Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: msnbc

The other day, I mentioned a positive review from Shannon Yarbrough at the LL Book Review. Today, I’m going to mention a few others, and make an announcement about something I’m rather excited about.

Today, Raych at Books I Done Read gave it high-caterpillar review. A juicy blurb:

Silly and poignant and real … totally hilarious … basic love story meets girl Tarot card battle royale

Now, Raych disclaims: if you’ve finished Meets Girl, you know that Raych gets a shout-out at the conclusion. Some people might fear some lack of objectivity.

I don’t. I started reading Raych’s blog pretty much as soon as she started it, and I love what a fool she is, and by fool, I mean the n’uncle sort, who says perhaps many nonsensical things and who maybe distracts you with the bouncy jingle balls on his hat but is, often, the wisest person in the room. The canniest. The one who knows what’s what.

I felt the same thing about Veronica’s brother Tom, in the novel. I could see his band–Foolish–doing something silly and poignant and real. Some of what I think are exactly those moments in the novel–the ones that are silly and poignant and real–belong to Tom. When Tom handed our young hero-narrator Foolish’s CD, I saw him offering one with a jaunty, silly, hand-crayoned cover because leave it to the wise-fool to leave the name of the band off.

So it fit, and when I needed a title for that album, I cribbed Raych’s blog.

She doesn’t seem to have minded. Thank goodness. I’m glad she didn’t sue my ass. For cookies. Because who’d sue a broke-ass grad student/novelist/professor/personal trainer for money?

I do wonder about objectivity. Not Raych’s. Just in general. Like, is anyone objective anymore?

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At the beginning of each semester teaching writing so far, I’ve faced two obstacles. The first is unlearning 5-paragraph essay format, which most high schoolers learn as rote as any Gospel.

The other is elevated diction. Somewhere along the way, most students have discovered that their high school teachers are impressed by their use of the vocabulary contained in the SAT, no matter how inappropriate a word choice. My instruction is simplicity: I tell my student I am a writer and have read widely enough that they’ll never impress me with their words, only their ideas.

I recently caught this video, with Keith Olbermann’s comments on the Geraldine Ferraro racist-remarks fiasco:

Apparently, someone needs to tell Keith to scale it down a bit.

“In your tepid response to this Ferraro disaster, you may sincerely think you are disenthralling an enchanted media–”

I mean, seriously.

Now I admit, I’ve liked Olbermann. His comments on the end of habeus corpus were terrific.

And maybe it’s because he’s a commentator that he goes beyond journalism and into judgment (“disaster”?).

But seriously, this buttoned-up guy with his mile-wide pinstripes is the same dude who gave SportsCenter the “en fuego” catchphrase, is he not?

When Jon Stewart was on Crossfire, he mentioned the theater of political comentary. Olbermann seems to prove pretty well that theater is not restricted to Tucker Carlson’s bow tie.

After the Nader debacle, I changed my startpage from MSNBC to CNN. It’s not much better. Are there any good news venues any more? Right now I’m set on the New York Times, but even that doesn’t feel like exactly what I’m looking for.

Also: isn’t Clinton’s lack of response precisely what she attacked Obama for, when he didn’t outright reject Farakhan’s endorsement?

And finally: Geraldine Ferraro? Seriously? I respected her, once upon a time. But I don’t respect racists.

I found the image below when I started up Firefox to see the front-page MSNBC article on Ralph Nader’s declaration of his third run at presidential candidacy.


It irritated me for myriad reasons. The first came prompted from my years as a writer and editor; such a typo is just sloppy, and I think it says one of two things- either the journalist in question has such an extreme bias against Democrats that he or she felt the need to repeat the information twice, or that much of the article is simply cut-and-pasted from another source. The latter might well be the case; the bulk of the article probably came from a release from the Associated Press or somesuch, and it was just plopped in.

Which does, in fact, little to comfort me.

Someone somewhere wrote it. And two me, the repeated text is a direct swipe. I suppose I ultimately categorize as a Democrat; so far, this cycle, I favor an Obama/Edwards ticket (I’d’ve loved the reverse). But I have similar feelings for McCain as for Clinton; neither strikes me as a terrifying choice, and both strike me as adequate. In ’04, I cast for Kerry/Edwards.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t vote in ’00. I’m from Jersey, so I don’t think it made much of a difference either way.

But here’s the thing; I don’t know if Nader cost Gore the election in ’00. It’s entirely possible, I suppose. But you know what? I don’t think Gore would have handled the ’00-’04 well, either. I can’t imagine Gore having been president on 9/11. Perhaps it would have bucked him up and forced him to grow a backbone, but Gore always struck me as the most milquetoast of politicians. The only thing I knew about Dan Quayle as VP was that he couldn’t spell ‘potato,’ but I was, like, eight at the time; I knew less about Gore, and I was in college when he was VP, studying political science at one point, even.

It’s nice Gore won both the Oscar and the Peace prize for his environmental work, but I don’t recall much initiative toward the environment he took during his ’92-’00 terms. The current movement toward green (and that’s the environmental one, not Nader’s political party) is too little, too late, and I’m probably one of the few people with a scientific background who doesn’t believe in global warming, because what we’re facing is something a helluva lot bigger than that, and it’s called climate change (the change has been exacerbated and speeded by global warming, but global warming is just the start).

People blame Bush for not becoming involved enough in the environment and the Kyoto treaty, but the thing about the weather is that it didn’t just change. I remember being scared about holes in the ozone as early as 4th grade, which I think would’ve been around the mid-80s.

I don’t claim Nader’s candidacy siphoned votes away from Gore; if people were going to vote for him, they would have. If Gore had demonstrated more effectively he was a better candidate, people would have voted for him.

My feeling is that ’00 never should have been a Bush/Gore election in the first place. Bush smeared McCain six ways to Sunday, and before then, McCain had the better numbers. And if I could’ve chosen leadership in retrospect post-9/11, I’d want McCain in the role.

Nader can run. It won’t matter. To believe that McCain and Clinton are different candidates simply because one’s blue and the other’s red is folly. Obama is charismatic enough it’s not going to matter who he runs against if he wins the nom; he’ll win or lose depending on his campaign, not on his opponents.