LOATHE ACTUALLY: I just watched a very bad movie. It was bad in so many different ways that I will try to enumerate them for you, although I'm sure I will miss a few. So: The Crimes of "Love Actually."1. too much music...2. ...all of it horrible.3. too many characters (so many that I confused one scrubby-Englishman-and-thin-blonde couple with another), thus4. none of the plotlines ever get enough development to provoke emotional investment, so5. the script relies on stereotypes, stupidly broad … [Read more...]

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BOUND BY CONVENTION: A look at interrogation techniques; via Noli Irritare Leones. ...I had spent hundreds of hours with the interrogation teams first assigned at Bagram. At one time or another, the Bagram crew had considered versions of the methods listed in the right column of that Abu Ghraib sign. They had rejected most as beyond the law, and adopted a few others in less potent form. But the trend line was clear--the longer they were at the prison, the harsher the methods they employed, and … [Read more...]

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X: Yet more ten-things lists! Cacciaguida has a roundup here. Also, Mansfield Fox (almost flirting, bowling, destroying, and enlisting), Noli Irritare Leones ("Got called on to replace software because the customer's copy had been left behind when his country got invaded"), SoDakMonk (monkness, wild things, banjo), and DGM (the Ronald Coase thing is one of the funniest things I've read in a while). … [Read more...]

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Maybe I'm just like my blogwatch, too bold...Hit & Run: Al-Jazeera shaking up the Middle East.The Old Oligarch: Phenomenology of married life, and cute zoo animals. Also, I resemble that remark: "How about an application of Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity to Beavis & Butthead? It was Beavis, after all, who recalled man's estrangement from nature to the minds of a generation, when, upon seeing a goat for the first time, said, 'Hey, Butthead, that's a wolf!'"And lots more "ten things … [Read more...]

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YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD, AND I AM A MATERIAL GIRL: Eheu, eheu, people who believe in conservative or libertarian ideals fund magazines that promote those ideals! Nooooooooo!!!!!Would you like some cheese with that whine? [EDITED: that's the right link.](I met the guy who wrote this piece, and he was pretty cool, which makes me all the more annoyed that he thinks forcing all Yale students to pay for left-wing propaganda is in some way morally strengthening whereas having … [Read more...]

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MORALITY PLAYS: For the past few weeks I've been kicking around various ideas about the relationship between morals and art. I don't intend this post as a manifesto--more as a series of problems. I go through phases: a year as a journalist, a year as a philosopher, a year as a (fiction) writer. These days I'm 100% writer, and it takes a huge and perhaps detrimental effort to make my fiction synch up with more abstract concerns. So I'm going to present the problems, and tell you how I solve or at … [Read more...]

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THE POLITICS OF DANCING: "WHERE YOUR EYES DON'T GO." One in a continuing series of posts in which I impose my own beliefs on various pop songs. Previous victims include The Cramps' "Eyeball in My Martini" (still my favorite--honestly, one of my favorite posts overall, which maybe tells you something distressing about me); Cat Power's "Say"; Queen's "Princes of the Universe". Now we turn to They Might Be Giants, and their song about (...or not) the mystery of sin.I've heard a lot of people try to … [Read more...]

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