Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Setting The World To Rights thinks that I was too kind to Rachel Corrie.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Tim Blair is hosting a game where you adapt Dean's Iowa speech to another locale. I have contributed vowel-starved Serbia:
And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to Srbobran, we're going to Zrenjanin and Vrsac and Bela Crkva and Kragujevac and Zvornik and Loznica! We're going to Gornji Milanovac and Jagodina and Kursumlija! And we're going to Prokuplje and Vlasotince and Vranje and Podgorica! And then we're going to Belgrade. Down with Kostunica! Reeearrrhhhhhh!
And to offset this, vowel-rich Estonia:
And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to Jogeva, we're going to Marjamaa and Haapsalu and and Saare and Hiiu and Tartu! We're going to Paide and Rapla and Viljandi! And we're going to Parnu and Abja-Paluoja and Kivioli and Sillamae! And then we're going to Tallinn. To take back the Riigikogu! Eeaaaaiiiiiaaaaa!

What I'm playing in the car tomorrow

This Dean Shriek Mix (MP3, 1.6 MB), courtesy of the one and only James Lileks, posted in LGF comments. If you don't double over laughing, you're either devoid of any sense of humor, or else are Howard Dean. Makes for great road-trip music, but good for a short commute as well. Rrreaaarrrrr!

Distortion effect

So it turns out that Dean wasn't the Democrats' best hope after all, and his support is much lower than it would seem. How could that be, with all his vaunted grass-roots support and funds? Simply put, the Internet allows groups that are highly dispersed (because of their generally-small numbers in the real population) to appear concentrated online (because they deliberately come together in a single place). The high concentration thus gives the illusion of larger numbers than actually exist. By bringing the diffuse group together, the Internet can actually give it temporary power out-of-proportion to its size (hence Dean's large war chest), but reality does eventually set in.

So it is with other sites like MoveOn.org or even Indymedia. MoveOn.org is really rather small, but in a large country such as the U.S., even small percentages can be significant if you can get them in one place. Indymedia is the fringe of the fringe of the fringe, but they have been uniting lunatics all over the planet for years now (both virtually and in the real world, as with the "anti-war" and "anti-globalization" demonstrations), and the concentrated echoing moonbattery gives them the illusion of being a much larger force than they really are. In the end, though, reality usually reasserts itself -- free trade is expanding, the U.S. invaded Iraq with overwhelming approval of the American public, Kerry won Iowa 2-to-1 -- and sometimes, rather than recognize the illusion for what it was, some people just can't help spinning conspiracy theories and getting very, very angry.

Which is good. We could all use a good laugh.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Feel! My! Wrath!

His rage no longer controllable, for a brief moment, the demon possessing the Vermont's former governor was visible as a dark shadow over his head.

Go ahead, make your own captions in the comments. You know you want to.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Apologies to Kelis

My fatwa brings all the boys to jihad
And they're like, "it's better than yours"
Damn right, it's better than yours
I could teach you, but you're under the control of Jews...

(Via LGF, which notes a few omitted details on this protest organizer.)

Thursday, January 15, 2004
With help from the inimitable Cox and Forkum, LGF has officially awarded the Fiskie for Idiotarian of the Year to none other than Rachel "Squish" Corrie, whose last moments were spent feeling the full weight of the American-Israeli War Machine (or one such war machine, at any rate).

Many commenters, some of them quite sober and reasonable, have expressed reservations and even a degree of disgust with the levity of the mocking comments (not to mention the Fiskie cartoon itself) and the general indifference to the life of Rachel Corrie that such awards and commentary demonstrate. After all, Corrie wasn't out to fill mass graves; she was ultimately just a severely misguided fool who let the heat of the moment get the best of her, and paid for it with her life. Why all the hate? Wasn't her life worth something?

Well, I can't speak for others, but you won't find me broken up over Corrie's death. By working to protect Arab smuggling tunnels, she was directly aiding the mass murder of Israelis in their homes and on their streets; that alone leaves her far short of my "must be kept alive" standard. And frankly, it's not like anyone set out to kill her; her death, like much of what preceded it, was a consequence of her own extremely stupid behavior. But that only explains why I don't grieve over her death, not why I'm happy to mock it. The mockery is not so much for Corrie herself, but for what she represents: a know-nothing white-bread college student, head stuffed full of Chomskyite drivel and imbecilic romantic notions of "resistance," infusing meaning into her life by inserting her ignorant self into a conflict she neither understood nor had any business in. Ultimately, she was just another war-tourist who thought that her blond hair, pale skin, and American accent put her above such petty things as those icky Israelis with their big nasty bulldozers. Oops -- sorry, Rachie-sweetie, but the laws of physics still apply to your progressive self.

Some have tried to argue that mocking Corrie's death brings further suffering to her parents, who went through the horrific experience of having to bury their young daughter. How touching. One would hope that Mr. & Mrs. Corrie might have formed a deeper appreciation of what it's like for an Israeli mother to bury her child -- after she is killed by a terrorist supplied through tunnels quite similar to the ones Rachel was so valiantly trying to protect. Hardly; instead, the Corries travel to Ramallah and meet with Arafat, accepting some "award" from him for their daughter's "martyrdom." These aren't the actions of grieving parents appalled at the death of their child in a conflict she didn't understand -- no, they are the actions of people letting Arafat and the gang use their freshly-buried daughter to further their own political and terrorist agenda. Whatever sympathy I had for the Corrie parents evaporated when they set foot in Arafat's office.

Ultimately, though, the Corries don't matter. The daughter is dead, and I don't care. The parents are cretins, and I care even less. What's important is to deflate the cult of personality that some on the Left have tried to build around Corrie -- to make her into a heroic principled freedom-fighter, instead of what she really was: a dumb, pitiful klutz without enough sense to not stand between a bulldozer and a terrorist tunnel. For that, she needs to be mocked, and her death poked fun at, because if it's not, the ISM and the Arabs will paint her death as heroic, and that may encourage other misguided fools to enter conflicts they don't understand, with consequences they can't appreciate.

I'd never heard of Rachel Corrie until she died; I certainly didn't want her dead. I don't rejoice at her death, the way the terrorists she helped would rejoice at the deaths of Israeli schoolkids and grandmothers. But her demise was no tragedy: it was an unhappy, but wholly foreseeable event of her own making. The way she lived was appalling. The way she died was self-parody. I can't help but see the humor in it, and I do not owe her my grief.

Sunday, January 11, 2004
Hey, am I the only one who missed the War on Smoking? Just how many wars are we fighting, anyway? Can we start a War on Stupid War Metaphors? I'm just thinking here.

Forty years into the war on tobacco, it cannot be declared a success. In fact, it is the worst public health failure in U.S. history.
We've fought this thing for forty years? Wow. Maybe it's time to stop.
Smallpox, cholera, polio and many other scourges have been conquered in this country. There even have been significant advances in treating AIDS.

But the smoking epidemic has continued to smolder, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans a year.
Ah yes, smoking is now similar to cholera and smallpox. Sure, cholera and smallpox are contagious, kill you in days or weeks, and give you no choice in the matter. But that doesn't really distinguish them from people voluntarily giving up some longevity to enjoy a cigarette. Nope, it's all the same. Hey, eating that extra piece of cake is not too different from malaria, either, you know.
In addition to paying off organized medicine, the industry's fat checkbook enabled it to neutralize Congress, the media and academic researchers, all of whom feasted on tobacco dollars.
Yep. Tobacco hasn't been banned outright, its sale does not merit the death penalty, and consumers are not shipped off in cattle cars to federal holding cells. Surely this means out officials have been bought off.
There's no reason to believe that regulation and prohibition of tobacco will be any more successful than it was for alcohol. Now is not the time for more grants to study the problem. Now is the time is for new approaches, fanning the same flames of activism that led to clean indoor air laws. It's also time to encourage the private sector to get involved where Big Government failed.
Yes, this is just what we need: more annoying, self-righteous activists getting in our face and scolding us about our poor behavior. Hey, if it works, maybe the same can be done for high-fat foods, low-nutrition foods, meat, non-organic fish... Maybe we can have people demonstrating outside movie theaters and video arcades, demanding that we exercise more. Yes, I do believe that what is lacking in my life is a bunch of know-it-all loudmouths telling me how to live.
Alan Blum is director of University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. Eric Solberg is an administrator at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Howard Wolinsky is a Sun-Times staff writer. This article is based on a commentary in the Jan. 10 edition of The Lancet medical journal.
E. Nough is just a guy who likes to comment on stuff. He doesn't smoke, never has. He believes the health warning about cigarettes, finds the smell of tobacco irritating, and if you should ever make the mistake of lighting up in his home, you will be shoved outside so fast, your cigarette will be sticking out the back of your head. But right now, he'd really like to get Mssrs. Blum, Solberg, and Wolinsky into a small room, light a cigarette, blow the smoke in their face, and repeat this action until they look like The Malboro Man.

Perhaps it's time to start a War on Centers that Waste Money and Resources. We can start with this outfit in Alabama...

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