Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy (Early) Mother's Day!

Apparently, grad students aren't the only ones reproducing these days...

Quote of the Day

While researching things to do this summer in and out of The City, I found this line about the “Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective” exhibit at MOMA:
Kippenberg’s stated aim was to radically question the role of the artist in society, but it’s probably fairer to say that he was, at heart, a conservative who keenly felt the constraints of trying to make important art in the late the 20th century. Compared to Modern giants like Matisse and Picasso, he seemed to say, the Postmodern generation was a pack of pygmies.

This can only be topped by an obscure Soul Coughing B-Side, "Come on and dig me, I'm the flying pygmy."

Friday, May 08, 2009's got a funky beat and I can bug out to it

There was a request tonight for more music posts.


And a little end o' semester teacher's song:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Gwen Stefani or Ed Grimley?

I just finished watching No Doubt on American Idol this evening. My eyes were on Gwen Stefani, but I swear I was watching Ed Grimley. It's not just their hair that's similar, but also their posture and gait.

Congrats Number Two

M, welcome to the Family. Where are the Cheese Dogs?

Congrats Number One...

Welcome to the club Dr. Harrogate:

Anita Hill as Next Supreme Court Justice? (A Thought Experiment)

On Mayday appeared in Vanity Fair online, this article by Nell Scovell, entitled "Let's Make Clarence Thomas's Worst Nightmare Come True."

A snippet:

Even if she doesn’t want it, I still think she’d be great. To use her phrase, there’s such “potential for healing.” I want the still ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) to finally treat Hill with the respect she deserves. I want Hill confirmed with more votes than Thomas. And, mostly, I want Hill to counter Thomas’s continued assaults on personal freedoms and equality.

It makes for a fun read that Harrogate thought many Situationers would find both amusing and interesting. Harrogate himself especially likes the inclusion of Hill's own comments on the matter. Haha.

Posthumous Baptisms

Even in death you may not be safe from religious fanatics.

According to Ben Smith, it appears that someone baptized President Obama's mother.

Denfense Date: Are Your Papers in Order?

In honor of those who are defending, here is a video for you: the opening of Kafka's The Trial. "My papers are in perfect order..."

There is a very good Orson Welles version as well, with Anthony Perkins, who must be one of the most underrated actors I have seen. He is fantastic in Le Proces (the Trial), Psycho, Catch-22.

This Orson Welles version, especially the intro "Before the Law," is an absolute classic. A must watch. Why are movies not like this?

Or, even better, Pink Floyd's "The Trial."

In a few hours, it will all be over. Enjoy the defense as it is a wonderful experience, or, I should say, I found it to be a wonderful experience in many ways.

For Harrogate

I know this isn't particularly original, but hey, both Harrogate and I are defending today. Once my brain has returned, I promise a more creative tribute to my wonderful friend. In the meantime, this one is for you, H.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesday Musical Tribute

Given the Rhetorical Situation. It is Tuesday, May 5th. It is Harrogate. What else would the Tribute be. This song will be in Harrogate's core heart forever. He wants to convert all Situationers, and all Readers, to its disturbian glory.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Supreme Court Nomination: Question of the Day

Over at The New Republic, Jeffrey Rosen discusses the potential nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Sonia Sotomayor, who appears to be one of the frontrunners for Justice David Souter's seat. I know very little, if anything, about her except for her biography. (On a side note, the rhetoric of the frontrunner is a little interesting, as Rosen cites this UPI article, which claims that she is a frontrunner though the evidence that supports the claim is about the role of the Hispanic vote in the 2008 election and not information from the Obama administration. Trial Balloon.)

The most damming passage by Rosen against Sotomayor reads:
Over the past few weeks, I've been talking to a range of people who have worked with her, nearly all of them former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit or former federal prosecutors in New York. Most are Democrats and all of them want President Obama to appoint a judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Nearly all of them acknowledged that Sotomayor is a presumptive front-runner, but nearly none of them raved about her. They expressed questions about her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative.

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue." (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, "Will you please stop talking and let them talk?") Second Circuit judge Jose Cabranes, who would later become her colleague, put this point more charitably in a 1995 interview with The New York Times: "She is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the eminence or power or prestige of any party, or indeed of the media."

Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It's customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn't distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions--fixing typos and the like--rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

This may not be the best article or argument against Sotomayor, especially since it is riddled with anonymous quotes even as the author states that the people with whom he discussed her credentials were not out to grind an axe. However, it does provide an interesting entrance to this conversation.

While Rosen, and Sotomayor's clerks, praise her, the article suggests that she will not be a Justice William Brennan, i.e., she is not the most intellectually powerful and politically liberally motivated. This may mean that she will not be able to build coalitions, define the liberal agenda, or stand up to the movement Conservatives, Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice, Scalia, and Justice Thomas.

This does raise the question: with a seat that will not tilt the balance of the Court and full political capital in public opinion and Congress, should Obama try to secure a safe, pragmatic Justice that will be confirmed but may not be a stellar Justice, a Justice that will "represent" important constituencies (women, Hispanics), or the most ideologically driven Justice?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday Night Musical Tribute

Always been one of Harrogate's favorite Beatles songs, were it not for "Hey Jude" this would perhaps be his favorite. A wonderful performance here.

Why Do Former Bush Administration Figures Remain In the Public Sphere?

According to CNN, Condoleezza Rice defended former President George W. Bush as she claimed:
"He was also very clear that we would do nothing -- nothing -- that was against the law or against our obligations internationally."
I wonder if she knows the difference between a normative statement, which this is, versus an empirical statement, which makes her defense of Bush false. It doesn't rally matter what President Bush would or would not do, it matters what he did.

Just because the President declares something to be legal does not make it.... oh, forget it. At least one can get some pleasure out of watching a Stanford student grill RIce in a way that the MSM would not.

Wherein Harrogate Expresses Disgust for Perez Hilton, Keith Olbermann, and Others

This whole flap over Carrie Prejean is so stupid. Here are some observations:

1)Perez Hilton is a paparazzi imbecile. The Rhetorical Situation is that he was judging a Donald Trump event. First of all. And so that's where his ethos starts.

2)Perez Hilton has been all over cable television and video blogging about how Prejean shouldn't have injected politics and religion into the pageant. BUT HE ASKED THE FUCKING QUESTION. What was she supposed to do, lie? This is like the worst caricature of liberal academic "political correctness" come to light. David Horowitz must be so pleased.

3)What assholes Olbermann and this other callow, snippity paparazzi hound look like in the clip below. Can you believe that Olbermann said that the flap makes Perez Hilton look like an "intellectual titan"????? Fucking seriously.

4)Anyone who would object that Prejean is taking advantage of her newfound Rightist celebrity by touring the pundit circuit, all Harrogate can say is, so what? It was "liberal" pundits that fired the first shots, and went out of their way to demonize her for answering the question.

5)Anyone who would object that idiot rightist pundits like Hannity and Limbaugh have turned her into a hero, once again showing the banality of the Right: Harrogate acknowledges that there is some truth to this inasmuch as Prejean is clearly no political theorist.

At the same time however, again, let's remember that it was the ridiculousness of Perez Hilton that threw this into the blaring media lights. Let's also remember this:

6)Barack Obama is on record opposing gay marriage. So these people can beat up on Prejean and other opponents of gay marriage all they want. But until Olbermann and his idiot contributors are willing to speak of Obama in the same way they spoke of Prejean, Harrogate's advice for them is to grow the fuck up.

7)Harrogate is in favor of gay marriage but has long been annoyed with the desire of some to turn this into a revisitation of the 1960s civil rights struggle. It is in fact in no way like that.