Friday, June 25

Friday Olio: The Dextromethorphan Edition

• Maybe You Could Just Stop Lying: My guess is that the relative calm on the Right over the McChrystal McFiring has much to do with the injection of Warrior Saint "Faintin' Dave" Petraeus into the story, who cannot and will not be opposed by Congressional Republicans (and while we're thinking of it, couldn't we solve many of the worst aspects of hyperpartisanship in this country by assuaging the Big Daddy anxieties of the Right? Like the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of every other Dalai Lama, couldn't we just bruit it about that the President is George Washington, George Mason, or George S. Patton?), and more than a little to do with the fact that the savvier among them don't want that stinking albatross back around their own necks. Most of the What Passes for Sane voices from that direction have allowed as how McChrystal had to go, even though Obama hasn't nuked the Taliban the way George W. Bush did, or would've by now, certainly. But then, God help me, there's Lt. Col. Brooks, who thinks the real problem is, y'know, Vietnam, and the Culture of Small People Thinking They Need To Know Details An' Stuff:
But McChrystal, like everyone else, kvetched. And having apparently missed the last 50 years of cultural history, he did so on the record, in front of a reporter. And this reporter, being a product of the culture of exposure, made the kvetching the center of his magazine profile.

McChrystal graduated from West Point in 1976. Which means that over his entire fucking career he's somehow missed his employer's overarching concern with how it's portrayed in The Media, from the Powell Doctrine to the embedding of compliant photo-op seekers and happy little stovepipers. Just one of those unfortunate things that the guy earns four stars but misses all those memos.

(Say the same for Looey Bird Brooks: all those weekend philosophy confabs fine-tuning the details of Man's Basic Imperfectability, and, somehow, still, no one who rises to the Top can be an asshole. How convenient.)

• Maybe You Could Just Stop Lying To Yourself: Christ, speaking of military geniuses, faux-Classicist Victor Davis Tiberius Molliculus Hanson lectures the President on the swift retribution accorded "overweening arrogance"?

• Maybe You Could Just Stop: Jonah Goldberg:
Head to the local big-box electronics store and buy yourself: a Panasonic home theater system ($500), an Insignia 50-inch plasma HDTV ($700), an Apple 8GB iPod Touch ($175), a Sony 3-D Blu-ray disc player ($219), a Sony 300-CD changer ($209), a Garmin portable GPS ($139), a Sony 14.1-megapixel digital camera ($200), a Dell Inspiron laptop computer ($450), and a TiVo high-definition digital video recorder ($300)….

The average American worker needs to work 152 hours to earn that much money.

In 1964, however, the average American worker could buy one pricey stereo from Radio Shack after working 152 hours. My colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry, a University of Michigan economist, crunched the numbers.

And again, the really big difference between Now and Then is that nowadays a large percentage of illiterates can read.

• Maybe You Should Just Turn Off The Teevee and Get Some Rest: Bad enough that for the entire blessed week what non-weather-related news could be squeezed into the scant ninety minutes the locals give themselves each evening included a daily mantra that Congress had not voted to extend unemployment benefits. (We should note here that for local teleprompter readers Unemployment is generally considered One of Those Things Everyone Agrees Is Bad, despite the positive effect it has on the Domestic Help market.) And this mis-direction of blame by metonym was compounded, Wednesday, by someone sticking a microphone in front of the corpse of Kindly Grampa Lugar, so he could assure everyone that the Tricky Budgetary Questions involved (no need for you folks to interrupt the milkin' for details!) would surely be solved so that "Congress" could do the Right Thing. This, of course, came about sixteen hours before he and his "Democratic" colleague Evan Bayh voted Nay. Despite what I've said about David Brooks, as a practical matter we really do need to hold people in the higher income brackets to a much lower standard, and it's not like you're supposed to believe these people really care about unemployment unless it's their own, anymore than we're supposed to believe they'd feel some professional obligation to inform the Increasingly Unwashed that it was in fact their Gilt Masters in the Imperial Senate who were cutting off the bologna money, lest we have to mothball a carrier or something important.

But then there was a 5.0 quake in someplace called "Canada", and the tremors were felt in Indiana, which was news, but needed to be handed over to the Channel 8 Chief Meteorologist for the technical explanations an' stuff. And he reported that the last quake to be felt here was a 5.4. "So only a little stronger," he said.

Right. Assuming you think fourfold is "only a little". It's a logarithmic scale. We might compare earlier in the week, when our two-decimal-point advantage over Ohio's unemployment rate was (again) evidence of Mitch Daniels' enormous economic brainpower.


heydave said...

Yeah, what a week. Who knew the sounds to accompany the Apocalypse (not that I'm quite that jaded; not quite) were bleats of the vuvuzelas?

heydave said...

p.s. Get over your cold and get more better.

p.p.s. word verification is "urksammy" ... tell me that don't make your day!

Kathy said...

On another blog a commenter pointed out that yes, electronic junk and other China-made crap is cheaper than in 1967. But as a percentage on income, rents or mortgages, food & milk, gasoline and cars, electric power and tv (used to be free if you had an antenna) have gone up a LOT.

And what is more: This amazing revelation of "the cheapness of stuff' is not original to Jonah. The observation has been out there for years.

bjkeefe said...

(... Like the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of every other Dalai Lama, couldn't we just bruit it about that the President is George Washington, George Mason, or George S. Patton?)

Or Ronald Reagan!

Oh, no, wait. No one could possibly be that great. What was I thinking?

joel hanes said...

Jonah believes that it's consuming products makes people happy, not meaningful work nor civic culture and nor connection with family and nature.

The Dalai Lama could correct that misimpression if Jonah could hear him.

Marion in Savannah said...

You think Lt. Col. Brooks is bad? Today we have Maj. Gen. Douthat explaining that the only way to get out of Afghanistan is to "succeed." He was, by the way, 4½ during the evacuation of Saigon...