Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jerry's comeuppance?

NFL news this past weekend recalls an old saying about love and war. Jessica Simpson has made a career out of organic dumbness married to blonde hair dye. She was too dumb for a Tony Romo, which recalls another old saying about scorned women.

Tony got crunched by his arch-foes from New York. His injury tops the list of things quarterbacks really don't want to think about. Tony will be out for at least half of the remaining season.

It falls to his 38-year old, journeyman backup, Jon Kitna, to resurrect the Cowboy's season. I watched Kitna play in Cincinnati. Television somewhat masks a weak-armed quarterback. Sitting in the stadium it was obvious that, at least in his ability to throw the ball, Kitna wouldn't qualify as a good high school quarterback. Yes, this was during the Bengal's darkest hours, when the proletariat wanted Mike Brown's head on a pike. Brown saved his skin with an inspired choice for head coach and by drafting Carson Palmer. Kitna eventually went off to Detroit, where, yes, he won a few games and set a club passing record. Said record says more about the Lions, than of Kitna.

That Kitna ended up on the Cowboys roster is another indictment of Jerry Jones. Perhaps he and Al Davis have the same astrologer. Or, embalmer. I give Kitna credit for perseverance. This oft-injured, perennial free agent has drawn NFL paychecks for over a decade. That's a lot more than the vast majority of NFL players, past, present or future, will ever see.

He may have learned the art of a career backup since leaving Cincinnati. Kerry Collins is a good example of someone who profited from painful experience. He knows not to press past his limitations. Kitna blew many games trying to make something happen, a tough task when no DB in the league respects the velocity you can put on the ball. Or, ability to make good decisions while pressured. At least Kitna has sufficient reserves of painful experience.

I think Kitna will further expose Jones' folly. He's no improvisation artist. Unlike Romo, he lacks skills necessary to overcome a deficient offensive line, like being able to pass effectively while on the run. Jones now risks the ultimate comeuppance, the possibility that the first all-New York Superbowl will be played in his brand-new stadium.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Modern woman

With America's politics and economy in 19th century retrograde, we might as well look around for a few other supposedly modern notions that were actually established before anyone now living was born. For example, women who date or marry significantly younger men. Did the 19th century see any of these so-called cougars?

Jennie Jerome was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1854. She was raised there, too. At age 20, she married a man five years here senior. This photograph was taken before her marriage.
Jennie gave birth to a son eight months after her wedding and, six years later, to a second son. Her husband passed away in 1895. Five years later, at age 46, she married for the second time. Her new husband was 26 years old, the same age as her oldest son.

She married for a third and final time in 1918, to a man born in 1877. Her third husband was 41, while she was 64. He was three years younger than her oldest son.

Jennie would otherwise be a footnote to cultural history, were it not for her first marriage, by which she became known to us as Lady Randolph Churchill.

Her oldest son was named Winston.


Angling for disaster




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Outreach to Albion

Albion – place name, archaic or poetic Britain or England (from Latin, of Celtic origin)

Memo to United Kingdom
c/o Simon Jeffery
The Guardian


Just an ordinary American citizen here. Wanted to let you know that we're not all insane on this side of the salty pond. Glen Beck, who is otherwise unqualified for any form of gainful employment, has an audience of only 1% of the adult US population. Yes, he's a complete fraud. But only one percent buy his rubbish.

Sarah "Death Panels" Palin appeals to the same demographic. White, generally middle-aged+, less educated, dis-empowered, bitter, not terribly bright and wallowing in ignorance. We have 307 million people here and the bell curve applies like a human law of physics. Of course we're going to have millions of stupid people. It's just that the confounded Internet has everyone clacking away, even the illiterati.

Carl Paladino can only be described as someone who seeks suicide but lacks requisite courage. As opposed to flinging himself off a bridge, he'd rather self-combust by giving voice to antique notions precisely aligned with his age, gender, ethnicity and political representation in the Tea Party. Paladino would be a breakout star in South Carolina. Perhaps he just needs a map.

Christine no-ohhh'Donnell is another dreary huckster who discovered the stupid demographic as a road to riches. It's no coincidence she looks like Palin's little sister. At least the American Right has the decency to serve female ignorance in distasteful packaging. Palin, Coulter and Gellar are "sexy" or "attractive" only if you're sight-impaired. Seeing women prostitute truth for filthy lucre becomes untenable in a smart package.

Which brings us to Michelle Malkin. Why would a bright, well-educated babe like Malkin forge a career of filthy lies? She earns $300,000/year from her blog alone. Throw in book deals, TV and speaking engagements and she's easily at a half-mil per year. At least we know her price.

And then there's Rich the idIott, Tea Party candidate for Ohio's 9th Congressional district. This is the SS 5th Panzer Division fool who claims ignorance while impersonating someone who understands history. It's the same story, with O'Donnell's broomstick swapped for symbols of genocide. He's badly trailing a seasoned opponent. Republican party reaction was swift and furious. This signals that IdIott's chances weren't terribly good to begin with and that SS optics retain their luster after all these years.

All things considered, America's sudden lurch towards the late 19th century isn't as bad as it appears. Ratios of education attainment have never been higher and the proportion of people holding university degrees tracks higher still in younger cohorts, even in our developing states. This explains a paucity of young adults at Tea Party events.

No, our seeming return to populism is more like a system purge. Stupid was contained for so long that a pressure release is prudent. Recent displays of mass ignorance are due more to Republican disintegration, and less to Democrat rule. Reagan put a lid on Stupid and Rove let it slip off. Michael Steele isn't exactly a disciplinarian.

It should come as no surprise that a black, democrat outsider to national machine politics in the White House has sparked visceral reaction from the stupid demographic. Obama is only the best President since Truman and he may prove to be the best since Roosevelt. That would be Teddy Roosevelt. The Right simply has no answer - they've got no one who comes close. Scare-mongering is always a last resort but it was the only Republican option. The eruption of Stupid calls to mind an old saying regarding care in what one asks for.

 The real America is urban, literate and worldly. Millions of us ordinary folk have good command of history. Not university professors, hobbyists or military fetishists. People with mere bachelors degrees who study American history and quickly learn that mastery is impossible without also studying Europe's. Do we counter-balance Stupid?

Time will provide an answer. Meanwhile, I offer this bit of weighty evidence. David Hackett Fischer is an American professor, historian and prize-winning author. Fischer's treatise on the origins of American culture is worshiped by professional historians and read by all serious students of history. No other book provides so many answers regarding modern America.

It's called Albion's Seed.

Best to all,


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Winning the War

What's the likelihood of a black man from West Baltimore becoming passionately interested in the American Civil War? If your view of West Baltimore was primarily shaped by The Wire, you'd probably think the odds of such individual existing in real life are fairly low. Perhaps so, but Ta-Nehisi Coates is alive and well. He's a journalist, author and leading public intellectual who found a home, and a large & like-minded following, at theAtlantic.

Coates recently received an unintended endorsement from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The SVC is one of those Alice-in-Wonderland, Lost Cause groups who exist to deny historic facts. They recently singled out Coates as an advocate for unvarnished truth and based on the tone of their attack, they've been watching Coates' blog for some time.

Coates and his mob, alternatively known as a The Golden Horde and the Lost Battalion of Conversationalists have explored Civil War history for the past two years. Co-Horder/Conversationalist absurdbeats has compiled a list of links to all of Coates blog posts on the Civil War.

theAtlantic blogger Jeffry Goldberg, an international journalist who was recently invited by Fidel Castro to a multi-day interview session, conducted a hilarious interview with Coates two years ago. TheRaven has shamelessly copied it for your reading pleasure.....

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the New Frederick Douglass

In this week's episode of "Know Your Bloggers," Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about black nationalism and hummus. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Do you realize that you're the first black blogger at The Atlantic since Frederick Douglass?

TA-NEHISI COATES: He doesn't count. Frederick Douglass had a white father -- and he married a white woman. Thus by the evolved standard of our new post-racial America, Douglass wasn't really black. Thus, I claim the crown. My father was a Black Panther. I'm from West Baltimore. I haven't married the mother of my son. You don't get much blacker than that. I am The One. I am The Only.

JG: What about Harriet Tubman? Didn't she blog for The Atlantic? You're not going to write her out, are you?

TC: No, no. Harriet's the truth. Just not that Douglass character. But Harriet's a woman, so she doesn't qualify. There are no black women.

JG: You say that you are the One. But Barack Obama is the One. Does that mean that there are, in fact, Two?

TC: Ugh, how many times do I have to say this. Obama isn't black. I keep trying to tell people this. No black man could win in Iowa. Did you see him dancing on Ellen? Barack is half of One. I am The One.

JG: Do you like hummus?

TC: Dude I effing LOVE hummus. Hummus is awesome! My folks were black hippies and embraced anything that looked alternative -- and tasted good. In the '80s -- at least in West Baltimore -- that was hummus. Of course the real question is, do you like falafel?

JG:  I love falafel! Next question: What's your favorite Led Zeppelin song?

TC: "The Battle of Evermore." Come on, I played Dungeons & Dragons.

JG: Are you now, or have you ever been, a neoconservative?

TC: No, I'm not a neoconservative -- but I did laugh at the anti-war marchers in Union Square. Regrettably, they're now laughing at me.

JG: Who is the greatest Jew ever, Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ?

TC: Bob Dylan. He's one of the biggest reasons my Dad went into the Panthers. Which ultimately led him to meeting my mom. Which subsequently led to the birth of The One. Us black people have Jews to thank for everything -- even our very existence.

JG: Finally, the words we've been waiting to hear. On behalf of the Jewish people, let me just say, you're welcome. The inevitable follow-up: How, exactly, did Bob Dylan bring your father to the Panthers?

TC: Oh, man, you gotta buy, and possibly read (more concerned about the former than the latter) my book to get that story. You think I do this thing for free, Jeffrey?

JG: I'll buy yours if you buy mine. In my book, I tell how the Panthers made me a Zionist. Seriously. Page 48. Last question: What do you have against Jesus?

TC: Black Jesus or blond, blue-eyed Jesus? Black Jesus is a tool to get us to believe in the white man's religion. Blond blue-eyed Jesus is, well, blond blue-eyed Jesus. I think I could worship a Cablinasian Jesus. Maybe that explains why I'm for Obama.