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The first truth about sex, says the Nightfly, is that it unites people:

Physically this is indisputable; as one moves through the physical to the mental and spiritual, it becomes easier to hide and mislead on this basic fact, but couples themselves know better. In fact, sex is often enough the result of couples who catch each other’s attention for other reasons. In situations where the physical is the primary motive, these other motives for spending time together frequently arise; those couples without these other bonds nearly always dissolve. Sex also frequently leads to couples preferring each other to anyone else, and both expecting and promising exclusivity — a thing that could not happen if the physical bond were the only one to consider, since there are always times where one or both partner is unavailable sexually. Also, sexual attraction naturally leads to people pairing off in as beneficial a match to themselves as they can arrange: not necessarily where the greatest sensual delights lie, either. Nor is satisfaction in a lover’s relationship exclusively gauged by those couples as the greatest degree of physical sensation. And it all leads to family units that people are willing to defend to the death against all comers. A happy home is something worth protecting, and not surprisingly people will speak up about and oppose proposals destructive to that happiness — whether the family or the proposal are liberal or conservative. People with families to protect unite across political and social strata to do it.

Of course, there are those who resist the very idea of progressing to the spiritual:

This is a major protection from all the other nonsense peddled as alternatives to healthy and fully-realized humanity. Society can hardly be remade along statist or Marxist lines with that sort of thing going on. Thus the major thing to do is to destroy families … a tricky proposition.

Then again, if you’ve promised your heart to the state, at least you’ll have a chance to be faithful: no one worth having will stand in your way.

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Tony Woodlief, on the recent departure of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps:

In truth, people like me need someone like Fred Phelps. He made me feel better about myself. I am as the Pharisee who gave thanks he was not the tax collector — a comparison to which some might object, on the grounds that in that story, the tax collector was a humbled man, aware of his sins and begging mercy.

But none of us knows what transpires in the heart’s final beating. We can never know until it is we who lay waiting for judgment, our hearts softened or hardened or indifferent. Perhaps Fred Phelps saw, in his final seconds, the cost of his life, the dreadful bloody stink of it, rising up to heaven. Perhaps he saw and he begged forgiveness. And perhaps — how scandalous to think it — he was forgiven.

And while the state of his heart is now a settled and secreted thing, perhaps mine turns, as well as yours, on whether we are willing to pray that it was so, that the likes of Fred Phelps could be saved from the sickness that consumed him. Perhaps such a merciful heart is, in the end, all that saves any of us from his sickness.

Which reminds us that justice, the legal concept, and Justice, the operation of the cosmos under divine guidance, share little more than a word.

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And should Crimea fall into the Russian orbit once more? Swell, says Josh:

“Illegitimate”, huh? Illegitimate my arse. Do you even know the meaning of illegitimate, my dear European leaders? Something that is legitimate is something that is supported by the people. The referendum is supported by the people. Today, the people of Sevastopol, an autonomous town withing the autonomous republic of Crimea, have proposed a similar referendum. There are protests that BBC doesn’t show, of thousands of people waving Russian flags in Crimea, eager not to support, I’m quoting, “The Nazi Bandera government” reigning in Kiev. The referendum, my dear EU leaders, who have addled their minds with “liberal values” and oil, is legitimate. And guess what? Here’s a tenner saying the people of Crimea will vote for reuniting with Russia. Because it has always been Russian. Even after the 60s, up until 1992, it was pretty much Russian. So, after twenty years of being under Kiev’s yoke, Crimea wants back to Russia, to officially speak the Russian language, and pay Russian taxes. (Which are sweet, by the way. Hence my making business here.) The referendum is legitimate, and everyone who thinks otherwise, can unfollow me right now because I don’t have anything to say to you, even if I’ve known you for years. To you, I say, good-bye.

You must have meant, “illegal”, my dear European leaders. Of course, fighting for negro rights in France and gay marriage in the UK is far more important than actually learning how to speak. (No, it’s not.) Was the revolution in Ukraine legal? Nooo. Was the President’s impeachment legal, according to the Constitution? Noooo. Is there a President in the country to sign, or contr-assignate the laws the Parliament has passed? Noooo. Is the current “government” legal? No. But, here’s the thing, it’s only semi-legitimate. No part of Ukraine in the East supports them. The West does. Well, rule the West then. Good riddance. There’s nothing worth investing in there, anyway.

Now, I’m waiting eagerly for the referendum to pass and for Crimea to reunite with Russia once more. Then, I’ll celebrate not only St Paddy’s Day, but also a new open market. Which is very very good. And I swear, if the UK decides to deploy fucking troops in Crimea after its reunion with Russia, and I’m made to choose, I’m applying for Russian citizenship. My country, Scotland, is about to go downhill in September anyway. And Russia is one of the few countries that still holds the conservative values dear to my heart and is not fucking insane or high on liberal shit. After every high, there’s a cold turkey. Just reminding you.

I have every reason to believe he’s serious.

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Lisa Paul was outraged by that Arizona bill, and explains why:

Here’s why I’m so adamant about fighting any law or bill that would institutionalize discrimination — especially if it allows Conservative Christians to impose their religious mores on others. I’ve been down that road. When I first moved to California, I worked at a company that I later found out was run by an Evangelical Christian CEO. My boss was a devout Mormon. When I announced to my co-workers that I was engaged, my boss called me into his office and gave me what I later found out from other female employees (former) was “The Talk”. He asked me when I was getting married and said, “And, of course, your husband won’t want you working after that.” When I said, I certainly did plan to work after marriage. He began to question me about when I planned to have children and tell me that married women should be home. I really needed that job. It wasn’t just important to my career, we’d just bought our first house together and needed every cent for the mortgage. Remember, this was Liberal California — although thirty years ago it wasn’t as Liberal and Silicon Valley was very much more a Boys’ Club. Could I complain or sue? I didn’t think upper management would stand behind me given that the CEO didn’t seem like a truly Christ-like Christian. (He would lead us in prayer at the company party for a profitable quarter!) I certainly didn’t have the money for an attorney. Besides, if a boss wants you gone, even if you have great performance reviews, he can find a way to do it — especially if there is tacit approval at the top management levels for that sort of behavior.

There is always a way to fire someone. It may take legal guidance or worse, but there is always a way.

I went through some scary weeks wondering if I should pretend that I’d broken off the engagement, at least until I could get another job. I was sick to my stomach that we were going to lose our house. In a Deus Ex Machina development, that boss got another job a few weeks after that and so did I. But no one should have to reconfigure their lives or fear for their financial security or career longevity because someone else is trying to impose his religious views on you. (And by the way, THAT is religious discrimination, not laws that prevent you from oppressing others.) Now, in the scheme of things, I’m not in a group that encounters a lot of discrimination. I’m sure the LGBT community and African Americans are laughing at this — and it is just a fraction of the discrimination those groups face. But that one brush sure brought home the helplessness and fear that is unmitigated by any hope that the system might have your back. That’s why I believe we should fight against even the tiniest chipping away of any protections that stop such discrimination. If you’ve never been a victim of any kind of discrimination, you probably need to step back and listen more than you talk on this issue. Because you have NO idea. If I’d been working in an Arizona where SB 1062 was the law, it certainly would have allowed my firing on the grounds that the CEO and my boss’s religious beliefs stated that married women should not work outside the home!

Governor Brewer, for whatever reason — I assume by default that the “reasons” in such matters are at best dimly related to the real reasons — chose to veto that bill.

The doctrine in question, if I remember correctly, reads something like this: “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” There’s no intermediate step that requires you to get up in that sinner’s face.

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A short note to twentysomethings, by someone who long ago left that bracket:

We are not ready to be put out to pasture yet. We are not obsolete. We are still taking names and kicking ass. We’re writing the things you read, making the music you listen to, starring in the movies you watch, creating the apps you use, writing the code you never even think about but are dependent on.

We’re not too old to be or do anything. We’re not too old to be beautiful. We’re not too old to be relevant. What we are is old enough to tell you to simmer down, child. You may be 20 but with a little luck and good fortune you’ll make it 40 or 50 and be half as cool as we are. And then it will be your turn to tell some 20 year olds to stop telling you you’re too old.

Hey, we don’t even mind if you occasionally get on our lawn, for certain values of “occasionally” — and, I suppose, of “we.”

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Tam explains the debt ceiling, starting with the reason why “debt ceiling” is an inaccurate term:

Why do they even call it a “limit” or “ceiling”, anyway? In aircraft terms, a “ceiling” is an altidude beyond which the plane cannot climb; in political terms, a “ceiling” is just any one of a series of ever higher points on a curve that went asymptotic long ago.

In the world of personal finance, credit card limits work because your credit card magically stops being able to buy stuff when you reach them. Congress, on the other hand, just tells the cashier “Run it again, it’ll work,” and it does!

Come to think of it, we have customers who believe in that mantra with all their flinty little hearts.

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A retiring teacher blames the state education bureaucracy for making her profession unbearable for her successors:

Dear State Department of Supposed Education: Just a note to let you know that you and the person who has initiated the stream of useless, unnecessary, counterproductive and completely senseless paperwork, data, and time-filler are killing my younger teacher friends and teaching associates. I am watching the sadness, stress, and tears. You see, I know that my 35 years of teaching has been sound, productive and inspiring. I felt it. I lived it. My students grew up with it. They learned from it. They are successful because of it. They are happy adults and earning wonderful livings. And I never entered a single digit of data but the grade they earned. But my younger counterparts have to put up with your insane, meaningless, time and energy-sapping nonsense that inspires no one and is killing the spirits of these fine, dedicated individuals, but more importantly, the spirits of the children whom we lead.

It occurs to me that the state is probably being “persuaded” (for which read “coerced”) to do these things by the Feds, so if you’re with the federal Department of Education, this very likely applies to you too.

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I know, it’s only Wednesday, but we’re not going to top this description of a quadrennial revulsion:

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

It’s the most nauseating display in American public life — and I write that as someone who has just returned from a pornographers’ convention.

A friend of mine, before the “event,” said that she didn’t subject herself to such things anymore:

I used to, believing “This is something grownups are supposed to do.” Now I look to see what’s on Cartoon Network instead.

Which makes perfect sense, since Cartoon Network, unlike the participants in SOTU, has effective adult supervision.

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We used to call them “grammar schools.” Grammar, of course, is no longer au courant as an area of study, inasmuch as it presumes that some people’s language might be superior to the language of others. But that’s not the greatest loss:

The problem is one of fundamentals. American schools — grammar schools — once taught the fundamentals of the American approach to government: individual freedom; constitutionally limited government; the sanctity of free enterprise and private property; the guarantees of the Bill of Rights. Schoolchildren learned about the insights of John Locke and Adam Smith, and why they constituted important advances in human thought. Without those things, comprehending the American way of governance sufficiently well to articulate it is impossible — and a large majority of Americans lacks those things today.

He who lacks appreciation for the moral imperative and the practical case for freedom will fall back to other “values.” He’ll defend whatever crumbs he can beg from the Omnipotent State as his “by right,” even if they must be snatched from the mouths of persons just like him. He might never discover what he’s been denied. He might never learn the principles that built the country he inherited … and which he and so many others lack the wit, and possibly the will, to sustain.

I would add only that those who survive a secondary education these days are likely no wiser than those who learned nothing in the primary.

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Jamie Kitman, New York bureau chief of Automobile Magazine, writes in the February ’14 issue about the difficulty of being a left-of-center car buff:

Many of my more extreme fellow travelers on the left end of the dial disdain any interest in cars, much less full-blown habits like mine. Automobiles, they’ll tell you, are vulgar, polluting mechanical expressions of the will to power and male sexual insecurity, hence emblematic and highly beloved of the patriarchal, capitalist war machine.

“Well, duh!” I reply. But cars are useful, sometimes essential, and often a lot of fun.

Critics on the right brand me and my kind as freedom-suffocating communists, because we like cars but believe the law ought to require that air and water be clean, that cars be safe, and that manufacturers who break those rules or are found guilty of gross negligence in the design and manufacture of dangerous machinery and fuels ought to be held accountable.

The tricky part here is coming up with a definition of “safe” — or, for that matter, of “gross negligence.”

Okay, there’s one thing trickier: finding a suitably female counterpart to some phallic sports job like Jaguar’s original E-Type.

Then again, in my neck of the woods, both men and women tend to drive humongous trucks or cars that try their darnedest to look like humongous trucks; there are, of course, parts of the country that find this practice somewhere between inscrutable and inflammatory.

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Josh, who writes pony stories under a pseudonym, also occasionally comes up with more generalized commentary:

Those Greenpeace ‘activists’. You can’t believe how much of a show they’re making of it over here. They are viewed as heroes of some sort or something. Jesus Christ. Those five people don’t have a right to be called Britons. They are a plight of my nation. Instead of working and providing for their families, and contributing to the society they live in, they decided to focus their attention on some meaningless global issues, and all while invading another country’s ship, no less! That’s like Yankees deciding they have the right to meddle in other nations’ affairs. Jeez, we’re Brits. We need to remain moderate. Moderation is what makes our nation. Now that I see Brits marching on parades, and taking part in ridiculous acts like invading some ship for the sake of some Arctic whatever, I have a sour feeling that this nation’s decadence is reaching its peak. Ironically enough, Scots are mobilising in terms of national identity, something that the English have failed to do for a while already.

I wonder when people will stop chiming in other people’s affairs and just live their lives and focus on the small things. I don’t see people from, say, Switzerland, giving a damn about the global affairs. Way to go! I’m honest here. They are the nation to be taken as an example. Good job, Switzerland. Good job.

One point Josh didn’t make, but could have: were Vladimir Putin just slightly less concerned with Russia’s public image — the Olympics are coming up, after all — the activists would still be languishing in St. Petersburg’s jails.

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Ace riffs on l’affaire Phil Robertson, and points out where we’re going wrong:

Yes, A&E has the right to suspend Phil Robertson. A&E also has the right to stand up for a broad and generous principle of Freedom of Thought and Expression.

Why does no one speak of that right? Sure, they have the right to act hostilely towards the spirit of the First Amendment and use coercive power to hammer people into only speaking the Officially Approved Institutional Corporate Slogans.

They also have the right to stick up for people’s right to dissent, to be “weird,” to have unpopular thoughts and heterodox beliefs. And as a media company, they really ought to have an interest in doing so.

Why does no one ever mention this? Why does no one ever push companies to recognize that right, rather than the other one?

It is well-conceded that an employer has the right to fire you for some heterodox belief or some oddball sexual habit, but an employer similarly has the right to foster an environment of self-expression and freedom, and yet no one seems to talk about a company’s capacity to be a Good Actor in the realm of free expression.

Of course not. The people who do support free expression would never dream of screaming at the top of their lungs about boycotts and such. But maybe it’s time they should:

[T]his War on Individuality hurts everyone who considers himself an individual.

It is time to tell these people, with no politeness whatsoever, to Shut the Fuck Up and stop making life awful for everyone else.

They are enemies of freedom — of freedom of conscience, of freedom of thought, of freedom of expression; of freedom, generally — and should be hectored, harassed, and humiliated as such.

They are retrograde simpleton bullies, and bullies requiring the bracing lesson of a punch to the face.

In the meantime, I’ll wait for someone to show me the specific clause in the Constitution that says he has the right to go through life without ever hearing anything that conflicts with his views.

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As predictable as the dawn, and a hell of a lot less illuminating:

News trucks and reporters are descending on Newtown to exploit the almost-an-anniversary by interviewing residents about how they don’t want news trucks and reporters descending on them to exploit the almost-an-anniversary.

Not one mention of the fact that not a single piece of antigun legislation proposed since then would have even slowed the killer down. Not a single mention of the fact that making a desperate loser the Single Most Talked About Person On The Television is only adding fuel to the fire of the next guy, who already has his spreadsheet laid out with the numbers to beat.

As Don Henley once observed, “It’s interesting when people die.”

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That whole “separation of church and state” business, if you ask me, has it exactly sideways. Christ spoke of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s; today’s Caesars are keen to have the population rendered, once their ability to mulct us fails for lack of further mulctables.

Francis W. Porretto, having noted this sort of thing before, has pretty much had it up to here with professions of [some sort of] faith as part of political campaigns:

The various Christian denominations differ on a number of things, most notably abortion, divorce, and sexual conduct. However, they are united around the Noachite Commandments:

Then someone came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and your mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 19:16-19]

Government’s penchants for theft and false witness should make any sincere Christian extremely uneasy about contact with it, approaching absolutely unwilling to be involved with it at any level. Make no mistake: to confiscate from unwilling Peter is theft no matter whether or not any of the proceeds reach Paul. The insertion of government, the supposedly disinterested servant of the “general welfare,” as the confiscator makes no difference whatsoever.

There’s a Catholic doctrine about “occasions of sin,” circumstances which are likely to lure the faithful into transgressions. Getting oneself parked in one of the seats of power, whether for graft or simply grasp, does not augur well for the future of one’s soul.

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What is this I don’t even — oh, okay, it’s a defense of the language used on the Internet, by Tia Baheri (as distinguished from “the language used on the Internet by Tia Baheri”):

[W]e’re taking a group of people who have insider knowledge of the English language (or at least a good grasp of it) and placing them in a new, unfamiliar, virtual space. This space introduces visual aids to language in the form of photos and gifs, the ability to comment on someone else’s text in a reblog and the ability to communicate a lot of information in very few words using hashtags. We also see the creation of tone in a toneless medium. In order to simulate conversational patterns in writing we SHOUT WHEN WE’RE SUPER EXCITED or *psssst whisper when we’re pretending to tell someone a secret while perfectly aware that anyone on the internet can read what we’re saying.* slash the coolest bit tho is that u can like ironically forgo all capitalization and punctuation just write in a weird speech pattern its ok everyone will still understand maybe it even helps read the text more quickly because nothing is interrupting the flow of words

In short, this dialect results when people who already share a language are given new tools. The result isn’t a butchering of English language but a creative experiment with it. Am I claiming that the Internet as a whole is operating on a level of postmodernism that would make Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon seem like novices? maybe i am maybe im not u punk wut of it like who r u to tell me otherwise

I don’t always get a QOTW from Twitter, but when I do it’s from Nancy Friedman.

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Maureen Johnson fields a question from a young reader who aspires to be a young writer:

I’ve been looking into the whole male authors are treated better then female authors, how books are categorized as being boy books that girls can read or just girl books, how female authors seem to get more push back and hate. I’ve been reading quite ALOT of articles and such on this and I was just wondering: What are the perks of being a female YA author?

Apart from not having to pretend that “alot” is an actual word, there are some distinct joys:

The perks of what I do are so numerous as to be like the stars in the sky. Don’t weep for me. I’m ridiculously lucky.

But there’s also this:

Is it ALSO true that female writers tend to have a different FATE than our male counterparts? Yes, that’s true. It’s true in a thousand different ways that I often can’t even talk about, because it would involve talking about people and encounters and conversations. And it’s true in ways I CAN talk about, like when people ask me if I’ll ever write something boys can read (my books carry COOTIES that will make their penises fall off) or if I have an idea and a guy has the same idea, he is likely to get the credit (if it is good) or the fact that what I do has a far greater chance of being called slight, or breezy, or fun, or escapist, or a guilty pleasure, or light, or beach-worthy … and if a guy wrote it it is likely to magically become a masterful work of comic prose, or a subtle and humorous exploration of life and love the likes of which has never been seen before!

[insert vague Dave Eggers reference here]

I suppose, in some totally distended sense of the word, I write YA stuff: the median age of the readers of my fanfiction universe of choice seems to be well short of twenty, though my own material skews older. (Which doesn’t surprise me, given my relatively aged protagonists.) Gender considerations notwithstanding, however, I will insist that it’s slight, maybe even breezy in spots.

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Gabrielle Francesca East — her friends call her Dolly — on the bill we had to pass to know what was in it:

The regime has tried to persuade Americans that Obamacare is a market-based solution. It’s not. What it is, actually, is a cargo cult attempt at making from scratch an institution which is not instituted, but grows organically. So all the hagiographic wanking in the commentariat is all better to spill your seed on the ground than in the belly of a whore kinda stuff.

But that doesn’t matter. The key, dispositive point of principle is that the government has no business in the medicine business and needs to be told to butt out — which command may need to be reinforced with a smack on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

Which are easier to roll these days, owing to extreme thinness caused by reduced advertising volume.

And on that “we have to pass it” business:

Yep. In every sense of the word.

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Over the years, the maker of the number-two erectile-dysfunction product has changed its approach to television advertising somewhat, but, says Pejman Yousefzadeh, the new version is no improvement over the old one.

That was then:

You would expect them to walk upstairs, steal a few smoldering glances at one another, and then tastefully but suggestively close the door in order to pay homage to Aphrodite.

This never happened. Instead, the man and the woman would leave the house, fully dressed, and retrace the voyage of Vasco da Gama whilst entirely on foot. And then some. They would traverse large rocks, hills, valleys, deserts, snowy tundras, and climb K2 just for kicks. Needless to say, none of these activities are euphemisms for “they had sex.” Then, to top things off, they would lug two single bathtubs into the realm of Rivendell, place them next to each other, climb into each of them, and gaze at the horizon together while holding hands, apparently waiting for Frodo Baggins to return from Mordor and report that the One Ring had at last been destroyed.

This is now:

The new ones are a somewhat different kind of awful. Various couples are still shown engaging in quasi-let’s-find-the-Ark-of-the-Covenant-and-put-it-in-the-hands-of-top-men activities, but the Choose Your Own Adventure theme is not as pronounced as it used to be back when couples were supposed to pretend that they were the Justice League on galactic patrol duty. What’s bad is the writing for the voiceover.

The conceit for the new … commercials is that the man sees the lady doing something that only she does. Something that is unique to her personality and habits. Something incredibly cute and adorable. Something that would make any heterosexual male reach for a particular pharmaceutical product.

And then, the voiceover annihilates the kinda-sorta romantic moment with words very much like the following:

“You’ve always loved her for her childlike delight when in the presence of a truly terrific Jackson Pollock painting. But your erectile dysfunction could be the result of a loss of blood flow …”

On the other, um, hand, if you’re bleeding all over the place, you could probably produce your own mock-Pollock in, oh, four hours or so.

Truth be told, this reminds me a bit of a series of Hanes Silk Reflections print ads which invariably included three factoids about the wearer, the last being the superior appearance of her legs. I shall have to dig one of those out of the archives.

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Street Fight’s Terry Heaton, on the assumptions made by those who would sell to us:

In their effort to influence and produce results, marketers are simply unable to demonstrate even a modicum of restraint when it comes to the line between useful and nuisance.

Operating within the soul of every marketer is the ridiculous assumption that people want or need to be bombarded by advertising, and that any invasion of their time or experience to “pass along” an attempt to influence is justified. If this were true, there would be no looming fight over DVRs, which allow viewers to skip ads. You have no inherent right to my eyeballs, and it is precisely this axiom that makes today’s instruments and gadgets so powerfully disruptive to the culture.

How so? We’re weary of running a relentless gauntlet of jumping, screaming, frantic warnings, hands grabbing, voices shouting, noise-making, disjointed movements, and the almost demonic reaching for our wallets coming from advertising. This is Madison Avenue’s idea of perfection, and the only way you can get there is to completely ignore the effect of advertising on the very people you’re trying to influence. The Web is, at core, a pull mechanism, not one that pushes. It’s why all those big projections of advertising “potential” have turned into a commodified “pennies for dollars” reality.

Lamar Outdoor, most often referenced here for referencing me, plays the DVR card pretty well: they have a billboard which reads “Can’t >> This Ad,” where the “>>” turns out to be the fast-forward button on a remote.

Still, billboards are purely a push medium, since the shortest distance between Point A and Point B puts them right in front of you. The Web does its best to push, but it doesn’t push very well: those thousands of slots that Veeblefetzer Industries bought on Bing won’t matter if your eyeballs are glued to Yahoo!

(Suggested by Doc Searls.)

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In the November Car and Driver, P. J. O’Rourke recants:

Yes, 33 years ago in the pages of this magazine I called the 911 an “ass-engined Nazi slot car.” I apologize. Not that the 911′s powerplant doesn’t loom behind its transaxle. And not that the 911′s progenitor, Ferry Porsche, wasn’t a utility infielder on the wrong team during the last World War. And not that a mistaken lift of a 911′s throttle won’t result in Aurora Plastics model-racetrack ess-bend behavior, except in 1-1 scale taking out the whole back of the hobby shop. Besides, to be precise, I was referring to a 930 Turbo, with love-handle fenders and looking like it had backed into a cocktail waitress and driven off with her serving tray. But I’m sorry.

Eventually, P. J. fesses up: he bought one. A 964-series Carrera, vintage 1990. And he loves it, kinda sorta:

The interior is as cozy as a visit home to mom. She has a meth lab in my old bedroom.

Trail-braking bad?

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The question comes from Human Events: “Do you think the member of Congress that serves your district is doing a better job than Congress as a whole?”

Jimmy Paul Lankford? Well, he has the advantage of not being Maxine Waters, but he’s hardly unique in that respect.

But Tam, as she often does, says it best:

[I]f there’s a lower bar than “better job than Congress as a whole”, it’s currently being used at a paramecium limbo contest. My previous representative was Andre Carson who, while a genial enough dude, I wouldn’t trust with a burnt-out match without adult supervision. His sole redeeming quality as a government official was that I got to vote against him with savage glee every two years.

A “paramecium limbo contest.” I am awed. (“How low can you go?” asked jesting Chubby.)

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Quote of the week

Africa need not be a pestiferous hellhole — except that folks of the David Attenborough stripe seem to prefer it that way:

The dirty little secret of Africa is that if you got rid of the TseTse fly and allowed irrigation, that Africa could become another Kansas (an area that was once called the “great American desert”, and where there was once a severe famine … now with irrigation, and modern variations of wheat developed in the Ukraine, it can feed the world).

Of course, David wouldn’t like that: it would mean prosperous farmers where his beloved animals now live.

As for all those starving children: David has an opinion about them too: “And we are blinding ourselves. We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That’s barmy.”

yeah. It was similar British Malthusian thinking that led to the millions of dead Irish in the potato famines of the 1840′s, where grain was exported and locals starved to death or died trying to migrate to other lands on “coffin ships”.

Of course, mankind is a blight upon the landscape — well, some of mankind, anyway. And it’s always amusing to see people trying to explain how it is that they, personally, are not.

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