Saturday, September 16, 2006

Because it worked so well in Berlin...

...the Current Occupant has decided that the war on terror will be won by building a vast moat around Baghdad. Did we say moat? Beg pardon. We meant "security ring." Moats conjure up such crude images of Medieval warfare (Crusade, anyone?).

Yeah, we know we started off with a Berlin wall analogy, but then got mixed up with the moat thing. It is all so non-sensical that we just don't care.

But the real mental disconnect: Building 60 miles of trenches and fortified gateways around a vulnerable city is a fan-FKN-tastic idea. So why haven't we done it in New Orleans? Put it another way: Mr Bush, if Iraq is so damn important to you, and America so unimportant to you, why don't you just go steal an election there and let us get on with our business?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

So that's what those hipsters with laptops in the coffee shop are doing

The New York Times is on to them. The Week in Review editors ordered up a batch of term papers on typical freshman assignments such as "Compare and contrast Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World." The results were exactly what you'd expect from some hipster who had himself dodged college writing assignments:

...Papers written to order are just like the ones students write for themselves, only more so — they’re poorly organized, awkwardly phrased, thin on substance, but masterly in the ancient arts of padding and stating and restating the obvious.

If they’re delivered, that is. The “Lord Jim” essay, ordered from, never arrived, despite repeated entreaties, and the excuse finally offered was a high-tech variant of “The dog ate my homework.” The writer assigned to the task, No. 3323, was “obviously facing some technical difficulties,” an e-mail message explained, “and cannot upload your paper.” The message went on to ask for a 24-hour extension, the wheeziest stratagem in the procrastinator’s arsenal, invented long before the electronic age.
No. 3323, we know who you are. We had a roommate in college who never, ever, turned in a paper on time; he was too busy begging for extensions to actually write the damn thing. He was a philosophy-music theory double major; according to his father, this double major would make him doubly unemployable. Good to know he found work all the same.

For our part, our greatest moment in our college composition class was when we plagiarized the marketing blurb off the back of a Toni Morrison novel and turned it into the introductory paragraph and thesis statement of our "critical essay." The professor gave it an A--and let's be honest, 5 pages of drivvel suits Toni Morrison to a T.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Garrison Keillor Gettin' Feisty

Last week at Salon, Keillor wrote about how America Eats Its Young, a piece that was both spot-on and gloriously bitter.

This week he has his finger right on America's pulse:

We really are one people at heart. We all believe that when thousands of people are trapped in the Superdome without food or water, it is the duty of government, the federal government if necessary, to come to their rescue and to restore them to the civil mean and not abandon them to fate. Right there is the basis of liberalism. Conservatives tried to introduce a new idea -- it's your fault if you get caught in a storm -- and this idea was rejected by nine out of 10 people once they saw the pictures.
We love his use of the term Current Occupant, btw, as in:
After the disasters of the 20th century, Europe put nationalism aside and adopted civilization, but we have oceans on either side, so if the Current Occupant turns out to be a shallow jingoistic fool with a small rigid agenda and little knowledge of the world, we expect to survive it somehow. Life goes on.
Makes us think of the bumper sticker, "George Bush is listening. Use big words."