Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere


Anyone who has been tortured by some of the really bad movies getting way too much play at the local theater these days probably wasn't surprised to read the New York Times story yesterday about the shortage of female power in Hollywood. Despite the fact that women make up 51% of movie goers, three of the four women who held top jobs at Hollywood's major studios have left in the past 14 months. All have been replaced my men.

I'm no fan of essentialism (i.e. women always make movies other women like because they share some innate sensibilty aka bad romcoms), but there is something unarguably frightening about one of our nation's most powerful messaging industries being in the hands of only men.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney cannot make the case that their Iraq policies have succeeded, so they are doing one thing they do very well: taking a serious argument over the future of American foreign policy and turning it into a petty partisan squabble.


When it comes to choosing people to serve the country, occasionally Mr. Bush gets lucky. Although repeatedly letting everyone know how much he likes Messrs. Gonzales and Wolfowitz, secretly Mr. Bush probably looks back gratefully at the quiet departure of Eric Keroack and the non-appointment of Bernard Kerick.

The truth is that the Bush administration has been extraordinarily scandal-free. Not a single instance of corruption has been unearthed. Only one significant member of the executive branch, Scooter Libby, has been convicted of anything. Whether the jury's verdict was right or wrong, that case was an individual tragedy unrelated to any underlying wrongdoing by Libby or anyone else.


Although I'm pretty familiar with the kinds of books and toys and foods Audrey prefers, there's quite a bit I don't know about my daughter after a full year. As near as I can tell, her political and social views are rather unformulated. I've apologized to her many times for helping bring her into the world during a Bush presidency, but I can't tell if any of that matters to her. She did, however, emit a strange and almost joyful noise today when I was describing the results of the 1980 election. One of my students speculated that she might be a "future Republican," and I explained that since she has a grossly uncomplicated view of the world and spends most of her time thinking about her own needs, she probably already is a Republican -- but that once she acquires basic literacy, she'll grow out of it.


We live in a time of great moronitude. Morons, everywhere, rising from their morasses, massing and moving forward. In their multitudes, the morons march inexorably to the moronocy. The road is not easy. Some will fall by the way. Others, struggling moronically, will rise to blithering new heights of moronality.

Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became well known for urging stressed-out students competing for elite colleges to calm down and stop trying to be perfect. Yesterday she admitted that she had fabricated her own educational credentials, and resigned after nearly three decades at M.I.T. Officials of the institute said she did not have even an undergraduate degree.


It's the web media equivalent of the central cosmological constant: does the universe of personal sites expand ad infinitum, or else collapse under its own weight? And we may finally have an answer. The number of active blogs tracked by Technorati has stalled at about 15 million. Now that's still a remarkable number, even before one adds in quasi-blogs, such as pages on social network sites such as Myspace. But, compared with the conventional wisdom -- that every human, and household pet, will eventually have a blog -- the reality is sobering.


You know, if we had reporters in this country, they could actually find out the hair-care costs for all the candidates rather than just assuming that the one barbering bill that has come to light is unusual. If reporters want to huff that such work is beneath them, I'll have to demand that they give me a break, by taking hostages if necessary. Not only is nothing beneath them, as they have repeatedly shown, it's absurd to argue implicitly that candidate hair care costs are a big deal if the story happens to fall into your lap, but not a big enough deal to do actual work on.


There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking. . . .

The argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments, because it is the beginning—but not the end—of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature. It is also the beginning—but by no means the end—of all disputes about the good life and the just city. Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. . . . As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments that I have touched upon. Religion poisons everything.

1 comment:

chamblee54 said...

If only Mr. Hitchens had applied this skepticism to the war in babylon.