Monday, July 24, 2006

Is our college students reading?

Ken Wingate hopes not. Because then their minds might be exposed to bad thoughts.

When Wingate, who is on the South Carolina Commission for Higher Education, learned that incoming Clemson University freshmen would be required to read Ann Patchett's "Truth and Beauty" this summer, he did what any good God-fearing conservative would do: He paged through the book looking for the dirty parts. And then he wrote a letter (PDF link) to the president of Clemson University, objecting to the reading requirement on the grounds that

"I think it affects students in a negative way," Wingate said. "It creates an air of sexual discussion that is being forced upon the students. It talks about sexual activities and practices that are over the top in terms of their graphic nature"

Ooohh, "Over the top" sexual practices? What could these be? Mr. Wingate kindly details them in his letter. Such as:

After a brief courtship with a man twice her age, Lucy has sex. “She was twenty-two and thrilled to be relieved of the burden of her virginity.” (p. 8 )

My God . . . the depravity!


”the night before one of my students had read a story about shaving his testicles while talking on the phone to his mother.” (p. 162)

OK, maybe that last bit IS a little over the top.

A year or so ago, I had read an excerpt of Truth and Beauty in Allure magazine, of all places, and found it very moving. It's the story of Patchett's friendship with the difficult and troubled Lucy Grealy; here's a description from Patchett's website:

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving a person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

That's what I took away from the excerpt I read. But of course, Ken Wingate only saw a dirty book.

God forbid he should ever get his hands on Othello or Madam Bovary, huh?

Anyway, after reading the Allure excerpt, I meant to buy the book when it came out and read the whole thing. Then I forgot about it. Thanks to Mr. Wingate's little crusade, I've been reminded and I'm going to go buy a copy this weekend.

More here and here, at Crack the Bell.

Shorter Brad Warthen:

"America's not clapping hard enough!"

I opposed the invasion of Iraq. Brad Warthen supported it.

But he blames people like me for this.

Go figure.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Mickey Spillane

Dies at 88.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fightin' words

Israel is getting its war on. Iran is getting its nuke on. The U.S. is probably about to get its Armageddon on.

But who cares about all that. Let's talk about blog wars.

I give you:

Glenn Greenwald vs. the Rightosphere

Jeff Goldstein and his c*ck vs. the Leftosphere

Maryscott O'Connor and Richard Silverstein vs. the Kososphere

The Editors vs. John Cole

Somerby vs. Ailes
(see also here and here)

Somerby and Ailes deserve credit for their, by blogospheric standards, positively gentlemanly restraint. Somerby, in his irascible way, took Ailes to task for Ailes's post about the Sunday a.m. talk shows; Ailes responds with a rebuttal that lightly (but not meanly) parodies Somerby's style, and then they follow up. Neither of them calls the other a bitch, a wanker, a douchebag, or a WATB; neither of them offers to slap the other with his . . . well, you know. I applaud their decent behavior, truly. A rare thing in cyber-space.

As much as I admire Somerby and Ailes's relative civility, I gotta admit: It wasn't anywhere near as entertaining as the decidedly uncivilends-with-a-whimper battle between Reverend Mykeru and Lord Spatula. Click on it. Sadly, the picture links are broken but otherwise it's one of the funniest got-damn things I've ever read on the Internets.

Also funny: The aforementioned The Editors vs. John Cole - thanks to John Cole's hilariously Pavlovian response in The Editors' comments.

Yes, this is all frivolous. But don't hate me for wanting to laugh a little before everyone else gets Raptured into Heaven.

(Mykeru v. Spatula link via Sadly, No!)

As long as we're in the neighborhood

Why NOT get WWIII cranked up?


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Milk carton alert

Anybody seen this blogger?


Monday, July 10, 2006

Fun with blogs

I was in the woods all weekend and didn't even miss the Internet, or blogs. Not one little bit. But as soon as I got back last night I started catching up, and next thing you know I'm trying to follow this whole stupid Goldstein-Frisch drama. Then this evening I argued with that wanker Patterico about it in Sadly, No's comment threads. How wanker-ish am I for wasting time arguing with a wanker about a wankfest? I hereby proclaim myself Wanker of the Day.

Oh, by the way: From what little I've read of her last night and tonight, Ms. Frisch (who I'd never heard of before) seems to be a complete loon. She should never have mentioned Goldstein's child. But then, I've always thought it was completely wrong to drag minor children into one's stupid, vicious blogfights. Some people are a little late coming to that realization. Know what I mean?

Anyway. Here's something a little less seamy: A three-day old post from Kos about how the '06 SC governor's race is shaping up, and how it may affect national politics. Kos reprints an email from someone who seems to have a handle on SC political maneuvering. Interesting, what? I don't know if all of it is true.

I have no insight into the behind-the-scenes stuff, but I do think that Lindsey Graham is going to be in for a primary fight in '08. My unscientific, entirely anecdotal-evidence-based impression is that there's a small but vocal bunch of extreme right-wingers who hate Graham's guts; they think he's a traitor to the GOP cause. I don't like him much either, but damn! Thomas Ravenel - his likely opponent - makes Graham look like a bleeding heart liberal. My moderate and liberal friends think Graham's a moderate himself. They're not so familiar with his positions on any particular issue, but they think he's a personally decent, nice guy. Which I think he is, too, compared to most GOP politicians, but he's no moderate.

I'm betting that in '08 Graham will find himself in a position similar to Joe Lieberman's today - unpopular with his base, besieged by out-of-state campaigners and operatives and, perhaps, bloggers, and fighting for his political life.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so, because "Senator Ravenel" . . . bleah.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I've said it before and I'll say it again

White people suck.

LaShawn Barber's not white, but if she sucked any harder, we'd have to make her an honorary white person. Well, I might do that . . . but her new white supremacist pals would probably draw the line at that.

More here.

Other people's catblogging

Kevin Drum offers photos of Inkblot and Jasmine reclining, in catlike splendor, on Old Glory. Some of Kevin's commenters aver that this is flag desecration. I disagree. Placing a cat upon a flag is, like, the opposite of flag desecration. Rather, the presence of the cat honors the flag. All flags should be so lucky!

I have a total crush on Inkblot. Isn't he the cutest?

Open thread


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?