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Dear Madame President

Via Mouse Words, I’ve learned that President-for-Life Sheelzebub is handing out ministries.  Since I was in line for the position of Minister of Culture and Beer in a Kerry Administration, I’d like to claim that post now, if I could.  I am also qualified to serve as Minister of Culture and Coffee, Madame President, should yours turn out to be a “morning dictatorship” full of “morning people” as opposed to a “night dictatorship” full of “night people.”

And don’t worry, folks, I haven’t forgotten about my reply to David Horowitz and his unsupportable claim that my humor is “clumpy.” I’ll get to it later today-- sorry about the delay, but I just finished writing a 4000-word talk ("Shame by Association") for this weekend’s conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and I’m a third of the way into the final chapter of that book of mine.  And I know I haven’t responded to everyone’s comments this week, but thanks to Alex, I am planning to buy a Freedom Press from Alberto Gonzales.  When I get a chance!  I’m only one man!  (Actually that’s not true-- I’ve been employing a team of writers since last September.  I tell them there’s no “I” in team.)

Posted by on 02/23 at 12:56 PM
  1. I see you’ve adopted the Pope approach:  a sweatshop of scribes turning out your clumpy humor and hockey swill.

    May their fingers turn purple for all the deception.  Then they can go and vote in Iran.

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/23  at  02:17 PM
  2. Yeah, but there sure as hell are a bunch of I’s in “liberal commie pinko peacenik hippie pointy-headed ivory-tower intellectual.” And don’t forget Richard Clarke’s spelling of “Al Qida.” Coincidence?  I think not.

    Posted by David Horowitz  on  02/23  at  02:20 PM
  3. If you want to be the Minister of Beer, you need to get yourself onto the Future of Food Studies panel.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  02/23  at  02:49 PM
  4. If there were a dictatorship full of morning people, I would seriously consider supporting an invasion designed to convert them to night people.

    Posted by Adam Kotsko  on  02/23  at  02:53 PM
  5. I wanna know what “clumpy” writing is. Can you teach us how to do it?

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  02/23  at  03:22 PM
  6. PZ, you’ll have to ask Sean Carroll over at Preposterous Universe.  Apparently “clumpy” writing has something to do with the dark energy that creates clusters of galaxies and sentences, and that’s why the universe, like my prose, is not uniformly smooth.  And Roxanne, I can’t believe the people at Illinois didn’t invite me to every single one of those state-of-the-art Mellon conferences.  I’m beginning to think they don’t love me anymore.

    And I never realized how many “i"s there are in “liberal commie pinko peacenik hippie pointy-headed ivory-tower intellectual.” But now that you point it out, David, it makes perfect sense.  Let’s not forget how many “i"s there are in Islamic Jihad-- and Michael Harrington!  There’s another piece of the network right there!

    Posted by Michael  on  02/23  at  04:46 PM
  7. Your humor may be “clumpy” but at least you’re “well-known.”

    Posted by Jim Leous  on  02/23  at  04:54 PM
  8. Yeah, so I am!  Not out there on the fringe with that Rox Populi character--

    Posted by Michael  on  02/23  at  05:01 PM
  9. Michael,

    When you get around to rebutting Horrorwitless, you might want to address the confusion he appears to be experiencing in thinking that because Hitler and the Nazis used the word socialist in their offial title that that means they were of the left. (Nevermind the passionate hatred felt by the Nazis towards Communism, their attack on the Soviet Union in WWII, the nationalistic racism of the Nazi regime, the corporatism of its business practices, it’s allowance and absorption of the Christian church in Germany, etc.)

    Is there even a way or benefit to be derived in debating issues of “terrorism” with these folks when we can’t even agree on the some of the most basic elements of political discourse?

    Posted by Glenn  on  02/23  at  06:02 PM
  10. P Z;

    His prose got called that “clump” thing due to the plain fact that he does seem to use a lot of words that have more than one of those syllab^H word piece things that I will call “sound bits” in them.

    As you know, to use a word with more than one sound bit is to be a stuck up guy who did not drop out of high school, and who went on to teach at some school like Penn or Yale or Duke or like that. Plain folks just do not use words like that, and they sure do not vote for some guy with more than one sound bit in his last name. Bush Roolz.

    You had best start to use just words with one sound bit each if you do not want to be tarred with that same brush by that Dave guy on that moon bat crack pot web site.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/23  at  06:19 PM
  11. You’ll have to tell us how U of I is for a conference, much as you did for your Hawaiian adventure. I have to go to Champaign in June, so I have a selfish interest. Besides, you have to remind us that can’t always be off to exotic destinations.

    Posted by  on  02/23  at  06:30 PM
  12. thanks to Alex, I am planning to buy a Freedom Press from Alberto Gonzales.

    You’ve made a great decision. He’s got a really good selection—the insulated metal models are sturdy, but the plain 8-cup glass carafe, though some may call it “quaint,” works fine for my purposes. My purposes being, of course, getting the best cup of coffee possible short of organ failure.

    Enjoy your Cofféé.

    Posted by Alex  on  02/23  at  06:51 PM
  13. Sooo, does one have to pay to attend this conference?  Or is there a side door through which I could surreptitiously sneak? I’m not all that far from C-U, being employed at the redheaded stepchild of the Illinois college system. I think i would really enjoy that panel.  I’d even bring you good coffee....

    Posted by  on  02/24  at  12:28 AM
  14. Reba, I say sneak in.  It’s funded by Mellon, surely they’re not charging $10 at the door.  But just in case I’m wrong about this, there is a side door-- write to me off-blog and I’ll send you the blueprints of the Levis Faculty Center.

    Posted by  on  02/24  at  12:45 AM
  15. Michael Bérubé, you are ALL TALK and NO ACTION. You are so, like, “Ooooo, look at me, I’m such a big bad gangsta, goin’ around talkin’ trash to power.” But you know what? You’ve got a big ugly, secret. Even after all your recent posturings against David Horowitz, you still haven’t joined Osama, Jay Leo, Saddam, and Harry Belafonte on the official Horowitzian Hit List. Dude, if Katie Couric wasn’t already on the list, I would have to start calling you Katie. Well, Mister I’m-Almost-As-Bad-As-Katie, I’m not going to stand for any more of your empty blather. You had better get yourself on The Ho’s list within ONE MONTH, or else drop the charade.

    Posted by  on  02/24  at  01:13 PM
  16. What exactly is this talk/conference about?  And is it tied into the panel at the most recent MLA on shame? I tried searching for information at the U of I website. But alas, they had little or nothing to say about it. Perhaps you might post your talk or give us a little run down on it/the conference? My sense of it is that shame is a useful tool for motivating otherwise well meaning academics who have lost sight of human in the humanities as a result of the corporatization of the university. This assumes, of course, that there is enough of an ethos to ground the conscience shame both implies and requires. Given that few rank and file academics seem to be able to resist the narrowing of interest to the either/or of self-interest that the corporate university enforces AND the failure of most every graduate program churning out the new generation to even introduce, let alone discuss, such things as a part of membership in a profession, I’m not exactly holding my breath there. Still, I’ve seen it on occasion an effective tactic. Lacking any over-arching strategy into which such tactic might be inculcated, however, I fear it was only a case of winning the battle but losing the war.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:00 PM
  17. Michael,

    Since I can’t comment on your excellent football-jersey jeremiad, let me add here (out of context, sorry) that the Columbia University Lions deserve some mention for combining extraordinary losing abilities with silver, white and *light-blue* uniforms.  In 1990 the Columbia Spectator ran a column titled “Something Happens When You Wear Light Blue.” See the link above for a visual representation.


    Posted by DavidMA  on  03/10  at  06:30 AM





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