Sometimes I read something interesting on the Web, bookmark the site, and then write about it here on the blog.
Sometimes, though, I read something interesting, bookmark the site, and then never get around to writing about it. Weeks and months pass by and the bookmarks folder gets filled to overflowing. I usually label this folder "current" — a label that quickly becomes inaccurate. My current "current" folder is actually labeled "MLK," because I started it back around Jan. 15 when I was bookmarking a bunch of stuff for a post on Martin Luther King Jr.
Now there's nine months of stuff stuffed in there and it's about time to concede, once again, that I'll never get around to writing anything of significant length or insight about all of this. But it'd be a shame to waste all those lovely bookmarks (even though, reading some of these now, I don't even remember why I bookmarked them in the first place) so here they are.
(Note: Many of these links will appear familiar to Making Light readers. I have a habit of bookmarking everything from Particles and Sidelights.)
29 down. 21 to go.
Bad theology makes bad policy I. "Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment."
Bad theology makes bad policy II. "Bush, the End Times and you."
Birth pangs of the Apocalypse. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 7/21/06, "What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East." Matthew 24:6-8, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."
Blogging the Bible. David Plotz's Bible-blogging in Slate is occasionally amusing and/or insightful, but ultimately disappointing because he skips over or flies through so much of what he's reading. (I may be expecting too much — I grew up hearing Reformed preachers deliver a five-month sermon series on Ephesians 2:8a, followed by another five months on Ephesians 2:8b. Somehow they never got around to verse 10. Ever.)
Bush, George W., and conservatives. "The main cause of conservatives' anger with Bush is this: He talked like a conservative to win our votes but never governed like a conservative." He hasn't governed like a liberal either. He has governed, instead, like an inept and petulant would-be king. (That may be, say many of my evangelical brethren, but he is a "pro-life" inept and petulant would-be king, so they'll continue to offer him their blind, unexamined support. Forever.)
Dogs. With cameras.
Drinking the sand. Athenae dissects the narcissism of so much of our national "remembrance of 9/11":
An awful lot of people, good people, nice people, people living what you'd call normal lives, are just sort of ambling around trying to figure out what the fuck they're doing here. They have jobs they hate and families that drive them nuts and leisure time that feels more like work than work does, what with travel indignities and the rush and bustle of theme parks. They're miserable in a low-level kind of way, quiet desperation and all, and church isn't doing it for them, and drugs are too destructive, and most of them aren't living the lives they wanted to live. Not at all. … They feel, and rightly, a need to be called to something greater, but there is no unifying voice issuing that kind of call anymore, no Kennedy, no King. They wait for that kind of leadership, and even when they seem to have found it they say, maybe next time, when the time is right, when I'm ready, when the world is ready, when something so horrific I can't ignore it any more jolts me out of this Barcalounger and onto my feet, then I'll follow. Then I'll act.
The attacks of Sept. 11 were just such a horrific something, which explains why they produced not just sorrow and fear, but also an unspoken but barely concealed national excitement. See also "The Most Critical Time in the History of the World."
Fox News viewers, really that stupid. Fox watcher, as footage of bomb-damaged houses in Lebanon plays on the split screen: "I don't think Israel is really bombing Lebanon. I think it's faulty construction that's causing these buildings to fall."
God's mercy, There's a wideness in. "For the love of God is broader / than the measure of man's mind …"
Hearts and minds. Asymmetric warfare by insurgents is nothing new. What is relatively new is the use of war as a means of "liberation." When liberation is the stated aim of an occupying army, the ancient method of counterinsurgency — "exterminate all the brutes" — is no longer an option. In other words, America cannot "pacify" Iraq the same way we once pacified the Philippines.
Hearts and minds II. The above is also why Shelby Steele is not only an immoral monster, but also an idiot laying out a blueprint for military defeat.
Jacobs, Jane. "In a way, she's a genius version of the little old lady in tennis shoes — the cranky broad in the visor cap who hangs out at the library, and who shows up at every town meeting to let her views be known."
John Kerry was right. Bush is wrong. So says George Will.
Just in case. "How to Survive a Long Fall."
I am Churchill. You are Neville Chamberlain. Glenn Greenwald is just as tired as I am of this childish name-calling masquerading as "learning from history." Look closely at almost anyone invoking Chamberlain's ghost and you'll find they can't grasp any distinction between "appeasement" and "containment." They don't understand either word, but they seem to think the former is an all-purpose magical epithet and debate-ending trump card. Feh.
Illiteralism. Every metaphor — including obviously metaphoric passages in which even the author seems to sense that he's close to beating his analogy to death — must be read "literally," rejecting any metaphoric interpretation, even when the resulting reading renders something patently ridiculous.
Inhuman. "A chaplain's view of torture."
Invisible hand made visible. Consumer demand influences the pricing and inventory of retailers, but nothing says this influence has to be entirely subtle and implicit. That's why I love things like this.
Journalism. I got into journalism in part because of all that Frank Capra business about championing truth in support of freedom and the rights of the little guy. Jamison Foser explains why contemporary "journalism" is nothing like this Capraesque ideal. I should've opened a building & loan instead.
Manufacturing an incident. I've often argued that it would have been better to have concocted some staged incident, a la the Gulf of Tonkin, as a pretense for the American-led invasion of Iraq. This is an ancient form of hypocrisy but, like all hypocrisy, it at least would have acknowledged the legitimacy of the principle it violates, which would have been better than destroying the principle by introducing the idea of "preventive war." Part of the reason no such Tonkin-like incident was manufactured, it turns out, is that the Bush team's plans for such a pretense were as incompetent as everything else they've ever done.
May 3. "This is what lasts of war — the pain and the grief, the aftermath in which we all say, 'What a waste.'"
Painting schoolrooms. "Looking for good news stories in a war zone … is like looking for virgins at the Playboy mansion — you might find a few, but they're certainly not the majority."
Podcasts, Insane Religious. "Harry Potter, The Mark of the Beast & The Luciferic Initiation."
"Practice hospitality." "Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Go to jail."
Prior priorities. "President wants Senate to hurry with new anti-terrorism laws" — CNN, 7/30/96: "But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures. …"
Projection. The imperial presidency and the rule of law.
Sci-Fi Love Poetry. "The Day the Saucers Came," by Neil Gaiman.
Total Recall. "NASA is preparing to launch an oxygen generation system to the International Space Station. The system uses water to generate breathable oxygen for crew members. Life support systems like this are necessary to support future long-duration missions to the moon, Mars and beyond."
Uneasy listening. 365 more musical oddities for Steve S. in Harrisburg — the man responsible for my owning William Shatner's "Rocketman."
Unlikely Cowboy. Happily stumbled across this fine Philly band at one of those big multi-band benefit events (I was actually there to see Skeletor, but that's another story). You can hear/download some of Unlikely Cowboy's tunes at their myspace site and still others at UnlikelyCowboy.com.
Why we won last time. The final paragraph of George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram": "Finally we must have courage and self-confidence to cling to our own methods and conceptions of human society. After all, the greatest danger that can befall us in coping with this problem of Soviet communism is that we shall allow ourselves to become like those with whom we are coping."
Wish I'd thought of this. The Post-Rapture Post.