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Friday, March 06, 2009

The Minds that Move the World

Well, I’m off for “spring” “break” to Cancun.  Actually, we’re visiting Nick in New Haven, then I’m taking Jamie with me to sunny Iowa, and then I have to get myself to an AAUP meeting in Washington, DC.  So lots of traveling, very little blogging, but maybe I’ll wind up with a whole bunch of new travel stories to blog about.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this.  Back when I was the director of Illinois’ humanities program, we had our conferences and our lecture series and such things.  For obvious reasons, it is much more difficult to host such things than to be a guest at them, and the experience taught me not only what it’s like to have Host Anxiety Dreams but also—I hope!—how to be a Good Guest.  What’s it like to deal with the Guest From Hell?  Well, one year, at the urging of a colleague, I booked a speaker who wound up changing his flight arrangements at the last moment, at a stunning cost of $1000, and then cancelled on us anyway.  When he eventually arrived, the next semester, he gave a mildly interesting if off-the-cuff talk, went home, and then sent me an outraged email when his honorarium arrived, for, although it was in the amount we’d stipulated, it was not in the amount to which he had (quite quickly!) become accustomed.  When I pointed this out to him, things quickly escalated to the point at which he threatened to tell my dean on me, to which I replied, please do, by all means, and I will be happy to copy your department chair and dean on all our correspondence, going back to your initial change of travel plans and subsequent cancellation.  That ended that little exchange, and I don’t believe we’ve kept in touch since.

Anyway, having encountered a few Guests From Hell, I’ve sometimes wondered what it would be like to host an entire Speakers’ Series From Hell.  And now I know!  Check out this parade of horribles calling itself “The Minds That Move the World.” Holy greataunt of Moloch!  It’s like watching cable teevee, live—for only $49.50 to $179.50 a seat!  (Plus processing, handling, shipping, and convenience fees.) The most delicious event in this world-historical lineup, surely, has to be Janet Reno, Alberto Gonzales, and John Ashcroft discussing domestic and international law.  Dang, Francisco Franco wasn’t available?  What’s up for next year, the John Yoo / Dick Cheney Variety Hour?  And hey, look here!  It appears that “VIP tickets include a formal pre-show reception in the Roxy Suite with each evening’s speakers. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served and each guest will have a photo opportunity with the speakers.” Mmm, mmmm!  Stuffed mushrooms, prosecco, and photo ops with people who authorize torture!  Though the real downside of meeting and chatting with Gonzales is that he won’t even remember it later.

Anyway, the season-opening extravaganza featuring the world-moving minds of Bill Maher and Ann Coulter is this coming Monday, but if you’re busy next week, like me, you can hold out until Charlie Rose interviews James Carville and Karl Rove on May 26.  For that one, VIP guests will be given a choice of a formal pre-show reception in the Roxy Suite or, if they prefer, a handful of sharp sticks suitable for plunging into their eyes and/or ears.


Posted by Michael on 03/06 at 09:20 AM
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Deep thoughts in deep doo-doo

Obama should never have persuaded CPAC to book Rush Limbaugh.

Obama should not have insisted that Rush speak for over an hour.  And Obama absolutely should not have demanded that Republican leaders apologize to Rush for their criticisms of him.

We need to remember that “there was a moment, a brief moment, after Barack Obama was elected president, a moment long gone, where the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity could have become marginalized, bit players rather than media movers and shakers, the detritus of a sorry era. But instead, they have been granted more power—out of some contrived political calculus.” That moment actually occurred at some point around 3 in the morning on November 8, 2008, and Obama wasn’t ready for it.  Now we’re stuck with Limbaugh and Hannity forever.

And if only McCain could block these earmarks for volcano-monitoring, magnetic-levitating marsh mice, we wouldn’t be in this mess today.

Posted by Michael on 03/05 at 12:31 PM
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Good news!

Responding to ESPN.com commentator Scott Burnside’s scathing criticism of general manager Glen Sather, the New York Rangers announced today that they would be firing Sather and replacing him with Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post.  “No one could have predicted that the Wade Redden deal would be such a bust,” said a Rangers spokesman.  “But in Hiatt we have finally found someone who knows how to spot talent and grow a franchise.”

More great news at the place where no straight thing was ever made.

Posted by Michael on 03/04 at 08:01 AM
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Going John Galt

In an effort to keep my blogging income under $250,000 this year so that Obama will not confiscate all my property and ship my children to the forced-labor farms, I have decided to post a little essay at Crooked Timber instead.  Ha!  Foiled you again, Barack Hussein Karl Marx al-Obama!!1!11!  Total win.

Besides, the pressure to join (or not join) Facebook was getting too intense around here.  Surely at CT there won’t be any of that nonsen . . . OH GOD IT’S COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

Posted by Michael on 03/03 at 02:39 PM
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alice at CPAC

Posted by Michael on 03/01 at 06:19 PM
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