Saturday, January 10, 2009

There Goes Harrogate Again, Making Another Bold Claim

Having just completed the fifth season of Scrubs, and soon to launch into the sixth one, there is no longer even the shred of a doubt in Harrogate's mind that what we have here is the best use of music ever, on a television show.

Now Harrogate of course realizes that other Board Members are not so enamored with Scrubs as he is--given his obsessive engagement with it over the last several months, how in the world could it ever be otherwise? Still, Harrogate is confident that in a moment of cool reason, it is hard to deny the show's innovative use of music to enhance Rhetorical Situations.

For immediate evidence of What Harrogate is Talking About®, Harrogate offers this shattering clip, which he and Supadiscomama had seen before, but watched as if for the first time again, last night. He invites ye all to check it out, and weigh in.

Inert Propaganda Punch Line Below

Man falls into Panda pen. Because of a tall barrier, the man cannot escape.

Panda investigates. Begins to maul the intruder. According to CNN, The man's response to being mauled:
"The panda is a national treasure, and I love and respect [him], so I didn't fight back," Zhang said. "The panda didn't let go until it chewed up my leg and its mouth was dripping with my blood."
State run propaganda runs deep in some people.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Musical Tribute

Harrogate loves Amnesiac more and more with each listen. Check out this performance of "Dollars and Cents." It'll put you somewhere else for 4:41.

Michelle Malkin Takes Issue With Oxymoron's Smug Dismissal of Joe the Plumber's Journalistic Credibility

Recently, Oxymoron caused quite a blogospheric firestorm with his giggly post about Joe the Plumber's new role as a reporter from the Gaza War front.

Oxymoron's post was the last straw for Michelle Malkin, who as Situationers have long known, is one of our most important public intellectuals. Today she releases a column, the title of which, Who's Afraid of Joe the Journalist, is clearly a taunt and a dare shot across Oxymoron's bow.

Among her many brilliant observations in this piece:

Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, is headed to Israel to interview ordinary citizens about life in the crosshairs of jihad. He'll be filing dispatches for conservative Internet video broadcasting site (to which I also contribute). Predictably, the very idea of a non-credentialed public figure attempting to "do journalism" has catty elite journalists hacking up hairballs.

But Joe the Plumber, Malkin points out, is representative of the remedy which our American journalistic discourse so desperately needs:

Groupthink, credential fetishism and the Sorbonne mentality have turned national newsrooms into stale echo chambers. For all its self-aggrandizing paeans to "diversity," mainstream American journalism remains one of the most intellectually and ideologically monochrome sectors of the public square.

Michelle Malkin. Opponent of Groupthink. Champion of Journalistic integrity. Woman for our Times.

Not Just for Academama's Bemusement. But for All of Our Bemusement.

Ahhh, Sportswriting. The one genre to which dissertation writers in the humanities can turn, to feel less pretentious. As Board Members and Commenters noted last night, the rhetoric surrounding Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow has been fairly stunning of late, to the point that he has been quite nearly elevated to the status of a Christ figure.

In the immediate wake of Florida's victory over Oklahoma, ESPN writer Pat Forde hardly failed to tap into the Tebow worship.

Tim Tebow's victory tour of Dolphin Stadium started behind one end zone and didn't stop until he reached the opposite end. As he walked along, his golden left arm remained aloft the whole way for Florida fans to touch. Men, women and children leaned over to celebrate with their hero, thanking him for delivering a national championship.

Nearing the end of the lovefest, Tebow looked at Florida media relations staffer Zack Higbee, who has spent much of the last two years helping the quarterback navigate the public demands of life as a budding legend.

Tebow said in a hoarse voice to Higbee, "I'm dying, I'm dying. Let's go home."

So many hands to slap, so little energy left. Carrying a team to a title is hard work.

Heh. From what chapter of the New Testament is Forde drawing here, anyway??? But it continues:

Now the indomitable Tebow has two of them -- one as a freshman backup and one as the center of the Gators' universe. Rarely in football does a single player so totally define a team's personality.

He's "indomitable," you see.

Oh yes. And he's perpetually underrated, but also the greatest we have ever seen. Come let us all adore him, and wonder aloud why in the name of Yaweh NFL Scouts continue to doubt this Golden Armed Leader of Men.

And while we are at it, let us Pray Tebow comes back for one more season so that he can

become the No. 1 quarterback in college football history -- at least in terms of accomplishments. Nobody else would be able to match three national titles and two Heisman Trophies if he's able to pull it off.

Yea and verily. Let the Tebow chorus ring loudly enough to drown out America's growing suspicion that College Football is a bottom a Farce.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

And Now a Moment From the "OMFG" Category

Heh. Check it out.

So to sum up. Husband gives wife kidney to save her life. Wife promptly cheats on and dumps husband for her physical therapist. And on top of that, denies visitation to the husband, for the three young children. Now husband wants 1.5 Million dollars out of the deal.

Harrogate's position? They don't call it "Donate" for nothin, hubby. Sucks that you were done that way, but you don't deserve 1.5 Million dollars compensation for something you already gave her.

Get your visitation problems straightened out, count yourself lucky for being rid of the wife, and move on with it.

But anywho. Harrogate's favorite part of the article is the quote that ends it:

"This has never been done before in the state of New York," said his lawyer Dominic Barbara. "In theory we are asking for the return of the kidney. Of course he wouldn't really ask for that but the value of it."

Good lord.

Question of the Day, Thursday January 8th

Please feel free to ignore this question, as I may ignore it. But, to mock NCAA Football yet again...

Question: Who should be the National Champion for College Football?

Wherein Paulo Freire Speaks for Harrogate's Mom

Dialogue cannot exist without humility. The naming of the world, through which people constantly re-create that world, cannot be an act of arrogance. Dialogue, as the encounter of those addressed to the common task of learning and acting, is broken if the parties (or one of them) lack humility. How can I dialogue if I always project ignorance onto others and never perceive my own? How can I dialogue if I regard myself as a case apart from others--mere "its" in whom I cannot recognize other "I"s? How can I dialogue if I consider myself a member of the in-group of "pure" men, the owners of truth and knowledge, for whom all non-members are "these" people" or "the great unwashed"? How can I dialogue if I start from the premise that naming the world is the task of an elite and that the presence of the people in history is a sign of deterioration, thus to be avoided?

Boycott the BCS

From Slate.

Seriously. For how long can college football tell its fans to sit and spin?

Why hasn't the police shooting of Oscar Grant made the national news?

I only know about this killing (I'm restraining myself from not calling it murder) because of Kate at A k8, a cat, a mission. After reading through her links and the links of the blog she cites, I found more at CNN, but only after much digging. I get that I live in Canada, but I have access to American news. In fact, I often have better access to American news that I do to Canadian news. This needs to be discussed, and it needs to be discussed at the national level. Why? Because young men of color, who are unarmed, continue to be shot by police for no apparent reason--unless we're finally going to start counting racism as viable reason for shooting an unarmed man.

Wherein Harrogate Throws His Support to the Sooners for Tonight's Game

In honor of Our friend and one of our Most regular commenters, AcadeMama, Harrogate is sending out the good vibes for the Sooners tonight, and calls upon Springsteen to consecrate the Endorsement.

Another Bailout

This just in.

JTP Update

Joe the Plumber is heading to Israel for ten days. He will be the Gaza War correspondent for PajamasTV, a conservative website. JTP says that he wants to let Israel's "Average Joes" share their stories.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wednesday Musical Tribute: Portishead's "Magic Doors"

Still a relatively new video by Portishead. Off of their superb 2008 album, Third, the song is "Magic Doors", and the video proves once again that this is one of the smokinest musical groups ever.

And as a bonus, here is a good recent performance of the song that hooked Harrogate on Beth Gibbons and her band forevermore:

My Favorite McDermott-ism

Because it deserves its own post:

"The gut is an epistemological organ."

(Comments, Solon?)

Also, a friend of ours--your neighbor, Oxy--shared this insight from McDermott with me today: "Experience doesn't diminish us. It enlarges."

Food for thought, as it were, isn't it?

More McDermott

From "Culture":
The most perilous threat to human life is secondhandedness, living out the bequest of our parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, and other dispensers of already programmed possibilities. We should be wary of the inherited, however noble its intention, for it is the quality of our own experience which is decisive. Failure, deeply undergone, often enriches, whereas success achieved mechanically through the paths set out by others often blunts sensibility. We are not dropped into the world as a thing among things. We are live creatures who eat experience.

Ann Coulter's "Guilty", or Why I love Matt Lauer

I've always been a big fan of Matt Lauer's. While his job on The Today Show often calls for him to do what most of us consider journalistic fluff, occasionally he gets to show his real talent for pointing out people's hypocrisy (anyone remember his interview with Tom Cruise about post-partum depression and anti-depressants?). This morning, Lauer took on one of my least favorite people, Ann Coulter. It seems Coulter is promoting a new book Guilty, in which she claims, among other things, that all of society's ills are to blame on the single mother. While this certainly isn't a new argument, Coulter makes the argument with such venom that it is difficult to get past her obvious hatred for women. Lauer deftly questions both her points and her tone. Coulter is, as usual, condescending and, to quote Tom Cruise from the aforementioned infamous interview, "glib."

On a side note, one of the reasons I dislike Ann Coulter (and Dr. Laura and their various cohorts) is that they bash the very institutions that got them where they are today. Coulter and Dr. Laura (sorry my references aren't more up-to-date; it's early here in CU Land) are both very outspoken against feminism and feminists, be they of the first, second, third, or fourth waves. Coulter's numerous idiotic statements, such as when she said in a 2003 interview with The Guardian that "It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950—except Goldwater in '64—the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted," reveal her true ignorance. If women were still denied the right to vote, it is highly unlikely she'd have an international audience with whom to share her regressive ideas.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Question of the Day Part the Second: IS an "Adult Pretending to be a Child Still an Adult"????

Solon's favorite blogger over at TalkLeft, TChris, offered up this fascinating post on Sunday, and Harrogate has had it rolling around in the back quadrant of his teeming brain ever since.

The issue before us, Situationers, is succinctly articulated by TChris

A troubling trend that vexes those of us who believe the police should prevent or solve crimes, not manufacture them, is the detective sitting in a chat room posing as a 15 year old waiting to engage in salacious conversation with an adult. Courts have typically held that an adult who travels to meet the "15 year old" for a sexual encounter can be charged with attempted sexual assault of a minor, even though the defendant never chatted with a minor and no actual minor was ever at risk.

TChris's own position on this issue is compelling:

Whether a mistaken belief about a chatter's age (when the belief is induced by a lying law enforcement officer) should lead to any form of criminal liability is questionable. Putting that question aside, it is reasonable to recognize, as Indiana now does (at least until the legislature closes this "loophole"), that people who don't put a child at risk deserve greater leniency than those who do.

It is of course no surprise that he or Jerlayn would take this stance, as standing up for defendants' and/or criminals' rights (unfortunately for some commenters who tried to morph it into a mouthpiece for a particular brand of feminism) is the true backbone of TalkLeft.

But in addition to the Legal Question, there is also a Rhetorical Situation here that needs to be examined. (Oxymoron, for example, continues to argue that when you are watching a football game on television, that the colored first down line is actually on the field. Of course, Oxymoron also once argued that Styx was a great band, so you have to be careful with Oxymoron.)

So, likely all of us on this Board dislike the idea of Entrapment. But will anyone here straight-up say that detectives should stop trolling for "pedophiles" in this manner? Or conversely, will anyone say straight up that the detective posing as a fifteen year old (what if the detective poses as an 8 year-old) is doing the right thing, indeed, protecting children?

Harrogate will leave the light on for you.

Fear Appeals and the War

The following commercial aired this morning on MSNBC in the greater NYC area. The commercial is from the IFCJ (International Fellowship between Christian and Jews) and asks for donations to support Israel in light of the recent fighting/ war in Gaza.

The commercial is interesting (it is targeting the high Jewish population in NYC) as it asks for donations during a "time of war" without mentioning how the money will be used other than to vaguely say "Save Lives." Further, it truly lacks any discussion of why the conflict exists and avoids discussion of proportionality in attacks. Instead the commercial seems to hide around the ideographs of "terrorism" as it seeks support. Finally, the religious element only exacerbates the political conflict, especially when a Christian group attempts to join forces with one side.

While I am certainly not arguing against a right to self-defense and a right to live peacefully, even if that means some violence is necessary, I am struck by the organization's claims that only one side is suffering in this ordeal or that one side suffers more than the other. It seems that if there is going to be any resolution to this conflict, this ad that seems only to equate one side with terrorism is a short term goal only.

Question of the Day: Tuesday, January 6, 2008

Yesterday, Sasha and Malia Obama started their first day of school in Washington D.C. Before the girls went to school, President-Elect Obama allowed a professional photographer to take pictures of the girls and the family and placed the photos online at Flicker.

Is it better for the Obama family to provide photographs of the family to the public, thereby diminishing the value of photos from the paparazzi even if it diminishes the privacy of the family, or to withhold photos and access from the public to protect the privacy of the family and, especially Sasha and Malia?

Update: Based on the Flicker account and prior practices of the Obama campaign and transition, the Obama family and administration seems to place a great emphasis in controlling the situation, meaning that it is reasonable to assume that there will be more photos like these over the next four to eight years (e.g. maybe graduations, Proms, and formal dances though the Obama family may exclude the pictures of dates to protect their privacy-- i.e. let us never see Levi Johnson again.)

Hat Tip: Ben Smith.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Question of the Day

Monday, January 5th.

It is not as philosophical as the previous though still important.

Earlier in the evening, while Sweet Toddler J created a delicious dinner for me in her kitchen, the two of us were listening to The Beatles' White Album. Overall, it is a very sound album e.g. "While My Guitar Gently Sleeps," (George wrote and recorded with Eric Clapton without the rest of the Beatles); "Back in the USSR" (recorded without Ringo); "Dear Prudence" (about Mia Farrow's sister who was in India at the same time the Beatles were there); "Bungalow Bill" (about someone who while on retreat with the Beatles in India left the compound to go hunting); Blackbird (though Sarah McLaughlin's version in I Am Sam may be better); Happiness is a Warm Gun; Why Don't We Do It In The Road; etc.

However, It may not be their best work as there are too many songs on the two album set that are just terrible. As much as it pains me to say Appetite for Destruction is a much better complete album than the White Album as even "Night Train" is a better song than "Glass Onion." (FYI I hate songs that are self-referential either to the band name or to other songs and "Glass Onion" is the worst song ever for meaningless self-references.)

At best, this should be one album. Maybe a longer album but one nonetheless.

Here is the question: What "great" album would be better if songs were removed from it? Additionally, how could an album be better is other songs, recorded around the same time as the album of choice, were included (e.g. is songs from Radiohead's Amnesiac were added to Kid A--- not that Kid A needs improvement)?