May 31, 2002

Remembering September 11

Prelude
Seraphim wrote that we don’t remember the terrorist attacks and because of that we have failed to prepare. I disagreed, though not as well as I could have. He responded to my post and substantially missed my point. My hopefully thorough, persuasive and
clear response follows in three points.

First, I attempt to clear up his understanding of what I said and meant to say. Second, I have a list of questions in response to his statement. Third, I attack the idea that we do not really remember the attacks of
September 11.

At another point I will post about the questions about how we ought to prepare. For now I concede that we are unprepared and contest only that this is a result of our failure to remember.

My Reaction to His Reaction
Seraphim reacted to my post and substantially missed the point. Okay maybe I wasn’t clear; perhaps that was the problem and I'll try to fix it here.

Let me set a few things in order:
1. Guilt by association (and as a poor association as attempting to connect me with Chomsky) and a statement about his reaction to my post (“TERRIFYING”) are not arguments and are generally pretty lame.
2. I didn’t say that September 11 wasn’t a big story (that is patently absurd and doubly so from a reporter) but that we are
attempting to make it the only story. The example of the “baby boom” story and the “camping up because of terrorism” story were to show that is being stretched until it is silly, childish and pedantic. In some cases, we’re just trying to hard.
3. What is annoying about some of the memorializing—the type I urgently wish would end—isn’t the media’s work on the dead, the fighting, the attack or any of that but the attempt to make it the cause of every petty thing in life. People will dig clams because they want to and this doesn’t mean the terrorists have won.
4. I didn’t say we had a current ethos of constant memorializing created by a media frenzy. If I did say that I didn’t mean it. What I was attempting to express my reaction of “What do you mean we don’t remember? We remember really well and are trying to remember so hard and in so many ways that sometimes it sometimes squeezes out of the
corners.”
5. To set up a national failure of character based on an idea, an impression, of how others are responding, seems a very inaccurate and sloppy way to go about determining such an monumental claim. What are we
looking for to convince us that we everything is okay and we do remember? I wonder if anything short of a mass conversion to his Eastern Orthodoxy would appease Seraphim.

Questions
Hoping this brings clarity: I have some questions to ask in response to this complaint (by Seraphim and by others like him) that we don’t remember.
1. What does it mean to remember?
2. What kind of remembrance would be good?
3. How different should everything in out daily lives be?
4. How do we know that we have failed to sufficiently remember?
5. If another terrorist attack is successful will it be the fault of poor remembrance?

We Remember
At root, I think Seraphim and disagree because I do not think we have failed to remember. We have remembered. We do remember.

Some concrete examples:
1. Attendance at Memorial Day ceremonies on the North Olympic Peninsula where I live was significantly larger than any year in the last decade.
2. Two large television specials on the events of September 11 were aired and they were watched with devotion with many talking about the depth and the meaning of the events in their lives. A third is planned for the anniversary and is being greeted the same way.
3. Todd Beamer and Danny Pearl are heroes to my little brothers. My 9-year-old brother is closely following the news of their families on the radio.
4. I cry every time I think about the events of Flight 93.
5. Rolling Stone Magazine ran an in-depth piece on Flight 93 and a letter writer called it the most moving story she had ever read.
6. Everyday in the last week a major news outlet has run a major memorializing piece on the events.
7. My 11-year-old cousin has saved the newspaper from September 12.
8. I know a long-time, self-described Socialist who has bought an American flag and prominently displayed it for the first time.
9. A friend of mine with anti-military Libertarian leanings who has been tempted toward Pacifism is now seriously considering joining the military.
10. The CIA has been flooded with applications.
11. Anti-Americanism is very unpopular and people like Chomsky have been clearly delineated as out of the mainstream along with the likes of David Duke.
12. Many, many, many people have gone to Ground Zero, including myself, to mourn.

I don’t like Seraphim’s proclamation that we do not remember because the “we” is really a generic and accusing “they” that cannot be
substantiated. This is the common wisdom that everyone is certain of and no one can prove.

I don’t like Seraphim’s statement that we don’t remember because, as far as I can determine, remembering is a really airy concept to him. I don’t have a picture of remembrance when I read his post and I do when I look around me.

I don’t like the idea that everything must be drastically different. We should not demand that every detail be endued with new depth and meaning because of the events nor that such details and daily affairs should be discarded. Similar to any death or tragedy, life goes on and that is a good thing. This is part of my problem with the news coverage I originally mentioned. We can and ought to go camping, dig clams, conceive children, pray, play, educate ourselves, plan our futures, do all the frivolous things the way we do for the good, solid, Christian reasons we have always done them.

We remember.
The Strange World of the Newsroom
Watching television footage of a rescue helicopter crashing somewhere over Mt. Hood while trying to rescue some hikers, the Managing Editor consoles the staff:
“Well,” he said, “we get our share of lost hikers every year in the Olympic National Park.”

May 30, 2002

Baptizing the Infants
Read this nice piece on the Christian tradition of infant baptism.

To avoid infant baptism forces a lot of pushing and pulling to make things fit and a lot of ignoring things inconvinient to the doctrine.
Bush for Abstinence
The Nation has a hack piece trying to link Bush and conservative Christians to Muslims, terrorists and two-bit despots in this oddly encouraging article.

Being pro-life in the deepest way and as a Protestant in agreement with the Pope’s statements on contraception, I was heartened to read this indignant article about how the administration is backing these Christian views as policy.

Sometimes you have to read those diametrically opposed to your position to realize how well off your position really is.
Checking out The Nation online, I think it is a lot more readable on the web than in the magazine.

But then, this isn't saying much.
What does it mean to remember?
Seraphim worries that we are not prepared for future terrorist attacks and that we will not make the sacrifices to prepare because we (or maybe they) don’t really remember the horror of September 11.

I’ve heard this a few places and confess myself a little puzzled by all this. In a way—a tiresome and annoying way—we remember too well and insist we must remember in a constant and vivid way.

Everything must be dominated by the memory. Everything must be different. This is the media frenzy that produces hackneyed stories about a baby boom and a recommitment to love and life. This is the constant memorializing.

An example of this believed necessity. Yesterday I was working on a story about the beginning of the camping season (which, mercifully, died in the newsroom) and had the spokeswoman for the Olympic National Park tell me that camping was up because of the terrorist attacks of September 11. People, she said, are looking to reconnect with the peacefulness of nature and the things that make America great, like the Grand Canyon and the Olympic Mountains.

I tended to agree with the manager of the local state park who said: “No, I think people are camping for the normal reasons. A lot of people just came here to dig clams.”

A few questions. What would it mean to “really remember”? Is this a profitable thing and is this a practical thing?

I propose that the reason we are not prepared for the coming terrorism is that we do not know how to prepare and live the way we are know.

May 29, 2002

My Faux New Journalism
This weekend I worked as a reporter—a reporter at the bottom without a beat and with every bum story that had to be covered but wasn’t much as news. Sometimes these are called the “sows ear—silk purse” stories, after the country saw. That’s a pretty accurate description.

I covered a birthday party of a 92-year-old Native American from the Klallam tribe. I covered an annual arts festival. I covered Memorial Day services that were short, simple and annual.

It’s pretty hard to know how to cover stories like these. All reporters have trouble with them. If it has the word “annual” attached to it then you can be sure it is the worst assignment you can get. You have to write something and there isn’t really anything. You can’t write the inverted pyramid/hard news story because there isn’t enough substance—these stories are as mushy as they come.

Such a story is terrible because few people will care enough or be interested enough to read your story and it requires a lot as a reporter and a writer to turn out anything that doesn’t scream “BORING!!!”

So, I pulled from my resources and tried something: faux New Journalism. I figure it is halfway between a normal feature and a Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson wild ride of a story. It might just be toned down New Journalism or an outrageous feature, but basically you step out and accept the stories color and you write a bit more like the novelist and less like a reporter.

An example of what I’m talking about can be seen in the lead for my arts festival story:

PORT ANGELES -- Four children whirl green and orange hula hoops around their waists.
Two men sit on lawn chairs in the street and catch up on what's happened since last year.
Seven belly dancers shake the metal jewelry hanging from their wrists, necks, shoulders and waists as they are cheered on by a crowd of about 130 people.


It seems to have worked. The stories weren’t boring and that was a significant accomplishment and I received a number of compliments on my stories in a newsroom that sees a lot of stories every day. This isn’t generally a complimenting place so I take my five compliments—covering all the stories—as tokens of a bad job really well done

May 27, 2002

Nowhere to Go:
Hemingway's Modernism

Listening to Hemingway’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech on audio cassette today, I was again impressed by how much he is the quintessential Modernist man.

To Hemingway loneliness is vital to his writing and I wonder how much of that can be rightly interpreted to read that to write well one must be alienated, separated from the natural community, lost.

In A Clean Well Lighted Place—and excellent short story and an excellent work on the plight of Modernism—he writes of the loss of meaning by writing about two waiters in a Spanish café and an old man staying to long.

The café is clean. It is a nice place to sit, doing nothing but thinking and smoking and drinking. It is better that the raucous bars. It is warmer than the street. Like our faith and our myths and our poetry—it is comfortable. But the old man has overstayed. He must leave; he must find another place even though the waiters know there is no other place and man is being turned out into the darkness and cold.

The one waiter is young and busy and restless and impatient. The other is older and slower and more observant yet still aware of the busy and impatient realities that will force the old man into the dark and cold. He can delay them and he can with they were not there, but he cannot stop them.

In the moving close to the three page story he takes two prayers—Our Father and Hail Mary—and strips them of meaning. “Hail nothing full of nothing,” he writes, leaving the form without content, showing us the plight of the man without faith. He, the quintessential Modernist man, forces us to face the emptiness of mythlessness. He makes us feel that we have to find a replacement—we must hail something. We are the old man being pushed along and we know that like him leaving that clean well lighted café, there is nowhere for Modernist man to go.

May 25, 2002

Loving Crime Stories
I love my job. As we speak I am waiting for a fireman and a sheriff to return my call. The headquarters of a suspected drug ring burned down today and I’m trying to find out for the newspaper if it is suspicious.

The owner was arrested a few months back in a state wide sweep. He is allegedly the ringleader and was using his trucking company to grow and sell marijuana, sell cocaine and launder money. He and his wife were arrested, held for 72 hours and released without being charged. The police are still sorting through their stuff trying to put together a case.

Two months after the arrests the home/business/alleged drug headquarters burns down. Were the owners trying to hide something? Were some criminal associates getting even? Were the police trying to hide something?

I only hope this story is as bad as it looks at first.

May 24, 2002

Port Townsend
The North Olympic Peninsula may have redeemed itself, literarily. I found three copies of the works of T.S. Eliot today in Port Townsend. I bought a cheap little used copy for a dollar but it still has the most important poems--The Wasteland, Ash-Wednesday, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, etc.

Port Townsend is a pretty little town facing the Puget Sound. It has a good records store and an excellent used bookstore, which is the important thing, with the perfect combination of decent prices and good quality.

Downtown—the single street that runs along the waterfront—is original architecture from the shipping and logging days this town was established. There is lots of masonry and the street feels like the people who built it knew it was something new and wanted it to last.

If you exclude college towns and big cities, it is quite possibly the most lefty town in the United States. It is filled with old Hippies who haven’t “sold-out.” This is part of the flavor of Port Townsend and it keeps things interesting.

Besides, for a nice little town and a good used bookstore, I would forgive many sins.

May 23, 2002


Has Jonah Goldberg sold out? Is there a good explanation for out lovable Neocon getting such praise from such quarters?

Relax, relax. Those outside the fold can recognize greatness too. Everything is okay. And look at the advantages—the angry and crazy and Goldberg-hating folks at lewrokwell.com might have a hernia or something.

Cases of Violent Crime in San Francisco Mostly Unsolved
Don't get shot in San Francisco. S.F. has the worst record of all America's cities for solving violent crimes. They solve a measly 29 percent of cases that come accross their desks.

Journalisticly, this is an excellent piece of reporting. There is a lot of solid reporting and detail. This is an important story and the Chronicle treated it that way.

I like some stylistic things about this piece too. They have a lot of good quotes and they print the bad grammer and an occasional swear word without cleaning it up, or trying make it "respectable.

May 22, 2002

The Arts, the Imagination, the Narrative and the Myth
Studying the Modernists I have been reminded of the high place of the imagination, the narrative, the myth. Man needs a narrative to explain his role, his duty and place. He needs a myth to define heroism, to lay out the definition of a great man, to set the standard that should be imitated. It is the imagination, shaped by the arts, that tells man who he is and what he is. Every facet of life is based on this idea of the nature of man, the idea based on the arts that shaped him.

I was thinking of this after again seeing how Franky Schaffer made the point about the importance of the imagination. We must fight for the imaginations, the narratives and the myths of men. Christianity must triumph in the arts.
Meanwhile, in another blog…
I wrote an interesting blog about reviewers over on the Atlas site (follow the link on the right). We might even score some interaction with that piece so check it out. It has been awhile since I was able to write anything over there, but I expect we will have some good stuff going on now that I have fully recovered from finals.

May 21, 2002

Like Addison and Steele
Blogging, the modern equivalent of the old Coffee House. This comparison works very well. I think this matches what I’m doing and what I set out to do.

May 20, 2002

Columbia Journalism Review has put out a good issue. In particular I recommend the piece on the L.A. Times. There is interesting competition between the two cities, New York and Los Angeles, and the two papers, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

They also ran two interesting profiles. One was on Jonah Goldberg, NRO editor, (it is only in the print edition—but look in up anyway) and the other was on Christopher Hitchens, editor for The Nation and a thoughtful socialist writer.

May 19, 2002

Athlete saved from 21-year prison sentence by backroom deals, friendship?
Sources say that Ed Carter, Hillsdale College Basketball star arrested for stealing two credit cards and charged with five felonies, may have gotten off because of a friendship between the judge and the dean of women’s husband.

Very interesting. I'm going to have to put some time into this and see if I can verify this rumor. This could be big and dirty.

This should make the higher-ups in the institution love me …
He Should have Listened to Darth Vader
One for the Contrarians: an interesting and persuasive argument that the Dark Side isn’t evil. Vader and the Emperor had dark wardrobes and the musical score was against them, but honestly these guys were the purveyors of order. They didn’t want evil, they wanted order and they were seeking to replace a lousy system of government.

You might be surprised, the argument works really well. It looks like Darth Vader was right. It is too bad that hot-headed young Jedi listened to the little green fellow with the goat ears and the crazy old man in the desert over his own father.

May 18, 2002

What-do-you-call-him…
Seraphim seems to have worked out the title problem we had been having. In a recent post he calls me a “colleague and friend.” How simple and correct.

Before this simple solution my introductory titles were either long winded things or nonexistent.

Seraphim and I are friends, but our friendship has risen up around our common activities and is not something outside of them. Thus friendship was not a full description of our relationship.

Describing the common activities could grow complicated. We both are students at the same college; we both are members of Fairfield society; we both work for the Hillsdale Collegian; we are both in Hillsdale College’s journalism program; and, of course, we both blog. I cannot spend a paragraph introducing our extended lists of activities every time he writes something I want to comment on over at Pensate Omnia.

Colleague—what a simple word to pull all that together. Did such a solution have to be this long in coming? Cheers to “friend and colleague.”
Tough Editors and Good Reporters
Editors are commonly lambasted. They are the ones who destroy your story, mess up your information, make it harder for you to write, and all that jazz. And some of that’s true, but they are also the ones who take sloppy work and turn it into gold.

I have had good editors. Not perfect, but good. They have all been respectable and respectful. They have been fair to me and given me the leeway I needed. Normally, they were in it for the story and we got along.

I’ve had some copy messed up by editors, but I’ve had a lot more saved by them. I’ve fought with editors who didn’t want to run a story, but I’ve had a lot more assistance and support from them.

An editor is a designated bad guy—reporters and instructed to blame things on him in order to get the story—they sacrifice being likable for the sake of the news. They enforce deadlines and insist on quality. They aid the reporters in research and in reporting and in writing. They have to track everything that’s going on and keep up with it all.

It is a tough job. I enjoyed it for the six months I was an editor at a college newspaper and I look forward to being an editor at the Hillsdale Collegian for the next two school years.

I was reminded of the significance of the editor while looking at the award received by one of my reporters. She worked hard for that award and did a good job on her story and deserved it. But she won it in part because of the work I put into that story. I sent her back to her sources three times for more reporting. I made her spend a month on the project. I made her rewrite it. I edited it. I made it a big, time-consuming project. It was a better story and she was a better reporter because I was a tough editor. And she won.

The editor can make that difference—bringing out the talent of his reporters and pushing them until they have done everything they have the ability to do. It should be a blessing among reporters: “And may you have a tough editor!”
Mutual Admiration Society
Seraphim starts blogging again and I get complements. There is a reason I like to read that man’s blog.

May 17, 2002

Coming Home from College for the Summer:
The Paradox of the Peninsula

I’m driving along the peninsula again, this stretch of land caught between the mountains and the water. I can smell the peninsula. It smells of water and mountains and cool air, old people and cut grass, rain and blue skies, newspapers and books. It is the smell of the peninsula and the things I loved and love and live with, and the things that are in my life.

I can lift my eyes here, seeing the mountains that hold us in and push us up against the strait, push us to that national border where Canada meets us. The mountains and the water edge this place, these people and these towns, squeezing them. We are squeezed out the ends of this strip of the North Olympic Peninsula, into the ocean and into the sound.

I’m getting back in the rhythm of living on here, though when talking to my little brother’s I call college home without noticing until after I’ve said it.

I have a car again, and I’m remembering how much I enjoy driving even though I am not a good driver. I’m driving too those old haunts in Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend: strange antique shops, the community college newspaper, the daily newspaper, the copy shop, libraries, old movie houses, new theaters, the coffee shops, the restaurants, the book stores.

Going into the little new and used bookstores, I’m happy to be here again and frustrated that they don’t have what I need. The bookstores are examples of my love and consternation with this North Olympic Peninsula. There is not a single copy T.S. Eliot’s complete works for sale where I live. To buy the book I will have to go to Seattle or Portland or another city where I don’t live or order it off the Internet without the bookstore experience.

This place is beautiful, and too small.

This place is refreshing, and constricting.

Oh, life at home with the paradox of the peninsula.
Yeah, Like That
A while ago on this blog I criticized my school, Hillsdale College, for its emphasis on the politics of the school while ignoring the philosophy of education. I believe it is the latter is the reason why Hillsdale is great and though the liberal arts/wisdom of the ages education it comes from the school’s conservatism, the education is what sets it apart on a daily basis. We offer more than a Political Science degree or an Economics degree.

Today Thomas Aquinas College is advertising closer to the vein I am recommending Hillsdale follow.


I am thoroughly Protestant—if understanding and sympathetic to Catholicism—but I really admire and respect and am attracted to this school because of this advertisment.
Seraphim seems to have finished his gluttony of silence, thankfully. I enjoy feasting over at Pensate Omnia.

May 15, 2002

To Churchill's Defense
My college president and Churchill worshiper, Hillsdale College's Larry Arnn (derisively known as Cap'n Arnn), may want to take note.

Hitchens piece in the Atlantic Monthly on Winston Churchill is met with a detailed response by the folks at the Churchill Online Homepage. This counter article is a little tedious, but that may be Hitchens fault.

My personal reaction to the piece was fairly ambivalent. Yeah, Churchill was a great drunkard and all that. Not exactly revealing dirt here. Hitchens seemed to rehash all the bad things said about Churchill while discussing a few new books on the man.

Churchill's still a great man, and Hitchens recognized that. He isn't a Greek god or an old west hero--Galiopli and his response to Collins in Ireland and his drunkenness assure us of that--but he' still quite a man.

The only significance of the affair that I am aware of is the Atlantic Monthly's running the piece as a cover story. They don't usually do that, I'm told. This seems to be a testament to Hitchens significance in punditry (as is the fact were discussing a tame article on Churchill months after it was published).
Self Promotion Gains Recognition, Readers (maybe)
Amazing what a little shameless self-promotion will do for you. I was linked by the Blogfather after writing the piece on Sullivan and alerting Reynolds and Sullivan to my piece by e-mail.

Reynolds linked me and Sullivan thanked me, saying "cheers." I am quite please by both and hope I have gained some readers by my brashness.

So, now that all you Instapundit reading, Sullivan following, readers are here, welcome. This is my blog. It is a lot like other blogs except it's mine and quite original. I'm pretty diverse in what I cover but anything that falls under the topics of philosophy, journalism, culture and politics and I feel I can comment on in an original fashion, is blogged on here.

So, welcome. Have a seat, make yourself at home and stay awhile.
Man Bites Dog:
Sullivan and the NY Times

Well. Our boy Andrew Sullivan scores in the brash, take-on-the-biggest-dog-in-town department.

He seems to be blogging in fine shape recently. His blog count is up again, after a dry period while he was acting in a Shakespeare play, and now he has tangled with the Old Gray Lady and, it seems, triumphed.

The man, as we know and as befits a blogger, speaks his mind and gives his opinion without apology. In short, the man is brash. Now he has triumphed in his brashness.

As readers of my humble blog know, I don’t find brashness a bad thing. (Now this is an understatement.)

Sullivan writes for the NY Times a—as well as the London Times, The New Republic and some other major media outlets. He has criticized all of them when the occasion arose, but the Times reacted, he says, by cutting his byline form the pages.

Howard Kurtz gives all the details in a piece of solid reporting and Schultz has something good on the significance of Sullivan battling the newspaper.

Anybody can take on the Times, many have done it in all sorts of media, the significance is in the violent reaction. The New York Times actually cares what Andrew Sullivan says about it. Sullivan—little Sullivan with his daily ramblings on his funny media and his beagle and his personal life on the page and his strange diversions into circumcision and just weird topics—is a player with enough weight to concern the New York Times

Slate has a piece about the inadequacy of the Times in the press war against Sullivan. The NY Times loses a press war? That ought to make the front pages.

Sullivan has always been a good writer, a good opinion journalist and great at sacred cow tipping, but this new media—the internet but especially blogging—has allowed him a weight he never had in a major magazine or a newspaper syndication. This man was good, but with this media he has become great.

Here’s hat’s off to our man Sullivan for making the big time and for slamming the New York Times.

It is about time someone shoved that old gray lady in front of a bus.
Rocking
Is there a direct link between air guitar and Jimi Hendrix? (he said listening to “Voodoo Child”).

Someone get a federal grant.
Award Winning
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now an award winning student journalist. While I was News Editor and Managing Editor at The Buccaneer of Peninsula College, we won the American Scholastic Press Association first place with merit award.

That's hot stuff--and I was editor on that watch.

I would have liked to have won something for my personal work, but I will take what I can get for the old resume. This may even help me next year with internships.

May 13, 2002

Thankfully
The things some of us don't have to deal with.

May 12, 2002

The Return of the Insatiable Blogger
The silence has ended with the bus ride and the finals and I have returned to the west coast. I am here in Washington state with my family for the summer. Regular blogging will begin in the morning with work I pulled together and saved up over finals, bus ride annecdotes, details of my mother's day suprise, and bloddy blogging etc.

Update:Okay, okay. I've been a little slow here. I'm still trying to recover my rythm with the changed shedule, timezones and slow internet connection. I think I've figured things out and will soon be blogging above the speed limit.

May 8, 2002

More Finals Week Quirkiness
I see a fellow student wearing a superman tee shirt while taking a final. I wonder… is it self-confidence of irony?

… anything that helps.

Update: My five-year-old brother says that without the cape, the shirt should not be expected to bring any super power. Take notes for next year...
Keyboard Calluses
I seem to have developed calluses on my fingers from typing so much. With the hardened skin on the ends of my fingers I have lost some of my finer sense of touch.

Between blogging, journalism and class papers, I guess I am on the keyboard a lot.

May 7, 2002

Finals, Headaches, Too Much Work
Posting will be either very sparse or nonexiostent in the next few days. I have too much to do to write more than three sentences until this weekend.

May 6, 2002

The Habit of a Man from California
He ate a lot of oranges and he cut every one in an identical manner. Unfolding his pocketknife he slices the peel off of the top and the bottom, leaving flat circles of exposed fruit on the ends of the orange. Running the blade vertically along the sides of the orange he scores the remaining ring of peel, separating it and subsequently peeling it in five sections. He sticks his thumb in the center of the peeled orange, separating it into halves.

“I’m from California,” he says. “We eat a lot of oranges. These aren’t descent oranges. You should eat the ones off the tree. You wouldn’t believe how different they taste, how much better they are....”
Continuing Political Shake-Up
This is quite a change in the political field.

I have argued that no political parties position on foreign policy, post-Cold War, has been logically consistant position. The platforms have been a mix of ideaologies and parties lacked any unification of instinct or theory in the foreign policy department. Republicans were divided a few ways, with avid isolationism, protectionism, interventionism, and free market theory creating a confusing jumble. The Democrats and the Libertarians have not had clearer positions as a party. I expect the new focus will create some delineated positions that make some coherent sense.

This is part of the greater shake-up caused by the change from a post-Cold War world to a War on Terrorism or Islam vs. the West world. The shake-up will, I think, be significant and it will continue with new allignments and coallitions falling out. Foreign policy is a really good example of this.

These are exciting times to be involved.
Finals Week
The glazed gaze of fellow students as they stare without seeing...

May 5, 2002

Blogger's Lean Right
John Leo wrote a piece on blogging--duly noted and linked by Instapundit and The Corner--and had an interesting graph about the political leanings of the blogging revolution. He said:

"Political bloggers are overwhelmingly right of center, either conservative or libertarian. The conventional wisdom is that the strong rightward tilt is a reaction against the mandatory liberalism of the modern newsroom. But nobody knows for sure. Bloggers have given encyclopedic and favorable analysis to Bernard Goldberg's charge that the "right wing" label in journalism is applied much more commonly than the adjective "left wing." Blogworld has strongly supported the war on terrorism and is famously quick to point out logical and moral failings of antiwar relativists."

This is an interesting datum, the rightward politics of this medium, and is worth further commentary. I'll be watching for something on this with a good explaination.

May 4, 2002

Cannon on the Loose
“Some people,” he said, “can’t tell whether you are responsible or whether you are a loose cannon out trying to make your name or something.”

“That’s probably a matter of interpretation,” I said.

He laughed, because it seemed right at the time and because even my answer was an example of why some people couldn’t tell if I was responsible or it I was a loose cannon.

“I certainly don’t know which it is,” I said.

“From the time I have known you, I’d have to go with the second one,” she said later, a friend, someone who likes me knowing me as a loose cannon.

“Ah,” I thought, “but maybe it is my responsibility to be a loose cannon, to be unpredictable and to shoot a targets that have been so safe. Yes, I am a responsibly loose cannon.”
Postmillenial site
I've been looking for a good site on Postmillenialism and I believe I have found it here. This is a great place with a lot articles (by all the important writers) covering the Postmillenial ground well.

Besides, how could they go wrong with a Postmil name like "It's not that bad folks!"

May 2, 2002

National Writer's Conference
My press addiction should be satisfied--or perhaps just intensified--this August. I'm looking at going to the National Writer's Conference, joint hosted by the Poynter Institute and the National Press Club, on political and government reporting. It looks like a good conference with some big names (some confirmed speakers and some with invitations), it looks like it will work into my plans and be well worth my time.

I love journalism and am looking forward to those two days already.
The State of Journalism
Dave Shiflett, over at National Review Online, has a fun piece on the New York Sun, ideological journalism and journalims as a whole. Maybe it is just my press addiction, but I loved his description of the great reporter homoginization:

"It is also true that we live in the Golden Age of Homogenization, in the sense that papers across the country tend to sound like they were all written by the same person. That person is not a particularly sharp writer, has no sense of humor, and tends to take himself far too seriously. Looking deeper into his soul we sense a simmering pot of boredom, weariness, and bitterness at having discovered that no Inner Hemingway lurks within."

It is too short, but go read the piece. There's more like this on the craziness of publishers and the insanity of newspapers and some good stuff on the Moonies and the Washington Times.
The Great and Liberal Arts
I was talking with a few other Hillsdale College students at lunch the other day and they were saying how quite a few of us came to Hillsdale with a focus—a personal emphasis—on conservatism, free-market economics, and limited government, only to have it shift and broaden. Today these students are into the classics, literature, history and philosophy instead of just politics and economics. Today they are reading Aristotle and Dante more than Mises and Hayek.

This speaks well for this school and it is a focus the administrators and public relations people haven’t emphasized enough. Our liberal arts focus is a good reason why the school is what it is. The school is better for being a haven of the liberal arts, a place where the “eternal contract” becomes real for 18-year-olds, a place where they discover or continue to discover knowledge.

As I said before, in the classroom on a mid-semester Thursday afternoon, the college’s position of the size or influence of government isn’t very relevant and the fact that everyone in the class is familiar with Homer and Virgil is obvious and important to the way that class is conducted.