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Tuesday potluck

Off to Temple University to do some real work for a change.  You know, trying out some ideas for the next book.  Going Greyhound—and leaving the driving to them.  (When I was little I thought this slogan meant “Go Greyhound—and don’t criticize our driving.")

Yesterday, my copy of this fine volume arrived in the mail.  I wrote the Afterword, and it was much fun.  I mean, you have to love a book in which Ben Carrington’s essay references this famous match and my essay references this post-postmodern classic.  (Ben notes that Marx was right after all these years—Socrates was offside—and I complain about the ESPNization of sports while also complaining that the NHL is available only on the “Versus” channel, which is something like ESPN Ocho-Cinco.  Just trying to heighten the contradictions, folks.)

Speaking of sports, the William Henry Harrison Appreciation Society is upset about the new AP rankings, which place their man three spots below George W. Bush.  “What did ‘H’ ever do to deserve this?” asked William Benjamin Henry George Harrison IV, secretary-treasurer of the society.  “The poor guy died a month into office, long before he could start any illegal wars or detain and torture anyone.” Moreover, Harrison noted, the national debt increased only $1.12 during Harrison’s tenure, “and much of that was the fallout from the panic of 1837.” Historians reply, however, that William Henry Harrison failed to pass any tax cuts during his time in office, leaving him behind Bush in the critical “lasting achievements” category.

Last and least, just to tweak one of my comments on another fine blog, I recently learned that Gattaca is a conservative movie because liberals believe it’s all in the genes (these would be The Bell Curve liberals, I’m guessing) and/or are techno-utopian transhumanists (these would be your Instapundit liberals), and Brazil is a conservative movie because it exposes the evils of government-approved torture.  Next week:  Matewan is a conservative movie because it testifies to the importance of hard work.

And yes, the Wolverines are there in full force:

Red Dawn (1984): From the safe, familiar environment of a classroom, we watch countless parachutes drop from the sky and into the heart of America. Oh, no: invading Commies! Laugh if you want—many do—but Red Dawn has survived countless more acclaimed films because Father Time has always been our most reliable film critic. The essence of timelessness is more than beauty. It’s also truth, and the truth that America is a place and an idea worth fighting and dying for will not be denied, not under a pile of left-wing critiques or even Red Dawn’s own melodramatic flaws.

You had me at “laugh if you want.”

Posted by on 02/17 at 10:40 AM
  1. "Red Dawn” may be horseshit, but it’s OUR horseshit.

    Posted by jmags  on  02/17  at  12:19 PM
  2. I’m sure the reviewer of Red Dawn is writing from Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Or maybe from their parents’ basement.

    Posted by Bulworth  on  02/17  at  12:20 PM
  3. "Speaking of sports, the William Henry Harrison Appreciation Society is upset about the new AP rankings, which place their man three spots below George W. Bush.  “What did ‘H’ ever do to deserve this?” “

    Even Warren G. Harding is turning over in his grave at these rankings.

    Posted by Bulworth  on  02/17  at  12:22 PM
  4. "Even Warren G. Harding is turning over in his grave at these rankings. “

    Shouldn’t you now refer to him as “G”? Not to be confused with McG.

    And I like this middle initial referring to presidents. Obviously we’ve probably run out of middle initials by now, but there do seem to be some noteworthy recent ones that would save us a lot of syllables:

    S for Truman
    D for Eisenhower (or for FDR if used by a lib)

    This increase in efficiency should bring the markets back in a flash!

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  12:36 PM
  5. Well, it’s some consolation for the HHAS that their boy outscored W in the “moral authority” category.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  12:39 PM
  6. Before The Internet, I remember, some magazine claimed that Bicycle Thief is a conservative movie because it shows us the importance of property.

    In the same vein, Battleship Potemkin is a conservative movie because it celebrates family values (the baby in the carriage is a metaphor for abortion, of course).


    Posted by  on  02/17  at  01:02 PM
  7. Rutherford B. Hayes has lost twice to mid-major governors, thus accounting for his precipitous drop in the past decade. Grant, on the other hand, the Cinderella story from tiny Galena, Illinois, has cracked the Top 25 for the first time since the Panic of 1893.

    Posted by Dr. Drang  on  02/17  at  01:51 PM
  8. A timely admission of a conservative bug feature: as long as the sentimentality is cheap and deep, conservatives happily huff any ol’ stench.

    Roadhouse didn’t make the cut? “Proves that if you get pushed around a lot and you decide you won’t take it anymore and you kick some ass, you’ll win because you’re a patriot because you’ve already starred in Red Dawn. Plus our great American four-wheel-drives can jump hedges thanks to American-made aftermarket monster wheels.”

    Posted by David J Swift  on  02/17  at  01:53 PM
  9. I dunno.  I see Braveheart on that list, but still . . . somehow . . . the list lacks a certain, how shall I say, passion.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/17  at  02:28 PM
  10. I hope you’ll post the text of your remarks on The Echo Maker. My recommendation to everyone is to watch the way “Red Dawn” matches up with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Really. It’s eerie.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  02:46 PM
  11. I had an uncle named “Warren” after Warren Harding because my grandparents thought he was the greatest president EVAR!  So, somewhere out there is some poor kid with “George” hung around his neck because some people are loyal to the bitter, bitter, bitter end.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  04:00 PM
  12. Michael’s #9 comment: hee-hee!

    Did Truman make it all the way up to 5 because he got his message across in a forceful manner? And how come Polk and Jefferson aren’t in the top five? Jesus, they got us the western 2/3s of the country.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  04:14 PM
  13. Another conservative film: The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, for making fun of limousine liberals.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  04:27 PM
  14. Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters as conservative movies? I imagine somebody at the NR has it for Bill Murray. Or (alternate hypothesis) there really aren’t that many conservative movies. Not to worry we can write them. Certainly under new socialist muslim regime, the arts will swing wildly right and we can look forward to something with characters based on Hannity and Limbaugh on a cross country road trip along historic route 66. In each small town along the way they confront pinko ...well you (or at least Chris Clarke) can fill in the rest…

    captcha “window”

    as in


    Posted by  on  02/17  at  05:11 PM
  15. Seeing Reagan’s name so high up on that list makes me too mad to even think up something funny to say about it. But damn, there I go again falling right back into the Conservatives’ angry Black woman trap. How do those cocksuckers always manage to stay one step ahead?

    captcha: party. I kid you not.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  05:12 PM
  16. I guess they didn’t have the guts to include Birth of a Nation.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  05:26 PM
  17. At least my hero, Chester Alan Arthur, was not relegated to the dustbin of the bottom.  I think WHH needs a special category, or perhaps an asterisk, that suggests he couldn’t possibly have done any good or bad since he spent his few weeks as President trying to die. 

    If Brazil will be honored into the conservative hall of flame (we got to keep the fire burning), i suspect Clockwork Orange is not far behind.  Paramilitary groups forced by governments to become pacifists, fight back against the torture and oppression, all while singing that lovely song (it can’t be mentioned because it is about something that puts out fire).

    captcha is “sound” as in the system needed for a really good party and show trial.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  06:56 PM
  18. If there is any fighting and dying to be done around here, I’ll let you do it. Me, I’m heading for the hills.

    Posted by Hattie  on  02/17  at  08:12 PM
  19. How do those cocksuckers always manage to stay one step ahead?

    Well, O. Girl, they have many methods.  But in this case, it might be worth finding out how many black historians were among the survey participants.  My guess is that they had to be very selective in drawing from the jury pool, because black people have notoriously subjective responses to Ronald Reagan, and are extremely unlikely to consider him the eighth best president in US history with regard to moral authority.  Not sure why that is.  But apparently Reagan’s moral authority has increased since 2000, when he was only eleventh.  So that’s positive.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/17  at  08:50 PM
  20. Michael - I know in general you try to be a kind and decent human being, so please don’t be offended when I impart this little nugget of information: when you stick the knife in and twist if back and forth like that, it really hurts!

    captcha: “black”. You gotta be kidding me.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  09:54 PM
  21. I can’t define “conservative movie,” but I know it when I see it…

    Seriously, I am really disturbed about “Master and Commander.” I thought I could like that movie, that it was just kitsch enough that I could fly under the radar as a Master-and-Commander-enthusiast.  But I was wrong… tear.

    Posted by Derek T.  on  02/17  at  10:29 PM
  22. Sorry about that knife, O. Girl.  But just for you, I went back and googled all 64 participants in that survey.  It seems that only three—Michael Frazier, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Edna Medford—are black.  Not a lotta Asian-Americans in that bunch, either, fwiw.

    And I’m not even going to tell you where this group ranks Reagan in terms of “public persuasion.”

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  12:01 AM
  23. And I’m not even going to tell you where this group ranks Reagan in terms of “public persuasion.”

    Well, he persuaded them. QED.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  12:06 AM
  24. Word of warning: Greyhound buses don’t use chains, they just stop running when the weather gets remotely dangerous. 

    Rock-n-Roll High “School” (captcha) will become another great conservative film once that generation grows up and celebrates the obstructionist, defiant, failure-driven GOP of today.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  12:59 AM
  25. I hear you, spyder.  And since the forecast for today in these parts calls for snow followed by sleet, hail, freezing rain, frogs, and a “wintry mix,” I’m wondering whether I might not be here one more day.  Did I mention the three mountain ranges between Philly and State College?

    Captcha:  trouble.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/18  at  09:25 AM
  26. Matewan definitely has one of my favorite quotes, which I can apply to most of the reactionary 26%-ers whom I wish to quarantine and ignore: “I wouldn’t piss on him if his heart was on fire.”

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  12:25 PM
  27. Speaking about CA Republicans, looks like they have now gone off the deep end. This is, unfortunately, not a movie.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  01:05 PM
  28. breaking news… in the spirit of bi-partisanship our new muslim socialist leader Rhamobam has issued an executive finding.

    “There are no longer conservative movies and liberal movies. There are only movies. So it is written. So let it be done.”

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  04:10 PM
  29. Thanks so much for your provokative lecture this morning. Jus I wanted to draw to your knowledge a novel that won the Spanish prize of the Critic “A tram to Sp” which tries to incorporate to the narrative the experience of Alzheimer


    Posted by Caperucita Coja  on  02/18  at  04:58 PM
  30. Did I mention the three mountain ranges between Philly and State College?

    Imagine how boringly pedantic it would be if I were to point out that although there are in fact a fair number (>> 3) of ridges between Philly and State College, all of them are well and truly part of the Valley and Ridge province of the Appalachian Mountains and none of them would ever be termed “mountain ranges”. Or that the natural route* between the two takes advantage of a number of spectacular water gaps (and at least one wind gap)to go through rather than over the ridges, so that although the route is often very curvy it is not in fact particularly “mountainous” in the “Bolivian death bus over the precipice” sense of the term. Now *that* would be boring and pedantic.

    *If Greyhound is doing something via I-80, I would bring up similar but different minutiae.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  07:08 PM
  31. Very funny, JP.
    OK people - we’ve rounded 3rd, let’s bring it on home now!

    Last Exit To Springfield (9F15):

    ...like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ‘em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say.
    Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

    (Thanks to Simpson Crazy)

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  08:05 PM
  32. *If Greyhound is doing something via I-80, I would bring up similar but different minutiae.

    I-80 from just east of Grand Island NE to Sutherland NE, a distance of approximately 170 miles, crosses zero hills/ dales. There are a couple of overpasses spanning railroad tracks and an irrigation canal to break the horizontal tedium.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  08:13 PM
  33. The essence of timelessness is more than beauty

    True.  Nothing says timeless like a bunch of rednecks pissing into a radiator (@ the 1:10 mark).

    Posted by Lance  on  02/18  at  08:27 PM
  34. the horizontal tedium.

    Au contraire, I first drove west across the country on I-80 and the whole way across Nebraska I really felt like I could sense the relentless, steady upward climb*. It was very exciting!

    *Which it does, but literally at the rate of a only few feet per mile (your floor probably tilts as much). However, the subjective sense was palpable.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  09:09 PM
  35. I would point out, in response to JP, that US 322 from Harrisburg to State College does indeed traverse three distinct “mountainous ridges areas” and “water gaps”: NW of Millerstown, ESE of Lewistown (aka “The Narrows"), and ESE of Rothrock State Forest, S of Potters Mills.  (If you check the area via Google Maps - Terrain you’ll see what I mean.) And I would also point out, in response to JP, that the hardworking men and women who carved 322 through those hills and gaps might well have called them “mountain ranges,” just as we in Unnaturally Happy Valley refer to the “Tussey Mountain Range,” the last of the three I’ve named above. And I might add that the brave Greyhound employee who navigated the last of these at 15 mph through freezing rain and dense fog with a visibility of maybe 20-30 yards would consider the Tussey Mountain Range a mountain range as well.  But I won’t point out any of that, because I think Oaktown Girl basically nailed it @ 31.

    Now, about that onion. . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  02/18  at  10:43 PM
  36. 1) Hmmm, since I am now ruthlessly exposed as a mocker of the dedicated workers of the transportation industry in Pennsylvania, I’ll confess; I am trying to build my Internet cred for a 2010 primary challenge to Arlen Specter from the right. In fact, I bet 322 was built with taxpayer’s money, and have Greyhound drivers made enough wage concessions? (I’m sure a cheaper Bolivian bus driver could have gotten 3 times as many of you through there on that bus, twice as fast with only a 10% crash rate. 20% tops. Now I’m not saying a few passengers wouldn’t have gotten their hair mussed ...)

    2) I did say *spectacular* water gaps, very important objects of study in the early development of geomorphology ...

    3) I had never heard it called “Tussey Mountain Range”, but 58 Google hits can’t be wrong. (Versus 54,200 hits for “Tussey Mountain”, oops but that double counts, only 54,142 hits.)

    4) Oaktown Girl is a big meanie, and lives in a state with a loser government.

    5) And gee whiz, it had been a long day and I was bored tired of work, and there was no one around to play with and you were gone on that stupid bus ...

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  11:35 PM
  37. Cool blog and good read, I could not laughing at the guy who posted this: So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ‘em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say.  ha ha what is he on about? lol.

    Posted by  on  03/11  at  07:46 AM





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