Saturday, February 26, 2005

Smoke gets in your eyes, the State gets in your wallet.

The Age of Reason has a great post on Jenny G (Jennifer Granholm, Governor of the Fair State of Michigan) pinging residents for online smoke purchases.
He also has a great collection of postings on smoking rights and abuses against by the Nanny State.
Meet the Blogs.

Brain Terminal's Evan Coyle Maloney recently interviewed Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, resulting in a very interesting Q&A. Milbank then asked if there was some manner in which the Post and the Blogosphere could collaborate. To which I replied:

I'd be very wary about cooperation or collaboration between the Blogosphere and the WP. There is just too much risk of the blogs either being co-opted or influenced to serve the Post's interests. The great value that I find in blogs is independent fact-checking, story follow-up, and critical analysis of journalism. This is activity that is not necessarily in the newspaper's interests. For example, if they were interested in criticizing coverage of a news story, say by the NYT, wouldn't they be doing it? Has the Post dug deep into the fiasco at CBS to confirm or dispute the findings of the Thornberg Report? And has anyone been impressed with CNN/Howard Kurtz's "Reliable Sources"?

By the way, this is should be the policy with the Washington Times as it is with the Post. And I think that current "market forces" appear to "rank" blogs pretty well already.

Frankly, blogs serve an important regulatory function, and as the Dept of Agriculture doesn't (or at least shouldn't) collaborate with meat-packers, nor should blogworld collaborate with the MSM.

Professor Churchill, meet Senator Byrd.

A few years ago Senator Robert Byrd found himself in a wee bit of trouble when he referred to "White ...", well, you know the word he used. Our intrepid scholar Ward Churchill was in spiritual communion with the Senator when he recently referred to whiteness as not a genetic condition but a noxious state of mind. Listen and receive enlightenment here (mp3 file).

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Liberal Crackup, 2005.

Dead Drifts, as part of the election post-mortem, opined that the Democratic Party was at a crossroads, that it presently faces a choice between being a political or ideological party. Martin Peretz, editor of the The New Republic, has developed this theme, suggesting that Liberalism, and by implication, the Democrats, "need(s) to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions", such as its flirtation with anti-Americanism from the EU and Islamofascists. Note that TNR charges for this analysis. Dead Drifts provides it gratis, while omitting the unnecessary sniping at Mr. Buckley and Mr. Kirk.

Satire as Thoughtcrime.

One of the golden arrows in the quiver of American arts and letters, satire has been loosed by some of our greatest artists against civilization's most noxious and pernicious foes. Sadly, in our time, certain attitudes regarding certain subjects are sacrosanct, and satire is not tolerated as it dares to use humor to comment on these issues.

Dead Drifts has mentioned an incident involving a beloved local bluesman and disc-jockey, Thayrone X, who was canned by WQKL, a cog in the Clear Channel Communications Media Machine. The putative cause for his dismissal was for playing a song by a satirical songwriter-performer, "Unknown Hinson". The song, entitled, "Trunk of My Cadillac Car", is Hinson's satire of the misogyny found in some country music culture. Thayrone's firing has been applauded by a local women's group, whose representative recently commented:

"There are many ways that our community can help end violence against women, ranging from challenging people who make sexist jokes to volunteering at a domestic violence/sexual assault program.

Furthermore, having all members of a community work toward achieving this goal is absolutely necessary.

Clear Channel Radio in Ann Arbor has decided to work toward this end by refusing to broadcast radio programs and songs that glorify violence against women or any other group of individuals... "

According to this statement merely playing such a song is a thoughtcrime against women. It's useful to recall exactly what satire is: wit, irony, derision, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice, folly and evil. Hinson's act and music follow this definition. Yet self-appointed commissars insist that they - and only they - can define misogyny (alas, blonde jokes are now taboo), can percieve what abets misogynistic violence, and prescribe what is a "proper" attitude in dealing with it. Their cause is not so noble as to justify the subversion of the basic liberty to think as one chooses, and to oppose wrong in a manner that one sees fit.

Mel Brooks once remarked that the most effective way that he could confront the monstrous evil of Hitler and Nazism was to make them look silly and ridiculous. Our culture is richer for his satire, as it is also with Unknown Hinson's.

P.S. If Tim Robbins loves Unknown, why can't we all love him?