The Spectacle Blog

Castro Sick

By on 7.31.06 | 11:30PM

Yeah, the Castro-is-dying story is a perennial, but this time he's temporarily handed power over to his brother. Here's wishing old Fidel all the worst.

UPDATE: Celebration in Miami:

The announcement drew cheering in the streets in Miami. People waved Cuban flags on Little Havana's Calle Ocho, shouting "Cuba, Cuba, Cuba," hoping that the end is near for the man most of them consider to be a ruthless dictator. There were hugs, cheers and dancing as drivers honked their horns. Many of them fled the communist island or have parents and grandparents who did.
Meanwhile, NBC News provides a bit of the sort of vague analysis that we used to call "Kremlinology": "How would Raul Castro govern?"

In Defense of A.I.

By on 7.31.06 | 4:00PM

Dave: "Little work"? Maybe Allen Iverson doesn't like to practice, but there's not a more hardworking player on the floor anywhere. If everyone else on his team played as hard, maybe it would get somewhere. Plus he's absolutely fearless. Given his many negatives, no way he'd survive in the league as long as he has. Look how quickly Shawn Kemp disappeared. Or the countless other talents that join the NBA prematurely and never cut it.

RE: The Ant Pimp

By on 7.31.06 | 3:30PM

In addition to glorifying the thuggish, our culture also works hard at diminishing the fruits of accomplishment. Over at, they call the top 50 paid athletes the "Fortunate 50".

Fortune? As in Tiger Woods got to his position by mere luck? The guy gets up and practices at 7:00am everyday. Sure, there are a few guys who make mega-bucks with sheer talent and little work--Alan Iverson comes to mind (he isn't on the list, though). Of course, there are such people in all walks of life, not just sports.

That list is surely dominated by people who have busted their rears to get where they are. Yet CNNSI makes it look as though they achieved their heights by the whim of the gods.

UN to Iran: Stop It Or We’ll Talk Even More

By on 7.31.06 | 2:24PM


The U.N. Security Council passed a weakened resolution Monday giving Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.


Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the text was watered down from earlier drafts, which would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. The draft now essentially requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.

Oh, that'll have 'em shaking in their boots.

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.