Creative corner

    Interview with the Umpire

    Having put off reading Michael Wolraich's "Unreasonable Men" on the Roosevelt/La Follette saga for almost 3 years, the following exchange sprung from my wish to snapshot my reactions before I forgot, as well as take advantage of having the author in our midst. Being historical but somewhat akin to our times, the book provides the opportunity to look at a more crystallized version of today's issues, institutions and personalities. Rather than trying to keep the cross-hairs on a confusing, ever-moving target, we can evaluate these events more leisurely, with the luxury of hindsight and room to contemplate, without getting mired down in too much "he said, she said", thus avoiding the trap of “having a dog in that fight”. Sometimes our emotional attachment to events seems to be our biggest hindrance to grasping them.

    This "Entrevista" took place over email on Michael's return from Mexico ("don't destroy Dagblog while I'm gone!") largely as a single block of questions focused on the book's events and a couple followups. Many thanks to Michael for playing along and giving us a chance to play hookie from the exhausting current political chaos. A followup installment is expected to dig more into contemporary parallels.

    For readability, my questions and comments are in bold or brackets, Michael's in normal type.

     – Peracles Please

    Maleing it in: Masculine Mystique & the Savior Complex

    Elaine Chao, Washington veteran, noted at Politico's recent "Women Rule" that, 'Men don’t prepare that much, so why do we have to?' and continues "“I prepare so much more than some of my male colleagues,” Chao tells POLITICO editor Carrie Budoff Brown in the latest “Women Rule” podcast interview. “And I know women who are prepared more and we get ridiculed and it's like, ‘Oh, my gosh. She's just preparing so much. She's such an automaton. Can't she just like, wing it?’”"

    The reason, of course, is our millennia-old mythos of men being born for glory and greatness, ready to roll, walk-ons for greater things. We call this "The Natural", like that Robert Redford movie.

    You might think of it as Magic Johnson vs. Larry Byrd - roughly comparable skill & success, but in popular lore largely "the guy with the screaming God-given talent vs the Hoosier who always had to work so hard". 

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Corporate Thug Dealers

    As I was reading about the drug crisis in West Virginia there was a passage from the article that really stuck out to me: 

    A Charleston Gazette-Mail investigation last year found that...drug wholesalers shipped over 780 million doses of opiate painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone to the state, or roughly '433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia.

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    Pop Quiz - Fight Harder or Smarter?

    I was at a pub quiz last night, answering questions with an impromptu team sitting around a table.

    At one point, there was a question about which of 3 early 60's events happened first. I quickly gave an answer that I was pretty sure was correct, and gave me reasons for it. But over the course of the next couple of minutes, my teammates talked me out of it and chose another.

    When we scored the paper a couple minutes later, my answer would have been right. One of the guys who was largely leading the group looked at me and said, "But you didn't fight for your answer hard enough".

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Stop Dancing: Milo Isn't Dead!

    “...it doesn't matter if people love you or hate you, as long as they feel strongly one way or the other. The worst place you can be is in the middle.”

     

    ― Eric Bischoff, Controversy Creates Cash

     

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    Fuck Da Noize

    Yesterday a female CEO/glorified saleswoman "broke LinkedIn"** with a potty-mouth post to blatantly flog her not-so-in-demand and rather niche/regional product. Predictably it got a lot of reads, attention, comments, and a predictable followup post - basically, "so I said fuck, get over it".

    LinkedIn will undoubtedly not "get over it", but *will* absorb the change and suffer another hit to its already waning fortunes as professional-network-turned-Facebook, anticipating the day where it becomes MySpace (read: past tense).

    But the noise is instructive. She did what many insurrectionists will do - drive the bus straight into the wall and laugh about it. The famed article "The Tragedy of the Commons" was based more on shared markets being damaged by neglect, less cared for than private spaces - Adam Smith's non-benign one-handed twin.

    Here the noise is not just the uproar - it's also the cognitive dissonance - the "you can't do that" feeling that destroys our confidence and basic precepts, violates our now (epi-?)genetically encoded values system - taking the last cookie without asking, crossing the street on red, etc., etc.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Thomas Sowell Retired: Bye Felicia

    Thomas Sowell Retired: Bye Felicia


    “But, to the race hustlers, black lives don't really matter nearly as much as their chance to get publicity, power, money, votes or whatever else serves their own interests.”                                                

    Thomas Sowell

     

     

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Defense of Ebeneezer Scrooge

    Oh, joy. The War on the War on Christmas is back. People are hollering that now that Trump has been elected, everyone is going to have to say "Merry Christmas" all the time and have "Merry Christmas" said to them all the time, whether they like it or not, and they don't like it, screw them anyway. What better way to express the meaning of Christmas? It's so very far from the spirit of Christian humility and love that I find myself, against all odds, ready to mount a defense of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

    Ramona's picture

    Dear Funny Mr. Smith

    Terrible news to report this morning, fellow Daggers. Our dear friend Mr. Smith (Michael Tracy Smith) died yesterday, a day before his 66th birthday.

    As some of you may know, he suffered for many years with Spondylitis, a degenerative disease that fuses the spine. Through it all he kept his big heart and his delicious sense of humor.  He was a master of the art of Haiku and made his amazing haikus a regular Friday feature here at Dagblog, a gift for which we probably didn't thank him enough.

     

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Art?

    Why study the arts? Some politicians ask the question as a joke, mocking this or that discipline as impractical. Those who defend the arts and humanities answer in economic terms, arguing for the rich and versatile skills one learns in the humanities classroom. I have made that economic case myself. As far as it goes, it is true. But it is not the only argument, and it does not go far enough.

    We need the humanities because we are human. We need the arts because we are mortal. We need art and poetry because everyone we love will some day die.

    Ramona's picture

    On The Idea of Labor Day: Why It Matters.

    Every Labor Day I feel more and more like I'm at a labor union wake and all I can do is pay tribute to what once was a living, breathing, cherished part of so many of our lives.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Can We Grow Dagblog?

    My first post on Dagblog was December 27, 2014; I was a butcher at a grocery store and received a small salary from the church I serve. Dagblog has opened several doors for me: I've had some paid speaking engagements, I've appeared on three talk radio shows- none more frequently than The Hal Ginsberg Morning Show, and I now hold the title of station coordinator for WCHG Allegheny Mountain Radio.

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Evangelical Or White Nationalist: Does It Matter?

    America: where it takes a Muslim Killing homosexuals for Christians to view the LGBTQ community as people.

    Many Americans are (in my amateur opinion) experiencing a severe case of Anxiety Separation. Get the image of a toddler throwing a tantrum because mommy left them with the sitter out of your head. This anxiety is the result of a come to Jesus moment: America no longer looks like the America of the “good ole days”. Back when America was “great” those of us on the margins of society lived huddled in our respective corners; we bowed in fear and accepted the indignities we were dealt. That America is dead! I don’t know exactly when It died, but the rotting corpse of a separatist society tied to the legacies of white supremacy, patriarchy, and religious purity is on display for anyone who chooses to look at it. The realization that the future promises even more diversity has pushed some of those clamoring for the good old days to their breaking point. Without some violent reactionary response to the racial and cultural shifts in our society people of color, women, religious minorities, and homosexuals will be the future symbols of America. This makes me smile. After 41 years of living in the south I appreciate the symbolic seat at the table, but the demographic path we’re on almost guarantees an end of the crony tokenism that passes for diversity.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    JFK's Birthday

    Today would have been John F. Kennedy's 99th birthday. I doubt he would have seen it, even if he had lived out his natural days. He was never in good health. But I grew up with a huge JFK poster in my childhood bedroom, and a little bronze bust of him, the kind banks used to give away, on my shelf. I was born Catholic in Massachusetts in the 60s; Kennedy loomed large in my childhood.

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    Ramona's picture

    Why I haven't been here

    Just a quick note/excuse for falling down on the headline job.  About a month ago I fell splat on a ceramic tile floor and broke my nose. Going today to see what the ENT guys wants to do about it.  I also have meniscus tears in both knees and something about ATL?  APL? ACL?  (Not an athlete and this is my first real fall.) Have an appt with the ortho surgeon in a couple of weeks.

    We've finished up our winter stint and have moved back home but I'm moving slower than I'm used to and I don't damn like it! 

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    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Social Media, Self Creation, Glamour Shots, and Justin Bieber

    Social media has given us the gift/curse of being able to express our fractal selves in a variety of ways. In society we're (x); at home we're (y), but on social media we can be whoever we want to be. The person in our profiles can be a refined caricature of ourselves or a new creation that reflects our deepest desires. Our social media personas, in many respects, have become as real as our flesh and bones.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Personal Note

    As many people who read this blog know, my mother has been very ill for some time. I don't have much to say about that, but having mentioned how sick she was it seems strange to let the topic drift off inconclusively.

    My mother has passed away. We had her funeral a week ago. I may have more to say about that later, but right now I do not.

    If you are a praying type, spare a few thoughts for my dad, who was married to her for more than 47 years, and who has suffered the heaviest loss of all. Thank you.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A New Hampshire Primary Memory

    It's the New Hampshire primary today. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I remember those elections fondly.

    One of my my favorite memories, which I've blogged about a few years back, involves my Mom getting into it with Al Haig on the campaign trail back in the 80s. Haig was, of course, a retired general, former Supreme NATO commander, Nixon's last Chief of Staff and Reagan's first Secretary of State. Mom was a police lieutenant.

    So, Mom, who was interested in the question, asked Haig a question about women playing combat roles in the military.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Dr. King, Donald Trump, And The South

    The last few days have been very interesting in the Commonwealth of Virginia. On Saturday January 16th people attending Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. events in Lexington, VA were greeted by Confederate flag wavers. Since the removal of the flag from South Carolina's state house the Stars and Bars has been ubiquitous in this part of the world.
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