October 27, 2007 - October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
. True, we've never done a YouTube Wednesday before, and
never do one again. But for today's edition we're focusing on extremes.
Above, you can hear the world's most extreme bird song. Immediately
below, you can take a ride in the world's most extreme automobile. The
final clip offers the most extreme version of American Revolutionary
history you've ever seen. All of them are safe for work.
The Bugatti Veyron
1776 -- "300" Style
Wasn't that fun?
Shattered Glass, Part
The TNR Masthead at TNR.com is 404 via Google)
Scott Beauchamp played by Giovanni
. Via InstaPundit
is asking who will star in the sequel to Shattered
Glass. We always try to oblige. The answers are a cinch. All you need
is one over-the-top actor
who specializes in creepy, one or two elite West Wing alums, and
someone else to play the one who looks exactly like Matt Damon.
Scoblic played by Oliver Platt
Beinart played by Matt Damon
Foer played by Bradley Whitford
All they need now is someone to make up a script. That shouldn't be too
hard. Everyone involved seems pretty darn good at making things up.
A bumptious commenter who styles himself as "Timmy" asks us, "Umm,
isn't that Ricky Gervais in the Peter Scoblic photo?"
Faced with a crude and baseless accusation of this sort, our
editor-in-chief ("His Magnificence") felt compelled to reply:
I can assure you that our division of very well dressed fact-checkers
obtained 100 percent confirmation before the photo was published that
the Ricky Gervais-looking one was really truly for sure Peter Scoblic.
Nevertheless, since you have raised this absurd question, Instapunk.com
has initiated -- consistent with our commitment to the very highest of
contemporary journalistic standards -- a thorough investigation to
reconfirm what we have already ascertained to be fact; namely, that the
person in the disputed photo is
Peter Scoblic. Or someone who looks so much like him that he could only
be played by Ricky Gervais if the much suaver Oliver Platt weren't
I can further assure you that the results of our investigation will be
published as soon as Google ceases its inexcusable stonewalling about
the deceptive procedures it uses in ID'ing the photos which may come up
in a 0.05-second image search. Please note that our dedication to
thoroughness may require weeks of investigation or months. Decades
aren't entirely out of the question. That's how professional we are.
In the meantime, I suggest that you conduct your own investigation of
why this Scoblic person would go to such lengths to make himself look
like Ricky Gervais. And why is it exactly that you know who this Ricky
Gervais is? (Some lowdown dirty leak?) We certainly don't. It's our considered opinion that you
have a hidden agenda in all this. Be warned. Eventually -- perhaps very
eventually -- Instapunk.com will uncover whatever sinister purpose
drove you to impugn our good name.
Ummm, on a more serious note, the TNR masthead
have disappeared from the TNR website. Via Google: Error 404, File Not Found. No text, no images. Anyone know anything about this?
A text-only masthead is still accessible by direct link at the TNR site though Google can no longer find it. A call to TNR
resulted in a denial that Scoblic had been fired. His voicemail is
still playing its recorded message.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
. One of
the biggest fallacies in politics is that only the
liberals-slash-progressives exhibit the above-it-all superiority of
those who are to the manor born. Indeed, the haughtiness of power-elite
liberals pales in comparison to the educated class who have never been
taken in by such fads as Marxism, atheism, post-modernism, or even
Reaganism. Such people are so aloof they tend to be invisible to
pollsters and political campaigns of every stripe. If Hillary is to be
prevented from capturing the White House, this community of the
not-interested-enough-to-be-involved conservatives must be persuaded to
vote in the next presidential election. I essayed a conversation with
one of them not long ago. The results are not particularly promising.
Here's a transcript.
there any particular Republican candidate who appeals to you?
Refresh my memory. Who's running?
Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred
Thompson, and John McCain. Oh, right.
What do you think of them? I
didn't much care for George Romney. Too much slicked back
salt-and-pepper hair. But at least he wasn't named after a baseball
glove. I suppose that's called having a common touch. Just how common
are politicans expected to be these days?
Giuliani? Thompson? McCain?
It's said that persistence is a virtue, but I've always found
persistence more tedious than inspiring. Oh well. Giuliani. He's a
mayor, isn't he? Why would anyone think a mayor is qualified to be
president? Don't they spend most of their time making deals with labor
unions? Rather low, don't you think? I've heard of the McCain fellow.
Didn't he break under torture in Vietnam? Regrettable. One might think
he'd be content to go home and stay there without seeking to excite any
more attention. Under the circumstances, that would seem to be the tactful thing to do.
They say Thompson is somewhat
reminiscent of Reagan. I never much cared for Reagan. His hair
was rather peculiarly orange. He also signed gigantic budgets. And his
funeral was -- how shall I put it? -- overdone.
Don't you care at all? What about the
issues? What about the possibility that Hillary Clinton might be
elected President? She probably will be. It might be
amusing. The Clintons are so hilariously, vulgarly corrupt they
remind me of old-time big city mayors like LaGuardia, Curley, and
Daley. Didn't you say a mayor was running against her? Should be fun.
But her ankles are unfortunately thick. Not much breastage, either.
Sad. The presidency will probably serve as some species of consolation
Have you even heard of the Iraq War?
Certainly. What a bungle. That Bush lad had the right idea, though it's
never been a wise move to trust Andover boys with serious decisions.
They're not up to it. Too
bad he never learned to speak in public. But thumping Iraq was a
creditable notion. Best thing to do with those Arabs is shoot
them all. They won't stop annoying everyone until we do that. But I
never had any use for that Rumsfeld fellow. It's fine to economize on
some things. Like Congress. If we made them all drive Fords, do you
think they'd spend so much money on pure nonsense? But you can't
economize on wars. When you send troops out to do a job, you send as
many as you can find and you keep at it until the enemy is dead or
begging for mercy. Low-budget wars are bad business. Pardon my candor.
Do you have an opinion about abortion?
Yes. It's not done. But some women do it anyway. The law isn't going to
change that. But people seem to like wrangling about it. I prefer
raising coneflowers. And foxgloves. Poison is better when it's pretty.
Is God an issue with you? No.
When he's had enough, he'll do what he has to do. I'll probably be dead
by then. He's pretty patient in my experience. Too damned patient, in
fact. Ask all my dead Celtic ancestors about that. They might have a
bone to pick with God. Or two.
Aren't you afraid of socialism,
Islamic fascism, rampant political corruption, Global Warming, and the
increasing saber-rattling of Russia and China? Afraid? No. Life
is a mess and if you're afraid of it, go ahead and kill yourself.
If you don't want to commit suicide, you adjust to it. Even to
Democrats. They've been socialists since FDR. Thankfully, he died
eventually. The usual fate of stupid do-gooders. Fascism is too crude
to succeed. It has its moments in the early going, as a rule, like
improved efficiency for mass transportation, but when people learn
what else is involved they tend to object, strenuously. In the end,
fascism flunks at everything but gaudy uniforms. Political corruption
is something that's bound to happen when people who used to be mayors
and senators and other ladies of the night get elected to high
office and discover there's money to be had by selling their favors to
right people. I can't speak to the Global Warming thing. I never
trusted scientists any more than I trusted politicians. As far as I'm
concerned, summers have been more or less hot all my life. When winters
get hot enough to require a gin and tonic before five o'clock, I'll let
Russia? China? Now you're
becoming a bore. Name a time when Russia and China weren't being childishly obnoxious
about practically everything. Their whole idea of foreign policy is
infantile. If they step over the line the way they've been threatening
continuously for the last five hundred years or so, we'll have to smack
the presumption out of them. That's what they really want, anyway.
It'll do them good. It's what children want. Counterintuitive? Yes.
Do you make any attempt to keep up with what's going on
in politics, like the stuff that's made a big deal of in The New York
Times and on the network news? No. The lower classes --
especially journalists -- do have to amuse themselves as best they can.
There's no point in obstructing their enthusiasms. Being well bred
means not losing your temper just because the loudest among us insist
on being silly.
So you don't even pay attention to
the war? Not really. I know the journalists want us to lose it,
so I don't read or watch their reports. If the politicians let us win
it, we will. Now that the Princeton boy is out of the picture, I feel
mostly more optimistic. I do feel bad for the families of soldiers
and marines who died. Every generation of my family has had losses like
that, so I -- what's the word? -- empathize. Beyond that, I just wait
them to kick the Arabs back to the seventh century. Nobody beats us
when we're there to win. That part of it is bone simple. Or am I
missing something? Don't mention the Democrats. I'm being ironic. It's
my privilege as an old fart.
Are you going to vote? Yes. Of
For whom? Some Republican, I
expect. Only most of them are
One last question: Did you do anything to prevent FDR from subverting the
American Dream during the Great Depression? Of course not. I
played tennis with him at Groton. Or my father did. Franklin thought he
was the greatest thing
since sliced bread. I'd have hated to burst his bubble. He was
paralyzed. Syphilis is a bitch.
Do you feel better? I know I don't.