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Odds & Ends: From Chicago, With Love Edition

by poemless Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:03:24 PM EST

Contents: "Да, мы можем! Да, мы можем!", or A Putin of One's Own.

I was not prepared for this.  I was not prepared to win.  I was not prepared to make history.  I was not prepared for the tears.  So many tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief.  Tears of exhaustion.  Tears of vindication.  Tears of freedom from the past 8 years of fear, helplessness, confusion, frustration, terror, disillusionment and shame.  I was not prepared for the immensity of the weight lifted, or the immensity of the weight which replaced it.  I was not prepared to drink with such abandon, to sleep so deeply, to smile at so many strangers.  I was not prepared to walk to the bookshelf, remove a tome of poems, read them, aloud, feel the full force of their words course through my veins, realize years had passed since poetry had that effect on me, many long years, and to appreciate the curious pervasiveness of tyranny.  I had not prepared for my name to become obsolete.  

I began writing satire, or writing at all, really, as a way of coping with the political situation of that day.  I wasn't prepared for the day that I would have nothing funny, nothing at all, really, to say.  The only laughs I've elicited in the past week have been from highly intoxicated people who were in a state of existential giddiness verging on outright lunacy.  My comment about Jewish men couldn't have been that witty.  

I've never even written much about my own political situation.  Talking about the Bush Administration for very long is kind of like talking about a slow painful death by parasite-born disease for very long.  Why would you?  Instead of acknowledging any association with my own government,  I found a foreign country on the opposite end of the earth, adopted it, despite having no legal, ethnic or historical claim to, and blogged about THAT.  Denial is not just a river in Egypt, and might explain why I was so very very unprepared for my post-November 4th reality.

Can someone tell me what to do when, having developed a brilliant coping skill which makes you internationally adored, whatever it was that you were trying to cope with is suddenly resolved?  Omg, this is why comedians have such a high suicide rate isn't it?  

Houston...

Well, until I find a brilliant way to cope with the sudden irrelevance of my brilliant coping skills, I suppose I have no choice but to do what millions of American bloggers have done over the past week: write an impassioned argument for why the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America is, like, the most best thing to ever happen to America and the whole world ever.  I know.  I would normally flee from such pathetic group think and conformity in sheer disgust.  But these are exceptional times, so I make an exception.  Besides, I think they've just passed a new law here in Chicago requiring all residents to froth at the mouth with praise for our new President.  So, here goes my "Why Barack Obama Rocks My World!" diary.  Sigh...  I hope it isn't a total waste of time.  

After all, the amazing similarities between my new real life President and my old fantasy President deserve to be celebrated!

:D


Barack Obama v. Vladimir Putin:  A Comparative Analysis

PERSONALITY:

BHO:  Published biographical book before election detailing early years as an aimless "hoodlum."
VVP:  Published biographical book before election detailing early years as an aimless "hooligan."

BHO:  Maintains mental and physical acuity and athletic stereotypes by working out at the basketball court.  
VVP:  Maintains mental and physical acuity and athletic stereotypes by working out on the ski slopes.

BHO:  "I'm too sexy for my shirt"

VVP:  "Too sexy for my shirt"

"No way I'm disco dancing..."

BHO:  Also knows how to rock a suit and shades..
VVP:  Also knows how to rock a suit and shades and a posse.

BHO:  Described by Charles Krauthammer as possessing "the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin."
VVP:  Is Vladimir Putin.

BHO:  Spooky smart.  (Although rumour has it his IQ is only 130...)
VVP:  Smart spook.  (Although rumour has it he was just shuffling papers in Dresden...)

BHO:  Slightly creepy Cult of.
VVP:  Slightly creepy Cult of.

HOME LIFE:

BHO:  Father of two very beautiful daughters who have some weirdly Russian sounding names: Sasha & Malia.
VVP:  Father of two very beautiful daughters who have real Russian names: Maria & Katya.

BHO:  Little plot of land acquired with the aid of a sketchy, corrupt individual.
VVP:  40 billion dollars worth of a assets acquired with the aid of sketchy, corrupt individuals, probably.

BHO:  Is currently looking around for a puppy dog.
VVP:  Has placed a remote-controlled GPS collar on his puppy dog so that he never has to look around for it again.

BHO:  Success, ambition, devotion to wife and family, integrity make him a much needed role model for young African American males.  American women want a man like Obama.  
VVP:  Success, ambition, devotion to wife and family, integrity make him a much needed role model for young Russian males.  Russian women want a man like Putin.

IDEOLOGY:

BHO:  According to scholars, is "Post-ideological," which basically translates as "Whatever you want him to be."
VVP:  According to scholars, is "Post-ideological," which basically translates as "Whatever. I do what I want."

BHO:  According to journalistic hacks, wants to turn America into a Communist State.
VVP:  According to journalistic hacks, wants to return Russia to a Communist State.

BHO:  According to poemless, publicly presents himself as a sensitive populist, but is secretly hell-bent on world domination.
VVP:  According to poemless, publicly presents himself as hell-bent on world domination, but is secretly a sensitive populist.

CAREER PATH:

BHO:  His meteoric rise to power was aided by purging his challengers from ballots and running against certifiably insane lunatics.
VVP:  His meteoric rise to power was maintained by purging his challengers from ballots and running against certifiably insane lunatics.

BHO:  Was able to draw upon his mad skillz as a community organizer to create the most successful grassroots GOTV campaign in human history. ever.
VVP:  Was able to draw upon his mad skillz as a KGB agent to terrify/coerce a submissive public into voting for him.

BHO:  Democratically elected President in a landslide (but we all know that was just a formality and really he was hand-picked for the job by God Almighty.)
VVP:  Democratically elected President in a landslide (but we all know that was just a formality and really he was hand-picked for the job by Boris Yeltsin.)

BHO:  Inherited an economy in absolute ruin from a lazy, incompetent, corrupt idiot with drinking problem.
VVP:  Copy.  Paste.

LEADERSHIP:

BHO:  The star-struck under-30 crowd played a critical role in getting him elected, from attending rallies to canvassing in Iowa to voting for him.  ex: "I've got a crush on Obama" girl.
VVP:  The star-struck Nashi played a critical role in getting him elected, from attending rallies to  helping "manage" the election to playing silly pranks on his opponents because they are not actually old enough to vote.  ex: "Vova, I'm with you!" bikini girl.

BHO:  Rewards loyalty by giving his connections from Chicago, nicknamed "The Chicago Mafia," jobs in the White House.
VVP:  Rewards loyalty by giving his connections from St. Petersburg, nicknamed "The Petersburg Clan," jobs in the Kremlin.  Also lets some of the real mafia stay on.

BHO:  Right-hand man Rahm Emanuel might be the devil.  But is kinda cute.
VVP:  Right-hand man Vladislav Surkov might be the devil.  But is totally hot.

BHO:  Though technically only leader of the United States of America, citizens of other countries imagine he is their leader too.  ex: Kenya, Ireland.
VVP:  Though technically only leader of the Russian Federation, imagines he is leader of citizens of other countries too.  ex: Ukraine, Georgia.

BHO:  Actually, he isn't really the President right now, due to laws dictating the transfer of power.  
VVP:  No comment.

BHO:  American media are absolutely biased in favor of him, and every national network is Obama 24/7.  Seriously, they won't say one critical thing about him.  Like Bush in 2002.
VVP:  Russian media are absolutely biased in favor of him, and every national network is Putin 24/7.  Seriously, they won't say one critical thing about him.  Like Stalin in 1942.

(Hm.  Maybe Sarah Palin should get an op-ed column in Izvestia...)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

VVP:  Has created jobs, stabilized the economy, earned respect among his international peers, made Russians proud to be Russian again, woven together a beautiful historical narrative to alleviate widespread national schizophrenia, scored job of hosting the Olympics, been named Time Magazine's "Man of the Year," looked fabulous while doing it all.

BHO:  Has written a to do list:  
"Create jobs, stabilize the economy, earn respect among international peers, make Americans proud to be American again (Done!  Reward self with ice cream cone.), weave together a beautiful historical narrative to alleviate widespread national schizophrenia, score Chicago job of hosting the Olympics, get named Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year,' look fabulous while doing it all."

:)

You:  "Hey can we get a picture of the hot guy in the White House - even if he's not of Slavic origin?"

Me:  "Yes We Can!"

Ok, mes amis.  Thanks for reading.  Have a lovely week!    

Ciao.

Display:
RIA Novosti: Gorbachev calls on Obama to carry out 'perestroika' in the U.S.

In an interview with Italy's La Stampa published on Friday, Gorbachev said President-elect Barack Obama needs to fundamentally change the misguided course followed by President George W. Bush over the past eight years.
Gorbachev said that after transforming his country in the late 1980s, he had told the Americans that it was their turn to act, but that Washington, celebrating its Cold War victory, was not interested in "a new model of a society, where politics, economics and morals went hand in hand."

He said the Republicans have failed to realize that the Soviet Union no longer exists, that Europe has changed, and that new powers like China, Brazil and Mexico have emerged as important players on the world stage.

He told the paper that the world is waiting for Obama to act, and that the White House needs to restore trust in cooperation with the United States among the Russians.

"This is a man of our times, he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation. Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities."

Former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of now defunct Yukos oil giant, who is in prison on fraud and tax evasion charges, also used the word perestroika in discussing the future course of the Obama administration.

In an article published in the business daily Vedomosti on Friday, Khodorkovsky said Obama's election win was not merely another change of power in a separate country, but was important for all states.

He said that, "being a liberal himself, he thinks that the world will take a left turn," and that "a global perestroika would be a logical response to the global crisis."

"The paradigm of global development is about to change. The era inaugurated by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher 30 years ago is over."

What?  Misha's not a fan of the Free Market anymore?!  Maybe Obama is the Messiah....


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:04:57 PM EST
Aw, c'mon, be nice to Gorbachev.  Guy had to deal with Reagan for eight years.  You and I are too young to fully appreciate that.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL.  Mea Culpa.  I meant the other Misha.  The jailed Oligarch who had his pet oil company taken away from him.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only three years, actually. Well, Reagan did tire down a few russian leaders before that...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Word of the Week: Барак Обама

But within Barack Obama's name there is a strange task for the Russian system of cases - his first name is masculine, ending as it does on a consonant, while his last name is feminine, ending on the vowel a. In Russian thus Барак Обама. According to the rules of Russian grammar, we must decline his first name as a masculine noun, but his last name as a feminine one. This can and will surely mess with your mind in the way of «Дядя Ваня пришёл» [Uncle Vanja came] or «Врач Смирнова пришла» [Doctor Smirnova came] can and do. Such are the fine and finite rules of Russian grammar - here the 'hidden sex' of the words is what counts, not what letters the words actually end on. The problem that arises because of this does so not because we, ambitious yet simple mortal learners of Russian as a foreign language, are unintelligent and think that just because he's uncle Vanja, then all the verbs connected with him should also end on -a, no! The problem is caused by our brain and its burning desire to make things make sense.

I find, when dealing with Russia in general, all problems are caused by our brains and their burning desire to make things make sense.  When you stop expecting things to make sense, they suddenly do!  Magic of the Russian Mind!

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:05:30 PM EST
Russia Blog: Obama Beats McCain 68 to 32 Percent -- in Russia

Russian citizens and news agencies are closely watching the American elections today, and... participating in them. Virtually, of course. As of noon U.S. Eastern Standard Time, nearly 3,000 Russian "voters" had cast their votes in a Gazeta.ru-sponsored poll. Barack Obama was defeating John McCain in a landslide: 68 to 32 percent. Russian voters also learned promptly about the death of Obama's grandmother, Canadian comedians' prank on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, former actor and current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's support for John McCain, and Obama winning the first vote recorded today in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. The Russian media overall has praised the openness of the American electoral system.

I encourage the Russian electoral system to be more open, so that I can cast my votes in it.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:06:18 PM EST
As I still have the site open, relevant Levada October poll in Russia, and swear, I'm going to stop with Levada for today:

Are you following US election campaign: 6% are paying close attention, 29% scant attention, 64% do not follow.

Where your sympathies are: 35% Barak Obama, 14% McCain, 37% neither one, 14% do not know.

by blackhawk on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:52:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans proud to be American - I was not prepared for this ! :-)

Keep writing about Russia - the US is - um - fairly well covered in Eurotrib - as in the media in general. We get very little about Russia - except when it swats down a Georgian attack on South Ossetia. There was a sympathetic doc on Russia on BBC World recently - a rarity. I AM prepared - resignedly - to put up with your continued drooling over Putin :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:58:12 PM EST
Whatever.  There was a lot of resistence when I first began writing Russian propaganda.  Now you are all putty in my hands.  This time next year, you'll all be singing "God Bless America."

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:04:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Singing Putty Blobs. That'll be fun.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it a requirement these days for world leaders to be hairless?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:10:29 PM EST
Wow, I didn't expect everything to disappear!  Does that comment thread only disappear for those who have Troll Rated it? (all six of us?)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 11:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understand it, a post (and everything that hangs from it) if trollrated is hidden from the diary for everyone except those who are trusted users.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am a trusted user and I can't see it.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Go to your user pages, choose Settings, then Comment Preferences.

Three-quarters down the list, just above a horizontal line, you'll see:

Show Hidden Comments

Turn it to Yes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:57:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THANKS!

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:08:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Obama's half as sharp, ruthless and effective as Putin, we're going to be back to its arrogant, awesome self in no time.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:23:33 PM EST
Cannot wait! ;)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can feel it in your voice already...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Odds & Ends: From Chicago, With Love Edition
(Although rumour has it his IQ is only 130...)

Only on ET. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:31:12 PM EST
Izzy wrote me about this test to see if you are smarter than Obama.  I think he's pretty incredibly smart, right.  Then she said it was an IQ test - and Obama's is 130.  We were both like, man, that's disappointing.

We REALLY want a leader that is smarter than us, for once!

I'm not bragging, mind you.  I'm not a genius.  :(


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody likes a clever clogs.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"clogs?"  Is that British or Finnish?  I speak neither.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]


notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:18:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't say "niemand houdt van een slimme klomp"

Obama, OTOH, is rumoured to have Dutch roots. More specifically, Frisian roots. The local tabloid (IOW: the largest daily by circulation) just ran a made-up story on this that has been doing the rounds since February. From back then:

56572: Ús Barack foar President!

The gentleman on the left [now: above] is Mr. Jelle Obbema, a Frisian, who around left 1870 left Friesland for Kenya where he made a small fortune in the peppermint oil business. He was one of the founders of the famous Frisian King Peppermint company.

While in Kenya, de Volkskrant writes, Mr. Obbema had many love affairs. Offspring of these affairs were given the name Obama, the African version of the Frisian name Obbema. One of the sons was Sjoerd-Bark Obama, Barack Obama's great-grandfather.

Many Obbemas in Friesland have been famous for their athletic abilities. Finally, there is an Obbema Family Crest and on the crest are the words "Ja, wy kinne - Yes we can." The campaign slogan making the rounds in Friesland these days is: "Ús Barack foar President!"


Estimated truth value: 5% (the Obbema family does exist).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today, we are all Obamas.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously.  You see this?  We finally elect a president with an IQ above 6, and these schmucks try to claim him immediately.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's from Chicago.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not part of Yurp either, unless you want credit for Daley.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he's arguing I have legitimate claim to being an Obama because I live in Chicago.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you go back far enough, we're all related. As discussed in the old Heritage thread.

This is more than just a trivial notion, brothers and sisters!

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:39:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough. But then, we have Balkenende. Can you blame us?

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the end of Balls?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ich bin ein Obama!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I am an Obama donut"?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I am an Obama nut"

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither.  It's Sven.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:21:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clogs are shoes. Surely you must be interested? ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We REALLY want a leader that is smarter than us, for once!"

Facebook:


There is no standard scale for measuring IQ so different tests give different scores. What is always comparable is if you are in, for example, the top 5% on this test you will probably also be in the top 5% on another test. This test uses one of the most common scales, but UK Mensa tests and many other tests use different scales.

CF.:


Think you are smart? Well, if your IQ is 130, that puts you ahead of 98% of people.

http://www.increasebrainpower.com/iq-scale.html


I.e. Mensa level.


 Of course that means there are still 120 million people who are smarter than you (the other 2%). Also, recent research shows that a person's level of self-discipline is more predictive of success than their IQ level. In other words, don't take too much meaning from your score on an IQ scale.

Ibid.

I'd say that Obama has shown that he has a lot of self-discipline.

Years ago Liam Hudson did a lot of work on IQ, creativity, etc. (Checking this I was sad to find he died in 2005). He said that a certain minimal level of IQ was necessary for outstanding performance in many fields, less so in the arts and humanities - I think he said about 120, than the sciences. But that very high IQ was no guarantee of success as, above the minimal level, other personal factors became more important, such as self-discipline (see above).  

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention that IQ tests don't measure social or emotional intelligence which are THE most important predictors of success in a politician.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:59:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention that IQ tests mostly measure your ability to perform well on IQ tests. Which is at least somewhat correlated with practising these tests.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or that they generally rely on the sort of pointless puzzle solving that makes me want to stick the pencil through my eye, which I'm pretty certain doesn't help performance.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nor do they improve understanding of statistics : IQ tests are calibrated for the US usually, for the OECD at most, so the idea that "the top 2%" would be uniform around the world, leading to "120 million smarter people", would be shaky at best.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any tests I have seen (a long time ago) were also quite culturally specific (which comes in handy if you want to prove e.g. that blacks have lower IQs than whites).  At best they are a highly reductive test for very specific capabilities, some of which can be learned/conditioned, and many of which aren't much used in most real life situations.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:17:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more they're a very limited test of a very specific and narrow range of rather abstract abilities.

Being able to rotate complicated objects in your imagination is more of a freaky talent than a useful one.

Psychologists use a more general concept called 'g', which is short for 'general intelligence' and seems to be almost impossible to test for.

I have a very arbitrary rule of thumb for estimating practical intelligence, which is predictive ability and modelling sophistication.

Given a set of circumstances - which could be emotional, or economic, or scientific - intelligent people are better at guessing what happens next than less intelligent people, even with identical levels of previous experience and knowledge.

Traditional IQ seems to be more interested in abstract symbol manipulations and certain kinds of pattern recognition, and they don't necessarily correlate with prediction and modelling except in very specialised and limited ways.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:36:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention that IQ tests mostly measure your ability to perform well on IQ tests. Which is at least somewhat correlated with practising these tests.
by someone

 There is a bit more to be said for them than you suggest here (which doesn't mean to say that I'm a hard-line advocate of IQ tests). I seem to recall reading that some research had shown that there was little gain after about three practice sessions - maybe there's some more recent research. In general, cf. a crtic of them:


Harvard professor and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that intelligence tests were based on faulty assumptions and showed their history of being used as the basis for scientific racism, although did not at any point attempt to scientifically refute intelligence tests.
...

Gould did not dispute the stability of test scores, nor the fact that they predict certain forms of achievement. He did argue, however, that to base a concept of intelligence on these test scores alone is to ignore many important aspects of mental ability.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient#Criticism_and_views

I think most people would agree with the latter point, including those advocating IQ tests.

Cf.:


In response to the controversy surrounding The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association's Board of Scientific Affairs established a task force in 1995 to write a consensus statement on the state of intelligence research which could be used by all sides as a basis for discussion.
...
In this paper the representatives of the association regret that IQ-related works are frequently written with a view to their political consequences
...

The task force concluded that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual differences in school achievement. They confirm the predictive validity of IQ for adult occupational status, even when variables such as education and family background have been statistically controlled. They agree that individual differences in intelligence are substantially influenced by genetics and that both genes and environment, in complex interplay, are essential to the development of intellectual competence.

ibid.



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 10:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a critique of IQ and Intelligence studies (sic) read The Making of Intelligence by Prof. Ken Richardson, Col U Pr, ISBN 0-231-12004-4.  It's a quick read and, to my mind, devastating.

The following is me.

Putting it bluntly:

  1.  the IQ people's research methods are shoddy.  There are no statistically valid, long-term, double-bind studies.  

  2.  there is no generally accepted definition of Intelligence

  3.  The highest IQ [See 1, above] does not help if you're dead, by the age of five, from starvation.  Thus, we see the influence of the particular environment.  Once environment is given a role the whole notion of "innate" or "genetically based" Intelligence [See 2, above] as a predictor is meaningless.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 12:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this the best place for a nature v. nurture debate?  If so, can we move on to angels and pinheads when you are finished?  

There are intelligent people; there are unintelligent people.  There are beautiful people; there are ugly people.  There are ambitious people; there are unambitious people.  How did they get that way?  The possibile exlanations and combinations of explanations are infinite.  All methods for measuring these charateristics are subjective.  And what is intelligence or beauty?  Are they totally subjective?  But then why is it clear to most people that Obama is intelligent and Bush is not?  We must agree on some basic qualifications, right?  

And surely we can all agree that a President should be intelligent.

Also - I test miserably.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 12:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I just thought I'd suggest that Obama's 130 score was more than enough to provide the basis for outstanding real-life performance, given such qualities as self-discipline, etc. - and look what happened ! Some would accuse me of trying to "hijack" the diary :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 12:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Putting it bluntly [mistakenly :-)]:

   1.  the IQ people's research methods are shoddy.  There are no statistically valid, long-term, double-bind studies.

 There is more than one valid way of doing studies and those developing IQ tests have used a variety of approaches. So there is debate in an area of studies about people - what a surprise!  


  2.  there is no generally accepted definition of Intelligence

So what ? We recognise many things without being able to give a precise definition of them.  Define "games".  Those developing IQ tests have put forward definitions which are as reasonable as most definitions in the social sciences.

   3.  The highest IQ [See 1, above] does not help if you're dead, by the age of five, from starvation.  Thus, we see the influence of the particular environment.  Once environment is given a role the whole notion of "innate" or "genetically based" Intelligence [See 2, above] as a predictor is meaningless.

This is just silly. Does any serious IQ proponent deny that the environment plays an important role ?

cf.


The task force concluded that IQ scores do have high predictive validity for individual differences in school achievement. They confirm the predictive validity of IQ for adult occupational status, even when variables such as education and family background have been statistically controlled. They agree that individual differences in intelligence are substantially influenced by genetics and that both genes and environment, in complex interplay, are essential to the development of intellectual competence.

Now, if you have any serious criticisms ... :-)


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In order your argument commits:

  1.  Non sequitur: failure to meet the objection.  Either give examples of double-blind experiments or demonstrate why double-blind experiments are not necessary.

  2.  Appeal to Common Practice: validity is not achieved from 'everybody doing it.'

  3.  Argument from Ignorance:  The answer is Yes.

  4.  Argument from Authority: There are just as many, as just as good, Authorities (one cited) who object.

My statements stand.

QED.

(You see?  I can play the academic game too  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 10:59:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In order your argument commits:

   1.  Non sequitur: failure to meet the objection.  Either give examples of double-blind experiments or demonstrate why double-blind experiments are not necessary.

No, YOU were making the demand - it's up to you to show why that method, and no others, is necessary, and why other methods are inadequate, taking into account the complexity of the subject being investigated - we're not talking about testing a specific drug for example.

   2.  Appeal to Common Practice: validity is not achieved from 'everybody doing it.'

Another unreasonable demand, it's up to you to show why a universally agreed definition is necessary - unlikely in the social sciences, and why the usual definitions offered are (supposedly) clearly inadequate.


   3.  Argument from Ignorance:  The answer is Yes.

Again you're making the accusation, and mere assertion won't do, back it up with credible examples - which serious IQ researchers say this - and are they at all typical, or an unrepresentative minority? See the conclusion to the review of Richardson below.


   4.  Argument from Authority: There are just as many, as just as good, Authorities (one cited) who object.

Mere assertion, previously I cited a major critic, Gould, but showed that he conceded some key points, and I quoted from a report by the American Psychological Society, not just one guy, and they affirmed the key points Gould conceded.

Now let's look at your (one) guy, from whom you cite no evidence or arguments. He seems to be as careless with evidence as you, and like you, he argues against straw men - cf the concluding sarcastic comment:


The Making of Intelligence
By K. Richardson. Columbia University Press, New York, 2000.

Review snippets on the cover of my copy describe this book as a "whodunnit", a "quietly passionate polemic", and a "thought-provoking view". In what follows, I can only belabor what one reads between those lines: the frustrating absence of a balanced, scholarly treatment of intelligence.
...
Opposed to any hint of genetic determinism, he has no choice but to reject computational approaches to the field. He does this by citing critiques published in 1990 or earlier; connectionism, the main approach in use today, was developed in the mid-1980s. If you see no changes in your software since 1989, he may convince you. The one exception is his citation of Geoffrey Hinton (p. 99): "As one of the leaders in the field, Geoffrey Hinton of Carnegie-Mellon University, put it in an article in 1998: `I am disappointed that we still haven't got a clue what learning algorithms the brain uses.'" Though Richardson ends his paragraph with that quotation, he is truncating Hinton, who in the source goes on to say, "but let me say one more encouraging thing"; this is followed by a lengthy, enthusiastic discussion of a promising new approach. For Richardson, because connectionists have had nearly 20 years to figure out how the brain works, and haven't, it's time to give up (p. 100). Unfortunately, all Richardson offers as an alternative is a set of metaphors based on "hypernetworks" and the conclusion that intelligence is a terribly complex emergent property. He eventually may prove to be correct, but it is a bit early to concede.

His writing is clear enough, but the treatment of sources is fuzzy beyond belief. Studies are mentioned with or without citation, and if an author is identified, the work in question may or may not show up in the short, briefly annotated chapter bibliographies. Oddly, given that a number of works don't make it to the bibliography, at least three are included in two or more. One has the impression of chapters written rapidly, perhaps out of sequence, with remembered publications cited and no effort made to track down the rest.

In sum, if you believe that "intelligence" is clearly defined, can be accurately and unambiguously measured using standard techniques, and derives from explicit, invariant mental modules that are rigidly specified by structural genes impervious to environmental effects, then read this book; it will give you a much-needed jolt. Otherwise, Gould (1996) remains definitive regarding the policy side of IQ testing, and Elman et al. (1996) provides a far better account of how complex behaviors can arise through epigenesis.

http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/93/6/462

My statements stand.

They're not even leaning drunkenly :-)


QED.

(You see?  I can play the academic game too  ;-)

and lose :-) - and by the way - how would you know ? unless you have a universally accepted definition of "academic" and "game" ? :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention there is no standard definition of intelligence.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 11:48:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well they are the sort of thing included in "other personal factors".

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 09:16:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have included, to be clear what it's a response to (given how far down this appears):

Not to mention that IQ tests don't measure social or emotional intelligence which are THE most important predictors of success in a politician.

by Frank Schnittger

Well they are the sort of thing included in "other personal factors" in my comment.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 09:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A high IQ is certainly no indicator of success, or self-discipline, as my existence has illustrated, time and again.

However, since I have neither success nor self-discipline, why do you feel the need to destroy what little pride I take in my IQ?  To quote the great Mayor Richard M. Daley, "What do you want, my shorts?!"  Bully...

I guess it is good to have a President who is extremely smart, but not a genius, as geniuses tend to be neurotic basket cases with no social skills.  

Back to the IQ.  I do wonder what the av. IQ on ET is.  I bet I am on the lower end here.  

Also, why is it ok for people to flaunt their wealth, beauty and power, but not their intelligence?  Maybe it is not such an issue in Europe, but until a week ago, being smart was considered elitism, something one should be ashamed of, here.  Intellectual people are in the closet in the country.  Only allowed to be cerebral in company of others like themselves.  I think smart people should show off.  Supermodels don't think, "I should only wear sweatpants and oversize t-shirts in public, so other people don't feel inferior to me."  Wealthy people don't live in trailer parks out of tact.  No, they flaunt it, making everyone else aspire to be like them.  Intelligent people should flaunt it too, and maybe people will begin to desire to emulate them.  Make it cool to watch Nova and read books.  Maybe Obama will do that.

Here's a fun read:

Mark Ames: Elite versus Elitny

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 11:19:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This problem in the US was discussed in Hofstadter's "Anti-intllectualism in American life" back in the 60s. Since then the Republicans have used the "elitism" theme to attack liberals in general - while giving massive funding to right-wing think tanks (see Krugman's "The Conscience of a Liberal")

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It runs far deeper than politics.  I had friends in elementary school who would pretend to be less intelligent than they were, would fail tests on purpose, for fear of ridicule.

Actually, the person I am thinking of grew up in Holland before moving to the States as a kid.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you have powerful political forces pushing an ideology they help shape the culture in general. The political becomes the personal - as in the cases you refer to.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced it is entirely top-down.  In a Democracy, you can try to impose ideology from the top, but you also have to pander to the ideology of the bottom.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:31:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But where did THAT ideology come from ? Hofstadter tried to trace the origins of the anti-intellectualism which existed then - actually the 1950s - and (as I've noted before) locates the roots of the ideology before the establishment of the US in Puritanism. But then examines its development and the ways in which it became deeply rooted in American culture:

In his unsurpassed survey, Hofstadter described three pillars of anti-intellectualism -- evangelical religion, practical-minded business, and the populist political style. Religion was suspicious of modern relativism, business of regulatory expertise, populism of claims that specialized knowledge had its privileges. Those pillars stand. But, as Hofstadter recognized, something was changing in American life, and that was the uneasy apotheosis of technical intellect.
...

The force of Hofstadter's insight into persistent anti-intellectualism despite the rising legitimacy of technical experts would be clear five years after he published his book. George Wallace ran well in several Democratic Party primaries, and eventually, too, as a third-party candidate, while campaigning against "pointy-headed bureaucrats" -- precisely the classic identification of intellect with arbitrary power that Hofstadter had identified as the populist hallmark.

There was a left-wing version of this presupposition, too. A populist strain in the 60's student movement, identifying with the oppressed sharecroppers of the Mississippi Delta and the dispossessed miners of Appalachia, bent the principle "Let the people decide" into a suspicion of all those who were ostensibly knowledgeable. Under pressure of the Vietnam War, the steel-rimmed technocrat Robert S. McNamara came to personify the steel-trap mind untethered by insight, and countercultural currents came to disdain reason as a mask for imperial arrogance.

In his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, Ronald Reagan deployed a classic anti-intellectual theme -- portraying students as riotous decadents. Real education was essentially a matter of training, and breaches of discipline resulted in nihilism and softness on communism. The Nixon-Agnew team proceeded to mobilize resentment against "nattering na-bobs of negativism," successfully mobilizing a "silent majority" against a verbose minority. That was to flower into a major neoconservative theme thereafter.

http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i15/15b00701.htm




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 02:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly the finest political analysis I've read so far... ;-)

Congratulations for your victory!

And thanks for the hard work you did for us!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:52:43 PM EST
Why the wink?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:54:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon: thanks for the hard work you did for us!

Ditto in spades.

Melanchthon: Congratulations for your victory!

"Congratulations" < congrātulārī : com-, together + grātulārī, to rejoice

No better word for the occasion.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:56:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obamas just like us except ...
By Chris Jones Tribune critic

In polite company this last week, Chicagoans of all political stripes have been falling over each other to declare how elated and inspired they feel by the election of Barack Obama, one of our own, to the office of president of the United States.

But once some of us are alone in the dark with our mistakes, regrets, lousy choices and personal failings, there's another emotion that comes to the fore. It has just not been politically acceptable to talk about it.

Jealousy.

Be honest. Bet you've felt a few pangs. Especially if, like me, you are dangerously close in age to Barack and Michelle.

Take the situation in downtown Chicago on Friday afternoon. Obama was planning for nothing less than the economic salvation of the world, along with fixing health care, solving an intractable situation in Iraq and leading the fight against global warming.

And what were you doing, perhaps just a few blocks away? Arguing over some dull and pointless legal deal? Lecturing but not being heard? Sitting immobile on an expressway?

Wondering why your office has no supplies?

I remember what I was doing. I was arguing over the placement of a trivial story on a trivial topic and, once again, not getting the respect I so richly deserve.

With most past presidential elections, one could explain away the winner as having enjoyed far greater privilege than oneself. George W. Bush (and his father) had a crucially useful last name. Ronald Reagan was a movie star.

Yet Obama offers none of those comforts. Many of us would have to admit that, by any objective standards, we started out with far greater advantages.

Sure, there have been past presidents like Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter who also came from humble circumstances. But their rise seemed to come from a milieu--rural and southern--quite different from our own. We urbanities could take comfort in that. We can tell ourselves we could never have conjured that kind of popular, small-town appeal.

Yet the Obamas lived and worked among us here in Chicago. Some of us ran into them from time to time--at school, on campus, at the gym, in the neighborhood, at the office, on committees, with the kids, at the theater. They seemed quite similar to us. They seemed to like to chat about the same kind of things. They eat at Spiaggia, a place where we'd like to eat, too, if only we could get and afford a table.

You could try to justify your own lack of comparable achievement by claiming that you chose to focus on family. But that doesn't work. The Obamas seem to have managed that too. They fit in a parent-teacher conference Friday before taking on the world's problems. And they have the nicest possible family. Potential hypoallergenic puppy and all.

You could try to justify your lack of success based on your decision to forgo the traditional paths toward money and power to do socially meaningful work instead. Oops. They seem to have done that too.

You could say that you aren't willing to do all the sleazy things you have to do to gain such an office. (That's one of my favorite self-serving excuses: I tell myself that I'm just too nice a guy to have climbed my way into a position of real power and influence.)

But Obama got himself elected without doing those things. He never rose to the usual bait. And, incredibly, it still worked.

My last defense is my pride at being a writer. Obama, who already wrote two books, rips that into shreds. I can barely hack out a column; he penned fluid best-sellers on the side.

So as you lay there staring at the flicking digital clock, you've really got no way out of the personal malaise. And even in your darkest moments, you can't secretly wish for your more successful doppelganger to fail, because that would, of course, take you and your 401(k) down too. Not to mention the rest of the globe.

So thanks, President-elect Obama. We couldn't be happier for you. Honestly




"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:00:48 PM EST
I feel your pain...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially if, like me, you are dangerously close in age to Barack and Michelle.

Well, there's no worry then ... he's weeks younger than me ... indeed, more than one full calendar month. By a day or two.

The kids of that generation, well, they just had advantages that we never had.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:32:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to whomever for removing those pictures.  I am at my computer at work and, I don't know, would like to actually be able to read the comments thread of my own post.

To answer the question, I have no idea why some people have more hair than others.  Putin is old and fair.  Barack may or may not wax - who knows?  Frankly, thinking about the hairiness of world leaders is not appealing to me.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:06:19 PM EST
You are welcome...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about the hairlessness on the other hand...

I was using the Google to try to find some nice Obama/Putin slash. Complete fail! Too early, perhaps? Give it a few months? Maybe this could be your next calling as your prior coping skill becomes obsolete? You know, to have something to write about. I mean, this one would not be a coping skill, but a celebration of the greatness of the world, and how fabulous it would be if those two got it on... A completely appropriate reaction to the relief of your country for once getting it right. Think about it!

Or maybe I will try. Here, what do you think?

President Obama entered the banquet hall of the Great International Conference to Save the Global Economy. There was the usual annoying camera flashes and reporters lunging forward with microphones, hoping for a quote. He made his way in, not too fast, wouldn't want them to see his disdain for them, not so soon, only two months after his inauguration. But yes, he was already tired of the press corp. The most infuriating aspect was the fawning heaped upon him by brown nosing little shits that just 6 months ago could not be heard to utter a hard word for his predecessor. Then the hand shaking. Merkel, Sarkozy, their faces a blur, meaningless comments of polite blather exchanged. Smile for the camera, shake hands.

And then Putin. The steely gaze, the firm squeeze of his hand. Obama trembled, then caught himself. Putin gave one of his small smirks, and looked him straight in the eyes as he caressed the back of Obamas hand for just a moment. He bent in and whispered "later". Obama felt a small gasp escape him, then straightened himself and smiled: "As you wish, Prime Minister. As you wish.". Thankfully more camera flashes to distract him from the unbidden swelling in his pants, and from his own surprise at his reaction. Putin... Yes, this conference might prove to have more rewards than just saving the global economy.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 03:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of the comments in this diary are making me want a double eyeball transplant.  

I can't believe you wrote things like that.  Would you write something like that about your father?  Have you no respect?...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not about my father or other close relations. That would be gross. Everyone else is fair game, though. Respect Schmespect! And if you like this, you will like my further plans:
First, finish the story. Narrative and dialogue. Then, animate in 3d, using stick figures. 'Cause stick figures are ridiculously simple, and doing them 3d is just silly. Then, have the story narration and two part dialogue read by a machine speech synthesize system. Using three different voices. It'll be awesome!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 02:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would prefer any romance between Barack and Vovochka remain platonic.  Barack is clearly a saint and Putin is clearly a ladies man, and I am just not at the place where I am ready to question the veracity of these mythologies.

On a serious note, your evil little story reminds me very much of a passage in Andrey Kurkov's "President's Last Love" in which Putin holds an international summit in a swimming pool...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 02:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Odds & Ends: From Chicago, With Love Edition
I had not prepared for my name to become obsolete.

So what's your new name going to be?  Shall we start a competition?  You didn't deem to like the Manta Ray appellation, so what is it that best captures your new poetic dialectical bipolar fascination with Obamaputin?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:31:32 PM EST
Oh, I will keep my name.  

And I don't think it's bipolar to like both Putin and Obama.  I've clearly made the case that any differences between them are negligible.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But today, are we all Putins too?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:50:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dream on, baby.  You wish...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's Medvedev I feel sorry for.

Not very sorry, mind. Just a little. Once in a while.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to feel a little.  It's like going on after the Beatles on Sullivan.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:59:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, so does Medvedev.  I think we all do a little bit.  Even Putin.  Esp. Putin,

Take a good look, Mr. Biden.  This is your future.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:01:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are plenty of cameras that follow the VP around.  Rest assured Biden will be fine.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:03:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean in eight years.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biden's getting up there in age, but you never know.  Isn't Biden's mother still around?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Levada, in Russia for Medvedev:

55% are of positive opinion about him, 9% of negative, 33% don't know him good enough to have an opinion;

For opinion of his actions as a president: 58% support them, 7% do not, 29% do not know enough to have an opinion;

37% think he is having a strong impact on what is happening in Russia, 41% for moderate impact and 13% for weak.

In another poll

59% support Putin's government actions, and 35% do not (similar figures to the last months of the Zubkov's government). Kasyanov's government had the maximum balance of -1 % between those suporting and those do not, Fradkov's had 4% at the start of the tenure and went lower from there.

54% think that country is moving in the right direction, 27% do not.

83% are supporting Putin's actions as  head of government, 76% of polled support Medvedev's actions as a president (including 98% of those supporting Putin's actions).

Multi-choice question about politicians having the most trust yielded:

 Putin - 56%
 Medvedev - 43%
 Zuganov (Communists) - 8.9%
 ..
 Kasyanov - 1.6%
 ..
 Berezovsky - 0.5%
 Kasparov - 0.5%

by blackhawk on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your brilliant coping skill in the Bushian era was to project your fantasy of an ideal President onto Russia, and hey Presto Putin appeared.  You then directed your powers onto the USA and a Putin doppelganger called Obama arrives on the scene from nowhere.

Where, pray, do you plan on directing your gaze next?

Perhaps you should call yourself Helen of Troy: the face that launched a thousand quips...

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:26:56 PM EST
I heard this week from a client in Chicago that all of Chicago is now convinced it will get the Olympics because Barack Obama is president.  I laughed and said that had never occurred to me and he laughed and said OF COURSE it hadn't because I wasn't from Chicago - the new capital of the world. :)

I wasn't prepared to cry that night.  But I did.  When the call flashed across the tv screen, I did.  When I saw all those people in Grant Park, I did.  When he came out with his little girls, I did.  

by Maryb2004 on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:07:05 PM EST
I have to say - It sure feels like it, even if it isn't.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 10:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sitting on top of the world

Be happy, dear hearts, and allow yourselves a few more weeks of quiet exultation. It isn't gloating, it's satisfaction at a job well done. He was a superb candidate, serious, professorial but with a flashing grin and a buoyancy that comes from working out in the gym every morning. He spoke in a genuine voice, not senatorial at all. He relished campaigning. He accepted adulation gracefully. He brandished his sword against his opponents without mocking or belittling them. He was elegant, unaffected, utterly American, and now (Wow) suddenly America is cool. Chicago is cool. Chicago!!!

We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor--he said, "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." The French junior minister for human rights said, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.

The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos, and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back. He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law. I just can't imagine anybody cooler.

It feels good to be cool, and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin. Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama, and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.And the coolest thing about him is the fact that back in the early '90s, given a book contract after the hoo-ha about his becoming the First Black Editor of The Harvard Law Review, instead of writing the basic exploitation book he could've written, he put his head down and worked hard for a few years and wrote a good book, an honest one, which, since his rise in politics, has earned the Obamas enough to buy a nice house and put money in the bank. A successful American entrepreneur.

Our hero who galloped to victory has inherited a gigantic mess. The country is sunk in debt. The Treasury announced it must borrow $550 billion to get the government through the fourth quarter, more than the entire deficit for 2008, so he will have to raise taxes and not only on bankers and lumber barons. His promise never to raise the retirement age is not a good idea. Whatever he promised the Iowa farmers about subsidizing ethanol is best forgotten at this point. We may not be getting our National Health Service cards anytime soon. And so on and so on.

So enjoy the afterglow of the election awhile longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails--imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes The First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.




"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 01:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.

Is this yet more anti-intellectual propaganda? ie the French are snob intellectuals and (thus) hate all Americans?

If there has been any display of hate, contempt or other such base feelings between the two countries, it certainly did not come from France. But hey, who cares about reality, even today?

As usual, it's flattering in an indirect way., I suppose.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 05:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 I thought she was just welcoming the French minister's comment.

On the other hand, the fact is that more and more French people take bites of things American and, sadly, that's mostly from McDonalds, etc. And the French have a huge appetite for US media, as TV schedules here attest.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 05:54:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's Garrison Keillor.  I suppose the French don't know him (which just proves his point.)

I think he'd get a kick of being called anti-intellectual propaganda.  LOL.

Anyway, you obviously have some issues you need to work out.  I don't see how "When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours?" is "anti-intellectual propaganda" "French are snob intellectuals and (thus) hate all Americans" or "display of hate, contempt or other such base feelings between the two countries".

Sheesh.  What is going on with you?  I seriously don't get it.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 06:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours?"

says as explicitly as it can be said "the French hate us (or resent us or despise us) but now, for the first time, it's not the case"

  1. no, the French don't hate or despite or resent Americans. The fact that such a belief is propagated by "even" Garrison Keillor (whoever that is) suggests that it is widespread. Such supposed hate or resetment makes it easy, in turn, to mock, belittle and generally ridicule the French and, occasionally, like in 1995 or 2003, engage in fullblown vile, hateful campaigns. In other words, we're a convenient scapegoat/enemy, and a carefully cultivated one;

  2. that you don't see this casual hatemongering just shows how omnipresent and accepted it is, and it would be unthinkable, and untolerated for pretty much any other sub-group of population - which I take as a compliment that we don't need protection very much, and as a sign of latent racism as well (the French, they can take it, as opposed to [insert other minority group]); French-bashing is politically-correct-compatible, and is thus an outlet for other frustrations;

  3. no, Obama's election has not miraculously solved all problems, and made America again the shining city on the hill, however much you want to believe. It does not make you superior to the French or to anyone else.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, I'm amazed to see you persisting with this and for once I think you're just wrong. Of course there has been a lot of anti-French rhetoric in the US, but it's not universal and clearly not shared by poemless, nor is to be found in what Keillor says. The quotation (I mistakenly attributed it to poemless - it was late :-)) does NOT "say explicitly" that "the French hate us (or resent us or despise us)". The French don't usually say they want to be American, nor admire US cuisine, but that doesn't at all entail that they "hate" or "despise" Americans. Garrison Keillor is a most unlikely person to think that French in general (but cf him on BHL below) are "intellectual snobs" - he's the kind of anti-Bush liberal who Karl Rove would present as suspiciously sympathetic to the French :-)

Note that he says similar things about the Swedes and Danes - do you assume that he hates and despises them too ? !


So enjoy the afterglow of the election a while longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails -- imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes!

http://www.salon.com/opinion/keillor/2008/11/12/obama_victory/

You say:


no, Obama's election has not miraculously solved all problems, and made America again the shining city on the hill, however much you want to believe. It does not make you superior to the French or to anyone else.

As Keillor says in another recent article:

His [Obama's] picture goes up in the kitchen shrine alongside FDR and JFK -- BHO elevated to sainthood and now expected to walk on water and turn it into wine. Meanwhile, everything he said about the national mess is utterly true and a lot more. And now it is Barack's mess. Yikes.

A good shingle for the new administration to hang out, rather than The New Covenant or A Fair Exchange or English Spoken Here, would be Keep Seat Belt Buckled. Happy days are not here and the sky above is not clear.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/keillor/2008/11/05/happy_couple/

These French intellectuals - they can be SO sensitive :-)

Mind you, Keillor was a bit unkind to one of the most celebrated of them, but you might agree with him about that Jereome :-)

Any American with a big urge to write a book explaining France to the French should read this book first, to get a sense of the hazards involved. Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore; he rambled around this country at the behest of The Atlantic Monthly and now has worked up his notes into a sort of book. It is the classic Freaks, Fatties, Fanatics & Faux Culture Excursion beloved of European journalists for the past 50 years
...
[BHL]" I can't manage to convince myself of the collapse, heralded in Europe, of the American model."

Thanks, pal. I don't imagine France collapsing anytime soon either. Thanks for coming. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. For your next book, tell us about those riots in France, the cars burning in the suburbs of Paris. What was that all about? Were fat people involved?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/books/review/29keillor.html



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:47:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Thanks, pal. I don't imagine France collapsing anytime soon either. Thanks for coming. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. For your next book, tell us about those riots in France, the cars burning in the suburbs of Paris. What was that all about? Were fat people involved?

The usual defiant tone - "what, you dare criticize us? But you're worse so shut up." So nice and friendly. And note the distinction between the collpase of the "American model" and of "France".

You know, it is disappointing in so many ways to see Americans have as their standard "we're no worse than the French" after spending paragraph after paragraph telling us how fucked up (or socialist, like the Scandinavians) we are.

bleh.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Right in the USA seem to have a particular need to identify their domestic adversaries (the libruls) with all sorts of Yurpians of whom the French (cheese eating surrender monkeys who never said thanks for being rescued from Nazism) and the Scandinavian socialists are the most vile.  This is because the Libruls keep looking to Europe for examples that there are alternatives to free market neo-conservativism.  

Using this Yurpian angle to put down the Libruls has the added benefit of appealing to US Nationalism/Imperialism - the shining city on a hill/greatest nation on earth sort of stuff.  US libruls can thus be defined as not being real Amurkans at all, but French speaking elitists who prefer European food/culture to the native brew and who are therefore not really being patriotic at all.

Yurpians are better off just laughing at this stuff - it bears no relationship on the realities of Europe at all, but is part of an internal US power struggle between Conservatives and Liberals where cartoon stereotypes of Europe are used to illustrate a domestic argument between xenophobic and chauvinistic nationalism and an attempt to create a more informed and globalised world view.

Barack Obama will undoubtedly transcend those stereotypes, and will expand US consciousness and horizons about the middle and far east as well - so that ignorance of the world cannot contribute to the creation of more Vietnams and Iraqs.  Its about the US growing up out of the Disney world created for them by the neo-cons.  

In the meantime, we in Europe shouldn't be too complacent about our future either.  We don't have the political structures, never mind the leadership capable of transforming our polities in the way Barack just might in the US.  Wouldn't it be ironic if Barack transformed the US to the point where it became the leading producer of sustainable energy in the world - whilst we wallowed in our petty rivalries.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 09:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one made:

"we're no worse than the French"

LOL!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 09:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure you want to drive around with that?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 10:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hell, I drive less than 200 miles a year.  The big problem would be some college kid trying to swipe my bumper while I'm parked, to mount on his dorm room wall.

PS. Found this yesterday.  Will persue the companies once I get my new machine next week.  Got to close up shop in about 30 min.

Once again, thanks for the help.  Keep your brain perkin'.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 10:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You OK Jerome ? You were very grumpy in the E forum:

"Journalists are so f%$*ing stupid." All of them ? ! You sound like nanne :-)

Here you seem quite paranoid. Keillor was objecting to one Frenchman and one book. If being rude about BHL means someone is anti-French, then quite a few French people are anti-French.

It's still absurd to see his remarks about the French, Swedes and Danes as negative about them (by the way, he married a Danish woman and lived in Denmark for a few years). He's just obviously relieved that many citizens of other countries now have a positive reaction to the American political situtaion  after 8 years of the Bush gang.

Checking him out I find he has a nice radio programme about literature and what do you know, during the last week he respectfully included two - wait for it - French intellectuals - Camus and Barthes ! :-)

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2008/11/07

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2008/11/12

Not bad for US radio. As he says at the end of each programme:

"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."  :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, I read the article that BHL put out in the Atlantic, and it was utter crap. BHL living up to his (French) rep as a living self-parody of the Left Bank intellectual. Think of it this way, in bashing BHL, Keillor is just being French.  Or just think of how many French people, yourself included, would respond if one of BHL's good neo-con buddies like Marty Peretz did the same sort of hackwork on France.
by MarekNYC on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 11:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
where did you see me defend him? I did not criticse the BHL bashing, I criticised very specific cases of generalised French bashing as in "when did the French blablabla", not "when did BHL blablabla'"...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome I've read that paragraph three times (the whole paragraph, not just the out of context sentence you present) and I still don't see how you got anti-intellectual propaganda out of it.  

Of course it's flattering to France.  Indirectly? Sure. It also indirectly slams America for her bad behaviour to the French since 9/11.  Because the last time anyone in France said anything about being American (We are all Americans now) America slammed the door in her face and idiots in the American government did rude things like rename French Fries "Freedom Fries".

Garrison Keillor has a sophisticated audience despite his folksy style.  His listeners and readers know this.

The best evidence for his statement that we won the jackpot is that someone representing France said such a nice thing despite the atrocious way we treated France the last time they said something similar.

At least that's how I read it the first time and how I still read it.

by Maryb2004 on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and like your interpretation, but my (long and extensive) experience of reading English language media commentary on France does not incline me to  believe your intepretation is more correct than mine.

You have no idea how extensive AND intensive the French-bashing is in the media until you actually start noting things down, which is a dreary thing to do.

Maybe one day I will do it, just for the sake of demonstration.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt if anyone here will deny how extensive French-bashing is in Anglo-American media; this does not justify seeing it in even innocuous comments like those of liberal Democrat Keillor. Why would someone who features 2 French intellectuals in his US radio programme in the past week turn on the French - allegedly ? Now three of us find your interpretation quite implausible - unfortunately it's a bit late in the diary comments - but does ANYONE else find Jerome's interpretation plausible? Weird.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His comments are innocuous in that he does not specifically intend to bash the French, but he does repeat, casually, things that are "bashing" and thus gives them additional credit.

It's just like the left calling the Paulson bailout "socialism" for the rich. Even as it criticises the bailout, it validates the use of "socialism" as an insult.

Keillor validates the use of the French as a target, and as a knee-jerk anti-American grup.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've lost your mind.  It's official.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you got it WRONG this time.  You are looking for things and finding things that aren't there.  Russia bashing in the press is everywhere too, but I don't assume everyone is bashing Russia. Or is it just easier to lump all people into one group you don't like and presume they are guilty?

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but they still repeat Russia-bashing stories, even if not on purpose. It's not on purpose, but it's still carelessness.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you realize that Garrison Keillor is a humorist?  Not a serious pundit or commentator?  He's sort of the Mark Twain of the late 20th - early 21st century.  

I'm just having a hard time thinking that he fits into the category of serious "English language media commentary on France".

I'm sure I don't notice it as much as you but I really do notice French bashing in the media.  And ... unlike my compatriots in this thread, I don't mind if you want to call each and every instance out of even borderline France bashing out.  I like to do that with lawyer bashing :)

by Maryb2004 on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:36:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there has been any display of hate, contempt or other such base feelings between the two countries, it certainly did not come from France.

If you mean to say there is no silly and/or hostile stereotyping of America and Americans in France, now or in the past, you don't really know your own country. Perhaps because as someone who is not American you are both less exposed to such stupidity, and less able to recognize it when you do hear it.

by MarekNYC on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 11:42:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's just not official policy, never has been, unlike anti-French policies in the US.

A friend, pretty senior in the Pentagon establishment, told me that people were actually deleting that they spoke French from their resumes  in 2003, because it would kill their prospects then.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours?

Hmmm... this guy, pretty much every day over the past several  years:



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that one?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 09:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's great poemless, I missed that.

The Midwest is cool now.  Whodda thunk? ;)

by Maryb2004 on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For those who have never heard of Garrison Keillor, he is a jack of many trades, but probably most well-known for his weekly radio program on NPR, Prairie Home Companion.  It's an old school radio show, the kinds with home-made sound effects, with live music acts, Guy Noir detective skits, and all kinds of silliness, and social and political satire.  He's also a columnist.  He also publishes anthologies of poetry.  He's a liberal Midwestern folk hero type.  I'm trying to think of anything comparable in another country.  I can't.  I can't even think of anyone in America to compare him to.  He's kinda Mark Twainish.  He's not a snooty intellectual, because there really isn't a large place for people like that in America.  Probably what he is doesn't make any sense to Europeans, because you are accustomed to thinking of Americans using certain categories.  Maybe there's no one like him.  He's folksy curmudgeonly lovable scathing unassuming and outspoken.  But it all makes sense in him.  

Anyway, I'm attributing Jerome's reaction to ignorance.  Because Keillor's fan base is that evil NPR-listening, PBS-watching over-educated liberal elite who eat organic arugula, travel the world, and can tell you who the current Poet Laureate of America is.  Characterizing him the way Jerome has is like characterizing Santa as anti-Christmas.  Truly bizarre.  Completely wrong.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment is like those on DailyKos by people shocked to be called center-right even though they are posting on DailyKos - fully unaware that they are mindlessly repeating rightwing talking points (ugh, socialisim is evil, ugh, the private sector works better than government, ugh, lowers taxes are good, etc...).

Similarly, French-bashing is part of the background - look at his ignorant comments on the suburb "riots" that were quoted elsewhere in the thread.

I'll belive I'm wrong if someone French tells me I am really seeing things that are not there. Sorry, Ted, you don't count here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:08:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot believe I am having this conversation with you.  I think everyone here has made their point.  

You are kind of acting like a jerk at this point, so I am going to stop engaging you.

I hope everyone else enjoyed the post.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:12:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I'll belive I'm wrong if someone French tells me I am really seeing things that are not there. Sorry, Ted, you don't count here.

Only french people can spot French bashing?  Only French people have the correct take on American humourists?

Personally I think only Irish people can understand irony.  That is my conceit and I'm sticking to it!

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
Truly bizarre.  Completely wrong.

i agree with jerome, french bashers do lurk behind every tree and bush, if i was french and had been the butt of nationalist humour for centuries i too would have a hard time shrugging it off, even though my shrugging muscles are hyperdeveloped.

nice description of garrison k. btw.

totally agree he's much too wise to diss the french. he may play dumb sometimes, but not that dumb!

i feel a rousing 'marsellaise' coming on...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh.  See my Mark Twain explanation above.  Mark Twain was the only person I could think to compare him so that non-Americans would understand what he does.
by Maryb2004 on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 03:31:37 AM EST

Obama hates beets!

This totally destroys my argument.  So I am just going to ignore it, pretend it didn't happen.  Lalalalalala...  

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 03:45:48 PM EST


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