Archive

  • NOT THAT THERE'S...

    NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. You go, Garance . That "maidenly vapors" line surely got my back up. Brother Pierce apparently fails to see a connection between expressions of hatred toward women and violence against women. Perhaps an intervention is in order. I do, however, second the sentiments of Brother Pierce on the Seinfeld phenomenon and the fallout from the Michael Richards racist rant. Call me a delicate flower, but I never got into Seinfeld because it was just too mean. (Pierce put his finger on the undercurrent of prejudices flowing through the show, though he neglected to mention the fear of queers that also ran through it.) I just watched the bit posted on TMZ from Richards' satellite appearance last night on Letterman, which, speaking of undercurrents, proves one more time the old adage about de Nile not just being a river in Egypt. Here's Richards: I push the envelope I do a lot of free association on stage� I don't know. In view of the situation and the act...
  • WHAT HE SAID....

    WHAT HE SAID. Josh Marshall is quite right to worry about the Democrats' out-of-the-gate agenda. While the military questions Barney Frank and Charles Rangel want to raise (about gays in the military and whether there ought to be a draft, respectively) are important ones, it is difficult to imagine any two issues more guaranteed to shift the national focus away from Republican mismanagement of the reconstruction of Iraq and how to get America out of a civil war zone and onto what will be framed as Democratic culture war fights. If that is allowed to happen, I am quite certain those moderates and independents who just gave Democrats control of the Congress will start asking themselves what it is that they have done, for neither of these two issues were (I'm pretty certain) what led them to vote Democratic just a few weeks ago. Further, a decisive national consensus on getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell" may be easier to achieve once the war is clearly on its way to being over. It is...
  • A NOTABLE ELECTION.

    A NOTABLE ELECTION. Alec alerts us to this very interesting election trivia from subscription-only The Hotline. Some highlights include: This is presumably the first cycle since the modern party system began that no party (in this case the Dems) lost not a single House, SEN, or GOV seat. No House Democrat lost re-election for the first time since '22� NH is sending its first woman to Congress. Still never having done so are: DE, IA, MS, VT. First all-Dem NH U.S. House delegation elected since '12. First Dem control of state House since '22. First total Dem control of NH state gov't since 1870's. Dem gain of over 80 state House seats is presumably a record as well� First ever elected Senate class with only 1 GOP freshman. Lincoln Chafee is the first RI senator defeated since '36. PA elected its first Dem in a regular Senate election since '62� Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the only senator elected to 9 full terms, lost his first county since '88. Already the longest-serving senator in...
  • UM, EW. I...

    UM, EW. I have to say, reading Charlie Pierce 's commentary below on a progressive web site is the kind of thing that really makes me wonder about the left today. So Michael Richards 's reprehensible and hate-filled rant was the expression of a condemnable authentic Seinfeld ian Id, which was hateful in any event because if was a milquetoast alternative to Sam Kinison ? I'm sorry, but Sam Kinison -- whom a recent reviewer called the embodiment of a "regressive politics which mainstream America finally got the sense to denounce" -- is the favorable point of comparison here? Seriously? Why is it that misogyny is the only hatred still defended by men of the left? Seinfeld soothed the "maidenly vapors" people had around Kinison? My recollection was that Kinison was a disgusting, hateful, hate-filled boor and those "maidenly vapors" he raised were genuine feminist objections to him, by women who were, for example, trying to create a situation so that girls like myself were not, in the...
  • WINNING BY LOSING.

    WINNING BY LOSING. Ezra 's fine article in the print edition reminds us that the Republican approach to policy was not just to pass what they thought were good ideas, but to use policy to disembowel their enemies. He does a fine job of identifying some strategies that are not only good policy, but would help break down the right-wing power structure. As is so often the case when one looks at the recent Republican racket, he could have gone one level deeper in cynicism. Ezra writes that the GOP priorities of "tort reform, unflinching support for Israel, and deunionization [are] policies that would either flip or impoverish lawyers, unions, and Jews, thus eliminating the three primary funding sources for the Democrats." Taken that way, the strategy would seem like a failure. Jews, unions, or trial lawyers are neither impoverished nor flipped. (Unions are impoverished relative to the past, but still, their financial clout in politics is larger than their membership, and probably is used...
  • MORE ALTMAN.

    MORE ALTMAN. Since I'm having such a good day with pop culture, I figure I'll keep at it. For those of us who went to a lot of movies in the 1970's, the arrival of a new Robert Altman was Christmas morning. Now that he's passed away, there are going to be a lot of justifiable tributes to Nashville and to M*A*S*H , a movie as thoroughly trivialized by its TV version as any movie ever was. But my heart still stays with McCabe and Mrs. Miller , a purely revisionist Western, and everything everyone thought Clint Eastwood had done with Unforgiven , but a lot funnier and a damn sight more quirky. The shootout in the snow with the building aflame is one of my favorite set-pieces ever, and then there's Julie Christie , smoking opium as she passed out of her Carnaby Street phase, and moved into that glorious torrent-of-curls period. Hell, I even liked some of the later, smaller stuff, like Cookie's Fortune , which starred a marvelously batshit Glenn Close . I think I'm going to have me some...
  • ROBERT ALTMAN.

    ROBERT ALTMAN. I was lucky enough to see a beautiful 35mm restoration of La Regle Du Jeu last week. The most obvious modern inheritor of the "open" filmmaking style invented by Renoir , Robert Altman , has died. Altman was a risk-taker, and as is well-known this made him uneven. ( Pauline Kael , one of his biggest critical supporters, said about the disastrous Quintet that "Altman has reached the point of wearing his failures like medals. He's creating a mystique of heroism out of emptied theaters.") But the upside is that he made a number of pictures that will be seen as long as people watch American movies. For me, the canon starts with the hauntingly lovely McCabe & Mrs. Miller , Nashville --his most successful Renoir-style social panorama--and the superb late-career Raymond Carver adaptation Short Cuts . And since any fan needs one, my favorite of his less-lauded pictures is California Split , his loose, amiable picture about happily degenerate gamblers. He was a giant of...
  • ROBERT ALTMAN, R.I.P.

    ROBERT ALTMAN, R.I.P. Truly a giant. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • SUPERPOWER SELF-ESTEEM. ...

    SUPERPOWER SELF-ESTEEM. As Kevin Drum points out , the Iraqi people overwhelmingly want us to leave. They do not believe our presence stabilizes or protects and, as a result, they support attacks on our troops. All the better to get us the hell out. The question, of course, is why we don't. What's the compelling national interest in occupying a country that deplores our presence? That murders our soldiers? That depletes our treasury? That shows no sign, hint, or hope of molding itself to our desires? There is none. Instead, we remain in Iraq because the current Administration is afraid to put a loss on the board. We remain in Iraq to avoid a blow to our national self-esteem. So long as we've boots, guns, and grunts in their country, there's always the chance that a stretch of good weather and the tranquil vibes unleashed by the global orgasm for peace will calm the region down, and we'll be able to dart out in a moment of relative optimism and goodwill, reputation intact. To leave now...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ARAB WINTER.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ARAB WINTER. Remember the "Arab Spring"? Matt takes us on a trip down memory lane. --The Editors

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