Flogging

I have decided that my blogshares investment strategery is to buy only blogs that I actually like. I don’t care if it’s popular and likely to become more so, only whether I like it. rc3.org is such a blog: intelligent and nuanced and readable.

Room Temperature

One of the first things that Daria and I found that we had in common was that we both liked Nicholson Baker. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he’d gone to our college. I hadn’t read all of his stuff, and for some reason never got around to reading a favorite of hers, Room Temperature, until this week. It’s about a man giving his infant daughter a bottle and his thoughts of love and intimacy. There’s this whole part about how he was living in Boston and visiting her at school near Philadelphia, and it talks about the appreciation of style and color he learned from her and helping her decorate her apartment in Ardmore. He goes over all their pet names, their arguments, their desire to know what the other is thinking and understand the other, the paths of action and decision and chance that brought them together and kept them there.

Obviously, I’ve given up about twenty pages in.

Obituary

The Weavers had a line about getting up in the morning and reading the obituary section in the newspaper: “and if I’m not there, I know I’m not dead, so I roll myself over and go back to bed.”

Fives, from Kung Fu Grippe has a rather different set of obituary requirements, like “there will be no use of the phrase ‘looking down on us.'” Of course, I think that Kitty Winn at Vomitola really would prefer to be described as “looking down on us” no matter what. I mean, if it’s accurate now, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be accurate after she dies.

News Sources

If the domestic perspective seems a little right-of-center to you, and you want to know what people with other biases have to say, you could do worse than the English Al Jazeera, translations of the prime regional media outlet. Other sources include the Arabic News, which as far as I can tell is an online-only regional news site with content translated from the Arabic, in contrast to the Arab News, which is a Saudi-based English-language print paper with a web presence.

My conclusion is that we’re not going to see really cool-headed analysis for at least fifty or a hundred years. Read the protestor’s account and especially the comments at the end, which vary from “those fascist pigs!” to “you fucking hippies!” and tell me we’re not polarized here.

Oh, The Humanity

A friend pointed me to a carefully written, well-balanced article about the war and the left. It hurts that it is such a rare thing to see a journalist really consider an issue like this, with really legitimate pro and con arguments: is the suffering of war greater than, or less than, the suffering of the citizens of Iraq?

The author has a really good point: this is the one of the most difficult cases since Stalin– it’s not clear-cut like a lot of the others were. But you don’t see a lot of acknowledgement of complexity at all. Maybe I’m suffering from lone moderate syndrome, but I’m much more used to seeing the clueless sort of protestor. And what could be more evocative of current politics than a guy who chains himself to the wrong building?

Could be worse. You could be the Slut of Ronkonkoma.