"April Skies" - Jesus and Mary Chain
(A band for whom I have a big soft spot -- they remind me of a Scottish Ramones -- every song sounds more or less the same, but it's a song I really like -- dark and poppy at the same time.)
- I opened the Sunday Review section of the New York Times in bleary-eyed fashion (curse you NCAA)and was treated to two columns devoted to sexual matters in popular culture, one by Maureen Dowd and one by Frank Bruni. I wish this was an April Fool's Day joke, but it does not appear to be. Dowd, ever the ingenue -- she really should be banned from writing about sex -- seems stunned and titillated that sadomasochism exists (despite having perused her brother's copy of the Story of O back in the 70s) and that it is the subject of a popular novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems beyond Dowd's imagination that in the world of S&M a large number (if not a majority) of submissives are men. Bruni, possibly the only person in the world less qualified to write about heterosexual sex than Dowd, (well maybe Rick Santorum too), weighs in as well on women's bleak sexual prospects as evidenced by a new HBO series Girls and, of course, Fifty Shades of Grey. Nicholas Kristof rounds out the day with yet another installment in his 5,000 part series of sexual trafficking, in this case his crusade against ads in the Village Voice for prostitution. (I knew I was desperate when I found myself seeking solace in a halfway sensible Thomas Friedman article.) All of this seems to me to part and parcel of a certain kind of middle-aged elite hysteria against sexual freedom for women -- this would be the liberal side of the hysteria. For the right wing side of this hysteria I invite you to read the comments to a sex and feminism-positive piece by Hannah Rosin in the Wall Street Journal. Amazing stuff if you can get through it.
- On the other hand, I quite liked this piece in the Baffler by Thomas Frank in which he notes the amazing fact that a decade of unmitigated folly by Washington elites -- in both the media and in policy circles -- has prompted virtually no recriminations. The hideous mistakes and blinkered ideology behind the twin stock market collapses of the decade, the bubbles in high tech and real estate and their consequences, the disaster of financial deregulation, and, for variety, the debacle of the Iraq war, have cost no one their slots on the Sunday talk shows or their column spaces or quotes. Frank, who is at his best in this kind of writing, attributes this outcome to an ethic of perverse solidarity and ideologically like-mindedness among those who form the narrow segment of political and economic thought deemed acceptable in Washington. (Big tip o' the hat by the way to Kathleen Geier who is back and really lighting it up on the weekends at the Washington Monthly.)
- Coincidentally, Scott LeMieux had a piece at LG&M yesterday in which he sagely states the same argument regarding the ACA that I was asserting in comments the other day -- that the law was inherently constrained by the policy prescriptions that would be acceptable to senators like Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Blanch Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and Joe Lieberman, and that no bully pulpit in the world was going to give Barack Obama significant leverage with respect to these lawmakers.
- Speaking of the ACA, Suliivan had a piece the other day in which conservatives were arguing that people on the left were surprised by the hostility of questions from the Supreme Court on the mandate because we live arrogantly inside an ideological bubble. Jonathan Chait has a great, albeit depressing, rejoinder to this. Those of us with legal expertise have generally been most optimistic about the law's prospects because we understand that ample precedent strongly suggests that the law falls comfortably within mainstream commerce clause jurisprudence. Those on the left who view the Republican Supreme Court members as just more right wing politicians in robes have been warning us -- using Bush v. Gore and Citizens United as cautionary examples -- that the conservative (a true misnomer) members of the Court are largely committed right wing ideologues, loyal first and foremost to the cause not the Constitution. I'd like to think this is not the case, but I do worry.
- And just to remind everyone the kinds of things that are at stake. The notion that enormous asshole John Podhoretz, who owes his entire living to his cosmically scummy parents, thinks that covering children up to age 26 is a laughing matter is yet further testament to the fact self-awareness apparently doesn't exist on the right.
Time to do house work -- those goddamned clothes aren't going to fold themselves nor the rugs vacuum themselves. If I only had a slave.
It's open to your thoughts and concerns as always.