The Great Books Series
Hot off the press — Prof. David Farber’s ill-timed The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism lists the prof’s hallucinatory problems “bequeathed” by American conservatism to incoming President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. And now that our modern-day FDR has waved his magic wand, conservatism is in even deeper trouble:
The remnant of the conservative movement found itself without
sure direction or answers to the problems that the long
conservative ascendancy had bequeathed to the American people —
harrowing economic inequality, a devastated industrial base,
ecological dangers, massive government debt, a broken health-care
system, a failing social-safety net, and diminished international
(From The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism, by David Farber, Princeton University Press, 296 pages, $29.95)
New York Review of Books
From the Travel section of the incomparable NYRB, recommended sightseeing spots for the hip vacationer:
Walking above the village of Mehrauli on Delhi’s southern perimeter, we pass a woman with a half-empty bottle of water — one of several we have already noticed since daybreak. Dressed immaculately in a brightly colored sari, she emerges from behind a prickly bush on a tract of waste ground. If she were a man we might not have merited such discretion. India is about the only country in the world where you actually see human adults defecating. When traveling by road or rail you can be struck by the image of men squatting openly, impervious to the public gaze. The UN estimates that 638 million people — 55 percent of the Indian population — still defecate out of doors.
(May 13, 2010)
In These Times
A Miss Joanna Macy, who we are told “has dedicated her life to peace, sustainability and coexistence with our environment,” engages an agog In These Times interviewer from her throne at Bughouse Square, mouthing antiquities once uttered by Eleanor Roosevelt:
You write, “This is an incredible time to be alive, a great privilege.” What do you mean?
This is a time when such big changes are happening — they’re so
big that most people aren’t aware of them. People who lived during
the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions were probably not aware
that historic forces were underway that would change people for
centuries to come. In our case these changes are happening because
the mainstream society is not listening, and the current political
economy is not working in more and more ways. We’re consuming,
we’re making money out of extracting goods from the earth that
cannot be renewed….create huge amounts of waste.
As reported in one of old Araby’s most authoritative sources, an explanation for why Mr. A. Zeb is likely to be named Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations:
In an unfortunate result of translation, Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb will not become the next Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Zeb’s credentials seem in order: He is the former ambassador to the United States, India and South Africa. He held the post of High Commissioner Designate of Pakistan to Canada and is the former director general of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
But despite Mr. Zeb’s impressive career, the 55-year-old
diplomat’s name proved to be the immovable hurdle. When translated
into Arabic. Akbar Zeb means “Biggest Dick.” In a region that
stresses modesty, particularly in public, this could not
(February 14, 2010)
University of Chicago Magazine
In the alumni gazette of a famed American university, the troubled reflections of a concerned alum, who, incidentally, suffers from a dreadful case of tin ear:
Quinn Dombrowski, AB’06, AM’06, has indeed recorded bathroom
graffiti that only could have been composed by the geeky (I would
have said intellectual) minds at the U of C (Peer Review,
Mar-Apr/10). However, my all-time favorite U of C men’s room
graffiti was in the old music building just north of Rockefeller
Chapel. Above the urinal was boldly written, “The effete place to
excrete.” This poetic phrase always seemed emblematic of the
University to me. Still does.
David Joel, AB’72
New York Times
Frank Rich on a roll! Still obsessed by his lewd visions of the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin and her mobs of Middle American indignados all hot to enforce loyalty oaths on the members of the Times editorial board, he files one more idiot bull gaining him entry for a historically unprecedented fifth straight appearance in this famous omnium gatherum of Liberal fatuity:
The Tea Party is not merely an inchoate expression of a
political mood, or an amorphous ragtag band of diverse elements, or
a bipartisan cry of dissatisfaction with the supposed “government
takeover” of health care. The Tea Party is a right-wing populist
movement with a specific ideology. It resides in the aging white
base of the Republican Party and wants to purge that party of
leaders who veer from its dogma.
(May 23, 2010)
New York Review of Books
Dr. Mark Lilla, professor of humanities at Columbia A&M, accuses conservatives of “dumbing-down” “our politics” prior to citing with sage approval a string of grammatical blunders from the precocious David Frum(p):
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online