Archive for the ‘Spenglerian’ Category

the day the mountain fell on wallace

September 25, 2006

I really hate to do this – hate, that is, to add anything to the e-cacophony on fox’s “interview” with clinton – but this is both so predictable, and yet so difficult to credit, that it’s here in case you missed it. (of course if you care, you likely didn’t miss it.) this is the fox reporter, Chris Wallace, describing the fear and terror he felt confronted by what fox is now calling a “crazed” clinton:

Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward–wagging his finger in my face–and then poking the notes I was holding–I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.

click here for: i_felt_as_if_a_mountain_was_coming_down_in_front_of_me

i’m still trying to decide whether this is a joke, but this question seems increasingly irrelevant, archaic even. Wallace’s comments, his aggrieved, wounded tone – he’s shocked, shocked, to imagine anyone could presume him guilty of partisanship – are the very model of disingenuousness. But, as a descriptor, “disingenuousness” may also have increasingly little purchase when it comes to US political discourse. The “disposition to secure advantage by means not morally defensible; insincerity, unfairness” (to cite the OED definition) ceases to be remark-worthy when it becomes structural to, if not constitutive of, the words being spoken.

meanwhile, here’s the clip fox is running to promo the day the mountain fell on wallace. looks pretty fair and b’d to this guy. then again, Clinton didn’t make it difficult for fox to portray him as hectoring and bug-eyed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UwJabtvSUQ

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oh, just a farrago of benign news items…

September 21, 2006

…all read in the Times on the subway home and, cumulatively, telling you far more about the world than you ever wanted to 21train6001.jpgknow even if you already knew it. Consider each a sort of putrid world in a grain of unhappy sand. Where to begin…

1. The Bush administration is stalling an investigation of a brazen act of state-sponsored terrorism – a pair of assassinations; one of those killed was an American – committed on US soil. This sounds decidedly odd – didn’t I hear something about a war on terror? – until one twigs to which state sponsored the terrorism: Augusto Pinochet‘s Chile:

grain of sand the first

2. The US Justice Department is forced to contradict comments from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Yesterday, Gonzales denied responsibility for the deportation of Maher Arar to Syria and said he was “not aware that [Arar] was tortured.” The Times reports the comments “caused puzzlement” as the US decision to deport the Canadian citizen is a matter of public record, and the results of a public inquiry just released in Canada confirmed Arar had been repeatedly tortured during his more than year long imprisonment. (Not incidentally, the inquiry also found no evidence linking Arar to “terrorism” despite the Mounties’ best efforts to find something, anything, to justify the faulty, unverifed “intelligence” they passed on to the Americans which likely led to Arar’s deportation in the first place.)

grain of sand the second

3. Four US government auditors launch a lawsuit against their own bosses claiming they’ve been prevented from going after tens of millions of dollars oil and gas companies have been fraudulently holding back from the government:

grain of sand the third

4. The UN says far more people have died violent deaths in Baghdad (5,106) in the last two months than was previously thought. Meanwhile, US officials claim even the earlier number revised by the UN is inflated. The UN report also describes evidence of torture on many of the bodies:

grain of sand the fourth

5. Documents reveal Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed combined have attended more than 100 meetings at the Bush White House:

grain of sand the fifth

6. And Hugo Chavez waves a copy of Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance before the UN General Assembly. There’s even a photo:

grain of sand the sixth

In fact to segue to some less dispiriting grains,

An Australian court rules the entire city of Perth belongs to Aborigines.

And a charming story about subway sounds and a cell phone call from Neil Young. It’s all very reminiscent of the Wim Wender’s movie Lisbon Story, a tale about a movie soundman who arrives in Lisbon to discover a movie with no sound, and no filmmaker, and a beautiful woman with a haunting voice sharing his mansion. Highly recommended, but in the interim read about the subway sounds and the singular pleasures of exploring a city with large headphones and a powerful microphone.

mic.jpgmadredeus.jpg

“stay tuned!” or confirmation of the end of gravitas (Weltschmerz)

September 15, 2006

katie couric, like, so totally celebrates the end of her first week anchoring the manifestly unmoored cbs evening “news”:

“We’re trying to make the news more accessible, more compelling, more interesting, and we’re trying to give people a little hope, optimism and even a chuckle when we can.”

Quel mandate! Sure hope they can live up to it! To quote again from the formidable Ms. C’s blog: “As the late Karen Carpenter sang, ‘Close to you’, I mean, ‘We’ve only just begun.’ Wow, how hip am I?”

sigh. so, our super awesome (imported directly from German) WordOfTheDay? (and come on i just know you saw it coming and no it’s not “snide”): Weltschmerz, which the generally non-ebullient OED defines as: A weary or pessimistic feeling about life; an apathetic or vaguely yearning attitude. indeed. kudos, katie.

katie’s breathless first week

(thanks milloy)