Friday, August 10, 2007

Some very well said stuff

It's not like I'm widening their audience any or granting them more exposure than they have, but I thought these two posts about vastly different things were so well-put that I had to quote them here:

Glenn Greenwald on our country's torture policies:

"Acknowledging America's crimes in the world remain strictly off-limits in mainstream political discourse, the hallmarks of America-haters and fringe leftists. But the gap between (a) how Americans perceive of themselves and their country and (b) the reality of what we do in the world is vast, fundamental and still growing.

While American citizens inside of the U.S. still enjoy robust civil liberties as compared to most other countries around the world -- certainly nobody rational would compare the tyranny of a country like Libya to the state of domestic political affairs inside the U.S. -- one cannot say the same for our behavior as a world actor. In that regard, such comparisons are not only plausible but indisputably valid. And to prove that, try to imagine anything more ridiculous or laughable than George Bush standing up today and condemning the Libyan Government for its treatment of detainees in its custody."

Very well said. My only request would be to stop using that silly epithet "serious" as in the Brookings Inst. is "Very very serious" - I get the implication: Anyone who suggests, like Obama, that we go into Pakistan to take out Al Qaeda targets if Pakistan is unable or unwilling is "unserious" - they're supposedly playing a political parlor game made entirely of those dreaded hypotheticals that Hillary Clinton dislikes so much. To deride this way of thinking is not only valid, it's necessary.

Accusing Obama of not being serious about our foreign policy, that his statements are "naive," is kind of like those people who say things like global warming was definitely behind the devastation in New Orleans, and anyone who disagrees is naive or dishonest. It infantilizes the issue by ignoring all of the infrastructural incompetence that preceded and followed the disaster. And don't mistake me for being a man-made- global-warming denier. What many hurricane experts would say is that we must broaden the discussion; all you see is the satellite photo of the disaster, not that season's hurricane predictions, not the headlines in the past about NO's susceptibility to a disaster, and not the bylines of years of infrastructural neglect.

The point is, using silly pejoratives like "serious" or "unserious" distracts (at least it does me) the reader from some very salient points. It's shorthand, I understand, but it's not well-utilized.

Second, from Fire Joe Morgan:

"The larger point here, though, is that if you choose to employ "innocent until proven guilty!" to refer to people who totally definitely cheated, like Barry Bonds: please realize that I completely agree with you that Barry Bonds should not be thrown in jail unless he is actually convicted of a crime in a court of law. But there is no Bill of Rights of Baseball. In fact, the rules governing almost all MLB awards and honors are incredibly vague, and are voted on by either dummy journalists or even dummier fans, and so if I want to use my brain, and mathematical probability -- I wholeheartedly recommend this article at Kermit the Blog, which calculates the odds of Barry hitting 73 at age 37 at one in 53 million -- and the actual sworn testimony of the actual man, and just motherfletching common sense, and I decide that Barry Bonds used PEDs and that because of that he shouldn't be in the HOF, and I have a HOF vote, then sorry, people, but that's fine, and you can't use "innocent until proven guilty" to shame me because it has nothing to do with HOF voting."

My stance has always been utterly inconsistent: If I think a guy's an asshole and I don't like him, I root against him and I hope he fails miserably. If he doesn't fail on the field, I root for other bad things to happen to him: Being tossed in the clink for tax evasion, for instance.

Why is this stance inconsistent, and how do I justify it? Because Albert Pujols has been known to be kind of a dick at times, and I love him for it. Mike the Mad Dog douche bag whatever his name is can say feeble-minded shit like El Hombre is a joke who would never last in a big market, but I love the fact that the man can make withering statements to sports writers and swat dingers like that career-shatterer off Lidge. It just adds to his persona. How is his irascible personality any different from Bonds'? Well, Bonds is singularly unpleasant, for one. Pujols never told a teammate's kid that the kid's dad is a benchwarmer. And, he never did to Hank Aaron whatever it was Bonds did that pissed the old man off so much. Pujols' attitude is on par with everything I ever heard about Bob Gibson - he's a fierce competitor who gets enraged when he doesn't play to his potential. Pujols is the kind of guy who would cold-cock a guy who cut him off in traffic. Bonds is just an asshole.


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