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September 15, 2012


"Jackson folded, spindled, and mutilated this scene and the character of Denethor (and that of Gandalf, as well), IMHO because he couldn't imagine that trying to do one's best for one's country -- but *only* for one's country -- could be wrong. He had to make Denethor icky and baaaaaaad, not just limited by his nationalism."

Been waiting for someone to say this. Jackson nearly ruined the third movie with the way he butchered the characters of Faramir and Denethor.

Sort of off your main point, but nothing Dinesh says or does is worth noticing.

I myself have said that I don't want America to have its current role in the world, I want to be just another country. The very best just another country, mind you. I think we're destroying what's best about us trying to be something more than that.

And I certainly don't want us to be the sort of country where>this happens. That was shameful, no other word can describe it. It makes me sick to my stomach.

I hesitate to ask, cause I have a good idea, but what precisely bothers you about the article? Cause the conditions of his probation were

He had been ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Internet without approval from his probation officer -– and any approved computers were to be used for work only. "Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose," the terms read.

Restrictions were also placed on him enlisting others to get on the Internet for him.

Iirc, your line of argument about illegal immigrants is that they are illegal, so terms like undocumented are misleading. However, here is a case where someone agreed to probation on the terms that he would follow the court's requirements. Why should he not be brought in? Why is the illegality of what he did waived in this case?

Geeze, I have to explain this?

1. Midnight armed raid for a suspected non-violent parole violation? Shouldn't this be handled by telling him to drop by his parole officer for a talk during normal business hours?

2. Perp walk before the press for a guy who's under death threats? What's the point of that, to help potential assassins ID him? They went out of their way to make this public! They went out of their way to make his identity public. When they should have been offering him a slot in the witness protection program based on the threats.

3. At a time when we should be handing out lectures on the importance of free speech, and how people who don't like it should grow thicker skins, we instead go out of our way to find some pretext to publicly move against this guy just because some murderers are mad at him? Way to send precisely the wrong message.

And, by the way, "Why is the illegality of what he did waived in his case?"... What did he do that's illegal? His terms of parole specifically permit him to use a computer during work hours, for work purposes. He claims he was working for the film maker. If that's so, he could have uploaded the video to youtube in perfect compliance with his parole terms.

At most he's suspected of violating his parole.

I always wonder if Obama's anticolonialism is stronger than George Washington's.

I'm surprised that anyone is going to see this movie. After all Palin's vanity pic failed as did that movie based on Ayn Rand. Why would anyone, even a birther, want to go to a movie theater to see this?

Oh well.

Fox is pumping this documentary up.

And Nakoula is the fall guy for some unscrupulous End-Timer fanatics.

Obviously Kremer doesn't appreciate how most of our founding fathers really felt about the world. Can you imagine Benjamin Franklin's dismay if those attitudes that Kremer approves of were ascribed to him?

Brett, do you bother to read other accounts?

Sherriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters that Nakoula voluntarily left his home and said that had neither been handcuffed or placed under arrest. "He will be interviewed by federal probation officials," Whitmore said according to Reuters news agency.

I don't expect you to read all of them, but this has appeared in several stories

Terms of Nakoula’s prison release contain behaviour stipulations that bar him from accessing the internet or assuming aliases without his probation officer’s approval.

and this

Restrictions were also placed on him enlisting others to get on the Internet for him.

As far as having his name revealed, if you clutch those pearls any harder, you might break the clasp.

sod, I suspect that it was the inverse, Nakoula figured out a way to scam End-Timer fanatics out of money to make the movie.

Geeze, I have to explain this? 1. Midnight armed raid for a suspected non-violent parole violation?

From the article: "Authorities waited until most media had left for the day to take Nakoula in."

The oppression. It burns.

But bobbyp, "They went out of their way to make [his name] public!" I'm sure the press wouldn't have known the name of the guy whose house they were staking out if the cops hadn't revealed it.

Dr. S. Great article. I always appreciate it when someone actually gets a clue about why some conservatives think the way they do. I can actually understand the Tea Party being afraid of anyone who is "Cosmopolitan". I had assumed that "Obama's America" was simply a hit piece, but you've given me a reasonable explanation for why someone might actually believe this stuff. Thanks.

And don't let Brett threadjack this.

Good point, Oyster Tea. You are absolutely right.

The condition of probation requiring approval for Internet access may exceed the sentencing court's authority on First Amendment grounds. Appellate courts reviewing similar conditions have reached different results on that question.

Is there any indication that this probationer sought relief from that condition? If not, he arguably acquiesced in the restriction of his liberty.

"Why would anyone, even a birther, want to go to a movie theater to see this?"
Why would anyone watch a Michael Moore movie?

sod, I suspect that it was the inverse, Nakoula figured out a way to scam End-Timer fanatics out of money to make the movie.

I hope you are right. But my gut tells me the organizations behind Nakoula, are trying to drive a wedge between Arab Christians and Arab Muslims, in the region and in the United States.

The very few Arab Protestants in the region are primarily Episcopalian and Lutheran (no End-Timers in that bunch), and they are primarily part of the peace movement.

I think Dinesh is using “anti-colonial ideology” as a way to attack the growing anti-colonialism and isolationism on the right.

Bill Marsh in the Times has a large graphic-style spread on the factions of the GOP — generally a less ideologically diverse party than it was a decade ago. I don’t want to dispute here the relative weight he gives to “Main Street Voters” as opposed to Tea Partyists and the Christian Right. He is correct I think in depicting libertarians as a smaller, less loyal faction, but still a sizeable part of a potential GOP coalition.

What fascinated me was the slot given to neoconservatives. In the graphic, they didn’t even rate a real elephant, just a dotted outline of one.

">"> Times: Neocon Power, Despite Few Voters in Favor, Lives On!

The Neocons are cosmopolitan, as well. Maybe they are anti-pluralist cosmopolitans, I know they tend to romanticize Victorian Imperialism, but they (and Fox) had to mold the rising Tea Party, cuz it used to look like Ron Paul types.

Definitely agree on all points, real world and LOTR especially the scene when Gandalf wise-cracks the death of Denethor. Leaving aside everything wrong about Tolkien, almost every choice Jackson made away from the books was the wrong one.

I think Dinesh is using “anti-colonial ideology” as a way to attack the growing anti-colonialism and isolationism on the right.

That's an interesting observation. One can view Newt's moon colony proposal as a similar move to appeal to empire building without actually having to deal with the messy ramifications. It's an interesting balance, D'Souza has had to write about how any kind of church opposition to Republican policies is because they are being duped, Romney has to toe an isolationist line even though the Mormon church is the religion with the greatest committment (currently) to converting people. Certainly seems like a recipe for schizophrenia.

Cosmopolitans have been a favorite target of authoritarian regimes and ideologies. Both left and right. Stalin had official campaigns against cosmopolitans and the Nazis (and to a degree Imperial Germany before that) spewed hatred against Vaterlandslose Gesellen (fatherlandless fellas). Jews were of course the prime suspects*/** but any political moderate, esp. of lefty persuasion, was automatically on the bad guys list of both sides.

*Ironically, Stalin likely died due to antisemitic paranoia (on both his and his surroundings' part) and while preparing a large scale anti-Jewish campaign.
**Particularly in the 19th century the Catholic Church and the Jesuit Order were also favorite internationalist bogeymen, at times even surpassing the freemasons (who were in cahoots with the Jews of course).

Btw, full agreement on the topic of Faramir.

Yeah, LJ, I heard the other accounts. Heck, there's some "other account" in my link.

Just don't buy them, given the totality of the situation. Of course the guy is going to say it was voluntary, he's not exactly in a position to be frank. Meanwhile, I like>this one best. How true. Like Reynolds says, we need a Republican administration in office, just so the media will bother doing their jobs again.

As for the Lord of the Ring movies, say what you will, but I was so relieved he left out the dancing bears, I can't bring myself to sweat the small stuff.

The dancing bears were in the Hobbit. IIRC their existence was inferred from footprints. But yes, if he leaves them out of the new movie it will in a small way make up for the butchering of the characters of Faramir and Denethor.

I will deign to notice Dinesh now. Much of the right is nostalgic about the good old days of imperialism , so accusing Obama of anti-colonial feeling is probably a deadly insult to them. Niall Ferguson wanted us to fill the shoes of the British Empire and back in the days when I read "Commentary" they seemed to think European imperialism had gotten a bad rap.

I don't think the right is so much nostalgic for the imperialism, as it is for a forthright self-interest which might be mistaken for imperialism.

There's a general perception on the right that Obama has made a lot of choices which don't make any sense, except as part of an effort to diminish the US. Such as blocking the Keystone pipeline, so that China gets Canada's oil instead of us, while we remain dependent on oil from the mideast. This has led to a lot of speculation as to why he wants to diminish the US, with a lot of crazy explanations.

For myself, I don't care why. I don't care if he's a socialist, if he's an anti-imperialist, if he's some kind of Manchurian candidate. I care that.

Frankly, so long as we're dependent on Middle east oil, we can't avoid being somewhat imperialistic. Energy independence is a step in the direction of becoming LESS imperialistic, not more. It would free us to be less involved.

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Ah, that would be my 3 year old. ;)

I think it might be useful for Amy Kremer and her like to read the full quote about "the shining city on a hill". The original comes from John Winthrop.

For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. Soe that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world

The sense is not "We're Number One". The sense, for anyone who needs it spelled out, is "We need to be careful to live up to our ideals".

Because if you don't, then you undermine the legitimacy of what you say you're about, you throw your own credibility out the window, and you become a global joke.

The Puritans were a seriously wack crew in many ways, but they were serious people.

Most everyone else agrees that America should be prosperous, should be strong, should be a force for liberty, should be No. 1 as long as possible.

Nobody ever asks "Number 1 at what?".

The Keystone pipeline is supposed to go to the Gulf Coast and the tax free refineries of Port Arthur (a free trade zone), so the oil can be exported. It really doesn't have much do to with US energy independence. Here's the CS Monitor on the back and forth.

Sorry, that should be foreign trade zone, not free trade zone.

Riiight. And in the event of a oil embargo, or a Gulf war cutting off oil exports, that could never change.

Clearly, from an energy security standpoint, there's a huge difference between oil passing through the US and being exported, and oil routed around the US and then exported. The latter can't stop in the US in an emergency.

So, whether it was planned to be exported or not, the pipeline would make a difference in US energy security.

The Keystone pipeline, of course, is scarcely the only action the President has undertaken to undermine our energy security. But, with an energy secretary who famously said he wanted higher energy prices in the US, is that a surprise? that China gets Canada's oil instead of us...

Who is "us", paleface? Neither of us is an oil company. If either of us were an oil company, we would not sell that Canadian oil to good old Americans unless they were willing to pay at least as much for it as the heathen Chinese. Do you understand the difference between business and patriotism, or don't you?


Brett's not an imperialist, but he argues we have to make sure everything goes thru the US so we can guarantee our security. I will leave others to hash out the differences in that, cause I don't see them.

Anyway, it's not like we can make a left turn at Montana and just route that sour crude into the market. But you are an engineer, so you should realize that.

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"At most he's suspected of violating his parole."

Well, that is a crime that anyone would be brought in for. However, I think there is a valid other reason that hasn't been mentioned yet. He needs to be questioned by homeland security and other anti-terrorism groups because there is a potential that he isn't acting alone to simply produce ridicuously bad cinema. rather, there is a possibility worth exploring that the guy is part of a network that produced ridicuously bad cinema for the planned purpose of setting of violent disturbances in the ME (and perhaps elsewhere). He could be a terrorist and part of azn international plot. Seriously. if I was in charge I'd bring him in and I'd have his little film company thoroughly investigated.

As for the right's anti-cosmopolitanism, I think that is just indicative of a primitive and childish cognitive dissonace avoiding psychology - the type classic amongst those who place image and appearances above substance (though it's also a good excuse for some old fashioned plundering).

It goes like this: I am a good person. I am an american. Ergo, I am a good american. Good americans love their country. I love my country. Being good I cannot love what it is bad or second rate. My country is the best. Since my country is the best, other countries are second rate or worse. Their badness will infect our goodness if we mingle with them in friendly accepting ways. Since we must mingle with them to aquire resources and conduct business and, now, just because there is an internet and such, then our interactions must clearly take the form of superior to inferior.

Sorry, I was just telling Brett's 3-year-old that I know how she feels.

We also resolved the comma problem in the Second Amendment with a punctuation workaround (I accepted two more commas) which entails banning large clips, but just between her and me .... ytpgsxp, fpsz,, bb qqxq,xqxq,

Who says a couple of three-year-olds couldn't run the country?

She told me, too, off the record, that her first word to Brett was Dada which appeals to the Dadaist in me. ;)

The State of Nebraska, via its conservative Republican Governor (also head of the Republican Governor's Association) and Republican majority State legislature AND Republican majority reps to Washington requested the delay in approval of the Keystone Pipeline to allow Transcanada Corp. to reroute the pipeline around sensitive areas of the Ogallala Aquifer.

What do you know? A little bi-partisan governing, although if it revealed that the Nebraska Republican delegation was merely (laid end to end) engaging in a ratf*cking setup to produce talking points leading up to November, I wouldn't be surprised.

Anyway, two words: State's Rights.

Should we conclude that the United States under a Bellmorian libertarian regime would willy-nilly forgo questions of American national and state sovereignty to international corporate entities without a by-your-leave?

If I'm not mistaken, Transcanada, for the record, still has the worst pipeline spill on record, but that may have changed.

I suppose if a Canadian entity wanted to build a pipeline that pumped cheaper tax-payer funded universal healthcare to residents of all fifty states, a Bellmore Administration would give the green light, no questions asked, and look the other way when toxic longer wait times for certain medical procedures leaked into the U.S. healthcare "system".

The pipeline will be built, whether anyone likes it or not.

How many Blackhawk's are there?

Is a Blackhawk12 a Blackhawk7 who has been through a 12-step program?

I'm pretty sure pipelines are "free speech" under current Constitutional jurisimprudence.

"I'm pretty sure pipelines are "free speech" under current Constitutional jurisimprudence."

They are entities with the same rights as humans.

"How many Blackhawk's are there?"

We are legion. However, only #7 and #12 have been assigned to the ObWi sector.

Why am I not surprised that Brett prefers the incoherent rantings of Glenn Reynolds to any reasonable commentary? Under any other circumstances, the loony words of a man indulged by the taxpayers of Tennessee with a tenure-protected job would be dismissed out of hand by Brett, but since the narrative indulges his paranoid delusions, surprise!

In any case, Reynolds done already got his milkshake drank on this matter (see points 4 and 5) by someone who actually has had to work in criminal justice for a living rather than having a cushy taxpayer-funded sinecure.

That should read points 3, 4 and 5. Most relevantly:

Many people are upset by Sam Bacile aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula being detained and interviewed, apparently at the behest of probation officers. I think the situation bears careful watching [Edit: to be clearer, by that I mean that I am open to evidence that it was an administration-driven political arrest.] Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he's apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his "Sam Bacile" persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a "Coexist" video involving kittens.

For Some Imbecile's sake, I hope his urine sample didn't turn up alcohol consumption while he was on probation for driving under the influence.


"conservatives" are arguing with their imaginary Obama again. why should anyone do anything but point and laugh?

Good Lord, even Texas landowners and citizens are rising up against the impositions of the Transcanada Pipeline.

I can imagine if Dinesh D'Souza was a Texas rancher, yup, head 'em up Rowdy D'Souza, he'd be filming documentaries about Barack Fanon Obama conspiring with Rick Perry and the colonialist interloper Transcanada to poison his hat with no cattle.

This just in, too, .... Dinesh D'Souza has just ripped Tea Parties past and present for hating on the East India Tea Company's colonialist monopoly.

i have a hard time being upset at D'Souza because he looks exactly like mild-mannered, whipping boy, Timmy from Rules Of Engagement.

Link for Texas anti-colonialist, environmental wacko, private land-owning Kenyan rage-aholic ranchers:

Possibly this belongs in the earlier thread, but I don't get the conservative critique of Obama in the current Mideast mess. Going by the NYT story today link, the attack in Libya was conducted by a small extremist militia and because the murdered American diplomat was popular in Libya, they are making contradictory statements about what happened. Hell, I'm not a big fan of Obama, but if the majority of Libyans are saddened by what happened and you get bigger pro-American demonstrations than anti-American mobs then it seems difficult to criticize Obama on this.

So Obama was wrong for supporting the Arab Spring (his actual record on that is mixed at best) or for not supporting dictators who could have squashed it before it got anywhere. Or perhaps the Republicans could make both criticisms simultaneously, but that hasn't worked out too well for them on Medicare.

I don't know whether D'Souza attended the Values Voters Summit, but they covered the main points without him:

Hat tip to Kevin Drum.

Michelle Bachmann, Presidential candidate, actually accused Barack Obama of personally brainwashing FBI agents to follow Sharia Law.

The jackelope former Muslim terrorist grifter who speaks at these fetes said Barack Obama will close all churches and synagogues by next year at the latest.

Apparently, images of Ronald Reagan garnered scattered and tepid applause compared to images shown of other, more contemporary Republican crazy people so adjust your Overton Window accordingly.

Now, I'm off to brainwash about 60 three-to-seven year-olds in the finer points of Sharia Law in the Sunday peewee baseball league I'm working for.

When I say "hit the cutoff" (way beyond kids in this age group, so we don't do that), there's always some outfielder who takes us literally and slugs the poor shortstop in the mouth.

Have a fine Sunday, everyone.

I believe that the greatest achievement of a teacher is that his student exceed him. Which applies whether the teacher is an individual or a nation.

Clearly Mr. D'Souza, if he is consistent, would take the position that no teacher should ever let a student do better than he has done. Which is pretty appalling in someone who purports to be an educator.

I don't get the conservative critique of Obama in the current Mideast mess

I can explain it.

Obama = bad.

Concerning Winthrop and his Shiny Happy City

This sort of misappropriation of a biblical metaphor has become invisible to most Americans, including Christians. The nation-state now owns the metaphor that Christ gave to his church. If a new book were to appear with the title A City Upon a Hill—as one recently has—how many people would assume for a moment that the book covered church history or offered an exegesis of Matthew 5? To a remarkable degree, the American identity has eclipsed the church's identity in the public imagination.


Maybe you guys could help me out with how we understand cosmopolitan/internationalism.

I think Neocons are both cosmopolitan and intellectual, but like to act as anti-cosmopolitan and anti-intellectual posers. This posing, thread together some disparate ideologies (Evangelical Nationalism, Cosmopolitan multiculturalism, Zionism, Victorian Imperialism) while claiming other conservative impulses as “un-American” (Isolationism, the Old Right and Paleo-Conservatism, Libertarianism). Neoconservatives are identical to the cosmopolitan liberals they make fun of, (effete, metropolitan, multi-cultural, urbane, intellectual), but ….

Cosmopolitanism: Suicide or Murder

Kevin MacDonald (Evolutionary Biology & Biobehavioral Sciences and self-described “racialist”) who would have agreed with the German Right Harmut wrote about, writes “The transformation of the ethnoreligious demography of American academic life by Jews” in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s, as well as the Jewish influence on trends toward the secularization of American society and in advancing an ideal of cosmopolitanism. As early as the early 1940s, this transformation resulted in “a secular, increasingly Jewish, decidedly left-of-center intelligentsia based largely but not exclusively in the disciplinary communities of philosophy and the social sciences” (Hollinger 1996, 160). By 1968, Jews constituted 20 percent of the faculty of elite American colleges and universities and constituted 30 percent of the “most liberal” faculty. In other words, “THE JEWS DID IT TO US!!! And it sux!”

The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in 20th Century Intellectual & Political Movements

Eric Kaufmann (Political Sociologist and self-described cosmopolitan liberal Jewish Chinese-American) writes about the mechanism by which the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant founders of the U.S. lost their political and cultural dominance. Kaufmann shows how a longstanding cosmopolitan element within WASP ideology shifted from a symbolic role to the core of national life, and the WASP population recast their own role accordingly. In other words, “THEY DID IT TO THEMSELVES!!!And it was good!!!”
The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America

Cosmopolitanism: Suicide or Murder

Suicide — Or Murder? Kaufmann's Rise and Fall of Anglo-America

Whatever is the case, cosmopolitanism/internationalism/urbane-intellectualism, had a huge impact on the United States, and has been an attribute on the right, as well as the left. (H.L. Menken and guys like him, who were not leftist, but were hyper-critical of Anglo-Protestant traditions) But the Right (and to a way lesser degree on the American liberal-left) has different rules for authenticity and “real-Americaness” so the Neocons have different hoops to jump through. Their Kabuki dance has different movements, and thus the tensions in their narratives concerning America are much more “creative.”

I don’t know what, but the Neocon vision has a better chance of reaching non-white immigrants looking to “assimilate” into the American Right, but will cause problems with the traditional right. Remember my b!tching about Evangelicals and their generic conservative Protestantism, which hopes to bring together otherwise disparate traditions. Conservatives desire a multi-culturalism of a sort, as well.

I don’t know yet, still trying to figure things out.

blocking the Keystone pipeline, so that China gets Canada's oil instead of us, while we remain dependent on oil from the mideast.


How does the Canadian oil get to China, anyway? By ship, I suppose.


Suppose the only way to get oil from Canada to the US or anywhere else were by ship. Would it be cheaper to send it to the US, or to China? Feel free to consult a map before answering.

Concerning Eric Kaufmann’s Identity

I think Eric Kaufmann’s Identity says somethin’!

Suppose the only way to get oil from Canada to the US or anywhere else were by ship. Would it be cheaper to send it to the US, or to China? Feel free to consult a map before answering.

I thought Canadian oil could only be refined outside of the United States, and building refineries that can accommodate Canadian oil would not be cost effective plus most American communities do not want any more oil refineries near them. Chinese communities do not have the same options

I thought Canadian oil could only be refined outside of the United States,...

Then how would a pipeline help?

It get's it to better ports, faster.

Sorry. I don't understand.

Can you provide a more detailed explanation?


Brett, if your concern is energy security, then you should be complaining, vigorously, that Obama hasn't done enough to fund research and development in alternative energy sources. Because there is no other way we get free of critical dependence on oil imports.

And, since R&D always has a non-zero failure rate, means that you want more Solindras. Just so you're aware that getting both energy independence any time soon and smller government involvement in energy R&D are mutually exclusive goals. Feel free to pick either one you prefer. But don't delude yourself that you can have both.

There is ample oil pipeline capacity leading from the tar sands in Canada to refineries in the MidWest, in fact they currently are being used well under capacity. The problem is that right now that is the only place the oil from the tar sands can go is to US markets. The point of the Keystone pipeline extension is to get that oil to ports on the Gulf of Mexico so it can be sold on the world market. South America is the most likely destination for oil from the Keystone pipeline.

It looks like I may have been wrong. The amount of oil we import from Canada will not change. The Keystone XL is an exporter line meaning that diluted bitumen will be sent to refineries on the Gulf coast within a Foreign Trade Zone to be exported tax free to the overseas market. The Keystone XL will not bring oil to the US, only through it.

">"> TAR SANDS IMBROGLIO—Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed

TransCanada’s paper says,” The crude oil Keystone XL will transport will not be shipped to China; it will be refined at U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast to meet American demand for petroleum products. This pipeline is not an export pipeline.” However, they make no mention of other parts of the globe.

But what foundation of facts and news sources would satisfy us all? Washington Post and New York Times has quite a bit, but I don’t think those news sources would satisfy some folks.

I've just put up a post for the energy talk.

About cosmopolitanism, Harmut's example of Stalin is really interesting, because initially, the Communist revolution was very cosmopolitan and Stalin's way to hold onto power was to demonize those elements. One thinks about the Spanish Civil War and the various volunteer forces assembled there and notes that the term rootless cosmopolitan only becomes a slur after WWII. On the other hand, the Nazis also seemed to boast about cosmopolitanism when discussing the fight against Bolshevism and the notion of Aryan encompassed not just the German folk, but . iirc, In Beevor's book about the Fall of Berlin, he quotes a German general bragging that in the sector of Berlin that he was defending had representatives from every nation in Europe. Beevor also notes it is was unsurprising that all the bitterenders from around Europe would be gathered in one place, as the war that required one side to be completely annihilated.

Jackson folded, spindled, and mutilated this scene and the character of Denethor (and that of Gandalf, as well), IMHO because he couldn't imagine that trying to do one's best for one's country -- but *only* for one's country -- could be wrong. He had to make Denethor icky and baaaaaaad, not just limited by his nationalism.

You should be cautious assigning motives - Jackson is, of course, a New Zealander and not an American.

This doesn't preclude your comment being right, but his experience of "nationalism" is one as part of a small nearly powerless country that tells myths of its moral and cultural superiority which are not tied to military or diplomatic dominance.

(And we won't go into why NZ's domestic myths of its own unique moral virtue are not quite accurate *cough* *cough* Samoa *cough*)

I think an idealized cosmopolitan would say: I am only resident but never truly citizen of the state/place where I am. I am part of mankind as a whole and my loyalty lies there not with any subgroup.
An internaionalist would follow more the line of Fritz Haber: In peace for mankind, in war for the fatherland.
Nationalist: Always for my country only. Support for anything else only when it benefits my country*.
The fourth category would be the really rootless, i.e. those that have no loyalty at all either to a state or to mankind**.
I think communism, before it became a tool of Russian (and Chinese etc.) nationalism, was primarily internationalist and secondarily 'classialist', class supplanting nation as the focus of loyalty.
Jewry was always split and ironically modern anti-semitism arose when there began a strong effort to drop the idea of a Jewish 'nation' in favor of Jewdom as a pure religion. Esp. in Germany the 'Western' Jews became hypernationalist and despised the 'caftan Jews' from Eastern Europe. They were as eager to get rid of them as the traditional anti-Judaists. But this was seen by some as just a plot to better hide the nefarious plans of 'international Jewry'. The stronger the assimilation grew, the more also did the paranoia. The caftan Jew was now seen as annoying but harmless (since easily spotted), the true danger was the camouflaged overcompensating assimilated one. Antisemitism became a 'science' of 'spot the Jew'. I'd say the high point was reached even before the 20th century. Compared to some screeds from late 19th century the (average) Nazis look almost moderate (Robert Ley and Julius Streicher who come close were seen even by most Nazis as nutjobs).
As for Jackson and Faramir, Jackson stated that the found Faramir to be too good to be believed. A 'conversion' story would be more credible to the viewers. He blurs the distinct contrast Tolkien has built between Faramir and Boromir. The latter has to be redeemed not the former. Tolkien from the start introduces Boromir as a problematic character and strongly hints that he is in as much for his own glory as for that of Gondor (and took the job from the first and better choice, his brother, for that very reason). Interestingly that was a late decision. Iirc there was no Faramir in Tolkien's mind before Frodo met him in Ithilien. Then all the backplot had to be worked into the existing text (not uncommon for Tolkien. Aragorn was a hobbit, maybe even Bilbo in disguise, up to the Falls of Rauros and Treebeard was originally supposed to be an enemy who filled much of Saruman's later role).

*the extreme cases of course see it as a zero sum game, i.e. any benefit for 'them' must be a loss for 'us'.
**international corporations are the prime example of course, although they often pretend otherwise. Murdoch's media in Britain are anti-German, in Germany anti-Britain (and trying to keep cosy relationships with the party in power in both places)

"As for Jackson and Faramir, Jackson stated that the found Faramir to be too good to be believed."

Well, maybe he's too cynical. I don't expect to meet too many Faramirs in real life politics, but this is a fantasy. Besides, hello? What about Sam and a fair number of other characters?

Also, he took a great character as written in Denethor--a great man with flaws that bring him down--and turned him into some cheap caricature. Jackson isn't an American, but the cheaper scenes in his movies reminded me of what one would see in a typical American action movie or TV show. Jackson's Denethor was the sniveling cowardly villain in such a movie who get what is coming to them, with the audience cheering, which happened in the theater where I saw it. He also totally botched the meaning of what was happening in the Sam/Frodo/Gollum interaction, which was the crucial moral point of the book (compassion and mercy save the world, even if not everyone who is shown mercy is saved), but I obviously feel too strongly about some dumb movie.

I still think the movies surpass by far what had to be expected from a big $$$ production. Even with all the flaws, one has just to look at all the changes Jackson resisted despite significant pressure. How would you have liked it with secondary love stories, a maximum of two hobbits and very likely some cute animal sidekicks? And then there were ideas about making Eowyn Boromir's sister (who needs Rohan?) and having Kate Winslet play Sauron.
Some bad changes made it into the films due to 9/11 though. Originally, Tolkien's occasional attempts to humanize the enemy (at least on the grunt level) were part of the script but got thrown out because the enemy had to be unredeemably evil in the poisoned climate of the day.
I doubt we'll ever see a truly better adaption. And The Hobbit may become really dreadful.
I think the best attempts until now of adapting Tolkien for other media are the BBC radio LotR* and the German radio Hobbit (decades old both). Not a fan of the BBC Hobbit and reserved about the German radio LotR though.

*The Saruman of this production imo even outclasses Christopher Lee who is otherwise perfect for the role.

"I still think the movies surpass by far what had to be expected from a big $$$ production."

That's true, and I actually thought some of the changes worked. For instance, Arwen as an action hero made sense --Elvish women in the Silmarillion kicked butt. Galadriel helped lead her people over the Arctic icecap or whatever Tolkien called it, and Luthien saved Beren once or twice. So why shouldn't Arwen carry Frodo to safety?

I loved the first movie, liked the second one a lot, and even liked the third, but the changes in the third were mostly bad ones that at times almost ruined it for me.

but the changes in the third were mostly bad ones that at times almost ruined it for me

i read LOTR a bunch of times when i was younger, but by the time the movies came out, i'd forgotten most of the details (and even some broad sections of plot). so for me, not having a good memory of the original, the changes were all fine.

Jackson made a broadly-appealing movie, not a reenactment.

about the only thing i didn't like was Frodo's weepy doe-eyes. i could've used a little more depression and weariness and a lot less heartache and sighing.

Although partially spoiled by overdone comic relief I think the Battle of Helm's Deep was the high point. This truly gave the impression of a battle that means something and could be real (stroke of genius: the intercutting with the civilians in the caves that can hear the battle but don't know whether it means salvation or impending doom). In comparision the battle on the Pelennor fields was imo totally overdone and artificial (I'm inclined to even call it fake looking).
But I think the scene that will be considered the greatest achievement in the long run is the dialogue Smeagol-Gollum has with himself that ends with Smeagol (the good side) banishing Gollum (the bad side) both for the acting and the creation of a 'truly living' CGI creature.

Agreed about Elijah Wood.

For all my complaints, I'm hopeful about the Hobbit movies. He did a mostly very good job with LOTR.

Note that there really is some significant evidence that in making this film, they guy committed fraud on the internet.

Originally, Tolkien's occasional attempts to humanize the enemy (at least on the grunt level) were part of the script but got thrown out because the enemy had to be unredeemably evil in the poisoned climate of the day.

This reminded me of something Richard K. Morgan, wrote:

“I tell you, it’s no game serving down in the city - Gorbag – forgotten orc captain from Minas Morgul

That little twist of urban angst quoted above is one such trace. It comes at the end of The Two Towers and is part of an on-going set of dialogues between two orc captains at the tower of Cirith Ungol. And for a while – until Tolkien remembers these are Bad Guys and sends the wearyingly Good and Wholesome Sam up against them – we get a fascinating insight into life for the rank and file in Mordor. The orcs are disenchanted, poorly informed and constantly stressed by the uncertainties that lack of information brings. They suspect that the war might be going badly for their side, and that their commanders, far from being infallible, seem to be making some serious errors of judgment. They worry that if their side loses, they can expect scant mercy from their victorious enemies. They mutter their misgivings sotto voce because they know that there are informers in the ranks and a culture of enforcement through terror bearing down from above. They also seem possessed of a rough good humour and some significant loyalty to the soldiers they command. And they’re not enjoying the war any more than Frodo or Samwise; they want it to be over just as much as anybody else.

From: The Real Fantastic Stuff

That theme is all through Tolkien--Gandalf is the closest thing to the authorial voice in the book and at one point he says he pities even Sauron's slaves. Sam has a moment like that when he sees the dead soldier from Harad, wondering if he wouldn't rather have stayed home and what combination of lies and threats might have been used to get him to fight. Sam himself is gently criticized by Tolkien for not understanding what Frodo did--that Gollum was worthy of pity, and was a mixture of good and evil like himself. (Frodo had to come gradually to that realization.) Weirdly, Jackson portrays the good vs. evil struggle in Gollum fairly well, but he makes Sam out to be the wise one and Frodo is just the Ring-addled addict who can't see how evil Gollum is.

The main flaw in Tolkien is the racial/ethnic bias. It's nice that Sam thought that about the dead soldier, but it would have been better if some Haradrim had been humanized in a more direct way. Instead, though, you have the Western Christian theme of good white people against dark skinned people misled by the Dark Lord. Tolkien was a product of his time.

China Mieville, a self-described Marxist and a fantasy author who is very critical of Tolkien , spent some time reminding us what was and is special about Tolkien:

"There are plenty of other reasons to be grateful to Tolkien, of course--and reasonable reasons to be ticked off at him, too: critique, after all has its place. But so does admiration..."

From: ">"> There and Back Again: Five Reasons Tolkien Rocks


Esp. in Germany the 'Western' Jews became hypernationalist and despised the 'caftan Jews' from Eastern Europe.

This carried over into the US. Before the great immigration around 1900, Jewish population was mostly Sephardic (southern European) or German in origin. The German Jews in the US were highly assimilated and prosperous. The group included, for example, the founders of Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers as well as other investment houses.

When "Ostjuden," poor and more orthodox, began to arrive in great numbers they were somewhat disliked by the established community, and there were efforts, which enjoyed minor success, to redirect them away from New York. Hence a fair number immigrated through Galveston.

I believe much of the is chronicled in Stephen Birmingham's Our Crowd

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