Notepad July 15, 2004

More things I probably should've gotten around to posting sooner.

* * *

Of Falstaff, Abu Ghraib and bad apples:


We would have all such offenders so cut off: and we
give express charge, that in our marches through the
country, there be nothing compelled from the
villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the
French upbraided or abused in disdainful language;
for when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the
gentler gamester is the soonest winner.

From Henry V, Act III, Scene 6

* * *

I think it's fair game to tweak Dick Cheney for dropping the F-bomb mainly because he's running on a ticket that's obsessed with the claim that it represents wholesome, 99 and 44/100ths pure values and that attacks John Kerry for being admired by decadent Hollywood types like Paul Newman.

But having said that, I didn't pile on Cheney's recent public use of the word because: A) I don't think somebody using that kind of language rules out their being a good and valuable public servant; and B) it seems dishonest to pretend that this was some kind of newsworthy event and that Dick Cheney doesn't talk like this all the time. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Cheney where it didn't look like he was muttering this very phrase under his breath.

* * *

Likewise, I didn't pile on the Jack Ryan saga much because I didn't want to seem to be condemning someone for how he gets his freak on. But, as Rivka points out here, that wasn't really the issue with Ryan.

Jack Ryan is a sick bastard unfit for public office. Not because of his sexual tastes, but because of how he treated his ex-wife. As Rivka puts it:

Jack Ryan's sex life has bearing on "how good or bad of a senator he could be," not because it's "kinky," but because he tried to force a woman to perform sex acts against her will. That's not kinky, it's abusive.

That's a crucial distinction that was too often blurred in most media reports on the whole Ryan implosion.

* * *

The diagrams posted at are almost as fascinating as trying to figure out the kind of personality behind a site that would feature such intricate diagrams of subjects as diverse as the Bush Dynasty, the War of the Roses and the Book of Genesis.

* * *

This list of "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made," according to the film critics of The New York Times, is a delightful waste of time.

I only seen 281 of the movies listed. But since they left out Fritz Lang's Metropolis I'm going to count that as 282.

* * *

Eventually, someone from the Cartoon Network will realize that Fafnir and Giblets really ought to be made part of the lineup on Adult Swim.

This would entail getting a team of animators to create the Fafnir and Giblets animated characters, as well as, of course, animated versions of the Medium Lobster and Christopher Robin. At the very least, they could become regular guests on, say, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

If the show became a hit, I could see them branching out to create animated versions of other blogs. Maybe a show called "Why oh why are we ruled by these idiots?" featuring a squiggle-vision version of Brad DeLong.

* * *

John Leland of The New York Times goes where angels fear to tread and reports from the Creation Festival held every summer in Mount Union, Pa. Leland accurately calls Creation "the granddaddy of Christian rock festivals" (accurately except for the "rock" part — attempting to mosh to Michael W. Smith is just so sad).

The focus of Leland's report is on the subculture of Jesus Junk dealers who travel from festival to festival peddling their often-horrifying wares. Some lowlights from this year's crop of Bad Christian T-shirts: "Hardcore Christian," "Hetero-Boy" and "I Love Christian Boys." (Read enough of these and odd themes begin to emerge.)

But here's one T-shirt slogan you'll never see at Creation or any of the other events sponsored by Harry Thomas' Come Alive! Ministries:

"I starved and abused my foster kids and when my pastor finally noticed he said it was OK!"

* * *

Newspaper Cat Blogging. The News Journal asked readers to send in photos of their fat cats. They did.

* * *

This speech by Jim Wallis of Sojourners is really quite good. (Via Mike Todd.) The kicker is especially good: "We are the ones we have been waiting for." That'll preach.

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12 responses to “Notepad”

  1. From
    Jeri Ryan said her then-husband took her on three “surprise trips” in the spring of 1998 to New Orleans, New York and Paris, during which he took her to sex clubs. She said she refused to go in the first and went into the second at his insistence.
    “It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling,” she said in the court document, adding that her husband “wanted me to have sex with him there, with another couple watching. I refused.”
    She said on arriving at the third club, in Paris, “people were having sex everywhere. I cried. I was physically ill. [He] became very upset with me and said it was not a ‘turn on’ for me to cry
    And then, from the same report:
    she now considers her ex-husband “a friend” and has “no doubt that he will make an excellent senator.”
    While not addressing the sex club allegations directly in her statement, she said that “there was never any physical abuse in our marriage — either to myself or to our son — nor, to my knowledge, was he ever unfaithful to me.”–
    Did he try to FORCE her to “perform sex acts against her will” or did he just ASK her a little too insistently (obviously not being sensitive enough to her feelings of revulsion), letting her in on some of his racier tastes thereby. Admittedly, this is not exactly “family values,” but it hardly seems more than grounds for divorce–which it was, since his need to involve her in this did persist. Most husbands who had a sex club fetish wouldn’t let their wives know about it. In fact, it seems that he was at least being honest with his wife about his tastes–it doesn’t even constitute adultery; it turns out to have been a quick way for her to know that the marriage was not going to work for her. And without the exhibitionism component, he might have kept it completely secret, unless he settled for a Live!Nude!Girl! It certainly was not in the public interest to know about any of this, especially since they are divorced: it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. He might have been a horrible senator (with a few exceptions, I have difficulty being a fan of Republicans today), but not because of this. Focussing on these things–when actual threats and violence do not even enter in–is what happened when “Bill and Monica” had been so “bad” that their behaviour, all of it pretty banal, is part of the reason we have the current self-righteous and surreal nightmare administration, with its idiotic emphasis on “character” (because the definition of “character” they use is so cartoon.)
    Dick Cheney pretty much got away from the F-Bomb because the Bushies still can get away with everything. If Kerry or Edwards had dropped one first, they would have been crucified for such louche and loose ethics–far worse, in many Republican eyes, than heavy judgments, outright lies and pain-and-death-inducing corruption.
    Your posts are very educational and useful. I get things I can’t find in the NY Times, and am allergic to television, never turning it on except for the VCR. The editorial in the Times today, “” made me hope you would be one of the bloggers to go to the conventions.

  2. Slacktivist Brainstorm

    Fred Clark, the Slacktivist, has had a brilliant idea: Eventually, someone from the Cartoon Network will realize that Fafnir and Giblets really ought to be made part of the lineup on Adult Swim. This would entail getting a team of animators to create t…

  3. It really didn’t bother me that Cheney used the f-word, but the context and his comments after did. The fact that Cheney’s former company — one that he still has some financial ties to — received billions in no-bid contracts is enough to raise a few eyebrows in itself. The email noting that the deal was “coordinated” with the Vice President’s office is practically a smoking gun and certainly warrants investigation. That Cheney would react to someone calling for such an investigation with, “go **** yourself,” suggests more than a dirty mouth. It suggests an utter contempt for the rule of law. He stood by his comment afterward, even suggesting that it “needed to be said,” so I can’t even explain it away as an inappropriate remark said in the heat of the moment. Apparently Cheney thinks the proper response to anyone who even questions the administration is a crude dismissal, not only of the accusations, but of the man himself. I just hope Leahy doesn’t have any relatives involved in sensitive undercover work.

  4. Howdy,
    I may be late to the party, but I’ve just discovered that Jack Ryan’s wife Jeri is THAT Jeri Ryan, better known to sci-fi geeks as Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager. From all I’ve heard (from people who’ve met her at fan conventions and stuff), she seems to be a genuinely nice person.
    So, in addition to being an abusive boor, we can also condemn Jack Ryan for having exceptionally poor judgment in not appreciating what he had at the time. And what is it about pretty women constantly getting attached to complete and utter stooges?
    — Ed

  5. I’d watch that

    Slacktivist proposes a new TV show. Eventually, someone from the Cartoon Network will realize that Fafnir and Giblets really ought…

  6. The funny thing is that when Kerry made a comment about Bush “fucking [the war] up” in Rolling Stone, Bush’s chief of staff said, “I’m very disappointed that he would use that kind of language. I’m hoping that he’s apologizing at least to himself, because that’s not the John Kerry that I know.”
    Presumably the White House isn’t disappointed now because this is the Dick Cheney that they know.

  7. I can’t believe that Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky made the list but his far superior Ivan the Terrible did not. Nevsky is good, but it *is* a fairly transparent bit of propaganda with nasty, evil churchmen and nasty, evil Germans invading the heroic Russians. Contrast this with the moral ambiguity and gorgeous directing of Ivan the Terrible.
    There’s also something pretty cool about a movie that leaves you thinking, “Hooray Ivan! Create your secret police so that you can crush internal opposition and then deal with the Germans–hey, wait a minute, this isn’t about Ivan at all!”

  8. On Falstaff and Fafnir

    I’ve often thought that W reminds me of Prince Hal/Henry V, but it was when I heard Lay interviewed on Larry King that I realized how much he sounded like a jilted, heartbroken Falstaff, when he reminisced about how Bush used to call him Kenny Boy, b…

  9. Oops (I can’t believe I forgot Fafnir edition.)

    I agree that Fafnir and Giblets are too talented to be confined to some tawdry corner of the blogosphere, but they are way too good for Adult Swim. Let’s face it, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is very hit or miss.