The Spectacle Blog

The ‘N’ Word And The ‘M’ Word

By on 9.28.06 | 11:19AM

Notice that the news coverage of the latest Allen controversy refers to the racial slur he is accused of using as the "N" word. News organizations, apparently, want to avoid printing a word that is genuinely offensive to a lot of people. But during this summer's Macaca mania, the word "Macaca" was used repeatedly, plastered on television and in big, bold, headlines. If it was such an incredibly offensive racial slur, why wasn't it referred to as the "M" word?

Re: Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 11:15AM

Philip, though we're a year out from the presidential campaigns getting into full swing, it's early. At this point, many hopefuls are getting overly generous looks. Heck, the other day a former aide to a prominent Democratic hopeful asked me what I thought about Huckabee. Seriously.

I don't put much stock in front-runner status. Right now, this is the political geek's water cooler talk.

Re: Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 11:06AM

Dave, I wasn't saying that that Allen was the clear favorite pre-'Macaca,' but I think it's fair to say he was seen as a top contender (see this March Rich Lowry column). In fact, his Senate race has generated so much controversy precisely because he was seen to be in the running for the presidential nomination. That he even attained that status I found perplexing. So, I'm not arguing against his being an A-level candidate, I was surprised that anybody would consider him even a C-level candidate.

The Conspiracy to Cut Gas Prices

By on 9.28.06 | 11:04AM

I just can't figure out which angle to believe.

Was it the oil companies gauging us when gas prices rose to $3 a gallon?

Or (now that the price has fallen precipitously) is it the car companies desperately trying to save the internal combustion engine by keeping the price of gas artificially low?

Or is it just good, old-fashioned supply and demand?

Tyrannical Times

By on 9.28.06 | 10:23AM

Classic over-the-top NY Times editorial today on passage of a the House bill on questioning and deataining terrorists, "a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts."

For comparrison purposes, Alien and Sedition Acts available here.

Down on Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 10:21AM

Philip, I am not sure many folks argued pre-macaca that Sen. Allen was an A-level candidate. For reasons unique to each presidential hopeful, all the Republicans with their "hats in the ring" strike me as B-level candidates. All have serious liabilities. If you believe that, choosing a "favorite" is a half-hearted selection.

Can he win? Probably not. This Senate race is enough of a challenge right now, and the events of the last couple months are too much of a stain to turn into a road show.

Should he win? Probably not. He doesn't have the stuff to get this far without an impeccable reputation, and doesn't show any signs of improvement.

As disturbing as this race stuff is, though, since the allegations have an element of doubt about them, Allen's gutter strategy disturbs me even more. Charging Webb with being a sexist because he opposed women in combat is cheap. And now, as John Miller mentioned at the Corner yesterday, he attacks Webb for defending the Navy during Tailhook:

Barnes on Allen

By on 9.28.06 | 9:29AM

Fred Barnes has a WSJ column up subtitled, "Don't discount Sen. George Allen's presidential ambitions just yet.'" Unfortunately, most of the piece is a recap of all of the controversies Allen  has found himself in during the Senate race, and Barnes doesn't make much of a case for why he should be viewed as a viable presidential candidate. The best he does is this:


You Don’t Negotiate with Honor Cultures

By on 9.27.06 | 8:10PM

I've posted here before about the fiction of Lars Walker. I didn't mention that he is a shrewd commentator on political and cultural matters, as well. I offer you a taste of his take on the Pope's comments and the Islamic reaction:

Any reasonable person would recognize that rioting and murdering people are a self-contradictory means of proclaiming one's peacefulness. And the fact that a large part of the Muslim world fails to get the joke (such as it is) pretty much says it all.

But the Islamic world doesn't care. Because they're not involved in a struggle of ideas, but a struggle of honor.

Honor, and honor cultures, is one of my hobbyhorses. I believe (perhaps wrongly) that my study of Viking sagas has taught me something about the subject.

I want you to go read the whole post, so I'll leave the rest of it at Lars' site. Check it out and discover how to deal with honor cultures.