The Spectacle Blog

Bad Language, Good Language

By on 4.17.06 | 11:06AM

Countervailing the barbaric yawps of the blogosphere's sinister side are the remarkable Good Friday meditations composed by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, which are worth reading in full. Occasionally the Archbishop succeeds in identifying exactly the worst of postmodernity's worst ills. This timely precision is a victory for any religion. It is particularly so for Catholicism today.

But the rest of us win as well simply by hearing that such as this is, and can be, still publicly spoken: "our affluence is making us less human, our entertainment has become a drug, a source of alienation, and our society's incessant, tedious message is an invitation to die of selfishness ... Today we seem to be witnessing a kind of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family. There is a move to reinvent mankind, to modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God. ... Today bodies are constantly bought and sold on the streets of our cities, on the streets of our televisions, in homes that have become like streets."

Bad Language

By on 4.17.06 | 10:33AM

As a post-script to a parenthetical comment in the blog post immediately below, it really is amazing that the Left so often resorts, in print (or cyberprint), to vulgarities and profanities to make their points. My LEft Wing blogger Maryscott O'Connor seems only too typical: The attitude seems to be, "who needs to bother with reason, with persuasion and with respectful dialogue when it's so much easier to spew F-words?" The number of words that had to be replaced in the Post story by the designation of "[expletive]" is truly astonishing. Somebody needs to tell these Lefties that crassness isn't an argument and it's not a political position, it's just a character defect.

Raging Id: The Post is a Finkel

By on 4.17.06 | 10:26AM

Wlady, I was struck by the same paragraph you were struck by in the David Finkel front page WashPost article about the liberal blogger filled with rage (and with a seriously juvenile vocabulary, juveniles being the only ones unable to express themselves without resorting to vulgarities in every sentence), the paragraph in which FInkel pronounces it "notable" that the "direction" from which the "level of anger" is coming is the Left, which supposedly had previously been "polite" while the "inflammatory rhetoric" came supposedly from the right. Give me a break! This paragraph from Finkel is almost as bad as the story about a decade ago that pronounced the religious right (quoting from memory, so a word or two may be slightly off) "poor, uneducated, and easily led." For any self-respecting mainstream editor -- this is, after all, the front page of the Post, not a Style section piece where opinions sometimes can legitimately sneak into featur-ish stories) -- such paragraphs should sound huge warning bells.

Romney’s Heritage

By on 4.17.06 | 9:23AM

To follow up on a Friday item, the Heritage Foundation has apparently worked for RomneyCare for some time now. Shawn Macomber, TAS expert on most things Mitt and gadfly of presidential hopefuls, says that Heritage helped write parts of the Massachusetts health care bill. When he asked Romney about the bill for his profile in our March issue, Romney immediately cited Heritage's support to bolster the legislation's conservative credentials.

Dorgan-Reid-Abramoff, Again

By on 4.17.06 | 1:10AM

What have we here? Buried in Thomas Edsall's Washington Post's story yesterday on the newly released e-mail exchanges between Jack Abramoff and his helpmate at the General Services Administration David Safavian is a brief discussion of Safavian's efforts to help Abramoff obtain commercial access to the old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. In an e-mail on July 28, 2003, Safavian complained to Abramoff about a career government worker at the White House Office of Management and Budget who was apparently hindering any such transfer plans. Writes Safavian (the all-caps emphasis is his, the boldface mine): "The OMB staffer in the way...does not realize we have a legislative directive FROM CONGRESS regarding this matter. In fact, we had a letter sent to us by [Reps] Don Young [R-Alaska], Steve LaTourette [R-Ohio], [Sens.] Byron Dorgan [D-N.D.] and Harry Reid [D-Nev.]...."

Supplement, War Warning 4: Khan confirms

By on 4.16.06 | 11:57PM

Regard this as a supplement to War Warning, part 4.

[This is a document under construction in at least twenty-five parts over the next many months. (Caveat: this is not for Queasy Anonymous.)]

1. Below find the most helpful and signals intelligence meaty part of the Broad/Sanger version, published NYT Monday 17, of the status of Iran's nuclear fuel production ability.

2. Significant is that A.Q. Khan is mentioned prominently. Best signals source points to Khan as the centerpiece of the new information with regard what Iran has and how soon it can convert its tech into weapons grade material for a production line of uranium warheads.

3. Last December, Khan provided a lengthy description of his work with Iran. Best signals source regards Khan as an honorable gentleman who gave up his lucrative opportunities to enable the building of the Arab bomb for clients that included not only Pakistan but also Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the ever ambitious North Korea.

Random Sunday Notes

By on 4.16.06 | 7:49PM

The abuse we take.  While talking to two of my favorite radio producers on Friday, someone called my cell phone which plays, “Off we Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder.” Which prompted the Marine to say, “Oh.  Circus music.”  In response, I am reduced to quoting Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States/>/> Marine Corps.”

Re: And They Say We’re Nuts

By on 4.15.06 | 5:54PM

Wlady, I'm not so sure I'd characterize the piece as a "loving portrait," if that's what you were implying with the Montana militiamen reference. The author did call the Angry Left "crass."

Still, the backhanded reference to some widespread angry right was cheap and lazy. The author considers his Newt Gingrich reference sufficient evidence without any actual example of a Newt comment rising to the level of unhinged vitriol of these folks. It's almost as if he believes the junk the Clintons peddled after Oklahoma City: that Rush Limbaugh was to blame. Rush, Newt, and the mainstream right may be passionate, but their tone doesn't approach the Angry Left's irrational hate.

As anecdotal as it sounds, take a look at the top blogs. Compare the top three liberal blogs (Kos, Eschaton, and AMERICAblog) and the top three conservative blogs (Instapundit, Malkin, and lgf... and Power Line if you don't count Instapundit. I'm not sure he would). The difference in tone is night and day.

Re: And They Say We’re Nuts

By on 4.15.06 | 2:00PM

Dave: Something about that Post piece bothered me. I think it's right here, in a genuine nutgraph. I've hightlighted the key sentence:

What's notable about this isn't only the level of anger but the direction from which it is coming. Not that long ago, it was the right that was angry and the left that was, at least comparatively, polite. But after years of being the targets of inflammatory rhetoric, not only from fringe groups but also from such mainstream conservative politicians as Newt Gingrich, the left has gone on the attack. And with Republicans in control of Washington, they have much more to be angry about.

In other words, it's okay. Just payback time, in response to what the crazy right started. Though somehow I don't recall coming across loving portraits of Montana militiamen in the Post's Style section back then.

St. Jack, St. Tom, St. Bobby, etc.

By on 4.15.06 | 9:52AM

Heavens, having two editors fight over one of my reviews. I blush.

I vastly admire Jack Nicklaus. Either my comparison of his book with Jones's was an interesting contrast, as I think it was, or it was a gratuitous aside. Considering I devoted an entire paragraph to the comparison, I don't think it's gratuitous.

The original description of Jack as a kind of stuffed shirt -- along with the "Karnack" nickname from Tom Watson -- you can find in John Feinstein's "A Good Walk Spoiled," 1996. It's an established story. Of course, the least criticism of Nicklaus will irritate some people; has for a long time.

Watson himself can stick his nose in the air, too. It was he who wrote the letter to the Masters Tournament Committee that got CBS's Gary McCord kicked off the broadcast for remarks Watson saw as unbefitting the dignity of the tournament.

It all gets to be a little bit much, and makes me remember fondly such players as Brian Barnes, who once marked a putt with a beer bottle.