Category Archives: politics


“How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

—Henry David Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” (1849)

Bet on It

If a public man tries to get your vote by saying that he will do something wrong in your interest, you can be absolutely certain that if ever it becomes worth his while he will do something wrong against your interest.

—Theodore Roosevelt


Over the Top


Love in the Time of Rioting

“Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love.” —Bill Hicks


Christopher Hitchens

There’s a rather lengthy profile of Christopher Hitchens in the May 2008 Prospect which contains some fascinating insights into his personal life and work habits, as well as his protean political views. Of course, it’s not really cool to like Hitchens – he is someone, after all, who isn’t afraid to savagely attack his friends in print – but as a polemicist he’s second to none, and I admire him for that. That and his thick skin.  The following two quotes, in particular, stood out to me:

  • “Christopher Hitchens’s apartment is curiously unchanged in the 13 years since I first visited him in Washington. A portrait of him and his wife, screenwriter Carol Blue, is still unframed. There is little art on the walls, few travel mementos; just bookshelves, a spacious living room, a modest kitchen and an annex for the alcohol. The aesthetic is not so much utilitarian as uncluttered of anything that would distract from the essentials of his life: reading, meeting people, drinking, laughing, arguing, writing.”
  • “The appearance he gives of living improvisationally must obscure a ferocious interior organisation. Articles get written at any time of day or night, with extraordinary speed and fluency—however much he has drunk. He turns out a couple of pieces in the intervals while I’m taking a breather from merely talking.”

More on Mamet

In my previous post, I shared with you a recent statement by David Mamet. Mamet’s name has been bandied about the blogosphere of late because of a piece he wrote called “Why I Am No Longer a “Brain-Dead Liberal,’” which appeared in the Village Voice a few weeks ago and created a mild stir. The piece itself is worth reading – if only for the hilarious bit about the World’s Perfect Theatrical Review – as is Counterpunch’s point-by-point response. But for my money, all of the talk about Mamet’s politics isn’t as interesting as the new movie he has coming out: Redbelt, which looks to me like Karate Kid-for-adults. (That, by the way, is a compliment.) As of this writing, there are two trailers online; each gives a different impression of the movie, and each, I think, is worth watching.

The Politics Behind Facebook

Tom Hodgkinson gives Facebook a well-deserved drubbing.

Money quote:

For my own part, I am going to retreat from the whole thing, remain as unplugged as possible, and spend the time I save by not going on Facebook doing something useful, such as reading books. Why would I want to waste my time on Facebook when I still haven’t read Keats’ Endymion? And when there are seeds to be sown in my own back yard? I don’t want to retreat from nature, I want to reconnect with it. Damn air-conditioning! And if I want to connect with the people around me, I will revert to an old piece of technology. It’s free, it’s easy and it delivers a uniquely individual experience in sharing information: it’s called talking.

Are You Experienced?

Food for thought, courtesy of Slate’s Timothy Noah:

Clinton’s claim to superior experience isn’t merely dishonest. It’s also potentially dangerous should she become the nominee. If Clinton continues to build her campaign on the dubious foundation of government experience, it shouldn’t be very difficult for her GOP opponent to pull that edifice down. That’s especially true if a certain white-haired senator now serving his 25th year in Congress (four in the House and 21 in the Senate) wins the nomination. McCain could easily make Hillary look like an absolute fraud who is no more truthful about her depth of government experience than she is about why her mother named her “Hillary.”