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Hockey is the only source of good news in the entire world.

Litbrit sums it up nicely, i.e. terribly, as do George Friedman and Rebecca Traister. And then there’s Gary Coleman.

Really, I was going to try to write something this week about how the financial collapse of 2008 and the Gulf disaster of 2010 are such enormous, systemic failures—so clearly the result of deeply dysfunctional institutions in which both the primary players and the “regulators” were rotten to the core—that they should have provoked sweeping, wholesale reviews and radical changes in business as usual.  We’ve known for some time that there will be no radical changes in business as usual on the financial front.  I’m guessing that we’re not going to see any radical changes in the oil industry or in American energy policy either.  I could be wrong—it’s just a wild guess.  But for almost two years now I’ve been haunted by one sentence from a blog comment by Roger Gathman—“I figure we are in the Soviet endgame zone—say, USSR, 1985, with trivia pursuing corruption as one institution after another fails.” Perhaps President McCain is our very own neo-Konstantin Chernenko, and in 2012 President Issa can be our neo-Boris Yeltsin.  We already have our neo-Chernobyl, thanks.

As for U.S. policy with regard to Israel, of course it is possible to hope that the attack on the Gaza flotilla will be the tipping point that finally provokes a sweeping, wholesale review and a radical change in business as usual.  Last I looked, Turkey was a NATO ally, after all.  You’d think that would count for something.  But for some reason I’m not giving in to that hope.  And I’m not writing that post about total system failures, either.

So that leaves the Stanley Cup finals.  You’ve probably heard that teams who go up 2-0 at home are 31-2 since the Pleistocene.  I also heard someone (Doc?  Olczyk?  Pierre?) note that the last time a team won the first two at home and lost the Cup was last year.  Odd, isn’t it, that no one remembers the other time? No, wait, Cliff Koroll remembers.

This series is going to get very interesting when the scoring lines show up.

Well, I’m off for a while.  Off to this thing, then that thing, then the other thing.  Notice that all these conferences and meetings are taking place at the same time, which poses something of a logistical challenge for me.  Bus to Philly, Amtrak to DC, Metro to College Park, Metro back, bus from DC to State College (no, there’s no way to combine a train to Harrisburg and a bus from Harrisburg if I want to get back by Sunday night, which I do).  Next week, more fun!  Back to the AAUP, then to the CHCI.  So, in other words, my mid May-mid June schedule consists of UCI followed by the MLA, SDS, AAUP, ADE, AAUP, and CHCI.  The MLA has done a few good things lately, and I’ll try to find the time to tell you about them.

Posted by on 06/02 at 08:53 AM
  1. Suddenly I’m craving Alpha-Bits.

    Go, Blackhawks!

    Posted by Orange  on  06/02  at  10:41 AM
  2. Travel safe - or learn how to be in two places at once ASAP. Go Hawks! And for the other stuff, we keep up the struggle as always.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  10:50 AM
  3. Well, sure, you can choose to look at the gulf as half-full of oil, or you can choose to look at all the clean water still out there. For example, down here in Texas we can’t afford to educate or provide health care for our young, but at least we still have enough in the budget to fund Formula-One Racing!

    Now I ask you would that ever happen in a society where trivia pursued corruption?

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  11:26 AM
  4. I used to worry about trivia pursuing corruption, but ever since The NY Times courageously highlighted a few instances where Richard Blumenthal misspoke about his military record, I’m outraged that Bill Clinton spoke to Joe Sestak.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  11:41 AM
  5. Committee A of the AAUP, eh?  It figures.  Here’s hoping you keep the upper hand over Council J and their nefarious plans.

    As for U.S. policy with regard to Israel, of course it is possible to hope that the attack on the Gaza flotilla will be the tipping point that finally provokes a sweeping, wholesale review and a radical change in business as usual.

    Well, you’re in a happier place than I am on this, then.  Because I wouldn’t have even classified it as “possible to hope.” Especially now that there’s a Guardian piece noting that a compromise deal will involve the US vetoing anything critical of Israel at the UN, in exchange for Israel investigating itself.  It’s as if Kafka were scripting the Moscow Trials.

    Jim Henley has it right: Israel wins again.  Phooey on the demographic argument.

    On the bright side, I’ve already seen eight variations on “change in climate for the Gores’ marriage.” I only hope such hilarity is enough to keep me from dropping a deck chair on myself, eating a fatal amount of ginger, or similarly employing one of the other WMDs carried by the Gaza flotilla.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  01:10 PM
  6. MLA

    Moloch Likes Acronyms?

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  01:23 PM
  7. Oh dear, I didn’t even get the joke in “change in climate for the Gore’s marriage” and such. Clearly I’m just no up on what the cool kids in DC are thinking.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  01:32 PM
  8. Cool kids?  Well played.

    The local newspaper was even cleverer, Professor h.  They titled their front-page blurb about it “Global Cooling.” Because, um, the Gores’ marriage is like the entire planet, or something.  Look, just laugh, okay?

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  02:15 PM
  9. Christian @2: You underestimate Michael. If you can be in n places at once, it is a trivial thing to prove that you can be in n+1 places at once. Michael can be in one places at once, QED.

    Corollary, with proof left as an exercise for the reader: you can read two James Joyce stories at once, or two places in one at the sane time.

    Posted by Sherman Dorn  on  06/02  at  02:54 PM
  10. Jim Henley has it right: Israel wins again.

    I read that, too.  In the short term, yes, of course.  But the transformation of Israel into a rogue/garrison state puts us on a path in the Middle East that is not (hat tip to Al Gore) sustainable.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/02  at  03:23 PM
  11. But the transformation of Israel into a rogue/garrison state puts us on a path in the Middle East that is not (hat tip to Al Gore) sustainable.

    Well, sure, but we’re following lots of paths that aren’t sustainable.  And Israel will still probably muddle along for a while, even if it’s as an ethnically-cleansed theocracy supported by a hollowed-out theocratic former superpower.  Though eventually the piper will have to be paid.  But hoping for that great day when Israel will finally exhaust its patron’s patience is reminiscent of drawing up optimistic plans for rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic ... just before the IDF abseil down and open fire on civilians.

    If you can be in n places at once, it is a trivial thing to prove that you can be in n+1 places at once. Michael can be in one places at once, QED.


    Posted by  on  06/02  at  04:07 PM
  12. Did you link to your latest Dissent article from here?  I can’t tell.  Since that article has huge blocks of quotes from me me me I’m naturally interested in it for dispassionate reasons that have nothing to do with me.

    Anyways, in the latest escalation of argument over the two rhetorics of the left, I’m attempting to answer this latest piece with a poem.  Isn’t that annoying?  Said poem is notably refusing to fly, however, so I’ll see whether it actually happens.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  05:11 PM
  13. “I figure we are in the Soviet endgame zone—say, USSR, 1985, with trivia pursuing corruption as one institution after another fails.”

    In the latter part of the 90s, a very dear friend of mine returned from spending three months on a sponsored, photographic safari in the Siberian wilderness.  It seems that for the previous 50 years or so, the Soviet Union had built vast swaths of wilderness around their “secret” nuclear facilities and so forth.  Now the drunk (because the homemade vodka was the only purified water to drink) populations on the fringes were encroaching and poaching the wildlife for food and other resources.

    Anyway, he relayed that as he perceived it, the US was headed towards that sort of downfall.  He felt, and still feels today, that we will fall into fiefdoms of neo-feudal oligarchies, protected by organizing crime and black markets.  Not much hope can be had in that forecast; and apparently Israel is already a successful organized criminal oligarchy.

    I will stick with incremental kisses of hope that may come my way.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  05:26 PM
  14. Dmitri Orlov is looking more and more prescient, isn’t he?  We have a collapse gap and the US is certainly not collapsing as dramatically as the old USSR did.

    At least, not yet.

    Here’s something I found in Caetano Veloso’s _Tropical Truth_:

    Takeshi Umehara (quoted by [Samuel] Huntington [in _The Clash of Civilizations-]) wrote that the “complete failure of Marxism and the spectacular disintegration of the Soviet Union are only the precursors of a collapse of Western liberalism, the main current of modernity.  Far from being an alternative to Marxism and the dominant ideology at the end of History, liberalism will be the next domino piece to fall.”

    Posted by gmoke  on  06/02  at  05:41 PM
  15. Ornette Coleman, Ramblin’, Change of the Century, 1960:


    Ornette Coleman, alto sax
    Don Cherry, pocket trumpet
    Billy Higgins, drums
    Charlie Haden, bass

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  06/02  at  07:15 PM
  16. I do think the continued insanity of Israeli actions is increasingly reducing the space for left/ liberal Zionist delusions. This is a good thing. The question really is whether that’s happening fast enough.

    I’d be surprised if the current situation in Palestine persists for another 10 years - I’m going to say we will have one state by 2025, but I won’t even guess if it’s a state based on genocide or “transfer”, a formalization of the current racist apartheid system within one state, or a state of all its people.

    I’m somewhat hopeful that we’re at least going to get a South Africa -style compromise (ie formal equality while preserving white privilege together with creation of privilege for a small stratum of the oppressed population). That’s far from what I’d like to see, but it’s also better than what exists now. To get there, though, requires that the liberal Zionist delusions ("Jewish democracy”, “two states” and such) I mentioned above vanish soon particularly in the US.

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  08:39 PM
  17. Rich @ 12:  Anyways, in the latest escalation of argument over the two rhetorics of the left, I’m attempting to answer this latest piece with a poem.

    Do it!  Do it!  But it has to be in the spirit of this thread, starting with comment 31 until the Gulf kicked all the wind out of us.

    And now I have to run and find myself a sports bar, because my hotel in downtown Philly does not get the game, because game three of the mother$&*@ing Stanley Cup Finals are on the mother$&*@ing kickboxing channel, which most hotels (accessing only 60-70 channels) don’t get.  Jesus H. Mother$&*@ing Moloch on a hockey stick.  Whoever signed (and re-signed!) that contract with the kickboxing channel should be dumped in the Siberian wilderness.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/02  at  08:53 PM
  18. No, I like parody poems as well as anyone, but this one has to be all serious and stuff.  Probably why it’s not working.

    Anyways, since Dissent’s Arguing the World blog still has no place to argue, <a href=” http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=151">here’s a link</a> for anyone who missed it.  (Why am I linking to your article on your blog?  Is this a faux pas or something?)

    Posted by  on  06/02  at  09:46 PM
  19. On the bright side, I’ve already seen eight variations on “change in climate for the Gores’ marriage.”

    Wow - seeing it here (late this afternoon at about 5pm my time) was the first I’d heard of the Gore divorce. ‘Course I hadn’t been on the computer since 7am, so maybe the news hadn’t spread yet. But if this is now the place for Big Important Breaking News Stories, how come I didn’t hear about the Israelis opening fire on the Gaza Aid Flotilla here first? Clearly, some of you Peckerheads™ (and you know who you are) are falling down on the job and need to get your shit together.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  01:39 AM
  20. Overtime?  Then went into overtime? And the Hawks couldn’t hold.  Hope is now crashing on the rocks of pecker-headed peeps everywhere.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  05:32 AM
  21. Why am I linking to your article on your blog?  Is this a faux pas or something?

    I don’t think so, since you are (as you note) quoted extensively in that post.  But, you know, we did discuss the thing in this thread, beginning @ 35, so feel free to reference those comments (minus the contributions from one E. Hound) as well.  IIRC, Christian has yet to defend his position on Gary Coleman.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/03  at  07:46 AM
  22. But if this is now the place for Big Important Breaking News Stories, how come I didn’t hear about the Israelis opening fire on the Gaza Aid Flotilla here first?

    The simplest explanation is usually the best, O-Girl:  the Gores gave me a heads-up, stopping by to break the news to me the other day, whereas the Israelis didn’t give me word one.  So much for my liberal/left Zionist delusions.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/03  at  07:50 AM
  23. since Dissent’s Arguing the World blog still has no place to argue

    Please note that it’s not “Arguing with the World.”

    Clearly, some of you Peckerheads™ (and you know who you are)


    are falling down on the job


    and need to get your shit together.


    All those observations are generally true, Ms. Girl.  But in the case of the Gaza flotilla, it’s rather unfair.  You would have received prompt notification of the Israeli attack if you had been following my twitter feed.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  10:24 AM
  24. You would have received prompt notification of the Israeli attack if you had been following my twitter feed.

    Sweet Lord Astaroth. “Follow my twitter feed” is the 2010 version of 2000’s “Check out my website”, except even more exasperating and obnoxious. But since that was clearly your intent, I can only tip my hat (if I were actually wearing one) and say, “Well played, young man”.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  12:40 PM
  25. Indeed, Ms. Girl, if you had trailed in my footsteps as I shakily carried an open seed container to my bird feeder, I would have been able to tell you about the Gaza event.  Then we could have paused to check out the trellis that hosts my website.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  01:36 PM
  26. Well Herr mds, now you’ve ruined it by playing the humbler-and-more-down-to-earth-than-thou card. Blagh. As they used to say in the pre-Internets days: gag me with a spoon!

    Besides, nice as that might have been, I couldn’t have joined you at refilling the bird feeder. I was too busy not being invited over to Michael’s house for tea and biscuits with the Gores.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  01:59 PM
  27. I can’t believe mds didn’t mention splitting some bwooden blogs, Abraham Lincoln style.

    Posted by Orange  on  06/03  at  02:05 PM
  28. humbler-and-more-down-to-earth-than-thou card.

    Oh, Enki, Enlil, and Ninhursag in a torrid tangle.  Those were meant to be puns, not an actual Ned Ludd imitation.* “Twitter feed”?  “Check out my ‘website’”?  I don’t even have a bird feeder, because I’d probably accidentally kill birds with it.

    ...See?  Orange gets it.  Why can’t you be Oranger, Ms. Girl?

    *I still don’t really get the point of Twitter, though.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  02:41 PM
  29. Really? My playing along makes you think I missed the puns? Sheesh. Could you be more insulting? Wait...don’t answer that. And I can’t be more like Orange because nothing rhymes with Orange. Or so I’m told.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  03:02 PM
  30. Really? My playing along makes you think I missed you playing along with the puns? Recurses!

    And “orange” rhymes perfectly well with “orange.” Though I’m just saying that reflexively.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  03:06 PM
  31. GoreHenge rhymes with orange. Built before Al got married.

    Captcha: school. Zout.

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  07:36 PM
  32. I was apparently misinformed; we already have the oiligarchy.

    Go Lakers?

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  08:55 PM
  33. Radical Break!  Radical Break!  I got your radical break right here! 

    Never before in the history of the US has a President of the United States publicly acknowledged that he ordered, supported, encouraged, and ‘would’ (captcha) again, torture another human being!

    Side story: “Waterboarding Mohammed 183 times didn’t save any lives.”

    Posted by  on  06/03  at  11:19 PM
  34. Never before in the history of the US has a President of the United States publicly acknowledged that he ordered, supported, encouraged, and ‘would’ (captcha) again, torture another human being!

    And yet, pace christian h., we will carry on as obliviously as before, and nothing whatsoever will be done to the person who proudly admitted to war crimes, except the rewards of the lecture circuit.  (Though the current president has issued some anti-torture executive orders that can be effortlessly revoked by himself or the next gal.  Yay.)

    See, again, it’s a language thing.  You say “radical break,” I say “point of no return,” Professor h. says “same as it ever was.” And given how many fallen empires litter history’s back lawn, we can all be right.

    ...So, who’s up for Pictionary?

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  09:17 AM
  35. And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody
    Outside of a small circle of friends

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  09:22 AM
  36. Good point, Stormcrow.  I should have gone with Monopoly.

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  10:21 AM
  37. I apologize in advance for even mentioning this, but Michael’s favorite magazine has now (a) blamed the victims of Israel’s murderous attack (Michael “totally not a racist” Walzer up to his usual) and (b) called the murder of 9 people a “mishap” (Jo-Ann Mort). I wonder if some regular contributor there might actually take issue with that. You know, just write a short note pointing out they are both full of shit. In more polite language of course.

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  10:21 AM
  38. Walzer

    The first and most obvious thing to say is that Israel should have let the six ships through to Gaza. It would have been smart to escort them into the harbor, with Israeli flags flying—not what the militants on board would have wanted. Israeli intelligence wasn’t very good in this case, but they did know that there were no weapons on board—at least, no weapons usable by Hamas. Many Israelis wanted to let the ships through, among them the Cabinet secretary, who was ignored....

    The lack of imagination, the arrogance and stupidity of the leaders who decided on what to do is unbelievable. But these seem to be the features of Israeli policy in many areas these days.

    So Christian, you’re accusing Michael ("totally not a racist") Walzer of anti-Semitism?

    And with Jo-Ann Mort, you take the one word (and no, I wouldn’t call it a “mishap” either).  Why not also take the one word in which she calls the blockade “inhuman”?  Or even the rest of the “mishap” sentence, which indicts “the complete lack of regard of the current Israeli government for diplomacy as a means to an end,” just as the next paragraph charges, quite correctly, that “the current Israeli government-—under the leadership both of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak—-has taken an attitude of shoot first, and talk later”?

    I get the sense that your reading of Dissent shares something in common with Michael McIntyre’s denunciation of this blog back in aught-six, namely, the conviction that the criticism of Israeli policy is simply not full-throated enough. 

    As for what game we should play now, I vote for Taboo.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/04  at  12:13 PM
  39. Twister! (Not necessarily safe for work.)

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  12:32 PM
  40. It would have been smart to escort them into the harbor, with Israeli flags flying—not what the militants on board would have wanted.

    This is basically true, as far as it goes, given that the point of the flotilla was to draw attention to the viciousness of the Gaza embargo.  But I will suggest that “the militants” is an ... inapt choice of phrase.  One that at least tacitly buys into the Jerusalem Post / Right Blogosphere manner of labeling the flotilla activists, aka the Deck Chair Jihadists.

    Anyway, who’s up for a session of Settlers of Catan?  (It turns out the only way to win is not to play.)

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  12:55 PM
  41. Nice selective quoting, Michael. Walzer calls the people on board “militants”, he claims the IDF “walked into a trap” (so it looks to people who don’t refuse to criticise Walzer on principle that he blames those laying said “trap"). He also of course wants no international inquiry, since we all know how objective Israel’s investigations of its own actions are. 

    As for Ms. Mort, the problem she sees is that this act of murder was a “PR disaster for Israel that so easily could have been avoided”.

    As usual in Dissent, it’s all about Israel. Palestinians figure as foils.

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  01:12 PM
  42. @9, being in two places at the same time:  For me, Firesign Theatre said it best.


    Posted by  on  06/04  at  02:16 PM
  43. Well, the poem is written, but I made the horrible mistake (from the viewpoint of getting it into HTML) of putting it into two columns that are supposed to line up with each other.  I thought that would be easy enough to do with a table but now the lines are wrapping and argghh.  So I’ll just Email it to Michael as a Word file and think about how to possibly show it to anyone else some other time.

    But the poem is supposed to have links too.  Arggh!  It’s difficult enough just trying to write a political poem that is understandable and has some sort of minimal aesthetics without dealing with this.

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  02:54 PM
  44. Stormcrow, you made my eyes hurt; i am not sure if i can get that hideous image out of them now. 

    And, on one of those other matters, we certainly know where Juan Cole comes down on this.

    Posted by  on  06/04  at  09:43 PM
  45. Nice selective quoting, Michael.

    You’re joking, right, Christian?  You, who started the game of One-Word Twister?  (Right foot, mishap!) Here’s the bigger picture, m’fren. Liberal and progressive American Jews are criticizing the Israeli government and calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.  That seems important to me.  But for you, this is an opportunity to cherry-pick the least defensible words published by Dissent.

    OK, so now I’m curious.  Why are you so angry about Dissent that you will call not call Michael Walzer a racist?  What is it about “left-liberal Zionism” that motivates the agon that drives these comments?

    Posted by Michael  on  06/05  at  01:06 AM
  46. The damned thing is now close enough to done.

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  10:38 AM
  47. See if you support a colonial settler state based on ethnic exclusivity, that is racist. It’s obviously preferable to criticise said state’s actions from time to time, but the fundamental issue remains.

    If you support an arrangement that allows you, a white American, to become a citizen of that state at any time of your choosing - but insists on denying the indigenous population the right to live in their own land, that is racist.

    If all that animates your occasional criticism of the apartheid state in question is concern over the future of said state in its current form, that means your critique is in the end useless because it can by its very nature never address the fundamental issue - in fact it refuses to do so.

    If you refuse to join demonstrations against a war you claim to oppose because the rallies give Palestinians a platform (a platform they do not, for all intents and purposes, have anywhere else - you probably didn’t notice but the NYT had three op-eds by outside people on the Israeli piracy, all by Jewish Israelis), that is racist.

    You (Michael now not “one") wouldn’t even argue any of this if the state in question was South Africa, and this was 1984. I guess it’s my turn to wonder - why do you reflexively defend those engaging in this racist discourse? Do you actually share their fundamental assumptions?

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  10:57 AM
  48. As for Dissent, I dislike it particularly due to its history of “dissenting” from those to their left. It’s been quite consistent in that regard. The magazine will oppose the war in Iraq, but spend as much time slagging off the anti-war movement, for example. Given those curious priorities, at least choose a better name.

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  11:01 AM
  49. Also, the selective quoting: I accused Walzer of blaming the victims. You quote his article leaving out precisely the part where he blames the victims. What would you call it? Honesty?

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  11:04 AM
  50. Sorry one more comment in the spirit of honesty, I did do Jo-Ann Mort an injustice upon re-reading her contribution. It was a poor choice of words on her part, but I was wrong in concentrating on it.

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  11:11 AM
  51. "You know the spit, my love,” that of the army?  You are channeling Bukowski, Rich?  And damn well indeed; tis a fine poetic expression.

    So, in the interest of honesty?, may i suggest that we ascribe labels of narratives to the particular positions held by advocates of the issues in the Palestinian/Israeli confliction?  That might help clarify the structural differences betwixt christian and Michael. 

    Juan Cole identifies some of them:
    Palestinian Authority
    and several others including the various peace movements in the US and Israel who are clearly not part of the Dissent discussion.  And yes the captcha is “blood.”

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  11:37 AM
  52. Thanks, spyder.  I don’t remember that Bukowski poem offhand but it’s quite possible that I read it once and then forgot: everything I wrote before the election “sampled” “homaged” ripped off Langston Hughes, but Bukowski is a better source for now.  Actually, I not only don’t know the Bukowski poem you’re referring to, I can’t Google it.  Do you have any more pointers to it?

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  09:30 PM
  53. Thanks for comment 50, Christian.  As for 49:  I take it that you read Walzer’s fourth paragraph as blaming the victims.  But the bit about Israel “walking into a trap” is true; I wish only that Walzer had said “walked into a trap, guns blazing, and (by some accounts, which appear credible) firing even before landing on deck.” As for 48, I’m sorry to say (once again) that I think it perfectly all right to dissent from groups like ANSWER—whose demonstrations were objectionable not because they gave Palestinians a platform (that is an exceptionally curious way of putting it), but because ANSWER itself is an authoritarian neo-Stalinist grouplet that should not be setting the agenda for anything, and which enforced a policy in which no one who had been critical of ANSWER would be allowed to speak from the stage.  More generally, I don’t abide by the demand that the hard left must distinguish itself at all times from craven liberals and progressives and democratic leftists, but liberals and progressives and democratic leftists must not criticize the hard left in return.

    Comment 47 suggests that the state of Israel is illegitimate, and that those who support its existence are de facto racists.  No, I don’t share those assumptions.  I share most of Ellen Willis’s instead.

    And at the moment, we have obscenities like this and this, and you want to direct your anger at liberal and progressive Jews who oppose the blockade.  All I can say is that I do not share your priorities. 

    And Rich:  as I said via email, thanks for the poem, and for reminding me that I am not, in fact, nostalgic for the good old days when we had only 2 million prisoners, many of them casualties of our racist “drug war.”

    Posted by Michael  on  06/05  at  09:53 PM
  54. Hockey has not been a source of good news since May 20th.

    Posted by  on  06/05  at  11:16 PM
  55. At the risk of nudging this post back into the general direction of its ostensible original subject, it’s been a good hockey night so far (except for the national anthem, which was absolutely killed by the buffoon who was at least a half step flat on “freeeee” before going even flatter.)

    While I cannot generate any enthusiasm for a team with Patrick Kane on it, and even less so when coached by the odious Joel Quenville, ANYONE beating the Phliers is quite OK by me.  I’ve hated them for over 35 years.

    How can they cross check two Hawks in the back of the head, dislodging their helmets and nearly their heads with them in the same game, and have no penalties called?

    Oh. NHL officiating.  I remember now.

    Anyway, it’s Hawks 3, Phliers 0, and the game is more lopsided than the score.  At least for now.


    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/06  at  09:04 PM
  56. Rooting for the Hawks, while covering by betting on the Flyers, is starting to get me loopy.  And when Pronger went flying sideways into the boards from a marvelous check, i didn’t even feel the least bit bad for him.  One period to go, 5-2, and looking forward to game seven.

    Meanwhile the Lakers have tied it up after being down by 10 in the first half.  Without Ray Allen, the Celtics would be down by 20; he has eight 3 point shots already.

    Rich, that came from a reading during the mid-1970s, in Manhattan Beach.  He was reciting one of his infamous masturbatory pieces (in the same vein as the pink bubble gum and the blond at the bus stop), and that line got stuck in my head (along with a few others too crude to proffer here) for life.  It is from the period of his Tanya (Blowing My Hero) days, and may be on one of his 70s Black Sparrow Books.

    Posted by  on  06/06  at  10:18 PM
  57. Sadly, this NBA finals dealio is a lose-lose proposition for me. I can’t stand Phil Jackson - his smug “Zen” arrogance was always unpleasant but fairly easy to ignore. However, his recent highly uninformed statements on the AZ immigration law have sent me over the edge with him. So fuck the Lakers (sorry, spyder). And I can’t bring myself to cheer for Boston because I can’t stand Boston fans (present company excepted, of course).

    In hockey I guess I’d like to see the Hawks win the Cup. But overall, football season can’t get here quickly enough. Yes, that’s how sad my life is.

    Posted by  on  06/06  at  11:44 PM
  58. Charles Bukowski readings?  Celtics vs. Lakers in the NBA finals?  Greetings, 1960s: I come from the Future with a dire warning about [PARADOX BACKLASH] Ouch!

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  09:57 AM
  59. O-Girl, are there any Boston fans in this thread?  Lemme at ‘em.  (Not that I can stand the Lakers.  I’m hoping they both lose, as I did in ‘08 and with Lakers - Magic.)

    And jazzbumpa, what’s with the Kane hate?  You maybe don’t like fast, young, talented hockey players?  Likewise, “the odious Joel Quenneville”?  What, did he run over your dog without stopping?

    Folks, some news—Christian has written me via electronical mail to (graciously) say adieu to the blog, and we’ve wished each other well.  Just wanted you to know why he won’t be replying to jazzbumpa’s implicit charge that he is objectively pro-Quenneville.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/07  at  11:36 AM
  60. O-Girl, are there any Boston fans in this thread?


    Um ... no?

    And what’s wrong with Professor h. being objectively pro-Quenneville?  I’m nostalgic about Pontiacs too.

    (I do hope c.h. continues to hone his argumentation skills by wrestling mendacious schmibertarians in rhetorical Jello at Crooked Timber, though.)

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  11:52 AM
  61. @Michael:

    Thanks for pointing to the Ellen Willis essay.  When was it published?  I lost heart at the passage where she expressed optimism wrt to the “road map”, so I wondered if it was from 2002 or 2003.

    Despite my long appreciation for Ellen Willis, I didn’t find that piece persuasive; it really seemed to boil down to “nationalism/tribalism for me but not for thee”.  A useful counterpoint is Jonathan Cook’s talk at Bilin a few months ago on the essential connection between the ‘small apartheid’ inside Israel and the ‘big apartheid’ in occupied Palestine.

    Israel is a state whose legitimacy has been questionable at least since it embarked on the systematic occupation policy after 1967, at which point the small apartheids within Israel began to intensify—as they had to to support the large apartheid inherent in the logic of permanent occupation/expansion/bantustanization/transfer. 

    I hold my own government and its citizens as responsible as that of Israel for the misery and injustices that have resulted, because it would have been impossible for Israel to have maintained the long program without the nearly-unwavering support of the U.S.

    A two-state accommodation might have been possible at some point, maybe as recently as twenty years ago.  It’s not now; the primary responsibility for that lies with the governments of Israel and the U.S., and, to the extent that the two countries are effective democracies, with our citizens.

    Bright spot for me wrt the Cup finals is the action-filled and apparently viewer-drawing nature of the games so far, both in the U.S. and Canada.  Good news for a change for the NHL.

    Posted by Nell  on  06/07  at  11:55 AM
  62. Here’s a response to the “road map” that took the proposal just as seriously as it deserved, given who the players were at the time.

    Posted by Nell  on  06/07  at  12:09 PM
  63. Nell, that “road map” link doesn’t work in 62.  Can you try it again?  And yes, Willis’s hope for that map was ill-placed (the essay is indeed from 2002, when the road map was the only slender reed around).  As for what it all boils down to, I think it’s more like “nationalism for Jews on the grounds that anti-Jewish genocide cannot be laid to rest as a discrete historical episode, but remains a possibility implicit in the deep structure of Christian and Islamic cultures, East and West.” As for where we go from here ... is there someplace imaginable for the left that doesn’t involve the support of liberal and progressive Jews?

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  12:43 PM
  64. Folks, some news—Christian has written me via electronical mail to (graciously) say adieu to the blog, and we’ve wished each other well.

    This makes me really, really, really sad. But thanks very much for letting us know, Michael.

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  12:48 PM
  65. Me too, O-Girl.  But I didn’t want anyone to think (a) he’d stormed off or (b) he was banned.  We’ll miss him.

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  03:42 PM
  66. Michael -

    Quenville throws tantrums like a petulant 2 Yr old.  When I pointed that out during last year’s play-offs, you agreed with me.  (I just spent the week end with a fun 2 Yr old - quite a refreshing experience.)

    I actually like fast young players - when they aren’t also jerks.  Last year, after a Hawks loss, when the other team was congratulating their goalie, I saw him skate over and hit one of the other team’s players with his stick.  It wasn’t a round-house blast, but it wasn’t a love tap either.  That made him a class 1A dip-wad in my book.

    And I really was ready to like him, too.  (sigh)

    Anyway, did you see Hartnall take a running elbow smack into the back of one of the Hawk’s heads last night?  What can that be other than an intent to injure.  At least it got called, which was also refreshing.

    Was it my imagination, or did the 3rd period look like it was being played by 2 bad high school teams?  Both defenses were awful.


    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/07  at  04:47 PM
    I will see you and raise you:

    By the way, one of the musicians now boycotting Israel is Gil Scott-Heron, who performed the classic “The Revolution will Not be Televised.” What he did not realize was that it couldn’t be televised because the Israeli navy jammed the signals.

    h/t to Juan Cole

    It seems now that if the Hawks win, the Lakers lose, and when the Flyers win the Lakers win.  This is ever so troubling in aligning and balancing my allegences.

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  04:49 PM
  68. Thanks for alerting me, Michael; I left out the www.:

    Watch that first step...

    Posted by Nell  on  06/07  at  05:07 PM
  69. This is an interesting and informative blog, by an Israeli journalist.  There’s even a posting on Gil Scott-Heron (in April).

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  05:41 PM
  70. Pronger = Israelis = Thugs

    seems to be the subtext to me.

    Posted by  on  06/07  at  09:06 PM
  71. ...and here I thought you were the most dangerous.

    “And I’m not writing that post about total system failures, either”

    Can’t spare the time, or cognitive resources for AMERICA (pardon the caps)?

    Come on Robespierre.

    If you cain’t (sic) say it…

    Posted by poicephalus  on  06/07  at  10:59 PM
  72. While comments are still open:

    I’m struck by the contrast between Ellen Willis’ willingness to have 20% or more of Israelis be second-class citizens because of the deep penumbras and emanations of Islam and Christianity and her husband’s willingness, two years later, to embrace a binational state.

    is there someplace imaginable for the left that doesn’t involve the support of liberal and progressive Jews?

    No.  Liberal and progressive Jews are coming to see where Zionism is and has for decades been leading (with unyielding U.S. support).  Now that the conversation can be had out in the open, it’s my experience that they as well as non-Jewish liberals, progressives, leftists, and a good many centrists are becoming unwilling to identify themselves with a policy that creates this kind of suffering (and intensifies hatred for this country).

    Posted by Nell  on  06/11  at  11:29 AM
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