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The week that wasn’t

The entire week’s work on this blog-- from the moment it crashed on Election Eve-- was wiped out yesterday while I was at yet another academic-administrative meeting in Pittsburgh.  Kurt managed to retrieve the posts (and once again, I Google-cached them as emergency backup), but all your brilliant comments are gone.  Somehow I find this even more dispiriting than the election of Coburn and Bunning.  I feel like a bunch of friends have disappeared from a photo album.

Obviously, I am not right with God.  The way I see it, all the trouble began last Sunday when I mocked Christian businesses, even going so far as to invent a fictional conversation between God and myself in which I say something wiseass and He smites me.  Well, I’ve learned my lesson, Jesus.  I’m coming home to You.

So, dear readers, I’ll be spending the next three weeks in a seminar for repentant Democrats, conducted by the Focus on the Family Ministries.  When I come back, I hope to be able to use this blog to spread the Good News, instead of using it for irony and evil as I have in the past.

While I’m away, I will be acquiring Moral Values, since this amoral liberal-left “social-justice-for-those-in-need” stuff clearly isn’t working.  I hope you’ll check in with me again when I return, and-- in the words of a legendary rock band-- we hope you like our new direction.

For now, though, I can’t help noting ruefully that I’d basically summed up the election back in mid-January, when this impious blog was only two weeks old.  Soon, however, it will be Born Again.

Open thread, folks.  I’ll try not to lose your comments this time.

Posted by on 11/05 at 06:13 AM
  1. I’m [redacted] to see that [inappropriate content] whenever the [under review by Internet Decency Division, Homeland Security Department] to finally [religiously incorrect] when Jesus himself [executive privilege: national security] hot pokers up Tom DeLay’s ass.

    Posted by Norbizness  on  11/05  at  07:59 AM
  2. Just so we’re clear, folks...I’m the one responsible for the loss of the comments here, not Michael. My sincerest apologies to all the commenters who lost their valuable and worthwhile words from the last three days.

    We are now stable and the Expression Engine configuration file is now correct.

    Thank you again for visiting and writing…

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  08:02 AM
  3. It’s been a very stressful week for those of us who have become addicted - glad to see you’re back up and running. I was a little worried that it was the picture of Jamie threatening death to the non-Kerry voters that had shut you down. I had conspiracy-theory paranoia all the next day!

    Posted by Clare  on  11/05  at  08:08 AM
  4. NOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!

    Posted by tex  on  11/05  at  08:11 AM
  5. What’s all this crap about 59 1/2 MILLION VOTES and a 3 1/2 MILLION vote margin? You mean Bush won by MILLIONS of votes?  That can’t be right! A MILLION is a reaaallly big number, right? If you think that is bad, think about this: if we assume the average voter weighs 145 pounds, Bush won by half BILLION pounds. That’s 250000 TONS! And a TON is reaaallly heavy. Better yet, there may be be over a hundred TRILLION cells in the human body. That makes Kerry’s “cell deficit” something like 350 QUINTILLION!

    It’s like people don’t realize that there are nearly 300 MILLION people in this country. Carter won by 2 MILLION votes in 1976, which is about the same proportion, but that was a “bare majority,” of course.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  08:20 AM
  6. First of all, Michael, your problem is not values, it’s reality.  You even care about such abstract realities as personal responsibility, and you’ve obviously inculcated same in your crew, as we can see from Kurt’s use of that charming ancien-regime short-prose form, the apology.  And yes, I bet you’re even the kind of guy for whom “abstract realities” isn’t an oxymoron. Plato and all that.

    Out here in California, we don’t need our politicians to be real.  In one epiphanic moment on the treadmill last week, I gazed up at that giant square face and realized: “The Governor of California is a hologram.” It was so liberating!  Whenever I read commentators trying to divine the governor’s “motivations,” I just think: poor deluded souls, they’re trapped in their own language, which assumes that the governor is a person.  Now, I don’t have to care what he says, because he’s not really there.

    Didn’t Garry Trudeau point this out about Bush I, almost two decades ago?  Why are we dull bicoastal folk so slow to catch on?

    Peace, Jarrett

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  08:21 AM
  7. The 527 that might have won it for Kerry:

    [Woman]: I wonder.  George Bush says he’s deeply religious?

    [Man]: Sure.

    [Woman]: So how come he only went to church 4 times in 3 years?

    [Man]: Really?

    [Fade to GWB cutting brush - Woman]: He had plenty of time to cut brush.

    [Cross-face to GWB on mountain bike - Man]: And ride a mountain bike, too.

    [Cut to GWB smirking - Woman]: He says what people want to hear, but for me, faith is about deeds, not words.  I wonder ...

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  09:26 AM
  8. I wanted to go back to Michael’s idea of a “wedge issue” that would work for us. I like the goats and sheep amendment, but it doesn’t have enough hate potential. You see, *hate* is the key word, make enough people hate, and hate with enough intensity, and the tide will turn.

    So here goes my proposed amendment to the US constitution: it will be henceforth considered a terrorist crime against the United States for any citizen to fly or display a Confederate flag in public places. Forget about amending state constitutions, that’s for sissies. We’ll win this one nationally. Organize a national plebiscite and get enough New Englanders, West Coasters, urban Midwesterners, etc. to vote for this. Campaign heavily by equating Confederate flags with racist and anti-Semitic hate literature not protected by the law. Include punishment in the amendment as well. Any citized found guilty of this terrorist crime will be sent to political reeducation for a year in one of two places of his choice: Gitmo or Castro’s Cuba. Do not torture the first pickup-truck driving, Budweiser-drinking racists that get caught flying Confederate flags. Just expose them to massive doses of Pantera, Sepultura, Ramones, Dead Kennedies, Ministry, E. Neubaten, and then send them off to Gitmo or Cuba. Let the motherfuckers choose. In Gitmo they’ll probably become Talibans; in Cuba the range of choices is still slightly wider. Regardless of what happens, when and if they come back they should be ready to stick their Confederate flags up their asses.

    Second national plesbiscite for a constitutional amendment: ban the Bible from public schools. If we phrase it like that we’ll never win, of course. The amendment should determine that all schools should either be Bible-free or devote equal time and shelve space to the Christian Bible, the Hebrew Bible, and the Koran. You wanna talk sacred books, let’s talk sacred books. Punishment for transgressing this law should be a two-year-long political reeducation stay in a mostly atheistic part of the world, like Buenos Aires or Finland. Not with taxpayer’s money, mind you. Taxpayer will pay their one-way tickets. Let the motherfuckers earn their living and return tickets in the Helsinki winter. That should teach them some manners.

    After those two amendments we should be ready to get to work on goats and sheep.

    Sorry about the lengthy post and the biblical language.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  10:43 AM
  9. Michael,

    Buck up, man! So you lost a few comment threads.

    We have much work to do, and if you were not to provide your “coastal academic-elitist” wit, then we smitten fans in the troglodytic Rocky Mountain region might have to just give up the good fight.

    You can’t let that happen. Humor tames the savage beast.

    BTW, check out Simon Schama’s Onward Christian Soldiers commentary in the Guardian today http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1344144,00.html

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  10:48 AM
  10. "Campaign heavily by equating Confederate flags with racist and anti-Semitic hate literature not protected by the law.”

    Let’s just point out that its un-patriotic. After all, they lost.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  11:16 AM
  11. I’ll try to recreate my thoughts on progressive wedge issues. The first was to create an award—the Wedgie—for best wedge idea. Again, Michael, don’t spend too much on the trophey and keep the cash prize in your budget. Second, the wedge issue should be bumpersticker concise and repeatable. “Neocons are not Christian.” “Neoconservatives are idolaters.” When you need to elaborate, the justifications for the wedge should be similarly sloganizable. “It is not Christian to demonize the poor.” “It is not Christian to give tax breaks to the rich.” “It is not Christian to militarize the world.” “It is not Christian to kill.” “It is not Christian to destroy nature.”

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  12:23 PM
  12. So, Michael, the Focus on Family Ministries doesn’t allow internet access or something? You seem to be saying that there won’t be new posts for 3 weeks?! Well, there better be gobbets of godly good news after, then.  As Clare above pointed out, it’s been a stressful week for those addicted.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  02:12 PM
  13. Michael,

    Having discovered my identity with the One Universal Entity, I can assure you that you could do worse than “irony and evil.”

    I would think it interesting to know what proportion of citizen children of God, who voted against same sex marriage in 2004, are as yet unclear about the real consequences of same family sex.



    Posted by David  on  11/05  at  02:15 PM
  14. The Pink Bunny of Battle is now the Blue Bunny of Battle. This happened on November 2, 2004. You can visit the site—http://www.battlebunny.org—to see the sad results.

    I, too, feel that I have been sinful. My sin is that I haven’t been pissed off enough.

    Posted by Pinky  on  11/05  at  02:51 PM
  15. Michael,

    Don’t get too discouraged.  In the midst of some online philosophical investigation, I stumbled on to your blog in the aftermath of the death of Jacques Derrida.  Your witty and incisive political analysis has helped me realize how intellectualy bankrupt the right really is.  I’ve always taken a Machiavellian approach to politics, but the French philosopher in me is really starting to wake up.

    Take heart folks - I’ve been a 10 year loyal Republican voter for the last ten years, until this year.  I still consider myself a “McCain Republican”, and Kerry got my vote.  It may be a while before I vote Republican, at least for President, again.  I’m living proof the masses can be extracted from the Matrix.

    However, as an ex-Republican, I do have the advantages of mindless rhetoric.  **AHEM** Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to redouble our efforts to deconstruct the neocon movement.  It’s hard work, yes, but we’re committed to staying the course for the sake of freedom, the freedom of the American people.  We care about the security of our nation too much to give up.  We will go after those who would frighten or intimidate us, whereever they may hide.  Any multi-national oil corporation that harbors these terrorists will be brought to justice.  We will make no distinction between puppet and puppeteer.

    And don’t forget about Poland.

    Keep up the good work Michael.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  04:10 PM
  16. You are awesome, Michael. I love your writing, your sense of humor, and your heart. I laugh out loud almost every time I stop by.

    Yours in Crust,

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:05 PM
  17. Oh, did I mention I’m opening an Evangelical chain of pizza shops?

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:07 PM
  18. For a nanosecond, I toyed with the possibility that you were serious, and a voice inside me wailed, “But then he wouldn’t be *hot* anymore!”

    Posted by Avedon  on  11/05  at  05:19 PM
  19. Michael, that’s great news.  No more irony and evil!  For some extra divine inspiration, you all might want to check, er, chick this out, too:


    Posted by  on  11/05  at  05:44 PM
  20. I know this breaks your original rules, but I’d like to propose a serious liberal wedge issue: a set of constitutional amendments that codify what the Bush Supreme Court will soon be taking away. For lack of a better term I’ll call this the Millennium Bill of Rights, since the term Second Bill of Rights was used by FDR in an economic context. Like the original Bill of Rights, the Millennium Bill of Rights will consist of several separate constitutional amendments. Here’s my starter set:
    a) The Equal Rights Amendment (reintroduced)
    b) Reproductive Choice
    c) Right to Civil Unions
    d) Right to Privacy
    With proper wording, I believe each of these would have the backing of a popular majority of US citizens. While announced together, they will be introduced separately, since they have slightly different constituencies.
    They may have no chance of passing Congress now, much less being approved by 3/4 of the states, but that is not the point of this exercise. The point is to show the people what they could get if they elect the right representatives to Congress and state legislatures. Ultimately, within a generation, we will be able to get these amendments passed. We will also need them, because the Bush Court will rule that the constitution, as it exists today, does not provide these protections.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  06:15 PM
  21. Oh, did I mention I’m opening an Evangelical chain of pizza shops?

    Cheeses of Nazareth!

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  11/05  at  06:54 PM
  22. Cheeses of Nazareth!


    Thanks for the punch line ... it’s perfect. smile

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  07:27 PM
  23. If you didn’t have enough problems, there’s something wrong with your RSS feed:


    Posted by  on  11/06  at  06:49 AM
  24. Manfred-

    The pathname in your example is the old one; during the (massive) changes this week, I migrated EE back to the root directory, and out of its own.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  07:32 AM
  25. Scared me silly to not find you here, again.

    If you give yourself to Christ’s Born Again Hordes (do you really wanna be one with all those who emerged from the dungeons of their churches, like lemmings, to vote), then consider the possibility of Lucifer’s not so gentle tricks as well. 

    A Born Again blog will attract Satan like honey to a bee, like sugar to ants and jam to wasps.  Oh yeah, forgot flame to a moth.  Unless of course that is the seekrit purpose of your Born Again Blog.

    Instead of conversion, I suggest you listen to Homeland Security’s Ridge.  Duckt tape the blog and move it into a large plastic tent and proceed with irony, parody, mayhem and wit.

    Three weeks seems awful long to wait.  Cold turkey is not a pretty sight.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  09:10 AM
  26. Hello Michael… long time reader, first time caller, uh, commenter…

    I’ve sort of moved past all my anger about the election and I’ve transitioned into self-reflection. I think if liberals (I refuse to let that word be hijacked, and so continue to use it in the hope that repitition will place it back where it belongs) want to regain significance in the political sphere, we’ve got to end our chronic Themism. As in objectifying radical/christian/ignroant republicans. That doesn’t work.

    I was watching some clips from the movie “Deliverance” recently, and the metaphor seems appropriate. High falutin’ city slicker urban folks saunter into a part of America they don’t understand and eventually find themselves in a world of hurt because they had no respect for these backwater hicks. Well, we’re now squealing like pigs because the hicks weren’t as impressed with our enlightenment as we are.

    Nobody should misconstrue that I’m trying to say liberalism is misguided. Quite the opposite, I’d hate to see our leaders second-guessing liberal values. But I’m tying to point out that a lot of the problem lies in the fact that the message is delivered with contempt. This is why nobody from the other side is listening. We’ve got Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn telling people from their position of priviledge that the backward hicks of America are wrong and have to evolve. If you’re a God-fearing NRA member in Kentucky, do you want to hear that?

    I know the other side is brutal in its cheap shots. But like I said, I’m trying to be a good Californian and examine what my role is in this election nightmare. To be trite and cliche, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

    Posted by random  on  11/06  at  10:08 AM
  27. Our beloved Peggy Noonan was at it again the other day in a Washington Post live chat:

    My friend, every European newspaper that is putting America down because it is so “dumb”, so “stupid”, so “ignorant”, is insulting your country. And doing it with little wit or reasoning. It’s just name calling. Don’t be impressed. By the way, I have a friend who is a doctor. He once worked, many years ago, in a hospital for the mentally retarded. Do you know what their biggest insult was when they wanted to put somebody down? “You’re stupid.” Let’s think about that as we read the European newspapers, and Jane Smiley and Paul Krugman, too.

    Remember folks, she’s the sensitive Wall Street Journal op/ed writer.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  02:44 PM
  28. I’m sorry the comments went down with the blog, but glad this place is open again. For what it’s worth, I actually saved my comments on the values/wedge issue thread on my blog and expanded on them here:


    Basically I don’t think trying to appeal narrowly to various blocs will cut it. And insincerely appealing to religion isn’t going to work either. But in going away from empiricism and the Enlightment conservatives have opened up enough ground for us to appeal to something larger: America’s founding ideals.

    One of the biggest mistakes liberals and the left made in the turn towards identity politics was to go too far away from the idea of a unified, but still pluralist and inclusive, American identity. No one who has argued that such an identity is impossible - or worse, a tool of oppression - should be surprised to be accused of no longer believing in America. Yet that seems to keep happening. And the election losses continue.

    Posted by aj  on  11/06  at  10:13 PM
  29. Friday I ventured up from the basement, where I’d been living on the stockpiles of gorp, drinking water, and Booker Noe’s, checked for contrails, raked leaves, switched to the heated birdbath, and figured to risk a trip to the grocery.  On the way I decided I’d try to buy only goods from Blue States.  It’s not that I harbor some illusion of bringing Mighty Empires to their knees, more like an exercise in continual observance in daily life, like the way Moslem men don’t touch their penises with the right hand.  At least the ones I’ve observed.  Anyway, it was remarkably easy.  All the good stuff is true Blue.  Apparently the Red states suppliment their government checks by injecting hormones into beef, mining chickens, and raising cotton and tobacco, and I can probably do without all of those for four years if I find some Egyptian undies somewhere.  The biggest problem was Crest™ and Dawn™, lifelong favorites of both me and the missus, but since they come from the fine folks at Procter & Gamble, or as the fundies know it, Satan, Inc., I could make an exception.

    Booker Noe is history once the stockpile is gone, but I understand the Scots make a pleasant malted beverage in the same category.

    So last night I’m feeling a bit perkier.  I wanted to check out this planetary conjunction business so I pulled out the Old Farmer’s Almanac, a fine Yankee™ publication.  I chanced upon a article I’d forgotten, about how the Ogallala aquafer, which supplies water to much of SD, WY, NE, CO, OK, KS, NM, and the Republic of Texas has dropped hundreds of feet in the past fifty years, and about fifty acre-feet in the last fifteen.  And I’m reminded of travelling through Texas in the 70s and seeing those “Drive 90, Let The Yankees Freeze In The Dark” bumper stickers, and since underneath it all I’m a real American I began to wonder how to make some money off this plus a little schadenfreude on the side.  I rejected the idea of a bumper sticker response in favor of some reality teevee:  guy from Minnesota installed in a meat locker, while we put a Texan under a sunlamp and see how long he can live on his own urine.  Whaddya think?  Hit or no?

    Posted by  on  11/07  at  10:51 AM
  30. I’ll take “Things That Suck” for 500 please, Alex… what is The 2004 Election?

    Wings in 6. Or perhaps not.

    Posted by Paul  on  11/07  at  07:01 PM
  31. Doghouse, no need to do that Texas experiment other than in the spirit of reproducible results. The work has already been done by volunteers.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  11/08  at  06:28 AM
  32. The Bush Machine preyed on people’s emotions, primarily fear.

    Want to get really scared? Try this:

    “The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation.
    It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation
    of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life ... “

    Adolph Hitler, My New World Order,
    Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin, February 1, 1933

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  12:03 PM
  33. "What good fortune for governments that people do not think.”
    -Adolph Hitler

    Posted by random  on  11/08  at  12:26 PM
  34. Hmmm....

    No new posts since Friday.

    The week that wasn’t was a harbinger for the week that isn’t.


    Posted by  on  11/08  at  03:30 PM
  35. Shameless blogflogging:  While we await the release of the newly compliant Michael 2.0, the irony-starved can get a fix over at http://urbanist.typepad.com.

    Peace, JW

    Posted by jw  on  11/09  at  08:47 AM
  36. Bash those stupid Christians!  Belittle them, insult them, objectify them, demonize them, brand them as the Other—even as you accuse your opponents of doing the same to you.  Shush, random and aj.  You’re injecting sense.  This isn’t about sense.  It’s about balming poor little hurt egos.  Go ahead, wrap the warm, cozy cocoon more tightly around yourself.  So cozy, it’s difficult to breathe in here, let alone see outside of the thick wooly blanket; but it’s comforting, oh so comforting....

    Posted by  on  11/09  at  09:35 AM
  37. Irony and evil and reality-based comments, oh my.
    Thanks for brightening my day!

    Posted by hypochrismutreefuzz  on  11/09  at  04:31 PM
  38. I’m opening a Republican headshop. The president is selling dope and the veep is pushing shit. They both need a good dose of smack.

    I’m also starting an Evangelical porn shop next door. We have a “Do Unto Others” booth. There’s a conversion corner for homosexuals who want to follow Jesus’s path straight to heaven. And we never clothe (Ovaire toute la nuit, as Marcel once said).

    I’m missing Michael for 3 weeks.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  07:20 AM
  39. hey--i only ever made ONE comment here, so i can easily replace that much for you: i said you were brilliant, and just about the best intelligent humor to be found online (to my strange tastes, anyway.)

    hope that helps!

    and it isn’t just you. apparently the Modern Vengeful Racist Warrior Jesus is sending payback all over--one of my good friends near Johnstown had his HOUSE BURN DOWN this morning...and he would also be the most mockful person i know.

    i think it is time we enlist the other, Older gods & goddesses, if it’s got be Holy War over whether the Enlightenment stays or goes, we need the right kind of fire power.

    blog on, oh clever one! blog on against the dying of the light!

    -Librarian (who comes by to read every so often via Atrios.)

    Posted by Librarian  on  11/10  at  02:48 PM
  40. Hmmm.  Bérubé has disappeared on us.

    I wonder if the author has now experience an unexpected software crash, and poor overworked Kurt is struggling to do a reinstall of the wetware. That must be some all-inclusive service contract he’s laboring under.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  11/10  at  04:40 PM
  41. We all thought Michael was just kidding about being born again and seeking retraining in the neoconservative movement. But was I the only one who noticed a resemblance in that shadowy figure behind Ashcroft as he delivered his resignation speech?  Granted, I have been drinking heavily since Nov. 2nd, and I am prone to hallucinations, but there was something about that parially obscured face. Okay, back to the bar.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  03:34 AM
  42. The Professor explained in an earlier post that he’s taken on the task of writing 528 recommendations, which, if my calculations are correct, will each take, optimally, 13 and a half minutes to complete (528 addresses, 528 “Dear Sir or Madams,” 528 complimentary closes which alternately add “Yours Truly” or “Very Truly Yours,” to the phrase, “Thanking your for attention to this matter I remain,” and 528 repetitions of the recommendation, itself consisting entirely of the simple yet effective phrase, “Surprisingly fabulous!” connected to the name of the requestor).

    That’s three full work weeks of correspondence, including printing, signing and sending off, which, unless slowed by the interruptive need to speak to or acknowledge the existence of the odd student or family member, takes us quite nearly to Thanksgiving.

    Sad for the blogwatcher, sure, but no cause for undue alarm.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  07:12 AM
  43. Oh, no. Someone needs to tell him that there are some nifty features in the Word “Data Merge Manager” that make it easy to write personalized recommendations without even knowing the person. Push a button, and ka-chunk, out comes a recommendation.

    My advisors all used this method extensively and passed on the secrets to me.

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  11/11  at  09:35 AM
  44. Wetware reinstallation--yes, please.

    Michael is catching up on book-writin’, teachin’, and lots of other things. But he’ll be back…

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  10:37 AM
  45. in the meantime, if you’re in the mood for a nice profanity-laced rant this is good fun.

    Posted by random  on  11/11  at  06:50 PM
  46. I think our beloved Bérubé was taken in for questioning.

    Come check out my blog if you’re truly bored.

    Posted by Robert S.  on  11/11  at  07:23 PM
  47. Shameless queer blog plug! http://www.sergebacchus.blogspot.com/

    Posted by Serge Bacchus  on  11/12  at  10:24 PM





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