(I did this one by hand.)
Newsflash from the blogosphere! No, not another update on my stance regarding Paul Wolfowitz’s nomination to head the World’s (most powerful) Bank…Rather, consider this an update on the updates! It may come as no revelation to you, the loyal readers of this column, but it has come to my attention that this sophisticated web technology allows me to publicly pontificate multiple times daily, which is a major improvement over my last column-writing gig, whereby I was limited to weekly musings on Chechnya or socialized medicine or bankruptcy bills.
And as part of this exciting era of the 24-hour news cycle in which we live, it remains vital to understand that news happens constantly, consistently, and continually. As such, it stands to reason that we need quality, real-time analysis of the world’s goings-on, right?
With that in mind, then, I continue to point you, the readers, to the smorgasbord of thought and opinion that exists out there on the world wide web. Since having posted my initial musings on Wolfowitz’s anticipated ascendancy to the position of Chief Global Bankman, it has come to my attention that other pundits and news-analysts have also posted their thoughts on this matter. I particularly refer you to one Daily Kos, who, though prone to a bit of foul language here and there, seems to have a remarkable grasp of the dynamics of news analysis.
Furthermore, there is a website entitled Instapundit that is also covering this rapidly-breaking news story. Check it out! Our opinions, like a collective dab of potter’s clay, await these opportunities to be shaped and re-formed!
Greetings, fellow moneymen! Today is a significant day on the global monetary front…with President Bush’s announcement that he was putting forth Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s name as his choice to head the World Bank. By “putting forth his name”, I mean to say, President Bush is pushing for this Wolfowitz fellow to preside over the banking conglomerate, and not merely his “name”. That device is a staple of quality writing, rest assured.
I trust the president’s judgment on this matter, and, more significantly, I approve of his choice. I myself once had the privilege of meeting Paul Wolfowitz eighteen months ago, after he presented a lecture at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government on the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq and topple that monstrous Saddam Hussein figure. There were a number of liberals in the audience that insisted on asking him many pointed questions regarding ill-advised intelligence briefings and bad military judgments, but he deftly brushed aside their trivial concerns with his proclamations that “Evil is as evil does, and Saddam Hussein was and is an evil man.” That shut them up, I’ll tell you. In Latin, I would say, this is a case of ad reducto absurdum, or, better yet, corpus christi.
But I digress. After his lecture, I made my way to the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts on Eliot Street to sample one of their refreshing Caramel Swirl Lattes, a splendid coffee drink the likes of which I haven’t seen outside of Cambridge. As I stood before the counter, clutching this caffeinated treasure in my hands, the clerk began to dole out my change and looked up behind me. I turned, and there he was. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz himself. The architect of the war with Iraq, and Richard Perle’s chief partner in Middle Eastern crimesolving. I smiled at him as he made his way to the counter, and, after tugging delicately at the tie around my neck, I noticed I had inadvertently coated my cravat in the gentle white foam of the Latte in my hands.
Rather sheepishly, I addressed him: “Great speech tonight, Mr. Wolfowitz. Really, truly excellent. Remarkable.” He, in turn, smiled back at me, and motioned towards the clerk behind the counter. “Don’t forget your change, sir,” he then said to me, for, in the midst of my excitement at being in the presence of such a mastermind of war and Western imperialism, I had neglected to gather the various coins that the Dunkin’ Donuts clerk had been holding out for me to collect.
What an attention to fiscal detail this Wolfowitz fellow had that night! It is for this reason, largely, that I am confident that he will be able to responsibly manage and monitor the world’s most significant moneylender and debt creditor. Kudos to you, fine sir, and those that had the courage to nominate you!
Greetings, all, and welcome to my new column for low culture. Since we’ve already been introduced, I’ll just jump right into the fray: we’re going to tackle the hot-button issues, here and now!
First and foremost on the lips of pundits on Capitol Hill is the matter of social security: White House aides will have you believe that it’s in crisis, and needs to be reformed urgently, while Democratic leaders from across the aisle, such as former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, are more temperate about this issue. So, tongues are wagging: what to do about this problem?
In my lecturing days, I used to examine the fallibility of this elaborate system of social-insurance in terms of the following analogy: If your house is on fire, you better get out! The students in my courses, after I would spring this on them with great aplomb, would often look quizzically at one another. The confusion and dismay on their university-trained faces was priceless. And then, of course, an outspoken student would inevitably question my analogy: “Professor Preminger, why would you assume going into the argument that the system is inherently flawed? Is there not room for debate on the solvency of the New Deal’s greatest social legacy?”
While I was technically a guest-lecturer and not a full-fledged professor, I wouldn’t take issue with the phrasing of their questions, and would instead drop the following pearl of wisdom: Social Security, I’d say while putting down my chalk and tugging delicately at my tie (an act which would often leave white marks across my chest), functions as a system of economic redistribution, whereby payments are guaranteed to those who contribute during the course of their lifetime. And what had we learned from the (then-recent) collapse of Polish and Romanian communism, other than that systems of economic redistribution must ultimately result in a subsequent economic collapse that in turn leads to said nation exporting its teenaged daughters abroad to appear in Western pornographic films? Is this the sort of legacy of social security with which we want to be burdened as Americans?
When making this last point, I would always be sure to peer directly at the various co-eds scattered throughout the lecture hall. I wanted them to understand that their livelihoods as future lawyers, doctors, and housewives were in danger if we didn’t open our minds to the prospect of, say, privatizing our support network for the nation’s elderly. (Also, I should add as an afterthought, women are perfectly capable of being lab technicians, programmers, and construction foremen, just to be clear. I don’t want the low culture ombudsman to be over-inundated with anxious remarks from yippity feminists.)
So, returning to the point at hand, social security: is this a net that can afford to catch each and everyone of us, or has this system of public subsidies left the roping on this allegorical net dispersed so widely apart that we will all fall through the cracks someday in the not-too-distant future? And what is under this net, but the vast expanse of the Sea of Lonely Death?
That, my friends, lovers, and countrymen, is a pool in which I don’t want to go swimming.
Title: 2 Million Dollar Baby
Log Line: Sequel to the Oscar winning film. A female boxer from the wrong side of the tracks fights her way back from heaven to kill the man who snuffed her out.
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Buyer: Warner Bros.
Genre: spiritual boxing drama
More: Clint Eastwood will direct, star, and score. Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman will reprise their roles
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has designated a new psychiatric disorder called Paris Syndrome, named for socialite and Reality TV star Paris Hilton.
Paris Syndrome is characterized by an acute sense of empathy towards Paris Hilton, particularly during times of public scandal and embarrassment.
According to Dr. Owen Spielvogel, chair of APA’s gossip- and media-focused Loud Family Institute, “It’s natural to feel a sense of guilt and shame at the pleasure one derives from the travails of Ms. Hilton. She’s a larger-than-life figure, the subject of mockery and contempt. Paris Syndrome is different than mere guilt, something closer to Stockholm Syndrome. It occurs when the individual’s superego overrides the giddy pleasure at Ms. Hilton’s failures and the individual begins to identify with her. ‘What if my personal life got splashed across the internet? What if people openly wished for my death?’ goes the thinking. At that point, Paris Syndrome has set in and psychiatric consultation may be the answer.”
The APA estimates that thousands of Americans, most of whom work in the media or as bloggers (web-loggers), may be afflicted with Paris Syndrome. There is no suggested course of treatment for Paris Syndrome at this time, but according to Dr. Spielvogel, “It passes eventually and the so-called ‘normal’ feelings of Paris Hilton hatred return.” He also notes that a related disorder—Paris Hilton Fatigue, first designated by the APA two years ago—often cancels out Paris Syndrome. “Once the individual grows indifferent to Ms. Hilton and her assorted sex tapes, utterances of racial slurs, bruises, and hacked personal communication devices. It’s likely that Paris Syndrome has passed.”
The APA is the nation’s oldest national medical specialty society with more than 35,000 members, all of whom hate Paris Hilton.
low culture applauds President Bush’s nomination of Nicholas Negroponte to serve as intel chief. As founder and director of MIT’s Media Lab, Mr. Negroponte has done much to further all forms of digital media. His 1995 tome, Being Digital is a remarkably prescient distillation of the computer revolution. Most recently, he has pursued the development of a laptop computer that would sell for under $100. While Mr. Negroponte’s relationship to the intelligence community is as yet unclear, the President’s choice deserves accolades.
There is no getting rid of him. He’s the enigma who came to stay.
– Louis Menand, Mystery Man, The New Yorker, Feb. 14 & 21, 2005.
Enigma my aunt Sally! I am no enigma, I am a man. And since Mr. Menand conveniently forgot to mention a key fact in his little piffle, I must tell you myself: I am still alive.
Of course, I’m not quite as active as I was in the old days: you try donning your top hat and starched collar when you’re nearly 100. These days, my monocle is bifocal and instead of examining butterflies up close, I squint intently at my own dark, brown liver spots.
It wasn’t always so. Back in the old days, I was quite the playboy! In the ’30s, high on all that early New Yorker acclaim (what the limey dame editor of the magazine in its bloated late life would’ve termed “buzz”), I was everywhere, celebrating the glorious literary life with Joey Mitchell, Bunny Wilson, Dotty Parker, and James “Jiminy Cricket” Thurber.
Oh, the gay times we had! And by ‘gay,’ I mean it in the old sense of the word: we drank gin distilled in our bathtubs, danced with negro chorus girls, and on occasion, performed oral sex on each other. (We called it ‘rhinebecking,’ after the quaint little town where Bunny rented a cottage during the summer of ’36.)
From the Idiots What Brung You Enron: 2006 Goverment Budget (via AP)
Line Item: Printing Costs, 2006 Federal Budget, first edition: $10 Million.
Funny Lady: Secretary of State Rice on her first day at the State Department, Jan. 27, 2005 (via Reuters)
“Thank you, thank you. What a great audience out there. Really, I’m not just saying that: you’re a great group. You wanna know another great group? The U.N. Or, as I like to call them, ‘The United Colors of Benetton!’
“Funny thing about the U.N., and this is a true story! I was there a couple of days ago for a big meeting and one of the aides said to me, ‘Do you know where Kofi is?’ So, I looked her dead in the eyes and said, ‘Listen, just ’cause my title says Secretary doesn’t mean I’m gonna get you coffee!’ Oh, boy! She turned green then red then blue: talk about united colors!
“I’m outta time. Good night folks, you’ve been great! Don’t forget to tip your server.”