Sunday, 4 March 2007

Racism as a Master Narrative

This is interesting.

Twenty Years Ago

3-4-87 We finally made it back to eighty degrees [Fahrenheit]. The last [sic; should be “most recent”] time this happened was 10 February, more than three weeks ago. To celebrate the warmth, I spent an hour reading Grant Gilmore’s The Death of Contract under a palm tree near the Social Sciences Building. [Grant Gilmore, The Death of Contract (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1974); I finished reading this book for the first time on 30 January 1982.] The wind was blowing strongly out of the east, but it was warm and sunny, just as I like it. I basked in the sun’s rays. As for the Gilmore book, I finished it and later outlined it in a mere three pages. This has raised my spirits, not only because I knocked 150 pages off my [preliminary-exam] reading list, but because Gilmore writes well and wittily. I chuckled as he described the sordid history of contract law—how Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, for example, twisted and turned cases to make them fit his objectivist theory of law. Now I’m moving on to a famous article by Richard Epstein, “A Theory of Strict Liability.” [Richard A. Epstein, “A Theory of Strict Liability,” The Journal of Legal Studies 2 (January 1973): 151-204.] [John] Rawls is on hold for a couple of days while I get my teeth back into some legal issues.

President [Ronald] Reagan gave a twelve-minute televised speech this evening. His hope and intention, it seems, was to respond to the recent Tower Commission report on the Iran-Contra fiasco and perhaps put the affair behind him. But I doubt that that will happen. The speech was followed by the same sort of questioning that occurred before—namely, whether the president intends to change his relaxed management style, what he knew about the arms deal with Iran, and whether he is mentally competent. It’s a sad day when the very competence of our president is in question, but it is. Reagan is very good at reading prepared speeches from a teleprompter, but he fudges issues and avoids unpleasant facts during press conferences. Lately we’ve learned that he sleeps and tells anecdotes during cabinet meetings. I frankly question the man’s intelligence and motivation to fulfill the responsibilities of his office. But Americans still love him personally, and as long as they do, he’ll be safe. I see no resignation or impeachment on the horizon.

Malkin v. Coulter

Michelle Malkin is none too happy with Ann Coulter, whose remarks about Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards made her the center of attention at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Note that Malkin mentions the word “faggot” several times (eight, to be exact) without using it. If you read what Coulter said, you’ll see that she mentioned the word “faggot” once without using it. The only difference I can see is that Coulter, but not Malkin, mentioned the word in connection with an individual (John Edwards), and thereby conversationally implied that the term applies to Edwards. So what are the rules? Apparently, you can mention the word as often as you want, provided you don’t imply that it applies to anyone in particular. You must never use the word.

Addendum: Here is what Coulter said, according to The New York Times: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I—so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”


I’m a little behind in my movie viewing. Yesterday evening, having watched Saturday Night Live, I happened across a high-definition, widescreen movie just as it was starting. It’s a movie I had heard of, and even read about, but never seen: Witness (1985). I stayed up until two o’clock this morning watching it. It was good. Has anyone else seen it?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Child Health Care Splits White House and States” (front page, Feb. 27):

President Bush’s callous indifference to providing a little extra help for children in need is wrong.

Has the greatest nation on earth again abandoned its priorities to pay for a poorly executed war?

Keith J. Lowe
Bainbridge Island, Wash., Feb. 27, 2007

Note from KBJ: If we don’t win the war against Jihadism—in which Iraq is but one battleground—there will be no children at all in this country, much less children in need of health care.

The Risible Times

Read this. Thank goodness the editorial board of The New York Times has no power. Come to think of it, that may explain why the board is so angry and hateful. A progressive without power is like a fish without water.

A Year Ago


The Politics of Abortion

Everyone should read this essay by George McKenna.

Edward T. Oakes on Salvation

I think people who reject the gospel have not the remotest idea how desperate their plight really is—and what the consequences of their rejection will prove to be.

(Edward T. Oakes, review of Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, by N. T. Wright, First Things [January 2007]: 56-7, at 57)

Safire on Language