Well, this gets us halfway through the year and I now thoroughly regret having started this series. It is really hard to sum up a month’s worth of writing. One thing that has become clear to me is that I’m only interested in certain kinds of things when it comes to politics. I would be best paired with one or more people to do an overall look at the news. That’s kind of what The Reaction is supposed to be. But the truth is that it would take a full time editor to do that.
What’s also interesting is that most of the political stuff has a short lifetime. My writing about film and music seems interesting for a lot longer. This may cause me to change the way I cover politics. I know there is an ongoing complaint that my political coverage assumes too much knowledge. We’ll see if anything changes when I look back next year.
May was a big month, because we published our 2000th Article. Of course, later in November, we published our 3000th article and didn’t even mention it. Regardless of what else you can say about Frankly Curious, we grind out content. And I read a lot of blogs, and in my not at all humble opinion, the quality of the content here is quite high. But that probably says more about the quality of the writing in the blogosphere than it does my skills.
I wrote a lot about immigration reform during this month. Just like gun control, I was pushing hard against this idea that something was going to happen. And it turned out to be exactly the same as with gun control. The proposed law was so watered down that I barely supported it and then it didn’t even get a vote because the Republicans are now building suburbs to Crazytown. It gets tiring. I know I’m a smart guy, but the people I read are at least as smart as I am. Yet again and again they make this mistake of thinking the world of politics is the way they think it ought to be, not the way that it is.
So I rarely wrote about Republicans on the immigration issue. What is there to say? Basically: they hate immigrants. If there is one thing that most defines the conservative movement in this country it is racism. So even though big business wants a bunch more low-paid workers, the racism trumps that for the GOP. That’s all I really know about the immigration issue when it comes to the Republicans and that’s really all there is to know. The only reasonable discussion of immigration on the right is about H1-B Visas and how businesses can get cheap labor. There is no discussion at all about what the issue means broadly. Conservatives are fine to have illegal immigration be our dirty little secret that keeps the gardens of the rich well tended for little money. So the issue for me is why liberals pretend that there is any kind of conversation going on with conservatives. There isn’t, but a lot of really smart liberals keep hoping.
As many of you know, one of my filial obligations is to go see action movies with my older brother. In May, I went to see the terrible Iron Man 3 with him. I mention it only because I managed to write three articles about it! The first was Physics in Iron Man 3. That was a fun one. I know that you aren’t supposed to hold action movies to the standards of science. But I thought what I did was very good. The second was Escapism in Iron Man 3. In it, I discuss how the movie works as escapism, even as it mocks the very people who use it as escapism. The third is Humor in Iron Man 3. Basically, it is a love letter to Ben Kingsley who is wonderful and funny in the film.
May, of course, was the month the “scandals” started. I humorously commented on the Benghazi “scandal” with Hillary Killed Foster and Stevens! As I noted from the beginning, there was nothing at all to the IRS “scandal.” It is still amazing to watch how the conservatives get the mainstream (and even liberal) media to play along with their fishing expeditions. There was, of course, a real scandal: the NSA and the Associated Press and all that. But no one was really interested in that, because the conservatives don’t care that America has become a police state. It’s what they want—at least for the “little” people.
Enjoy the entire: May 2013 Archive.
I started June by laying out the basics of an article that I am working on in longer form, False Lessons of the New Democrats. Basically, I’m saying that the Democrats lost the presidency for 12 years because of bad economic luck and Clinton didn’t win the presidency because he was conservative. Any Democrat would have won. But by that time, it had become Democratic doctrine that the party needed to move to the right. And that’s still Democratic doctrine. The party always has to move to the right—at least on economic issues that the wealthy funders care about.
June was also when I got Josh Barro very mad at me. It was actually exciting because it showed that the website is making a bit of an impact. I wrote, Josh Barro Phenomenon. Now, the truth is, I’m rather fond of Barro. But in this case, he was doing his conservative apologetics—defending Chris Christie’s decision to kill the new Hudson River tunnel for mass transit. It was all based on the fact that it was too expensive and there was waste in the project. Well, that’s always the case. That argument can always be made. So Barro was just defending Christie with something reasonable when that wasn’t the real reason that Christie was killing the project.
Well, Barro was very offended and tweeted out how stupid I was. Whatever. It was clear he didn’t finish reading the article. My point was not that the tunnel should be built, but simply that Barro was acting as an apologist for extreme, partisan behavior on the part of Christie. Since that time, I have noticed that Barro has a kind of political crush on Chris Christie. Generally Barro makes a lot of sense, but he just talks gibberish when the issue of Christie comes up. This is something I write about a lot: there is nothing reasonable or moderate about Chris Christie. He is as conservative as they come. And he’s also an asshole. What a great combination! (See What Josh Barro Hasn’t Figured Out Yet for a full discussion of Barro’s confusion on such matters.)
June was also the month I went to a Democratic Party meeting. And I felt so at home that I will never go to another one. They don’t exactly make it easy to get involved. But I’ve figured out that I’m not really the type to help out in that way. I’m socially awkward. I’m at my best doing what I’m doing right now: sitting in front of a computer writing.
If May was the month of “scandals,” then June was the month of Edward Snowden. And oh did many liberals fail their final exams on liberal fundamentals. Sure, the conservatives hated him. But far too many liberals were skeptical or worse. Looking back on it now, how can anyone question that Snowden was anything but a hero. Without him, we never would have had that “conversation” that Obama was promising us. Our country’s treatment of people like Snowden just disgusts me. This is the kind of nonsense that made me think the Soviet Union was bad when I was a kid. People had to flee the USSR just because they told the truth. Well, that’s the USA today. Are we proud?
Enjoy the entire: June 2013 Archive.