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October 15, 2007

On The Internet

• John Caruso examines the impressive journalistic rigor displayed by the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks when dealing with Noam Chomsky. Then the post links back here. YOU WILL NEVER ESCAPE.

• Norman Finkelstein mercilessly reviews the most recent book by Jeffrey Goldberg, aka my favorite journalist.

• Rob Payne explains his dislike of "patriotism."

• Ian Garrick Mason on nature's patient reclamation of humanity's silly endeavors. See also my favorite poem.

Posted at October 15, 2007 03:01 PM | TrackBack

Speaking of Chomsky and the Washington Post, did you see the letter Chomsky sent the WP regarding their review of his recent book? It's on Chomsky's website, but the WP didn't publish it.

Posted by: ronald turkeybone at October 15, 2007 06:45 PM

Speaking of Chomsky and the Washington Post, did you see the letter Chomsky sent the WP regarding their review of his recent book? It's on Chomsky's website, but the WP didn't publish it.

Posted by: ronald turkeybone at October 15, 2007 06:45 PM

Speaking of Chomsky and the Washington Post, did you see the letter Chomsky sent the WP regarding their review of his recent book? It's on Chomsky's website, but the WP didn't publish it.

Posted by: ronald turkeybone at October 15, 2007 06:45 PM

I suppose we Jews learned quite a lot from the camps and it shows. Like DAVID BOWID sez-"This ain't rock n roll, this is genocide"

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 15, 2007 08:35 PM

Thanks for linking to "Reclamation", Jon. Nothing like a picture of a cute European wildcat, is there? Okay, it's not quite as cute as Bob Harris's pudus, but still, it's in the game.

Thanks even more for the neighbouring link to Wislawa Szymborska's poem. Beautiful and sad, and unknown to me until now.

Posted by: Ian G. Mason at October 15, 2007 08:50 PM

And thanks for the Leopardi link, too, Feeder. A surfeit of riches here!

Posted by: Ian G. Mason at October 16, 2007 10:19 AM

I had enough information to make an informed decision (It's a crock of shit and it stinks.), but then I was reading Steve Gilliard, Billmon and others like them.
Besides, just look at who was marketing it; Cheney, Bush and a bunch of recycled Iran-Contra felons and Team B geezers. And the despicable expedition's humiliating failure is no surprise either; just the speed at which it occurred.
Please, someone tell Ricks about the Internets & '70s/'80s US history.

Posted by: at October 16, 2007 12:29 PM

Ooops, sorry; me at 12:29 PM.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout at October 16, 2007 12:33 PM

RobW: Yeah, Ricks' hangup was entertaining. I take it he didn't appreciate being second banana (and barely talking for the last 10 minutes of the interview).

Posted by: John Caruso at October 16, 2007 01:15 PM

Grammar note: Title should be "On the Internets"

No need to thank me.

Posted by: Dilapidus at October 16, 2007 04:10 PM

I'd like to nominate "This be the verse", by Philip Larkin, with the unforgettable last stanza:

Man hands on misery to man,
It deepens like a coastal shelf,
Get out as early as you can
And don't have any kids yourself.

Posted by: MFB at October 17, 2007 04:03 AM

Rob Payne: I read your article, although I agree with you on how Patriotism is used for propaganda, I still think Patriotism is a good thing. (perhaps I was more deeply indoctrinated than you)If I may--- It's not the hammer that builds the sword or the plowshare, it's the Person wielding the hammer.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 17, 2007 01:01 PM

Mike Meyer,

I appreciate what you are saying though I look at patriotism a bit differently. There are aspects of America that I like for America has produced people like Mark Twain, Martin Luther King, Noam Chomsky as well as the music I love the most, straight ahead Jazz. Yet the whole tenor of the “me first” and the “we are the greatest ever” society we have become is rather unlovely to say the least. Really my point is that it would be a good thing if we all, myself included, think more about this patriotism thing, what it is used for, what it is doing to us, and most importantly from my view the multitude of death and destruction that patriotism wreaks upon other peoples of the world. It would also be nice if Americans would consider the value of other cultures and what that contributes to all humanity. I really don’t want everyone else to be just like us as that makes for a rather uninteresting world.

Posted by: rob payne at October 17, 2007 01:42 PM

Rob, I don't know WHY you keep picking on Poor Old Tolkien and CS Lewis, these two are just the most apolitical authors I have ever heard of...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at October 17, 2007 01:51 PM

Rob Payne: If it is used to say instill enough pride to not litter or use it to help your fellow citizens, then it's a plowshare. If it is used to kill the neighbors, well then it is a sword. There is a choice there and the choice is each AMERICAN's to make.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 17, 2007 01:51 PM

En Ming Hee: "It Can't Happen Here" C.S. Lewis---definately a political statement. (but not a happy political statement)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 17, 2007 01:57 PM

Hello there, Eng Ming Hee. My sarcasm detector seemed to register something in your post. I disagreed with Rob because Tolkien himself didn't mean for his work to be read the way it is by some rightwingers. (Probably most rightwingers.) There are problems in LOTR, a few passages that make me wince, but for the most part it's not a rah-rah boost for the glorious West in the real world. And speaking for myself, I never had any trouble distinguishing between mythical leaders like Aragorn who are the embodiement of virtue and the actual humans that govern real countries. Not even Lincoln or Washington measure up to that standard.

I have, however, read rightwingers who talk about Bush as though he was a character out of an epic fantasy. He is--sort of the movie version of Denethor, actually. (Tolkien's Denethor has something noble about him, while Jackson's Denethor is pretty much Bush in medieval garb.) So I agree with Rob to some extent, but it's not Tolkien's fault if idiots misread him.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at October 17, 2007 08:35 PM

Meyer: Hur hur, that was Sinclair Lewis. Not CS Lewis. You were either joking, or you never paid attention in literature class.


The thing of course, is that everyone misreads the real hero of the LOTR saga as Aragorn when it is the Hobbits: Frodo and Samwise especially. If you read a lot of fantasy authors that came before him or were his contemporaries, you'd realize there was an elitist, aristocratic bearing about their protagonists that reflected the class-based nature of the society they sprung from (E.R Eddison's "The Worm Ouroboros" for example, where the protagonists wish for their opponents to live again so that they may slaughter them in seeking glory for battle). There is no denying that Tolkien invested nobility and virtue into all of his heroes: but in the Hobbits he invested the greatest amount of nobility and virtue with respect to their physical strength. The Hobbits in being apparently weak, were instead, overall the crucial factor in the ring's destruction. Tolkien was the first true champion of the meek and humble in popular high fantasy that comes to mind, and it is that that we should remember as the high point of his work. This is something that I have never been able to stand about misreadings of Tolkien from both left and right.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at October 18, 2007 08:54 AM

En Ming Hee--

I agree with all that.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at October 18, 2007 09:36 AM

En Ming Hee: Thank You for the correction.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 18, 2007 11:20 AM

Just to quickly comment on the other thread of conversation here, I agree with En Ming Hee's point about the central role played by the physically weakest characters in LOTR. I'd also note that Tolkien takes this point even further by having Frodo fail at the final moment, his will surrendering to the ring's, only to have Middle Earth saved by its most wretched creature (driven by the wretchedest of motives) Gollum.

It couldn't get more un-aristocratic than that, could it?

Posted by: Ian G. Mason at October 18, 2007 12:44 PM