Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So long, and thanks for all of the losses.

Bobby Petrino, college dictator, resigns from the Atlanta Falcons.

Here is better commentary by Peter King and Don Banks.

You will be missed.

Further Reaction to Mitt's Speech

As the contestants attempt to position themselves in Iowa, there are interesting developments over the former Mass. governor by Marion City Councilman Craig Adamson. It appears that Councilman Adamson released an email that attacks Romney for his faith, even after his speech for the elimination of Religious Tests. Here is the email, here is an excerpt:
Would any of you support an avowed atheist for president? Do you think religion, especially Christianity, is being marginalized by ACLU and other organizations? If so than you would be piling on to vote in a Mormon. Mormonism is a cult. In case I didn’t type it clearly enough… Mormonism is a cult. I won’t vote for Mitt Romney for numerous other reasons, but based on my knowledge of Mormonism, I would not trust him as my president as he might be fooled into believing most anything. How could he possibly be trusted to negotiate with Islamic radicals? He might believe Muslim and Mormons are the same, just like he tries to pass off Mormons as Christians. The Mormon Church is extremely wealthy and extremely secretive. But that is information for another time. Additionally, the LDS religion is sexist, racist, and the Church president is considered both a prophet (on the same level as Jesus) and ultimately the authority for God on earth. Mitt would be going against Mormon doctrine and risks ex-communication if he didn’t take orders from his Church.


This seems to be another example of how beliefs trump arguments, or, how beliefs diminish the ability for a rhetor to gain adherence for his ideas.

My favorite line is that "I would not trust him as my president as he might be fooled into believing most anything." People deny evolution but believe that people were created from dirt: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Source for the email: Caucus Cooler

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nobody Expects A Religious Inquisition

Wait. Sometimes people do suspect that. Case in point:

According to Inside Higher Education, Richard Colling, a professor at Olivet Nazarene University, "has been barred from teaching general biology or having his book taught at the university that is his alma mater and the place where he has taught for 27 years" because of his beliefs in favor of Evolution. [Note that Olivet Nazarene University is a private university ] According to the article, religious supporters of the school were upset because of Colling's book that argues it is possible to believe in G-D and accept Evolution:
"Colling acknowledges that it is not possible to believe literally in the Bible’s creation of the world in six days but argues that this need not diminish the moral force of the Bible or belief in God."


While Colling believes that evolution and faith can coexist, the school's actions and beliefs state otherwise:
Official church policy (confirmed by a spokeswoman for the university) states as follows: “The Church of the Nazarene believes in the biblical account of creation (’In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ....’ Genesis 1:1). We oppose any godless interpretation of the origin of the universe and of humankind. However, the church accepts as valid all scientifically verifiable discoveries in geology and other natural phenomena, for we firmly believe that God is the Creator.”


This point seems troubling for a few reasons, but since this is a private institution, the first amendment angle does not apply. The first amendment only concerns private schools in the state of California.

Working at a private school, I am surprised that the school would take a PR hit and weaken its biology department because of religious supports and because the religious indoctrination classes, er., I mean theology classes, need to be in all of the classes in the University.

So it goes.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Love for Attacks Ads

Since Fred "The Fish" Thompson unleashed the first attack ad of the season, I though I would post a few of my favorite from prior elections. The first three are from the 2006 races; the last is from a time well before that. Enjoy.

Number Four: "Harold Ford: Call Me"


Number Three: "Walsh rejects Stem Cells... and little girls"


Number Two: Vernon Robinson, "Twilight Zone"



Number One:"Wrong on Metaphysics."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The best Holiday special, Ever

It needs to be The Year Without a Santa....

Why you ask? Well, because it has style. And in order to have style, you need a trombone.



"Some like it hot. But I like it really hot."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Reaction to Romney

A humorous excerpt from Christopher Hitchens' review of Romney's absurd speech on Religion:

If an atheist was running against him, would Romney make nothing of the fact? His stupid unease on this point is shown by his demagogic attack on the straw man "religion of secularism," when, actually, his main and most cynical critic is a moon-faced true believer and anti-Darwin pulpit-puncher from Arkansas who doesn't seem to know the difference between being born again and born yesterday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Speech

A Clever beginning about GHWB, his military service, and the protection of freedom.

But then, after the intro, the problems begin.

The speech rests on the dichotomy between freedom and dogmatism. Greatness develops through liberty, especially religious liberty, while damnation rests with tyranny. No big surprise here. Neither were the references with Kennedy.

He is strong when he defends his convictions:
here are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be true to them and to my beliefs.


This seems to be a point at which he distances himself from the religious voters who would not vote for him. If evangelicals may reject him for his beliefs on theology, he may reach common ground with them over his stance on following principle and tradition.

Yet, after beginning with a strategy of merger, he then follows with a strategy of division based on the paper-tiger argument of "secularism".
But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.


In the beginning of his address, he invokes Kennedy; yet here, he rejects Kennedy. In his 1960 speech, Kennedy spoke of an absolute division between Church and State, which his audience would accept. Forty-six years later, Romney cannot proclaim an absolute separation because his audience would reject it. Where does this lead us?

Romney:
We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'


This is a very interesting passage. He begins with the Founders, who did not place G-D on the currency or in the pledge or in Nativity scenes. The Founders did not places judges in position because of their "foundation of faith upon which the constitution rests." The constitution does not rest upon the foundation of faith. It does not rest on revelation but reason and consensus.

While Romney would reject religious tests he invokes religious tests. Romney:
Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty.
What about the concept that liberty is a natural right based on a common human experience. No, that for Romney is not possible. It requires religion.

This religion also requires the rejection of enlightenment, which the Founding Fathers would have accepted. Well, the Founding Fathers not invoked by Romney:
I'm not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired ... so grand ... so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer.


Romney desires the balance of revelation and reason but too often he seems to reject reason. It is the same with his position of faith. He sees a problem with religion and extreme religion. Yet, if you are outside of religion, if you do not believe, then you do not have freedom and you can never desire or move toward freedom. Romney: "I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'"

Where does this leave Romney-

For the deeply religious, he offers those a message: Religion, in general, matters and there is good in all religions. Mitt:
I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life's blessings.
. Yet, this message should not resonate for the "true believer" because, for those people, it is not only that their beliefs matter but their specific beliefs matter. If you know and possess the truth, then that truth is specific.

For the religious but not committed: this speech glitters in banality. It rewrites history, it places everything within the bounds of religion, and it creates a symbolic enemy that would take religion away-- those damn secularists. This is a great message for those not steeped in deep belief and theology, do not care for the day-to-day word, and show up to service during Christmas and Easter. It is summed up by this quote: "we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith." Right, Mitt. Remember, you delivered this speech because some believe that Mormons, and to another extent, Catholics, are not Christians. That is a symphony invented on discord.

For the non-believers, you do not have a place at the table. This country is not for you. For remember, according to Bishop Mitt, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

For the extremists: you are dangerous. And remember, fanatics are not limited to Islam. Meaning, if make Mitt's religion a religious test for office, you are being dogmatic. And there is no place for you.

Points of Light

Does it burn GWB and his supporters that GHWB is introducing a member of a "cult?"

And that is not a shot on Mormonism.

Romney on Religion

In less than 30 minutes, Mitt Romney will be delivering a speech on his religion at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.

This is an interesting speech, especially to the concepts of rhetorical echoes. In 1960, Kennedy delivered a speech to the Houston Ministerial Association to defend his ability to be independent if he were President. But can Romney make the same rhetorical choice is he is choosing to seek the support of religious voters.

It is a very interesting choice to deliver this at A&M, a very conservative school. Former President George H.W. Bush will introduce him.

When Kennedy delivered his speech in 1960, he visited the Alamo before he delivered the speech. One of the most important aspects of Kennedy's speech is that during his visit to the Alamo, he noticed that the memorial did not take account of the religion of those who died. Of course, at the time, Baptists were in favor of the separation of church and state and not for the abolishment of that separation.

But how time changes.

Begin Again


The Blog is back and running, even if I am the only one posting-- to you other members of the situation.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Religion and Politics

There is an interesting article in The New York Times about the 2008 President Election and the Evangelical Community. If nothing else, it is very interesting to read this and see how beliefs shape arguments, especially the failure of reconciliation between incompatible world-views.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

War, Gore, and GLobal Warming

Last week, former Senator, VP, and failed Presidential Candidate Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Price. The question remains, how does global warming relate to peace?

From Slate:
The idea of a connection between conflict and climate change is fairly new, and one that had been mostly relegated to academic journals until earlier this year. Then, in June, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon went on record to suggest global warming as a cause for the fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan. He pointed out that warming in the tropical and southern oceans, fueled in some part by climate change, led to a decades-long drought and clashes between herders and farmers over the degrading land. When a rebellion broke out against the central government, Sudan's leaders fought back by arming and supporting the herders against the farmers—and the entire region fell into war. If global warming did cause the Sudanese drought, then it's also responsible for the 200,000 to 450,000 lives that have been lost over the last four and a half years. We may very well be watching the first major conflict caused by emissions from our factories, power plants, and cars.
Other early hot spots for warming-related conflict are likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, or the Caribbean—places where institutions are weak, infrastructure is deficient, and the government is incompetent or malevolent. The crisis in Darfur has already stretched into Chad and the Central African Republic. Nomads from Sudan, spillovers from Sudan's desertification, are pushing deep into the Congolese rain forest. In Ghana, nomadic Fulani cattle herdsmen, forced by the expanding Sahara desert into agricultural lands, are buying high-power assault rifles to defend their animals from angry farmers.

Climate-change conflict is even spreading into the Arctic, where normally pacific Canada and Norway have joined the United States, Russia, and Denmark in a five-way tussle over mineral and shipping rights unlocked by the melting ice. Thus far largely symbolic, the conflict could take a more serious turn as the waters warm and military traffic increases. Norway and Russia already face each other down over fish in the Barents Sea. And Canada and Denmark take turns pulling up each other's flag on Hans Island, a stretch of icy rock the size of a football field. These countries may be arguing over small fries right now, but what happens when oil is at stake?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ethos and the Academic Bill of Rights

Currently, I am researching the Academic Bill of Rights by Students for Academic Freedom
"whose goal is to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as a disinterested pursuit of knowledge."

In an article about the firing of two DePaul Professors, the author suggests that DePaul should fire another professor for his political beliefs, which seems to counter the principles of the Academic Bill of Rights.Now, in this article, there is no discusison that the professor is violating his professional duties by trying to indoctrinate his students. There is no discusison that he presents only one sided views in his class. Instead, the author of this article would like DePaul to fire him for his research and his beliefs because, "his entire [The English Professor's] corpus of "scholarly" work consists of exercises in "revolutionary" politics.

One paragraph sticks out:
Well, we would like to take Abraham up on the challenge and urge DePaul to take a close look at this fella's academic record, which can be seen here. Abraham holds a PhD in English from Purdue, where he wrote a dissertation about "The Rhetoric of Resistance," in other words a propaganda tract for the "revolutionary" left. Before that he completed an MA thesis in Arkansas that was a sycophantic celebration of the Maoist "philosopher" Michel Foucault.


I wonder if the author in question ever read the two works in question and knows enough about the rhetoric of resistance and the work of Michel Foucault to be able to judge its academic merits. Does the author know that "the rhetoric of resistance" could be used by "conservatives" against "liberals," which, by the way, is some of the purpose behind the Academic Bill of Rights.

But instead, the rhetoric of resistance is only a "propaganda tract of the left." If you are a conservative, nothing useful could come from it....

At what point does an intellectual pursuit just turn out to be a political pursuit?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Question for baseball Fans

A few random questions while watching the Yankees- Indians' game:

When did the seventh inning stretch tradition begin and why?

Why do they sing God Bless America? What is the conenction betwen this song and baseball?

Are there other traditions at other ballparks? I believe that Houston played "Wine, Women, and Snowpeas," er., I mean the Texas State Anthem. What elose is there?

Friday, October 05, 2007

This Just in:

President Bush just said the following: "This government does not torture people."

Explain this quote.

For reading materials to prepare your case, read this article from The New York Times.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Revolution will not be sold (in stores)

There are certain moments in the history of music that serve as revolutionary moments, paradigm shifts in the Kuhnian sense. Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to experience another one of those moments, from a band that has already brought you two such moments,O.K. Computer and Kid A.

On October 10, you will be able to download Radiohead's new album, In Rainbows. You will not have to purchase it in stores and you will not have to pay an outrageous fee to listen to the music. Instead, you will be able to determine what price, if any, you would pay for the album.

From Rolling Stone, which by the way, also provides a preview of the new material:
As you've no doubt heard by now, Radiohead are releasing In Rainbows, their seventh studio album, in two different formats: a basic DRM-free download version that costs whatever you want that's available October 10th, and a deluxe boxed version that includes a double vinyl disc, a book, eight bonus tracks and two CDs, out the first week of December (it also comes with a DRM-free download that actives on October 10th).


"You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the government
They don't, they don't speak for us"

Where is Oxymoron? Part II

Oxymoron's commercial is back on the tele. Because we miss him, here it is again:

Where is Oxymoron? Part I



Unlike yourself, it does exist...

It appears as if the maker of John Courage Ale pulled it from the US to focus on selling Newcastle.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What is the nature of academic freedom?

This may not be a coherent post but I am looking for some feedback on a few questions.

What should the term "Academic freedom" include?
What is the relation of academic freedom and partisan interests?
How is indoctrination different from persuasion or propaganda?
How should we discuss the “left” or the “right” or “liberal” and “conservative”? Treat them as a coherent whole or divide them into belief systems?

Recently, there have been a few national stories that challenge the sense of academic freedom:

Erwin Chemerinsky was offered a position to become the Dean of UC Irvine's new law school. Subsequently, the offer was rescinded by one of the school chancellors, Michael V. Drake. Chemerinsky is a prominent constitutional scholar, who has argued before the Supreme Court (The Texas Ten Commandment cases). Also, He is outspoken politically, as he has written editorials against the death penalty.

It appears that when Drake rescinded the offer, he failed to offer good reasons for this, leading many people to believe that the push to remove the offer developed from “Conservatives” within Orange County, California. Even one of the state’s more conservative Supreme Court Justices spoke out against the hire.

Last week, the school reoffered the position to Chemerinsky. You can read about this from the The L.A. Times

Second, former Harvard President Larry Summers was asked to deliver a keynote speech for a dinner at UC Sacramento. Some of the “liberal” professors objected to this because of Summers’ view on gender. The offer was rescinded and he did not speak.

Third, professors at Stanford protested the appointment of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institute. As far as I know, the protests have not succeeded and Rumsfeld will still be a fellow at Stanford.

Fourth, Steve Bitterman,
a professor at Southwestern Community College was fired after offended students appealed to the school’s administration over Bitterman’s comments that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be read literally but rather figuratively. Bitterman told the class that "it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there." After he was fired, Bitterman (a fitting name) said: I'm just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job, I'm just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job.”

How should we understand these four examples in heir relation to partisan interests and education?

Friday, September 28, 2007

John Hawkins Loves White People Like "A Fat Kid Loves Cake": The Battle for Framing in the Case of the Jena 6









"I love you/ like a fat kid loves cake" (from Get Rich or Die Trying).



Poetic recitation time being over, let us now repair to the topic of the moment. For a long time the position taken by M at
Separation of Spheres was the only one an interested party could find on the Internet and on the News. Well, actually that's not entirely true: In truth the way it started was the story was simply being buried by the media.

But then, thanks largely to socially conscious liberal bloggers like M, the corporate media was finally forced to come in and throw the big light on the bizarre and sad recent happenigns in Jena, Lousiana.

But anyway, when Harrogate first got wind of the story from the liberal bloggers, he wondered: are the conservatives defending this? Are the white students or their families or the DA speaking out in their defense? What, o What could they be saying in light of what looks to us like a clear case of justice miscarried by the good ole boy system? Here the importance of what famed linguist George Lakoff has to say about framing and contemporary politics is, it seems to Harrogate, very clearly illustrated.

There was a period where the conservative pundits layed low on this story and so the liberal blogosphere remained free to dictate the terms of our moral imaginations.

But the silence is over, and now the real battle for framing is afoot. As it heats up, the implications of this tussle will not extend to Mychal Bell himself, who already has been released on bond and now, quite appropriately, awaits his day in juvenile court to face charges dramatically reduced from what had started out as no less than Attempted Murder. But the battle has rhetorical and, therefore, political implications that are in many ways far more important than the fates of any of the individuals involved, or even for that matter the fate of Harrogate himself.

Increasingly popular pundit John Hawkins has captured, Harrogate believes, the essence of conservative apologetics for the Jena DA's original approach to the case. Harrogate exhorts ye, o readers, to peruse Hawkins' petition to the people that we have all been had by the hucksters of race.

Is there merit to his case? Harrogate reports. Ye decide.

(BTW, far be it from Harrogate to introduce the Ad Hominem element into his otherwise sober, wholly unironic, erudite political and rhetorical discourses. Yet he nevertheless feels it both necessary and even somewhat entertaining, in a morbid sort of way, to remind readers that when they're reading the ruminations of this god-prattling, gun-championing, homosexual hating, war supporting fella, you're also reading someone who very recently reminded us that the people of New Orleans need to stop milking Katrina sympathy, show some of that can-do American attitude and get over it already)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Mask



Police releashed this image of the mask in question. One student stated it was "fleshy-colored" and "wrinkled."

I have no idea what it represents.

It appears that the gun was loaded but it only contained one round. The student, who has a history of mental illness, did not carry any other rounds.

Update: The New York Times reports that it was a Fred Flintstone mask.

And how was your day at work Honey?

At around 2:30 pm today, a crazed lunatic who wore a mask (some say it was the mask from Scream others say it was a mask of George H.W. Bush, but it looks like Reagan to me-- and I am being serious) and carried a rifle tried to enter the building in which I teach. Some of my students were last to class and, when I asked why they were late, they stated campus police were arresting a man with a rifle. I thought that to be a reasonable excuse.

The gunman had put his rifle in a bag and, when confronted, tried to get it out. Police sub-dued him before he could. It seems that someone noticed a man with a mask and a large bag, thought it was strange, and called security.

No one was hurt.

I will add more about this tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kevin Everett and the Wonders of Modern Medicine

Some news all Sports Fans can be happy with.Kevin Everett likely to be walking within a matter of weeks.

Solon is truly our resident expert on all things NFL, particularly when it comes to the vaunted Buffalo Bills. And we look forward to his sharing details of what is on the verge of becoming, even in this hyper ironic age, a genuine feel-good story.

Yet Harrogate hopes he is not overstepping his provincial bounds by taking this opportunity to join Everett's legion of well-wishers. And to express wonder at how this all came to be: the most amazing part is how the on-field trainer was able to sufficiently lower Everett's body temperature with some sort of an injection, in a matter of mere minutes, before swelling could do permanent damage. Is there a day coming soon when doctors will be able to straight-up fuse severed spinal tissue and virtually eliminate paralyses born of accident?

Why does Harrogate Hate Free Speech?



To continue a conversation that should have been stopped weeks ago....

The ACLU submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Senator Larry Craig arguing that the Minnesota Law is overbroad and that toe-tapping is free speech. If nothing else, the toe-tapping fun of Senator Craig is certainly a means of communication. Slate has the story here.

Since this news broke, 4,378 conservative heads exploded as they pondered why the ACLU would help Senator Craig. Of course, ACLU haters believe this is more about protecting perversion than privacy:
Of course, for the “non-partisan” organization, this is more about protecting perversion than politics or privacy. As much as the media will make a day out of a conservative getting support from the ACLU, its really the solicitation for sex that is being defended.


Could you ask for anything more in this case?

Your move Harrogate, your move.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Humor from the National Review

Occasionally, they can be humorous. Most of it is unintentional, such as how a few writers went to the White House today to discuss propaganda, err. i mean strategy, with the President.

But this is good.
I read the news today, oh boy... [Mark Steyn]
I went over to the Fox News story on Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit and was laughing my head off over the charge that he was fired to "pacify the White House" when my eye fell on the right-hand column of current headlines. What a snapshot of the world. In order:

* Idaho Man Blames Wild Sex for Car Crash
* Man Declared Dead Awakens During Autopsy
* Court Revokes Britney Spears' Teen Role Model Career
* New Zealand Cops Discover Woman's Body in Car Belonging to Father of 3-Year-Old Abandoned Girl
* British Woman Divorces Son of Usama Bin Laden
* Questions Raised Whether Tasered Student Planned to Stage Incident at Kerry Forum
* Alicia Silverstone to Appear Nude in PETA Commercial
* O.J. Simpson Released From Jail After Posting $125K Bail in Armed Memorabilia Heist Case
* Iranian General: We Have Plans to Bomb Israel if They Attack Us
* Armless Man Will Not be Charged With Head-Butting Death of Ga. Man
* Meteorite Crash Causes 'Mystery Illness' in Peru
* Milwaukee Nun, 79, Charged With Having Sexual Contact With Two Boys
* Youngest of 3 Sisters Allegedly Set on Fire by Mom Dies in Hospital
* Pop Tarts: Jamie Foxx’s Fertile Fantasy: Impregnating Halle Berry
* Dan Rather Expected to Report Boeing 787 Unsafe
* Report: Jesse Jackson Says Barack Obama 'Acting White' in Case of Six Blacks Accused in Assault Case

What I like about the list is the vague feeling that it's computer generated and would make no difference randomly reshuffled:

* New Zealand Cop Divorces Son Of Usama Bin Laden
* Alicia Silverstone Expected To Report Boeing 787 Unsafe
* Milwaukee Nun Will Not Be Charged With Head-Butting Death
* Report: Jesse Jackson Says OJ Simpson "Acting White"
* Dan Rather To Appear Nude In PETA Commercial

Leave Chris Crocker Alone Redux

Okay, Last one. Harrogate promises. That is unless he puts another one on.

This one's been around almost since the beginning. What is funniest about it is the Sophoclean moment at the end when the sheet comes down and his drunken buddies eloquently assume the traditional role of the Greek Chorus, even as he works himself into such a frenzy that he momentarily loses the ability to breathe. This, folks, is the epiphany of the absurd.

Actually, it's exactly what Northrop Frye was talking about in Anatomy of Criticism--that strange, liminal space where narrative simultaneously manifests utter Irony and sublime Myth.

Enjoy, Readers. Enjoy.


Lola, or The Bright Side of Having "Gender Hang-Ups": A Scholarly Response Wherein The Kinks Are Cited

Harrogate, who himself looks damned good in makeup and a tasteful lingerie ensemble, would like to dedicate this video to "C", particularly in reference to M's recent, highly provocative post over at Separation of Spheres.



(Oh, and Mormons are Weird)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Larry "Thunder Mug" Craig Returns to the Senate: The Saga of the Wide Stance Continues

Hat tip TalkLeft
on this one. Not only has Larry Craig returned to the Senate but check this out! The bathroom where Craig was arrested has become a must see on any respectable tour of these United States.

From the article:
Since news broke Aug. 27 of the arrest of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig in an airport restroom, the airport has been fielding requests for directions to the men's room in question, which is conveniently located just off the central food court and popular shopping area.
Abdalla Said, who works at a newsstand on the G concourse, said he's been getting requests daily, too.
"It's by the lottery shop, right next to the shoeshine shop," he said without blinking.
Gee Butler works at that shoeshine shop, the Royal Zino. He said the restroom has become a photo op.
"People have been going inside, taking pictures of the stall, taking pictures outside the bathroom door - man, it's been crazy," he said.

Deliberative Democracy or the Decline and Fall of the American Republic



Does the student have the right to be heard? Does the student make sense? Does he deserved to be tasered?

Oscar Wilde--Preface to "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

All Art Is Quite Useless

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.
The critic is he who can translate into another manner
or a new material his impression of beautiful things.
The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode
of autobiography.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt
without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things
are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things means only
Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of
Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.
The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the
rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of
the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect
use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove
anything. Even things that are true can be proved.
No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy
in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express
everything.
Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.
Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.
From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is
the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling,
the actor's craft is the type.
All art is at once surface and symbol.
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work
is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with
himself.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he
does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless
thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Touche, Seth Green. Touche.

Good Lord.

For those who haven't seen Seth Green's ad hominem
rebuttal of the arguments
soundly put forth by
Chris Crocker, well, this is some
seriously funny shit.




Oh the Sublime Agony of it All: "Leave Britney Alone!"

By now, Readers, many of you have seen this. According to the E! Channel this video is hot hot hot. And for good reason. Wonderfully entitled, "Britney Spears Fan Cries," Chris Crocker in this video speaks to the veritable essence of what Lloyd Bitzer was getting at when he layed down the principles of The Rhetorical Situation. Really, fans, all this obviously distraught fan wants is for us to remember the broader context within which Britney Spears' much discussed (but o! so little understood) performance took place.

Note the seriousness, the austere shift in tone, with which he references Paris Hilton, as though he was giving an academic paper and quoting Aristotle. Then experience the sudden, biting sarcasm with which he disputes Hilton's shaky thesis.

But note especially that final, plaintive whisper, "Leave her alone" which poignantly closes out Crocker's virtuosic performance. Truly that final utterance ought rightly to haunt the dreams of all who have dared to mock Britney during this difficult, difficult time.

(Oh, and Larry Craig's a douchebag)


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Internicine Sniping With the Board of The Rhetorical Situation (And, Happy Birthday Solon!)

Recently, O Readers, Harrogate's Pulitzer-Prize Winning Colleague, Solon, opined the following:

There may be perfectly good reasons why even a homosexual would reject same-sex marriage specially if it were sought through the judiciary rather than the legislative process.


Now first of all, let Harrogate make clear his position that what is happening with Larry Craig goes well beyond the question of whether homosexuals ought to be able to get married. The Thunder Mug case is functioning as a revelation about the ridiculousness of the "Values Voter" myth. It is one of many examples of why these holier-than-thou fire-eating panderers deserve to be ridiculed at every turn. This is what the Thunder Mug case is all about, it's about always taking advantage of opportunities to undermine the vacuous, dangerous rhetoric that the GOP used so effectively in 2004. But that aside, let us take a look at Solon's statement and engage it on its own terms.

Harrogate, famous for trolling Right Wing media on television and the Internet alike, is deeply familiar with the Talking Points Solon is invoking. And he must say, there have been moments where he has felt almost compelled to join Solon in actually taking this argument seriously. But in the end, right at the moment when he's about to take the bait, Harrogate always finds himself cut short by ruminations such as these:

1)Since 2004 gay marriage has been the hot-button symbolic loadstone for the gay rights debate. Yet just a few moments spent listening to Republican lawmakers and/or the people who vote for them will show you that the gay marriage "debate" is only the current cover from which people can safely bash homosexuality without seeming bigoted.

Simply google Lawrence v Texas to see why Harrogate conservatively ventures that 85% of those currently opposed to gay marriage would bring back the sodomy laws (only overturned in 2003!) in a hearbeat if they could: which they can, by the way, with only one more Supreme.

2)The much-trumpeted worry over the judiciary trumping the democratic process vis a vis gay marriage makes some sense at first glance. That is, until you stop and consider the presupposition scaffolding this argument: that it is right and proper that civil rights be put to a vote.

But there is such a thing as minority rights. And Harrogate would like to see the Courts protect minority rights, especially in the face of a hostile majority.


3)Does anybody actually know a practicing homosexual who opposes gay marriage? Harrogate doesn't, nor has he seen one speak out to this effect. This doesn't mean there are none. Far be it from Harrogate to be so petty as to foundationally rest his argument upon the whims of anecdote. Yet Harrogate would suggest that, excluding Solon and a precious few others, when you hear the canard, "it's possible to be gay and still oppose gay marriage," you can pretty well safely bet the farm that the person making this claim is heterosexual, hostile to gay rights generally, and a GOP supporter.

A Brave New Web Site: Explication of the Wide Stance

Harrogate likes this picture because it symbolizes the GOP coalition of corporate donors and Thunder-Mugging Values Voters.


Anyway, as Readers undoubtedly know, part of Larry Craig's explanation for the Thunder Mug Incident is that he has a Wide Stance. Happily, the term "Wide Stance" has become yet another comedic catch phrase with which to broadly tar the GOP more generally. Now, like a bolt of truth mightily hurled down from the very Heavens, comes this hilarious happening.

It really is quite a Rhetorical Situation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Censoring of Kathy Griffin, Whose Performance in Pulp Fiction Still Has People Talking

Readers, check out this Rhetorical Situation involving comedian Kathy Griffin. As you can see from the link, after winning her Emmy, Griffin had the Jezebel-like audacity to take the podium, accept the trophy, and blaspheme thusly:

a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus


The vaunted AP goes on to tell us that Griffin followed with an "off-color remark about Christ," and finally proclaimed, "This award is my god now!"

Horrors of the Black Museum!!!! Thank Heavens that the E! channel will be editing this out before it airs on television Saturday night!!!!

And by the way, Harrogate especially appreciates the theological profundity evinced by (notorious gay-basher)Catholic League President Bill Donahue when he called out Griffin's speech as a "vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech."

Sigh. Does it get any harder, does it take any more bravery, than to practice Christianity in the United States? Ah, that small brave following, what heaps of persecution must they suffer? Truly Donahue's situation is thoroughly analagous to the story of Daniel and the Lions. And to extend the analogy further, E! may be said to be channeling God, righteously shutting Griffin's mouth.

Readers, verily Harrogate sayeth unto thee, this is the kind of ridiculous element you keep hoping society will grow out of, but which instead hangs in there as a defining characteristic. Really. No, seriously. Anyone familiar with awards in the Sports and Pop Music industries knows that this joke had been a long time coming. For a comedien like Griffin who has made irreverence a big part of her act, the joke is especially fitting.


Finally, here is Griffin's brilliant, 16 second performance in Pulp Fiction. Even then ya knew there was something there that Christians everywhere would learn to fear.

The "self-evident truths" of bathroom Etiquette

In a recent post, Harrogate wrote the following:
Nevertheless, at the heart of the Larry Craig Show is the basic truth that when one enters a stall, even in a public bathroom, one partakes of a social contract whereby privacy is ostensibly guaranteed.


Yet, is this the case? Is the case about the "self-evident" canture of privacy in a public bathroom? The last section suggest a contradiction between public and private that would suggest Harrogate rethink his position.

What I would suggest is that the distinction is between acceptable cultural norms about homosexuality. Further, Harrogates discussion of the Larry Craig incidents reaffirms these roles and, maybe unintentionally, reaffirms the norm that homosexual should stay closeted.

This is what we know about the situation. Minnesota police used cops to deter incidents of sexual encounters between men in public restrooms. When Larry Craig entered the restroom, he followed the typical protocols of a person wanting to solicit sex in a bathroom. Research from the 1960s by Laud Humphrey suggests Craig’s behavior is normal for the ends which he sought. This moves our understanding of this event from the “self-evident” realm of privacy to one of cultural norms about sexual practices.

Rather than trying to understand why a person would choose secrecy for a sexual practice and the cultural that banishes people to the restroom, Harrogate chooses to bash Craig for his “hypocrisy,” which may have a negative effect on how others come to grips with whether or not they should come out of the closet. There may be perfectly good reasons why even a homosexual would reject same-sex marriage specially if it were sought through the judiciary rather than the legislative process.

Craig is a sad man, who rescinded his guilty plea and beat this because of alleged entrapment. Yet, even if is punished for his actions or beats the charge, by focusing on his actions we lose sight of the bigger picture on the cultural norms of society.

A Musical Interlude, for those with 7 Minutes to Spare

Harrogate's had this song stuck in his head going on, oh, about 22 years now. Here is a beautamous version of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," one of Pink Floyd's earliest and most enduring classics. All the original spirit of the song, especially its essential gorgeousness, comes flooding back in this performance of it by Roger Waters during his In the Flesh tour, circa 2000.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Thunder Mug Family: Fun With Classifications

Jae over at the always refreshing site, Genuine Ideas, recently posted a funny writeup of the Thunder Mug fiasco, complete with this wonderful photograph of a state-of-the-art Thunder Mug: Now, clearly, as one can see from the broader Rhetorical Situation in which the Thunder Mug is placed, what we have here is not a public stall, but a private space where one can attend to one's, well, toiletries. Nevertheless, at the heart of the Larry Craig Show is the basic truth that when one enters a stall, even in a public bathroom, one partakes of a social contract whereby privacy is ostensibly guaranteed.


Harrogate, meanwhile--nothing if not willing to rise to a good challenge--here responds with a High Art Urinal he found somewhere in cyberspace. This Rodin-like piece clearly conveys the idea of a urinary space that is public; and, while conceding the Rhetorical Truth that Urinals represent a somewhat different concept from the full-on Toilet Proper, it still belongs to what we ought, in all intellectual honesty, to refer to as the Thunder Mug Family (what would the Latin Phraesology be for such a thing, Harrogate wonders?)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What book are you...

Here is an interesting internet quiz, The Book Quiz.

My book: The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner. I just started reading it. The description of myself:

Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue, but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.

Sunday Night Quarterback....

Random musings about week one in the NFL....oh, and if you want a discussion on NFL games, you should look elsewhere.

(1) Watching, or in my case-- not watching, the NFL without the NFL package from DirecTv is one of the worst experiences ever. I live in the country's biggest market and received one game at 1pm (Patriots v. Jets- and I hate both teams) and one game at 4pm, Bears v. Chargers. I am glad I watched my daughter this afternoon rather than watching these games.

(2) While I miss Direct TV, I do not miss it enough to pay for their overall service. I would pay for the football package but i can get phone, internet, and cable for less than what I paid for DirecTv.

(3) Before the MLB season started, Congress was about to force MLB to offer the baseball package to other services, such as cable, or be attacked for being a monopoly. Why has no one done this for the NFL?

(4) I have a very strong dislike for Time Warner as well. The picture breaks up; they will not carry the NFL Channel. Even on their website, they discuss how they carry more "NFL football than you can watch," which no one can take this claim seriously since they can only broadcast what is on the networks (four to five games a week, not the fourteen games a week that Direct TV shows.) Where is free enterprise in NYC?

(5) In The Rock's new movie, The Game Plan, one of the best quarterbacks in the game meets his match- his daughter. In one scene, The Rock's daughter bakes him cookies with cinnamon, which causes him to have an allergic reaction. Of course, his "reaction" is that he develops a lisp while he films a television commercial. What type of allergy makes you seem "gay." Doesn't this play into too many cultural stereotypes, mainly athletes are "manly" and not gay.

(6) Tomorrow night, General Petraeus will gives an exclusive one-hour interview to Fox News. Brit Hume will interview him.

Um...how will anyone believe that this report will be credible?

(7) Think your best thoughts or send you best wishes to Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills, who underwent emergency surgery for a spinal cords injury suffered on the opening kickoff for the second-half.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm Jerry Seinfeld and I'm an Ass....

One of few people who I find more annoying than Barry Bonds is... Jerry Seinfeld. While I love the show Seinfeld, I think that Seinfeld the person in a pompous ass. Case in point:

During the US Open last night, one of the announcers from the USA network interviewed Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, mainly because Curb Your Enthusiam's sixth season begins this Sunday. (The YES network showed Larry David, discussed Curbed your Enrthusiam, and David's appearance on Centerstage-- and YES Network show-- during the Yankkes game on Tuesday Night...And yes, this means I watched the Yankeed to know this.)

During the Interview, Seinfeld and David were not happy to be interviewed while Venus Williams as playing. While I understand that it is not a good idea to interview someone while they are watching a match, there still seems little reason for Seinfeld's comments. As the interviewer discussed the new season of Curb Your Ethusiam and the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is a ball boy, the interviewees seemed less than interested. When the interviewee asked Seinfeld and David what they had been laughing over during the match, Seinfeld replied they were "private jokes." When the interviewee asked Seinfeld what was the funniest thing he has seen at a tennis match, his reply was "Not You." The interview promptly ended after this comment.

Overall, it as bad decorum to interview during a match; worse, Jerry Seinfeld was a jackass during the interview.

To Jerry: people, wrongly, think you are interesting becuase you are funny; people find you annoying because you're Jerry.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Love For Bonds, and a Fond Throwback to the Pete's Couch Posts

The last time Harrogate linked to mzmeg's entertaining Left Coast blog, Baseball and Brioche, the subject was Pete's Couch, and it was due in large part to Board Members' excellent analyses of those commercials that The Rhetorical Situation won its first of what are now 17 major international awards.

Now, almost a year later, Harrogate again tips the cap to Baseball and Brioche for its undiluted tributary handling of the Great Barry Bonds. A tasty snippet:

So last night, under the full moon, a messenger was sent, probably the lord's second son; barefoot, longhaired and smiling, this messenger catapulted himself onto the outfield grass and walked briskly towards a smiling Bonds



Those who enjoy culturally-aware sportswriting will find the prose to be as compelling as the picutres.

In all likelihood, Barry Bonds will retire after this season. So chortle all ye want, doubters and haters. Harrogate is going to enjoy the moment while it lasts.

News Satire Done Right

Okay, so "funny" isn't the right word for this. But then, satire doesn't have to be funny to ring true. Swift's "Modest Proposal" was hardly funny, though it certainly had some comedic elements. This Onion video is very much in the spirit of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. A question worth asking is, what in this Onion video, exactly, is being satirized? At first glance it appears to be the Cable News industry, but the more Harrogate thinks about it, the more he realizes that what is really being skewered here is US, the viewer. As, ultimately, was the case with Natural Born Killers.

Certainly this video has a truth to tell. By now we ought all to be sick to death with the whole Cult of the Missing White Woman thang, but we're not. It won't be long before another one is all over the news, the lead story, eclipsing Iraq, the Health Care crisis, and even Larry "Thunder Mug" Craig's bid to restore his "good name."

Before hitting "Play" check out the frozen ticker. Queen Elizabeth II voted Q.U.I.L.F.? Indeed. Try throughout the video to catch some of the rolling ticker on the bottom, such as at the beginning when we are told that Letters from Hillary Clinton to Santa Claus reveal she may be a selfish President, or towards the end with the announcement that Russ Feingold has just been voted "most succesful guy named Russ."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Larry "Thunder Mug" Craig May Not Be Resigning, After All




Here's the latest from the vaunted AP. Harrogate finds it interesting that Craig got Michael Vick's lawyer, Billy Martin.

So. Craig's gonna fight back, is he? Good God Harrogate hopes that waste of breath tries to keep his Senate seat. Please, Larry. Please stay in. Protect your "good name," you fucking hypocritical bloody-handed viper.

Anywho. Harrogate hopes this stays in the news for a long time, hopes the whole thing gets lots and lots and lots of publicity.

Monday, September 03, 2007

An Absolute Commitment to Free Speech... or...

A commitment only when it is conveniant.

It seems that The Washington Post and other quality newspapers, censored, er I mean...decided not to publish two Opus Comics. Salon has the scoop on why the newspapers would not run the comics, as well as the cartoons. (If you do not want to click, they contain sex jokes and discuss Islam.) Here is the first and here is the second.

From Editor and Publisher:
Berkeley Breathed's Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 strips -- which comprise sort of a two-part series -- show the Lola Granola character wanting to become an Islamic radicalist (and wear traditional Muslim clothing) because it's a "hot new fad on the planet." Content also includes what Shearer described as "a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see."


Our commitment to free speech makes us different than many other countries and many other ideologies, except when it doesn't.

On Thunder Mugs and Nasty, Bad, Naughty Boys; In Which Janet Jackson Also Appears, Sans Nipple

For those few by now who haven't seen the thirty second clip of Larry Craig telling Chris Matthews in 1999 what a "nasty, bad, naughty boy" Bill Clinton is, this Thunder Mug's for ye!



Now remember, O Readers, this is a grown man, a United States Senator no less, actually putting these words together in sentence form on national television. It shouldn't have taken the THUNDER MUG incident to force him to resign. Craig ought to have been laughed right out of office after this interview.

Anyways, at the moment, in a slight disagreement with the esteemed Solon, what Harrogate personally thinks merits emphasis (Craig the Lawmaker--homophobe, enemy of civil rights, and proponent of police-state measures--deliciously reaping the fruits of his own rhetoric and actions) is getting a lot more play than those who, like Solon, understandably would like to see the THUNDER MUG incident turned into a teachable moment about closeting.

The reason Harrogate holds this position is that he hopes that from this deluge of GOP hypocritical spectacles, the American people will eventually lose its appeitite for the type of garbage that sealed the deal for that ghastly party in 2004. Maybe, O Readers, one day a Republican aspirant for higher office will stand in front of a podium trying to exploit hatred for transgressors of the Father Knows Best myth, only to stop speaking and be greeted by eerie silence. Until finally someone in the audience raises their hand. Perhaps a miner from Utah or a displaced person from New Orleans or a single mother with no health care or a family member of a soldier sacrificed in vain, or maybe even the father of a young man recently given a life sentence for marijuana possession. And when called on, that citizen might cry out for all to hear, enough pandering you indecent, disingenuous, smug blight of human skin. Enough already. Enough of the arsinic-laced Apple Pie. We're tired of it all. Say something that matters.


Finally, it is with terrific poetical justice that Harrogate here provides for your sublime enjoyment Janet Jackson's classic video "Nasty." (Her first name aint "Baby," it's Janet--Ms. Jackson if you're nasty.)

Harrogate supposes Larry Craig in 1999 felt confident channeling Janet Jackson's spirit since, at the time of his interview, she had yet to corrupt millions of children everywhere for a one millisecond bearing of her nipple on national television.


The effects of "Outing"

One of the dilemmas in the Larry Craig fiasco is how to treat people who closet themselves. On one level there is the “Schadenfreude” element where people find pleasure in Senator Craig’s misfortune, especially since his public actions and sentiments differ greatly from his private actions and desires.

Yet, there seems to be an overlooked ethical aspect of this: how do we understand and even help those who seem to lead closeted lives? (The same can be said of Ted Haggard, whose life-long desires have been cured.)

Let me pose the following questions to you:
(1) Does the public outings of Senator Craig and Ted Haggard entice or diminish the desire of some who lives in the closet to become public?
(2) By focusing on the hypocrisy, do those who attack Craig and Haggard become intolerant of those that they should be tolerant?
(3) What is the best way to help people in the public sphere become open with their identity?

I am not sure if I know the answers to these questions, but they may be an interesting starting point.

Ill-Advised expenditures

The University of Michigan paid Appalachian State $400,000 to play and destroy its season in the first week.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Harrogate's Lovefest With Show Tunes Continues; Or, a Homage to Senator Larry "Thunder Mug" Craig

Harrogate has long been a fan of the song "Hard Knock Life," out of the true, the sentimental, the wise and the beautiful was this piece ripp'd whole and given unto the masses.

Very like the afore-honored classic "America" from West Side Story, "The Hard Knock Life" brings Harrogate to a halt like Elaine's ex-boyfriend when "Desperado" comes on the radio.

Call lines three and four of the following stanza "slant rhyme," call them "imperfect rhyme," call them the thematic forbear of what Senator Larry Craig (now "orphaned" from his fire-eating, uberbigoted base) now endures: the following verse is as good a piece of poetry as you're going to find:

Santa Claus we never see.
Santa Claus? What's that? Who's he?
No one cares for you a smidge
When you're in an orphanage





Imagine!!! Put this (Thunder) Mug in the right costume and Craig might well find his next calling, post-resignation, as a pretty convincing Santa Claus in an Idaho Mall.

Heh.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"The Happiest Girl in the USA": An Inspired Video Clip; And in Which Post it is Inarguably Demonstrated, Once Again, that Harrogate's Word is Gold

Harrogate recently promised
his loyal Readership that as soon as the magnificent finale to "The Happiest Girl" appeared, it would be reproduced on this Blog.

Harrogate includes the picture of Paxton and Stanton, not only because it is a really great picture of them, but also because it points up the craziness of The Rhetorical Situation to which Chase's incredible performance speaks.

The fact is, at this point at the end of Big Love, Season 2, none of the women are happy. They are all caught in unhealthy Situations that have spun seemingly outside of their control; it is getting to the point that sadness and despair impel every scene.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Barry Bonds a Fit Subject for High Art: In Which Harrogate's Brother is Introduced

Harrogate pilfered this amazing painting from his younger brother's myspace page (actual artist unkown). Harrogate's brother won't mind: perhaps even moreso than Harrogate, little bro' deeply resents all the anti-Bonds rhetoric in the media and on the street.

In defense of Michael Vick....

While the other link may not have been serious, this is an actually editorial that a newspaper published back in July. I will pos its entirety for (1) comic relief and (2) so profs can use it to discuss fallacious reasoning.

Enjoy the wisdom, err... something like that.

Don’t be too quick to judge
By Deion Sanders
Originally published on July 22, 2007

• Editor's Note: Deion Sanders, a North Fort Myers High School graduate, played in the NFL and Major League Baseball. He works as an analyst for the NFL Network and is part-owner of the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League. HIs column is published every Sunday in The News-Press and online at news-press.com.
Here's his column
I would’ve never thought Mike Vick, one of the NFL’s most exciting players — the man who makes the network execs smile every time he plays — would ever be indicted for crimes against man’s best friend.


The potential impact could be devastating.



He could lose millions worth of endorsements. Nike has already suspended the release of his new shoe. He could lose millions he was supposed to get from the Atlanta Falcons, if the club decides to cut him. That’s unlikely, but it could happen if he’s convicted or makes a plea arrangement.


Or his reputation might wind up so stained that he’s never forgiven in the court of public opinion. That would be too bad for the 27-year-old superstar.


This is all the result of perspective.


What a dog means to Vick might be a lot different than what he means to you or I. Hold on, don’t start shaking your head just yet. Listen to me.


Some people kiss their dogs on the mouth. Some people let their dogs eat from their plate. Some people dress their dogs in suits more expensive than mine, if you can believe that.


And some people enjoy proving they have the biggest, toughest dog on the street. You’re probably not going to believe this, but I bet Vick loves the dogs that were the biggest and the baddest.
Maybe, he identified with them in some way.


You can still choose to condemn him, but I’m trying to take you inside his mind so you can understand where he might be coming from.
I’m sure all of the animal activists and Humane Society folks have a dart board with Vick’s picture in the center of it. And if he plays this season, PETA is going to picket every stadium where he plays.



Still, I must ask the question: Where is all of this going?



By now you’ve read all of the accusations about the cruelty involving the dogs — and I’m not just talking about their duels to the death. All of that is enough to make me cringe because I have three highly-trained protection German shepherds, just in case someone wants to rob my family. 

Believe me, you don’t want to deal with them. With one German command, our dog Yascho turns into Cujo.

And for the record, I live around the corner from the police station, so it won’t take them long to show up and save you from the dogs.



Now back to Vick.



Why are we indicting him? Was he the ringleader? Is he the big fish? Or is there someone else? The fights allegedly occurred at a property that he purchased for a family member. They apparently found carcasses on the property, but I must ask you again, is he the ringleader?



This situation reminds me of a scene in the movie “New Jack City,” when drug dealer Nino Brown is on the witness stand and eloquently says, “This thing is bigger than me.”



Are we using Vick to get to the ringleader? Are we using him to bring an end to dogfighting in the United States? 

The only thing I can gather from this situation is that we’re using Vick.



Was he wrong? Absolutely. Was he stupid? Can’t argue with that. Was he immature? No doubt. But is he the ringleader? I just can’t see it. 

I believe Vick had a passion for dogfighting.

I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win.



It reminds me of when I wore a lot of jewelry back in the day because I always wanted to have the biggest chain or the biggest, baddest car. It gives you status.



Can I pause for a moment to ask you a question? 

Who shot Darrant Williams? Remember the Denver Bronco cornerback? I’m just more concerned about bringing to justice someone who killed a human. Or finding out who broke into Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker’s home, tied him up and robbed him at gunpoint. 

We’re attacking this dogfighting ring the same way a teenager attacks his MySpace page after school (by the way parents, make sure you monitor your kids). We should have the same passion for man that we have for man’s best friend. 

The reason this is turning into a three-ring circus is that baseball is boring, basketball is months away, football is around the corner and we in the media don’t have a thing interesting to write about.



How will this end up? I have no idea. All I know is Falcons fans better pray because Vick’s backup is Joey Harrington. Enough said.



God bless and God willing I’ll hollah at you next week.

—

Deion Sanders, a North Fort Myers High School graduate, played in the NFL and Major League Baseball. He works as an analyst for the NFL Network and is part-owner of the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League.

I ask all parents out there:

Why do you not have the bullet-proof stroller for your child?

It is a shame that the products are not in stock. I would most likely purchase the crib and the bomb blanket. And the riot helmet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Few Words On Southpaw, Art, and Patriotism: Wherein the Ways and Means of Blogging are Also Evaluated According to the Highest Possible Standards


Recently one of our Board Members, Southpaw--a best-selling novelist and the man recently voted one of the "Sexiest Men in America" by What Women Want Magazine(see his picture above to understand why)--complained to Harrogate that much of The Rhetorical Situation's history has been very deep in YouTube.

Undoubtedly, this is a Fair and Balanced™ criticism. And Harrogate would be the first to aver the all-too-unfortunate danger of a blogger getting lazy, leaning heavily on images and videos instead of doing the hard, creative work it takes to craft the kind of multilayered posts to which Harrogate's readers, for example, have grown accustomed. Think Rocky, and how soft that saga's hero has gotten by the beginning of the third installment.

Still, Harrogate much appreciates and fully stands behind the merits of YouTube and it's capacity for illuminating the intellectual and moral principles which his posts are designed to throw into relief.

Take this clip Harrogate here provides for his devoted readership: the movie performance of "America" from West Side Story , which as a play and as a movie occupies its own set of kiosks in Harrogate's personal iconic bizarre of human achievment. West Side Story operates as a tribute to Romeo and Juliet, while at the same time standing on its own as one of the most deservedly famous, and beloved, pieces of American Stagecraft and Cinema.

"America" is one of those songs that make Harrogate stop and incline his thoughtful head until it is over, much like Elaine's boyfriend whenever he hears the Eagles song "Desperado." "America" in many ways exemplifies Harrogates kind of patriotism: so much of what is to be loved about this country is celebrated not only the ladies' side of the argument, but also in the music and the overall spirit in which this piece is performed. At the same time, the gentlemen render a series of pointed critiques designed to remind us of America's very real problems--this too is part of being a Patriot, so far as Harrogate is concerned.

In terms of the eterenal Mars/Venus wars, Harrogate finds the performance very intriguing as well. That the women are seeing America through rose colored glasses while the men see the concrete jungle side of the equation: ie the virulent nativism, the economic despair, and the seemingly inviolable tendency towards balkanization that immigrants to this great country must face. And during the current immigration hysetria, it occurs to Harrogate that this song enjoys even greater humor and relevance.

This is an awesome video. Check it out!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some Thoughts on Big Love: In Which are Also Featured Pictures of Daveigh Chase (Rhonda Volmer) and Matt Ross (creepy Alby)



As Big Love moves into the homsetretch of its second season, Harrogate has come to realize he has perhaps never been so fascinated, nor quite so disturbed, by a television program. While this is not the time to fully disquisit on the subject, using details, citing academic sources and the like, here are a few evaluative tidbits.

What really gives this show its wings is the top-flight quality of the acting. Across the board, every damned character is being brought out with extreme vividness. And best of all, this quality of acting, combined with the remarkable roundness of the characters, makes it almost impossible to get comfortable with how one feels about a given character. Harrogate likes that, in narrative. He likes it a lot.

Featured in This Post: The scheming, detestable, and yet thoroughly, tragically victimized Rhonda Volmer. Played by singing-phenom Daveigh Chase (depicted above), Rhonda has become something of a cult figure for You-Tubers and on the internet more generally. Which by the way is perfectly understandable, indeed precisely as it should be.

The first clip Harrogate provides here is an "Ode to Rhonda," of sorts, pretty funny in Harrogate's estimation: produced by an anonymous member of our thriving internet democracy.

The second clip briefly exemplifies something else: this woman is sporting one of the most amazing voices Harrogate has ever heard, period. This past Monday's episode closed out with Chase singing "The Happiest Girl" (also, fittingly,the title of the episode): her performance helps catapult the last three minutes of the episode into the kind of sublime, spine-tingling experience one rarely associates with television (Monday Night Raw being an obvious exception).

Sadly, Harrogate has not yet found a link to those final moments of "The Happiest Girl": But when he does, oh Readers, verily shall the clip be delivered into thy hands.

Until then, be tided over with her spooky Carly Simon cover.





How To Wave The Bloody Shirt With Verve: "The Two Things to Know Before Your City is Nuked By Terrorists"

Harrogate was unwinding with a little right wing punditry when he encountered this stunner by Douglas Mackinnon.

In what follows Harrogate provides the article's opening and its conclusion. He wishes he was currently prepared to offer commentary and analysis, but right now he's just sad and doesn't know what to say. Right now, more than anything, Harrogate just feels like it's important that people read this article and know that it exists, that this kind of stuff is being routinely distributed into the contemporary American soul.

What do we make of it all? What can we do?

Anyways, here is how the piece begins:

Tragically, horrifyingly, but quite predictably, it’s going to happen. The only question being which American city or cities?
In a recent conversation with a former high level intelligence operative of our government, I raised the possibility of terrorists successfully detonating a nuclear weapon within the United States. His response was sobering in its hopelessness.



MacKinnon closes with a Rhetorical Haymaker:

[the anonymous, and therefore unaccountable source] talked of critical infrastructures like water, electricity, fuel, banks, our food supply, medical services, police and firefighters, being unavailable for weeks or months. He warned of the blind panic that would follow such an explosion. Of the looting, of neighbor turning on neighbor to take what they don’t have for their own survival. Of our economy suffering an economic loss in the trillions of dollars.
Knowing this, are you prepared? Can you and your family ride out the frighteningly unpredictable weeks or months following the loss of an American city and its inhabitants? If you are not in the city hit, can you survive?
You must ask yourself this question. For, unless there is a miraculous epiphany about to be visited upon our self-centered politicians, then such an attack is certain.
If our politicians and the voters continue to suicidally put party and partisan politics before the welfare and security of our nation, then the terrorists will find the opening to hit us.
Our government and media are failing us. Prepare for the worst.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Congratulations to Barry Bonds



The world is a little different today. By far the most hallowed record in all of American Sport has been shattered. The Great Henry Aaron has been passed, there is a new Home Run King. Harrogate would so much have loved to have been there, to have witnessed history live.

What a great picture of Barry Bonds, even void of context. But then when you add context (what's a Rhetorical Situation without context, after all?), the picture exudes joy. After all this guy has accomplished, and all he has been through. After all the terrible pitches, the intentional walks, the might-as-well-have-been-intentional walks, and the insane infield shifts he has seen through the years.

There he stands, all melts away. A testament to human achievment. He is at home, thank God, in San Francisco when he hits it. Those who have stood unwavering by him for so long. It just wouldn't have been right had he done it somewhere else.

Funny. Harrogate wrote this whole long diatribe outlining exactly why all the naysayers and bashers are morons, but then he remembered. This isn't about jealous bedwetters like Dale Murphy, souless beauracrats like Bud Selig, or the seemingly endlesss supply of pencilneck whiners who call themselves sports journalists.

This is about the man who is unquestionably the single greatest baseball player of this generation, and in all probability the greatest baseball player who ever played the game. Period. It is Bonds's moment. Hats off to him.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Cartoon by a Conservative, but True Nonetheless



The cartoonist is right. Actually, both ought to be designated "Art." Because like the cartoon and like this post, that is what they are.

Anyways, now out on bail, Harrogate slowly ekes his way back into the blogging business. Patience, folks. He'll get there. And when he does he won't take American Express.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

If you could ask a question...

I watched some of the You Tube debates last night- up until Big Love started. Up until now, I avoided the debated because the election is so far away. I was a little curious about the format and because it would not have been as scripted (the candidates had some idea of what questions that would be asked so a debate can never be unscripted-- and it may be bad if it were) but this debate still possessed the same problems as other debates: (1) not enough time to respond to respond to the question or to the other candidates-- essentially to debate and (2) there is a lack of depth because there are too many types of questions-- why not have one debate on Iraq or maybe foregn policy and then another debate on domestic issues, economic issues, or social issues.

But- if were to submit a question for a debate (the Republican debate is in September), what question would you ask?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Humor for today

I watched this over at crookedtimber.org. It is entertaining:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

With what level of economic exploitation....

...are you comfortable?

My wife and I watched Blood Diamond last night. It is a good movie, with an interesting point. One criticism of western style capitalism is that it pushes economic exploitation into third world countries. While there is little economic exploitation in the United States (there may be some with immigration and a low minimum wage, but these can be serious topics for debate), the economic exploitation that should be in the US is now in other countries.

For example: criticism against Wal-Mart is that it sells very cheap products that it gets from foreign nations, especially China. Since the cost to make the products is so low, the store can pass that savings on to the consumer. In the process, the people that make the products receive very little for their work, hence the economic exploitation. But people in the United States are either (1) not aware of this portion of the free market equation or (2) do not care because the prices are so low. (At one point the giant retail store mainly sold products that were made in America but that was not economically viable for a large chain that aims for the lower classes.)

In Blood Diamond, the story goes that because there is a demand for diamonds (people in the west want them for their engagement rings and other forms of fancy jewelry), that countries fight for the ability of mine and sell them. In this economic process, Civil Wars emerge in Africa to wet the appetites of the West. (There is also a sub-plot that major diamond outlets in the West do not meet the demand for diamonds by keeping the diamonds in storage so as to artificially raise the price of the stone. By keeping some diamonds off the market companies can charge more for the diamonds which are on the markets-- there is more supply available but it could ruin the profit).

And yet, with Blood Diamond, there not a rejection of buying diamonds but a
"realistic" call to action- demand that consumers buy conflict-free diamonds, which would be similar to clothing lines advertising that the clothes are not the product of child-labor.

But this post raises the simple question: how much economic exploitation are you willing to allow in the marketplace in order to fulfill your lifestyle?

This would include clothing (shirts, pants, shoes), technology, food (soft-drinks, especially in plants are in South America, which may not let workers unionize), and shelter?