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I'm not a huge Salon fan

I’m not a huge Salon fan, but they have the occasional strong article. Today, there’s a very good discussion of the Left Behind series. (If you haven’t seen them, they’re the Christian apocalyptic series of books which is selling like hotcakes.) The article is a good primer on the nature of the books, and is pretty fair. It doesn’t mention that the Left Behind comic books are the best selling comic books in the US right now, but I’ll go ahead and mention it for them. It’s more important, and more interesting, to discuss the author’s connection to conservative politics without making too much of it, and the article does that.

This quote from Grant Morrison

This quote from Grant Morrison also seems tremendously relevant:

“I finally figured out what my agenda is with The Invisibles, and with the superhero stuff as well. Within a year, we’ll see man’s first contact with a fictional reality. That’s what the magic’s all about. Fiction and reality are going to become interchangeable. It will happen very slowly, but the first thing I’m going to try and do is change places with King Mob. I’ll be in the comic, and he’ll come out the comic. It’s a technology; one of the things we can do with the comics universe is go into it. I realise now you can go into any comic or any piece of fiction wearing a Fiction Suit. This is pioneering stuff, we are now astronauts entering fiction as a dimension. I can go into the comics world wearing a Superman body amd walk around and tell them stuff like what’s going to happen on page sixteen if I want. I thought, what if yuo treated that reality as being its own real autonomous world? In the same way that those hyperbeings could get me out, can I get anyone out of there?”

Do I believe that one

Do I believe that one has the right to do whatever one wants to one’s body and mind? Yeah, “an it harm none.” (Credit: Aleister Crowley.) Kind of a bleak belief, though. Maybe more later, maybe not. Your Google search terms for the day are “pro ana” and soulbonding.

The liberal media

There’s a popular belief that the media is liberal. Interestingly, the media is apparently more likely to label a liberal politician as liberal than they are to label a conservative politician as conservative. Geoffery Nunberg did a study on this.

It’s not clear to me that this proves anything; you could say that the qualifying adjective (in this case, liberal) only needs to be used when the subject noun is not mainstream. That’s kind of what Nunberg is saying. I don’t know if I believe it, though; you could also say that the liberal media is calling attention to the fact that politicians with admirable policies are liberal.

But it’s a nice little dose of fact-checking. Nunberg was inspired to do the study by a conservative pundit’s claim that the results were precisely the opposite. Ooops.

I picked this one up on the Daniel Keys Moran announcements-only mailing list. It’s not exactly an announcement list, despite the billing. Anything DKM posts to the discussion list goes directly to the announcement list as well.

I left the main discussion list when I got tired of reading Robert Hansen’s conservative rants. (Why not use the name? It’s not as if there’s more than one person going all libertarian asshole in that neck of the woods, so if he happens to read this, he’s gonna know anyhow.) DKM finds him to be enjoyable conversational company, though, so every now and then I get a message from the announcement list which is just DKM responding to Hansen.

For some reason this is way more enjoyable than reading the original source. I was thinking it might be that the Hansen always comes complete with rebuttal, but DKM doesn’t always rebut. Sometimes he agrees, creating a small slice of that macho hard SF John Wayne con environment I miss so little.

So I don’t know. Anyway. Nice little bit of fact-checking.

"inexplicably fancy trash"

If sex is a bother to you, you might not want to read “…inexplicably fancy trash.” If good writing is a joy to you, you probably do want to read it. If both of these suppositions are true, you have a dilemma. Lucky you!

It’s a Weblog, and more or less work-safe, but it’s the Weblog of an erotic writer… pornographer… guy who writes sexual stories. Uh. All the words are so charged, so connotative! There is a man (I think) who took on a pseudonym in order that he might safely write erotica. This is not the Weblog of the man, it is the Weblog of the pseudonym. There’s a lot of sex in it, thus. Also some politics.

The stories, which are but a hop, skip, and a jump away, are very good. The James Sisters is full of Utena references.

Andrew Sullivan has a couple

Andrew Sullivan has a couple of entries in the last few days discussing a NYT piece on Colin Powell. Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me. Does Powell disagree with Bush a lot? Yes, obviously. Is Powell well-liked? Yes. Is the article slanted? Oh, sure.

But really. When I read “a Republican administration supposedly eager to demonstrate its commitment to compassionate conservatism,” it is fairly obvious to me that the author, Todd Purdum, is implying that the administration is not actually eager to commit to compassionate conservatism — they just want to look like they are. Powell (Purdum thinks) symbolizes compassionate conservatism, and thus his presence in the administration indicates a committment which isn’t actually there.

That belief may or may not be valid, but the meaning of the sentence is far clearer than the accuracy of its suppositions. Despite this, Sullivan asks, “So is Todd Purdum saying that the administration doesn’t even want to appear to be eager to be seen as compassionately conservative?” I can’t figure out that reading. It literally makes no sense to me. No, you dork; he’s saying that the administration wants to appear eager while not actually being eager.

On third read-through, I see the problem. Sullivan read the original text, and mentally inserted the word “appear” in there somewhere. Then he pretended that “supposedly” modified “appear,” instead of “demonstrate.” Nice work if you can get it.

So, what’s Powell done to deserve all this wrath? Been praised by liberals? Horrors. The ideological divide persists partially because commentators on both sides make a nice living off it; there is war because who can imagine any other way of life? And once again attention to more substantitive issues than the choice between an elephant and a donkey is directed elsewhere.

Aimee Mann: Lost in Space

Aimee Mann has announced her new album, Lost in Space, which excites and pleases me beyond all measure. Except not quite all measure, because the discovery that she has put the entire thing up on her Website (Flash, Windows Media, and RealAudio streams only) excited and pleased me even more. So I have at least one point from which to measure my joy.

I blame the tone of that on glenn mcdonald, whose online record review column The War Against Silence is near and dear to my heart. I’d just been reading him to see if he had reviewed Ms. Mann’s latest output. No such luck, although he was as distressed by the new Bob Mould as I am. I’ll have to give Modulate another listen with his comments in mind. In the meantime, if you’re an old school Mould fan who was thinking about his new records, you might want to stick to LiveDog98, as the other two are rather… full of synths and drum loops. They might grow on me. Haven’t yet.

I have nobody but myself to blame for the length of that last paragraph. There is some degree of connection between Aimee Mann and Bob Mould, however. They’re both charter members of United Musicians.

Anyhow, make sure to poke around for the animated stars on Aimee Mann’s site; they contain the two bonus songs from the extra CD you get if you preorder her new album today. Oh, and her Website is entirely Flash, so be warned.

Addendum as of 8/27: this page turns up rather high in certain Google searches, so I went ahead and wrote a brief review to perhaps satisify anyone who got here in such a manner.