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The Public Blogging of Pomosexuality, Homotextuality, Homophobiaphilia, and Drear Theory (aka Career Theory) [aka Gay4Pay]. We also read the Corner and OpJournal so the right buttock will be punished as well. All comments subject to publication. Or dismissal. Or Both.


Your Disciplinarians: Glenda Benda (Philapa), Amber Waves (Kansaster), Polly Morpheus (Dreamsville), Tess Tosterone (D'Urbervilles)



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Agenda Bender
Thursday, June 24, 2004  

Dressing Left: How Will Saletan's Balls Ended Up In His Head

Why did Andrew Sullivan favorably link the wretchedly argued Will
Saletan piece
that charges conservatives with holding Illinois Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan's sexual life to a far different standard than they held Clinton's? I would have thought Andrew would have been more sensitive to baseless accusations of hypocrisy arising from politically motivated revelations of private sexual behavior.

Saletan's point would only carry if Ryan and Clinton had done approximately the same sexual thing. They didn't. Observe Saletan's balls-up elision:

Six years ago, Republicans demanded that Bill Clinton be investigated and impeached for having sex with an intern and covering it up. Now their nominee for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, Jack Ryan, is brushing off his then-wife's allegations that he repeatedly pressured her, despite her protestations, to have sex with him in front of other people.

What in Will Saletan's erotic profile prevents him from recognizing the bright-line difference between Six years ago and Now? Where do I file to have the records of Saletan's sexual dyslexia unsealed?

All of the defenses that Ryan has given, even when strained through Saletan's filter, are valid. I'm always in the mood for a bad political sex farce, so I would love for the conservatives to be twisting themselves into kama sutra rationalizations over Ryan, but they don't have any reason to. I don't think they even could if they tried. You can hardly be caught out saying one thing about Clinton and then the opposite about Ryan when there's no base-line similitude, the sine qua non of hypocrisy.

(The unsettled matter of Ryan's honesty today, and in sworn statements during his divorce proceedings, gives a small door in to a comparison between him and Clinton, but Saletan doesn't even knock on the door, let alone open it.)

An hypocrisy primer for Saletan: Conservatives who commit adultery (and lie about it) are properly called hypocrites if they condemn Clinton for committing adultery (and lying about it). I have no doubt that there are many qualified for the term under this rule. Conservatives faithful to their spouses (and having nothing to lie about in that particular) who condemned Clinton's adultery and his lies about it, but who don't condemn Ryan's alleged avant-garde monogamy aren't hypocrites, they are conservatives who will have a harder time condemning anyone else's avant garde monogamy in the future. The world just got a little better.

Though there is still no chance of me ever getting elected to the US Senate from the state of Illinois any time soon. I mean ever.

I learned from the tagline to Saletan's piece that he is the author of the book, Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War. This is probably the worst title I've ever read, a veritable back-alley abortion right there on the dust jacket. It's to be expected that a man capable of publishing such a ludicrously titled book is capable as well of crafting a ludicrous argument.

10:06 PM

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"And Re-Print My Book!"

Denmark Royals Surrender to Pre-Teen Titan: All Copenhagen In Terror of His Threat, "I'm Gonna Get My Big Brother!", France Sues for Peace--Offers EuroDisney and Province Of Boy's Choice (Excepting Ile-de-France)

The toy figures are the Danish Crown Prince and the future Crown Princess. The Boy is the Ron Mueck sculpture of the same name. This book about building the boy is, unbelievably, already out of print.

More About The Boy.

1:16 PM


Professional Trivialist Decries Trivialization or Don't Hold Your Breath, Beverly

Rex Wockner's Quote/Unquote from Tuesday's Planetout News mail list:

"Sure, of course."

-- First Lady Laura Bush when asked by the Boston Globe May
21 "whether she would invite a married, gay couple to a
state dinner at the White House." Mrs. Bush's press
secretary, Gordon Johndroe, interrupted to say he could not
imagine such a situation arising. Johndroe also accused the
reporter who asked the question of "trivializing an issue
that people are seriously trying to debate in this country."

His name is Gordon Johndroe. He is press secretary to a first lady. Do ya think?

His bio is eloquent in its brevity and lack of particulars.

And then there's his picture.

Read as Gordon eschews trivia in this hard-hitting chat-interview from the Whitehouse homepage. A sample:

Beverly writes:
You're cute. Are you single? And has Mrs. Bush ever tried to fix you up with anyone? I have heard her comments on how the President has been quite the matchmaker in this White House.

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush has pointed out some cute girls to me before. I think she is following the President's lead in being a matchmaker. I'll let you know if any of them work out.

3:00 AM

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A New Low

But I thought of it, so it must be published.

Nary Ate Enters Food Rehab

10:41 PM


Centigrade 6-5000

Christopher Hitchen's much linked and praised debunk of Michelangelo Antonioni Moore is badly overwritten, which is something I know a thing or two about. It is also badly titled, which is something I know three or four things about. Unfairenheit 9/11 is just weak. Fahrenhype 9/11 would have been a mild improvement. Fahrenheit 7-11 would have been best, though it means approximately nothing beyond calling to mind Moore's slurpy physique and appearance.

Hitchens is undoubtedly the most entertaining literary politician of the moment, but he writes too much. He's too prolific overall and too prolific within the confines of any single piece. He would benefit most from the simplest editing trick of all, eliminate half of the adjectives. I have a feeling his smarter editors do him this favor, but clearly his smarter editors don't work at Slate.

Parts of this latest Slate column are just a non-sensical juggling (and dropping) of tropes:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

The first sentence doesn't even get the creaking rhetorical device right. It is the film that would be honored by the terms dishonest and demagogic, not the terms that would somehow gain luster from association with the film. The second sentence is perhaps compelling when read in a mirror. While sitting on a toilet. The third is out of place, and wouldn't be very effective even in its proper place. Any editor worth his red pencil (or with an eye towards Hitchen's best interests) would have reduced the entire paragraph to this:

Fahrenheit 9/11 is an exercise in frivolity disguised as an exercise in moral seriousness. And a spectacle of political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of radical bravery.

Ok, that isn't purely a reduction, but radical pleasantly echoes political, and its substitution for "dissenting" gives the added bonus of eliminating the inane quote marks.

My suspicion is that the effectiveness of Moore's film has thrown Hitchen's off balance. I haven't seen the movie and can't imagine watching it until about 2016 or so, but it appears to have Hitch spooked, so I'm betting he's spooked with good reason. I knew all I needed to know about the film's methods when I read that 9/11 is only evoked with a slow motion shot of ashes descending on downtown New York. I can imagine how powerfully this will play in 35 mm, and I can respect the intelligence behind this sly bit of legerdemain. This movie moment will give 9/11 its solemn due, at the same time as it tilts the movie's balance completely against the reality of the day. 9/11 as a snow globe of falling ash is no visceral match for footage of the human aftermath of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A pro-war Michael Moore would have made a movie full of images of bodies flying out of the towers, 9/11 burn victims in their hospital beds, and 9/11 widows raising their children alone, while the wars would be represented by a single slow motion image of Saddam's statue being toppled. And it would have Alexander Cockburn sputtering like Christopher Hitchens, just after seeing it.

2:42 PM

Monday, June 21, 2004

It Was Beast Cured The Beauty

Dawn Prince-Hughes' memoir of growing up hard, strange and alone is good except for its deja lu title, Songs of the Gorilla Nation. She was diagnosed as suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, aka high-functioning autism, as an adult but grew up not knowing why most human beings made such little sense to her. She left home at 16 after her guileless admission to being a lesbian made her high school life unbearable. She spent years homeless and confused, going from the streets to the shelter of temporary protectors then back to the streets again. It was while working as a stripper in Seattle that she became entranced with the gorillas at the zoo there. She realized she understood their cues and related more easily and fully to them than to any humans she'd met. Her knack for accurately and meticulously recording their behavior and interactions got her noticed by experts in the field. They became her mentors as she went on to return to school and eventually to get her doctorate.

This paragraph from her book is one of the sadder (and most pathetically charming) things I've ever read.

I ate out of garbage cans when friends didn't generously share their food with me, and I slept in a church stairwell at night. On a visit to my parents' home, I built a tiny diorama of their house that I carried everywhere. I would sit in the church stairwell looking into it, imagining I was back home with my family.

Congo, the gorilla that Dawn Prince-Hughes credits with first showing her the way back to living with and comprehending her own species, is the Agenda Bender dude of the day.

3:44 PM


Putting the No In Innovation For Over 200 Years

This article details the fundamental design shift in supercomputing and the ongoing shake-up in the rankings of the world's fastest supercomputers. Arrays of clustered machines and components running linux are supplanting the old proprietary superC behemoths. They run faster and are cheaper to build and operate. Thus you will be unsurprised by this aside:

Makers of more traditional machines -- custom-made vector computers and sprawling server-based machines knit together by proprietary hardware and software -- continue to win many of the larger government research, intelligence and defense contracts that have driven the market for the last 50 years.

10:56 AM

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Hearing Aids of the Neo-Ancient Gods

Go look at this picture first.

If you don't find the overcast strangeness of it exhilarating, then you aren't on the same wavelength for gloomy beauty as me, and you can just move along.

Those of you who share my appreciation for demi-murk, and for massive machine-age enigmas bathed in it, will want to know what you're looking at.

Late-Edwardian-lithic is my new favorite era and style.

The caption that accompanies the picture linked above is a thing of wonder in its own right:

Sound Mirrors at Lade, Dungeness to the south west of Folkestone.

(Somewhat via the dependably interesting Apothecary's Drawer)

5:43 PM



Virginia Postrel notes in her latest NYT's column that:

"The U.S. used to import coffee from around 25 countries," says David E. Weinstein, an economist at Columbia University. "Now we import it from 52 countries. Beer we import from three times more countries than we used to."

It appears from the post on her blog in which she promotes her new column that she made it a point to sample a beer (or two) from every one of these international sources. Now she needs to get her hands on the coffee:

International trade doesn't just lower prices. It increases variety, to the enormous benefit of consumersh.

Agenda Bender, the world's leading exporter of typo jokes.

Also the world's greatest producer of english-language typos.

12:27 PM