July 4th, 2004

hermione by oatmilk

seven minutes (Michael Moore's 9/11 film)

I’m not going to see Michael Moore’s 9/11 film.

lilithchilde argues that yes it’s a manipulative performance piece but, "If you're going to draw your conclusions from shallow and slanted sources (which most of us do), it's still probably best to get several slants to work with." Yes, i know everyone has agendas/biases, but i try to avoid actual shallowness (personal attacks, twisting/misrepresentation of facts, etc.) altogether, though we know of course i’m all about multiple perspectives. (And really now, defending Michael Moore’s use of deceptive half-truths and carefully phrased by saying that’s what the bad guys do? Gee and here i thought i was ends-justify-the-means girl.) And yes i’m being slightly unfair in basing my opinion of the film on what other people say. For example, akronohten wrote: "Then mom and I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. I was a bit skepctial going in, after reading this Christopher Hitchens piece, but I doubted whether we were seeing the same film."

At first i was saying that i wasn’t inclined to discuss the film much since it’s Michael Moore, for whom i have about 0 respect, and that from what i understand, it says/shows little that hasn’t already been said/seen before, so i’ve basically had all the discussions already. And yet, i found myself reading everything about the film i came across. Collapse )
hermione by oatmilk

Nikki Giovanni: "preacher to the saved"?

[Arlene Elder, “A MELUS Interview: Nikki Giovanni,” MELUS 9 (Winter 1982)L 61-75l reprinted in Conversations With Nikki Giovanni, ed. Virginia C. Fowler (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992), p. 125-6.]
Interviewer: Do you think it’s possible for writers to express their convictions strongly enough or imaginatively enough to change the mind of anybody?

Giovanni: I don’t think that writers ever changed the mind of anybody. I think we always preach to the saved. Someone from the Post asked me, how would I describe myself, and I said, “I’m a preacher to the saved.” And I don’t think that anybody’s mind has ever been changed. It has been enhanced by an already-meeting-of-the-minds. When the reader picks up the book and proceeds to begin a relationship, it will proceed based upon how that book and that reader are already in agreement. Because almost nobody really reads anything that they are totally . . . I mean, I couldn’t read a position paper about the Klu Klux Klan.

Interviewer: You mean, you, literally, could not get through it?

Giovanni: I wouldn’t even try. Why? Because I already know. To me it’s like reading—which I guess I shouldn’t say to you like this—, but it’s like reading anti-abortion literature. I’m totally in opposition to their position. Unless I can read a headline that says they being something new to the table, then no, I’m not going to do that, because I already know where they are, and what I’m going to do is look for a strengthening of my position, where I am. And everybody does that.

So people are just looking to strengthen their own position -- except when they’re reading something that brings something new to the argument that they hadn’t heard before? Though it saddens me, i will admit that people are usually concerned more with bulking up their own arguments than with better understanding the opposition’s arguments, but i would be deeply depressed if i truly agreed with her that people only read people they agree with (though i think i’ve made accusations like that in my more bitter moments).

Yes, once you know the opposition’s arguments you don’t really need to be reading them again and again, but you had to learn those arguments at some point, had to figure out your own stance at some point -- you weren’t born with political opinions, and granted we often inherit our beliefs from those who raised us, but surely any thinking person does thinking on hir own, doesn’t just blindly accept hir parents’ beliefs.

How are writers always preachers to the saved if dissenters read you when you’re saying something new?
small girl in big world [_extraflamey_]

"sort of like a large reptile or rodent"

I heart Jane Galt's co-blogger.
I'm a very unusual animal where I come from, sort of like a large reptile or rodent. Just a mild-mannered profession of non-Democratness is very disturbing to the equilibrium. For some reason, it's OK to wax polemic for a half-hour at a time if you are dissing Bush, but non-Democrats must stay in the closet. There's a special exemption for 'Neo-Marxists' who are considered nobly idealistic and kinda cute.

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hermione by oatmilk

"The media is not fooling me"?

I was thinking about how the conservatives think the liberals run the media and the liberals think the conservatives run the media. I’m beginning to think the liberals run the media but they’re not liberal enough for the liberals.

There’s also the interesting idea of just what constitutes the media. People keep talking about Michael Moore’s film showings us what the media wouldn’t, but those same people already hate Bush and many already knew most of the stuff Moore said/showed. So where did they get their information/opinions?

I guess there’s the idea of the “mainstream” media like the NYTimes and Newsweek/Time that one can safely assume gets read by most everyone, and then there’s what people choose to supplement based on their personal politics -- blogosphere, Indymedia.org/MoveOn.org, Mother Jones/Utne Reader, etc.. It’s funny, i can name lots of “progressive” magazines like Mother Jones or Third Wave stuff like Bust, but i don’t know which magazines lean Right. Is that part of how one considers something “mainstream,” i.e., if it is considered to be centrist/balanced/objective rather than having an obvious bias? Though i know there are plenty of magazines that are very upfront about their conservative/libertaria/right-of-center leanings, i just can’t name which ones those are off the top of my head.

Huh, after i wrote this, i read David Adesnik talking about the media backlash against Michael Moore and saying: “In my own discussions with journalists, I've found them to be at least as annoyed by leftists' accusations that they are conservative mouthpieces than by conservatives' accusations that they are inveterate liberals. So don't expected Moore's bumpy ride to end anytime soon.”

And then i read InstaPundit on a Yale study on media bias, which i found very interesting. To quote the Linda Seebach article: “Two researchers have combined these two disparate ideas to come up with a measure of media bias that doesn't depend on journalists' own perceptions of where they fit on the political spectrum, or on subjective judgments about the philosophical orientation of think tanks. Tim Groseclose, of UCLA and Stanford, and Jeff Milyo of the University of Chicago used data comparing which think tanks various politicians liked to quote and which think tanks various media outlets liked to quote in their news stories to estimate two ADA scores for each media outlet in the study, one based on the number of times a think tank was cited, and the other on the length of the citation.”
hermione by oatmilk

political links

Following up on the Kerry link i posted a while back, Andrew Sullivan is no fan of Kerry, but he wonders if Kerry should be the guy in charge now that we’re in the nation-building phase (arguing that Republicans are the ones who can fight and win wars and Democrats are the ones who restructure shattered nations). "Can you bore your way to the most powerful job on the planet?" he asks? (Hey, i told you he doesn’t like Kerry.)

I hear this was reported on the bottom of page A17 in Friday’s Boston Globe, and the bottom of page 16 on Saturday. Doesn’t it merit better placement than that?

David Adensik on The New Republic and people claiming to have been tricked by the evil Bush administration re: the Iraq war.

The Iraq war and progressivism.

Things in Iraq are going better than people think?

I still heart Jane Galt's co-blogger.


About what happened at the Undertaker’s match at the Bash last Sunday... OMFG
I’m sorry, i grew up watching WWF and the Undertaker’s the only character still around from the era i watched and they continue to do interesting things with his character and yeah.

Returning to my fandom of choice: *dies* Should i break down and get a PayPal account? Anyone have a PayPal account and wanna buy me all 3 issues? I’d reimburse you of course.

Oh, and if anyone’s interested, fray_adjacent is a community for posting quotes from Buffy/Angel-verse fanfic.

I’ve still been watching TNG.

Aw, in “Half a Life” (4.22) i actually kinda liked Lwaxana Troi. (Speaking of that episode, my father sent me a link to this story, which talks about the possibility of humans living forever and what that would mean for philosophy. Glenn Reynolds has been blogging about about longevity and aging.)

Bah to “The Host” (4.23).

The shiny toy surprise at the end of “Redemption” (4.26)? And here i had convinced myself i was imagining things in “The Mind’s Eye” (4.25). I heart continuity (5.01).

In the S4 commentary, Marina Sirtis said that in “Qpid,” she and Gates were the only ones who actually knew how to fence but since they were girls they just smashed pots over people’s heads and that they were miffed about that. I was glad to hear that ‘cause i was definitely pissed at that when i watched the episode recently.

lordaerith and athene say “Darmok” (TNG 5.02) is one of the best episodes of television ever, right up there with “The Body” (BtVS 5.16). “Darmok and Jalad. At Tanagra. When the walls fell.” I definitely had a distinct memory of that from my childhood but couldn’t remember specifics, though i quickly recalled once i was watching the episode. Given how much the Trek staff has done with creating lifeforms so utterly foreign to ourselves, it was really neat to see them tackle the idea of a language that operated entirely differently from our own. The Enterprise crew seemed rather flagrantly stupid, but maybe that was because i already knew the trick from having seen the episode before.
Giles on a horse, need i say more? [muzakgurrl]

So, what else have i been up to?

After training on Tuesday we carted filing cabinets out to the curb. Yay for developing new and unusual skills?

Helped out with the Girls Program on Wednesday. I'm a gem in the firmament, a saint, have enough brownie points in Heaven to start my own bakery when i get there.

After we had finished cleaning up around 8 i sat down in a chair and realized my legs were sore. My mother pointed out i had been on my feet pretty much all day. Oh yeah, 3:30-8pm i was on my feet almost that entire time.

I mostly helped out down in the kitchen with Seamus (who says “pasta” with a flat “a” while still having an Irish accent, and who plays golf at the country club in my town -- i keep forgetting we have a country club, ‘cause it’s not like we’re Newton or anything -- once a week).

Saw my first unmarked police car Thursday. This little green car blew by lights/siren blaring when i was walking back to South Station.

One of ladyvivien’s recent posts reminded me that one reason i should really have a non-driver ID is so i can have an organ donor sticker. With this whole looming grad school thing, though, i feel like i should wait, since that’s only a year away and if i get into grad school i’ll have a new permanent address for some years.

ladyvivien has also been looking at www.nogaymarriage.com. Responding to "Foster-care parents will be required to undergo "sensitivity training" to rid themselves of bias in favor of traditional marriage, and will have to affirm homosexuality in children and teens." she writes:
So, tell me: Have YOU</b> affirmed a homosexual today?
Oh, and big thanks to sarah_p.

Mailed packages on Friday. Still need antheia’s address.

On Saturday i actually went through some of the crap in my room (and made it less of a death trap in the process) and updated my wishlist. And i finally found my financial aid folder. It was in the one place i hadn’t looked, where i had brilliantly put it so that it would be easily accessible (during June i went through every single box i brought back from school, twice, looking for this thing).

Went to the Congregational Church on Sunday. The sermon was The Declaration of Independence with Scriptures Genesis 12:1-3 and Revelations 21:1-3, which impressed me. He started by talking about the long history of divisiveness in this country (American Revolution: one-third of colonists opposed, one-third took no side) and said that democracy is messy but that we’re still here 200-something years later because faith in the basic goodness of humanity is crucial to democracy. And he said that the “Proud to Be an American” bumper stickers are problematic because to have been born into the richest nation in the world, the freest nation in the world, is something to feel blessed about, but that we should not feel proud of something we had no part in. I liked that a lot.

America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood...
small girl in big world [_extraflamey_]


"I also don't like labels in general because they don't benefit me--they benefit those around me. I don't need to pick a word to describe myself for other people--I am what I am and there doesn't need to be a label to proclamate it. Labels don't better me, they describe me to others."
Garrison Keillor makes me twitch sometimes, but his Fourth of July speech (heard on his program the evening of the 3rd) made me happy. He talked about how regardless of our politics we could all celebrate the best of America’s potential. Something like that. I forget how he phrased it, but anyway, his focus ended up being on individualism.

He said that all true stories are about individuals, that stories about groups are promotional copy. I liked that.

We talked about our eagerness to share intimate details with strangers and said it’s because we want to be known as individuals rather than known by our group identity.

Thursday’s Teen Voices training was about inclusive writing (i got to make my pitch about how easy it is to write as if of course every sane person agrees with you and how that makes it an unsafe space for disagreement and of course everyone thinks they’re correct but please make sure it’s still a safe space for disagreement; go me and my bravery) and as prelude to that Ellyn had us list our identities. The way she phrased it was “Think about the identities that are important to you.”

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