Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Senator Richard Lugar, 80. Yes, 80. Look -- it's not my job to tell people that they should retire. I've always hated those who say that a sports star should quit while he's on top, before his skills have eroded...that's not our business. So I won't say that Lugar should have retired this cycle. Still...the guy is 80, he just (at the end of 2010) had a very impressive career-capping have to wonder what exactly his thinking was behind his decision to run for six more years in the Senate.

Oh well.  How about the good stuff:

1. OK, I haven't watched more than the first few seconds, but Lynn Vavreck and Thad Krouser are always worth listening to: here, on the economy and the 2012 presidential election. If you watch it, let me know if it's as good as I expect it is.

2. Yes, Jews still like Barack Obama. From Adam Serwer.

3. John Sides on negative ads, at Monkey Cage and NPR.

4. A delegate predictor for the rest of the way, from Ryan Lizza, Josh Putnam, and Andrew Prokop. Mostly notable for the reporter/political scientist collaboration. Promising.

5. Scott Lemieux reports on new research on bias in judging judges. Depressing.

6. You may have noticed that I've been linking to Alyssa Rosenberg a lot...there's a reason -- she's really good. I've never watched "Lost Girl" and likely won't (although I pick up a lot of shows late, so youneverknow), but her comparison of Lost Girl to Buffy is fascinating enough without knowing the newer show.


  1. Why is Lemieux's article depressing? The left cannot have it both ways on affirmative action in college and professional school admissions. Since blacks and Hispanics are admitted to Princeton and to Yale Law School with much lower minimum SAT & LSAT scores and GPAs than whites and Asians, it follows that their intellectual firepower will be more at question than those who obtained such elite credentials without benefit of racial preferences, such as Alito. My preference would be to have color-blind admissions, and let university admissions be a purely meritocratic process, as it is, for example, in Japan and France. But the left and college administrators will not even consider that, so the rest of us will have more doubt about the ability of those who obtain academic credentials because of racial preferences.

    1. Let me get this straight:

      Society has progressed so far that racism isn't a problem. Therefore, efforts to combat racism are suspect. Therefore, racist behavior in society is fine to restore balance.

  2. For once, the title is correct in Rosenberg's article: Lost Girl isn't Buffy, and that's OK. There's a bit of "eat your vegetables" in Lost Girl ... most of what I think are the good parts of the show are less about narrative or show construction and more about "how nice that bisexuality isn't even commented on, just accepted", or "this cast is more diverse than Buffy's". Also, Lost Girl falls somewhat on the wrong side (for me) of the single episode vs. long-term story arc that has become standard since Buffy was on. Having said all of that, there is nothing "eat your vegetables" about Anna Silk's Bo, who is irresistibly hot (which is in character, of course).

  3. I'm sorry to say, and I don't mean to be mean, but I don't understand the genre of writing that Alyssa Rosenberg engages in.

    She never really delves into cultural works or works of art with any aesthetic expertise or special critical insight. (Such as say J. Hoberman does, or many good, deeply educated movie and visual/fine arts critics do, just to pick two art forms.) And she doesn't really pursue any social or political argument about the reception or production of any particular cultural work with enough precision, nuance, or underlying method to stand as some sort of politicized cultural commentator/critic with a well-defined perspective. (Something I'd associate with the cultural critics of mid-century America or Europe who wrote in small journals and newspapers, or with past political pundits who were particularly adept at analyzing a broader zeitgeist.)

    It just seems like a string of mini random musings in the vein of Gawker posts or inchoate NY Times 'think pieces' in their Arts section. It comes off as warmed-over journalism-lite from someone vaguely influenced by 'cultural studies' programs at universities, but who's too self-conscious about ever coming off as knowledgable to ever deeply allude to the history of culture or accumulated writings on these matters, to raise the level of engagement with culture. For all I know, she could if she wanted to, but it's simply perverse that she never does.

    I guess I probably sound like an asshole. But I fail to see the niche being served, or if there is a niche to serve in the zone between politics and culture (super) broadly defined, why it hasn't long been filled by other modes in which the writer had substantial expertise in one of the two fields as either an aesthetic critic or a shrewd political observer. Maybe I'm just saying that this zone of blogging remains untapped and immature, and so the results strike me as quite primitive.

  4. Why do gentile whites and Jewish whites vote so differently?


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