- Good music! Kris Tapley over at In Contention has posted this beautiful Ryan Bingham song, “The Weary Kind,” from the new, as-yet-unopened Jeff Bridges film, “Crazy Heart.” Listen. Ecoutez. The song certainly reflects my mood during this long, sick November. I'd recommend buying it on iTunes but it's not available yet.
- Benjamin Schwarz, literary editor of The Atlantic, picks the 25 books of the year. I've read exactly zero of them. Bad former book critic, bad former book critic.
- Hendrik Hertzberg finds distant precedent in tea partiers and anti-health care nuts battling against their self-interest.
- Patrick Goldstein has an interesting post on right-wing attacks on one small moment in the new Sandra Bullock movie “The Blind Side.” His explanation for why the scene is in there is fascinating, makes sense, but won't, I'm sure, shut them up. Nothing will. Hollywood is a town that leans consistently left, sometimes loopily so, but you'll never convince the right-wing nuts (or right wingnuts?) that the product of that town is ultimately conservative. In my mind, no industry has done more than the movie industry to propogate the myth of the efficacy of the lone gunman using violence to achieve his ends. That's ultimately a conservative message.
- Related: Andrew Sullivan takes down the GOP's new ten commandments like they're false idols to which the conservative masses bow down and worship.
- Related: Alaska attorney Donald Craig Mitchell, writes about being named in Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue, and on the numerous lies in one simple paragraph about him:
Had Lynn Vincent, Sarah, or Meg called me before Lynn had finished writing Going Rogue, I would have told her that in a single paragraph Lynn/Sarah got almost every one of their facts about me, other than that I am an attorney, wrong. While I probably once was, I haven’t been a “prominent” attorney in Alaska in years. While I am a registered Democrat, my personal politics are hardly “liberal.” To the extent anyone cares, I am a social libertarian who is an Eisenhower era deficit hawk who agrees with Teddy and Frank Roosevelt that the principal responsibility of government is to save capitalism from itself. And while during the presidential campaign several of my ‘Governor Girl Reports’ were posted by individuals other than me on the Huffington Post and Atlantic Monthly web sites, none of those musings “detailed an ethics attack strategy.”
- Clay Shirky takes on the issue of what becomes authoritative in our culture, and what's becoming authoritative in Internet culture (and thus our new culture), and how they differ. Fascinating piece. He's just laying it out, seemingly unconcerned (he always seems unconcerned), but his description alarms me for, I guess, two reasons. One, even though they've rarely done me good, and even though they've stumbled at times, I haven't given up on the old authorities: The New York Times, Merriam-Webster, etc., and I still don't trust, but admit to being amazed by, enterprises like Wikipedia. Two: His description of algorithmic authority reminds me of nothing so much as how investment banks bundle mortgage securities. Individually, they're risky. Bundle them, chop them up, and sell the sections and the risk is made diffuse. Which works untll everyone gets too careless. Which they always do. But Shirkey's a must-read. The obvious joke is that he's an authority on this matter. To play with an example he uses: there's a world of difference between “Some guy on the Internet said so” and “Clay Shirkey said so.” In fact, the problem with the former sentence, the lack of its authoriy, may be less the “Internet” reference and more the “some guy” reference. At least the Internet is specific.
- Some crazy, lovely person has compiled the 100 greatest lines from the five seasons of “The Wire.” Most of my favorites (Bunk: “Shit is fucked”) didn't make the cut but, among the ones that did, I'm partial to these:
- Omar: “I never put dirt on anyone who wasn't in the game.” Bunk: “A man must have a code.” Omar: “Oh, no doubt.”
- Frank Sobotka: “We used to make shit in this country. Build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket.”
- Prop Joe: “You don't think I'm gonna send any of my people up against Brother? Sheeeyit, that nigger got more bodies on him than a Chinese cemetery.”
- Reverend: “A good church man is always up in everybody's shit. That's how we do.”
- Det. Freamon: “You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money and you don't know where the fuck it's going to take you.”
- Russian mobster Sergie Malatov, talking about a dead body: “Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Yes? Then it wasn't us.”
- Bodie: “This game is rigged, man. We like the little bitches on the chessboard.”
- Jim Walsh on Ondi Timoner's documentary “We Live in Public” and the way the thing you're using right now is changing you and the world. A Timoner quote:
“The thing that freaks me out is that there are only so many hours in a day, and it’s so easy to create volume online, of emails and messages and correspondence,” says Timoner from her home in Los Angeles. “So it’s like two lives we’re living at the same time, and the real one is getting more and more compromised by the virtual one. You have to ask yourself, `Why am I on here? Why am I posting this online? Why am I still on here after two hours?’ ”
- Now go outside and play.