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Dumb and Dumber? - Riffs and Licks
Dumb and Dumber?
Quote of the day, from Tom Friedman's column in the Times today:
In China, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America, Britney Spears is Britney Spears.
In the column, he endorses Bill Cosby for President on condition that he talk as bluntly to white parents as he has to black parents: "Throw out your kids idiotic video games, shut off the TV, and get Johnny and Suzy to work."

The nation-of-idiots theme is, I think, oversimplified, but on the next page of the Week In Review was another article, commenting on the microscopic sales of the novels nominated for the National Book Award this week. In Britain, the writer points out, the Booker Prize* "is a cultural event ... the subject of radio and television commentary, even betting and the occasional pub fight." One could argue the merits of recent N.B.A. winners versus winners of the Booker Prize, but it's hard to imagine Americans having a bar fight over books of any stripe.

* I know the official name of this award now includes the name of a sponsoring corporation. I'm leaving it out on purpose.

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Current Music: John Cale, "Hedda Gabler"

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bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 17th, 2004 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Jesus, did you read Suskind's Magazine piece? I'm going to have to buy Zoot a little canvas jacket with no holes in the sleeves.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: October 17th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, as one of those who lives in "the reality-based community'' I was a little disturbed by statements like
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
Those are the folks who need the special jackets. Whatever Zoot's issues, she's not that crazy or malicious.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 18th, 2004 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think the phrase "reality-based community" says it all. I can't imagine what historians (in the European Free Zone) will make of this administration a hundred years from now. I hardly know what to make of it.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 18th, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a fascinating and terrifying story that was. I can hardly digest that phrase, "reality-based community." I've never liked Bush, of course, but that image of him being asked to leave the board of Caterair less than a dozen years ago because he brought no value contrasted with the idea of him as leader of the "free" world makes me physically ill.

The best passage in the article, and the nub of the whole issue of faith, comes at the end:

Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance -- sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion -- deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man's faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God -- a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That's impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to the White House.

''Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 18th, 2004 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, exactly. Bush's defenders would like to paint his critics—the ones who call him dumb, especially—as blue state elitists who just don't understand the president's connection with "real" people. But, like pornography, we know dumb when we see it, and this is exhibit A.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 19th, 2004 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's dumbness, and it's laziness. He may talk about how much hard work it is being president, but his is not a patch on Clinton's industriousness and curiosity.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 20th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Concur. Clinton also had better taste in women, even counting Monika. I wouldn't fuck Laura Bush with Tom DeLay's dick.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 20th, 2004 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, which of us has Laura Bush in mind when we fantasize about librarians?
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 20th, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those of us who are necrophiliacs?
shunn From: shunn Date: October 20th, 2004 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, don't call the president something he can't spell!
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 20th, 2004 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, right now he's got Condi Rice explaining to him that "Necrophilia" isn't a place you can invade.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 20th, 2004 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
"No, Condi, it's that island with the dictator whose wife had all the shoes. And I still say Sweden's the one with no army."
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: October 19th, 2004 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
That was a great ending to the piece. I find it (somewhat) encouraging that even (some) conservative Christians are troubled by this administration.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 19th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those are the true Christians, who really pay attention to what Jesus said. Of course, that's just my interpretation of Christianity.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 20th, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you heard about the Pat Robertson flap?

It's highly amusing to have Dubya hoisted on his on petard by a religious fanatic who may be crazier than he is. Imagine what their conversations must consist of? It'd be like two teenage girls fighting over who's better friends with god.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 18th, 2004 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can imagine bar fights over the Bible....
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 18th, 2004 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Except that Mormons don't drink. Juice bar fights, maybe.
shunn From: shunn Date: October 19th, 2004 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Hah! In the ice cream shoppe, more like.

But I'll wager there are some Pentacostals out there who get a belly full of beer on Saturday night and pick fights over whether works or grace saves.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: October 20th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, you could just see a beefy used car salesman pounding some hapless co-religionist on the floor: "It's grace, damnit!
shunn From: shunn Date: October 20th, 2004 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
While he give the insurance salesman the works.
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