Thursday, May 01, 2008

Around the World Wide Web 60

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies."  --Groucho Marx

I always knew our politicians were Marxists.

1. The worst songs of the '80s.

(HT: Big Blue Wave)

2. Poor Obama. He is befuddled on the campaign trail and at times doesn't know where he is or what month it is. He seems to be a little overwhelmed. Critics noted that he looked tired in his denunciation of Reverend Wright. He made that waffle comment. Worst of all, he won't debate Hillary Clinton again.

And Obama’s the youngest candidate in the race. He’s the one who should be showing energy, enthusiasm, and presence. Instead, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have shown more of all these qualities, especially of late. If Obama can’t stand the demands of the road as well as the other two candidates, what does that say about his stamina if elected President?

My impish side thinks that is exactly what we need in a President: a midget too incompetent and passive to get anything done. Remember, our standard these days is to elect the candidate who will do the least harm to American liberty. By this standard feebleness and mental sluggishness are nothing to sneeze at.

3. Miley Cyrus, 15, posed topless (sort of).

Although I wonder if some of the hysteria over this reflects the neo-puritanism of both the feminist left and the religious right, I have to agree that 15-year olds should not be used in sexually suggestive photographs. Were I father to a teenage girl, I would insist she keep her clothes on for pictures until her 18th birthday.

Since the pathbreaking success of Madonna, I suspect there has been pressure on pop singers to adopt a "bad girl" image. (I wonder if that pressure had anything to do with Britney Spears's mental illness.)

Acting the whore is not a repudiation of religious values, but like Satanism is a perverse acceptance of them. Religion devalues worldly pleasures such as sex; promiscuity -- indiscriminate sex unconnected to serious values -- does the same. One of Ayn Rand's great insights is that sex is too good and important to be taken lightly or approached as a mindless slut. One's sexuality should be treated with the serious reverence that the religious reserve for the supernatural realm (that does not exist).

4. Questions about elections in the internet age.

How is the internet changing elections? Does the New York Times still set the agenda, or do blogs?

Another question: Could the homely Abraham Lincoln, who was once called a "baboon," have been elected in the television age? Does our modern process deliver better politicians than we had in the 19th century?

5. On HB List Jim May notes this harbinger of inflation -- consumer electronics prices will rise.

Inflation is the politicians' favorite tax because, due to the abysmal ignorance of economics, they don't get blamed for it. Moreover, they can blame business and use inflation as an excuse to meddle further in the economy and increase the power of the state.

I excerpt Henry Hazlitt's explanation of inflation in this post.

6. For your entertainment pleasure, I link to this clip from Kiss Me, Kate. The song is one of Cole Porter's best, "From This Moment On." Unless my hearing is mistaken (as it sometimes is when I analyze melodies in my head), the melody shoots up an octave from fifth to fifth then bounces back and forth between that high fifth and a fifth sharp. It is an expression of ecstatic joy, and it fits the lyric perfectly.

Bob Fosse, one of the dancers, created a style of his own. Interesting to note that Noel Coward's first response to this musical was that Porter's lyrics were too dirty. Coward was old school -- Edwardian old school.


pwbeatty (Sark) said...

Ok now you really have me worried. You actually used my blog as a source? Are you totally nuts?


Joe said...

Hi Myrhaf

Re: Item 3: I agree the photo is unacceptable, but only because the subject is a child (and because her facial expression expresses it).

This type of subject would be valid as a fine art photo if the model was an adult and the expression wasn't lurid.

Myrhaf said...

PWBeatty, don't be so hard on yourself! You raise some interesting questions. You have no answers, but good questions. ;)

pwbeatty (Sark) said...

If I had answers... I would run myself :)

Anonymous said...

"I agree the photo is unacceptable, but only because the subject is a child..."

I sharply disagree. Of course, all that is quite true, but that's not all that's wrong with it. Leibovitz said of it, "The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful."

Look at it. Everything about it is contrived to make her look like she'd just spent the night with a vampire and is now looking forward to her new career in eternity.

If that's "beautiful", then it's about time for me to check out.

Anonymous said...

Inflation is the politicians' favorite tax because, due to the abysmal ignorance of economics, they don't get blamed for it.

It isn't just ignorance of economics per se. The majority of the schools of thought in economics (and ALL of them in politics) exist solely for the purpose of rationalizing government interventionism of one form or another... so mere economic ignorance is IMO not the primary driver here.

Joubert said...

"Coward was old school.." Yep, like me, he believed that you only "played rude" (as Jamaicans call sodomy) in secret. :)

Myrhaf said...

Both Coward and Terence Rattigan preferred to keep their sexuality private, although it was an open secret. Both were also among the last playwrights with an element of romanticism in their work.

I had an acting teacher, long ago, who would not let me do a scene from Coward's "Private Lives." He sneered at it as "fluff." Back then you had to do gritty naturalism to prove you could act. Coward's plays, like Wodehouse's novels, come from an Edwardian sensibility -- a happier time when comedy did not have to wallow in the gutter. Ironically, that stylized, romantic fluff is harder for Americans to act than brutal naturalism because actors encounter it so seldom these days.