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January 28, 2007

Comments

I guess the WaPo's reputation is so good, and its financial prospects so glittering, that it figures it can take a chance publishing "edgy" material like that from D'Souza and Cheney's daughter, er, Assistant Principal Undersecretary of Whatsit, I meant. Damn, I'd really like to invest in a company that's so well run it can publicly piss its credibility away every day....

i actually prefer the post among american newspapers on the actual reporting side (obviuosly the sunday nyt is better). but, the op-ed/editorial page is different than the paper itself and it's just ridiculous.

Gotta give the link to Colbert's evisceration of DD

Oog, the Liz C. oped was really painful.

I've been reading a lot of books about the Civil War recently ("Team of Rivals" is a lot of fun), and I keep thinking of the way the Union forces got bogged down in Fredericksburg, not because it was a really important town to win or an essential stop on the way to Richmond, but because that was sorta where the armies hit each other and there didn't seem to be any way to pull back and...

Or you could look at the Somme Offensive, I suppose. Or just the Uncle Remus story of the Tar Baby.

My point being, the lesson of history is very clear: when the ONLY reason to stay in a fight is that you're afraid you'll look weak if you back away, but you still have no idea how to win, back away FAST.

Oh come on. If you're gonna invoke that kind of thing, go with the mother of them all: Stalingrad.

Also wanted to give a link to Jesus' General's email correspondence with DD

i actually prefer the post among american newspapers on the actual reporting side (obviuosly the sunday nyt is better). but, the op-ed/editorial page is different than the paper itself and it's just ridiculous.

I'll never forget how, during the run-up to our glorious adventure in Iraq, the WaPo routinely buried stories by serious investigators like Walter Pincus. They wanted this bastard war, I'm convinced they played a large role in selling it, and I'll never forgive them for it. Their op-ed page has long been an embarrassment (Krauthammer? Cohen?!?), but now it's becoming a kind of self-parody. Nowadays, if it comes up, I pretty routinely tell friends that they ought to nix their subscriptions. Trouble is, they usually already have.

I ride the DC Metro to work, and my informal survey of commuter readership tells me that the Post has really lost a lot of eyeballs over the years.....

Maybe the Post has caught WSJ disease.

I remember, back when I was a little kid, listening to President Johnson, and then Nixon, talk about how our credibility required that we stay in Vietnam. As far as I could tell, this was exactly like a situation I often found myself in, namely:

I would say or do some stupid thing without thinking, and then I wouldn't be willing to admit that I was wrong, and I would end up being painted into a corner with no way out. It was very, very clear to me what the right thing to do in such circumstances was, namely: admit my mistake, take responsibility, and suffer any embarrassment that would ensue. Obviously, there was a huge gap between knowing what the right thing to do was and actually doing it, a gap which generally swallowed all my good intentions. But I always thought that had something to do with my being a kid, and so I didn't really understand why the President, of all people, couldn't manage it.

I also thought: will the world, looking at the decade or so we had spent in Vietnam (in '68), and all the money and casualties and everything, really think we hadn't done enough to prove our bona fides? I couldn't see why. And besides, being big enough to do the right thing seemed to me more impressive, so if we were trying to impress the rest of the world, I thought that was the better option, especially since the alternative involved a lot of dead people.

There are a lot of things I've changed my mind about since I was 8, but that is not one of them.

And Publius: you and I are personally responsible for 9/11. Dinesh D'Souza said so, and that's good enough for me.

(Put down that editorial. Back away from the newspaper...)

hilz - you'll be glad you did. it's a siren song of stupidity, so just back away, easy now, back away

1m n ur cranium, eatin ur bra1nz. -- Dinesh D.

Y'know, given the GOP's sorry prospects for '08, reaching out to 8th-Century theocrats might be a winning play. It's a demographic that no Dem strategist has had the imagination to pursue....

hilzoy: A cat macros reference in a political thread? Well played, well played. I doff my cap to you.

a nutritious and delicious post, publius. *golfclap*

Thanks for the hilarious Colbert link, japonicus.

Great post, publius. This guy is such a second-rate bricks-n-mortar troll, Ann Coulter wouldn't have been such a meek whipping boy on the Colbert Report.

Though it hardly merits it, I have a serious point to make prompted by his book. As some of you may know, I am currently in Algeria, where I've had plenty of opportunity to watch the impact of Western/US media on society here. Yes there are many bizarre - and frequently dangerous - misinterpretations. Taken on the whole, however, I think our media has an invaluable positive impact.

Satellite TV and, especially, the internet offer a much broader, more detailed view on Western society. I've spoken to Algerians shocked to discover that there are child molesters in England from the BBC news.

Let's take the Britney Spears example. There is no doubt that Britney-like material arouses the ire - sometimes violent ire - of cultural conservatives here. What morons like D'souza don't get though, is that the CIA is not beeming Britney directly in Arab brains as part of some nefarious secret program. Thousands, if not millions, of people choose to go to Britney websites, watch Britney on Italian MTV etc. And the vast majority of Arabs (at least in Algeria), just like us, are perfectly capable of listening to Britney music while thinking she's a bit of a skank.

Cybercafes of the West's greatest weapon against Jihadism: they are packed every day with people reading the foreign news, looking at porn, or, for girls, finding out basic sexual health questions their doctor is not going to tell them. On the one hand it's disturbing to see teenage hijabi girls getting their sex-ed entirely from hard-core porn, but I've also seen them on the French equivalent of Planned Parenthood websites etc., finding out what might be wrong with them, how it all works, and who they can call if their husband or brother or dad is beating them.

Yes, jihdadis can use the internet to swap videos of attacks, but the far greater numbers of people using IM to flirt, read Western newspapers, and download Lost have a much more deleterious impact on their ideology than any corny State Department-run propaganda program.

This column by D'Souza is a self parody. The man is ridiculous.

Did I really hear D'Souza giving a commentary on NPR a few days ago, or did I hallucinate it?

Byrningman: Fascinating stuff! Thank you very much indeed.

D'Souza notes in the article that he is merely pointing out the fact that Jihadists are reacting against the global forces of atheism and immorality.

George Bush could use this angle in his effort to continue the war and boost his polls. Heck, I'm all for atheism (well, agnostic, but can I play, too?) and immorality. You mean, the jihadists want to stifle my naughty thoughts? This devotee of Moloch/Molech now has a stake in the war effort.

Let the bombing begin!

I think Brittney Spears should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Think of it: the world united in peace and harmony because the war-making males in societies across the globe have their hands full watching the slo-mo video of Brittney getting in and out of limosines.

Why, Albert Schweitzer should have been so effective.

That's the best idea I've heard since John and Yoko stayed in bed for a week. (when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, crime in the Big Apple dropped to zero for a few hours because the Blue Meanies were mesmerized; luckily the Stones (CIA) hired the Hell's Angels at Altamont to restore God's natural balance.)

They should run the Brittney video in a continous loop on airplanes to divert hijackers' attention. And, while we're up, bring them each two drinks.

D'Souza needs to take a lesson from an Indian guide my then girlfriend, now wife, hired for 5 rupees on the spur of the moment in the parking lot of the Sun-chariot Temple in India (chiseled in great detail from the rock). The temple was resplendent with supple reliefs of lovers intertwined in frankly erotic poses from the Kama Sutra, the Hindu manual of love.

As the guide rather enthusiastically pointed out the delicious details to us, I stepped forward to look at things in closer perspective. I looked back to see the guide explaining something or other up close to my girlfiend with his eyes lasered in on her breasts. I was looking, he was looking, all God's chilin were looking. She didn't know where to look and was blushing rather, I don't know, attractively?

It was at that moment that I felt a oneness with my fellow man and woman, united in appreciation for life's universal pleasures. Fighting and killing and jihad were the furthest things from all of our minds.

Plus, I thought he should have been paying ME 5 ruppees.

On the way back to the parking lot, I mentioned to her that we should take up Hinduism immediately upon return to our room, which was frisky and highly devotional of me considering I was near complete physical collapse from dehydration and dysentery.

Her response: "Oh, brother!"

Anyway.... D'Souza. Oh, who cares about him!

He claims someone threatened to hospitalize him. I think that's a little extreme. Instead, I think his employer-paid hospitalization policy should be revoked and his deductibles raised.

Apropos of nothing: Yesterday, on the road I was behind an expensive BMW. The license plate read X TRMST and the name of the car dealership displayed on the trunk was Maalicki Motors. Is that a sign?

Well said, as usual, byrnie. Oh, you too p-diddy. And get well soon.

The narrative byrningman describes always pops into my head when I hear conservatives bemoaning liberal Hollywoodin and all its America-hating liberal excesses.

In many ways, the American entertainment industry is one of our most effective ambassadors. Karen Hughes can't hold a candle to it.

Also, one of our most lucrative exports. I've heard it said that it is, in fact, our most profitable variety. Wouldn't surprise me.

Damned liberals.

Of course by focussing on cultural liberals (Jimmy Carter? who knew...), one doesn't at all have to think about what the forces of globalization or the oil industry or the US military-industrial complex might have done to piss off the muslims. Bravo, DD!

war-making males in societies across the globe have their hands full

one hand. well, a couple of fingers at least.

The narrative byrningman describes always pops into my head when I hear conservatives bemoaning liberal Hollywoodin and all its America-hating liberal excesses.

In many ways, the American entertainment industry is one of our most effective ambassadors. Karen Hughes can't hold a candle to it.

This is, of course, the flip side of "cultural imperialism" that progressives were moaning about in the 70s and 80s.

Not that I deny any moaning...but I think it's muddy thinking to deny that this phenomenom is entirely onesided.

I'm starting to respect Ann Coulter. Her views may be outrageous, but at least she defends them. I'm getting tired of wingers like D'Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru trying to run away from the titles of their very own books.

What does Jimmy Carter have to do with "the cultural left's responsibility for 9/11"? Search me. And on Colbert, D'Souza kept trying to downplay his subtitle, just like Ponnuru trying to claim that the Democrats aren't the "party of death." Come on, boys - you want to make the Coulteresque big bucks, you gotta put your heart into it!

Like a stopped clock, DD is occasionally right.

They do, in fact, hate us for my freedom -- and for hilzoy's freedom, and probably Ethel's, too. The past 50 years in the West *has* undermined the patriarchy, and nothing causes seething resentment quite like the loss of unearned privileges. The resentment will naturally be sharpest for men in the bottom half of the power hierarchy, because the only privilege they're sure they have is that of being better than any woman.

DD's "writing" clarifies by example how important patriarchy is to maintaining an economic hierarchy, because poor men are bought off by male privilege. Undermining patriarchy makes economic injustice (both international and within nations) more obvious and galling, which, yeah, is fuel on the fire of terrorism.

one hand. well, a couple of fingers at least.

Well, Thullen was just assuming that we're all as, er, "gifted" as he is.

This is, of course, the flip side of "cultural imperialism" that progressives were moaning about in the 70s and 80s.

Not that I deny any moaning...but I think it's muddy thinking to deny that this phenomenom is entirely onesided.

Good point.

The past 50 years in the West *has* undermined the patriarchy, and nothing causes seething resentment quite like the loss of unearned privileges. The resentment will naturally be sharpest for men in the bottom half of the power hierarchy, because the only privilege they're sure they have is that of being better than any woman.

I think this is true to some degree in explaining Islamism's appeal in the lower classes. But that is not Islamism as a political phenomenon, it is merely inspired/manipulated by modern Islamism to prompt a comforting return to pastoral traditionalism. Village life reborn in the overcrowded slums of the Mideast.

But I really agree with those who insist that political Islam - and it's Jihadi variant - is at its core a middle-class phenomenon. This is why, IMHO, economic growth will not eliminate Islamism, because the Islamists represent the most economically dynamic segment of society. Hence the phenomenon of "green capital" in Syria - the rising tide of new business and enterprise that actually encourages liberal economic reform in order to blow past the crooked, pseudo-socialist, rigged old non-islamist bourgeoisie.

The Islamists throughout the region tend actually to be the capitalist/economically liberal reformers.

Which is why I'd also disagree with your statement that in the "past 50 years in the West *has* undermined the patriarchy". Remember that socialists hostile to the Western economic order were running (most of) these countries. Their top-down reforms threatened the middle classes, including the religious establishment. This, at least in Algeria and I think also Egypt, was a major factor in the growth of political Islam in the 1970s - it was middle-class resistance to socialism.

I think. YMMV.

Gwangung, could you clarify what you mean for me?

byrningman:

I don't understand what you're saying about how patriarchy plays into Islamism, or doesn't.

steve - I'm starting to respect Ann Coulter. Her views may be outrageous, but at least she defends them.

I've never seen her defend her views. The sum total of her 'defense' is either to attack the person questioning her or to spew some inflamatory non-sequitur to distract the viewer from the point at hand.

D'Souza went on Colbert?

He's as stupid as he is ... well, stupid.

Hey, Tacitus agrees with you . The world may explode!

Hey, Tacitus agrees with you .

...searching......searching......searching...

Ah-ha!

"Leftists dislike his book because it attacks the left."

*sigh*

when strawmen fight, who really wins?

when strawmen fight, who really wins?

Big Straw. It's a global conspiracy. I've said too much already.

Doctor Science, I mean that I do agree with you about "Islam" offering consolation to disenfranchised men. I would say, however, that that kind of Islamisation is not really our problem, and it's not where jihadis are coming from. It's really a reversion to an imitation of the traditional village life in the midst of the Mideast ever-sprawling slums (urbanisation is extremely dramatic, and new in most of these countries).

Political Islam is ideological, and I think it comes from the middle professional classes and even the bourgeoisie.

Hey you had to go all the way to the end to get the straw quote. That isn't nearly as bad as usual. ;)

That isn't nearly as bad as usual. ;)

no doubt. i was honestly getting worried that he'd go a whole page without a swipe at his imaginary enemies. abrupt changes scare me. luckily, he came through in the end.

Gwangung, could you clarify what you mean for me?

Hm. It's been a while since I was a screaming radical/progressive. "Cultural imperialism" as decried by progressives was the notion that products of Hollywood (TV and movies) were driving out the products of local, Third World countries, replacing the (good) local movies, TVs, plays, etc. with the (bad) Hollywood and New York product, like DALLAS, DYNASTY, etc. A corollary to this was that the values embedded in these imported products were overwriting the local values (not necessarily because they were superior values, but that they were new values allied with technologically superior products).

I am pointing out that this is a very slanted perspective on this phenomenon (which does not hold true in all countries...Bollywood, anyone?); while this effect exists, there are both good things and bad things to it (with respect to the US).

Although, there is another point here...most people on the right have paid little attention to the arts, and have railed about teaching the values of Western culture to the young. This ignores the fundamental rule of excellent writing--show, don't tell. The way most conservatives think about educating Western values, they think about TELLING children (or Third Worlders or...) through PR and propaganda and marketing. They never think about SHOWING them, which is best done through the one medium which is devoted to SHOWING---the arts. The values of Western culture is deeply embedded in classical literature and music; why not teach them, not the dry stuffy way, but in all its glory, so that people enjoy them (and the recipients will co-opt the values embedded in them naturally). The way it's done now, they're pretty much conceding the battle for younger minds to the worst elements of pop culture right now, which is inculcating values that undermine what conservatives hold to be valuable.

Of course, on the other hand, i just may be guilty of muddy thinking myself. Ah, well....

The way most conservatives think about educating Western values, they think about TELLING children (or Third Worlders or...) through PR and propaganda and marketing.

Actually, these days, the preferred means of "education" is through the shock and awe of massive aerial bombardment.

"There, now do you get what's so awesome about democracy, whiskey, sexy?" [said amidst the stench of seared corpses]

Also, I think it belies a weakness in the convictions of a group that is, ostensibly, so convinced that democracy and freedom are universals that appeal to everyone regardless of culture and religion, yet is so dismissive of "soft power" and other means to introduce these concepts to the benighted masses.

No, "they" only understand force.

Eric reminds me of Justice Jackson's words in Barnette:

"To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds."

Not quite bumper-sticker-ready, but nice.

This column by D'Souza is a self parody. The man is ridiculous.

And yet Our Liberal Media are falling all over themselves to get him in print and on the air. And, with the exception of Colbert, not to subject him to ridicule. Weird, huh?

Oh, yeah, and you gotta love that Trevino stuff. "The book is wrong because it isn't sufficiently condemnatory of Islam qua Islam."

Whenever I have the misfortune of reading him, I experience an internal monologue in which I play the Brad Pitt part and he the Kevin Spacey part in Se7en.

As someone who holds to the notion that there is a problem with cultural imperialism, let me try and defend that idea a bit. To me, opposition to the notion of cultural imperialism is when there is a huge imbalance of power/resources, and when a smaller culture is confronted with the demand that they must be more like the majority culture to access the resources they need, something is wrong. One of the problems with people flouting the notion of cultural imperialism was that they assumed that there was only one overwhelming power, which was Western culture, and then made it seem that CI arguments only went against the West or that the West was particularly problematic in that regard. There are lots of situations where the oppressor is not 'the West', but other cultures.

An interesting prism to regard the problem can be seen in the reaction to Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel. The people who read it as an indictment of Western society, or Diamond as an apologist for Western imperialism, were generally those for whom cultural imperialism was a blunt instrument of rhetoric.

It is also important to point out that the cultural imperialism argument is fundamentally an argument for conservatism, and dismissing it totally essentially undermines the notion of conservatism but embracing it without reservation or understanding the true balance of power ends up getting you stitched up the way Colbert did to DD. ('So, you agree that Bin Laden has a point?' 'Well, yes, but...') My own feeling is that complaints about cultural imperialism should be viewed as a subset of the larger category of defending the weak and powerless, which limits it to actually defending rather than trying to replace one master with another.

I think Ruben Bolling got this pretty well:
http://dir.salon.com/story/comics/boll/2002/03/07/boll/index.html

Where was that quote yesterday, Anderson? I had a huge argument with my roommate (also a lawyer, though a prosecutor, so rights are fo suckas as far as he's concerned) about why I don't really like the national anthem before every sporting event.

Publius, you really need to get a second opinion. Your writing has been descending into lousitude for far longer than D'Souza's book has been out. I've been reading your blog since before you were out of school. Your essays were so clear, so thoughtful. Then you graduated and landed a job that necessitated moving to the DC area, and things started to fall apart. Now I read you and see a junior pundit, spouting off about things you know nothing about. Don't take my word for this, just go back and re-read your old essays to see how far you've fallen. I really miss the old Publius and hope it's not too late to reclaim him. I do worry about you because a mind like yours used to be is a treasure. Now it's turning to mush.

As for D'Souza, twits like him are not worth anybody's time.

ej

well ej, i'll plead guilty to some of your diplomatically worded critique. my posts in 2004 were better than they were since -- no argument there. but two things happened:

1 - around the election, i got a job that was extremely demanding. had a child, etc. and i just don't have time to do the original research and reading i used to do.

2 - but more substantively, my point of view changed with the 2004 election. pre-election, i was more centrist in tone and more into outreach, non-patronizing, etc. but something died on election night when i watched the public re-elect bush after iraq, torture, abu ghraib, etc.

there are many fine, sincere, good-at-heart conservatives. but the republican party as an institution is no longer something i care to work with. it mindlessly embraced militant nationalism, contempt for science and facts, utter disrespect for law and procedure, fiscal insanity, demonization of gays, and i could go on. in short, the election was a formative event for me and it convinced me that the gop as currently institutionalized is something to defeat if progress is to made on any number of levels. and only by defeat will it reconstitute itself into something fact-based

as a result, i suspect i grew more shrill, particularly to you, who if i recall are more of a political centrist in many ways.

Our publius is an awesome publius. According to us, at least. (Royal we.)

(cite for my last comment.)

ah yes, i forgot about that one. ej gets negative publius points for that one.

though "lousitude" is a good word

Speaking of that, are we going to get a blogroll out of Publius? Nothing fancy, just a few things to mull over.

Where was that quote yesterday, Anderson?

My ESP was at the cleaners.

Tho I confess, not only do I like the anthem at games, but it pisses me off to see everybody standing there listening to someone else sing it, rather than singing along. I mean, deliberate abstinence is respectable, but these Mississippi folk ain't doin' that -- it's just become a spectator event. Like the war in Iraq.

I tend to stand up and sing. So do most people around me, although I'm usually louder and more on-key than the average joe.

And, not that I need to say this, I do like the national anthem before sporting events. I also like the occasional F-18 overflight. I don't see how the anthem could possibly be more offensive than, for example, the highly annoying TV time-out, but tastes vary. And no one's going to force you to sing if you don't like it.

Slarti, I am with you on this one. I can honestly say that I still get goosebumps when singing the anthem. And I also sing louder than most of those near me, although since I am more off-key they probably wish I didn't.

Heck, I even take off my cap and place it over my heart. My Midwestern values I suppose. Of course, I always thought the final line was "home of the Braves." Being a Milwuakee boy and all that. (Gives a big hint to my age.)

If just the anthem would be better...
I know a few (or more) non-tone-deaf US citizens that would scrap the current one immediately, if it were in their power (and don't let them get started about the choice of text). There are enough alternatives around.

I too have noticed that far fewer people sing along than used to. I wonder if it isn't partly because guest performers tend these days to put their own stamp on the song. There's a lack of standardization. Maybe if the venues played a recording over the PA people would feel more obligated to liven things up by singing, particularly if the recording were instrumental, producing the melody without lyrics. That's how they used to do it, right?

I like the anthem fine. Sometimes it's sung in a way that seems to discourage singing along...I could do without the fly-overs and "U-S-A" cheers, and the 7th inning stretch is for Take Me Out to the Ballgame, not God Bless America (I still love the time the eagle got too close to Jeter, however).

Agreed re: TMOTTBG vs GBA, but I've never seen or heard the USA cheer. I'd tend not to participate in that sort of thing.

I wouldn't make the flyovers commonplace, because then they become commonplace. Once or twice a season is probably enough for me.

I prefer the National Anthem and signing along. Unfortunately, God Bless America is ingrained among Flyers fans as the proper way to start a game, due to distant memories of Kate Smith's signing being an integral part of the Stnaley Cup teams of the mid-70's.

On the other hand, my views of hilzoy's adoptive city went way down when my wife, who grew up an Orioles fan, told me of the movement to restore John Denver's Thank God I'm a Country Boy as the song for the Seventh Inning Stretch, as well as the unusual stress placed on the "O" near the end of the National Anthem.

That's bad Dan, but at Shea Stadium in NYC, when the "Oh Say can you see..." line comes up, the crowd starts chanting "Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose" for SS Jose Reyes.

[to the tune of the chant, "Ole, ole, ole, ole..." that I think has its roots in soccer stadiums IIRC]

Somehow my track back never, err, tracked back. So lookie here. Damn you, Publius! :)

[to the tune of the chant, "Ole, ole, ole, ole..." that I think has its roots in soccer stadiums IIRC]

in soccer it is followed by 'we are the champions, we are the champions...'.
Soccer (at least in the Netherlands) has more 'musical slogans' during the game - singing is for the pub afterwards.

I've only been to an American ballgame once, in NY a few years ago. No anthem, but I gladly sung 'take me out to the ballgame' with the rest of the stadium. When in Rome...

"ole ole ole" was begun by Irish football (soccer) fans in the build-up to the Italian World Cup. It was a football song created by some long forgotten lads that will long outlive them.

The proper lyrics are:

"ole ole ole
ole ole
we're all part of jackie's army [ref to coach Jackie Charlton]
we're all off to italy
and we'll really shake them up
when we win the world cup
because ireland has the greatest football team!!!"


ok, so it's terrible and maybe and remember it incorrectly, but the chant works.

Is it that young? I feel I've been singing hearing it much longer ;)

There's much weirder though...

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