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July 8, 2005

rehnquist down

It appears that the other Rehnquist shoe is about to drop.  After two days of Internetastic speculation, a certain "citizen journalist" is reporting that Chief Justice Rehnquist will announce his retirement probably before I'm done writing this.

Which, you know, is just a case of the 04 election heebie-jeebies coming home to roost.  You know, all the reasons that we put out there to prevent the president's reelection are now turned self-fulfilling.  So it's all our fault!

But I say, before we commence with the utter panic over the all-new Cro-magnon make-up of the Supreme Court, let's make some history.  Replacing two justices -- that's novel.  Replacing nine justices?  That's super-novel!  It would be like a hot fun injection in the whole nomination process.  Imagine the possibilities: Justice Karl Rove!  Justice Zell Miller!nbsp; Justice Wilford Brimley!  Justice David Justice!  Even Justice Judge Reinhold!

You heard me, my SCOTUS brothuhs and sistahs!  We wanna see some retiring but fast!  Errrrrbody inna pool!  Surely you have grandchildren, or greed.  The CEO of your average financial services company makes something like fifteen millions of dollars a year!  What do you jolly old jurists make?

If we can't have things right, maybe at least we can have things weird.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:40 PM

rooooody

I've heard tell that Rudy Guiliani is popular around parts of America.  The parts that aren't New York City.  Allegedly it's because the mere fact of his charisma saved hundreds of lives during the 9-11 attacks or something.  It's a mystery to New Yorkers, to whom Rudy is an opportunistic blowhard whose reaction to 9-11 (once the national reporters left) was to petition the state government to extend his mayoral term and postpone the election.  Whatever.  Some people like McDonald's food, and some people think that it will put you in an early fucking grave.

Yesterday, in London, Rudy proved himself to be somewhat of a terrorism magnet, as he was in the vicinity of one of the tube bombings.  In the inevitiable Guiliani media avalanche that followed, Rudy is quoted as follows:

I cannot help but be reminded of the events in New York City on September 11, 2001.

Prepare yourself for that sentence to be every other sentence out of his mouth for the next three years.

Is there a word for a nostalgia so overpoweringly morbid that it can scare children into minding their parents?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:11 AM

July 7, 2005

for the record

For the record, I'd like to weigh in on a linguistic trope that's up waaaaaay past its bedtime.

A number of folk have declared that, "We are all British now."  Or Brits.  Or Londoners.  Or even Britons, I suppose.  Whichever, it's a turn of phrase whose overuse has rendered it D-U-M dumb.  I'm not taking exception with any of today's avowed temporary U.K. citizens, some of whom I'm sure I agree with, generally, and some of whom I'm sure I don't.  It's just a silly thing to say, and it's important to resist the temptation of saying silly things in the face of Terrible Things.  Because if we do stumble about after Terrible Things and say sweeping but trite things like, "We are all British now," why, then, the pigfucking terrorists have surely won.

Personally, I think that people are attracted to the "We are all [whatever the afflicted are] now" construction because it speaks of a unifying courage that wears a big ole heart on its sleeve.  It demonstrates solidarity, which falls under the "do unto others" hard-wiring of the moral centers of our little human brains.  It's a comforting gesture.

Sadly, though, it's just a gesture.  Even ignoring the whole sticky issue of gestures v. actions, I think the trope is far from comforting -- I'd say its borderline creepy.  It takes a very valid sympathy and shoehorns it into a box of empathy in which it does not fit.  There is an agression behind it, a subtle attempt to own whatever feelings of sadness, resilience, outrage, etc. experienced by the direct victims of the Terrible Thing.  "Do you mind if we borrow your anguish?"  Perhaps it's not objectionable to claim that a pigfucking terrorist attack is an attack against all of us, but there is a wobble in the intent behind "We are all [whatever the afflicted are] now" which make me nervous.

I'm probably harshing at shadows, but New York had its Terrible Thing taken from it and all kinds of nasty shit was perpetrated in its name, mostly against the wishes of New Yorkers.  (And that's a big shout out to you self-described Red Staters!)  So it strikes a chord.  Not trying to take away from any of the well-wishes to the people of London on this truly Terrible day, just doing what Titivil does: snatching up the errant words.

For less tortured and shrill thoughts on the subject, check the always well-written Alicublog.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:52 PM

checking in

This morning, I will say hello to my friend Kev in the UK again, though much less ironically than yesterday.  Kev is fine, and he is a "First Aider", so he's working.  He also is much fuller of vitriol (towards the Bush Admin's version of world peace) than I'd expected, so soon after a terrorist attack, but we forget that the British are badass.  As put by Warren Ellis (also safe, doesn't even live in London):
I'd remind my foreign readers that, although it's been a while, this sort of thing is not something we're unused to over here.  There's not going to be a lot of freaking out from the generations that remember explosives in litterbins and bomb threat drills in office blocks.  It was part of the fabric of life for a very long time.

No, not so much terror produced -- a much lower yield than the pigfucking terrorists had hoped.  That's one for the good guys, in my book.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:24 AM

July 6, 2005

pres. benny hill

From the Yahoo! Headline Box, on what is obviously the slowest newsday ever:
• Bush falls off bike at Gleneagles in Scotland

And a shaken nation holds its breath -- is the bike okay?

Posted by mrbrent at 4:30 PM

this one's for you, kev

I had a problem with the concept of a "New York Olympics" from the beginning.  But now the 2012 Olympics are someone else's problem.  Thankfully.  About the only reason I can see to want to host the Olympics in the actual town in which one lives is the prospect of parting gullible Olympics tourists from their hard-earned cash, via apartment sub-rental or selling cold water on the street or something.

Here in New York, we're thankful for the tourist trade, but the actual tourists are weird humans with too many cameras who mill around in the middle of a busy sidewalk like it is a field of poppies.  And the Olympics would've brought a kajillion more tourists than usual, with the added bonus of eminent-domaining a few viable neighborhoods to build Olympic Villages and Arenas that become obsolete and garish exactly five seconds after the completion of the closing ceremonies.

On that note, I'd like to say hi to frequent correspondent Kev in the UK, who, as you may guess, lives in the UK.  London, more specifically.  "Hi, Kev!"

Posted by mrbrent at 11:08 AM

face it, south

Okay.

I am back from the holiday, which involved varying degrees of family and endless hours of driving.  (Simultaneously, countless other websites post exactly the same sentence.)  Very little access to "news", which was probably the most vacationy aspect of the vacation, though the hardest to get used to.  I found out about the resignation of Justice O'Connor from a TV in a Bojangle's, as I waited for my biscuits and gravy.

Yes, I spent the majority of the time south of the Mason-Dixon Line, where the biscuits and gravy flow like wine (unlike my native Brooklyn, where some of the older residents use "gravy" to describe your basic tomato sauce).  The South is pleasant enough, even with the State of Georgia, which is really overachieving when it comes to venality.  But I do have one question:

What exactly is the South going to do when it "rises again"?  Go to Wal-Mart?  Or just lose another civil war in defense of slave labor?

But, seriously.  It's great to be back.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:34 AM