American Culture

Nota Bene #21

Got hot links if you want ’em!

We’re still experiencing aftershocks from Hillary’s Iran comments. In “Hillary Strangelove,” the Boston Globe editorialized: “A presidential candidate who lightly commits to obliterating Iran — and, presumably, all the children, parents, and grandparents in Iran — should not be answering the White House phone at any time of day or night.”

In “Hillary the Dream-Slayer” at OpEdNews, Steve Bhaerman writes: “What about the dream many women have about finally having a woman President? The real question for forward-thinking voters is not whether we need the feel-good symbol of a woman President, but whether we are ready to empower genuine feminine wisdom.”

Writes James Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation: “A President Hillary will also go a long way to defeating the popular delusion that a world ruled by female humans would be heaven-on-earth. (It would be more like one of those chaotic single-parent households in Section-8 housing, ruled by a harried and distracted mom, with a shadowy man in the background molesting the little ones while she was off working at the WalMart.)”

Superdelegate and former DNC chairman (under Bill Clinton) Joe Andrews initially supported Hillary but switched to Obama. “The Jeremiah Wright controversy just reconfirmed for me, just as the gas tax controversy confirmed for me, that he is the right candidate for our party.”

In “Bush Confesses to Waterboarding. Call D.C. Cops!” Ted Rall has an idea for making Bush accountable for his crimes: “There is. . . a person who could begin holding Bush and the others accountable for their crimes. She is Cathy L. Lanier, the 39-year-old chief of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. Chief Lanier, take note: you have probable cause to arrest a self-confessed serial torturer and mass murderer within the borders of the District of Columbia.” Calling all cars!

MolochIn “Feeding Moloch: Last Barriers to War on Iran Come Down” at Empire Burlesque, Chris Floyd writes about Iran war-mongering: “And of course, the Iranian government has now come out squarely. . . in favor of the al-Maliki regime in its attacks on Sadr’s militia in Basra. This is the reality: In Iraq, the Bush Administration and the Iranian government are on the same side, supporting the same Shiite factions. Just make sure there’s clarity on that.”

In “Iran under the Gun” at Tom Dispatch, Pepe Escobar writes: “The framework for the $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, also known as the ‘peace pipeline,’ is a go. [These] key South Asian U.S. allies are ignoring Bush administration desires and rapidly bolstering their. . . connections with Iran. An attack on Iran would now inevitably be viewed as an attack against Asia.” (Emphasis added.)

In “The Campaign Nonsense Du Jour” in the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson writes: “This is supposed to be an election, not a casting call. If we vote on the basis of who can best play ‘populist-lite’ — who can more convincingly furrow his or her brow in empathy with the struggle of ‘ordinary’ Americans — then we’ll be electing an actor in chief, not a president. And we’ll get what we deserve.”

Seven of NineIn “It’s the Adultery, Stupid” on Vanity Fair, a case for understanding Eliot Spitzer purely in terms on human desire, Michael Wolff also writes: “Barack Obama is running for president today because the ex-wife of his favored opponent in the 2004 Senate campaign in Illinois, Jack Ryan, said her husband took her to swingers’ clubs, handing the election to Obama.” We’re all in your debt, Seven of Nine!

Wajhat Ali calls his blog, Goatmilk, “The best blog in the history of the whole wide world” and it just might be. In “The Dark Knight,” he writes: “Like Superman, flying in the sky, Obama swept into the hearts and minds of White America as a redeeming savior capable of single handedly battling. . . prehistoric, Republican foes. . . . And then last week the freight train known as reality hit harder than a speeding locomotive, and the masses, spurred by the media. . . finally opened their eyes and cried, ‘Look up there in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No — It’s a Black man!'”

In a stunning, witty, and comprehensive Vanity Fair piece, “When Democrats Go Post-al,” James Wolcott explains what’s really behind the Hillary-Obama blog wars: “Such fratricidal skirmishing may sound silly and minor-league. . . . But there is a deeper frustration at work. . . . the failure of Democrats and activists to bring the Bush-Cheney administration to account for any of its destructive and disastrous misdeeds. . . . the impotent fury over the knowledge that the masters of disaster will leave the White House unscathed, unaccountable, their smirks intact.”

Stephen A. Schwarzman, hedge fund mogul, recently donated $100 million to the New York Public Library. Its main building will henceforth be known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. In “Nomenclatural Floodgate” at the Washington Independent, Bruce McCall speculates about what’s next: “Wealthy donors might well begin vying to underwrite the care and upkeep of other important landmarks.” Such as “Oprah’s Purple House — Formerly the White House.” “Lincoln-Mercury Memorial — Formerly the Lincoln Memorial.” And my favorite: “Ronald S. Perelman Cigar Tomb Bar — Formerly Grant’s Tomb.”

In “Race Illustrates Brutal Side of Sport,” New York Times sportswriter William Rhoden asks in the wake of the death of Eight Belles, “Why do we keep giving thoroughbred horse racing a pass? Is it the tradition? The millions upon millions invested in the betting? Why isn’t there more pressure to put the sport of kings under the umbrella of animal cruelty?”

In “Message to Bonds: It’s Over” in Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci writes: “Said one high-ranking MLB executive of Bonds, ‘I don’t see him getting a job. Ownership wants no part of him. The guy scorches the earth wherever he goes.'”

A team from the New York Daily News reports on Roger Clemens’s decade-long affair with country singer Mindy McCready. Speaking before Congress back on Feb. 13, Clemens said that, “baseball has definitely provided me with significant opportunities off the field.” Tough to disagree with that, especially in light of all the girls he’s had affairs with who came out of the woodwork during the rest of the week.

New Section: MTAs (Musts to Avoid)

In “James Frey’s Morning After” in Vanity Fair, Evgenia Peretz writes: “What’s it like to write a mega-selling memoir, then become a household word for ‘liar’? Was James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces an ex-junkie’s con job, part of a proud literary tradition, or just the standard hype of an increasingly embattled publishing industry? In his first U.S. interview since Oprah nailed him, in 2006, Frey tells his version of the story.” Sorry, Evgenia. Reading about that loser just makes me feel soiled again.