American Culture

Nota Bene #39

Links of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

Paul Begala: “I was for Hillary in the primaries, but when she endorsed Sen. Obama, I proudly sent him a check for the legal maximum. On the memo line of the check I wrote, ‘FOR NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING ONLY.'”

Billmon calls Palin: “McCain’s speed date soul mate.”

No one is covering Palin better than the Alaskan blog Mudflats, which called Palin: “McCain’s Bridge to Nowhere.”

Maureen Dowd has gotten a new lease on life thanks to Palin: The Republicans “have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types Dan Quayle and W., and then letting them learn on the job. So they crash into the globe a few times while they’re learning to drive, what’s the big deal?”

Sebastian Junger returns to Afghanistan for Vanity Fair in “Return to the Valley of Death“: “Combat is a rush, and once it has blown out your levels, it’s hard to appreciate the more mundane pleasures of life. ‘People think we drink because of the bad stuff,’ [Sgt.] O’Byrne went on, ‘but we drink because we miss the good stuff.”

Rockridge Institute’s Glenn Smith: “The national political press has since the Reagan years been completely intimidated by the Right. … If they could, they’d give the American Right Austria and Poland. That’s how afraid they are.”

Shawn Mullen at the Moderate Voice: “That these culture warriors use their God as an adjustable wrench that can be dialed back and forth to fit political expedience is beyond obscene. Exhibit A du jour: What Bristol Palin did would be considered immoral if her mother wasn’t a Christianist spear carrier.”

Billmon on Jews for Jesus: “Given Christianity’s bloody record [with Jews], I could argue that ‘Chickens for Col. Sanders’ would be about as appropriate a name.”

Michael Wolff takes a break from interviewing him for Vanity Fair to visit Rupert Murdoch’s 99-year-old mother: “I remember saying to Rupert, ‘Rupert, you’re going to be very, very lonely and the first desiring female who comes along will snap you up.’ He said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Mum, I’m far too old for that.’ That’s exactly what happened. Never mind.”

The Department of Better Late Than Never

Number nine on the Buffalo Beast’s 2007 list of “50 Most Loathsome People in America” — us: “You believe in freedom of speech, until someone says something that offends you. You suddenly give a damn about border integrity, because the automated voice system at your pharmacy asked you to press 9 for Spanish. … You care more about zygotes than actual people. … You tolerate the phrase ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.'”


William Rhoden of the New York Times on how sports writers are giving Super Bowl winners the New York Giants short shrift this season: “. . . this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality is part and parcel of a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week news cycle. In this unceasing environment, winning becomes simply a comma or, in the Giants’ case, a question mark.” No time to savor a championship.

At the New York Daily News Ralph Vacchiano reports on newly healthy Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress: “. . . he doesn’t want defensive backs sticking as close to him as they did last year. ‘I hate getting covered,’ he said. ‘It’s embarrassing to get covered.'”

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King asks: “Is Dustin Pedroia a real person? He just had a 43-hit month, with six home runs. He is 5-foot-8, maybe. He just went 4-for-4 on back-to-back nights, reaching base 10 times in 10 appearances in the two games. … Ozzie Guillen pitched to David Ortiz and intentionally walked Pedroia. … This is an amazing story we’re watching.”

Manny Being Manny Department

From the Boston Globe’s Baseball Notes: “One team that needs a big splash this offseason is the Washington Nationals. If they open the vault — and they should — add them to the very short list of teams that may go after Manny Ramírez, especially if Jim Bowden is still the general manager. Bowden wore a Ramírez wig on to the field last week when the Dodgers were in town.”

3 replies »

  1. Thanks, Russ, excellent collection. Well done with the shout out to Mudflats. I was lucky enough to find the AK Muckraker on the day that Palin was chosen. He/She is an excellent, level-headed writer…i would extend an offer of guest Scrogue. (He/She got a post on the HuffPo, but this would be a better venue)

    Thankfully for those servicemen who really get into it (which is psychologically understandable), America will probably be embroiled in violent conflict for years to come. I say thankfully, because i would imagine that a shelf-stocking job at WalMart ain’t gonna cut it…excitement wise.

    The most beautiful part of baseball is that you don’t have to be a giant to be great. You could walk past a professional baseball player in the grocery store and never even notice that he wasn’t your neighbor. It is the Zen sport.

    Manny with the Nats? Hell, i think that Manny has the attitude and work ethic to be in Congress…

  2. “McCain’s speed date soul mate.”

    Great line although, perhaps, he had a liberal moment and without checks, controls, border negotiations, tests, filtering, rules, regulations, consensus, investigation, courtship he went for it…and being in the spotlight is now stuck with his one night stand.

  3. Also in Sports: The Raiders got such a sound thrashing by the Broncos (41-14) that the commentators put on a Pity Party for them at the beginning of the second half. By the middle of the forth, they were trying to talk about anything BUT the game; showing old clips Mike Dicka doing a touchdown run in back-and-white and talking about when they first met each other. Also lots of shots of sad and demoralized Raider’s fans in full regalia.