Archive for the ‘Morning Snip’ Category

Morning Snip:
Everything Is Everything

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Why we worship and adore Jenny Diski:

Somewhere in their teens or early twenties just about everyone discovers the inter-connectedness of things material and metaphysical, and tells anyone who’ll listen about the rose window at Chartres and the orbits of Venus and how they’re almost exactly the same, and about homeostasis and the amazing balance between the alpha rhythms of the brain and the tides, and how prehistoric peoples conserved and limited their eco-footprint while drawing rose-like patterns in stone, and that everything is everything, and everything is in that oceanic mystic moment when, just before the curtain closes again, you can see precisely how it all fits together. I know about all that and it’s lovely. But then, for those of us who don’t have our toothpaste squeezed onto our toothbrush each night, there’s the business of regular life, of time and consequence, and of how actually to live in and deal with our own particular sector of the oneness.

The context of these remarks (most amusing) really doesn’t matter.

Morning Snip:
Best Wishes

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Carl Paladino conceded the New York gubernatorial election with characteristic aplomb. (via Joe.My.God)

Eventually, he addressed Cuomo, saying he had called his Democratic opponent to concede. “I offer Mr. Cuomo my best wishes for him in his work as New York State’s next governor,” he said.

Then Paladino brought out a baseball bat, reminding the audience of the one he said he’d bring to Albany if elected governor. He offered it to Cuomo, saying the governor-elect could use it or leave it untouched — and “run the risk of having it wielded against you.”

Morning Snip:
Dissent and Vandalism

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

In The New Yorker, Steve Coll assesses the murkiness that has been stirred up by Julian Assange’s Wild-West, anarchic brand of journalism.

If the organization continues to attract sources and vast caches of unfiltered secret documents, it will have to steer through the foggy borderlands between dissent and vandalism, and it will have to defend its investigative journalism against those who perceive it as a crime. Assange is animated by the idea of radical transparency, but WikiLeaks as yet lacks a fixed address. Nor does it offer its audiences any mechanism for its own accountability. If the organization were an insurgency, these characteristics might be in its nature. Assange declares that he is pioneering an improved, daring form of journalism. That profession, however, despite its flaws, has constructed its legitimacy by serving as a check on governmental and corporate power within constitutional arrangements that assume the viability of the rule of law. The Times and the Washington Post, in successfully defending their decision to publish the Pentagon Papers before the Supreme Court, extended considerably the political impact of their revelations.

Morning Snip:

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Ross Douthat in the Times.

Nor have Obama’s political instincts helped him through these difficulties. Presidents always take more blame than they deserve for political misfortune, but Obama’s style has invited disillusionment. His messianic campaign raised impossible hopes (particularly among Comedy Central viewers, apparently), and he has made a habit of baldly overpromising, whether the subject is the unemployment rate or the health care bill. Obama seems as if he would have been a wonderful chief executive in an era of prosperity and consensus, when he could have given soaring speeches every week and made us all feel tingly about America. But he’s miscast as a partisan scrapper, and unpersuasive when he tries to feel the country’s economic pain.

Morning Snip:
Vive (?) la différence

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Reviewing the new AMC Series, The Walking Dead, Alessandra Stanley nails a cultural distinction of vital importance.

All it really takes to outrun a zombie is a car. Also, a bullet to the head will stop one cold. And that may explain why so many men prefer zombies to vampires: zombie stories pivot on men’s two favorite things: fast cars and guns. Better yet, zombies almost never talk. Vampires, especially of late, are mostly a female obsession. Works like “Twilight” and “True Blood” suggest that the best way to defeat a vampire is to make him fall so in love that he resists the urge to bite. And that’s a powerful, if naïve, female fantasy: a mate so besotted he gives up his most primal cravings for the woman he loves.

Morning Snip:
Oh, sure

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Steps that we’d like to see being taken: the concoction of fruit juice, caffeine, and malt liquor known as Four Loko has been targeted — unfairly, says its manufacturer — by officials concerned about a recent rash of student hospitalizations.

Chris Hunter, a co-founder and managing partner of Phusion Projects, the five-year-old Chicago company that owns Four Loko, said Tuesday that the drink, introduced in August 2008, was being unfairly singled out. The company takes steps to prevent its products from getting into the hands of minors, he said.

“Alcohol misuse and abuse and under-age drinking are issues the industry faces and all of us would like to address,” Mr. Hunter said. “The singling out or banning of one product or category is not going to solve that. Consumer education is what’s going to do it.”

The best part? “[P]arents who were shocked because the can was in their refrigerator and they didn’t realize it was an alcoholic beverage.”

Morning Snip:

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Historians of American foreign policy in the Cold War and after will scratch their heads bald trying to understand this country’s special gift for backing blustery bozos in precarious sovereignties, but trying to figure out the appeal of Hamid Karsai may break the skin on a few scalps. The Afghan wiseguy’s latest stunt is to accuse the Times of defaming him — by reporting what he concedes to be the truth (about Iranian moneybags).

In his news conference, Mr. Karzai also attacked The Times for publishing the report about Iranian payments, even as he confirmed receiving such payments. He urged the Afghan news media to “defame The New York Times as they defame us.”

You have to love the echo of the Lord’s Prayer.

Morning Snip:
“They just have to eat.”

Monday, October 25th, 2010

One of our most favorite Web sites, The Awl, is making money. According to the Times, no less. Isn’t that nice? “The owners don’t have to get rich … they just have to eat.”

Because there is no office — staff members work out of their homes — there is no office manager, no toner cartridge to replace, no lease to be negotiated, no pencils to steal. The company exists in a string of e-mails, instant messages and phone calls.

“My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for,” Mr. Sicha said. “All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.”

Morning Snip:
You Decide

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Fired by NPR for expressing a personal fear, in the wake of 9/11, of fellow passengers wearing “Muslim attire,” news analyst Juan Williams fulminated thusly. Right or wrong?

“Now that I no longer work for NPR let me give you my opinion. This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one-sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.”

Would having said “Arab” instead of “Muslim” have made a difference?

Morning Snip:

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Times columnist Christine Haughney asked readers about their real-estate regrets. The solicitation was interpreted very widely. Among the choices that responders would reverse, the following stood out for us as a sign of changing times.

Simple: I would never go to law school. What a complete waste of time and money. I’d have been MUCH better off learning an actual skill/trade that is actually in demand. Welding. Solar panel installation. Diesel mechanic. Whatever. Andrew M.

We’d kind of like to know what Andrew is doing these days.

Morning Snip:

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn deplores gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s incendiary homophobic rhetoric. (via Joe.My.God)

When there is focused political rhetoric against the LGBT community, anti-LGBT hate crimes go up. It is a fact, documented by decades of data at AVP [the Anti-Violence Project] and the FBI and in the police department. So why would it be any different this time?”

Morning Snip:

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Felix Rohatyn, a statesman of finance if ever there was one, looks back with no small discontent on the evolution of finance during his fifty years of notability. He is still haunted by the RJR Nabisco deal.

Still, almost 25 years later, he is grappling with how to fix a system built upon selling to the highest bidder.

“The trouble with this is that it is very difficult to quantify,” he said of valuing the impact on all the other constituents. “I am very troubled by my difficulty in trying to determine which was the better of the two deals.”

Morning Snip:
And, on the other hand…

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In an Op-Ed piece in the Times, about the costs of our unthinking everyday numerologies, Daniel Gilbert plays a quiet little joke on the unsuspecting reader.

In 1962, a physicist named M. F. M. Osborne noticed that stock prices tended to cluster around numbers ending in zero and five. Why? Well, on the one hand, most people have five fingers, and on the other hand, most people have five more.

As with the well-known vase-profile illusion, we’re surprised when a very common figure of speech is put to literal use.

Morning Snip:
In a Nostril Far Away

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Carrie Fisher is sorry about the cocaine, and wants to work in this town again.

In closing, I suggest you stay away from ingesting this anxious making powder & if you run into Mister Lucas, Please tell him how sorry I am that this ever happened, that I’ve admitted to its occurring & I promise not to do it again should he decide to do another sequel starring a geriatric Mr & Mrs. Han Solo, on the shopping planet- having pedicures & trying on nightgowns from deep space.

Morning Snip:
Bittersweet? Not so much.

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The Childean miners have all be lifted to safety, after weeks of suspense and NASA-aided rehabilitation. For a few of the men, the return to regular life will be the final chapter of the ordeal.

Esteban Rojas, 44, said he would give his wife of 25 years the church wedding she always deserved, while Yonny Barrios, 50, faced a slightly more complicated future. The woman he embraced upon exiting the rescue capsule turned out to be his mistress, not his wife.

“He has another companion,” Marta Salinas, his wife of 28 years, told reporters, adding that she might wait for him at home. “I’m happy for him, and if he remakes his life, good for him.”

Morning Snip:

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Regarding the Senate campaign of Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, the Editors of The New York Times openly deplore the inattentiveness of voters, but their complaint is fairly aimed at right-wing demagoguery.

The public’s lack of attention to detail, and Mr. Johnson’s willingness to exploit it, could end the career of Mr. Feingold, who in three terms has distinguished himself for trying to bring fairness to campaign finance and decency to national security, among other achievements. He has routinely crossed party lines to work with Republicans and has had the courage to break with his own party more often than almost any other senator.


But the Wisconsin electorate he faces seems to have lost its progressive streak and become more like other Midwestern states. Several polls have shown that the number of likely voters who consider themselves conservative has risen from a quarter of the electorate to nearly half. The misinformation and simplistic solutions propounded by talk radio and the Republican Party are having an effect even in a state that preferred Mr. Obama by 14 points two years ago.

Morning Snip:
King of the Family

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

In France — “Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean Having Equality” — mothers are still expected to put femininity ahead of feminism. Geneviève Fraisse winds up Katrin Bennhold’s report with a great crack.

Ms. Fraisse, the philosopher, says more than two centuries after France got rid of the king as the father of the nation, it needs to get rid of the father as the king of the family. “We had one revolution,” she said, “now we need another one — in the family.”

We wish we could say that we’re holding our breath. For the time being, can we get that in French?

Morning Snip:
New and Nice Things

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Legendary editor Diana Athill talks to Sarah Lyall about life in the nineties.

People tend to tell Ms. Athill that she is an inspiration, a word that gives her the willies. But her matter-of-fact, hopeful depiction of life as an elderly woman presents an encouraging antidote to the accounts of writers like Philip Roth, with their self-pitying fetishization of physical decline.

“I think getting old very often is horrible, really,” Ms. Athill said. “But if you’re lucky, if you keep your health, if your aches and pains are not too bad, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a perfectly agreeable life, in many ways, discovering new and nice things.”

Morning Snip:
Not the England We Were Told There Would Always Be

Friday, October 8th, 2010

From Sarah Lyall’s Puttenham Journal, a piece about “dogging,” or watching other people have plein air sex. (This in a family newspaper!) What shocks us, of course, is the picturesque old gents who know better than to say “Google.”

Referring to a nearby village, an elderly man at the bar piped up, “At Wisley, there are two sites, one for males and one for heteros.”

Mrs. Debenham said, “I think we should just let them get on with it.”

The man added, “If you want to find out more, just put ‘dogging’ into your search engine.”

Morning Snip:
Policies in Place

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Gail Collins, commenting on Connecticut’s Senate race between Attorney General Ralph Blumenthal (Dem) and Girl Gone Wild Linda McMahon (Rep):

Blumenthal also demanded to know why McMahon didn’t create jobs in the United States instead of having W.W.E. action figures made in China. This was the moment when McMahon really should have promised a study. Instead, she claimed that the United States does not “have the kind of policies in place here that are conducive to manufacturing,” citing, among other things, “high labor costs,” which could not have been much of a comfort to the state’s workers.