The Spectacle Blog

Re: Great Fictional Names

By on 11.5.05 | 4:18PM

Dave: Sir Harry is one of the greatest characters in all fiction, but in creating the character -- name and all -- Fraser just took little Harry from Tom Brown's School Days of early Victoriana and grew him up into the most thoroughly engaging rotter in history who didn't actually serve in elective office. But, dear sir, Dirk Pitt? He's not even in the same league as Sir Harry. I'd consign him to the depths with Mike Hammer. (Not that there's anything wrong with Mike, or Sam Spade or Lew Archer or...)

I wouldn't grant Sir Harry the title of best ever fictional name. There's simply too much competition, and though we love our rascal, we must and can climb, like Sisyphus, from Flashman to Chuzzlewitt and Twist, and, again like Mr. S., tumble back down into the company of Finn McCool, Rowdy Yates and Professor Moriarty. This question, in fact, not susceptible of solution without descent into violence.

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Ethiopia Erupting

By on 11.5.05 | 4:07PM

There's troubling violence elsewhere in the world -- and it appears tyranny is the cause. Ethiopia has erupted in violence following an apparently rigged election. After the main opposition group, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, peacefully protested Monday, police clashed with protesters Tuesday. They have killed over 40 protesters and jailed over 3000, many of whom are political prisoners. The government claims that the protesters were violent, but international observers in the country counter these claims.

As the government cracks down, the State Department urges calm and dialogue:

The United States continues to urge both the government and political opposition in Ethiopia "to resolve whatever differences they may have through peaceful means," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters November 4.

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Great Fictional Names

By on 11.5.05 | 3:51PM

Jed, while I haven't read any Flashman novels, I must say the character's full name, Sir Harry Flashman, is second only to the greatest pulp name of all time, Dirk Pitt. Clive Cussler's title is secure.

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Selfish Imperialism

By on 11.5.05 | 1:32PM

Those are the last two words in the last footnote on the last page of Flashman on the March. I know this only because I have, to my utter dismay, already finished the book. I will tell you nothing else about it. Buy it, read it, enjoy it. And then join me in the misery of waiting -- how long? -- until the next one is published.

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Colbert King’s Values

By on 11.5.05 | 11:46AM

Colbert King, one of the WaPo editorial page editors, is up in arms today about the values baggage a Supreme Court nominee may carry. In his column, though, he points out a distressing problem with one of the Dems' only two issues.

Writing about constitutional lawyer John Davis's argument in favor of the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson in the Brown v. Board of Education case, King says:

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Re: There They Go Again

By on 11.5.05 | 9:15AM

Here's a good primer on the battle to control the Internet by Kenneth Neil Cukier in Foreign Affairs. And here's the U.S. policy that Cukier calls "a sort of Monroe Doctrine for our times."

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There They Go Again

By on 11.5.05 | 7:12AM

Anyone reading this blog appreciates the freedom of speech and of the press the Internet facilitates. Without it, we'd be the rapid exchange of news and views that now propel American politics would be slowed considerably. And, of course, the Turtle Bay crime family wants a nose under the tent, eyeing the means to limit that freedom.

In today's WaPo, Ol' Kofi tells us just why we shouldn't be concerned about the UN's efforts to take control of the Internet. That's the farthest thing from their minds, sayeth he. But the money quote is:

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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Demagogue

By on 11.4.05 | 5:03PM

Quick: what do former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Richard Myers and former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali have in common? Hint: it's not patriotism. But both men will be given the nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom, at a White House ceremony next week.

That the same ceremony will honor not only Myers but a giant like Robert Conquest, a man who labored a lifetime to illuminate the darkness inhabited by fools like Ali, is breathtaking, but not terribly surprising.

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French Fried

By on 11.4.05 | 3:18PM

One of the storylines of the fires in Paris is: Muslim youths aren't listening to the authorities. And why is that? One reason is that the Imams who might be telling them to knock it off are seen by them as stooges of the French government. Young Muslims aren't fooled by "French Islam," and reject the "French Council for the Muslim Religion" as a joke. They realize that Frenchifying Islam means removing Islam from Islam. Consequently, as this secularizing campaign has accelerated, French Muslims have been looking abroad for the real thing, turning to global Islam for money to finance private schools. Nicolas Sarkozy "reaped jeers and whistles," according to a Time story from 2003, when he "used a speech before more than 10,000 vow that women must remove their veils for the photographs on their French identity cards." Malek Chebel, a Muslim anthropologist, said to Time prophetically that the popular militant Muslim leaders in France have "endless money, great numbers on their side, and they have time...The fundamentalists are working toward a shock, one that is dangerous for the equilibrium of the state."

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Joe’s In For It Now

By on 11.4.05 | 2:23PM

This story popped up today on American Thinker.

Apparently, Wilson outed his wife far before Novak ever did, and the site which normally carries the program and the speech is down. Does anyone have the mp3 in which Wilson gives his speech? Please, please, please email us at if so.

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