Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, October 30, 2008

George Will says, "Tuesday's probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign's closing days." This is because he is a moron. To be sure, the McCain people have run a catastrophically poor campaign, but the repudiation isn't going to be over tactics, it will be because the policies of the Republican Party have been established as completely wrong, and because the Republican party has demonstrated that it is not competent to govern. Will is trying to seperate his 19th Century beliefs from the GOP, but it's not fooling anybody. You guys own Iraq, baby. The world-wide financial meltdown? That's yours too. And hey, don't leave with out taking credit for the collapse of America's international prestige. The party of torture? That's you. Denial of civil liberties? A Republican Party tradition since at least the Nixon years.

People are shaking their heads over the Train wreck of the Straight Talk Express, but people don't vote based on the way campaigns are run. They vote on the issues, and they vote for the person they think can help them with their problems, or against the person that they think will make their problems worse.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

EGA. Indianapolis. 13.1

People ask me, when people read Outside Counsel what were they actually looking for? (Actually Dave asked me. Once. And it was years ago.) Sometimes what they are looking for is me-- I have lately been back in communication with a friend from college days, a nice surprise, who found me by way of this toy. Owing to his reclusive ways I'll not name him here, but I will mention that he sent me a book about Elliot Wave Theory that I've been reading with genuine interest. The Elliott Wave principle is a form of technical analysis that attempts to forecast trends in the financial markets-- and social trends. It has been around since the late 30's, and it is pretty widely accepted by market technicians-- it is one of the methods included on the exam that analysts must pass to earn the professional accreditation developed by the Market Technicians Association, so people who do that sort of thing for a living obviously think there is something to it.

I'm certainly not equipped to debunk it. It seems to me that if applying the Fibonacci sequence to the operation of markets worked, the system would collapse on itself, since investors would be able to predict when the market would move, and then invest, at that moment, causing the market to move exactly as predicted, and eliminating their profit. I also think that it has a flaw as a model in that it relies on the notion that mathematics is capable of more than describing things outside of its own system. Sure, you can apply mathematical models to describe anything, but since mathematics can't explain itself it is flawed as a predictive descriptor. I've seen black swans, you know? On the other hand, I have always been a "buy high, sell low" kind of investor, so what do I know? (Actually, that's not completely true-- sometimes we buy in, and then hold as the investment totally craters.) I wish it worked, because then if I had money, I would have a cool tool to help me invest it. One of the reasons I don't have money (apart from our investment strategy) is that what I think is really interesting about the Elliott Wave theory is that it is supposed to work to predict social trends. Indeed, that's why it works with markets, they say-- markets are a type of social trend, and therefore operate in a Fibonacci sequence just like human history.

This puts me in mind of two things. Certainly one is tempted to say, Hegel and Marx, here's your hat. Ralph Nelson Elliott has stolen your dialectical analysis and turned it into a straightforward mathematical proposition, complete with graphs.

That would be an interesting topic for an Economics term paper, and I have no doubt that they abound. The other thing that the Elliott Wave puts me in mind of is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. See, this is where my mind goes. A friend tells me, Here's a system for making dough, and immediately my mind goes to political philosophy and trashy science fiction. I re-read the Foundation Trilogy a while back when I was home with the flu and was struck by how really dreadful they are-- it's talk talk talk, all exposition and funny names. The MacGuffin is that the Galactic Empire is collapsing, and a scientist has developed a scientific method of analyzing history to predict the future. It is literally a series constructed around deus ex machina, and as you read it it is difficult to keep from exclaiming, "Oh come on!" It would be interesting to know if Asimov had heard of Elliott Wave Theory.

How come nobody ever calls me with a tip on a horse?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Amusing piece on the flap over the "Deluxe" version of "Tell Tale Signs". Good check off on some of the more unusual live re-workings Dylan has officially released:

"Over the years, concertgoers have been treated to, for example, reggae versions of “Don’t Think Twice It's Alright” (1978 tour, officially available in Live at Budokan), a vicious rewrite of “Lay Lady Lay,” where the titular lady’s wooing has degenerated into “let’s go upstairs, who really cares” (1976 tour, Dylan was going through a difficult divorce at the time), and a stately, almost unrecognizable 7-minute-long “Blowin’ In the Wind” (2000 tour, officially available on a UK bonus disc with Best of, Vol. 2). The many versions of the kaleidoscopic masterpiece “Tangled Up In Blue” have ranged from the romantic view of a breakup on Blood on the Tracks (1975) and the Rolling Thunder Tour (“there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air”), to the brilliant cynicism of the Real Live version (1984, same line: “there was snow all winter and no heat, revolution was in the air”), passing through the thoroughly bizarre 1978 version—a sax-heavy ballad featuring an exotic dancer with a Bible fetish."

I was surprised by how not-awful "Live at Budokan" is when I gave a borrowed copy a spin for a project. By no means should you run out and buy it, but it made a certain kind of sense for Dylan to approach his material that way at that time and place.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It is interesting to think about how the Obama campaign has worked, because it suggests that the same approach will be taken to governing the country. Obama has been a meticulous, careful planer, who consulted with legitimate experts, not just pols. He has been inclusive, campaigning everywhere, rather than targeted. Although the commentary about him is frequently about his personal qualities, he seems focused on substance. And he has run a tight ship. I can't think of a single misstep, and when circumstances have forced him to address something unforeseen-- as with the Rev. Wright-- he has managed to turn it into a legitimate point for important discussion. We're lucky-- he seems to have a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, a rare thing indeed. He is going to need both.

That said, it is more interesting to contemplate the trainwreck that McCain's campaign has been. The press he gets is still more fawning than he deserves, and that may be how he-- and the Republican Party-- ended up in this place, because the brutal fact of the matter is that the man is simply not suited to any role other than gadfly Senator. The piece in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine is a good example. Although it is less damning than Jane Mayer's article in the New Yorker last week, nevertheless portrays a candidate who has no real expertise in anything except shooting from the hip. Undoubtedly this is a big part of his appeal to reporters, but it is hardly a qualification for office. When you hold McCain's record up, what is there? He has virtually no legislative accomplishments, and the things that have distinguished his career have largely been institutional in nature-- forging compromise on filibuster rules, campaign finance-- it's all inside Senate baseball.

I'm not so sure that the Palin pick is what made the difference, but I can't imagine that Barrack Obama would have let some group of shadowy advisors tout him off a VP candidate that he really wanted. McCain's big selling point is supposed to be his character. I've never bought it, but you don't hear stories like this about a man of integrity:

“They took it away from him,” a longtime friend of McCain—who asked not to be identified, since the campaign has declined to discuss its selection process—said of the advisers. “He was furious. He was pissed. It wasn’t what he wanted.” Another friend disputed this, characterizing McCain’s mood as one of “understanding resignation.”

In a way McCain's campaign resembles Kerry's four years ago. They both tried to make their candidacy about their pasts, instead of the country's future-- and, of course, they were both wrapped up in the Culture Wars. Poor Vietnam, always a proxy for something.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sometimes you need a judge fast, and it doesn't always happen during business hours. There are, I've heard, judges who have made it known that they are available for emergency applications, and one could, I suppose, scour restaurants and country clubs until you find someone to sign your TRO, but now there is a better way. The Office of Court Administration has set up a central point of contact a toll-free telephone number and email address for attorneys to request to appear before a Judge: (800) 430-8457 or OCA staff will answer the call or email, obtain basic information from the attorney, and contact the appropriate Administrative Judge, who will make arrangements. Isn't that cool?

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm just shy of old enough to remember this poster, I think, but it is now officially my favorite thing about Joan Baez. Or Mimi Farina, for that matter. I like the update too. It is interesting that sex and sexuality have played such a big role in this election-- HRC, of course, and the Obama Girl. I guess it got overheated with the selection of Governor Palin. It would take a more astute cultural commentator than I am to tease the meaning out of all this-- the fecund former beauty queen with the expensive wardrobe, the Kennedy-esq youth and vigor of the Harvard educated Democrat. What troubles me is that it all resembles 60's Culture Wars redux, and the poster brings that home. The promise of the Obama campaign that has the greatest appeal to me has been the notion that we might get past that. Obama is not a narcissistic Baby Boomer, and hasn't seemed interested in revisiting those fights. Dragging the Weathermen into this election hasn't worked, even as 60's nostalgia. It seems to me that we would be well advised to put the 60's away, but I wonderif that's what's going to happen. I thought it was a positive development when, during the third debate, the two candidates clearly stated their positions on reproductive choice. There was none of the tip-toeing around that has characterized the discussion of this issue in the past. McCain is against it, and said so, and Obama is in favor, and likewise said so. McCain has been on the Hill for so long that he got tripped up on the "litmus test" question, but we knew what he meant. It will be very difficult after this for anyone to argue over what the majority of Americans think about this issue, and the Supreme Court will undoubtedly notice this. Johnson and Nixon were both brought down because they couldn't think of a way out of Vietnam. Their mistake was that they looked to the past for a template, and there wasn't one. Vietnam was a new thing, a proxy war in the post-nuclear age, and they lacked the creativity to deal with it. Similarly, the economic meltdown that we are now in is different from anything we have ever seen-- it is a collapse of liquidity and credit in a global economy, a completely new thing. My sense is that Obama recognizes a truth about America that McCain would never be able to acknowledge-- that ending the Iraq war, and addressing the problem of global terrorism, and restoring the world's economic health are all things that can only be done if we are able to find ways to cooperate with the rest of the world. The notion of American Exceptionalism is a big part of how we got into this mess. Getting out is going to be a bitch. The Republican Party is bottoming out at just about the right time. If we can confine the sniping and the backbiting to the 20% or so that think George W. Bush is doing a hell of a fine job than maybe we have a chance of getting somewhere, but we aren't going to be able to do that if we behave in victory the way that they have.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Worst Supreme Court decisions. Bush v. Gore is pretty bad for a number of reasons, starting with its outcome and all that flowed from it. What makes it really bad is that it is so clearly an outcome-determinative set of opinions. The justices would never have taken those positions, on both sides, if the dispute had been over anything else, and that's pretty disgraceful. Bowers v. Hardwick is bad too, because it really turned on bigotry rather than on existing jurisprudence. I'd go with Dred Scott and Plessy vs. Ferguson myself. In a funny way it is a tribute to our legal system that the damage caused when the Supreme Court screws up is so profound. And I think it is worth noting that the courts in general seem to mostly get it right.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ron Rosenbaum and friends muse over "Mississippi". I haven't popped for "Telltale Signs" yet, but I will. I'd thought about pre-ordering it, but got hung up on the various configurations. In the final analysis going for the "limited edition" three disk set is a chump move, and I am vexed by it its existence. Ol' Bob is said to be the wellspring for the rock'n'roll bootleg, and I think it's great that he has seen fit to authorize the release of archival material, but the way this release has been handled is just begging for the release of "The Great White Wonder Returns".

Monday, October 20, 2008

So Colin Powell has endorsed Obama. I really don't see how this helps, and I can imagine it hurting. Powell's credibility was shot when he took his PowerPoint to the UN to lie deliver flawed intelligence as a ploy to justify the Iraq invasion. The satellite photos that he said were WMD manufacturing sites looked like the back of Wegmans to me, and wouldn't have fooled a Buffalo jury for a minute. Come to think of it, he didn't fool the UN, either, although somehow HRC and quite a few Americans were persuaded.

Powell got played for a chump, and he thinks this is payback time. Would have been nice if he'd come forward sometime before what is brewing up to be a pretty convincing win, and it would have been even better if he'd had the wit to have recognized that he was being played for a chump back when that might have savded some lives. Instead what we have is something that a lot of white voters who are inclined to view Obama nervously because of his race may see as something approaching validation of their worst fears. I'm right there with Lyle Lovett on this one. Thanks for nothing, General Powell. Again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To The Cindy Blackman Quartet the opening show Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright Knox last night, a terrific set. About midway through, struck by Ms. Blackman's athletic rhythm and pinpoint control it occured to me that most jazz performances can be described to someone who wasn't there by referencing a specific period in Miles Davis' career. Cindy Blackman drums like Tony Williams, and the sound she seems to have in mind is a blend of that electric Miles trending towards "On the Corner" funk. I think it's the first time we've heard an electric piano in the ten years this series has been running; come to find out that this was his first date with the band. I was most impressed with George Mitchell on bass, who did all the subtle things that are necessary to hold this sort of music together.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mad props to EGA, who turned in a snazzy 1:54:36.9 (08:44 a mile, 31st in her age group) at the Indianapolis Half Marathon. 13.1 is a lovely distance, and she reports that the weather was ideal. Hal Higdon got her there, but the real secret was training on the Bloomington hills. Indy is a pretty flat course, but every time she encountered an incline she was able to open it up a little and motor past runners who were struggling. (Cross-posted from the KRAC blog.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have been liberal enough with my criticism of Kings County Supreme Court in the past, so I think it is only fair to comment when I encounter something positive. When your case is on the calendar in Brooklyn it is called in a central jury part, where it is assigned for jury selection, and then sent out to an IAS judge. Back when I was in Kings more often the part was called Trial One, but they call it something else now. It is an unruly room. Typically there are over a hundred cases a day on the trial calendar, plus motions and miscellaneous business. The judge assigned to the part has to get the oldest cases out to pick, or settled, or otherwise disposed of. It is certainly a challenging job to move the calendar there, and over the years it has seemed to me that the favored tools for doing this were bullying and intimidation. It also has always seemed to me that Kings is the county where being an insider is the the most valuable-- hardly surprising, given the heritage of corruption at 360 Adams. That said, the judge that is presiding there presently, the Hon. Allen Hurkin Torres, impresses me as being everything that I have never seen there before. Although the Part is unruly, there is an atmosphere of civility. Although the calendar is huge, he moves through it and doesn't seem to be giving anyone short-shrift. He seems to be interested in the law. I'm really impressed by the guy, and I'm not alone. An interesting site called The Robing Room allows users to rate New York judges, and people there, who are before Justice Hurkin Torres more than I am, rave about the guy. Brooklyn caught a break when he took the bench is what I'm thinking.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something I have long puzzled over is how it is possible for Republicans to be in a majority. Over the course of my lifetime the GOP has always done the exact opposite of what its candidates promised. Nixon escalated the war, and instead of fighting crime appointed actual criminals to office. (Have any other Attorney Generals actually done time?) In fact, Nixon was himself a crook, something he proved by denying it. Ford was not elected, and therefore made no promises. We will skip him. St. Reagan presided over record deficits and growth in the size of government, and then Bush pere did the same thing-- and increased taxes. Shouldn't we have realized that when the present Bush promised to "restore honor to the Presidency" that it could only mean disaster? Why do people fall for this stuff? Melinda Henneberger finds a voter who says, ""I never did like George Bush, and he's turned out to be a disaster I contributed to." Still, she's voting Republican again this year because the lesson she takes from the failures of the Bush presidency is that experience in national politics is everything. And McCain has more of it. "George Bush didn't have enough experience, and look what happened. Obama has two years in the Senate and two years campaigning," and that's not enough, especially given "the mess we're in now."

See, and there's my answer: People are idiots. Does Henneberger's voter seriously think that the hole we are in is the result of Bush's inexperience? Good grief! Certainly it is true that Bush was inexperienced, but now that he has gained the constitutional maximum experience does she think that he'd be a better President? All Presidents are inexperienced to one extent or another. What distinguishes this President is that (a) he is profoundly ignorant; (b) he is incurious; and (c) he is convinced that his religious faith compensates for (a) and (b). He is incapable of believing he can be wrong, because his most deeply held belief is that he must be right.

Inexperience has nothing to with why Bush will leave office with the nation in its worst straits since-- when? The Depression? The Civil War? The fact is that Bush was surrounded by what may have been one of the most experienced Cabinets in history, but because he was weak-minded the country was manipulated by Cheney into a terrifying parody of its best instincts. McCain is a version of the same person as Bush, and anyone who can't see that has probably been voting Republican and wondering why it hasn't worked for his entire life. These are the people who think that the photo of the liberated McCain shaking Nixon's hand is somehow validating.

They'll have an exciting choice next go-round. It looks to me as though Caribou Barbie is enjoying the attention and will be back for more, or perhaps they'd prefer the classic rock stylings of Mike Huckabee. It is interesting to contemplate the careers of GOP second bananas. Nixon sat out 64, but came back like black jumpsuit Elvis. Bill Miller went home to Jamestown and was never heard from again. Agnew went to jail. Rocky had a bellyful, and spent his final years with his stamp collection. Dole missed a turn because Bush screwed him over. For some reason Quayle never got any traction. Funny about that. Dole finally got his turn. I'm sure it pleased him. Kemp doesn't even come to Bills old-timer games anymore. I'm not sure why Cheney hasn't had martial law declared. My hunch is that he will retire to a palace in Saudi Arabia where he will be attended by an army of eunuchs.

To Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at MassMoCA on Saturday. MassMoCA is a subject for another day, I think. The Trocks are a troupe of male dancers who perform classical ballet. It's played for laughs, of course, but what's really funny is that the level of technical proficiency is so high. I've certainly seen women professionals that weren't able to dance at this level, and the incongruity of the masculine body form en pointe, although jarring at first, soon becomes an interesting and then agreeable alternate aesthetic. Just the fact that they are able to perform with this sort of proficiency and still work in the physical comedy is nothing short of terrific.

The whole thing is as camp as Susan Sonag's s'mores recipe, but that's the other funny part: for all the slapstick it is only slightly more camp than a regular ballet performance. I suppose the humor is what sells it, but they don't need it to accomplish their artistic purpose. The shtick is there to put the rubes in the seats-- people who love dance are going to find it funnier, and enjoy it more than someone who wanders in expecting Bugs Bunny in a tutu, but both audiences are going to get a kick out of it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jimmy Cobb is the last surviving musician from "Kind of Blue". Has been for quite a while, actually. Trane died in 67. Paul Chambers died in 1969, Wynton Kelly died in 1971. Cannonball died in 1975, Bill Evans in 1980. Miles died in 1991. Teo Macero, who deserves to be included on the list died just this year. It's funny that so many of the people Miles played with have similar stories about how they were hired. Cobb talks about having to get from New York to Boston in three hours, and when Dave Holland played here a few years back he talked about having to book a flight from England as soon as Miles hung up.

If I were making a list of my favorite sides, two a year for each year I've been alive, the way this guy did, of course "Kind of Blue" would be on it, but the process of composing such a list impresses me as weirdly arbitrary, and ultimately unrewarding.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Let me be one of the first to admit that I am too isolated, too insular to have any idea who Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio is. I'm not proud of it. I had head of Dario Fo before he'd won The Prize, and I figured that Fo was the gold standard for obscure in these matters and that I was safe this year. The crafty Swedes weren't going to slip some obscurity I'd never heard of by me. I guess now I'm eating crow, because Mauritius' other famous export is no longer available.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Observer reports that "During the first presidential debate in Mississippi, [Mccain]persistently avoided eye contact with Mr. Obama despite the moderator’s entreaties for the candidates to engage directly with one another. Mr. McCain’s advisers said afterward that he had done so deliberately in order to avoid becoming enraged."

Cindy McCain says that Obama has waged the "dirtiest campaign in American history."

I guess it's the arrogance I don't understand. I can understand being upset over seeing the Presidency slipping away, but what exactly has Obama done that can be considered "dirty"? And how dare McCain be angry? Can he possibly think that he is losing to someone who is less qualified than he is? McCain's qualification for the office amounts to being marginally less partisan than most Senators. Does he seriously think that he is more intelligent than Obama? Or more popular? Objectively speaking he can't believe the latter, because fewer people are going to vote for him. Does he think that hanging around Washington for thirty years has made him smart? Because he doesn't say that-- he says just the opposite.

Stupid, dirty-pool Democrats, being all smarter and more popular than me. How rage-filled they make me! Maybe I can ask Sarah to borrow Ted Stevens' Hulk tie for the next debate.

James Thurber used to tell a story about Harold Ross. Thurber was a Henry James aficionado. He'd written a story for The New Yorker called "The Beast in the Dingle" which was supposed to be written in the manner of James. Ross gave back to Thurber after he'd read it and said, "Too damn literary. I only got a third of the allusions." Thurber loved that-- the fact that Ross apparently recognized that there were allusions he didn't "get", and trying to guess which ones he did appealed to something in him. I've always felt the same way about Greil Marcus. Marcus and I are interested in many of the same things, and probably have bookshelves and record collections that look a lot alike, but whenever I read him, even on a topic, like, for example, Bob Dylan, that I am kind of knowledgeable about, I feel like I'm only getting a third of the allusions. Here's what Marcus has to say on the upcoming "Tell Tale Signs" release. The couple of cuts I've heard from it are pretty good, but I mostly have no idea what the hell ol' Greil is on about. (Via Dreamtime.)

The other day we were listening to "Theme Time Radio" on the way home and A. said, "I think I hear Bob Dylan's voice more than anybody else's." She may be right. Last night on the way home from dance LCA was scrolling around on the satellite radio. She stopped when she saw a Dylan song. As it happened it was "Slow Train", which I probably haven't heard since it was first released. "This is from his Jesus-y period," I said. "That's where I got off the bus." "It isn't very good, is it," she said, and I agreed. You can hear what he was trying to get at, I think-- Mark Knopfler's guitar sounds great, but why he felt a gospel chorus was a good idea is one of those mysteries we'll never have an answer to. His wife told him to, I guess. Mostly it's the material that's weak from this period. As good as it gets is "Gotta Serve Somebody", and that's not very good at all. He found it again, though, and that's the material that the new side documents

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Whenever people talk about Woodstock as a defining cultural moment I remind myself that among the acts that performed there was Sha Na Na. What I didn't know until now was that the group was made up of Columbia undergrads. This article, about the invention of history, almost reads like a parody of a parody. When is the past prologue? When we need to invent a narrative, I suppose.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I've been saying it for a while, and now Birch Bayh is saying it too. According to Indiana could tilt this year. My hypothesis was based on a couple of things. First of all, although it hasn't tended to go to the Democratic candidate, its congressional delegation is evenly split. There is more of a Democratic base in the Hoosier State than in a lot of red states, and always has been. Then there is Indiana's proximity to Obama's Illinois home base. We've been hearing that Obama's ground game is solid in all sorts of unlikely places, and it made sense that it would be good in a next-door neighbor. Finally, even before the economy completely unraveled, Indiana was hurting. The agriculture sector has been hurting almost as much as the state's manufacturing base. It looks like all of this is coming together, and if it is coming together in a place like Indiana-- a state that hasn't gone blue since 1964, than possibly we are looking at a map-changing election.

UPDATE: Per FiveThirtyEight nearly 11,000 Indiana University students have registered to vote since August 15. That's pretty impressive.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Michigan had me worried-- still does, really, but apparently McCain is pulling most of his operation there, and focusing on Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. I am surprised that Virginia is in play, but it is, and Indiana might be as well.

Yesterday morning, from out of the blue, I got a call from an old friend I haven't heard from since undergrad days. Out of the blue was always his style, and it was a treat to hear from him. His sense of humor often seemed under-appreciated in that time and place, and it wouldn't surprise me to discover that it still is. For instance, when Saul Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature he (my friend, not Bellow) wandered up and down the dorm corridor murmuring "Bellow, Bellow, Bellow...." When (finally) someone asked him what he was doing he said, "I'm Bellowing."

It doesn't look like anyone in the US will be waxing Roth this year. According to the AP the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy says that American literature is "too isolated, too insular". This seems a harsh assessment to me, particularly in view of the fact that every Swedish bookstore-- really, every European bookstore-- I've ever seen has been full of works from the US. I also think it is unfair to Philip Roth in particular. Over the summer, when I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Albany I found myself looking over their shelf of Roth. He didn't really help his cause with stuff like "The Breast", or "Our Gang", but that was a long time ago, and I would argue that his work in promoting the work of Eastern European writers should get him a second look. Truth is that Roth has has several worthwhile careers. I've said it before, and I'm of half a mind to send a copy of "The Human Stain" to the Academy for their consideration next year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I am delighted to report that Michael Bérubé has reactivated his blog. Today he links to this excellent discussion on the cynicism of the Palin nomination, which captures precisely what I have been trying to articulate.

"The Palin pick was the most crassest, most bigoted decision that I've seen in national electoral politics, in my--admittedly short--lifetime. There can be no doubt that they picked Palin strictly as a stick to drum up the victimhood narrative--small town, hunters, big families and most importantly, women. Had Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton, there simply is no way they would have picked Sarah Palin. To the McCain camp, Palin isn't important as a politician, or even as a person. Her moose-hunting, her sprawling fam, her hockey momdom, her impending grandmother status are a symbol of some vague, possibly endangered American thing, one last chance to yell from the rafters "We wuz robbed." Lineup all your instances of national politicians using white victimhood to get into offices--Willie Horton, White Hands, Sista Souljah, Reagan in Philadelphia etc.--they were all awful no doubt. But I have never seen a politician subject an alleged ally to something like this."

The whole piece is that good.

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