Barack Obama is a little bitch, but I would vote for his preacher in a second.
Question: How do you become today's Obama when this was your "spiritual advisor"?
Or does it explode?
Friday, March 14, 2008
Despite my often repeated affection for meat, it is true that from time to time I cook a vegetarian dish. This roast beet risotto, made with a cardomon and celery broth, is one of my favorites.
Roast Beet Risotto
For the broth
1 whole head of celery, roughly chopped
5-10 shallots (depending on size), roughly chopped
a pinch of fennel seeds
a half dozen whole cardomon pods
For roasting the beets
3 medium beets, halved
For the risotto
1 yellow onion, very finely diced
a few cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
First make the broth. Lightly cook the shallots and celery (along with some salt) in olive oil in the bottom of the pot. When they have just begun to soften, add water, which you should have boiling already on the stove. I use a large teapot for this, and I make the broth in a small pot. Remember, you need several quarts of broth per cup of rice. Bring back to a boil and then reduce heat, salting to taste and simmering for about an hour. Strain the solids, and return to the stovetop to keep warm.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the exposed flesh of the halved beets with salt and olive oil, then place face down in a ceramic dish. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until soft through when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool. They will now peel easily. They'll also make you look like a bloody murderer. Chop into cubes, about a half-inch.
To make the risotto, first melt the onions with salt in the bottom of a pot. Add the garlic. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the rice and scald it for 30 seconds or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Slowly add the broth, making sure that the level of liquid remains just above the level of the rice until the very end. Stir often--it's not necessary to stir constantly as some people think. It will take about 20 minutes over medium heat. If you run out of broth toward the end, you can finish with good filtered water--it will not diminish the flavor noticeably. When the rice is soft but with a slight firmness at the center of each grain, add a cup of grated Parmagiano reggiano cheese as well as some ground black pepper. Stir together thoroughly. Add the beets and fold together. The risotto will turn bright red. Cook for one minute, all together.
Serve garnished with more grated cheese.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
"God knows people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick," wrote Hemingway, "[They're] camp following eunuchs of literature. They won’t even whore. They’re all virtuous and sterile. And how well meaning and high minded. But they’re all camp followers."
Curiously, the more publicly dismissive an author is toward his critics, the more desperately, bathetically affected by them. Take Jonah Goldberg, a most curious case. Goldberg embarked upon the typical project of a middling magazine writer of any political persuasion: he wrote a padded national magazine article, part polemic, part Wikipedia. Most of these guys know that they're in on a racket. These are books designed to sell quickly in one large printing and then disappear. You get a good advance and a low percentage. The bindery is cheap and the cover design sucks. Nobody cares. Everyone makes money. The author spent one week on research and less than three clacking out seventy-thousand words. The editors don't have to give a damn about style or coherence. Is the spelling correct? To the presses! Nobody gives a damn how the book is actually reviewd, provided that it is reviewed often. The people who buy The Bush Tragedy or Godless or Liberal Fascism don't care what reviewers say, but they like things they've heard of. Reviewers love these books because they are easy to read, and because they are extensions of familiar authorial personae, which makes knocking out a thousand word review on deadline simple is as simple does.
But Goldberg incredibly convinced himself that he was doing something else altogether, a serious work the likes of which the world had never seen, a work of serious intellectual scholarship that would fundamentally alter the way that his readers viewed the recent history of the world. Quelle égoisme ! No one shopping the "Politics" aisle at Barnes & Noble is there to have his mind changed. Goldberg spent years percolating his dumb idea, and hauled together a lot of improbable junk to back it up, which is just what you do when your model for writing a book is writing a contrarian term paper, but longer. Since he has released it, four years later, the response has largely been bemused tolerance from mainstream reviewers, who aren't quite sure what to make of a guy who ought to be in on the con but appears to be both confidence man and mark all at once, while from the partisan press he has recieved, of course, praise from his fellows and mockery from his adversaries. All of this is predictable and totally banal, but he appears genuinely shocked about it, and has dedicated an entire blog at his magazine, as well as the above-linked article, to combat these critics with a series of increasingly petulant petards.
I mean, my god:
As for Dachau’s organic honey, Tomasky is once again — willfully — obtuse. My point was not that Nazis are liberals and liberals are Nazis because they both like organic honey. Indeed, Tomasky explicitly concedes that I constantly insist that that is not my point. So what is my point? Simply this: Many of the progressive and holistic ideas that lie at the heart of today’s lifestyle Left, the environmental Left, and the New Age movement share numerous unquestioned philosophical, emotional, and practical similarities with the intellectual and cultural currents that fed into and sustained Nazism.My point is not that Nazis are liberals or liberals are Nazis because they both like Organic Honey; my point is simply to point out that Nazis are liberals and liberals are Nazis. Because he steadfastly refuses to own up to his own hyperbolic argument, he finds himself caught in the most embarrasing sort of doublebind--trying to defend his sincerety by constantly subverting his own thesis.
You will never find a truly great practitioner of the craft, an Ann Coulter or a Michael Savage, doing this. Coulter is not ever going to write an article in which she claims that liberals aren't really godless, despite the title of her book, and Michael Savage is not going to admit that it isn't really a mental disorder. Cosseted liberals like Weisberg are never going to admit that George W. Bush is not a unique tragedy but a necessary outcome of the rigged system to which they themselves have devoted entire careers of crafting apologia. They're too smart for that, and their checks are too big. The problem with Goldberg isn't that he's dishonest. It's that's he's dumb and honest, in a perverse sort of way. He really believes what he's saying, and he will argue till dawn that he doesn't really believe it, as long as you take it seriously.
As usual for public discussions of supposed vice in the United States, the Eliot Spitzer joint has become fodder for mere legalism. Should or should not prostitution be "legalized"? It is a valid question, but a foolishly narrow one. It will briefly incite competing arguments about relative harms, both psychic and physical, and then nothing will happen and everyone will go home. Of course prostitution should be legal. If I may sell the labor of my body, which I'm pretty sure is the basis of a slaveless economy, then I should be able to sell the labor of my body. The objections on the basis of coercion, human trafficking, abuse of women, and the like aren’t objections to prostitution at all, but objections to sometimes-attendant abuses that ought to be addressed on their own, just as violence arising from, say, the drug trade ought to be addressed on its own. We don’t outlaw schools and post offices (but maybe we should!) because they seem to be magnets for a certain kind of violence.
Really, though, all of this is tangential at best to the more interesting questions of our conception of and relationship to human sexuality. The more fruitful question than, “Should prostitution be legal in society?” is: “What is the reason for the persistence of prostitution throughout virtually all societies in all of human history?”
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living. In an area of human relations where fraud is regular practice between the sexes, her honesty is regarded with a mocking wonder.
Can we please bring some sanity back to the blogosphere?Dear Kevin,
-Kevin Drum, talkin' bout Hill C.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
To analogize intervening in the internal affairs of other nations, even for such liberal-tugging reasons as genocide, an old and favorite shibboleth whose mere utterance seems to excuse, in the liberal imagination, any sort of foolishness, not to mention to obviate the laws of physics and all the lessons of history, to something like stopping a mugging is to engage in the lousiest sort of casuistry. The Sudan is not a person.
To interventionists seeking a case for so-called humanitarian intervention--often proposed and never practiced--the Darfur presents a possibility to deploy the troops free of any moral taint. It is good and evil, refugees and marauders, displaced people versus government-backed militias. Right? Right?
Clearly not. The Sudan is embroiled--and has been embroiled--in a complex civil conflict for many years. Would we plunge in, oblivious to language, culture, and indigenous folkways, which differ from tribe to tribe, village to village, region to region, and cordon off the refugee camps, putting Hummers in the way of horses. For how long? And then how do we send the displaced home? Who returns expropriated property? What is the legitimate government? What does intervention mean.
And on this point the proponents of intervention are no more capable of explaining the purpose and end-game of their wished-for police action than George W. Bush is of defining victory in Iraq. The interventionist sees a Bad Thing, and he conisders himself a Good Person, and for all its depredations and in spite of its history, he sees the United States as a Force For Good In The World, if only it wanted to be, and it is his utmost desire that the moral standing of his society be proven to him through its generous application of ordnance to Bad Guys.
The interventionist is apt to make improbable comparisons. If you see a crime in the street, is it not your duty to do something? Irrelevant. A mugging, a rape, or a murder is a discrete act; it does or does not take place. It is or isn't arrested. But a civil conflict, no matter what clarity distant observers believe they can discern between its moral and immoral actors, is not a discrete act. It is thousands and thousands of individual acts occuring over time and geography. Each act has a history; each actor has a past. There are questions of language and of culture, of full and partial loyalties, as well as of full and partial enmities. There are circumstances that will remain opaque to outsiders. A civil war is a web that doesn't easily come untangled simply because the Western conscience wishes to salve itself through international vigilantism. If we wish to incrementally improve lives around the world, we can buy and sell with them on fair and equitable terms, and we can reopen our borders. All else is folly. With guns.
Some of the comments to this recent post suggest to me that people have confused the Good Samartan with the Roman Empire. Render unto Caesar, dudes.
Meetings all morning, but when I return, I shall endeavor to offend more of your soft-hearted softy-heads.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
OMG! WTF! ROFLMAO! SOS! DOD! ISO! C3P0! 2FAST2FURIOUS! AVP!
Cellphones, instant messaging, e-mail and the like have encouraged younger users to create their own inventive, quirky and very private written language. That has given them the opportunity to essentially hide in plain sight. They are more connected than ever, but also far more independent.Dear New York Times,
That "inventive, quirky, and very private written language" is a simple phonetic substitution with a couple of abbreviations. If Mom & Dad can't crack it, the problem isn't that they're old, it's that they're retarded.