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« Massengale on Modernism | Main | Business and Craft in Animation..and the World »

March 19, 2004


Dear Friedrich --

* Kevin Drum, formerly the Calpundit, is now chief bloggeur at The Washington Monthly, here.

* Alan Little (here) points to this excellent and helpful Ken Rockwell piece (here) comparing digital point-and-shoots with digital SLRs. Alan wonders how Itunes might better handle classical music, here.

* First-class online filmcrit: New Zealand's Adrian Hyland (who did a Guest Posting for 2Blowhards here) has an archive of reviews here, and Boston's Mark Delello has stashed some of his own film writing here. Both guys have ferocious minds, turn a snappy phrase, and (best of all) are great fun to compare notes with. During a recent tour 'round the website of the firebreathing architecture and suburbia critic James Howard Kunstler (here), I was surprised to learn that he's also a terrific movie reviewer. Here's a page of his short reviews. I suspect that no one's ever accused Kunstler of being coy about his opinions.

* In recent weeks, Steve Sailer has been even more of a brainy, brave dynamo than usual. Check out these two essays, here and here -- and be sure not to miss his blog, which is the yellow column on this page here. Steve also points to this excellent John Leo piece here about bogus "hate crimes."

* "Anyone who isn't a socialist at 10 has no heart, anyone who still is at 20 has no brains," writes Aaron Haspel here, who grew up a lot faster than I did.

* Where does women's much-noticed cattiness towards other women come from? The Discovery Channel offers a new point of view, here, wisely using a woman writer to deliver the news.

* I found this Atlantic Unbound q&a about race (as in blacks and whites) with the author Debra Dickerson refreshing, here. In this chat here with the Chicago Tribune, Harvard's Henry Louis Gates Jr. says many similar things. I wonder if we're at a turning point in thinking about black/white racial things. (Links thanks to Gavin Shorto, here.)

* Are you still the Rubens buff you once were? If so, you'll probably enjoy this Sebastian Smee review for the Telegraph, here.

* Did I ever link to this page here of games before? They're sweet and simple, but I also find them beautiful and poetic.

* Terry Teachout (here) finds Keaton funnier than Chaplin; George Hunka (here) prefers the guy with the moustache and the cane.

* The standard thing was once to assume that Anglo-Saxons completely overran the native Britons. New evidence reported here suggests that the invading force may have been far smaller than was thought.

* I love Fenster Moop, a new culture/politics blog, here. Fenster has a searching mind, a firm hand on the wheel, and tons of horsepower under the hood.

* The British designer Neville Brody was one of the most influential visual people of the 1980s -- think The Face magazine. DesignObserver's Rick Poynor takes a look back at Brody's significance here.

* The talented young horror-film director Eli ("Cabin Fever") Roth gives an amusing interview to the Telegraph, here.

* I know you're dying to read more about the Post-Autistic Economics network, a ragtag group of heterodox economists I learned about thanks to Jimbo. Like behavioral economists, the Post-Autistics dare to ask, "Well, what if we aren't completely rational?" Here's the group's home page. Here's a good Peter Monaghan introduction to the movement for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

* Most of us have probably spent time looking at paintings by schizophrenics. But how many of us have seen a building designed by a schizophrenic? The very-intense Junker House can be eyeballed and read about here.

* Mike Snider writes here about how his relationship with his daughter fell victim to Recovered-Memory craziness. Both the posting and the sonnet Mike has included are heartbreakers.



posted by Michael at March 19, 2004


Aaron Haspel... who grew up a lot faster than I did.

He appears to have grown up somewhat faster than George Bernard Shaw too...

Posted by: James Russell on March 20, 2004 2:19 AM

Delightful is the amazing combination of intellect and relentless lightheartedness here.

Posted by: P Murgos on March 20, 2004 2:47 AM

Mr. Russell,
Bernard Shaw didn't live to see Soviet Union in all its socialist glory. On the other hand, it took Mr. Filby, f.ex., to experience [very much padded] life on the other side -after the switch with Corvalan, if I'm not mistaken- to get some sense built it in his poor brains. I think that specifically British love of paradox kept the Oxford 4, another example, from due realization, too.
I ceased to be a socialist at 15, but I had and advantage of living inside the paradise- and I was rather slow, too.

Sometimes when I read comments on this site, I wish there were an all-age exchange program , so people could get some "lab practice", so to speak, to their theory, in accordance with Marx principle of primate of material over ideas.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 20, 2004 12:18 PM

About Discovery article: I'm sure this "scientific experiment" got plenty of grants… I happen to think humans (especially women) are a bit more sophisticated animals than evo-biologists want us to believe. Recently I came across funny new translation of Sei Shonagon classic; this is what she says on a subject (in Haian period Japan)
Of course, there is no indication in the text in what precisely day of her cycle she wrote that…

Posted by: Tatyana on March 20, 2004 12:36 PM

Hey, at 15 I was still trying to figure out what "socialism" was. So many people seemed so enthusiastic about it (late '60s), and for the life of me I couldn't make sense of it. Funny: many of them still seem enthusiastic about it, or something like it anyway.

P Murgos: Thanks, and here's hoping it's fun to explore some of the links. There's so much interesting, happening stuff out there I always wind up feeling bad I don't have the energy (or, to be honest, organizational abilities) to link to even more of it.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 20, 2004 12:37 PM

Kuntsler is also a novelist. I just saw his latest,"Maggie Darling", at Barnes & Noble!

Posted by: Michael Serafin on March 20, 2004 12:39 PM

Oops, sorry - link doesn't work. See here:

Oh, and on a different topic- Fenster Moop might want to look up Lileks notes on Times Square'article by Gopnik. Interesting juxtaposition.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 20, 2004 12:45 PM

On the 2nd thought, it's impolite of me to send you searching for my quotes elsewhere. So, here it is:

quote* I will never understand men. Their emotions are just really strange, and I just can't work out why they behave the way they do.

I mean, you'll hear about a man who leaves a really pretty woman, and goes off and marries an ugly one. What? Why don't men from the Palace pick the best looking, best-bred girl they can find? It's not like there aren't many of us around.

And aren't they supposed to be romantic? Even if she's way out of his league, isn't he supposed to get all obsessed and pine for her forever?

And when they do get obsessed, it's still really strange. I've heard of men getting so hooked on a girl who everyone's talking about that they'll fall over themselves trying to marry her - even if they've never met her!

Or how can a man possibly love a woman that even the other women think looks ugly? I just do not understand.

I remember a wonderful little girl, really pretty, good hearted. She sent a lovely poem in her excellent handwriting to the man she was after, but he mailed him back with some pretentious garbage. Never even visited her. She was broken-hearted, poor thing, but he didn't seem to care; he had it going with some other woman. We are all really pissed off with his behaviour, even though it had nothing to do with us. The girl's family were up in arms too. But he just didn't seem to care.

Men! *end of quote.

Sorry for so many entries, won't do it again.

Posted by: Tatyana on March 20, 2004 2:17 PM

Tatyana -- So men are confusing too? With a few exceptions, most of us seem about as complicated as Labrador Retrievers to me, but maybe that's not how it seems to women. And we probably have our own mysterious cycles too.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 20, 2004 2:33 PM

Tatyana -- I don't know how many top dog dominant males go for ugly women. But I'd hazard a guess: 1 in a 1,000.
No. The sad fact for the rest of us guys is that the best in the breed are pretty much taken by the best in the breed.
And as for the man who didn't pursue the girl who sent him the poem? Maybe she scared him.

Posted by: ricpic on March 21, 2004 1:47 PM

Yes I am a Paul Rubens buff. I think PeeWee's Playhouse was fantastic!

Of course in light of his most recent, ahem, legal issues, it may not be politically correct to admit so. Such are the fleeting whims of public taste.

Whadda mean not that Rubens? There's another?

Posted by: Biased Observer on March 21, 2004 5:18 PM

Biased Observer---Cute, very cute.

Tatyana---My goodness, you sound as if looks were a person's only quality! I went out recently with a man who told me that he always says a woman only has four qualities: looks, looks, looks, and looks. He proudly announced people refer to him as "Shallow Hal." (This was a set-up--I'd never spoken with him when we made our plans, trust me). When he called to ask me out again, I declined. Do you think it was his looks...or perhaps something else?

Posted by: annette on March 22, 2004 10:08 AM

May I remind you I was merely quoting a Japanese courtesan from 10th century and also - as a response to Michael's link to Discovery' article, whish states that women more hostile to other women if the latter are good-looking?
I will have to remember in the future every time I quote something to include the following disclaimer (which I lifted from one of Pelevin's novels):
...The author's opinions do not necessarily coincide with his point of view...
[Annette, since you can't see my facial expression - that was a joke]
I know of two such examples personally. In both cases men were, as you say, 'topdog dominant males' and the women- ugly as hell (in my and other girls opinion). I suspect explanation of their choice is somewhat more complicated and there were some reasons beyond purely visual...

Posted by: Tatyana on March 22, 2004 11:50 AM

Tatyana---Got it. I guess a courtesan would in fact probably think that way. (Ah, next lifetime, when I am a courtesan, I will have to remember this type of thinking ...).

Ricpic---I think yer kiddin' yerself. Top dog males want submissiveness more than anything, not beauty. IMHO.

Posted by: annette on March 22, 2004 11:58 AM

One rather tipsy evening a friend of mine went on for 10 minutes about his requirements for a girlfriend—good looking, non-smoker, big tits, not too loud, likes cats, no more than one piercing each ear, no snoring, won't complain about how he dresses, on and on and on. Then he paused and said "But you know, someone just sits down and talks to you and you're in love."

Michael B—thank you.

Posted by: Mike Snider on March 22, 2004 12:01 PM


That you actually find Steve Sailer's nonsensical blatherings about a "African-style family structures" credible says wonders about your own prejudices.

Sailer does not know the first thing about Africans or their ways of life - being one myself, I recognize his complete ignorance for precisely what it is - but that has never stopped him from indulging in all sorts of idiotic speculations that could only be credible to a mind already half-way convinced of the notion that Africans must all be feckless, irresponsible, oversexed brutes.

I'll be generous and assume you simply didn't know better; I suggest you find yourself more credible sources of information on racial matters than Mr. Sailer, who may know how to put together glib rationalizations of his crude stereotypes, but doesn't have a clue what he's talking about 3/4 of the time. Any fool can set up a website and start his own "Human Biodiversity Institute", and in this case one fool has. Here's a question that ought to make you think: when was the last time the likes of Mr. Sailer ever submitted their theories for peer review?

Posted by: Abiola Lapite on March 22, 2004 7:01 PM

If anyone's wondering what Neville Brody has been up to since the roaring 80s: His company Research Studios has a very approachable web folio.

No fancy schmancy Flash nonsense here, just a lot of very competent & occasionally stunning work, well presented. Am I the only one who envies Brody for making a career in typography look easy, fun and lucrative?

Posted by: Toby on March 25, 2004 7:40 AM

Mr. Lapite:

I'm confused. You claim Steve Sailer knows nothing about the topic, and strongly infer that he is a bigot. Hey, if you're in a position to blow his arguments out of the water, go for it. I assume (given your intimate knowledge of the topic) that should be a trivial task for you. But to simply raise the notion of Mr. Sailer's racism as an 'argument-ender' seems, how to put it, rather lame. I mean, even granting (as a hypothetical) racial animus on the part of Mr. Sailer doesn't discredit his arguments, does it? Or did I miss P.C. Logic 101?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on March 25, 2004 11:44 AM

Abiola -- Sailer's a journalist and a writer of op-ed-ish things, and last I knew journalists and op-ed writers didn't submit their stuff for peer review. I don't think he claims to have done original research; what he does do is take certain discussions public. I've always found his work ballsy and interesting and I've never detected any ill intentions in it. The handful of times I've been familiar with the material he's discussed, I've always been struck by how fairly he's treated it.

But happy to admit I'm anything but a specialist or expert myself, just a fan of open discussion, and I'm glad Sailer's playing a role in opening up a variety of discussions. Grateful, actually. We try to kick open a few discussions here too.

But what makes you think Sailer's portraying anyone as brutes? And if you think he's wrong or operating out of animus, why not contact him? I've swapped a few emails with him and have always found him smart, quick to respond and friendly. His email address is on his website.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 26, 2004 6:48 PM

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