« January 13, 2013 - January 19, 2013 | Main | January 27, 2013 - February 2, 2013 »

January 25, 2013

f troop for the awl

So if you are at all interested in the television sitcom "F Troop," then you might want to give this thing I wrote for The Awl a try.

I know, it's a very competitive market out there for thinkpieces concerning "F Troop," and you could just as easily flip through the slideshow about "F Troop" on Business Insider or learn 27 things you didn't know about "F Troop" on Buzzfeed, but I'm saying that you'll like mine for The Awl better, because I really really capture the "F Troop"-ness of the entire situation.

(Plus I gently argue that it's one of the reasons Gen-Xers grew up funny, so there's that too.)

Posted by mrbrent at 10:26 AM

January 24, 2013

tucker carlson anxiety

So last night I'm skimming Twitter before I lay me down to sleep.  I see that someone has RTed a sentiment from erstwhile journo Tucker Carlson:
The administration boasts about sending women to the front lines on the same day Democrats push the Violence Against Women Act.

OK now, here's some Tucker Carlson backstory: I know some fellows that worked with/edited Tucker back in the day, and the word is that he's a stand-up fellow, and on top of that he has been known in my personal recollection to actually listen to the other side.  So I have some residual respect for the fellow, even though his current website project (the "Daily Caller") is a cesspool.

So I responded, to Mr. Carlson, along the lines of, "Come on, dude, you're smarter than that."  Because he is, or was, and even if he is only a little smart, that false equivalence/misogyny bullshit should be beneath him.

And then, and this is the part I did not expect, I had all sorts of people I've never met responding with "No he's not!" or wondering what the punchline was.  It was mildly intimidating, not quite a mau mauing, but close enough to get a taste.  I tried to explain to one fella, in 140 characters, that Carslon is indeed smarter than that and he's just sandbagging to appeal to his desired Dittohead audience.  From that I got the equivalent of a tilted head and some DailyKos nonsense about Fox News.

Lessons learned: first, Twitter is not the place for a nuanced position.  Duh.  Second, and more importantly, of the greater group of people that I generally agree with, there is a subset that polices the Twitter feeds of people they despise solely for the purpose of yelling at strangers.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:00 AM

January 23, 2013

the benghazi consulate attack nonsense

While Secretary of State Clinton is kicking senator ass at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing, this might be an apt time to talk one last time about Benghazi.

What happened on September 11 of last year was a genuine bad thing.  Four Americans were lost, including the ambassador to Libya.  Of course, it's a risk you take in the foreign service, especially when posted to someplace as out of control as Libya, but still it was a bad day, and clearly everyone would prefer to anticipate these events instead of mop up after them.

So should we be looking into this, even having hearings?  Sure thing.  It'd be great to find out who exactly was behind it, for one, and also to absorb any lessons that should be learned by Foggy Bottom.

But the hue and cry from the Republican Party, starting towards the end of the election and continuing until now, is just dumb — a nothing but partisan, cynical gotcha attempt by a bunch of old white rage-addicts desperate for some Watergate to hang on the Obama Administration.  For example, the charge that the administration was slow to promulgate the idea that it was a terrorist attack with a capital T?  First, there is this fog of war thing that happens that obscures players/motives/etc., especially in countries where we don't have a deep intelligence presence (like Libya).

Second, whatever happened, whatever was known or not known, the responsibility of the State Department is not transparency, not then, not now, not ever.  If there is a reason, diplomatic or otherwise, to carefully phrase State's understanding of events, then they damn well do it.  Assuming there was some point in September when State realized, yup, that was a buncha terrorists, it is not State's job to run to an open microphone and yell that, loudly.  And electing not to do that is not misleading the American people; it is doing the job that State is supposed to do.

It's just another imagined impeachable moment by idiots in a caucus run by idiots, and the most laughable thing about it is that Benghazi doesn't look like a scandal at all to a reasonable person, not at all, not even if you squint.  The blood lust and the hurt feelings and the fake sincerity and outrage stick out like it was written on a hand-printed T the senators are wearing.

It's just unseemly is what it is.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:38 AM

January 22, 2013

david brooks and alternative history

That inauguration was invigorating, so have some David Brooks without context to bring you back to Earth:
I also think Obama misunderstands this moment. The Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society laws were enacted when America was still a young and growing nation. They were enacted in a nation that was vibrant, raw, underinstitutionalized and needed taming.

We are no longer that nation. We are now a mature nation with an aging population. Far from being underinstitutionalized, we are bogged down with a bloated political system, a tangled tax code, a byzantine legal code and a crushing debt.

So, in the span of my short lifetime, we've transmogrified from a virbrant, raw, "groovy" nation of young 'uns with craaaazy ideas into an Uncle Grampa nation filled with the kind of things that David Brooks doesn't like, like bloat and tardiness and impertinence.

One more quick one:

Obama made his case beautifully. He came across as a prudent, nonpopulist progressive. But I'm not sure he rescrambled the debate.

Remind me when the debate was scrambled the first time (and by whom)?

They don't even bother to edit David Brooks anymore, do they?

Posted by mrbrent at 9:08 AM

January 21, 2013

it's the sport of kings

In the past, I've had a whole lot more to say about football.  I'm still a fan, and I watched both of the championship games yesterday, Kobiyahi-Maru games in which it was too bad that someone had to win each game.

But probably the most interesting conversation that was had among the community of Eastern PA men I watched the game with was about Junior Seau's condition (which resulted in his death) being caused not by highlight reel hits but rather by decades of banging his head against people/things, just like all those other dead football players, and how, in the face of that, football can't really continue the way it is unless you can relegate yourself to reducing the life span of players by thirty years.

So it feels a little blithe to yammer on about the sport, even though I watch it, even though I "love" it.

I will say, for the record, that "HarBowl" got dog-eared somewhere in the middle of the third quarter of the Pats/Ravens game.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:20 AM