Home | Away

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I Can’t Stop

Somewhere in Scott Rettberg’s fascinating and protean hypertext novel The Unknown, there’s a character named Michael Bérubé who feeds a jukebox full of Motown tunes.  I just want to set the record straight on this.  I know it’s “fiction” and all, but Scott and I were not in the Bread Company in Urbana, Illinois, we were in a bar in downtown Cincinnati; and I was not playing Motown, I was playing a series of Al Green’s early-70s hits (this was in 1996, and you couldn’t find things like “Love and Happiness” and “You Ought to Be with Me” on just any old jukebox), and of course the Reverend made his recordings somewhat further to the south.

Everything else in The Unknown is true, however.

Anyway, for Xmas Janet got (among other things) Mr. Green’s latest, I Can’t Stop, and I’ve been listening to it these past few days, and it’s just great.  Kind of eerie, really, in that the whole thing is so thoroughly neo-70s, from the cover art to the last details of the mixing and recording.  But then, I also enjoyed more than half of Al Green’s other post-70s reappearance in pop, 1995’s Your Heart’s In Good Hands, especially “What Does It Take” (a great and still underappreciated groove).

Posted by Michael on 01/08 at 05:53 AM
(1) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

American Studies Association plenary address

The following is the text of the talk I delivered at the 2003 American Studies Association conference in Hartford, back in October.  I was on a plenary panel with Tariq Ali and Judith Butler; the moderator was Ruth Gilmore.  We spoke in alphabetical order, which meant that I had the unenviable task of following Tariq Ali, not that following Judith Butler would have been any easier.  As someone who supported the war in Afghanistan but strongly opposed the war in Iraq, I was in the distinct minority in a ballroom of 300-400 people-- for the former reason, not the latter, of course.

Good evening.  It is an honor to be asked to participate in this plenary session, on such a pressing topic, in such depressing times.  It is all the more an honor for me to be in such company, among people whose work I admire, because over the course of the past year and a half, I have found, not always to my surprise, that there are some precincts on the American left where I am no longer welcome.  But wherever and whenever I am given the opportunity, I will continue to try to put into practice what I learned years ago from Stuart Hall’s epochal readings of Thatcherism.  After 9-11, it has appeared to me that the only way for dissident intellectuals in the United States to oppose the Bush imperium cogently and effectively was to practice a Gramscian politics of persuasion rather than a voice-in-the-wilderness politics of declamation and denunciation.  It seemed, and it still seems, to me that the task before the left in the US is to learn to speak with people who do not share the fundamental assumptions of the left, who cannot recite all our articles of faith, but who might be persuaded that the proper response to the attacks of September 11 lay in isolating and neutralizing al-Qaeda, strengthening international systems of governance, and shoring up domestic civil services and public health systems without eroding the civil liberties of innocent people, particularly noncitizens.

Now, I have been misunderstood on this count before, and though I’m sure I?ll be misunderstood again, I’m going to give it another try.  In his recently published book, Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, Rahul Mahajan writes that in 2002, the antiwar left was “afflicted with a variety of self-appointed spokespeople who were very careful to tell us the right and wrong ways to oppose the war.” About these spokespeople-- who happen to include me-- Mahajan writes, “without delving too much into their tendentious reasoning, or into their total lack of contribution to any antiwar movement, their continuing role now is very clear.  They were and are trying to keep the antiwar movement both from becoming a more sustained movement and from being an anti-imperialist movement.” This is actually wrong on both counts: what I wanted for the antiwar movement was precisely that it would be a more sustained movement, a movement capable of rallying around a principle more nuanced and more long-lived than “no blood for oil.” And I thought I was clear when I wrote, after Afghanistan, that the challenge “is to learn how to be strenuously anti-imperialist without being indiscriminately antiwar. It is a lesson the American left has never had to learn - until now.” I wrote that because I believe we have been in more or less open conflict with al-Qaeda for the past five years, and that although they are nebulous and stateless, they certainly understand themselves to be at war with us.

Perhaps I was not clear about this.  But it should be clear now, as it was clear to many of us (but not enough of us) three years ago, that the question before us in 2000 was, in part, a question of whether we could keep far-right lunatics like Cheney and Perle safely on the other side of the Potomac for another four years, lining their oily pockets in the case of Cheney and writing sci-fi fantasy Project for the New American Century “white papers” on the remaking of the Middle East in the case of Perle.  And this point speaks to two of the entrenched habits from which the intellectual left should try to wean itself.  First, the notion that national elections, in which the beliefs and desires of the intellectual left are shared by a small minority of the electorate, should be conducted by means of “expressivist” politics, as a matter of voting for the candidate you most believe in.  I believe the only way the Democratic Party is going to nominate a presidential candidate I truly love in my lifetime is if movement progressives begin to try to seize control of the party over the course of the next forty years the way movement conservatives moved the center of gravity in the GOP from Dwight Eisenhower to Tom DeLay in the last forty years.  Until then, I will consider national politics in the US largely a matter of trying to prevent the most egregious lunatics from running the asylum, and I will criticize anyone who professes indifference as to whether people like Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Feith, Ashcroft, Bolton and Negroponte are given access to the levers of global power.  The second habit from which the intellectual left should wean itself is the tiresome and morally bankrupt pretense that all the critics of Chomsky, Herman, Cockburn and company are craven, corporate K Street neoliberals and/or Friends of Bush.

Ed Herman is the master of this genre, unilaterally declaring who is and is not “on the left” and denouncing even publications like the Nation and In These Times as organs of “corporate mass media” whenever they publish something he doesn’t like.  Last fall Herman published a nasty piece of work, called “The Cruise Missile Left,” about which he is apparently so pleased that he has made it into a series.  The opening sentence of his initial essay reads as follows: “A prominent set of commentators claiming to speak from the left have aligned themselves with the national leadership in support of an aggressive military interventionism and projection of power abroad.” These figures, who, Herman tells us, are not really on the left, include Michael Walzer, Todd Gitlin, Marc Cooper, David Corn, Christopher Hitchens, and myself.  But the astonishing thing about this list is that, whatever the failings of its individual members (and Gitlin was wrong about identity politics eight years ago, just as I believe Cooper was wrong about Kosovo), every single person on it, with the notorious exception of Hitchens, for whom I will carry no water today, had openly and unambiguously refused to align themselves with the national leadership in support of an aggressive military interventionism and projection of power abroad.  We all opposed Bush’s war in Iraq, and we all opposed the Bush-Cheney “National Security Strategy” released in September of 2002.  (It’s interesting that two of the most intellectually serious leftists who supported a military response in Afghanistan, Richard Falk and Ian Williams, are not on this list.  It’s easy enough to have a go at Hitchens, certainly-- but Falk and Williams are much more careful thinkers, and much harder to refute or rebuke.) Herman’s ignoble but self-gratifying task, then, is-- and has been for the past year-- to show how other leftists’ opposition to war in Iraq is in fact a form of support for war in Iraq.  The logic at work here runs as follows: you are with us, or you are with the Bush administration.  I would hope that in the future, this kind of Manicheanism should remain confined to the Bush administration.

Herman proceeds by showing that the cruise missile leftists supported retaliatory strikes against the Taliban, whereas Herman himself, even in December 2001, did not consider the Taliban worth the trouble: as he put it, “the idea that the Taliban is a fascist and expansionist threat, and that Islamic fundamentalism more broadly speaking is the same, doesn’t hold water.” One wonders just how far Islamists would have to reach-- beyond, say, Kabul, Lagos, New York, and Bali-- before Herman would consider them “expansionist,” and how many more Muslims they would have to kill, never mind non-Muslims, before Herman would consider them sufficiently dangerous to warrant consideration from the left.  But speaking only for myself, I believe there is a world of difference between “regime change” in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and I can say this without condoning every US action in Afghanistan and even while acknowledging that the Bush-Cheney program in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban has looked as if it were designed to produce a resurgence of al-Qaeda in that part of the world.  The difference is this: the military strikes in Afghanistan were retaliatory-- retaliation against the only state controlled by al-Qaeda, the only state from which they could establish training camps and plan future actions.  And as I said earlier, al-Qaeda had been at war with the US since the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the attack on the USS Cole.  Now, it happens to be true that some populations around the globe have good reason to consider the US their enemy, and some of them would find ready sympathizers within the US, also for good reason; but by any leftist standard I can credit, al-Qaeda is not one of them.

The military operations in Iraq, by contrast, represent a decisive and perhaps irreversible step in US foreign policy: over that threshold, we are explicitly engaged in a pre-emptive, imperialist and potentially neocolonialist enterprise, even if, like Paul Wolfowitz or Robert Kaplan, you believe that we are doing it for the good of the planet, as opposed, say, for the good of the senior officials of Halliburton.  That is why I opposed the war in Iraq: not simply because it would cost too much or put Americans in harm’s way but because it represented the triumph of the neoconservative and explicitly imperialist program for US foreign policy (as contrasted with the covertly imperialist or imperialist-by-proxy or imperialist-in-denial program, as Amy Kaplan pointed out last night).  To oppose the neocon program, as many liberals did, by suggesting that Iraq was a distraction from al-Qaeda and Afghanistan was to miss the point (these liberals, including Al Gore, were right, but they missed the point); for Cheney and Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle, the whole PNAC crew, it was the other way around: for them, after 9/11, Afghanistan was a distraction from the redrawing of the Middle East beginning with Iraq.  I want to stress this point, and I want especially to stress how counterintuitive it is: for PNAC, al-Qaeda itself was not even so much a pretext as a distraction.  Iraq was Item A from the very start, indeed from the founding PNAC memo of 1998, regardless of who was actually responsible for September 11.

To some extent, it is understandable that marginalized left intellectuals might respond to the events of the past two years by circling the wagons when people like me take issue with Noam Chomsky’s declaration, in mid-September 2001, that the US was already guilty of possibly millions of murders yet to be committed in Afghanistan, or when we object to Chomsky’s even earlier declaration, on the afternoon of September 11, that the events of that day are dwarfed by Clinton’s bombing of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in 1998.  And though this shouldn’t be necessary, let me say it again: the bombing of al-Shifa was a crime.  The subsequent coverup was a crime.  And the bombing of the wedding party at Kakrak, Afghanistan in July 2002 was an atrocity.  But it will not do to pretend, as Norman Finkelstein does in his most recent essay, that all critiques of Chomsky are part of a “smear” campaign.  This willingness to construe legitimate disagreement as slander is a hallmark of the Fox News-Karl Rove-Ann Coulter right, and this too should remain confined to the right, where, I believe, it will find its natural home.

Still, I can understand some wagon-circling when it comes to Chomsky.  Chomsky is an intellectual giant, has been a freedom fighter from Vietnam to Central America to East Timor, and is not a threat to the planet.  On all three counts, he is distinguishable from George Bush.  And what’s more, criticisms of public intellectuals on the left do sometimes take the form of smears, as they have in the past month in obituaries of Edward Said filed by Richard Bernstein of The New York Times and the anonymous Ibn Warraq for the Wall Street Journal. But I cannot understand this kind of defensiveness when it comes to the Workers World Party and their near-monopoly over antiwar demonstrations last year.  Here too, I need to clarify the record:  I have never suggested that the WWP or any other neo-Stalinoid splinter group be driven out of the antiwar movement.  I believe that every mass movement is allowed to have its fringy wingnuts, and we are certainly entitled to ours.  But the idea that anyone on the democratic socialist left, like myself, should suppress their criticisms of the WWP in the interests of unity while the WWP itself proceeds with a divisive and sectarian antiwar agenda-- this idea is not worthy of the name. It is simply not the case that International ANSWER organized an antiwar movement; on the contrary, International ANSWER managed to hijack a broad antiwar movement and use it to forward its own agenda, particularly with regard to Israel and Palestine.  If Dick Cheney had gotten together with the editors of the Wall Street Journal to decide how to infiltrate the left and drive Americans away from the antiwar movement, they could not have done better than to form ANSWER.  And it is much too late in the day for the far left to pretend that anti-ANSWER critics like myself and David Corn are the kind of anti-Communists who would’ve washed our hands of the Scottsboro Boys because they were being defended by the CPUSA.  The leaders of the WWP, supporters of North Korea, Slobodan Milosevic, and the massacre in Tiananmen Square, are not your grandfather’s Communist Party, and the US left will never mount an effective opposition to the Bush imperium if we tell ourselves we just need to party like it’s 1933.

Opposition to our occupation of Iraq is growing, but it is for the most part a narrowly pragmatic and self-interested opposition, based largely on the costs of war to Americans in terms of budgets and bodybags.  I want to forge a broad front of opposition to Bush and PNAC long before they invade Syria, long before they have given Ariel Sharon the go-ahead for massive “transfers” and ethnic cleansing in the Occupied Territories.  But a principled left can’t argue against our misadventure in Iraq simply on the basis of budgets and bodybags.  It may nevertheless be possible, in many counties of this country, to argue from the left that global empire is, finally, not in the nation’s long-term best interest.  It may sound to some of you like a timid, nationalist argument, one that leaves the idea of the “national” interest intact.  And I was reminded last night that right-wing anti-imperialism, such as Pat Buchanan’s, is of no use to us; an anti-imperialism founded on nativism and xenophobia is indeed worse than useless.  But arguing that imperialism is bad for the US itself is no more timid and no more compromised, I think, than the parallel argument that Sharon and his fellow Likudniks will ultimately degrade and destroy the very idea of Israel.  If there has been one unexpected development in the national security apparatus in the past two years, it has been the gradual discovery that there are indeed many people in the military and in the intelligence services who do not want to see the United States take irrevocable steps toward a pre-emptive military policy and an explicitly imperialist relation to the rest of the globe.  Figures like Rand Beers, Joseph Wilson, and General Anthony Zinni probably do not read Z Magazine-- I don’t think they even read Dissent.  And their opposition to American empire is couched largely in terms of American national self-interest.  But as the American left tries slowly to regain some of the ground and some of the constituencies we have lost since 9-11, we cannot afford to ignore such potential allies in the struggle against the Project for the New American Century, and we cannot afford to ignore the potential of appeals to an enlightened and anti-imperialist national interest.

Postscript:  The very first “question” from the floor came from a man who called this talk “disgraceful” and claimed that I had, in fact, “smeared” Chomsky by claiming that he had accused the US of “possibly millions” of deaths in Afghanistan.  I referred the questioner both to Chomsky’s Radio B92 (Belgrade) interview of September 18, 2001 and the New York Times article of September 16, 2001 which Chomsky was at once citing and inflating, but only to assure the audience that I was not making up the charge-- that far from “smearing” Chomsky, I was quoting him directly.  But this was, of course, lost on the questioner himself, who likewise did not understand (and I did not want to up the agon ante by pointing this out at the time) that his question had in fact (unfortunately, but quite dramatically) confirmed my claim that the far left now construes legitimate disagreement as slander.

Posted by Michael on 01/07 at 06:07 AM
(72) TrackbacksPermalink

I do this, I do that

During the holidays I began to think seriously about this blogging phenomenon, and whether in fact I have the time to do it responsibly.  I originally thought of this website as a public place to store my academic and generalist essays, and make them accessible to Internet readers-- not really as a daily journal or a site for news and notices (that’s one reason why we never adopted Moveable Type or permalinks).  Over the past year, especially during the runup to the war in Iraq, I posted links to all kinds of essays, especially the work of Ian Williams, since I’m a charter member of his fan club.  But I’m not sure I can do this kind of thing on a regular basis, in all honesty.  Here’s why.

Ordinary professional life

Over the past ten years I’ve been asked more times than I can count (though usually politely) just how the hell I have the time to do X.  Some people have assumed that I have one of those special named-chair deals where I teach courses only once during each sunspot cycle; other people assume that I hide myself away in carrels and coffeehouses, scribbling madly while my colleagues are busy running the department; still others assume that I have a phalanx of babysitters and nannies raising my children while I do the dirty work of writing about them.

The truth is that most of my life is spent in tasks so utterly mundane and banal that it would require new developments in narrative theory simply to try to relate them.  This year I’m chairing the English department’s tenure and promotion committee, and we’ve had ten-- count ‘em, ten-- cases to adjudicate.  I can say nothing about any of them except the obvious, namely, that this kind of work is excruciatingly difficult and time-consuming.  I also sit on the advisory board of Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities, whose fall-semester workload-- judging submissions and proposals for released time, graduate student research support, team-taught courses, and so forth-- entailed three or four meetings and a mess of reading material that arrives in my mailbox in large manila envelopes.  I also serve on the advisory board of Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute (an ethics institute founded by people named Rock, natch) and on the college’s Research and Graduate Studies Office committee.  And last but not least, I chair the department’s Strategic Planning Committee.  All in all, this means I’m in for more meetings this year than any three employees in Dilbert’s office.  But then again, it’s important (if invisible) work, and part of the ordinary machinery of campus citizenship.  I’ll be quite happy to rotate off three of those committees in May, I assure you, but still, I consider them to be part of my ordinary professional life.

I also serve on the Modern Language Association‘s Executive Council, which means, among other things, that I’m a trustee of the MLA with a fiduciary duty toward the organization (there’s a whole handbook on what this means for nonprofit organizations, and my copy is right here in my home office)-- and that I go to two-day EC meetings three times a year, in February, May, and October.  The October meeting is actually four full days for me, because I was elected to the EC by way of the Delegate Assembly:  I am, so to speak, the People’s Candidate (and the people, united, will never be defeated, as you surely know), but it also means that I serve on the Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee for my entire term (2002-2005) though I only have a DAOC vote in 2003 and 2004 (for reasons much too boring to explain), and the DAOC meets in October too.

This term I’m teaching an undergraduate survey, African American Novel II (I’m going to start with Zora Neale Hurston and end up with Colson Whitehead), and a graduate seminar entitled “What Was Cultural Studies?” (I’m going to start with Raymond Williams and end up with Thomas Frank).  The undergraduate course meets MWF, so I expect I’ll be kept busy on that front, and though I’ve taught the graduate seminar before (in 2003, for the very first time, actually), I find that seminars usually require about three times as much prep time as surveys.  But I’m looking forward to these courses.  Compared to all that committee work, teaching is the fun stuff.  It’s always intellectually challenging and it’s occasionally vexing or terrifying, but when it goes really well, there’s no question-- it’s truly a pleasure.

I have a couple of essays forthcoming in the spring, I think (depending on other people’s production schedules)-- one from The Common Review on Western Civ courses, one on Colson Whitehead in a collection from the Dalkey Archive Press, one on Christianity and disability (a solicited reply to an essay by Stanley Hauerwas), and an essay on Stanley Fish and the strange fate of 1970s reader-response criticism (in a collection edited by Gary Olson and Lynn Worsham).  I also have a couple of stray things in the hopper, like the seven 1000-word entries I wrote on (in alphabetical order) disability, empiricism, experience, materialism, objectivity, pragmatism, and relativism for a project called New Keywords and edited by Tony Bennett, Larry Grossberg, and Meaghan Morris.  Those entries turned out to be some of the most difficult things I’ve done in the past few years.  But my biggest item for 2004, I hope, will be the publication (finally! after a couple of years of my dithering and dallying!) of a volume I’ve edited for Blackwell, titled The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies.  The contributors are John Frow, Rita Felski, Jane Juffer, Jonathan Sterne, David Sanjek, David Shumway, Barry Faulk, Irene Kacandes, Steve Rubio, and Laura Kipnis-- and the cover will be fabulous, too.  So there’s always that to look forward to.  Don’t forget to deluge Blackwell with requests for course copies.

I also have to write two talks this semester and finish one essay and one encyclopedia entry.  And then this summer I can get down to some real work.

Ordinary personal life

On weekends I take Jamie swimming at the local gym after he’s watched all his morning shows on PBS Kids.  He’s gotten immeasurably better at swimming in the past year: when I joined this gym (for its pool, with Jamie in mind) he started off needing a flotation belt and he was skittish about jumping into the deep end (he was 11).  Now he swims unaided (albeit in an unorthodox, sea-lion-ish fashion) all around the pool with great ?lan.  Janet and I trade off the weekday duties-- dropping him off to school, picking him up from afterschool, doing his homework with him, getting him ready for bed, etc.-- but he seems to have assigned to me, exclusively, the delightful task of reading chunks of the Harry Potter series to him before he goes to sleep.  We’re already more than halfway through Goblet of Fire, the fourth book of the five, and he gets it, he really really gets it.  Also he thinks he should be the one who takes Hermione to the Yule Ball.

The past few days have been full of petty tasks.  I’ve wanted to post a new year’s announcement of some kind, and every time I think I have an hour to myself, something comes up.  One day it was balancing the checkbook, then hunting around the house trying to find a new check register when I realized we’d run out, then consulting with Janet about ordering new checks because the last stash I ordered turned out to be aesthetically hideous (by all accounts, including mine), and then spending half an hour running down a spurious late fee charged by some credit card company.  Then there were the innumerable nickel-and-dime details concerning the immediate family task at hand, namely, getting Nick ready to go to Champaign, Illinois to visit childhood friends and build his own computer (don’t bother asking about that one, but I will complain aloud that this little venture has accounted for some negotiating over and troubleshooting with online transactions, purchasing of Greyhound tickets, explaining to said credit card company why the merchandise isn’t being shipped to our house, and so on).  Then there was Nick registering online for a couple of courses at Penn State during his year off from school while fitfully submitting applications to colleges and getting yelled at by parents who take application deadlines more seriously than he.  Today my favorite time-consuming activities were: (a) trying to register for two spring conferences at which I’m a keynote presenter, for goodness’ sake, and discovering that I completely forgot to renew my MLA membership last fall and have to do it right now (hmm-- could this have something to do with the fact that I bypassed the convention itself this year?) in order to register for the disability studies conference at Emory in March; (b) trying to fix the wristband of my new watch with tiny little German tools; and (c) trying to access Penn State’s inaccessible online final exam schedule so that I can complete my syllabus so that I can respond to my department’s request for a copy of my syllabus.  All of this while recovering physically from having played three consecutive one-hour games of ice hockey on Sunday night-- and recovering emotionally from having a wide-open backhand shot from ten feet out in the third game, on a rebound, with the score tied and two minutes left, and snapping it between the goalie’s legs only to have him get a skate on it right at the goal line.  I’d played sluggishly in game one but decently in game two, and desperately wanted to contribute in game three.  I didn’t, and we wound up 3-3.

What’s with the hockey, anyway?

Yes, it takes a lot of time to play two concurrent 40-game seasons during the academic year, even if the games are only an hour long.  But as you might imagine, it’s a wonderful break from matters academic (I don’t know of any other faculty members who play), quite apart from being a thrilling and demanding game in and of itself.  I played the game in childhood through college, but gave it up after getting mononucleosis and learning to play drums in 1979, my sophomore year (though the mono had no causal relation to the drums).  In my second season at Columbia I rang up four hat tricks in four consecutive games, but we were a club sport playing in the New York-area Metro League-- a very casual team by any measure.  (At the time of my little streak I think we had eight regular players.) Anyway, when I left New York for graduate school I left my equipment and sticks with a friend, and didn’t even skate again for years.  But then I started playing four years ago and quickly realized that it was not only an avenue to good clean fun and general mental health, but also the kind of game-- unlike softball or racquetball, the usual faculty pastimes-- that would require me to stay in good cardiovascular shape in order to play at a reasonably competitive level.  So when hockey is going well, it means that everything else must be going well, and that I’m not overloaded with work from 9 am to 9 pm every day.  But when every last second of my day is accounted for and I have no time to work out, then everything suffers-- I get crabby and then I start missing backhands from ten feet out and then I get crabby. . . .  So hockey, too, takes priority over blogging for me.

I’m an academic advisor to four of the Penn State Icers, actually-- this means I meet with them anywhere from once to four times a semester and keep track of their academic records-- and I get two free tickets to any home game I want, if I give the hockey office 24 hours notice.  I go to about three or four games a year, and I take Jamie when I go to Saturday afternoon games; this past November we said hello to one of my advisees as he left the ice after the second period, and he invited Jamie down to the locker room to say hello to all the players.  Jamie responded with hand-rubbing glee, and promptly introduced himself to everyone.  He was a little confused at first, because he’d been in every other locker room in the rink (he sometimes comes along to my Saturday early-morning games) save for the Icers’, but he loved it and came back a second time for more VIP treatment.

And in the time it’s taken me to write this, Janet’s come back from picking up Jamie from the Y, and I have to help with dinner before we see Nick off to the Greyhound station.  It’s really not at all clear that I have time for substantial blogging this spring.  But we’ll see.

Updated (with handy hyperlinks) from yesterday evening.

Posted by Michael on 01/07 at 04:18 AM
(0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, August 08, 1993

Head.  Wall.

We finally have a Democrat in the White House, and guess what happens?  His economic recovery plan runs up against a solid wall of batshit insane Republican opposition and then is left to twist in the wind by some asshole “centrist” Democratic senator from Nebraska.  Damn, I hope this nonsense never happens again.

Posted by Michael on 08/08 at 10:18 AM
(3) Comments • (30) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, January 08, 1985

Testing, testing

Gee, I wonder if this Arpanet thing will ever catch on.  Right now it’s pretty lonely—just a bunch of DoD programmers and contractors, so far as I can see.  But it’s really cool all the same.  Sometimes I think it could almost be like an “invisible web” that can link computer users worldwide, just like in Neuromancer.  That would rock.

I don’t know if anyone will ever read this, but now that I have this amazing Leading Edge computer of my very own, I might as well keep a journal on it.  Sort of like a “log” of my thoughts, grad-school notes, and comments on events of the day.  (Christ, that was the most depressing election I can imagine.  I’m seriously thinking of moving to Canada!) I could call it a “Bérubé Log,” or “blog,” for short.  No one would know what the hell I’m talking about.  But then, that happens all the time anyway.

So Godspeed, my humble blog!  May you someday find a sympathetic reader, or perhaps attract the notice of some kind of futuristic cyberspace casino operator or diet-drug merchant.

Posted by Michael on 01/08 at 02:15 PM
(20) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Page 167 of 167 pages « First  <  165 166 167