Strummer, Joe Ward, supposedly a "rock historian" for NPR observes:
"When the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten, draped on his microphone, intoned, 'No future,' it was the cry of youth coming out of school to discover that there were no jobs in Margaret Thatcher's Britain and refusing to accept that as reality."Small problem: The Sex Pistols one-and-only album, with its one-two punch of "God Save The Queen" and "Anarchy In The U.K." was recorded and released in 1976 -- a full three years before Maggie T. became Prime Minister! As Andy "Rotten" Stuttaford observed here a few days back, the punk explosion was something of a populist critique of the reality of Labour Party policy in mid-70s Britain -- of which the political expression swept the Tories into power a few years later.
But, such analysis doesn't quite fit the NYT world view, now would it?
Posted at 05:59 AM
Sunday, December 29, 2002
PEPYS, BLOGGER? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Thanks to a reader for pointing this out.
Posted at 09:48 PM
TOLERANCE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s a lengthy piece in today’s New York Times on the nature of tolerance. It’s worth a look, not least for these two quotes, the first from John Locke, the second from Thomas Jefferson.
John Locke: “every church is orthodox to itself: to others, erroneous or heretical.”
Thomas Jefferson: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Such refreshingly honest talk would, of course, be unacceptable in these days of enforced - and bogus - sensitivity. Tolerance used to mean tolerating the rights of those with whom we disagree. Now, our intellectual establishment refuses to accept that there are any real disagreements between faiths. True tolerance is replaced by the imposition of meaningless ecumenical pap and debate becomes a stifled and insincere silence.
Jefferson and Locke would not be impressed.
Posted at 08:20 PM
PUNK HISTORY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sunday’s New York Times has a piece on Joe Strummer, including this, uh, classic piece of analysis:
“The British milieu that the Clash emerged from called out for punk. When the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, draped on his microphone, intoned “no future,” it was the cry of youth coming out of school to discover that there were no jobs in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain.”
Punk was a response to the mounting crisis in the British welfare state. When Johnny Rotten was busy intoning ‘no future’ it was 1976-77, a time when Britain was run by a Labour government. Mrs. Thatcher was not elected until 1979. The poor woman has been blamed by the Left for a lot, but to hold her responsible for the state of the economy before her election does seem, well, a little harsh.
Posted at 07:27 PM
INTERESTING OBSERVATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm no fan of Al Franken, but he made an interesting (and heartening) observation this morning on ABC's "This Week": In America today, the most popular rapper is white, and the best golfer is black.
Posted at 02:20 PM
PREDICTION CORRECTION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Many of the NRO 2003 predictions are quite prescient (and I sure hope Hugh Hewitt called Bush's Supreme Court nominations correctly). But John Miller let his regional loyalties cloud his crystal ball. The Detroit dynasty is over. The Philadelphia Flyers will win the Stanley Cup (and it's about time!).
Posted at 02:17 PM