Saturday, November 21, 2009

Almost as if God gave each one of us a brain

Literary awards are more than just ego boosts these days. As the critic James Wood observed a few years back, "prizes are the new reviews," the means by which many people now decide which books to buy, when they bother to buy books at all. There are some 400,000 titles published per year in the U.S. alone -- one new book every minute and a half -- according to Bowker, a company providing information services to the industry, and there are fewer people with the time and inclination to read them. If you only read, for example, about five novels per year (a near-heroic feat of literacy for the average American), you could limit yourself to just the winners of the NBA, the Pulitzer, the National Book Critics Circle, the Booker Prize and then, oh, a Hugo or Edgar winner -- or even a backlist title by that year's Nobel Prize winner. You'd never have to lower your sights to anything unlaureled by a major award.

On the other hand, if you've just self-published a book on parrot keeping or your theories on how the world could be better run (a favorite topic of retired gentlemen), what can you do? If you weren't able to find a publisher who wanted it, you can also expect to be routinely disqualified for review in the general media and, above all, for prizes. Yet have no fear, you Cinderellas of the publishing game, because (to nab a line from someone else's promotional campaign) there's an app for that. (Laura Miller, “Vanity Book Awards,” Salon, 17 November 2009)

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I'm a novelist

A book is published every ninety seconds?

Memoir is the most popular form with readers?

I think I'll just go and kill myself now. (LauraBB, Response to post, “Vanity Book Awards”)

@laurabb

It gets worse: around the globe, there's probably a thousand people born EVERY SECOND! Could you imagine if we had a world/society nurturing enough, that each and everyone of them could write something particular to themselves, and great to read?! Could you imagine a hundred million writers out there -- all good to great --and what that would do to an author's self-esteem, place in the world, the contortions it would inspire to his/her ostensibly progressive sensibilities?! There's genius and beauty in every one of you -- what a nightmare if that were in fact true!

Patrick

Whatever your problem is - I sense a case of toxic resentment - it isn't with me. (LauraBB, “Vanity Book Awards”)

@laurabb

What is your problem with a book being published every ninety seconds?

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Being an author still carries status, and there are a lot of unhappy people who want that. But they do not realize how much work goes into being excellent, no matter what the field. This is not necessarily their fault. Popular media loves the Cinderella story in its many permutations, and downplays the time and work that precede discovery.

In open-to-anyone writers' groups, there are people who seem to learn the mechanics of writing even though they do not possess the ear for it. It is akin to someone who is tone deaf learning to go up a note and down two and sometimes being on key, but invariably ruining a song by at least one off-key assault.

They cannot help it. (trace element, Response to post, “Vanity Book Awards”)

Re: Being an author still carries status, and there are a lot of unhappy people who want that. But they do not realize how much work goes into being excellent, no matter what the field. This is not necessarily their fault. Popular media loves the Cinderella story in its many permutations, and downplays the time and work that precede discovery.

Books felt like this about thirty years ago--now in so much that is lauded, I smell deference, not discovery. Rather, you get a sense that if someone actually came up with something new, s/he'd have slipped off the only track those regularly published are capable of seeing before them. It's why some literate people write books titled, "Is it just me, or is everything shit?"; it's why some of the literate go through blogs and letters more keenly -- where exactly are the interesting to be found, if not in books?--than you might know.

re: In open-to-anyone writers' groups, there are people who seem to learn the mechanics of writing even though they do not possess the ear for it. It is akin to someone who is tone deaf learning to go up a note and down two and sometimes being on key, but invariably ruining a song by at least one off-key assault.

They cannot help it.

But I thought you were arguing that the danger in too many books is that it becomes more difficult for the truly literate to be spotted. This portrayal of non-writers vs. real writers makes it seem as if those who actually are "NBA" quality will always spotted, regardless of how many towers surround them. Speaking of the NBA--one senses that if "they" learned they were missing the real talent, they'd adjust. They care more to find talent, perhaps.

re: The profusion of books, including the self-published ones, means the real jewels are often hidden beneath a pile of mediocrity, and this reduces their chances of being found, let alone read and lauded, as they should be.

I keep company with a lot of imaginative people. I don't see a world of greats vs. non-greats. Rather, there are many greats out there: the question is which ones are best suited for you. People need to be sufficiently nurtured so they develop that sense you rightly laud, so they really do become particular, large, interesting, but they also need to know their voice counts--to get it out there!--so those who would have a nose for their voice, for what they have to say, can find them. Your vision of the few amongst the mediocre many smells of a need for order, of grandiosity . . . comes across as fearful and cruel. People who talk like this I think would be upset if the real truth developed that there are actually a heck of a lot of really good writers out there: that the buried gems analogy could not be well applied to reality. They want a world of dum-dums hoping for props for their (snicker, snicker) masterpiece.

Link: “Vanity Book Awards” (Salon)

The Wild Things ate my Freud, and ain't my friends

Freud is not my co-pilot

When Max is asked in the film what is the cure for loneliness, he responds that "a little loneliness is good."

There's a sadness and a beauty in the way Max manages his loneliness by using his imagination. He takes himself to a place we've all visited, where our greatest fear is being eaten by a monster, and our greatest defence is becoming bigger than any other person, so big that we become confidant and advisor to monsters.

When Maurice Sendak's book was published in 1964, a dumpster bin-sized amount of literature spewed out, upchucking explanations for the monsters as oversized, morality play characters, each representing a basic human emotion. In Jonze's film version, monster Carol (James Gandolfini) could easily be read as a transvestite with an insatiable sexual hunger, hence his voracious appetite for past kings. The asexuality of these creatures could make for a Freudian buffet of psychoanalytic opinion. The book has been said to demarcate the fine line between fear, comfort and some deep-seated desire to gobble up your own mother. But spare me, please. Enough is enough. This child of divorce isn't interested in living a life obsessively psychoanalyzed.

Jonze has no patience for this either, which is why I left the movie theatre surprised, but satisfied. The film reminded me that loneliness is too easily made into monster, that loneliness also has the power to conjure magic for a child who lives inside excellent forts, and who possesses a storybook that makes her the King of the Wild Things. (Mine Salkin, “Where the Wild Things Were,” Tyee, 17 November 2009)

Down with Freud: give me a razor, and /or some pills, please!

re: "The film reminded me that loneliness is too easily made into monster, that loneliness also has the power to conjure magic for a child who lives inside excellent forts, and who possesses a storybook that makes her the King of the Wild Things."

Loneliness / abandonment does other things, like make you create imaginary friends that talk to you when you're a child, then turn on you to harrague you ever-after about how bad you are, how selfish you are, adolescence on (oh those wonderful persecutory alters, split personalities -- sorry, I meant wonderful spiritual animal friends!). Other things too: like make you adopt a posture of acquiescence, defeat, self-minimization ("a little in a bit of solitude"), in hopes that this will make you finally well suited to obtain the attention and love you missed out on. Psychoanalysis --or just intuitive, loving therapy -- can help out with this. But if you're down with Freud and up on romancing deprivation and cruelty ("I was abandoned; but this turned out to be a good thing!--thanks, mom!"), I hope at least you accomplish little when people like you turn on progressives who aren't so keen on making isolation and deprivation seem grounds for the imaginative life: who see it instead as the source of becoming demon-haunted, schizoid, self-lacerating -- fucked-up.

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Attendance

Appears as if I was quoting you, Dorothy, but for some reason I actually thought I was quoting the article: I read the article and the responses, and my guess is that your "a little in a bit of solitude" well enough captured the feel of, the circumlocation one feels/experiences within, the piece, that I inadvertently quoted you.

In any event, I hear you, and like having you call me friend.

There is a myth out there we are all too ready to cooperate with, even though it helps facilitate a great evil--a block to social improvement, to living standards--and that is that creativity is born out of "seeing both the good and the bad in life," in knowing bare cupboards, the uncertain meal-ticket--real want. I hold this as entirely false, and that imagination is in fact kindled by being well attended to by supportive people who make you feel secure enough to venture out, who are there for you when you want to return, and delight in the back-and-forth you see when loving people share adventures with one another, when they spur each other one. Every sad artist had more self-esteem than his/her brethren--and in that s/he was sort of lonely, but comparatively, very well fueled.

We tend to focus on the cruelty, on the isolation, but the story is in the attendance, in the love. Always.

Link: “Where the Wild Things Were” (Tyee)


Things are not as they seem: thoughts on Obama / Palin

snl

Now that her Oprah appearance is over – and boy, did Oprah let the liberals in her audience down; what a waste! – let me confess to my own Palin fatigue. I just can't take seriously the idea that she'll ever be president, even after her moderately successful softball game with Oprah. Palin sealed that fate when she quit being governor (although maybe she can run with Lou Dobbs on the All Quitters ticket in 2012). She'll never obtain the record or the reliability she needs to run credibly for president now that she gave up the modestly challenging job of running Alaska. I don't see her ever having the self-discipline or the humility to admit how very much she'd need to learn to be remotely qualified. (Joan Walsh, “I have Palin fatigue already,” Salon, 16 November 2009)

Intuition: I wonder if it will end up that Pailin is to Obama, as McCain was to Bush? That is, despite it all, I am not actually convinced that those who support Pailin actually hate Obama -- I think they fear him, are afraid of being co-opted by him, but could actually find themselves by his side if Pailin motioned at some point for them to support him. I think we're at a time when a heck of a lot of people are going to be crossing sides -- and the groupings that remain, whatever they are, will be composed of people psychologically similar to one another but who may hereto actually have been members of different parties.

What's moving this thinking is the tone in which some guy on FOX news this week admitted Jon Stewart was right, and "they," wrong, on some issue or another. Wasn't angry -- but sort of welcoming. Somber dressing, ex-smoking Stewart, was never flower-power. You can feel with the aesthetic touch of everyone on the show, that there's more than a bit of FOX in them. Not going to go Republican, but might end up seeing a different tone in which his show engages with FOX, though. Or different media targets. As with GG, perhaps more anti- Tucker Carlson and David Brooks attacks, than anti-FOX.

Also, how Glenn Greenwald reported recently that George Stephanopoulos admitted, through twitter, that GG was right to lambast his reporting on some issue or another. Again, of the moment -- both GS and GG seem psychologically similar, and I could see both of them, in the end, being important supporters, essentially agents of, Obama's administration.

Two absurd claims here. But I believe them both true.

@Saintzak

Those bigots you grew up with, wouldn't be ones who loved WWE's the Rock -- the black guy who played Obama-Hulk last year on SNL -- would they? Maybe what is most key about bigots is that they possess an intense need to project their own unwanted character traits, feelings, onto others, and not their hatred of a certain, particular group of people? That is, maybe they could all get behind Obama / Palin, so long as they provide them with groups to hate, efforts in which to sacrifice themselves for the glory of the mother-nation? What is coming to mind here is how the Nazis turned to hating Jews a bit late in the game--after all their anger and hatred was targeted at the needy and poor, who were keeping Germany weak. Anti-semitism was supposed to be a French thing (Dreyfus affair) but materialized everywhere in German when "they" now seemed the most appropriate group. The hatred was key; targets-flexible. Maybe true here too. Something we will know for sure if these tea-bagger-folk end up supporting Obama, as he sends off more young men and women to kill muslims, sacrifices more of our "selfish," "greedy," "needy," youth (representatives of our striving, ambitious selves) so we can all feel pure and good again.

Link: “I have Palin fatigue already” (Salon)

Salon as a ritual site, to enact the birth of the righteous

Regardless, I found myself doing the baby boy victory lap.

I was excited about having a boy, but I was also excited because I had endured a good deal of ball-breaking from my guy friends before the gender had been determined. My buddies ribbed me about having a yucky girl baby. One friend went so far as to assure me my wife and I would only have girl babies for future pregnancies as well. It would be a plague on my house -- a plague of girls.

When it turned out the curse had been lifted -- or, more precisely, that it never existed -- I admit: I crowed.

After that opening salvo of macho banter, I began to wonder if we speak about the sex of our impending children in vastly different ways and if the reservations about baby girls were not just limited to juvenile 20-something dudes. But it wasn't until we were expecting our second child, two years later, that the question transitioned from a passing curiosity to a legitimate concern. (Aaron Traister, “And may your first child be a feminine child,” Salon, 15 November 2009)

Guys, he's not lying about the incidents -- Aaron WANTS / NEEDS to think of himself as being wholy contrite, soul-bearing, here, so there's no way he would make an error in any of this. If you focus on them, it will in fact help enable what he is really up to: using Salon as a ritual site, confessional, in which to establish himself as a sinner who aims, at least, to be the good boy who'll attend to the neglect women have suffered. He is returning to mother's lap; admitting how wrong he's been; and how, now, he'll try to do good. It's more than about a release from anxieties, from feeling punishment-worthy -- though it is that: it's about priming himself to war against all those truly bad boys out there who cannot be deterred from understanding their own needs as as important as their mothers', as their wives'. War against the ostensibly selfish.

The falseness we're sensing here comes from this being part of a ritual -- he wants it to appear soul-searching, about self-discovery, realization -- but his course is predetermined, and those not similarly on course sense the something strange that is up, here.

He's not the only in all this. Check out "Hi, I'm Marty, and I'm a recovering Republican," to get a sense of what, I think, we can expect an awful lot of here at Joan Walsh's (maternal), at Broadsheet's (furies), Salon.

Hope you snap out of it, Aaron. Become even more truly self-aware than your sister is.

Link: “May your first child be a feminine child” (Salon)

"What's with this rabble?" bores

So he's come. Prince Charles, the man who, against my will, I had to pledge allegiance to, the future King of Canada. Like all naturalized Canadian citizens I had to take the citizenship oath or be denied. The oath says I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen. Trust me no American wants to plege allegiance to the English monarchy but at least we were warned. (Matthew Adams, “Prince Alarming: Why Charles’ visit should make us royally sad,” rabble.ca, 6 November 2009)

But weren't all the dragons killed off in the 13th-century? I could understand having knights around then, but I don't quite see their use now. But I guess if they've got all that royal blood, there's nothing to be done about it.

Actually, what are doing with "nations"? Isn't that an 18th-century concept? -- the successor to empires and fiefdoms? Anyway, if we're stuck with countries, it sure is unfair Americans got all "unalienable rights of man" rebels and "pursuit of happiness" dreamers, and Canada got all the "what's with this rabble?" bores. Don't you agree?

Link: “Prince Alarming” (rabble.ca)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The left is seeing folk, when they should be seeing mosaic

A book finds same-sex couples produce perfectly healthy offspring. Is this the best argument for marriage equality? (Tracy Clark-Flory, “Gay marriage: Good for the kids?,” Salon, 9 Nov. 2009)

In Canada, some on the left are beginning to favor imagining "their" constituents as more everyday folk than components of an urban mosaic. That is, there's a switch to imagining them as hardworking, traditional-minded, unpresuming and humble -- and therefore deserving of employment, etc. -- away from imagining them as urban, artistic, complex, diverse. It's a move to the right, in my judgment -- toward the German volk, in fact -- by the less evolved in the left, by the newly devolving on the left. In British Columbia, for instance, Save our Rivers does great 'cause "they" portray their movement in a way Cdns are ripe to accept and therefore not question -- as good hearted, rural folk, that is -- whereas anti-Olympics does poorly 'cause the country is beginning to frown on the urban-seeming, anti-grandscale (non-conformist), and strange (how can you be against Olympics? –- are you against mountains and "Oh Canada," too?), and just one marble-tosser at horses’ feet is readily made use of to determine/characterize the whole essence of the movement.

My sense of the States -- with some in the gay community concerned about just who it is they helped elect in, with abortion funding likely to be left out of healthcare, for instance -- is that the cultural victory managed by the left, where those "they" aimed to protect/ empower they didn't show as different but equal, but as superior, mostly, which reigned for 30 or 40 years, worked to help / serve their "constituents," but is weakening too now. What I'm getting at is that 10 years ago a study like this would help the gay movement, because those who aimed to show the gay community differently -- as perverse -- would be obliterated by a united left, concerned not only to help but to link themselves to, to possess some of the manna of, those they protected/enshrined (think Robert Redford and native indians, for instance). Now, I think they have fewer friends, fewer really interested in backing them, and so if it isn't in fact now true that they raise "perfectly healthy offspring," someone can show them as just average, and the study could be used to set up the left as having offered a misrepresentation of their constituents, as having served up lies, not just now but likely for some time, and argue that the entire way the left has presented such groups as immigrants, homosexuals, artists, students, the unemployed / homeless, need be reassessed -- completely rethought. That is, studies like this could very likely lead to a decrease in rights, rather than to an increase, if there's a hint of dishonesty in them.

No more glowing reports. No more triumphalism. More acceptance that 30 years of concentrated corporate rule and social disintegration has made us all a bit fucked up.

Link: Gay marriage: Good for the kids?

Anti-olympicers destroy dreams, but should not be shot

Civil liberties are never in question unless they are exercised in a way that the majority of the population disagrees with -- and that's when they need to be defended. That became evident Friday, when anti-Olympics protesters in Victoria succeeded in blocking a small portion of the Olympic torch run.

[. . .]

Predictably, the media focused not on why 200 protesters occupied an intersection to voice their opposition but on thetorchbearers who were unfairly deprived of their opportunity to run the flame.

More predictably, media featured a young man with cerebral palsy who could not take his turn. Fortunately he later got his chance in Nanaimo.

[. . .]

Last Wednesday a group called Moms on the Move held protests in 20 communities to protest B.C. Liberal cuts to funding for special needs kids, including to autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and mental illness treatment programs.

Despite the obvious importance of their plight, the protests received next to no media coverage, with less than a dozen news stories online and none in major media.

But disrupt the Olympic torch run and watch the media fly -- there were hundreds of stories about the protesters' disruption and it dominated television coverage. (Bill Tieleman, “Dissent and BC’s Media,” the Tyee, 3 Nov. 2009)

Don't you just hate it when someone crashes the corporate party?

Whenever people are being set up as fundamentally hatred-worthy, protections by civil liberties are soon to go. Civil liberty talk becomes all about setting the speakers up as, in essence, restrained and principled, so at that point when they decide protestors simply have gone "too far," and civil liberties are dispensed with in favor of beat first, piss on later, they have demonstrated to themselves that what in truth is their sadistic indulgence, is really, is incontrovertibly, absolute last measure necessity to keep anarchy at bay. It's all about setting things up so that when they later turn all militant brutal, they feel no guilt. With the way Bill sets this up, with self-involved protestors taking away chance of a lifetime thrills, you know what path he's on. Count him amongst those who will effort to crush those who dare think and behave independently.

I wonder if someone was once awakened out of a fugue-like, sick happy trance, by someone's independent action? Is this story about dreams spoiled, and lifetime trauma incurred, or awakening to the fact that there is life outside of McHappy town, and it's to be preferred?

Ignored moms + spoiled children = trouble for non-deferent youth

Further: Any story about ignored moms and attention-stealing kids, is written by an author who learned as a child that his own attention-seeking efforts, his attendance to his own needs, was wrong, was bad, because his role was to attend to his mother and all her concerns. As an adult, he will feel compelled to punish self-substitutes for his own (always suspect) life accomplishments. They are punished, while he stands up for moms everwhere -- and thereby feels exempt from angry punishment.

As to Immigrant's other comments, try reading my columns and blog - I've stood up for people with disabilites, vulnerable children and others in need for years and will continue to do so.

And I've written about them before and after the Olympic protestors showed up - but I haven't seen most of those folks at other events to support those facing cuts. (Bill Tieleman, Response to post, “Dissent and BC’s Media”)

The Bill of the people. Whither immigrants?

Immigrant, please do check out his blogs.

Like this one, where he "is honoured to share the stage with" right-wing Bill Vander Zalm (http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2009/09/15/ZalmHatesHST/), whatever his past and over-all intentions, and this one, where he blasts Margaret Atwood for supporting the BQ's "social democratic tendencies," in ignorance of its past, its primary purpose (http://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/12/02/NoCoalition/).

In the latter article you'll find him declaring how he's no friend of Stephen Harper but has firm respect for his having "just won the most number of seats in Parliament in a free and fair democratic vote." The people want the Olympics -- he clearly wants to believe -- and deserve respect. The people want Harper, and their wishes need to be respected. Those who get in the way are wrong and worthy of (and receive) his ridicule. Since the opposition he now loathes seems more and more to be, if not of the weak and fragile, then of the sensitive (don't miss his revolting dismissal of Suzuki for his unmanly hypersensitivity), and his friends seem to be of the marching militant, he is clearly much more drawn to muscle and inclined to disparage the vulnerable, than otherwise.

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If anti-olympicers have to

If anti-olympicers have to demonstrate there's not a marble-thrower amongst them, the public clearly WANTS to see them as urban delinquents, and their efforts will count against them. How can there not be marble throwers, how can there not be some, or even many, involved, that are drawn to mayhem and humiliation, when they've all suffered through 30 years of corporate rule, public disintegration, family discord? Corporations can't lose: they've helped create society so ruthless and unnuturing, that those who protest against them can be shown up as "unbalanced" cause they've ensured that at least some involved surely are that, and thus set-up for further discrimination / abuse, if the public is in the mood to cooperate.

Save the Rivers has managed to avoid being set up as lumber-jack injuring anarchists, owing its success to being understood as backed by concerned, good-hearted wilderness appreciaters. Why the difference? My guess it has something to do with how the public PREFERS to imagine the two. The public wants them to seem pure -- and therefore skims over the anarchists amongst them, and estimates them mostly composed of small town, clean-air breathing and humble, middle-aged lovers of God's green earth -- and wants the anti-olympicers to seem viral --and thus focuses on "irresponsible," self-dramatizing youth and terrorist-like tactics, and resists acknowledging that most anti-olympicers are save-the-river types as well. (But are most save-the-river types also anti-olympicers? Not sure, myself.)

Anti-urban sentiment? Fascist favoring of mountain hikes and clean lakes -- the simple and grandscale --over complex city dynamics and strange philosophies? What do you think?

Link: "Dissent and BC's Media"

Shaken, not stirred: How to make slaughter cool again


Osama Bin Laden - Soccer player

Rootless Cosmopolitan

Too suave for Bush, who fit so well with Hussein’s cartoonish pomposity, Bin Laden is just right for 8 years of Afghan chess, with classy Obama.

There is something in Obama's patience which does strike one as near deliberate withholding, as wiser-than-thou, empowered demonstration of maturity and wisdom. What comes to mind is that Clint Eastwood film, "Heartbreak Ridge," where all the new recruits sprint past Eastwood, as he jogs slowly along, but find themselves later passed by as they exhaust themselves with their full-on burst of speed. His character ends up claiming all of their respect, in the end. Obama might do the same -- though perhaps, not with Brooks -- as he did when he finally did triumphantly win his election contest over Hillary, making himself seem casual, savy, inevitable, and his doubters, impulse-ridden children. Withholding is sadistic, but can be a demonstration of one's strength, many of the bullied will recognize and end up respecting.

When America chose Obama over Hillary, for me it was confirmation that we wanted someone in who could be depended on to fulfill our desire (he is, in actuality, the most attuned to our needs and desires, even if sometimes our needs are complex enough, counter-intuitive enough, that we mistake his obedience for independent leadership -- how many of us are aware that we may actually at times want / expect our leaders to be withholding, for example?) for the nation to turn even more sadistic than it was under Bush. What Bush did was help define what was evil, the style, the sense of it: it is very melodramatic, with cartoonish, misshapen villains, clownish leaders; grandiose, inane gestures; blunt, 80's-style take-overs. It is appropriate that it was about Texan leaders and meglomaniac Iraqi tyrants -- Bin Laden is too nimble, withdrawn and aristocratic, and had to await the arrival of the more appropriate Obama, for his part of the story to resume. So if war now seems less indulgent, more focussed/ calculated / intelligent / dexterous and reluctant, and also somehow less emotional and distanced (less grandiose), it's not evil, it's its opposite: sanity. Simply by a wholesale change in style, the actual number of people killed here could be way worse than what we've already seen, and seem mature necessity not abhorrent slaughter. It's the way it is and must be, until that day arrives when we finally have done enough reparative work to undertake something more pure. The cruelty could be way worse than what we've seen, and it will become near impossible to point out to those who unconsciously want war-sacrifice, because they know what bad war "smells" like -- they know what even the left has helped make bad war smell like -- and this isn't it. Obama provides the perfect cover for us to actually indulge in our sadistic desires, and believe we're actually demonstrating mature restraint.

The left has got a huge problem on its hands. Once they turn off their support of Obama and their lambasting of Limbaugh, and start really critiquing Obama and his ongoing, cruel war, they can be very easily now made to seem tamtruming, unreasoning children who fail to understand that nobody wants war, but sometimes it has to be engaged lest society disintegrate altogether. It's lesser of greater evils: if you can't appreciate that, you're not good, but immature -- not worth listening to. Obama knows as much, as so should they. The right and war-favoring -- less evolved -- left are cottoning on to just how empowered their position is about to be.

Joan is saying some very right things about Afghanistan here; let's help her make the truth of it overwhelm people's preferred way of imagining it. Let's be the resistance that scared the Olympics away from Chicago to the near third-world, where things, where people, prove more readily manageable.

Link: “Real men don’t need D.C. pundits” (Joan Walsh, Salon)

@ Patrick McEvoy-Halston. I think it is 'dexterous'.

Your Heartbreak Ridge analogy is good, but where does the homo-eroticism play into it? For that matter how bout that Grenada invasion? (Support our Tropes, “Real men don’t read D.C. pundits”)

@ Patrick McEvoy-Halston

You posted:

There is something in Obama's patience which does strike one as near deliberate withholding, as wiser-than-thou, empowered demonstration of maturity and wisdom ... Withholding is sadistic, but can be a demonstration of one's strength, many of the bullied will recognize and end up respecting.

Obama's "patience" is his reticence to make a further decision until he sees how the wind is blowing in the polls. It's indecision and he is sacrificing America's treasure while he "dithers" - period! You describe it as sadistic.

Obama is not demonstrating strength - he belongs on Dancing with the Stars because that is what he excells at - dancing to the tune of the piper (his handlers) (Old Joe, “Real men”)

Old Joe: I think if you lull people into squawking for immmediate attention, action, you make them seem needy and silly, and yourself patient and serious. This is sadistic, even if it is just playing to others' masochistic impulses. I believe his handlers are the American people. Most of them are turning very sadistic, very sacrificial right now.

Support our troops: Dexterous may indeed be the word. I prefer not to spell-check, though. Allows me to go with what feels most right. Couldn't live with myself if I didn't ensure I played a part in the process which allows language to change and evolve. Spell check freezes everything in place, never forced to address this crime against the beauty of change through time, against the living. Got my training in English; now I let it stay or evolve, without censure. Thanks, though.