WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Of course I went looking to
see how the media responded or didn't to yesterday's Benghazi
hearings. About what you'd expect. The AP
referred to the congressional hearings as "GOP hearings." The
news networks (yes, Fox too) cut away from the hearings to
cover the Arias trial verdict, because it was, you know, so
important. Although MSNBC had its own experts who talked over the
part of the hearings they did cover and announced throughout that
there was nothing new here, while CNN was suddenly riveted by the
kidnapping case in Cleveland, despite the fact that just like the
Gosnell trial it was a local crime story.
Stephen Colbert made fun of the hearings because it's always
hilarious when four Americans are murdered in the service of their
country in a way that might embarrass President Asshole. The best
was the LA Times coverage, which you can see here.
Then I did what I haven't done in a while because I have no stomach
for internecine conservative fights. I went to National Review
Online. They did have complete coverage of the hearings, of course,
and even an editorial on why, contrary to Hillary's bitchy
question, the truth of what exactly happened in Benghazi and afterwards really does matter. But I'm not here to
talk about that. You can find it on your own. Instead, I
rediscovered what I have liked about NRO over the years, excellent
writing on fascinating topics that aren't confined to current
events. Why I thought I'd share. Like me, you might need some air.
NR honcho Kevin Williamson, the guy in the video up top, has a new
book out. It's called The End Is
Near and It's Going to be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave
America Richer, Happier and More Secure. He has an essay
up, iPencil: Nobody knows how to make a pencil, or a health-care system,
abstracted from the book, that should be like a tonic to many of us
naysayers. Go read it. What capitalism is really about. He doesn't
need my summary. I'll tease you with two paragraphs, ones I know
will resonate with everyone here.
The decline of U.S. Steel was bad
for the company’s shareholders and its employees, but it was good
for people who use steel — meaning everybody else in the world.
U.S. Steel was itself the product of an improved business model
that had displaced older, less efficient competitors. Without the
pressure and opportunity created by the possibility of failure,
the U.S. steel industry — and the entire U.S. economy — would be
(at best) stuck in the early 19th century. It seems paradoxical,
but failure is what makes us rich. (And we are, even in these
troubled times, fabulously rich.) We’d all be a lot worse off if
corporations such as U.S. Steel lived forever (which is one more
reason not to engage in bailouts).
Politics creates the immortal corporation. Amtrak and the U.S.
Postal Service are two institutions that would have failed long
ago if not for government support — subsidies for Amtrak, the
government-chartered monopoly on letter delivery for the postal
service. The cost of their corporate immortality is not only the
waste associated with maintaining them, but also the fact that
their existence prevents the emergence of superior alternatives.
No sane person would invest 12.5 percent of his income in Social
Security in 2013, but we are compelled to do so, and so the
bankrupt enterprise continues as though it were not tens of
trillions of dollars underwater. A political establishment is a
near-deathless thing: Even after the bitter campaign of 2012,
voters returned essentially the same cast of characters to
Washington, virtually ensuring the continuation of the policies
with which some 90 percent of voters pronounced themselves
dissatisfied. No death, no evolution. Outside of politics, human
action is characterized by evolution and by learning. And what are
we learning? How to take care of one another, which is the point
of what we sometimes call capitalism. (Don’t tell Ayn Rand.)
I have one more. Another NR luminary is Jay Nordlinger, whose column
Impromptus I have enjoyed for years. He's a learned man, deeply
educated in music, language, cultural history, and multiple other
disciplines. He's working his way through a five part review of what
is obviously an extraordinary book titled The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age
of Amnesia by Roger Kimball.
The first four parts are posted. They're more essay than strict
review, and I guarantee you'll enjoy what he has to say. The book
goes to the heart of so many things we know instinctively and puts
them in a context that's both erudite and accessible. You may even
want to make note of a dozen or more quotes we all wish we had ready
to hand when talking with the lefty glunks who plague our days.
I've been watching the Benghazi hearings on CSPAN3. Sorry to report,
our nation is done. I already know how the MSM will play it, if they
play it at all. The Dems are there only to protect Hillary and
the President. Nothing else matters.
It just doesn't matter that four Americans died in service to their
I'm so disgusted I can't link, can't argue, can't do anything but
throw up. Fuck you, Robert Whitcomb. Fuck you.
Friday, May 03, 2013
ELSE YOU DO, GET. THIS. ONE!!!. I've been thinking about this
topic for a long time now. I warn you I have a very eccentric
position. I'm devoted to the exact editions I read as a kid. The
magic of a children's book is not just the words. It's the whole
physical package, including the illustrations, the heft of the
hardcovers, the jackets if they have them. Ridiculous? No. We invest
lots of money in our children. Why not buy them dusty relics of the past if relics help plug the young ones into the mighty continuum? Children
need to learn that life did not begin with them. Old things are
magical to children. Well, they were to me. I grew up mostly on
hand-me-down books. And even when I was very young, I liked the idea
that I was reading the very same books my parents had read at my
age. Now most of my title recommendations are available in newer
versions, and what's good is still good, but I'm going to focus here
on the past. You make your own decisions. But when it comes to
illustrations in particular, give some thought to the possibility
that older might be better. End of lecture.
My recommendations are all over the lot age-wise. The parents who
are thinking about these things have children of different ages. I'm
not going to concern myself about order, because today's
three-year-old is tomorrow's eight-year-old. Everything is relevant.
I trust that people will find what they need and have the patience
to make their own immediate choices. My mission is magic. Why I
refuse to be scientific, chronological, rational, or organized. My
only justification? I remember childhood in more detail than most.
I'm taking a trip back in time. Please join me.
I'll also warn you in advance that I'll be leaving out the classics
that have already resisted the moss of time: Charlotte's Web, Stuart
Little, Winnie the Pooh, etc. If I touch on something you already
know, my bad. Or your good. Where I deviate is with specific
editions. You'll see.
Brave Cowboy Bill. I could read it myself and I read it a
hundred times. His boots were amazing. Like me, he was just a little
boy and he went to sleep like a little boy at the end of a long day.
Remus. The devouring scourge of political correctness. The
movie based on this book, Song of
the South, has been banned and characterized as a racist
outrage. Don't know anything about the movie because like everyone
else I've never seen it. I do
know about the book. Racist? Nothing could be further from the
truth. I remember this book, this
particular book, and I loved it. I loved Uncle Remus. To me
he was an accessible divine figure. You only saw him from the back,
sitting in front of the fire, his pipe occasionally held aloft. He
was mysterious, wise, and you knew instinctively, even as a kid,
that his stories were parables. Very probably the first expressly
moral book I ever read. Brer Rabbit was both a hero and a fool,
sometimes in the same story. He's fool enough to get himself trapped
by the tar baby but survivor enough to do a Tom Sawyer act that
lands him in the briar patch of freedom. Kids are all rabbits,
neither white nor black. The purpose of a fairy tale is to teach
survival skills, and Brer Rabbit was a survivor. What in hell is
racist about that?
Thornton Burgess. A long series of delightful books about
individual animals. Jimmy the Skunk. Reddy the Fox. Peter Rabbit.
Mr. Mocker, and on and on. I had a pile of them, all inherited from
my dad's childhood library. Loved the fact they were so old and
yellowed. Does the term children's bible seem over the top? Still
available today. New. In paperback. Not quite the same.
in the Willows. Where the illustrations matter more than the
immortality of the story. Great ones have done the drawings,
including Tasha Tudor, but perfection was achieved only by Arthur
Rackham. If you don't have his version, you don't have the book.
The Illustrated Treasury of Children's Literature (1955 Edition)
. The best, the indispensable, the font of childhood imagination.
Edited by Margaret Martignoni. I've linked the edition to get (twice
now). But others are available, even at Amazon. All completely
magical. Just get it and glory in it with your children.
All right. This is obviously going to be more than one post. Stay
tuned. Childhood is, or should be, about wonder, romance, fun, and,
yes, fear too. Hans Christian Andersen is important. How we teach
children about death and consequences. And love. Remember that. Love
is not a cost-free emotion. The best writers have always known that.