Comments: Help!

What kind of food do people eat in this dimension

Are you asking about diet plans? Because I think People Magazine is going to be doing a special issue on Palin's exercise and diet plan!! I can't wait!!!!

Posted by Dan S at September 17, 2008 12:11 PM

Actually, what I was trying to subtly find out is whether people do eat food in this dimension. And if so, does it go in your mouth? I don't want to be out in public and find out I'm supposed to be sticking it in my ear.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at September 17, 2008 12:16 PM

I think people have brains in this dimension. So, probably they don't stick food in their ears.

I like this ad, too, but it doesn't pass the Karl Rove test. (He said that you should assume people watch TV political advertisements with the sound turned off.) On the other hand, I feel grody for referencing something which that guy said.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at September 17, 2008 12:24 PM

What are "brains"?

Already something is different here from the place from which I come.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at September 17, 2008 12:37 PM

Um, circus peanuts and cherry Kool-Aid. That's what we eat here.

Posted by AlanSmithee at September 17, 2008 01:00 PM

Jonathan, if you have the time, please find out the names of the specific people responsible for this ad. I would like to follow their careers a bit.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 17, 2008 01:00 PM

Freedom fries?

Posted by Jonathan Versen at September 17, 2008 01:05 PM

Is there a universe where people understand that the Democrats are just as responsible for the Iraq War as George Bush? Is there a universe where people who are very informed about the realities of our government who know that the Democrats are just as responsible for the Iraq War and don’t pretend that the Democrats are somehow better when it comes to imperialism? If so I would like to go there no matter what they eat because this universe is making me crazy.

Posted by Rob Payne at September 17, 2008 02:28 PM

I agree with Rob Payne. The first thing I thought of watching this ad is that responsibility isn't what congresspeople want. They just want to legislate some money to their interest groups. But the ad implies a democratic congress would've told Bush "this is a bad idea," yet doesn't clarify what "this" refers to, (up armor? the whole venture? letting it be run by Rumsfeld? Spreading democracy with guns? What?) and doesn't make mention of the fact that there were in fact, democratic congress people at the time who indeed could've stood up and said "this is a bad idea" but didn't.

So Jonathan, I love your insight and your ability to cut through the bullshit, but I just don't see where you're coming from when you congratulate the democrats for running an ad that effectively portrays politics as life and death stuff.

As far as how they eat food in this universe, I think South Park covered this one pretty well.

Posted by A Different Matt at September 17, 2008 02:47 PM

Rob & A Different Matt,

I didn't say this ad told the truth. I said it was competent and about life and death issues. In other words, they're acting as though they may want to win, rather than just play their standard role as the Washington Generals of American politics.

Now, I also feel that in and of itself is an advance, but ymmv.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at September 17, 2008 02:57 PM

aha.

Posted by A Different Matt at September 17, 2008 03:33 PM

"this universe is making me crazy..."

Rob Payne, above

And that is exactly what it is supposed to do. Once crazed, your humanity is affirmed, and you go on to join the other particles of the universe.
Those not made crazy will continue running said universe. Really, quite neat. Poets figured this out centuries ago. Gurus haven't a clue.

Posted by donescobar at September 17, 2008 03:45 PM

At the end of the day, when the score sheets are tallied a bunch of individuals are responsible. Not the democrats, not the republicans. Every one who did their little part, whether it was paying your taxes or casting a vote against your principles.

As for the ad, here's what I say. If you aren't here like NOC, just to check up on people who want to make a positive difference, I suggest you make a positive difference. Positive action. This ad is a defensive measure, after the fact. The war is already fought, the money is already in the bank. That son is still dead.

Posted by tim at September 17, 2008 04:08 PM

Everyone is basically right. The ad does not advance truth & justice in an unambiguous fashion. But it does two tremendous things:

a) adds humanity to politics.
b) adds an element of severe conflict in a race.

The ad implies that there is something significant, huge even, between the candidates. Many have stated that the parties were on the same page. But that doesn't mean that the CANDIDATES in this particular race ARE. So the ad isn't actually all that dishonest, merely incomplete. But how could it be thorough within the timeframe? And would that be productive?

No, the ad was nigh-perfect. And it represents a dangerous way of thinking for Democrats: it represents actual opposition.

Folks, it doesn't matter what the Dems do in opposition. If the Dems were to become more evil than the Republicans and oppose them in all things, that would still be an improvement. Unity amongst the wicked is no virtue. Cacophony amongst evildoers is godly.

We need a fight. We need chaos.

And this ad is LOCAL. I love that. This is what we need.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 17, 2008 04:55 PM

ahh, but I suppose it's all relative. For example, the average citizen in Nazi Germany wouldn't be as culpable as, oh say a citizen paid to spy on other citizens.

I guess it comes down to you, whether you can handle your conscience and what is on it.

Posted by tim at September 17, 2008 05:11 PM

@ Rob Payne -

156 Congresspeople (including a handful of R's) voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002.

http://usliberals.about.com/od/liberalleadership/a/IraqNayVote.htm

I think that this is worth remembering. In individual cases (for ~ 50% of D Congresspeople, in fact), individual D's certainly were better than almost any R when it came to (this particular aspect of) imperialism.

Doom-n-gloom feels comforting as a default position, I agree. But I hope we all aspire to more.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at September 17, 2008 05:12 PM

Sometimes your humor makes me think you're a queen...Jonathan Darling.....

Posted by Iron Butterfly at September 17, 2008 05:33 PM

Donescobar:

I like that, I shall be one with the force!

Aaron:

Actually I remain optimistic that humanity will some day rise above the violence. When you think about it humanity hasn’t been around very long so who knows where humanity will be in ten thousand years or more. What is cynical to me is the idea that we cannot do better than what the Dems offer. However that may be historically speaking the Dems are far worse when it comes to waging wars. WWI, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam just for example all begun or entered into by the Dems. WWII may have been unavoidable but I don’t consider it to be a good war as some do.

Jonathan:

I hear what you are saying. That this ad is among the better political ads shows how far we need to go.

Tim:

I don’t really disagree with you but the fact is governments are the institutions that wage war and the populace needs to be cajoled into going along with lies and what have you. My own view is that our government as it exists today is beyond redemption and that it is not really a matter of Dems or Republicans. What I hope for is that we will move beyond the need for nation states. I just wish I could live long enough to see that happen.

Posted by Rob Payne at September 17, 2008 06:04 PM

@ John Caruso -

I agree, that's why I wrote parenthetically "(this particular aspect of) imperialism". But it's not a minor thing. If I had the time this election to walk precincts (not that there would be much cause - I live in Chicago), this point would make my pitch much stronger.

This is not to say that it makes much sense intellectually. Rob Payne is right that the D's love their own wars, too; I believe the "Savage Mules" line. But I'm heartened to see an anti-war pitch. Maybe we'll continue to see them on down the line.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at September 17, 2008 06:36 PM

Here's something I'd like to bring up in my role as apologist for the Democratic party: there is no unchanging essence to political parties that makes them the same throughout history as long as they keep the same name. And the Democrats are a much more ideologically coherent party than they were in the past. Up until the defection of white Democrats to the Republican party, the two parties were both weird ideological amalgams with different regional bases.

Whether this change will turn out to have any real significance policy-wise isn't obvious. Obviously there's lots of evidence that it won't. But it's not crazy to think that it will.

(Note: this is something my uncle the former Senate staffer told me in 2000, during an argument about my voting for Nader.)

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at September 17, 2008 06:51 PM

Aaron: this point would make my pitch much stronger. ... This is not to say that it makes much sense intellectually.

In other words you're looking at it tactically, correct? Saying that you could use this particular misleading truth to convince people they should vote for Democrats, even though it doesn't logically imply any larger principle?

That's the same sense I'm getting from Jon's postings over the past few days as well. I was surprised that of all the horrendous crap Obama's spewed over the past few months, the one thing that made Jon suggest that Obama needed a punching was his refusal to play politics in pinning the blame for the current financial crisis directly on McCain. I respect Obama's decision to phrase it that way, if that's what he truly thinks. But with this posting also it seems like Jon is focused on a Democratic victory, period, and is happy to see the Democrats using whatever tactics they can to achieve it. Which is pretty much the standard line at all the Democrat-supporting sites these days, but I'm just surprised to see it here.

Personally I found this ad particularly opportunistic and slimy, and emblematic of a Democratic Party that has only a grasping desire for power and no concern about how they get it.

Posted by John Caruso at September 17, 2008 06:53 PM

This election may not be politics as usual but its STILL democrats as usual and republicans as usual. Same game as always except REALITY showed up this time.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 17, 2008 07:38 PM

POCKETBOOK REALITY, the only one that counts.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 17, 2008 07:40 PM

This is hard to watch, not only because of the agony of the parents. But, you know--what did the son and the parents think is the purpose of the military? It's to kill people, isn't it? I cringe to mention this, and I'm not suggesting the young man "deserved" to die. Certainly his poor mother and father--they'll never be the same as long as they live--don't deserve the pain they must now endure. But we went there, didn't we? And we nurdered, didn't we? And all the eager young men and women signed up to join in, didn't they? Even if they were misled and lied to and manipulated--and they were--there's a connection, that's all I'm saying.

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at September 17, 2008 08:37 PM

This is hard to watch, not only because of the agony of the parents. But, you know--what did the son and the parents think is the purpose of the military? It's to kill people, isn't it? I cringe to mention this, and I'm not suggesting the young man "deserved" to die. Certainly his poor mother and father--they'll never be the same as long as they live--don't deserve the pain they must now endure. But we went there, didn't we? And we nurdered, didn't we? And all the eager young men and women signed up to join in, didn't they? Even if they were misled and lied to and manipulated--and they were--there's a connection, that's all I'm saying.

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at September 17, 2008 08:37 PM

Ironically enough, Jonathan, your uncle's argument was a reason to vote for Nader, especially in a blue state. Vote withholding made the Republicans the party they are today.

John Caruso:
The ad would be slimy if endorsed by a pro-war Democrat. However, it sounds like whoever the Democrat is that's actually running, he or she is running against a Republican incumbent. Thus, the person running may well have clean hands in this issue -- which is why the ad can be praised. The fact that it may have been paid for by some assholes in the Beltway is irrelevant: what matters is that the individual who immediately benefits from it may well be a patriot.* If you ran for office, would it be immoral of you to run as a Democrat?

*If the person running is pro-war, obviously the ad takes a different character.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 17, 2008 08:48 PM
If so I would like to go there no matter what they eat because this universe is making me crazy.

Rob, if you can get there, I'm pretty sure that we can too, and that means we can get the coordinates into the targeting system and blow the shit out of that universe.

What? You think we'd let it be? That universe is an affront to my American sensibility.

And it's probably a threat to Israel to boot, so it deserves to blown to smithereens.

Posted by Labiche at September 17, 2008 09:33 PM

Rosemary Molloy: The purpose and mission of the military is to defend THE CONSTITUTION against all enemies, foreign and domestic. SOMETIMES people get killed.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 17, 2008 09:52 PM
NOoC: The ad is slimy in my mind because it uses parents' grief for political gain (check out that closeup of their hands—you can practically feel their hearts breaking, can't you? Vote Democrat!). In calculating fashion.

I think you're wrong. In fact, I think the truth is the inverse. if you aren't using grief over death in politics, you have no business running. I suspect (don't know, but suspect) what you find to be a "clean" commercial I would find reprehensible because it would be trivial. Bush and every Congressperson who voted for the war commited treason and if we were a consistently just nation those responsible would be executed for it. The absolue fucking least you could do is make a commercial that suggests that the death of a serviceperson was regrettable.

Prosecuting attorneys put the victims of crimes up for display as a matter of course. How is this any different? The fact that the stakes are higher demands even MORE display of the deaths in Iraq. You seriously don't agree with the Administration's decision to hide the bodies returning from Iraq? How do you distinguish these situations?

And what could you talk about instead of the dead in Iraq in a commercial? That's not rhetorical -- what would you talk about? War >>> Every. Fucking. Thing. Else.

The link you sent was weak. The "gotcha" quotes were a year after the setup quotes. In other words, Franken's statements could be simply a change of mind due to introduction of new facts. But I can't tell because the quotations were cut too tightly. I can't tell what the fuck was going on in most of those quotes as a result. I can't tell if he's even quoting someone. And some of the quotes aren't even complete sentences! It's garbage -- and looks like a rightwing smear, not a legitimate criticism. We don't have to pull this bullshit to point out the mendacity of a rightwinger. Play the whole quote.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 17, 2008 11:36 PM

John Caruso: I MUST agree but ya gotta admit its typical, real typical.

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Posted by timothy moriarty at September 18, 2008 07:01 AM

All Franken would need to be legit on the Iraq war would be a lack of a vote in office for it -- that's all Obama had at the start of the primaries, the fact that he could be an asshole on other wars notwithstanding. Still lacking proof there.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 18, 2008 08:10 AM

NoOC and John Caruso, in this thread I find myself agreeing with both of you in turn as each of you write. It's very confusing. Perhaps someday I'll be able to settle on my own opinions well enough to contribute something worthwhile in other threads that are this terrific. In the meantime, I'll just cheerlead. Rah rah rah!

By the way, donescobar, the bit about the poets and gurus really worked for me. I think it's going to stay with me. At least, if it doesn't make me too crazy.

Posted by Quin at September 18, 2008 01:41 PM

If U liked Iraq Ur gonna LOVE Pakistan.

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 18, 2008 02:12 PM
Yes, that's exactly what they're doing: using grief....

JohnC:

This other universe; the one we're going to blow up first chance we get?

It's populated by people that think logic (logically) trumps emotion.

Posted by Labiche at September 18, 2008 02:30 PM

Labiche: ...people that think logic (logically) trumps emotion.

That's not me, if that's what you mean. There's a difference between what works (or might work, anyway) and what's praiseworthy.

As for what trumps what, I'm a big fan of the power of principles plus straightforward truth.

Posted by John Caruso at September 18, 2008 03:09 PM
So Franken falls back on the standard Democratic wah-wah-Bush-fooled-me line, but nonetheless says unambiguously that he'd have voted for the war (and also shows that he's an idiot, if he truly believed it would have been a "vote for peace, not a vote for war").

Whether or not he's an idiot is less important. You're still dodging the point because he dislikes the outcome of the war now. I favored Edwards over Obama and Clinton (again: as between those three) because Edwards regretted his war vote -- and apologized for it. Was Edwards an idiot? Sure. But stupidity is a secondary issue in politics. Morals are first.

Franken says he would have been convinced by Powell and also says he would have been slower to go to war -- after that. Those aren't strict pro-war statements. You've made the case that Franken, as of 2002, would have bean ambiguous or stupid on the war. Who gives a shit? He didn't have any political power then. And how the hell does that make him morally equivalent to a pro-war Republican who likes Iraq right now?

And this "emotion versus thinking" stuff is bullshit, too. Surprisingly, it's guilty of the fuzzy thinking one attributes to emotion. An emotional response is a rational response to some stimuli. If someone responds positively to seeing children blown apart, we would call that person sick. Politics must use real emotions in order to be honest. What is sick is when the emotions called upon do not match the policy being encouraged. Thus, the Horton ads were vile because the hatred and fear was an evil thing to associate with blacks and a certain govenor who had nothing to do with Horton (unlike, ironically enough, his Republican predecessor).

And I'd still like to know what emotions are appropriate to convey in politics in the minds of those who disagree. If sadness over death in war is out, I can't imagine how anything else of relevance is in.

Emotion and logic are not at odds. Our brains do not separate emotion and thought. Incorrect use of emotion is illogical.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 18, 2008 06:54 PM

You're still dodging the point...

Oh yeah, that's me dodging the point up there. I sure was pussyfooting around. You've got me dead to rights on that one.

Look: we have a difference of opinion. You think this ad is so brilliant that you want to know who made it so you can follow their careers, whereas I think it's a vile piece of exploitation that's symbolic of all that's wrong with the
Democratic Party. You can't seem to accept that we might validly disagree. You also can't seem to make your points without in-your-face confrontation, straw men, and a constant stream of obscenities, all of which get tiring and undercut your points. Which is unfortunate, because otherwise you've got worthwhile things to say.

Posted by John Caruso at September 18, 2008 07:22 PM
You think this ad is so brilliant that you want to know who made it so you can follow their careers

No, I think the ad is so unusual I want to follow their careers. It's out of place. I believe you create a straw-man here, if not indulge in a very unfounded assumption, which is what you accuse me of (but cannot substantiate at all).

You can't seem to accept that we might validly disagree.

I understand that completely. You're making invalid assumptions. Look at that statement. You can't read my mind. And that is the "in-your-face confrontation" you just accused me of.

You accuse me of making straw men but then don't adress a single substantive point without breaking off when I respond and bringing up some distraction. I went through great lengths to treat each of your arguments wheras you dismiss whatever I have to say with general hand-waving. Frankly, I find your attitude insulting -- and I don't need to read your mind, as you have presumed to do with me, to figure out why. I don't care why: I just know you're doing it.

I wouldn't know if you found anything I have to say worthwhile: you don't respond to anything except to contradict, not debate. It's a bad version of a Monty Python sketch.

You're only right about one thing: seeing you talk at me and refuse to respond to points -- that is, your refusal to actually have a conversation by addressing my own questions -- is, indeed, tiring, and I'm glad it's over.

Posted by No One of Consequence at September 18, 2008 09:15 PM

I wish that hadn't ended on such a sour note... ah well. A stimulating read for noobs like me at least.

Posted by Quin at September 19, 2008 12:01 PM
You think this ad is so brilliant that you want to know who made it so you can follow their careers
No, I think the ad is so unusual I want to follow their careers. I believe you create a straw-man here, if not indulge in a very unfounded assumption,

You said the ad was "nigh-perfect" and "can be praised", which I paraphrased as "brilliant" (in the British sense); the "follow their careers" part was a direct quote. The only assumption I made is that you'd want to follow their careers because of your strong approval of their ad, which I think was a natural assumption to make, but if it was just because it was "unusual" I'll take it back (though I doubt you'd be interested in their careers if the ad were unusual but you didn't like it).

which is what you accuse me of (but cannot substantiate at all).

Since you honestly seem not to know what straw men I'm referring to, here are some examples:

- And how the hell does that make him morally equivalent to a pro-war Republican who likes Iraq right now?
- And this "emotion versus thinking" stuff is bullshit, too.
- You seriously don't [sic?] agree with the Administration's decision to hide the bodies returning from Iraq?
- ...sadness over death in war is out...

I never said a word about Franken being "morally equivalent" to Norm Coleman, and wouldn't. I also never said a word about "emotion versus thinking" (except indirectly in response to Labiche, who I'm still not sure was attributing that to me); nonetheless, you spent three paragraphs attacking the belief you apparently think I hold that emotion has no place in political ads. I also didn't say anything about the Bush administration's game of hide-the-corpses, despite what you imply. And I never made any general statements about the validity of bringing up "sadness over death in war." Those are all straw men, and they're the only thing I've been "dodging", since I wanted to explain what I actually think rather than spend my time dispelling misrepresentations of what I think.

You can't seem to accept that we might validly disagree.
I understand that completely. You're making invalid assumptions. Look at that statement. You can't read my mind.

That's why I put the words "seem to" in there. But the fact is that you've been treating this like a courtroom, with you the prosecuting attorney saying I lack proof (a direct quote) for my views—as though I need to (or even could) prove an opinion—and doing so in an aggressive, confrontational way. I don't think you'd take that approach if you accepted that we might have two different but equally valid viewpoints.

And that is the "in-your-face confrontation" you just accused me of.

No, this is in-your-face confrontation:

... garbage ... rightwing smear ... We don't have to pull this bullshit ... still lacking proof ... dodging the point ... Who gives a shit? ... how the hell does that make him morally equivalent ...And this "emotion versus thinking" stuff is bullshit ...

If you really do want open debate, that's not a good way to get it.

Look, this thread may be a loss, but I'd rather not have bad feelings between us. I'll say again that I think you often make good points on here (even in this thread, where I largely disagree with you). I'm willing to chalk this up to a major misunderstanding and let it go, and I hope you will be as well.

For any masochists who're still reading along and so this won't be a completely meta posting (and don't worry, Jon, I won't be pursuing it anymore), consider this side-by-side comparison:

Ad: I just blame the bad policies on President Bush, Norm Coleman, who voted for this.
Franken: I would have voted for the resolution [...]
Ad: I have no faith in Norm Coleman. He has no ability to make up his own mind.
Franken: I think I would have voted for the use of force because I would have believed Colin Powell.
Ad: If Norm Coleman would have stood up to the president and said, "This is not a good idea," maybe he would have listened.
Franken: I neither spoke out advocating the war or against the war.

So is it cynical and slimy for pro-war Democrats to hold up what this couple says as a reason to vote for Franken? Given that their son would still have been just as dead no matter whether Coleman or Franken had been in office at the time, I'd say so.

Posted by John Caruso at September 19, 2008 02:15 PM

BTW, Quin, thanks for the comments...I'm glad you found it interesting.

Posted by John Caruso at September 19, 2008 02:18 PM

YOU GUYS!!! Why nort argue the merits of someone from the INTERNET POLITICAL PARTY? (the 2 war parties will only buy YOU a war)

Posted by Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 02:38 PM
if you aren't using grief over death in politics, you have no business running.

Yes, that's exactly what they're doing: using grief. Grief they helped create over the past 17 years. It's cynical, opportunistic, and disgusting. If you really do feel that's the essence of politics, we're in the realm of irreconcilable differences.

JohnC, I was just commenting on this paragraph, -- that I think the essence of politics is manipulation, and mainly manipulation of the emotional state. NOoC says that incorrect use of emotion is illogical, and that's true in the sense that people can predictably push the buttons until they elicit the desired response (from normal individuals); movies, music and books do it all the time, and so does an intentionally constructed political narrative.

Is it odious? I don't know -- but it is the way we do business. It's cynical and opportunistic, but I don't know that it's disgusting -- to be disgusting, the manipulated need to be thought of as human vs. numbers and demographics. Once we got to a certain tipping point in population, only some people (famous, rich, powerful, beautiful) are important enough to be human - the rest become a demographic mass to be utilized.

When I use my toaster to make toast, I don't think much else about it. Unless it's especially brave.

Posted by Labiche at September 20, 2008 11:08 PM

JohnC, I was just commenting on this paragraph, -- that I think the essence of politics is manipulation, and mainly manipulation of the emotional state.

Ah, ok, then I read you right...which is why I responded with "there's a difference between what works (or might work, anyway) and what's praiseworthy." I'd definitely agree that what you're saying describes the vast majority of our political landscape, but I don't think it's worthy of praise, especially given the circumstances in this case.

Unless it's especially brave.

And little.

Posted by John Caruso at September 21, 2008 12:17 AM