February 28, 2005
Enter the internet:
Click on the game to the left and see what dog you'd be if you were so lucky.
I turned out to be an afghan hound. Intelligent and aloof, I'm elegant, beautiful and generally good natured but I will not tolerate teasing. I've blitzed this to my friends and it has been comic gold.
Intellectual Diversity at Stanford
A shocking recent study has discovered that only 13% of Stanford professors are Republicans. The authors compare this to the 51% of 2004 voters who selected a Republican for President and argue this is “evidence of discrimination” and that “academic Republicans are being eradicated by academic Democrats”.
Scary as this is, my preliminary research has discovered some even more shocking facts. I have found that only 1% of Stanford professors believe in telepathy (defined as “communication between minds without using the traditional five senses”), compared with 36% of the general population. And less than half a percent believe “people on this earth are sometimes possessed by the devil”, compared with 49% of those outside the ivory tower.
February 27, 2005
The action has already started!
I think we're just going to make this the rolling blog post for the Oscars. Reload for updates every thirty seconds and you'll be set.
Nice! Chris Rock should at least save this event from utterly self-absorbed travesty.
"All period pieces should star Russell Crowe." -- Chris Rock. Quote of the Oscars, so far.
Bush-bashing -- like this.
Who the fuck is Deacon Jones? Oh, he’s apparently a football player.
Robin Williams, you are NOT FUCKING FUNNY! Stop trying to implicitly assert otherwise.
Well I for one think Robin Williams is funny, so f*** off. Pretty interesting tux there, too. More fashion comments to come...
Drew Barrymore has a curious coif going on there. I wonder if that will appear around campus tomorrow.
Beyonce could use more French coaching.
Water makes the scissors rusty and then they break and the paper scoops them up.
People in the red states don't like Johnny Carson because humour (other than antiblack or antigay humour) is against their religion.
"The lovable Mike Meyers"
Counting Crows?? I thought these guys had deteriorated to playing places like Dartmouth.
Jake Gyllenhaal: The Bubble Boy himself! Wasn't he also in that movie with the big bunny?
"The suave, sophisticated Pierce Brosnan" (Earlier in the evening. Thanks to Kartuffe for that one.)
We'll be tracking all epithets used in introductions, don't ask me why.
Seriously, Sydney Lumet, what a CLASS ACT!
Food for thought: If Parmenides was right, aren't the Oscars kinda pointless?
"...and I applaud them."
This guy who produced the winning Short Subject Documentary is clearly wasted. He's slurring the acceptance speech.
Scientologist on stage.
Marty on stage.
You know what, FUCK Ronald Reagan!
WTF!? Now they just call it "Millionaire" and drop the "Who Wants to be"?
This is Beyoncé's THIRD FUCKING PERFORMANCE of the show. If it gets to four, I'm kicking the TV.
Voiceover: "She is also the first female to be nominated for playing a boxer." Hmmm-kay, thanks for that.
Voiceover: "This is the ninth award and the fourteenth nomination for Spain." Good job "Spain."
Yeah, Diet Pepsi rages!
In conclusion, all of you morality voters can go fuck yourselves. That's right, a film that treats the subject of euthenasia nonjudgementally stole the show. Eat my ass!
It all started innocuously enough (cliche alarm). A stiff drink, some taboo charades, and some rich laughs with some friends. As my head began to wobble and the vacant drunken grin was creeping onto my face, it caught my eye across the room. Sure, some people had deemed it unworthy of further decoration, but attitudes like that let the communists win...but I digress. This innocuous lampshade was going to accompany me out.
The things you learn when you wear a comically oversized chinese lamp on your head on a Saturday night.
1) You are "that guy" which actually serves a purpose. When you walk into the room, heads swivel to focus on you in unison. Not only does this allieviate the awkwardness of basement conversations, it provides a focal point for scorn, ridicule and merriment. Really, I think I was performing a public service. Dudes used me as a foil to get at their chicks. Chicks laughed their hearty laughs of affected superiority.
2) You will be challenged. One brother at an undisclosed frat told me I was going to get thrown in to a trashcan. Many others threw sarcastic remarks in my face. It was lovely to be the focal point of decidedly unfocused rage.
3) You find unexpected joy in wearing a comically oversized chinese lantern.
So, a relatively innocent evening was transformed into a fantastic one by way of wearing trash on your head while drunk. I was trying to think of a deeper metaphor about the statement above, but then I realized I am really hungover. So I'll leave it to you, Diary, to come up with something meaningful.
Until tomorrow, kisses,
February 26, 2005
The Wrens played last night with an intensity I've never seen before. Now I don't go to that many concerts, but bands I've seen in the past few years include Radiohead, the Rapture, the Cure, and Weezer. And all of them rocked pretty hard, putting a lot into their music and their performance. But the Wrens outdid them all, in terms of intensity. The Wrens got people in Fuel -- in Fuel -- to just flip out, dancing, jumping, moshing, singing at the top of their lungs, clapping frantically in rhythm, getting up "on stage" with the band to add to their rhythm section by shaking shakers and banging drumsticks. And then there were the softer moments -- like the first half of "Happy," with its steady crescendo, driving bass drum, and devastating, booming guitar riff right before the transition to an ebullient ready-to-move-on-from-this-breakup celebration.
Look, I'm not going to try to do justice to the Wrens' music with my three-day-long familiarity with them. There are people like my friend who have been admiring this band as one of the best out there for a decade now. But this show was something else. If I described to you a scene in a small, sterile, second-rate venue where these late-30-year-old guys wearing cargo pants were sweating profusely, jumping around immaturely, and saying to a bunch of Ivy-League kids trying to dress hip, "You guys are fucking beautiful!" I could understand why you might think it sucked. It did anything but. It truly rocked.
February 25, 2005
"Randos: I like this shortened form of "random people" because it allows for a legit valley-girl pronunciation. Try it. Or ask Lizzy Rauner '06 to use it in a sentence or in one of her classic lines like, "She looked like she was from West Leb -- like one of those randos you see milling around Wal-Mart or something." Lizzy is capable of injecting so much contempt into this word (in a "forget talking to me -- who are you to even look at me, you rando?" kind of way). Basically this word is incredible and paves the road to superiority."
February 23, 2005
I figure it's the least our regularly cynical blog can do.
Edit: Sorry, didn't post those links right the first time. They work now.
February 22, 2005
A troglodyte means a cave-dweller, and wrens get their scientific name from the tendency of some species to forage in dark crevices. They are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous.
Only one wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, known as the Winter Wren in North America, also occurs in Europe, where it is commonly known simply as the Wren.
According to European folklore, the Wren is the King of the Birds. Long ago the birds held a contest to see who could fly the highest; at first it looked as though the Eagle would win easily, but just as the Eagle began to tire, the Wren crept out from under the Eagle's tail feathers and soared far above. The wren's majesty is recognized in such stories as the Grimm Brothers' The Willow-Wren and the Bear.
The wren also features in the legend of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who supposedly was betrayed by the noisy bird as he attempted to hide from his enemies. Traditionally, St. Stephen's Day has been commemorated by Hunting the Wren, wherein young Wren Boys would catch the bird and then ritually parade it around town. The tradition, and the significance of the wren as a symbol and sacrifice of the old year, is discussed in Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough.
The Wrens come to Fuel Rocket Club this Friday, at 9:30pm.
February 21, 2005
Those class-acts at Power Line are waging quite a bit on the upcoming election of two more trustees to the Dartmouth board.
The candidates they endorse, Todd Zywicki '88 and Peter Robinson '79, are particularly dedicated to the all-important educational value of football and other shteakery and to ending the supposed political correctness crippling Dartmouth.
These two candidates are trying to reproduce the petition-and-write-in victory of T.J. Rodgers, another white male, who was elected to the board last year by alumni who are, presumably, largely from the good ole' pre-coeducation days. Though not an outspoken political partisan, Rogers was known as a CEO for indoctrinating employees with Ayn Rand. He belives Dartmouth is spending too much money in "the diversity area" and "wants the college to stop adding ethnic studies classes and refocus its resources on the fundamentals."
You dumb shit, he didn't get access using a fake name, he used his real name. You lefties' concern for White House security is really touching, but you know what, you stupid asshole, I think the Secret Service has it covered. Go crawl back into your hole, you stupid left-wing shithead. And don't bother us anymore. You have to have an IQ over 50 to correspond with us. You don't qualify, you stupid shit.
Feel free to send some mail to Power Line expressing your disappointment that they would reflect so poorly on Dartmouth.
Thanks to Daily Kos for bringing this to light.
February 20, 2005
Decent Films Guide (DFG) describes itself as "Film appreciation, information and criticism informed by Christian faith." Films are rated based on four criteria: "Overall Recommendability," "Artistic and Entertainment Value," "Moral and Spiritual Value," and "Appropriate Audience." Million Dollar Baby takes a thematic look at euthanasia. It is judged to be "Well Made," but is overall "Unacceptable" and found to be lacking an "Appropriate Audience" because it is moral and spiritual "Poison." The reviewer's ambivalent view of the film is summed up as follows: it is "a well-crafted and effective piece of popular art that takes a profoundly sympathetic and ultimately affirmative view of euthanasia, it is deeply troubling and potentially gravely harmful artifact of the culture of death...people could die in part as a direct result of this film and others like it" (emphasis mine).
Click here for a list of films that achieve DFG's highest rating of "A - Highly recommended." Highlights include The Passion and Spy Kids.
He accuses the D (and, implicitly, me) of needing to fact-check better before claiming that 'that the bastion of conservative journalism had ceased mocking [Dean].'
Well, the existence of the Nat'l Review editorial he cites doesn't negate the existence of the article I found on the Review's website which I originally cited in my op-ed. In fact, I believe my last sentence in the op-ed, 'The right can now begin scrambling,' thus kind of accurately sums up some conflicting reactions to Dean by conservatives.
Notice you'll find the same old (though, granted, subtle) BS in that 'please elect Dean' editorial Ward cites:
Freud could get an entire monograph on his theory of the "death drive" out of observing contemporary Democrats. The party is displaying an unquenchable thirst for irrelevance. Several theories have been advanced in the wake of Bush's reelection for the Democrats' troubles: a lack of seriousness on national security; an out-of-touch liberalism on social issues; an inability to sell its message in terms that connect with "red state" voters. The DNC is about to reject all these theories in favor of one of its own — all that ails the Democratic can be fixed by more of the same, only more so.
This is conservative strategy at its best and most insidious. Sure, Bush just won an election with 51 % of the vote. Does that mean Republican values, positions, and policies best represent the values of this country? At the risk of sounding like an elitist and of sounding overly optimistic at a time when the theory of evolution itself seems genuinely threatened by a not-so-Great Awakening, I'm going to say no, Republicans don't stand for what most Americans stand for. This is just the Republican rhetoric machine reinforcing itself as the will and party of the people while it fucks them over economically, brainwashes them morally, deprives them of their civil liberties, etc.
So what we have in this exemplary piece of conservative thinktankery in action -- and, really, in that stupid old candlelight vigil, too -- is conservative intellectuals curiously going out of their way over Dean, trying to persuade Democrats that what they have represented for most of the past century -- social security, broad prosperity, equal rights -- is no longer American. It is. Don't be fooled.
EDIT: Here's a nice story on Daily Kos supporting my sentiment. Americans want a party that stands up to Bush. As Dean likes to say, being 'Republican lite' won't get us anywhere; it'll only help Republicans and hurt the country. And as that particular author on Daily Kos says, 'maybe some of us Lefty bloggers weren't so crazy after all.'
"The cities are fucked. The suburbs are fucked. The whole country is fucked," Cuellen said. "And there's not a goddamned thing you or anyone can do about it. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Or trying to get you to teach kids math."
According to Dartmouth literature, as a member of the ethnic-studies department, Cuellen learned "to empower students of color to move beyond being objects of study toward being subjects of their own social realities, with voices of their own."
Teach For America executive director Theo Anderson called ethnic-studies departments "a prime source of fodder."
Teach For America does alot of important work and, according to their website, isn't as much of a soul-wrenching experience as The Onion would have you believe. In all seriousness, though, I've spoken to (real) alumni of the (actual) program who found it to be a wonderful (and not bitingly satirical) experience.
February 19, 2005
Tony Herrington: [Refering to the works of Phillip K Dick] He was very interested in trying to decipher the present by layering it with past and future events, which has been a theme in a lot of your work.
Mark E Smith: Pre-cog he used to call it. That's happened to me so many times. I've had a dream, or think I've seen something in the paper about an event, and six months later I'll see it. It's weird. You won't believe this, but I remember the last time we toured Yugoslavia, I said to the band: something's going to happen here. They said, why, it's lovely? But I could feel it. I could feel it. I could bloody. . . I could virtually see it, in the audience, above the audience. I'd come off stage, and say, it's fucking weird that audience. I'd never been frightened by an audience, you know? They go, no, it's great, the birds are lovely and all that. And it was, they're better dressed than us. Every time I went out I got in trouble with the police or a soldier, every fucking time. I got stopped; I got chased by soldiers once. I thought: there's something going on here, I don't like it, you know what I mean. I'd be talking to somebody and think they were crying. They weren't. [Laughs] It's weird isn't it? I don't like that too much. I don't have that so much now. It used to shit me up when I was a teenager. Somethings are better you don't know; don't want to know. Don't want to forecast or hear about. Maybe those kind of things only feel strange because they've been suppressed or they are not discussed. Maybe they are not that strange. That's right. Maybe people should be a bit more aware of it.
February 18, 2005
February 17, 2005
My dog barked/Like an angel/Like an angel you would have known if you were there/The TV crew that set up on the lawn and killed the grass forever never knew about it/Though I told them so/My dog barked/All the words to me/And I could see the ground from many angles/And when I spoke about it/ it didn't seem quite probable/And when I spoke about it/ it didn't seem quite possible/My air it comes from many places/it charts a path that I/would never care to know/And my love it doesn't leave me stranded/though I believe in nothing/as empty as it may be/ And when I speak about it/ it doesn't seem quite probable/ And when I speak about it/ it doesn't seem quite possible.
Eric's new record, "Cozy Place for Dogs," should be out this summer.
February 16, 2005
Joe Rago has his moments with words, I'll give him that much. And even a sense of self-deprecation, something he apparently does not ask from the rest of the writers. In fact, I might even have a thing or two in common with Joe, pardon, Mr. Rago. Sometimes I too find myself feeling a little alienated by technology. In the spirit of the Review, however, I'll quote only the worst moments from his 'celebration of rusticity':
Technology has always been a part of our College. Was it not founded as a civilizing enterprise, carved out, here in the woods? That took technology, though it had no pretensions: the axe, the saw, the hammer, the plow. The fields would not lie fallow... [My emphasis]
We have something called a ‘Digital Library’ here, which is not a real library but exists only in the ether of the machines...I think it is hopelessly complex, and I am often infuriated by my inability to perform basic tasks. I find myself in a dark and gloomy wood, astray, where the straight way is lost; and it is not easy to tell how savage wild that forest, how rough its growth--—the thought within me renews my fear. I have no Virgil. [My emphasis]
Baker Library is superior in every way to its swollen protuberance, Berry Library...Baker is full of life--—Macintyre called it “that intoxicating mixture of vellum, paper, and dust”—--while Berry is sterile, dismal, mechanical, gray. The elegance of Baker communicates the best of history and humanity; Berry is a flip postmodern sendoff, a sly, desperate joke. Berry is many things, but most of all it is a computer. Baker is not.
I think that last passage might actually motivate me to write something I've been putting off for years now, a defense of Berry against all those vociferous people who seem to favor Dartmouth's stuffy neo-faux-Gregorian style.
The times they are a-changin', Joe. Deal!
Credit for the photo goes to thesunmachine.net. If you would like more information on Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards, please click here.
Date: 16 Feb 2005 15:27:48 EST
From: Christopher J. Bateman
To: Lindsay R. Barnes III, Colin S. Barry
What's up guys...I was a little disappointed not to see my op-ed about Dean in the paper today, mainly because the op-eds in there today, and from the past four days mostly, have all been Dartmouth-centric, and, well, kind of inane:
Full of Sound and Fury...
The Anti-Pledge of Allegiance
Best Weekend Ever!
Being Helpful and Selfish (not about D but pretty vacuous)
The Bonfire of the Inanities (only one non-D and substantive)
Bring on the Liquor
I understand we had Winter Carnival and all, and yeah ridiculous Dartmouth-centric op-eds have always been an amusing staple of the D, but they seem to have been getting a little too ubiquitous recently. I would have had no problem with not seeing my op-ed in the D today if there had been a substantive op-ed there about national/international issues or something. Just wanted to put in my two cents here, and I hope you'll take this constructively. Thanks.
February 15, 2005
Now, I don't genuinely believe the editors at the Review, out of a fear that Howard Dean was the man who could take on George Bush and beat him, ran that cover to persuade Dems not to vote for Dean. Although, as a policy in general, I wouldn't put such maneuvering past the Right.
I will say that Howard Dean inspires a sharp reaction in his opponents, in conservatives, and that part of it is fear. Conservatives hear Howard Dean call them out on more issues and in clearer, more resonant language than any other major political figure has been willing to do in the past few years. This makes them anxious.
Reacting to this anxiety, they never consciously developed a reverse-psychology master-plan to take Dean down. No, they could just rely on establishment Democrats to help undercut Dean's campaign. (Evidence) And, of course, Dean and his campaign bear the greatest responsibility for the demise of his primary run.
But my point is that the knee-jerk reactions to Dean are happening again. I read this article in The D yesterday thinking exactly what I write here: if you'll allow a little more psychology, here are Republicans a little frightened of the fight Dean will bring to them, trying to "laugh it all up." I think the word for this is sublimation. It's also a subtle attempt at demoralizing Democrats.
Notice you'll find a rather different tone in the National Review concerning Dean's election as chairman. They're not laughing there. I am.
I just bought it and read it today. I know I'm late in finding out about this newest book of his but I don't care, it's plenty early still. I passed it around the Young Dems meeting, only one other person had heard of it. Everyone should check it out. It's short, and it's remarkable for its balance of insight and clarity. Of course it's not the ultimate word on the challenging subjects of American politics today and how Demcorats can start winning again, but I really do think this book could and should serve as a pamphlet (among a few others) for the Democratic Party, to be distributed to as many serious Democrats as possible.
Both Bill Clinton and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the guy who runs Daily Kos (yay Greek Americans) have cited Lakoff's work as the single political thinker and strategist liberals should read. Howard Dean loves him too; in fact the foreword to Elephant is by Dean.
Anyway, as you can tell, I am pretty enthusiastic about this book. I plan to check out his magnum opus, Moral Politics , asap. And I post here the Amazon.com review I just submitted if you feel like reading more about this:
Lakoff is a top-notch scientist and thinker. He is among the most important linguists of the past few decades for his incredibly intuitive research on how people think and how languages reflects and shapes their thought. He is one of the people out there able to see the big picture -- how something as complex as politics can be understood in terms of the very brains in which it exists and is played out.
He is also a passionate progressive and brilliant strategist. I hope this book, with its lucid, completely accessible prose style, will serve as a pamphlet for the Democrats for decades to come. I encourage everyone who cares about America, about the way conservatives have run it into the ground during their hold on American government, to read it.
"Framing 101: How to Take Back Public Discourse" is a tour-de-force of analysis and strategy for this very moment. Its message: Conservatives have been taking over political discourse from the top all the way down by creating grand but focused political strategies and manipulating language to their end. "Clear Skies Act," "tax relief," "family values: each is an example of how conservatives have framed their take on American political discourse in concise, value-loaded, and often misleading rhetoric meant to win people over by infiltrating the core of their identities and thought-processes. Democrats must not perpetuate and play into Republicans' neologisms and the Republican arrangement of what is moral, what is good, what is natural, etc. Democrats must be proactive, forming their own clear visions and a simple language to express them in.
"Enter the Terminator!" is an illuminating case study in how political framing is accomplished, with the media as instrument.
"What Unites Progressives" is a great end-note to this short book. Really it just articulates what every progressive feels in his or her heart, that we share a wonderful set of values and principles that are fundamentally American. Lakoff then suggests we settle on some common core policy directions, and he proposes a *ten-word* progressive/Democratic philosophy to get the ball rolling.
Buy this book, read it in a day, and get excited to restore our country to the things it deserves:
A Stronger America with a Better Future, one of Broad Prosperity, Effective Government, and Mutual Responsibility.
February 14, 2005
The Stash Box
` caught in the rain design award here?
Russian dreaming a must-see
non vocabulum friendly intellectuals
February 13, 2005
"You want to refer to some liberal activist judge..., that's fine, but I'm going to go directly to the source. The author of the Bill of Rights [James Madison] hired the first chaplain in 1789, and I gotta' tell ya' somethin', I think the author of the Bill of Rights knows more about the original intent--no offense to you and your liberal atheist activism--knows more about it than you do."
It turns out that 'liberal atheist activism' benefits from some greater degree of historical accuracy than attempting to 'Deliver Us from Evil'™. These two quotes were fucking made for each other, and I know it. I wasn't, however, the first to know it. That distinction belongs to the Center for American Progress, who's CEO, John Podesta, was so astute as to point Mr. Hannity's to lie pretty much all the fucking time. Mr. Hannity then demanded that Mr. Podesta "defend and explain one example" of this rather unfortunate personality flaw that he chooses to share with the cable television audience. Mr. Podesta's organization responded with fifteen examples. Seriously, do yourself and any and all people you know or may ever meet (or even make prolonged eye contact with) a favor and read this incredible document.
February 12, 2005
And I thought I wrote pretentiously. Kinda cool becase it pretty much corresponds to my time at college and all the popular music I listened to and might strangely keep listening to until I'm 50 and should no longer be rocking but will be looking back on college with nothing but the warmest fuzziest memories of course. And the following description is actually sadly accurate for me:
"Svefn-G-Englar"'s foggy/wraithlike night buoy so all-consuming that I locked myself in a room and listened to each ripple for hours, my head resting against the buzzing speaker trying to translate faerie speak."
February 9, 2005
February 8, 2005
Such self calls! By such an astoundingly vapid series of
The difference between The Mirror and me, I suspect, is that still cling to my powers of introspection. As do, I trust, my co writers on this blog. I hope desperately that my four years at
The Mirror, in a piss-poor ENGL 5 metaphor, is a truly good title for a publication on
So what started as suspicion of my own hubris in wanting to blog about
A quick bit of silliness before the serious diatribe that is to follow. I was in the library today, perusing the stacks for some sign of intelligent life here at Dartmouth, when I stepped out of the doldrums into the Current Periodicals Room, and all of a sudden, at the literal turn of a head, drawn to one of the TV's in the CPR. Where better to find signs of intelligent life than Fox News? I could had saved a lot of time had I just turned toward the television to begin with. On the TV, a man in
I post this book advertisement for your entertainment. Put down that Foucault!
The Rape of the Masters
Ah what happened to the good old days, of abundant, unfettered virility? When no pesky woman could interfere with the sacred bond between Dartmouth men as they pounded one another on the football fields only to read the classics to one another the next moment! Yes, just as Cicero triumphantly wrote: Vir sum; testes habeo!
March 28, 2004
Ah what a comfort it is to be on this side, to see so clearly human nature, for as the eminent Dinesh d'Souza has determined, no liberal understands it, only I and our kind do. Truth of all truths! How obvious it is to me who can so easily project my own chronic cynicism onto the rest of the world that no one is capable of goodness, or anything but the Hobbesian impulses; how easy to settle contented in a worldview which, once forged, can never change! Oh Churchill, you saw how liberalism is but a pretty, petty phase of youth, how conservatism is the condition sine qua non of intellectual, ethical maturity. You added no second evolution onto that lapidary epigram, so oft quoted, but never enough, in the pages of our Review -- no, once a conservative, always a conservative...
March 11, 2004
I declare this College to be mine, nine generations of Stantons built it, and, by God, though my family is anything but associated by blood with the dark Mediterranean peoples of Italy, Spain, Greece, &c., I claim Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Seneca, Ovid, and the whole lot of them to be mine also! Long live the canon! I sit astride a mountain, this grand Western philosophical tradition, mine, all mine, and anyone who attempts to budge it, chip away at it, or even scale it so as to join me peacefully at the summit will suffer my wrath as I rain boulders, the classics, and, if need be, Ayn Rand books upon their heads.
M. Edward S. Stanton X
February 7, 2005
Woke in fraternity basement to astounding hangover. One scotch too many, as my old headmaster would aphorize as we read Yeats by the hearth to fight off those unforgiving, savage New England nights, everything not God consumed with intellectual fire. Found coat and cap in puddle of someone's piss, straightened collar and set out, in high spirits in spite of headache, disorientation, &c., for the other sordid fraternity right across the street, it being the place I call my beloved and beleaguered home. (This College will need the battering ram ever to get me out of there!) Pieces of my evening began coming back, an encounter with a dame (attractive, or so it seemed at the time, through the fog of war) who, too quick for her own good, recognized my misogyny right away, even saw through it to the core of my numerous emotional complexes, perhaps owing ultimately to the whippings adminstered by Father before prep school. Needless to say my luck with this modern jezebel was less than ideal, and after some repartee of which I do believe I was the victor I could only walk away with head high and carapace of superiority as I hit the scotch flask once again and affected indifference to the whole affair...
Where to begin? I have never been a fan of The Dartmouth Review, many know this much about me. I have, however, frequently read it, even as I facilitated its prompt post-distribution recycling on a not insignificant scale. Why do I occasionally read it? Oh I might cite the same reasons given by many of its other non-conservative readers: "It is (if nothing else) well written"; even "The best-written paper on campus"; etc. But no. If ever I said those things may I never stop being punished for them. And I will go so far as to say if you have ever conceded these things to some conservative friend you should ask yourself why, why did I say the Review is well-written when its writing -- not just its content -- makes me cringe?
At least, it makes me cringe. And surprise guess what the weak part in the received proposition "The TDR is the best-written paper on campus" is? The TDR is well-written if what you value in writing is the pompous, the smug, the (unattractively) affected, the pathetically atavistic, the cliche, the unchanging, the (tired old) insouciant, the self-aggrandizing, the insular, the boring canonical, the sterile -- I'll stop here, but feel free to add your own adjectives. And this description is not limited to the writing; take any given photograph in there, all of Dartmouth c. 1890 (O that the homosociality of yesteryear might return!), any comic, font, middle initial, graphic, "[sic]", and don't even mention those lithographical avatars, whatever those things are called in the business of Wall Street Journalism.
Granted, I'm starting to sound a little political, a little liberal: on my honor, I hope those Reviewers shall not already scoff and guffaw, snuff a cigar in my face (but only after due and gentlemanly notification). I'll admit, my aesthetics and my ideology are inseparable, just like everyone's -- I should hope any Review writer would agree with me here, even though he (or the rare she) has surely evaded the postmodern/Communist indoctrination of Literary Theory. But, please, catch me if I get too P.C.
To be continued -- if I don't stop getting all wrapped up in the ironic epxression of my vitriol I might start sounding like a Reviewer.
February 1, 2005
As anyone with a sense of proportion and history knows, the Age of Irony started feeling its death-throes years ago, and the re-election of George W. Bush officially sounded its funereal knell. As a result, some profound shifts have occurred in our culture, especially as it its manifested in livery and language. For example: T-shirts supporting Haliburton in '04 could once be conceived to be funny. No longer -- they reflect (perpetuate?) reality just a little too painfully. In the same vain:
Two levels of hackneyed, bad irony don't make good irony. And three or more levels only makes for worse.
Using "college" as an adjective is never cool in any way.
The donning of (and, for that matter, failure ever to doff) trucker hats is likewise never cool in any way, and is acceptable only if the wearer can prove residence in a county with a population under 10,000. This is the undisputable rule.