Week Resadieu

by zunguzungu

Tom Ricks on the Catch-22 of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

Stars & Stripes reports that an Air Force officer who outed herself as a lesbian was told she has to stay in the military because you can’t out yourself just because you want to get a discharge. As the military newspaper notes, “if you admit to being homosexual you can be discharged from the military, but if you admit it for the purposes of being discharged you won’t be.”

I enjoyed reading this column in an Obi Wan Kenobi voice (“More machine than man, twisted and evil“):

I really believed that in the wake of his Odyssey of scandal and humiliation, there would be a showdown inside Tiger’s soul between the brand and the man. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is no man, only brand. If he wants to dehumanize himself on his own time then more power to him. But this ad dehumanizes all of us. One thing however is abundantly clear: If Tiger loses this weekend, Nike loses as well. Neither deserve to make the cut, on the course or otherwise. Tiger the brand has now wholly consumed Tiger the man.

This bit of genre criticism strikes me as quite dubious:

…Obama later describing his memoir to Remnick as an effort for “a young person to pull strands of himself together into a coherent whole.” Remnick rightly sees that memoir as a bildungsroman in the specifically black form of a “slave narrative,” a story of the rise from dependency to mature self-possession. In order to place himself in that tradition, Obama darkens the early part of the story and lightens the concluding sections. He trims the facts to fit the genre, just as he trimmed the events in his Selma speech to fit the black sermon format. Obama was not literally a slave in his youth, but he was in thrall to false images of his father, fostered by his mother’s protective loyalty to her husband. Since Obama comes to a later recognition of his father’s flaws, the story is crafted to show him shedding false idealism to become a pragmatic realist. The narrative protects him from claims that he is an ideologue or peddler of false hopes.

Not least because what he describes is just a bildungsroman; a slave narrative sort of has to be about, you know, a slave? But the more pernicious aspect is that growing up — in at least Wills’ account of Remnick’s — is here presented as a process of whitening, of organizing the disorganized blackness of his youth into the maturity of a man who’s freed himself from thralldom to his (black) father.

Hari Kondabolu’s modest proposal for health care is brilliant.

I found this quite moving:

“There is some sense in my correspondence with conservatives that I enjoy pointing out their flaws, especially around race. I assure you that this is wrong–and it’s especially wrong around race. Nothing would please me more than for this cruel, long war to finally end. Nothing would please me more than to take off this armor, and get to the things which I love and are original to me–Carolingian Europe, early Islam, and home-made sushi. I want so bad to take up skiing, to drive across Montana and think nothing of being the only black person for miles. I want to not wince when I hear an Elvis Presley record. I want to believe in the police.”

From John Meier’s A Marginal Jew (via):

I remember with a smile how, after discussing the possible celibacy of Jesus during a lecture at the University of California, San Diego, the wife of my professor-host told me that the best proof that Jesus was celibate was that he totally forbade divorce – something no married man would have ever done. This may at first seem just a joke, but I invite the reader to reflect on the different approaches to divorce in the Catholic and Protestant churches and to ponder whether there is a correlation between the legal status of divorce and the marital status of the hierarchy in the discipline of each group. Celibate Catholic bishops and priests teach the Catholic laity that divorce is not permitted, while mostly married Protestant clergy – though certainly not happy with the high divorce rate – generally do allow divorce and remarriage in their churches.

I’ve been saying this for years:

“[Judith] Butler concludes her magisterial analysis with a call for both individual subjects and nations states to be persistently open to the need for more effectively articulated rage in light of the precariousness at the root of our survivability.”

I liked this graph and this one too.

Via Unfashionably Late, a pretty fantastic “what the future will look like” prediction, from Max Nordlau’s 1892 Degeneration:

The end of the twentieth century, therefore, will probably see a generation to whom it will not be injurious to read a dozen square yards of newspapers daily, to be constantly called to the telephone, to be thinking simultaneously of the five continents of the world, to live half their time in a railway carriage or in a flying machine, and to satisfy the demands of a circle of ten thousand acquaintances, associates, and friends. It will know how to find its ease in the midst of a city inhabited by millions, and will be able, with nerves of gigantic vigor, to respond without haste or agitation to the almost innumerable claims to existence.

This week in films:

The Miracle of Morgan Creek — Almost want to get “subversive” out of the toolbox to describe the movie’s take on female sexuality. Almost.

Up in the Air — It had so much going for it, until you suddenly realized you were watching a romantic comedy. Giving it a mildly dark ending doesn’t change that.

Atonement — Kind of great, except Brionny’s end of life talk-show moment was incredibly uncompelling. The whole “I re-wrote it as a happy ending so, in a way, I gave them happiness”; is that supposed to be pathetic?

The French Chef, volume one, “The Potato Show” — Julia Child is a grand dame. And when the potato pancake doesn’t flip the first time, you can just see her grit her teeth and figure out how she’s going to nail it next time.