Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, June 11, 2004

Mirabile Dictu 

Eugene Volokh on the Establishment Clause vs. the Free Exercise Clause, which dialectic has brought many otherwise clear thinkers to invoke the Insanity Claus. Mr. Volokh provides useful and illuminating observations. Like the tension between freedom and equality, each generation is characterized by the mix they make of the two poles. A little reverb here a little boost there. Today's jurisprudence seems to view the Establishment Clause as nullifying the Free Exercise Clause. Any free exercise in the public square is ipso facto an act of establishment. I speak as an agnostic.

Sad News 

A member of my extended family has just recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. I don't know if this is something I'm going to be blogging about. I would have to talk to the person in question, of course, and that may be touchy. So far, there is an appreciable, but not devastating loss of short term memory. From what I've read so far, though, we're looking down a sad and possibly overwhelming road. If I'm blogging at all, I don't see how I can't blog about that. The diagnosis was on Monday, when Alzheimer's was very much in the air.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Let's Party Like it's 1968 

For some reason I didn't get to Slate Magazine's Mob Experts explication of the Sopranos until today. I'm usually on it all Monday. Depressingly, it broke out into a short, sharp spat on whether the episode was a metaphor for the Bush administration's cluelessness and dishonesty re Iraq.

It's going to be a long summer.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Some Cracks Can't be Fixed 

Am I wrong to perceive a sort of nervousness in the commentary surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan? The people who loved him praise him, the people who loathed him denigrate him. All to be expected of the man who led us into [the crack of doom][the dawn of a glorious new era].

There have been gracious and appreciative words from political enemies (Mondale, Gorbachev) and proper, but tight-lipped mumblings from others (Carter). The right is watching the left carefully for traces of bitterness and meanness. The left is watching the right for any misappropriation of credit.

It feels like this is going to be a long week for some. Friday? I have to be polite until Friday?

Fissures have appeared. Bogus stories are resuscitated. If you have any doubt that when George W. Bush dies we'll be hearing about fake, plastic turkeys, count the references to ketchup as vegetables in school lunches this week.

Since he has been absent from the stage for so long, the fuss over the tone of the memorials seems inappropriate, like an aftershock six months after the earthquake.

For me, of course, it's a measure of the man. He stood for things. There were lines he wouldn't cross or let others cross. Of course he pissed people off. I remember an old duffer from my childhood in Tarentum, PA. Big guy. He wore suspenders and was missing a thumb. He sat on his porch all day. I don't remember his name. I do remember the older kids would sometimes amuse themselves by getting into a conversation with him and somehow working in the notion that FDR was a great man. This nice old guy would turn into an Orc, a shaking, red-faced, rictal, sputtering, vein-popping, twitchy golum. Then you might not see him on his porch for a few days. I don't remember it, but I wouldn't be the least surprised if one of these sessions finished him.

Given the generally benign news coverage this week, there may be a few finished off if Friday doesn't get here soon.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Buy My Product, Chump 

Would someone please explain to me the logic behind the current DirectTV campaign?

People write letters to DirectTV praising their product and, in return, DirectTV hires Hollywood hotshots to belittle them.

I generally give advertisers credit for knowing what they are doing in terms of identifying demographics and appealing to them. Because I'm not in the major demographic for most products, I expect to be baffled or offended or disgusted by a lot of what I see. However.

I assume they have to obtain releases for reading the letters on the air so perhaps this is the Gong Show Syndrome where getting your name and your (admittedly) fatuous remarks on the tube is a good greater than any humiliation. Having Robert Duvall call you a moron is fine as long as he mentions your name.

There's next to zero production costs for this campaign, but the level of talent they use comes very, very high.

I'm very happy with Comcast cable, but if I were in the market for satellite reception I can't see throwing my business to them.

Two possible reasons for this disconnect: I have no sense of humor, or, like I said, I just don't speak this demographic. There is apparently no greater language barrier than between demographics.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan 

Ronald Reagan made me a Republican. Not his most memorable accomplishment, perhaps, except that there were hundreds of thousands like me. I wish W had a little more Ronnie in him, and, for that matter, I wish Reagan had been more of a budget hawk, but I know that going on twenty years since he left office, most people still have no real appreciation for the magnitude of his achievements. Not just vanquishing the Evil Empire, not just taking a miserable country on his back and giving it a life again, but patiently, relentlessly communicating to thousands of clueless schmucks like me that there is another side to the argument, that values and ideals are forged, not merely dropped damply from the foam-flecked mouths of graduate assistants. He wasn't always right and he wasn't always wise, but he was a leader, an honest man and thoroughly decent. I wish his last ten years could have been better, because we needed him.
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