Thursday, August 2, 2007

Red State Son Amid The Libs

Leaving early tomorrow morning for Chicago and YearlyKos, so I'm rushing about today, pulling together what stray items remain. Much thanks to those of you who sent me links to Middle East-oriented (Orientalist?) humor. It all helps. And now it appears that C-SPAN may be taping our panel. The last time I appeared on C-SPAN, I had a massive hangover from drinking with Hitchens until 4-or-so-AM, plus, a big zit bulged from my forehead, and my hair was dirty and slicked-back with some weird gel I found in Hitch's bathroom. But I was much younger then, and could handle debating politics and media through a pounding haze. For the YearlyKos panel, it's all business -- funny business of a sort, but sober, professional venting all the same. Should be interesting. I'll post a full report on the panel, convention, and parties come Monday. I know you can't wait.

I wonder how the Obama Boosters will spin their hero's latest attempt to look tough and presidential with his chest-beating about bombing parts of Pakistan. I plan to ask them. They shouldn't be hard to find at a Kos gathering. That also goes for the Hillary Heads. We have much to discuss -- or not, depending on the topic or mood.

My dear friend Barry Crimmins, who's still trying to talk me out of posting at HuffPo (he has good reasons), wrote a fine little essay about the fetishization of the military. As an Army vet, I completely concur with Barry's observations. Indeed, I've written similar posts in the past. It's an area of American culture that remains sacred for far too many people, and it needs to be deflated and reassessed, especially in this savage age.

Here's an interesting debate between Dave Zirin and Katha Pollitt about Michael Vick and dog fighting. I had hoped to write about this subject, but Zirin makes many of my points for me, so there's no point in rehashing them here. I will add that Zirin is right about white sports radio hosts and their angry, bone-headed listeners. Vick may be guilty, and he may be a sadistic asshole, but when you listen to sports radio, hosts and callers seem quicker to condemn bad behavior by black athletes than the knuckleheadedness of white jocks. Racism is part of it, of course, but I think envy and jealousy play a large role as well. And as inhuman as dog fighting certainly is, many of these white fans have no problem with the crippling, nerve-shattering aspects of the NFL, nor with extreme fighting and mixed martial arts, which are becoming increasingly popular, especially among white sports nuts. Violence is fine -- hell, celebrated, so long as humans play the dogs' role.

Over at newcritics, an appreciation of the early, Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons may be read, as a new DVD box set of those black-and-white classics has just been released. Check it out, then enjoy the very first Popeye cartoon from 1933, with a cameo by Betty Boop. This is before Popeye was given his own animated world, so he, Olive Oyl, and Bluto must wander through the surrealist landscape where Fleischer's other characters, like Betty, seemed at home. It's a strange disconnect, but entertaining, and note Betty's pre-Code hula outfit. Hubba Hula kahiko, hey.