Ross Douthat's blog
February 10, 2011, 2:08 PM
A Quiet February
My already-intermittent blogging will cease for most of this month. Real posting will resume once I’ve figured out how to successfully juggle punditry and fatherhood.
OKAY, so I suppose "Give up punditry" is either too easy, or too difficult, since you don't actually engage in any, and yes, I am giving you credit for using the term ironically, except it's not classical irony, but the modern sort which expects to be taken seriously for having employed it. This is, perhaps, a major symptom of the modern disease: you imagine you can call yourself a pundit, and gain points for a little self-deprecation, despite the fact that "pundit" now precisely means "ignoramus who blathers about current events on some mass-market media site". So in effect you're not being ironic, but you're the only one who doesn't realize it.
Anyway, Ross-o, maybe you could start off by not wasting two hours of everyone's time talking to Matt Yglesias on Bloggingheads.
And fer cryin' out loud, every weekend you write one 800-word essay on what you and the Pope think of last week's headlines; through the week you occasionally expound on something Ezra had to say on your "weblog", doing, in other words, what tens of thousands of Americans do better than you, except they aren't paid for their time. What's the fucking problem? I know people who spend more time drinking than you do punditizing and still manage to be good parents. Is the problem that your children are getting old enough to wonder why Daddy's always walking around in his pajamas? Or is it early-middle-age existential terror, and you've begun to wonder what happens when they get old enough to read your shit? Is the problem that punditizing doesn't take you away from parenting often enough? What? Please don't make me hope it's galloping Farah Fawcett-Majorsitis, and the Times in its infinite cluelessness has decided that your incontinent linky-linky thing is no longer cutting edge? They want somebody on top of this Facebook thing? Did someone overhear Pinch asking a copyboy if he knew of "a young Ross Douthat"? Face it, Ross: you're coming up on two years (!) at the Times. That's twice as long as they put up with Kristol having nothing to say. You got the gig for having pretended to lecture the Republican party on how to come back from the Bush administration, and come back it did, except by doing precisely the opposite. I realize that in your world being utterly wrong about everything is grounds for a promotion. But things change. Maybe it's time to read the crayon on the wall. Glad we could have this chat.
REPUBLICAN legislative insanity (but I repeat myself!) continues apace, here as elsewhere. It's worth noting, I guess, that now that Mitch Daniels has deserted the state for full-time contemplation, not even his own party feels like pretending that "let's put social issues on the back burner" was anything but a bad soundbite. A requirement that doctors inform a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy that "life begins at conception" has been tacked on to the ongoing attempt to require hospital admitting privileges for anyone who performs abortions, and is now out of Senate committee. It's the sort of thing which would have been killed in the "strategy" sessions in previous years. There's a proposal somewhere (I don't follow this stuff too closely, for fear it may be radioactive) which will quadruple marriage license fees unless the couple takes a marriage course first. I trust it will include a good tenderloin recipe for the little woman, and I say "woman" because the real push is for getting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the Indiana ballot within a couple years, despite the fact that the gay marriage ban already on the books has been upheld in court. It's not just nostalgia for the heady days of 2005, when we were young and anti-gay; the impetus, besides really cementing the Republican reputation for never thinking things out beyond the next quarter, is that old "conservative" favorite, making it statutorily impermissible for the courts to rule on the law, and the newer "conservative" favorite, overturning the results of the Civil War via abrogating Federal law. Indiana will not be satisfied just denying civil rights to some of its citizens. It wants to ignore the rights other states grant them into the bargain. And to think I once said that "conservatives" hadn't studied the Civil Rights movement.
I'm not certain whether anyone has bothered to point out that this might have a negative effect on gay and lesbian entrepreneurs who were considering moving businesses to Indiana because of its "business-friendly atmosphere", which Mitch is busy trying to turn into our version of tourism. Though this might be balanced out by the descending divorced gay partners looking to avoid court-ordered alimony altogether.
Again, just short-sightedness and a full-speed rush to whatever reactionary idiocy the GOP thinks will help it at the polls; this is the real reason I hate these guys: not so much that they're assholes, but that they're half-assed assholes. Could we please just admit that the problem isn't going away until we get rid of homosexuals? I'm not talking Final Solution stuff; just make the state less attractive for 'em than it already is. God, it can't take much.
Meanwhile, we're hell-bent on wrecking what's left of the public educational system, which ain't much anyway, so I think I was more amused by this one than anything else:
House OKs home-schooled students on athletic teams
Home-schooled students could play on the athletic teams of their local public school district under a bill the Indiana House passed 60-30 on Monday.
House Bill 1399, which also applies to students who attend nonaccredited schools, goes to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, said that the parents of home-schooled students pay taxes that support public schools, and that the state constitution says those schools should be open to all.
Now, y'know, I'm really thinking that if you didn't want to subject young Mackenzie or Larson (or Rebekah or Seth) to the iniquities of the public school classroom, lettin' 'em into the locker rooms is not a particularly good idea.
But the thing I love about this is the assumption that schools are there to provide this sort of open-ended opportunity even as we strip away the funding; Indianapolis Public Schools have done away with major sports in several high schools, and I didn't hear a peep out of the legislature about Our Precious Extracurricular Rights then. But then, these are the same bozos who defunded fire departments across the state (via the Property Tax Freedoms we raised sales taxes 17% to implement), and now want to know why those departments are charging people for their services. Enjoy the ride, America. If you don't come to it, it'll come to you.