The Spectacle Blog

Bint Jbail

By on 7.31.06 | 1:26PM

The newsies are saying that the Israelis have totally destroyed the Hizballah capital in South Lebanon. Not quite. I've seen the videos, and there are still several stones standing stacked one on top of the other.

The Ant Pimp

By on 7.30.06 | 9:18PM

Shawn, Judd, it's evident that among the anythings with which we're encouraged to identify one finds birds, bees, flowers, trees, and pimps. I am loath to toss around the word "pimp" more than it already has been tossed, but its very "mainstreaming" is proof of how the popular culture could do with a not-so-subtle reminder that to pimp is indeed to pawn off subjugated whores for profit.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can draw attention to just what a fetish of compassion has emerged from several generations of psychotherapeutic culture. Freud would gasp at what a sloppy and garish spectacle we have made of our therapies. Part of the quid pro quo involved in upgrading our little goblins and desires to the status of rights and freedoms is defining deviancy down; the pimp -- with all the gender and race and class baggage that he brings -- must be integrated with all deliberate speed into the safety of permissiveness. "Pimp" must be made both more and less than "pimp." What a relief it is that cars and home theaters, in addition to whores, can be pimped!

Picking on The Ant Bully

By on 7.30.06 | 1:51PM

This Stephen Hunter bit in the Washington Post on The Ant Bully is a hilarious must read:

Gack, what gagging insanity! What foolishness. It's not merely the psychotic anthropomorphism -- that's only the enabling mechanism of the conceit -- but the far more troubling underlying idea. "The Ant Bully" represents a ruinous force in the world that might be called, for lack of a better term (although, heh-heh, this is a pretty great term), "promiscuous empathy." We identify with anything: birds, bees, flowers, trees. We weep for all. We make a fetish of our compassion and treat our feelings as if they're ideas. This contagion holds that there is no us and them in the world, that we are all one big us. The fact that the world then makes no sense is of no matter to those who hold this point of view; far more important is how happy it makes them feel, how moral, how superior. All they are saying is give peace a chance.

Headline on

By on 7.30.06 | 12:46AM

I don't recall taking a sabbatical, so where was I when "pimp" became a socially acceptable connotative verb? "Pimp my home theater"

For Posterity

By on 7.29.06 | 4:45PM

From the latest James Carville/Stanley Greenberg Democracy Corps memo:

"When all is said and done--after they have engaged on these battles and raised their agenda--Democrats want voters to conclude some very simple but powerful things. They may or may not articulate them, but Democrats should understand where they want people to end up."

"About the Republicans

They work for the few.

For the corporate special interest.

Corruption and greed.

No rise in income and no relief from high prices in sight.

No end in sight in Iraq

America needs a new direction"

"About the Democrats

They're for me.

American jobs

Relief on gas and health costsand middle class taxes

New course in Iraq

A new Congress that works for everyone

New direction--a strong America that works for everyone."

Re: Iran’s Iraqi Friends

By on 7.29.06 | 1:01PM

My friend, the old Middle East hand, sharpens the points he raised yesterday:

Satuday's Washington Post carried an interesting report: "Iraqi Official Warns Against Coup Attempt." According to the story, Hadi al-Amiri, a member of Iraq's most powerful political party, SCIRI (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq), cited rumors of an impending military coup. "We will not allow it," he said.

This raises some intriguing questions:

If the U.S. and Iran came to blows as a result of Hezbollah's war, where would the sympathies of the Iraqi people lie? The Iraqi government? The Iraqi army? Is it possible that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army would turn its guns against us, or against a "collaborationist" government that supports us? Could this be what Iraq is trying to provoke?