Archives for January, 2007

So Bad It Hurts

Even by the admittedly low standards of the genre, political commentary by children of famous neocons, Liz Cheney’s oped in today’s Post is just awful, in some ways even more embarassing than when the NYT occasionally hands out column space to Bruce Springsteen. “Retreat is not an option.” “America faces an existential threat.” “Quitting helps the terrorists.” This is someone who thinks entirely in cliches, someone for whom the enterprise of argument consists of repeating those cliches slowly and clearly, because surely once your interlocutor understands that “we are at war,” agreement will follow. This is someone who does not think about the words she is putting on paper, someone who cannot carry a metaphor from one sentence to the next. Consider these two, back-to-back sentences:

We Republicans — with help from senators such as Chuck Hagel — seem ready to race the Democrats to the bottom. I’d like to ask the politicians in both parties who are heading for the hills

So where does that leave Joe Lieberman? He can’t be at the bottom of the hill, because that’s where Chuck Hagel is going, and that’s bad. But he can’t be at the top of the hill either–that’s bad too. Is he floating above the hills? Can anyone figure out the geography here?

Posted on Jan 23, 2007 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Little Miss Sunshine Was Crap

A friend of mine accuses me of deliberately going out of my way to hate movies, books, and bands that everybody likes. He should consider this another data point: everybody loves Little Miss Sunshine. But it sucked.

Look, I know a lot of quirky, maladjusted people. I know quirky people related to other quirky people and/or married to them. I am a goddamned expert on quirk. So believe me when I tell you that LMS is Phony Quirk. In LMS, like Garden State and Napoleon Dynamite before it–and unlike in real life–the quirks are randomly selected, as if the movies’ producers developed a computer program to weird up a nothing script. Grandpa’s a loudmouthed old perv; his son’s a failed self-help guru with just about no redeeming qualities. Despite that, the Toni Colette character–apparently a reasonably normal, level-headed woman–is married to him. For some reason they let their seven-year old daughter dress like a hooker. Their 15 year old son’s obsessed with Nietzsche. And he’s taken a vow of silence because he wants to be a fighter pilot. Let’s throw a suicidal gay Proust scholar into the mix. (He’s Toni Collette’s brother. I don’t know why.) Hijinks ensue. Oh my God, look, now the horn on the VW Camper is defective and it keeps going off! Can you believe it? And now they’re all dancing to Superfreak!

Are all you people morons?

I also object to the misuse of the Alan Arkin character’s corpse, which the Hoover family has to stuff into the VW to get to California on time. First it’s a ripoff of Vacation. Second, at least Vacation got some laughs out of it. They say if you introduce a gun in the first act, it needs to go off by the third. Well, if you put a corpse in a comedy, some Weekend at Bernie’s slapstick needs to ensue pronto.

In my defense, I like a whole lot of stuff that everybody else likes, like Reese Witherspoon, and “Rocky” and Starbucks and “Dancing with the Stars.”

Posted on Jan 8, 2007 in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Funeral Surge

No one thinks this will work. When you’ve lost Charles Krauthammer and Ollie North, and when even Assrocket has his doubts–that ought to tell you something. Yglesias puts it well:

It doesn’t matter to Bush and his top aides whether or not Iraq is, for all intents and purposes, hopeless. They don’t pay any downside costs of escalating, so they’re willing to make American military personnel and American taxpayers bear any burden and pay any price for even the vaguest hope that this will in some way increase the odds of something they could plausibly label “success” happening.

Christ, this is disgusting.

Posted on Jan 5, 2007 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


IN THE MAIL: (Actually, something I ordered for a project I’m working on). Travis S. Taylor et al.’s book, An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion.

I had an interesting discussion on this topic with some NORAD guys when I spoke at the Air Force Academy several years ago. The book looks okay, but not as focused as I’d hoped — though admittedly the topic itself is pretty unfocused. The Amazon reader reviews are good.

posted at 11:02 AM by Glenn Reynolds

The jokes write themselves.

Posted on Jan 4, 2007 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


You call it “secondhand smoke.” I call it “douche repellent.”

Posted on Jan 4, 2007 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment