Thursday, March 20, 2003


So it's here. May it be swift, decisive and with minimal casualties on both sides. May we have the wisdom to stay in Iraq for the long haul... as long as it takes to get the Iraqis on their feet, productive and self-confident.

A "full dress" salute to our fighting men and women. We're proud of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Thanks... but NO THANKS

France offers to join the fray if Saddam uses chemical weapons. God, just reading about this makes me want to take a shower. Is there no depths to which these weasels will not slink? From Mickey Kaus at Klausfiles.
Virginia Postrel: "Sock it to Oscar!"

Ms Postrel offers a suggestion to any al Queda sleepers in the LA metro area. Wake up and smell the juicy opportunity.
Tony Blair - Churchill for the 21st Century

Go to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish for well-deserved tribute to Tony Blair. A highlight from Mr. Blair's address to the Commons:

"11 September has changed the psychology of America. It should have changed the psychology of the world. Of course Iraq is not the only part of this threat. But it is the test of whether we treat the threat seriously."

He Has That Right

Tony Parsons has a amazing piece in the Mirror. The Anglosphere ROCKS! Thanks to Pave France for the pointer.
Actors, Opinion and Politics

In my previous life (in the days shortly before the outbreak of the Crimean War…) I spent more than a few years pretending to be a struggling actor. I left that life for the comfort and security of the Data Processing world almost 15 years ago. However, my college degree is a BA in Drama. Notice the degree is in Drama… not Theatre. I did not receive a practical education to prepare me for the profession of acting. In fact, had I learned the true brutal and arduous nature of the game, there’s a good chance that I would have never pursued it. But I did. And, because of my ignorance and amazing misconceptions about the arts, artists and in particular, the ones that are successful, I had one hell of a journey of discovery in the eight years after graduation.

The school I attended was a true liberal arts college. There was not even a Business major when I attended in the 70’s. In addition to my major curriculum, I continued to take advanced courses in History, Political Science, Anthropology, Philosophy and Sociology. By the time I graduated, I “got it”. I could see the connections between areas of study, systems and human behavior. I could do research, perform analysis, develop an argument and put it to paper.

I came of age in an academic environment that taught: “For one to be successful, one must be skeptical, analytical, critical as well as...”, and this is important… “humble and self-critical in your own theories and opinions”. I thought I could break into the acting profession because I was bright, analytical and knew how to read a play.

What a shock it was to enter the theatre world and discover that most of the actors I encountered, especially the really talented ones, could not analyze their way out of a wet paper bag with the aid of a straight razor. And, to add insult to injury, some of the really good ones were not even smart! Not only that, most of them knew nothing other than the theater… no, not even the theatre… that would require some knowledge of lighting design or set construction. They knew how to act. These people could identify show tunes or Shakespearian quotes, but would be hard pressed to put together a basic timeline on American history, let alone go a level deeper and discuss the underlying political and philosophical currents that drove the historical events.

What these people did know how to do... was feel. What I mean by this is that they were adept at knowing and cultivating their own emotional life and using it as a tool to portray a character in a play. Now, I am not being pejorative about this in the least. This is an amazing talent and, to use it to successfully in the pursuit of a career in acting requires huge amounts of drive, determination, discipline… and very importantly… self confidence.

However acting is, more than anything else, a “feeling” profession. An actor’s bread and butter has everything to do with developing a library of emotional and sense memories as well as honing the tools that allow theses memories to be accessed, relived and displayed at will. In my travels, I certainly met smart and versatile individuals who were very good actors. I met bright individuals who could analyze a play but had no emotional reservoir to tap for a performance. On the other hand, I never met a good, versatile actor that did not have a rich and mercurial emotional life. The good ones are all “feelers”… only a subset of those are “thinkers”… and only a very small subset of the thinking subset have any perspective on the world outside of theatre, or show business, let alone on what has led to the coming war in Iraq.

Yet… they FEEL very strongly about it. And their feelings spring from the fountain of their own talent and craft. How would it FEEL to be in a Baghdad basement the evening of the upcoming attack on Iraq? Christ, it would be terrible. The smell of sweat, children crying… your old and feeble grandfather sitting ashamed in the corner because he’s soiled his pants in fear. And the good ones have the ability to “go to this place” at a moments notice, in Dolby Surround and Technicolor.

Add to this the current faux-bohemian, pseudo-Marxist pose of show business culture and a confused, ignorant notion of what artistic patronage is all about (They want government support of the arts with no strings attached… Hey, you can bet the de Medicis didn’t patronize artists critical of the de Medici family. They may have had you killed, but they wouldn’t buy your stuff.). Finally, mix well with the self-confidence required to be successful in show business and you get a Susan Sarandon (if they’re smart) or a Sean Penn (if they’re not).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling compassion for the Iraqi civilians who will inevitably die in the next few days. The fallout, political and otherwise from this human impulse to identify with “the other”, which many good actors seem to personify, helps drive the species forward. However, when not tempered with historical perspective and analysis, you end up a view of U.S. international policy based on an almost childlike, false choice (Good – if it doesn’t scare, hurt or kill people. Bad – if it does.). You then find yourself defending a brutal, fascist dictator and comparing the current President of the United States to Hitler. Shallow identification with “the other” becomes a paralyzing fetish and a demonstrably murderous regime is seen as preferable to liberation by the country of your birth.

But, this is what we get when we want and expect wisdom, rather than entertainment from our celebrities. And WE give them the not-so-bully pulpit. Expecting intelligent discourse on world affairs from show business celebrities is like expecting professional athletes to be role models for children. Just because you are adept at throwing a baseball accurately 60 feet at 95 miles per hour does not mean that you are not a self-centered, shallow, dysfunctional asshole whom children should avoid emulating at all costs. Having the mastery of your craft and emotional talent to bring an audience to tears does not mean that you know your anus from a terrestrial aperture when you are railing against the war in Iraq. It just means that your talent and celebrity give you the media exposure.

It’s up to us not to give a damn about what they think. We pay them to feel.

For a different, complementary take on this see Bill Whittle's Celebrity.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Bush's Address

Well done Mr. President. You're still no Tony Blair, but you looked strong, confident and stated a good case. Your effort will only be persuasive to people who are riding the fence at this point. Those who keep repeating "dropping bombs is not the way" (great mpeg of Iraqi exile disecting a silly, little peacenik. Thanks LGF.) will not ever get it. However, it needed to be said and you did it well.

I made the mistake of watching the speech on CBS. After the address was over, Dan Rather immediately offered to “translate” what the 48-hour Saddam and Family evacuation notice meant. Paraphrased: “Unless something extraordinary happens, there will be a war.” Wrong grandpa, it means that if Saddam and his band of henchmen are not out within 48 hours, it’s showtime. How could it be any clearer than that?

Dream on Danno.
Stock Market Moons UNSC

It seems that the marketplace is pleased with the Blair/Bush decision to leave the endless bickering and stonewalling at the UN Security Council. The war is on - the DJIA up 262 points at 2:30 CST.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Love That Rummy!

Thanks to The Emperor Misha for the pointer to this Mark Steyn piece on Rummy vs. Colin. And from a Brit!!!

My favorite excerpts:

At one Pentagon briefing, some showboating reporter noted that human rights groups had objected to the dropping of cluster bombs and demanded to know why the US was using them. "They're being used on frontline al-Qa'eda and Taliban troops to try to kill them," replied Rumsfeld. It was a small indicator of a large cultural shift when NBC's Saturday Night Live introduced a weekly parody of his press conferences, mercilessly mocking not the politician but the dopey journalists.


When Colin Powell was traipsing round the Middle East on his fool's mission last summer, Secretary Rumsfeld (who served as Reagan's envoy to the region) was asked about the "occupied territories" and made you wish he had been sent over to Yasser's boudoir: "My feeling about the so-called occupied territories," he replied, "is that there was a war, Israel urged neighbouring countries not to get involved in it once it started, they all jumped in, and they lost a lot of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict."

Whoops... someone let the truth out!
Rekha’s World: Hooters (Hot) Air

It seems that Rekha has a new cause celebre. Hold on to you halter-tops, she wants to ground Hooters Air. Not surprising for Rekha, given her “I am woman, hear me whine” world view. But, you know, at one point it almost seemed that she had made a connection.

At that moment it even felt as if Islamic and Christian fundamentalists were both right about our cultural debasement, and so were their ideological opposites in the radical feminist wing. If ever there were a time when the forces of feminism and fundamentalism could line up together, this would have to be it.

Yes, Rekha, there is a connection. And, in fact, the fundamentalists and radical feminists are in the same camp on a number of issues. Pornography is a good example. Prostitution is another. Could that mean that the feminists could be wrong? That we’re talking censorship, limitation of individual rights (a woman’s right to choose her profession) and male bashing here? Please, Rekha… please make the connection… come on, you can do it. Ooops… she lost it.

And if ever there were a metaphor for the stupid, sexist, sophomoric times we live in, it would have to be Hooters Air.

Perhaps the “sexist, sophomoric” times in which we live can explain this column and that you hold a position as a columnist at a major metropolitan daily? Hey Rekha, don’t fly on Hooters Air, okay. I won’t fly on Hooter’s air. I’ve been to Hooters here in Des Moines. The women (at least serving the lunch crowd) were skanky and the wings were bad. But you know what… they were working.

And, please tell me why, whenever there’s a Republican in the White House, the times become sexist and sophomoric. But when we have a Democrat in ‘da House, even when he’s getting hummers from women half his age, there’s not a peep from Rekha?

Women have found employment based on men’s sexual foibles since Christ was a corporal. It’s human nature baby. Sorry, we're weak and (especially when we reach middle age) are willing to leave big tips to women with big tits if they serve us drinks and act as if they give a damn. If these women can make a good living serving drinks in their hot pants and halter-tops, more power to them.

But wait… there’s more… away we go to Rekha Land.

The timing sure is uncanny, what with those Mideast insurgents claiming a holy war over corrupt Western values. Thank you, Hooters Air, for playing right into their hands.

Rekha… first of all… it’s Mid East TERRORISTS… not insurgents. You know, I'm sure that you'd look marvelous in a burhka. And given your newfound solidarity with Islamic Fundamentalists in their assult on our culture, I'm sure you would not mind wearing one. You see, it's just a matter of degree. No one should be able to tell someone else what to do with their own body. I don't care if it's a Mullah Omar, Pat Robertson, or Catherine MacKinnon. Whether that means having a abortion before fetal viability or wearing skimpy clothes so that men can ogle you, or having sex for money or on camera. Being an adult, male or female, means that you make choices, take consequences and shut the hell up.

Anyway now, thanks to Rekha, we can answer once and for all the “Why do they hate us?” question. It’s because of Hooters. Those Jihadists must have tried the wings.

Weasels, Keep on Weaselin'

Hey, hey! Chirac accepts a 30 day Iraq disarmament deadline... well... sort of. Has Jaques Chirac seen the light? Is he willing now to disarm Iraq... or... are Chirac and Saddam are making a concerted effort to keep the US and Great Britain from going in now that it's down to the short strokes?

The longer this mess goes on, the more it seems that Saddam and Chirac are coordinating their actions. Yesterday, Saddam invites the "chief arms inspectors" back in. Today, Chirac "agrees" to a bogus 30 day deadline. Of course, Hans Blix thinks that Global Warming is a bigger issue than his own gig in Iraq. I'm glad HE's on the job! The process at the UN is a sham. I once thought Blix had himself tied in knots over this because he was a man of principle. Now it's more than clear that he's a Tranzie bureaucrat. Chiraq will go along with whatever the UN arms inspectors because... just maybe... he knows what they are going to say. "Inspections are working... more time mes amis."

I wonder what we're going to find in Iraq with nasty little French paw prints all over it? I think that Steven den Beste had this nailed a month and a half ago.

They will do anyting at this point to have us not go in. Then it will be time for another extension. Be strong Tony Blair. In future generations, you name will be said in the same breath with that of Winston Churchill's. Stay the course President Bush. Some men grow and harden in the crucible of responsibility. I believe that you are one of those men. You are doing precisely what needs to be done to protect the Nation and its Constitution.

The waiting needs to be over. The uncertainty of the marketplace is clobbering us. We to get this thing done THIS WEEK.