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Beck-off

Post #1385 • September 4, 2009, 9:42 AM • 136 Comments

Two days ago, Glenn Beck, who was brought onto Fox News to make Sean Hannity look placid and cogent, simultaneously channeled Sister Wendy Beckett and Senator Joe McCarthy, causing a combined torrent of uninformed art analysis and anti-communist tirade to spew from his pie hole.

Railing about "propaganda" in "plain sight," he fumed about an offensive 1937 door frame at Rockefeller Plaza showing a figure with wheat and a man holding a hammer. In no time, he was hysterical about how these figures represented "the worker and the farmer," and there was even a hammer and a sickle pictured (although the hammer resembled a shovel).

Jerry Saltz has responded, brilliantly, by challenging him to curate two exhibitions, one each of art that he does and does not approve of. Beck won't take him up on it - he and his kind are all lungs, no spine - but kudos to Saltz for demonstrating the difference between children and grown-ups regarding punditry. I don't think we would learn anything from the exercise anyway. We would merely reconfirm that Beck has gone full retard.

Re-fighting the culture wars has failed to compel Americans to vote Republican for two election cycles, with a third loss on the way in 2010. Since I had to register as a Republican to vote for viable libertarian candidates, I get mail from various conservative organizations asking for money. Most of them argue, if you can call it that, that we are hurtling headlong into socialism because of government intervention in the economy. I am to believe that this intervention is socialist, and therefore bad, despite the fact that it was initiated by a Republican president.

If the reaction of the art world to Beck's addled screed gets any traction in the conservative media, it will frame it as a liberal response. I want to offer the counterexample. As a libertarian by inclination and a Republican by necessity, given a choice between Democratic policies argued from principles - even ones I don't agree with - and Republican tantrum-throwing, I will support the former. Given a choice between governance by people who think their way to the wrong conclusions and people who emote their way to the wrong conclusions, I choose the thinking. Republicans need to start generating legitimate policy based on the Constitution. Proud displays of ignorance like Beck's make me want to switch party affiliation from the expedient option to the principled one.

Comment

1.

MC

September 4, 2009, 9:31 AM

Beck's analysis is kinda like The DaVinci Code, but for even dumber people.

2.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 10:19 AM

Don't listen to what they say; watch what they do.

Franklin, the intervention you refer to is statist. It is closer to fascism than socialism because socialists want to own means of production. Fascists only want to control means of production. A lot of confusion about that. Since Theo. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, there has been a creeping Fabian-style socialism, ramped up in the Johnson Administration. That's an entire other discussion.

What I gather is that principled conservatives have had it with both parties in Washington because both parties are seen as having become Statist, even though that's not the case. The fact is that it's hard if not impossible to be principled in the face of 43,000 lobbies. It's a Hobson's choice 24/7 for even the most principled elected official. Thus, Washington tends to answer lobbies, not voters. So long as that is not in the discussion, we really don't have a meaningful discussion.

Media pundits are properties of syndicates, networks, etc. They represent editorial slants. If you want to hear tantrum-throwing, listen to Leftist AirAmerica. So, if you're looking for a side to take regarding tantrum-throwing, you're out of luck.

As info sources, the only thing popular media can offer by it's nature is spin. Both 'sides' are just two sides of the same coin, an elaborate commercial sideshow signifying nothing to speak of. A popular entertainment. Nothing wrong with that as long as it's identified as such.

I don't see a loss for Republicans in 2010. I see a blood bath for Democrats ala 1994 (conservative estimates to date: Democrats lose 20 seats in Congress), and for much the same reasons. And it won't make any more long term difference than it did then.

But, the problem with third parties is that a third-party apparatis is never anywhere near that of the two principal parties, so they can't get anywhere in elections. At best a third party can serve to force an issue. And if members of one principal party bolt, that ensures victory for the other principal party. Remember 1992?

For what it would be worth, the Republicans could prevail in 2012 with a revitalized Conservativism. Every time they do that, they win. That's because principled Conservatism appeals to the majority of American voters who have always lived on the right of center. The Democrats will always do themselves in by overreaching and overplaying their political hand.

Ho hum.

3.

John

September 4, 2009, 10:33 AM

I have come to realize I am more a liberal than I thought I was. A strict interpretation of the Declaration of Independence's "all men are created equal" would require that I exclude all but white males from that mandate, because that's what the word "men" meant in that document at the time it was written.

So it has fallen to liberals of one sort or another to adapt our values to changing conditions, that is, to keep them alive, as opposed to strictly preserving documents and their meaning as they were written. (I'm not talking parties here, there are liberals in all of them, just as there are neo-cons in all of them.) Conservatives are nonetheless necessary. They keep a lid of practicality clamped down on the excesses of the liberals, and sometimes call out those who use a liberal context to further quite selfish agendas...Jesse Jackson, for example.

Private enterprise has as its proper first priority to make money for its owners; everything else is second. Without a strong government it would screw both its employees and its customers to achieve its primary end. The only entity in our system that has the public interest as its first priority is the government, which nonetheless can take an unbearably long time to live up to that responsibility. I can wish that there were other entities with the same first priority to provide some competition in furthering the common good, but there are none. So we must make do with a larger and larger government to protect the public interest, otherwise it will fall apart in endless battles amongst the ever expanding privates who primarily serve themselves, in their various quests to get more for themselves.

Ron Paul, whom I admire usually, said the other night that the solution to the health care issue was "more freedom" and more "free clinics". I suppose I ought to cut him some slack and let this one dumb statement go, but I can't. Instead, he finally convinced me the libertarians are as messed up as everyone else.

Fortunately in Michigan you can vote for any candidate you want in the primaries.

Glenn Beck didn't suck as much when he was on CNN as he does on Fox, where he has become their Howard Beale. Beck-off, indeed. Nice way to put it, Franklin.

4.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 10:56 AM

John, the framers of the U S Constitution knew well that they were people of their times, and had to operate within the conditions of their times (for instance, the necessary compromise that was the '3/5ths' clause.) in order to take advantage of the historic opportunity they perceived. Their writings make it abundantly clear that the Constitution they devised was something that would have to be lived up to over time, not immediatley realized. Part of the genius of the Constitution is that it provides means to do just that, but only if it is adhered to, and not, as has happened in my lifetime, minced to smithereens.

5.

John

September 4, 2009, 11:04 AM

Well Tim, the 43,000 lobbies you refer to (I would not have put that large a number on it, but believe yours) have ensured that government will get larger and larger. If it doesn't and doesn't also do its job, they will run over the rest of us.

6.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 11:07 AM

By the way, John, I understand that you refered to the Declaration of Independence. And I'm sure you know that many of the people who contributed to the D. of I. were also involved in the framing of the Constitution after the failure of the Articles of Confederation.

7.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 11:24 AM

43,000 is the current estimate, and that's only on the Federal level.

All governments see themselves the same way businesses see themselves: If you ain't growin, you're dyin. The difference is that governments don't produce anything. Governments are by nature economic liabilities. And all of their eternal regulations have to be enforced in order to have any meaning. Because we're talking about government, enforcement will be, just like everything else having to do with government, politicized.

"Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty." By that, Jefferson was not dealing in platitudes regarding our enemies. He was warning us to not take our eye off of the government, or, by its nature, it will grow out of hand. Jefferson understood that government expansion/intrusion means loss of liberty for the individual.

8.

John

September 4, 2009, 11:50 AM

Right you are, Tim, that enforcement is politicized and government is expensive. But there are too many private interests to let them run unfettered, whether in the name of freedom or because one loves chaos. The country has become too complicated to indulge in the fantasy that pure entrepreneurship will serve the common good.

I can only guess what Jefferson would say today, but suppose it would not be the same thing he said then.

"Liberty" does not mean much to an individual who is dying of a disease that could be treated, except that he has inadequate or no insurance and no money himself to pay for it.

You can't stick your hand into the same river twice, and that applies to Jefferson as well as Heraclities.

Do I sound like George, or what? I miss that guy's viewpoint.

9.

that guy

September 4, 2009, 11:56 AM

Yeah, where did George go?

Enjoying the dialogue, carry on.

10.

John

September 4, 2009, 12:39 PM

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I don't agree that these propositions are "truths", much less "self-evident". They present values, and as such, must be implemented and re-implemented as circumstances change.

At the time this was written "health care" barely existed, and to the extent that it had something to offer, had little bearing on "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". But health care and its relationship to these values has expanded exponentially in the past 200 years, so that any reasonable contention that we have the "right" to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" must include the "right" to health care.

Private enterprise has had decades to prove it can provide this "right" and has only slid backwards in the US. Many if not most developed countries have faced this fact. I believe the US will too, eventually, because there is no other viable path that anyone can point to. Certainly the convoluted bills before Congress right now don't do it (I don't know much, in fact, about what they do because they don't say much). But they may be the only next step politics will allow, and then in restricted form.

Now what does this have to do with artists? A lot, I think. Most artists are bottom feeders in the economic chain, and therefore are often in great need of serious protection, with regard to their health care "rights". When they are healthy this may not seem important, but if they are lucky (and especially if they are well cared for) they will get old and then this comes into play if not before. You can't make art if you are suffering from untreated Hodgkins, for instance, and you don't have to get old to contract that problem.

Government intrusion is not intrinsically bad.

11.

Franklin

September 4, 2009, 1:07 PM

Sorry, Tim, but nobody can beat the Republicans at tantrum-throwing these days. I expect Air America to unintentionally caricature liberal thought. I do not expect the RNC to unintentionally caricature conservative thought, and you should see the e-mail I get from them (maybe you do). They sound McCarthyite. Yesterday I tossed a sign-up package from the Heritage Foundation that was railing about the socialist takeover of medicine and the incipient loss of our freedoms and it was just hysterical. What galls me is that they want me to think of the first $300B of the bailout as patriotic and necessary and the next $500B as socialist and eeevil. You're right, it was statist, not socialist, but that's not what they're calling it.

John, Dr. Paul is probably right in general. Responsible conservatives are suggesting an uncoupling of employment from insurance and the ability to buy insurance across state lines. That would entail two instances of deregulation. I have an unusual position on this, though: I think that health insurance should be criminalized for the same reason that slavery and the sale of organs are criminalized - namely, it turns bodies and parts thereof into commodities. There is no rational market for slaves, there can't be a rational market for organs, and there isn't going to be a rational market for health insurance. So instead of trying to achieve universal coverage, we should establish universal non-coverage, and pay for care using variants of health savings accounts, with charity care for extreme cases. With that established, I would be open to discussing taxpayer-funded initiatives, because then there would be a chance that they would provide care instead of regulating an intrinsically unethical business into paying for care that is not in its interest to provide.

There's an absolute right to life - is there an absolute right to medical care? Should it be provided regardless of cost to the state, or regardless of how it would affect the care of other citizens? Because a market will form around any finite resource, and the question here is whether you want the upper bound of care to be decided by the market or by the government. There are intelligent options in both directions, but any solution that doesn't deal with this problem - a sad choice between unaffordability and rationing - isn't going to work.

12.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 1:12 PM

John, re your comment about private enterprise in #3, American private enterprise thrives in spite of big gov., not because of it. A healthy business would not do itself in by raping and pillaging its own. Most American business is healthy. The rogues and pirates get all the media attention as political Liberals turn themselves inside out trying to make us think that Enron = typical American private enterprise. Laughable. Healthy business is mostly self regulating. Most sensible Americans understand that there are exceptions which prove the rule.

One of those exceptions is Wall Street. Former President Bush's chief economic advisor was straight from Goldman Sachs. So was/is the current Fed chief. President Obama's chief economic advisor is from Goldman Sachs. Get it?

Your comment about health insurance has me curious as to your confidence in a government which has bankrupted just about everything it has tried to manage for as long as I've been alive. Why, exactly, would you have a bureaucrat decide about anybody's most valuable asset? And what, exactly, is the problem with the delivery system of U. S. health care?

The problem of U. S. health care is cost. The plans (all liberal-sponsored, as if they were the only ones out there) the old establishment media is covering don't address the problem of cost. They simply move for a government takeover, wholesale or incremental, of health care, problems and all. Their propaganda is silly. For instance, it takes very little investigation to discover that the numbers of uninsured the sponsors of the Liberal plans are touting are not even close to accurate.

What they are trying to do is what governments, left to their own devices, do - expand, and while they're at it, pay off their ol' buddies, trial lawyers, health insurance cos., pharmaseudical cos. Lobbies. Follow the money. Not rocket science.

Over 40% of health care matters in the U.S. are already handled by government, and it doesn't take a lot of investigating to see how dramatically that has driven up costs, not to mention making a hash out of management. And how bout them medical tort laws courtesy of collusion between trial lawyers and congressmen?

There are a lot of things fundamental to the health care question which are not getting any attention at all in the national dialogue or anywhere in the popular media. But I'm relieved to note that regarding the plans the Liberals in Washington are trying to pile-drive, voters' instincts have them beginning to smell a gigantic rat.

13.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 1:21 PM

Franklin, both sides sound McCarthyite. What you are seeing with the RNC is yet another clumsy effort to operate within the terms and conditions of popular media and entertainment. Nothing new, and the Republicans have never been any good at all with that or with PR of any kind. The Liberals of the Democrat party own the PR game in American politics.

None of this is new. In the Nineteenth Century it was called Waving the Bloody Shirt, and it was far more vicious and ridiculous than today's version. And the funny thing is that people took it just as seriously as they do now.

14.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 1:43 PM

John, "We hold these truths..." was their way of stating natural law, not values. They were trying to get beyond values, which are subjective.

Private enterprise in the U. S. initially offered health care as an incentive, like retirement plans, not in efforts to fulfill some kind of right. Now, of course, businesses see the sense of participating in the health of their employees...to the extent of and as long as they can afford to. The ideas that President Obama will no doubt push in his upcoming joint session address will, in combination with the reinstituting of the capital gains tax, for most small businesses, bring that to a halt.

The real debate is the one that is not happening: how best to go about bringing health care costs down. That in itself rules out the role of any government in the history of the world. By their nature governments can't do that, so why expect them to?

15.

Franklin

September 4, 2009, 2:02 PM

Both sides don't sound McCarthyite. The Democrats sound like their usual vague selves, and the Republicans are calling anything not Republican socialist. This started with Palin, and you'll notice that Palin is not in office. (Of any kind, at this point.) Also, the party is now a superminority. I don't have my hopes up for 2010.

I agree with you that the focus on insurance rather than costs is mistaken.

16.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 2:03 PM

Unnecessary government intrusion, outside the constraints of the enumerated powers set forth by the Constitution, has indeed proven repeatedly to be intrinsically bad. This is the area of the Constitution which has been under the most attack by far in recent history. The pseudo-intellectual basis for the attack is the notion that the Constitution is an elastic, living, breathing document that must be reconsidered in the light of changing times. Which, of course, means that it can be made into anything anybody is able to make it into. Do we really believe the Framers didn't consider that?

17.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 2:20 PM

Franklin, the shrill demonizing of corporations, and the relentless ad hominem attacks on anyone who challenges the Liberals' health care plans, and the accusations of racism against people who take exception to anything President Obama says or does, and all the rest of it... What is a better name for that kind of thing than McCarthyism? Maybe Stalinism.

Generally, the difference I see in the rhetoric is that Republican elected officials don't have much taste for the kind of personalized attacks that Democrat Liberal elected officials rollick in. On the other hand, punditry on both sides has left the realm of thoughtfulness as far as I can tell.

The comments about R. Paul and the ideas you propose are what I'd like to see more of.

18.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 2:39 PM

By the way, Franklin, I would agree that the Republican party is in disarray (it's been there before more than once in my life), but the conservative base is not. And I don't see the superminority that you do, though the old establishment media plays heavily on that theme, perplexed as it is by the turnouts at the townhalls. Just now the polls don't indicate much sympathy among voters with Washington in general, but less with Democrats.

As for Ms. Palin, she only lacks her sea legs. Liberals who count her out (and I don't believe they do at all; otherwise they wouldn't be acting afraid of her.) will likely pay a price.

19.

Franklin

September 4, 2009, 2:53 PM

The Republicans spent eight years impugning the patriotism of anyone who questioned the handling of the Iraq War. As payback goes, it has been pretty mild.

The superminority I was referring to was the one in the senate.

As for Palin, she was instrumental in my decision to vote for Obama.

20.

opie

September 4, 2009, 3:02 PM

I think Beck is a riot, nutty as he may be, and I enjoy watching him. Someone in the damn media has tot take the other side!

I also think the current incarnation of a health bill (HR3200) is a destructive monster, that most of the "right wingers" are really saying little more than "stick to basic values", and that Obama is a pathological narcissist, a committed statist (he knows nothing else) and an incompetent administrator who is going to severely damage the Democratic party (with the Democrats help, of course),.

Don't believe this if you don't want to. I predicted what is happening now just as surely as I predicted the recession by selling all my stocks in Oct 2007. Just wait and see.

I also think that we should not be talking about politics on this blog, as I said several times here already.

If we must do so then we should be listening to Tim. He is making way more sense than anyone and being quite circumspect about it.

21.

Franklin

September 4, 2009, 3:15 PM

The other side of what, the rubber room? I'm all for contrary opinions but getting basic facts wrong is just stupid.

I am absolutely listening to Tim. Don't mean to let the little disagreements indicate otherwise.

22.

opie

September 4, 2009, 3:24 PM

No, the other side of the political issues of the day, which are brought to us on TV almost exclusively by Fox News.

And remember, this "loony" Beck has a book which has been #1 on the NY Times best seller list for weeks. It is titled "common sense" and from what I can understand it may be delivered somewhat comedically but pretty well justifies its title.

Don't let the circus act mislead you. Politics is, after all, basically insane. He's crazy like a fox (so to speak),

23.

John

September 4, 2009, 3:27 PM

Tim, if the constitution were not "elastic", we would still have slavery. Indeed, the "healthy business" of growing cotton at the time our republic was born raped and pillaged its workers.

I don't think the government will necessarily do a good job with health care, but there is no viable alternative to get it done, so we the people must insist that it get done and done reasonably well. It will never be perfect, but it can be good. Other countries have demonstrated that. We are not the innovators in this type of project.

As far as "the problem" with health care goes, I don't think it is any more a "crisis" than it was in 1993, when the Clinton's declared the sky to be falling if something was not done. But many of our least fortunate citizens are suffering and dying because of its shortcomings. They are in the minority. But a good democracy allows the majority to rule, as long as the rights of the minority are not trampled. The minority has the right, we believe, to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. I cannot separate health care from that. The fact we are approaching 10% unemployment adds to the importance of doing something, but it also illuminates the need to change some national priorities.

All this said, the bills before both houses of congress are strangely vacuous. Neither one says what will and what will not be provided. The organization charts are full of specifics, but there is nothing specific about what will be organized. Interesting that the same group provided an overwhelming group of specific projects for the pork, er, stimulus package.

And yes you are right, the proponents of the vacuous bills are overestimating the number of people without health care - a bad political move as far as I am concerned. Inflating their number enhances the ability of those who fear the cost of the thing to fear it all the more. Dumb politics, if you ask me.

And yes, voters smell a rat, as do I. Someone has to get specific, though, before we can rationally consider how we might pay for this, and someone must quit inflating the figures of who needs it the most. And certainly, including illegals as beneficiaries is beyond the pale.

But showing the thing has serious problems is not the same thing as showing that health care is not the responsibility of the government.

Franklin, I've considered Health Savings Accounts in a positive light. Seems like they would work better for those who never get very sick than those who do, and better for those who make a lot of money than those who don't. In the end it seems like a convoluted way to maintain a certain theoretical purity that does not quite get the job done.

I certainly agree that health insurance is not the way to go, though for practical reasons, but your ethical ones have a bearing too. If a single payer system is called "insurance", so what? But the "commoditization", as you call it, of a "right" seriously compromises the "right", if by "insurance" we mean what is normally denoted by the word. Commodities are for profit, not the common good.

There is no absolute right to life as far as any government goes. Right now, our government is measuring the life saving impact of closing down schools vis a vis swine flu versus the economic cost of same, and apparently coming down on the side of letting people die in order to avoid the economic problems. So no, there is no unlimited right to health care just as there is no unlimited right to life itself. (And don't get me started on conscription, a government practice I grew up under, and which I associate with conservatives, by the way.)

"Rationing" is a straw man. Some people will always get a better deal than others. The point of our value system, I hope, is that everyone will get a basically good deal. It would be great if that deal were the best one on earth, but I doubt that we will start at that exalted point.

24.

Chris Rywalt

September 4, 2009, 3:54 PM

The main thing I noticed in all this is that Jerry Saltz is listed in the URL of his Beck-taunt -- not in the text, curiously, but in the URL only -- as "New York Senior Art Critic". (That's New York Magazine, not New York City or State or whatever. I wonder how one gets nominated as New York City Senior Art Critic.)

You go, Jerry!

25.

Franklin

September 4, 2009, 4:11 PM

You know, Opie, that's basically the argument that Germane Greer made on behalf of Damien Hirst. Hirst is vacuous? Such are the times. Politics are crazy? So is Beck. At any rate, there are convincing, rational arguments against what the President is doing, and paranoid fantasies about Communist imagery hidden in the exterior decorations of Rockefeller Center is not one of them. Again, this is culture war stuff, which has demonstrably lost elections since 2006. If it's a guilty pleasure, fine, but remember, James Carville engineered a brilliant maneuver by having Obama declare Rush as the de facto leader of the Republican Party, and it took weeks for them to get their shit back together. These people are liabilities.

John, everything will work better for people who don't get sick compared to ones that do. And rationing isn't a straw man. It isn't even necessarily a bad thing. It's just what happens when you control distribution by legal fiat. There may even be a case for that here. But it brings up Tim's point again - in what case has rationing ever functioned better than the market?

26.

opie

September 4, 2009, 5:35 PM

I don't know if John has said this in the above exchange, but he has actually read the damn bill, which lets him pull rank some, I would say.

Franklin, I was not justifying Beck's ideas by making those comparisons, I was justifying his approach to getting those ideas across, just as I would justify Hirst's actions as an effective method to get his art across. Whether the art and the ideas are any good depends on other kinds of appraisal.

In fact, what Beck does on his program sometimes makes me cringe because I know how it will affect reasonable people like you.

27.

John

September 4, 2009, 6:21 PM

Opie, I was surprised that you used a best seller list to suggest anything beyond selling. So I will take the liberty to say that I have long suspected that politics and art intersect somewhere (so do sex and art), though I can't offer any explanation why I suspect that. In any case, when Franklin introduced Beck, politics were soon to follow, if not intrinsic to the guy.

I like hearing the conservative bias the hotties on Fox openly flaunt because you can't get anything that explicit anywhere else. And I positively respect Bill O'Reilly and Greta VanSustern. But Beck, he often loses any semblance of credibility, and his contention about the door frame is no exception. I can't discern any foxiness in the comment, except perhaps to goose his ratings.

Franklin, not only have the culture wars lost elections, they weigh heavily against forming "the right cave", I think. They are parasites that suck something from the good stuff's search for a fertile base. This is a vague thought, I know. But it feels like it is true.

If you agree that rationing isn't a bad thing, then why set it up as a political problem? It goes on all the time. In my experience with the medical system, which is quite extensive due to a very sick wife, doctors have attempted to practice it more than anyone else, and we have great insurance, so their bureaucrats have never been a problem. If she were First Lady, doctors would behave differently.

As but one for instance, a "team" at the "best of class" Mayo Clinic diagnosed an internal hemorrhage that required two units of blood to resolve as "psychosomatic" and attempted to end all attempts at further diagnosis, and put her in the psych ward, "for her own good" and mine too, they added. They said "we all agree, so it must be so." This was actually progress because their ER department had initially diagnosed it as constipation and refused to admit her to the hospital. The "team", of course, could not get around me with their plan. I stared them in the face with enough intensity to burn through steel and said "TWO PINTS!?" And they calmly replied "It happens all the time." Can you believe that? The goddam Mayo Clinic let liars like that practice in their hospital? I became an immovable rock and an irresistible force so they finally performed a simple and cheap ultra sound and found a grapefruit sized hemorrhagic cyst in her abdomen and rushed her to surgery before it ruptured and killed her.

Rationing is so widespread it is not possible to cite it as something that would be done by "legal fiat". It is just done and it can be very dangerous to one's health, no matter who you are. I might prefer a competent "death panel" over some of the idiots I have encountered who sport medical degrees. Leaving important decisions to "you and your doctor" can be absolutely the wrong thing to do, especially for the medically illiterate.

28.

John

September 4, 2009, 6:25 PM

By the way, that cyst did rupture just as the surgeon cleared it from her abdomen.

29.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 6:40 PM

Franklin, what was it that the Republicans were responding to when they impugned anyone who criticized the Iraq war. That was just political back-and-forth.

Fox. "We report, you decide." How about "We decide what to report." But I agree that their editorial slant provides balance to that of the old media.

Glenn Beck, a fellow who knows how to get attention. All of them, Limbaugh, Frankel, the whole crowd on both sides, cheerleaders, keeping the troops jazzed. That's how you have to see them.

John, the amendment clause of the Constitution shouldn't make you think elastic. The amendment process is anything but elastic, purposefully to keep things from being done on a whim, and to, as you indicated, protect the minority from the majority. And, I don't know of any instance of a refutation of or challenge to the basic tenets of the Constitution that has held any water at all. The 'elasticity' rationalization I refer to is the one lawyers cooked up to support social disasters like The Great Society and Roe v Wade.

Yes, there has been no health care crisis since '93, but costs have soared. Nevertheless, I don't know of any 'least fortunate citizens suffering and dying because of shortcomings in health care.'

Health care is a commodity in the USA, in a market place which provides the choice and the competition which the plan you cite takes away. The bill you cite is really not vacuous with regard to making it very clear what its sponsors intend. As for specifics, you'll never get anything out of them except dance dance dance. Keep in mind that the stats they use are based on a static model, not a dynamic one.

In a market, profit is the basis for the common good and far more of it than any government by its nature could hope to provide.

John, what you claim government is doing about schools and swine flu is exactly what it would do with questions about your health in the plan you cite.

Conscription: Let's see, there was the draft in WW11, Roosevelt. Then in Korea, Truman. Then in Viet Nam, Johnson. Hmm...

Rationing isn't a bad thing when there is no alternative. In spite of the rhetoric of the Left and propaganda coming from both sides in Washington, I see nothing that says we're anywhere close to having no alternative.

As for Glenn Beck's fuming about the door frame, he was just tossing a morsel of red meat to the troops, playing to their instincts. I'm familiar with that door frame. I can tell when rudimentary artistic means are being used to promote socio-political agendas ala WPA, Diego Rivera, Moscow subway stations, etc.

30.

John

September 4, 2009, 6:44 PM

And yes, when I say the bills before congress legislate the creation of a complicated organization that organizes nothing, I know what I am talking about. Very few experts discuss this. A very conservative clergyman named Bishop Jackson is the only person I have heard who explicitly pointed this out, and he did it on CNN, not Fox, though he does appear on Fox too.

After that, the best commentary settles for assuming that no one can understand the reams of pages and so they don't know what they contain and that's what is upsetting everyone. For anyone who looks carefully, they should see, at minimum, they don't say what will be covered or not covered. There is nothing that can be criticized as "too expensive" or "too little" or "too much" or "too anything" because there is nothing of substance to be found, beyond a couple of negatives, such as the business about pre-existing conditions, which insurance companies will deal with by raising rates.

It would be illegal to sell car insurance, for instance, that was written like these bills. If a company sold such a policy, someone would go to jail for fraud.

If the president wants to do something with health care, he has got to say what it is that would be done. Right now it is a rather empty debate over abstractions like "socialized medicine" and "universal health care". He is the one who brought the issue up, so it really is his job to fill in the blanks. I personally hope he does a good job with it and wish him luck.

31.

John

September 4, 2009, 6:55 PM

Roe v. Wade was the essence of telling the government not to intervene where it has no business doing so. Without it, it would be possible to outlaw contraceptive drugs because they strangle fertilized eggs.

The Great Society, on the other hand, was a mixed bag.

32.

Tim

September 4, 2009, 7:16 PM

Without Roe v. Wade (Don't you love that? Roe...egg), it would be possible to have a rational dialogue about the issues Roe v. Wade deals with.

33.

opie

September 4, 2009, 7:44 PM

And you would have to Wade in to get the Roe.

John, I know what you mean, but please understand I was not citing the book as a best seller to justify Beck's ideas - obviously it can be a best seller can be crap - but, once again, as defense of his basically rational approach to getting his ideas across. My comment that the contents indeed seemed to be common sense was separate.

And there is no doubt that your experiences with your wife's illness and with the doctors who have screwed up with it gives you another leg up on rank-pulling. In fact, the Obama administration would do well to have you on permanent call as a witness for just about anything pertaining to medical reform.

34.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 11:40 AM

Franklin, I have some points to take up.

First, I watched the Glenn Beck 'tirade' and read Jerry Saltz' response. I have no problem with Beck's thesis. It's accurate. Socialism, especially the Soviet example, during the 30s, was being looked at by well meaning people as an economic model which could replace Capitalism, which they thought was dead. Progressivism with it's prescribed statist means of governance was, though it didn't get very far with the American electorate, the most promoted political ism in the USA in the 1930s, and imagery pushing it was and still is everywhere. It can be found in large quantities in, for example, Dallas, where I live.

The WPA ordered artists it sponsored and subsidized to incorporate in their work an entire code language of imagery, classic examples of which Beck used in his presentation. The purpose was singular: to promote Progressivism. Beck's comments were about that, and he said nothing at all about the artistry of the peices he referred to except for one comment to the effect that beautiful art can come from terrible places. Richard Wagner, Aaron Copland, the former Soviet Union, etc.

In the 1930s, by the way, dictators and the idea of dictatorship were fasionable and enjoyed respect in the USA until its entry into WW2. For instance, Studebaker had a popular "Dictator" line.

That same Progressivism is still very much intact. The language of it used in the 30s by Roosevelt and the Democtrats is still much used by the American political Left today. To see its tenets being promoted almost exculsively in today's world, look at Hollywood, TV sitcoms, NPR... Progressivism is the term many Liberals hide behind because they know the radioactivity of the word Liberal in the perception of many American voters.

Saltz' response was reactionary and void of historic perspective. Plus, since Beck was not talking about art or artistry, I don't get Saltz' challenge unless he thought he saw a chance to exercise a snide tenor directed at a perceived foe. Why would you call Beck a coward? Because he didn't respond to that? I certainly don't swat at every gnat that buzzes me.

Another point: "The Republicans spent eight years impugning the patriotism of anyone who questioned the handling of the Iraq War. As payback goes, it has been pretty mild." That's not accurate. I watched it closely. The main players that come to mind were John Kerry, John Murtha, Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi. Republican elected officialdom was largely quiet. What Kerry and co. did was to try to discredit the armed forces by launching attacks on certain actions of elements of it (Kerry has made a cottage industry of this since the early 1970s) while attempting to discredit the Bush Admin. by calling the military surge in Iraq a failure. Murtha, for example, went around spouting (talk about all lungs, no spine!) about how some Marines 'snapped' and caused unnecessary collateral damage because they were overstressed. Conservative pundits vigorously answered those claims, the gist of the answer being that Kerry and co. were trying to politicize US military actions in the Middle East. Murtha's wild claims about military conduct were easily refuted and all parties were exonerated. The liberals knew via briefings that the military surge was working while they were lying that it was a failure. You'll recall how the Liberals began mouthing about other things almost immediately after the success of the military surge became clear to the public. Conservative pundits called these actions by Liberals unpatriotic because they undermined a military effort in a fairly obviously wreckless, irresponsible, selfserving attempt to score political points. They were right (so to speak). When there are many thousands of soldiers in the field in harm's way, you DON'T DO THAT! You don't embolden the foe by going around making sure the cameras are rolling and the mics are hot, then mouthing equivocal claptrap like 'I support the troops but not the mission.' If that kind of knavery, so prevalent at the time, is anything, it's unpatriotic.

Liberals have been behaving the way Kerry and co. did in the above example since way before I can remember. I've seen clips of Adlai Stevenson operating like that. Conservatives haven't had effective responses to it until the the appearence of Conservative punditry in the popular media in the late 80s. So, in the realm of payback, the Conservatives still have major catching up to do.

A word about punditry. In my lifetime, Liberals of the Democrat Party had, until about 1989, a media monopoly.
A gradually rising hue and cry from Conservative citizenry to the effect that their values were not being reflected in the popular culture was dicerned by people like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch as representing an empty niche in the media market.

As I mentioned before, Republican elected officialdom never has had a taste for the kind of ad hominem politics that Lberals had honed to perfection long ago. And they have been roundly criticized by their constituents for not answering the attacks, smear campaigns, etc., from the Left. Then Rush Limbaugh came along in 1989, followed by Hannity, Beck and the rest. Republican elected officialdom came to regard those Conservative pundits as the response to the brawl-hungry Liberals that Republican elected officialdom's constituency clambered for.

As one who doesn't usually care to take sides, and who had no horse in the last big race, underneath the coarseness of townhalls and the misused terms like 'socialism,' I percieve that the instincts of Conservatives in current politics is spot on, and I think Opie's perception that voters are calling on Washington, often not in voices as refined as those of politicians or game show hosts, to get back to basics. To prevail (for better or worse), I believe they need only stay the course. The arrogant, condescending, snide responses coming now from the Left to voters on the Right is very telling, and is only having the effect of steeling those voters' resolve.

It's interesting to recall that the only time in the last Presidential race that McCain came ahead was in the wake of his having selected Palin as a running mate. All the pollsters attributed that surge in the polls to Palin's presence on the ticket. McCain held the lead until he suspended his campaign and scampered off to DC to participate in that bailout foolishness. After that, it was over for McCain. As predictable as the sunrise.

35.

John

September 6, 2009, 12:02 PM

As one who doesn't usually care to take sides ...

Tim, my friend, this is not a credible statement - not in the context of the message you just posted, nor in the context of many previous posts.

36.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 12:15 PM

The myriad ways in which Beck's rant (I refuse to dignify it by calling it a "thesis") is not accurate has been described by Tyler Green. Much else of what you say has merit, taken on selective terms. The shameful hit-job on Kerry's war record for the sake of political expediency comes to mind as an omission. And personally, as someone who supported the troops but not the mission - whatever that was in any given week - I didn't appreciate the impugning of my patriotism. Underfunding and undermanning the ground war compromised the troops. Firing Arabic linguists from the Army for being gay compromised the troops. Torturing captured combatants compromised the troops and will continue to compromise them for years to come. Declaring in public that the surge wasn't working was a trifle by comparison. And it certainly wasn't working to remedy it's inherent unconstitutionality and initiation under false pretenses, which are what mattered to me as a libertarian, in addition to the fact that it didn't make us safer and it killed soldiers under my brother-in-law's command.

37.

John

September 6, 2009, 12:39 PM

A different take on Palin: I had planned to vote for McCain. When he trotted out Palin I was at first impressed. I liked especially her refusal to accept money to build the "bridge to nowhere". Eventually I found out that it would have gone somewhere - to a toll road that previous pork money had built on an island that could only be reached by ferry, unless the so called "bridge to nowhere" was built. I saw an interview with the toll collector who indeed had one of the easiest jobs in the government - collecting tools on a road that cars can't reach.

Yet Palin continued to brag she had sent the money back. Then I found out she actually kept it and used it for something else. I accept that all politicians lie, but this was a little much to swallow.

Then came her interview with Gibson. A smart, well informed national figure would have told him "THE Bush doctrine" was not exactly an established historical fact, and required him to cite exactly which one of Bush's many proclamations he wanted a comment on. Instead she went on that stupid fishing expedition, trying to answer the question without knowing what the question really was. And so on until I realized I could not support having her in the Whitehouse, and really, thought McCain had lost some of the sharpness he once had by choosing her.

For me and for many I know, getting to know Palin had more to do with their change of mind than McCain's wild dash to get on the bailout wagon ... though that was hardly one of his greaest moments.

And now the conservatives are complaining that Obama is poisoning the minds of children with his political views. Yet Regan ranted against big government in one of his speeches to kids in school. And Bush the younger pushed other right wing agenda at them. Obama's proposed approach was much milder than either of these, yet all the screeching ... hard to respect that kind of loudmouthing.

38.

opie

September 6, 2009, 12:59 PM

Tim, you should be writing political columns for the newspapers and the various political blogs.

John, Tim said "usually". You are not familiar enough with his stance on things over time to make that statement. And as far as I am concerned when someone speaks reasonably and truthfully the "side" shifts from political to reasonable and truthful.

Franklin "Firing Arabic linguists from the Army for being gay compromised the troops."? Devastated the whole war effort, I'd say.

John, my college buddy Charles Fried, Staunch conservative Harvard Professor (maybe the only one), Solicitor General in the Reagan administration, voted for Obama specifically because he couldn't stomach Palin. Conservative he may be, but an Eastern Elitist deep in his gut.

Anti-Palinism has very little to do with botched interviews and evasive statements and such like. Don't sell her short. She may be the only one we've got who really represents that part of the USA that lies between Manhatten and Malibu, and the 300 million people who live in that part of the country know it.

39.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 1:10 PM

Between Manhattan and Malibu, and more than ten miles from a city with greater than 20,000 people. No doubt. Problem is, that population has been shrinking steadily for five decades. Eventually, Palin or someone like her is going to trot out that Real America nonsense and voters will reply, "¿Que?" Which is the right answer.

40.

opie

September 6, 2009, 1:22 PM

"Real America nonsense"? Sorry. "Real America" is my kind of nonsense, and that goes for most of the middle America you are denigrating. You need to understand that you are damn lucky it is still there.

41.

John

September 6, 2009, 2:03 PM

Opie, I have followed Tim's many political statements on artblog quite closely, and I find he often takes one side, a quite specific one. I stand by my statement. But I don't find that he speaks all that reasonably and truthfully, so I would not take his one-sidedness in that direction either. His is a political position as limited as that of those at the other end.

You seem to be ascribing motive to your friend Charles Fried as the "reason" he couldn't accept Palin. I don't know the guy at all, but would be surprised if he didn't have other and more important grounds for dismissing her candidacy. I know we all have motives, but I think it is treacherous or worse to speculate about them as if we know what each others motives are, much less how they affect what we say and do.

You are right, though, that many in the republican "base" find Palin to be a good, if not the best, representative of their values. As you know, I don't expect Obama to be re-elected and said that even when he was "popular". But if the republicans nominate Palin, I would have to revisit that opinion. Your story about Charles Fried focuses my attention on the effect of that possibility even more.

If I were betting, and I'm not, I would bet the republicans won't nominate her.

42.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 2:15 PM

John, my friend, perhaps my statement is not credible to you because you've taken a side. Anyway, I'd be willing to discuss it with you. If you want to slot me, first of all, good luck. You could roughly place me in the category titled "independent conservative." But you don't want to imagine that I can't and don't think outside that box. Think what you like, but in politics, I've never taken a side because I've never seen the percentages in doing so. I don't know of a single Presidential Admin. in my lifetime that has followed through on it's promises.

Franklin, your and the others' insistence on giving something like Beck's commentary the attention you have tells me more than anything that Beck found a nerve. What pundit anywhere is as careful with exact facts as you would seem to have them be? Beck's 'rant' style, with those eyes bugged out, is showbiz schtick, that's all. I've been similarly amused to hear people on the Left bumfoozled by Limbaugh's bombastic schtick. They believe he's actually bombastic! They actually can't discern it as schtick. By Beck's thesis, I meant the essence of his presentation. Excuse me if I chose the wrong word. Between you and me, you're definitely the word guy.

Is Tyler Green your source for historical accuracy? From what I can tell, he's an art critic who went around hastily gathering some historical factoids, then arranged them to suit his rant, uh, thesis. You seem to want to filter your view through what people like Saltz and Green have to say, when all you have to do is read history.

And I know that if you wanted to you could see all Presidents, including President Obama using the arts in general whenever they can to propagandize. President Obama propagandizes collectivism, progressivism, statism, using artistic and other means at every turn. In fact, I haven't seen him do much else. I expect any President to do that. Remember Reagan's 'It's Morning in America' bit?

How is it possible to support soldiers but not the mission they volunteered for? I believe that if you had listened more closely to the pundits, you'd not have found reason to believe they impugned your patriotism. I've never heard one of them call a thoughtful critique (not transparently selfserving politicizing) of anything having to do with American military activity in the Middle East unpatriotic, though I heard many pundits from the Left go to tortured lengths to make it sound like pundits on the Right do just that all the time. Don't get me wrong; just because I didn't hear it or read it, I expect that in the endless train of punditry, one could find the exception which proves the rule.

John Kerry's war record indeed. His touting of it, the tone, the embellishment, was as shamefully selfserving as anything I've ever seen in politics. And for all of those 6 months in Viet Nam he made certain the cameras were rolling. With Kerry, it's not a matter of politics (garden variety Northeastern Liberal water carrier without a single original idea, who bristles at the L word) but character.

The present (predictable some time ago) silence on the Left, by the way, about American military activity in Afghanistan is deafening. Three guesses why, and the first two don't count.

Anyone can make a list of wrongs, real or perceived, especially about what occurred in any war. A contest along those lines gets nowhere fast, and in the process nothing about the larger questions is ever
revealed.

43.

John

September 6, 2009, 2:33 PM

Actually, "morning in America" was a pretty good description of Reagan's time.

44.

John

September 6, 2009, 2:34 PM

I don't expect anyone's silence about Afghanistan to too hold much longer.

45.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 2:40 PM

The point of the Palin candidacy: Everyone knew that McCain's candidacy was a clinker. Some have argued convincingly that he was a fall guy. I don't know about that. But the party figured that, since McCain is a dud, why not use the occasion to roll out a glimpse at the future. Not the first time that's happened. Nobody saw her as ready for the big chair, and she's still not.

My bet is that Palin won't seek the nomination or be drafted in 2012, though she'll be visible. In 2016 she'll only be 52 yrs old, I believe. What she has to do now is attain national stature and gain depth in issues and areas of government. Also, she's got to get out of Alaska and eat rubber chicken for a few years to get better acquainted with all parts of the nation, and to get exposure. I saw Reagan have to do just that in the 60s and 70s. Kennedy did a good bit of that too, leading up to 1960.

I don't see why President Obama couldn't get a second term. He's smart and has very good political instincts. Who's to say something won't turn his ratings around? The only things I could see getting in his way are that offputting vanity and/or the big head. And who's in the Republican bullpen? All I see potentially there is Romney.

46.

John

September 6, 2009, 3:05 PM

Obama has said to judge him on the economy and has taken credit for "the recovery". When, not if, "the recovery" fails, he will fail. Many, including those who shout at the town halls, know there never was a recovery, not one that touched them and their friends, anyway. All the bailouts have shown, to date, is that the wealthy benefit from welfare as much as the poor.

47.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 3:22 PM

John, President (and candidate Obama) has said many things, including what you mentioned. He's made it known to his administration, though, that he'd consider sacrificing a second term to obtaining some form of health care legislation, which he'd consider his legacy. Of course that would make him a saint for all time to Liberals.

The economy will recover in time, and whoever's in the big chair will take, and, in the popular imagination, get credit for it.

The bailouts are not correctly seen as welfare for the rich, which is just a tired old verse in the forlorn 'politics of envy' tune. The bailouts were payoffs to entities who fund politicians on both sides.

48.

opie

September 6, 2009, 3:50 PM

John, I do not ascribe motives, or at least I am very careful when I do. This is from Wikipedia:

"On October 24, 2008, despite his previous support for the presidential aspirations of Senator John McCain, Fried announced that he had voted for Senator Barack Obama for President by absentee ballot. Fried cited Senator McCain's selection of Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate as the principal reason for his decision to vote for Senator Obama."

49.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 4:03 PM

John, my friend, regarding the first paragraph of your #43, I've found it to be remarkably consistent among Liberals that upon sensing that someone may not add things up the same way they do, or may be outside the bounds of the collectivist groupthink that is a hallmark of American Liberalism, then that 'someone' must therefore be a Conservative. I might add that the reality filter that is so apparent in your comments means that upon reading, in order to afford your comments fair consideration, I need to keep that filter in mind.

50.

opie

September 6, 2009, 4:14 PM

Also, yes, I guess Tim can be perceived to have a "side", just as I do (while at the same time objecting to the characterization), but let me waffle on that by saying that although we operate within a side-taking dynamic in politics there are times when one side or the other, or the people who speak for it, seem to be making more sense and seem to be relating more directly to our national values, which however variously they may be interepreted are pretty well understood by everyone interested in politics.

The health debate is a perfect example. The contention that HR3200 has little to do with health care and a lot to do with government control of the industry may be "one-sided" but it simply explains things better, makes more sense, rings true. I don't trust Obama at all, but he has made me not trust him by what he has done. If he had come out and gone step by step and worked on cutting costs and training more doctors and tort reform and bringing in Republican ideas (there are plenty) and Doctor's ideas (not Pharma and the AMA) and all that kind of thing I would be all for him, on his side. But he didn't. He let this monstrosity happen and those nasty Middle American types rebelled and now he has a mess on his hands. I think the only way he can dig out of it is to go back to the drawing board, but I don't think he will. We'll see.

51.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 4:53 PM

Opie, at risk of seeming selfserving to anyone following this blog and the respective views of the participants, as for the little gem of clarity in #52, I don't think I could've said it better.

52.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 4:54 PM

Is Tyler Green your source for historical accuracy? From what I can tell, he's an art critic who went around hastily gathering some historical factoids, then arranged them to suit his rant, uh, thesis. You seem to want to filter your view through what people like Saltz and Green have to say, when all you have to do is read history.

And I'm supposed to disdain this in favor of someone who did not even gather facts to support his rant? With all due respect, this is what postmodernists used to come here and do: refuse to deal with facts and accuse me of biased filters. (And "must have touched a nerve" was one of their favorite arguments.) Tyler's politics, to the extent that I know them, are not to my liking, but his is the informed view on the matter, and I am for the informed view over the uninformed one.

I am aware that Beck (et al.) is a shtick. That was the reason I referenced the "gone full retard" bit from Tropic Thunder. At a certain level of absorption, shtick and worldview become indistinguishable.

Opie, that Real America nonsense is nonsense because it's just more ordnance for the culture war, and it blew up in her face. The idea that Real America is in its small towns and consequently the cities are some kind of Fake America is laughable on its surface. She's pandering to a patriotic sentiment, and this seems to be the extent of her talents as a politician. Pundits who are careful with exact facts (to answer Tim's question), such as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Andrew Sullivan, despised her. So did I. She's a compulsive liar, a demonstrable hypocrite, and a populist demagogue. Sure, her charisma jolted McCain's campaign back to life for three weeks, and good for her. But once I found out what I was going to get stuck with, I didn't like what I saw. I've been in some relationships like that. It happens.

53.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 4:55 PM

Oh, right - I agree with Tim about #52.

54.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 4:59 PM

Which is now #50, since I eliminated some spam.

55.

John

September 6, 2009, 5:12 PM

Opie - what, then, did you have in mind when you said: "Conservative he may be, but an Eastern Elitist deep in his gut." It followed your statement that your friend could not stomach Palin. Then there was nothing.

Tim, whatever you call it, some uber-rich received massive handouts from the government, for example, rich traders at AIG got million dollar bonuses. Looks like welfare to me. Same company threw a 6 figure party in Vegas, I seem to remember. Or was that a different one? The money comes from the same group that provides welfare checks for the poor.

Welfare for the poor keeps the streets safer. I don't know what welfare for the rich accomplishes, maybe just campaign checks in the future, as you suggest.

Do keep that filter in mind Tim if it helps you in any way whatsoever. I have become much more liberal as a result of this exchange. After everyone has had their say about what's wrong with everything (and that certainly includes me too), something has to be done. As Chesterton put it, things by their nature tend to get worse. Grid-lock just lets it continue to get worse.

I have to agree with opie that letting congress draft those bills without any guidance was a bad move. But it did not make the sentiment against the need for universal health care any more worthwhile.

56.

opie

September 6, 2009, 6:03 PM

Franklin, I can't argue with you about Palin. I perceive no basis whatsoever for your characterizatiuon of her. In my opinion you are just flat-out wrong. Let's leave it at that.

John (and this relates to what I just wrote) the Palin thing is a social and psychological phenomenon. The extreme hate that is directed toward her has no real basis - she is not perfect, but she has real qualities and talents which are evident even to her detractors.

This being the case, the hate must come from a deeper and less rational source. It seems to be a kind of prejudice heightened by a sense of threat, and it manifests itself in the kind of extremely angry characterization Franklin just exhibited and by the apparently counter-intuitive vote of Charlie Fried which, to my mind, simply is not justified by the character of the person. I guess you could call it an "Eastern Elitist Liberal" attitude, but it is not just that because it is so distinct and peculiar. It may be that her real problem is that she has a funny accent, acts like a hick, is pro-life, is married to a fisherman, has an (apparently) very satisfactory sex life and went to Idaho State. Who knows? I can't explain it.

57.

opie

September 6, 2009, 6:11 PM

John, what do you mean by "become much more liberal", and how it that possible, especially in light of this discussion?

Or perhaps I should ask: how can one become "more liberal" to such an extent in such a short time and on such scant evidence?

58.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 6:26 PM

At the end of the day, most Americans just want what works. That could sum up my relationship to politics regardless of John's suspicions (except I do like to watch the antics on both sides). The people we see at these townhalls aren't angry mobs, nazis, all the rest they've been called. They're just people with good instincts who are fed up with being ignored and who know an impending trainwreck when they see one. And this one they don't intend to pay for.

Franklin, I never would've guessed that some pop-eyed crackerjack on a TV screen could make you jump so high.

My thought was not to disdain or credit either side, but to keep perspective. You haven't told how you are so certain that Tyler's view is the informed one, except that you believe that Popeye made stuff up.

Palin is to Liberals and Washington insiders (Will, Krauthammer, etc.) what garlic is to vampires. Fear fear fear fear fear. I fall down laughing when I hear Feminists talk about her. Franklin,..."a compulsive liar, a demonstrable hypocrite, and a populist demagogue." If you hadn't written otherwise, I could've thought you meant any number of politicians on either side, including President Obama.

Did you vote for Obama because of who he isn't or because of who he is? That was really more of a rhetorical question than anything else.

59.

1

September 6, 2009, 6:33 PM

what is amazing to me is that we can all have such different takes on politics. how can we read people and ideas so differently? and i am not really talking about the views of people here. looking more at my circle of friends, probably like your circle of friends, who all for the most part seem fairly with it and perceptive. how can we come to such different opinions and beliefs? it's baffling.

i'd like to say i am not really on one side or the other, but maybe that is not possible, eventhough i feel that i am in general, neutral. politics overall just annoy me, yet i do see one party as a bigger bunch of ridiculous bullshit and pack of liars.

60.

John

September 6, 2009, 6:47 PM

Opie it is about values. Preserving the constitution while putting up objection after objection to health care, for instance, goes against the value I put on my fellow citizen's lives and rights. Saying doing something about health care will make Obama a saint to the liberals is a put down of something that is important to me ... another instance that created a revelation of sorts. The idea that Roe v Wade is a social disaster and prevents rational discussion makes me fear a lot of other rights are involved in health care, and that my love of the separation between church and state is much more important to me than I was giving it credit for, as well as under threat. And the Palin thing - really I would rather have W back than entertain even the idea of someone so unprepared winding up in the oval office. The rhetorical gymnastics required to prop up her viability and that of the idiots Beck and Limbaugh tell the decider in me that something is right with the liberals - why that does so I can't really say. But I wonder what you would think if I started saying Jeremia Wright was just doing a song and dance, that in his heart of hearts he was making great sense, and we should take him seriously. In short I've seen some really smart friends - you and Tim - put down liberal values with very visible skill, and that brought me to realize that some of those values are really beyond argument. You either hold them or you don't, and I hold them.

Libertarianism, which has a lot to recommend itself, is nonetheless capable of serving as a holding pen, by which major projects in the nation can be stored in the gel of inaction disguised as theory. So I'm just getting over it. I am a goddam liberal and so what?

Just don't call me a democrat. My gung ho democrat friends certainly don't and would not.

61.

opie

September 6, 2009, 6:48 PM

1, a lot of it has to do with specificity, of all things. 90% of disagreement stems from ignorance and misrepresentation. If everyone knew everything about everything, almost everyone would agree.

62.

opie

September 6, 2009, 6:59 PM

John, have I voiced any objection of any kind to health care? I don't think so! I don't think Tim has either. Nor have I "put down liberal values". What are you referring to?

If you started saying Rev Wright was just a clown but said good things I would quote things Rev Write has said and let you be the judge. I think that is a silly comparison, really.

And because Beck and Limbaugh are "clowns" then the Liberals must hve something? There's logic for you! Good grief!

I think we are getting a bit irrational here. This is why I do not approve of politics on this blog.

63.

opie

September 6, 2009, 7:03 PM

Rev. "write"? Interesting slip. At least I didn't write "right".

64.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 7:17 PM

John, we all agree that something will have to be done about health care. The legitament debate is about what that something should be. President Obama being regarded as a saint by Liberals if he's successful at expanding government? How is that a putdown?

I don't know when rational discussion has ever occurred in this country about abortion. The question is far from settled. What's a putdown about that observation? Roe was just bad law, a shabby case in a rubber stamp court, that's all. No putdown.

Yes, Opie, a little political back and forth is alright as long as we know when to stop.

65.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 7:19 PM

legitimate, sorry. Hello spellcheck.

66.

that guy

September 6, 2009, 8:37 PM

Not to change the topic or anything. But I need some advise. I have a 8' x 4' plexi-glass sheet that I would like to install on a cement wall without drilling any holes into the plexi. Also there is a plastic backing sheet which has grommets that I will put behind it. I do not want to frame the entire sheet. Thoughts and suggestions with links where appropriate would be appreciated. Also I do not have a hammer drill but I could get my hands on one if needed. Thanks.

67.

John

September 6, 2009, 8:59 PM

Use mirror brackets and plastic anchors to clamp the whole shooter-roo to the wall.

68.

that guy

September 6, 2009, 9:08 PM

That should work, but not with the mirror hooks I have. Might have to get some larger ones. Thanks

69.

John

September 6, 2009, 9:16 PM

So, my response to your question, opie, was "a bit irrational". What does that make "In my opinion you are just flat-out wrong. Let's leave it at that."? A bit more irrational?

As far as I can tell, I am the only one here who holds that health care is a right. That's a value and not demonstrable, though one could work out the consequences of not holding the value. (They can be seen in emergency rooms and slums if you look very hard.)

Tim you said what would make Obama a saint to liberals was "obtaining some form of health care legislation", not expanding government. The Roe v. Wade decision and the argument that went before it was a rational discussion. So was Dread Scott and the Emancipation Proclamation. It would take a very very "activist court" to overturn any of that.

70.

John

September 6, 2009, 9:26 PM

I voted against McCain/Palin because she wasn't prepared to serve. I voted for Obama/Biden because I thought they were more prepared to unite the country than McCain/Palin. Despite all the problems we are having, the comparison still seems true.

71.

John

September 6, 2009, 9:38 PM

File under what was he thinking: overturning Dred Scott was eventually accomplished by the Civil War and what folowed. The Emancipation Proclamation was a messy affair that required the 13th amendment to clean up. However, both events point to the initial unpopularity of the values that eventually prevailed. Roe v. Wade seems like the same situation. It certainly allows the freedom of the individual to trump the views of a majority.

72.

opie

September 6, 2009, 9:49 PM

Saying that I think someone is wrong is not even slightly irrational, John. It is just a statement of opinion.

Saying "The rhetorical gymnastics required to prop up her viability and that of the idiots Beck and Limbaugh tell the decider in me that something is right with the liberals..", on the other hand, makes no logical sense. And not thinking health care is a "right" (which I, at least, never said), is not "putting up objection after objection against health care".

In fact good health care is an enviable goal in any society. I am all for it. Unfortunately the present administration has demonstrated clearly that they cannot even make a sensible beginning. I'm not sure any administration can.

We probably need a commission of doctors, like the eminently sensible Arthur Feldman (see his Washington Post article on realclearpolitics today) to make a plan and get these politicians to do it right.

73.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 9:57 PM

Lordy, John. Regarding the President's obtaining and expanding, if you've paid any attention at all you know that with him they're the same. The overturning of Roe will likely take a court which sees a propitious moment. No activism necessary. I don't call beating me over the head with a 'moral' stick v. vote-buying a rational discussion.

I must've missed the part about unity with Obama/Biden. Who was the only candidate to repeatedly play the race card in the campaign? 'White folk's greed runs a world in need.' Now there's some real unifying for you!

74.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 10:01 PM

Here is a compendium of Palin lies compiled by a conservative author. Hypocrisy was accusing Obama of being a socialist when she was cutting dividend checks to Alaskans for $2,000 a piece, supporting abstinence-only sex education while her family was obviously practicing whatever, and more. Demagoguery I guess we'll leave in the eye of the beholder, but there are facts behind calling her a liar and a hypocrite in excess of what one would expect of any politician.

After two Bush terms my priorities as a voter were Constitutional, transparent, secular government. The first was a fool's choice: overreaching liberal mandates from Obama, or McCain's waffling on ending the Iraq war, continuing Cheney's torture program, Guantanamo, dangerous rhetoric towards Iran, and a voting record that matched Bush's 95% of the time. Obama had excellent ideas about transparency, few of which he has followed up on. Secular government was a toss-up until McCain brought Palin on board. I wanted Ron Paul, but Obama was a better choice than McCain.

75.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 10:12 PM

Franklin, you're off the deep end. Do you really want to count the 'lies' of a politician? And, do you really want to believe everything you read and hear? You're coming across like a breathless college kid trotting out all the goofy items in sequence...Cheney's torture program, jeez! Snap out of it.

76.

John

September 6, 2009, 10:24 PM

You can wrap anything in opinion, opie, including refusal to engage in reasonable discussion.

Tim, you are massaging what you said after the fact, just like the old recalibrator-in-chief himself. "If you've paid any attention at all ..." is just another way to avoid what you said in the first place.

When McCain added Palin, he seriously diminished the possibility of unification, despite his own considerable skills for such a project.

Jesse Jackson excluded whites with his rainbow coalition concept. Obama has included us all along the way, especially the boys from and at GS.

Franklin, those 2k checks were in addition to the "regular" dole from the Alaskan treasury. Palin and her family garnered well over $20,000 in checks the year she ran. People I know in Alaska tell me, with great satisfaction, theirs is the most lucrative welfare state in the nation.

Secular government seemed like such a fait accompli until the silent majority morphed into the moral majority. Sigh.

77.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 10:28 PM

Tim, I invite you to stop commenting upon my mental state, and I'll not begin to comment on yours. Orders to torture captured combatants seem to have originated from the former VP's office, which would fit his characterization of the torture as efficacious. I have no inherent interest in counting the lies of any politician, but in Palin's case, I'm glad someone took the trouble, because she makes the average politician look like the epitome of probity. I believe things that sound reasonable and fit the data. If you think I've gotten a fact wrong, I'd enjoy seeing contrary evidence.

78.

John

September 6, 2009, 10:30 PM

Franklin doesn't approve of torture. Eureka ... he may be more liberal than he thinks too. Or he may be just an ordinary law abiding citizen who thinks the law applies to the executives just like everyone else.

He isn't the one who needs to snap out of it.

79.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 10:42 PM

John, I think you know what I meant. You seem to want to turn the tables rather than give fair consideration to what is said. Games.

You don't want mental operations to be based in emotional dispositions, do you? What is rational about that?

Opie was right again. This is becoming increasingly irrational.

80.

Franklin

September 6, 2009, 10:48 PM

In some respects I'm very liberal. I think we should legalize drugs and let gay people marry, adopt children, and serve in the armed forces outside of the closet. That's consistent with a libertarian position. And too, we're a nation of laws and the executive ought to act accordingly.

Emotions don't prove anything except their own existence, Tim.

81.

John

September 6, 2009, 11:01 PM

No Tim, I only know what you said, then re-calibrated, then said again. Requiring that I know what you meant in order to give fair consideration to what you said at any of those points is indeed a bit strange.

After all, these are nothing but dots on the screen. If there is a wink wink somewhere, I'm not seeing it.

82.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 11:07 PM

Re emotions, Franklin, they have no existence outside of the mind, and regarding mental operations they can only be the basis of rationalization, if that's what you mean.

We are a nation of laws, and I hereby salute your splendid idealism.

Politics is the art of the possible.

83.

Tim

September 6, 2009, 11:12 PM

John, there is no wink wink, just follow the dots. If you want to understand my contribution to this blog, you can. If you don't, you will continue on the path you're on. If you have any questions, I'm here for them.

84.

John S.

September 7, 2009, 2:38 AM

2 more cents in this discussion. John if health care is a right, then what is to say of the rights of those that have been mandated to provide that right? They are no longer operating from a voluntary mutual exchange that I opine to be needed for mutual benefit. How will the health care industry fair under such conditions? Will it continue to attract the best and brightest (not that they all are) ? What of quality of service then? It seems from recent arguments with the more left leaning folk in my circle that quality is not as important as "coverage" is. Like "at least everybody is covered." This statement has some similarities to your "something must be done." and that is what concerns me. This right to things business is a mistaken thought on what the document says. The key phrase is "The right to pursue happiness" not the right to pursue happiness at the expense of everybody, even if it is just a little bit (taxes).

I wonder how much of this arguing is emotional. I think it was Nietzche that said something about a true life being a very difficult life. Which I interpreted as life being hard if you have to constantly change your ways as truths come to light. If we are wrong about an idea, and you have been proven wrong, it still might be easier to stick to those wrong ideas, as you have grown very comfortable with them...hence the emotions.

85.

opie

September 7, 2009, 7:22 AM

John, you should not imply that I refuse to engage in reasonable discussion. That is silly on the face of it, and you know it.

Franklin, I think your anger would be better served directed at real out-and-out liars and crooks like Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Wrangel, and your own Barney Frank, who are currently running our lives in Congress, rather than an out-of-work Alaskan politician.

86.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 7:50 AM

I defy the characterization of the above as anger and doubt such anger would be any more productively directed at Pelosi, Wrangel, or Frank. I further defy the notion that these three are "real out-and-out liars and crooks" and Palin is not; the propositions are not mutually exclusive.

Despite his politics I happen to like Frank. (Pelosi not so much.)

87.

opie

September 7, 2009, 8:06 AM

Do you really "defy the notion" that Charlie Wrangel is a liar and a crook? This is not a big secret. Check him out, why don't you.

Also take the time to look more closely at the other two.

These are just suggestiuons. I don't want to bicker with you. This discussion has gotten acrimonious and I don't think it is productive to continue it.

88.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 8:12 AM

I should have defied that his name is spelled like that. It's Rangel, and he's bad news. So is Palin. My point was only that both are true.

I feel no acrimony.

89.

opie

September 7, 2009, 9:15 AM

"I feel no acrimony"

No, me neither. It is fun to argue, and good not to take it for more than what it is. Much of my daily life consiste of people who feel acrimony when there is not any diffrence of opinion to begin with.

Yeah, Wrangel - a not-too-subtle Freudian slip, for sure

90.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 9:51 AM

Franklin, re your #77, I don't believe I've commented on anybody's mental condition; at least that was not my intention. I have commented about how some of us are coming across on here, and others have done the same about me. Big deal.

Anyway, to come full circle, I still don't get why you've decided that Tyler Green's is the informed view and Glenn Beck's is not. And I don't get why some art critics' reactions are so relavant to a topic that's not directly about art.

91.

ahab

September 7, 2009, 10:07 AM

[I very much like the redesign, Franklin.]

92.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 10:12 AM

This blog is beginning to give me a sense that region plays a greater role in our views and differences than I would've imagined before I joined in.

93.

That guy

September 7, 2009, 10:19 AM

Ok, I think it is time to change the topic. Here is one: Barney Frank, should he be named as commissioner of the 'Washington Bailout League'? More info at the link above.

94.

That guy

September 7, 2009, 10:24 AM

Wrong link in first post sorry. Edit feature would be nice Franklin. But I like the redesign.

95.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 10:57 AM

It's pretty simple, Tim: Tyler cited facts and put a cohesive statement together, while Beck avoided facts and stacked thoughts into an untidy pile. Tyler's post was reasoned and skeptical; Beck's broadcast was addled and paranoid. Beck got facts wrong. Tyler didn't.

I'm glad for the positive response to the redesign. It's my first attempt at using the Blueprint CSS framework and I like the results quite a bit.

Guy, if I allowed editing, people could go back and change their old posts in any old way and conversation would become impossible.

96.

John

September 7, 2009, 11:33 AM

Well That Guy, let's not leave John S's comment isolated because he brought up something new to the discussion - the rights of doctors and the implications of taxing everyone to benefit a few. (But the discussion is winding down.)

So John S, you bring up some real concerns. Doctors, with good reason, fear their incomes will be reduced and that their ranks will shrink. Already there are more lucrative occupations than medicine, but if medicine is what clicks your clicker, being a doctor will remain the best choice, and it certainly will never be the path to poverty that being an artist can be.

As far as doctor's rights go: as a society we believe we are entitled to a lot of services, police protection and education, for instance. Both groups are modestly paid and in most states it is illegal for them to strike in an attempt to get more. Their "rights" are considered less important than the rights of those they serve.

If I was a doctor, though, I would be concerned. Heck, I am concerned that my present coverage, which is very good, might be diminished. Once change is unleashed, you can't be sure exactly where it will end. Some will be helped more than others. Some will be hurt.

Taxes support our armed forces, supposedly so all of us can pursue happiness more easily. Whether everybody agrees or not, everybody pays taxes for this, just as we pay for police, fire fighters, and teachers.

Your observations about change are indeed relevant to the discussion. The change to included blacks in the phrase "all men are created equal" got so heated the country fell into civil war, the effects of which still linger. Somewhere upstream Tim said Obama is willing to sacrifice his reelection to move the health care issue forward. Tim didn't say where he gets this information, but if true, it ups my admiration of Obama a good bit. Many citizens over many years fought and struggled and died so that Obama could realize his ambition to be president - that he would pay it forward so that sick citizens can get the treatment they deserve is love of the purest sort.

97.

John

September 7, 2009, 11:48 AM

Frankly Franklin, I love the redesign.

Editing could lead to serious problems when someone is taken to task for what they said - they could just change the post and say they never said it. As it is now, all that can be done is to say the reader didn't understand what was "really meant", or "knows better" or, retract what was said, even, as I did with my Dred Scott remark.

Editing would also require logging in, passwords, and all that. Artblog maintains an admirable balance between the various forces that would bring it down in a way that I have not seen elsewhere. The balance is not without its problems, of course. But you are an accomplished juggler of more than little balls.

98.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 11:56 AM

Franklin, Green's facts were interestingly selective and incomplete. Cohesiveness doesn't equal acuity. His post came across to me as rationalistic and reactionary. Saltz' wasn't even rationalistic, just reactionary. I'm not carrying water for Beck, whose work I'm not that familiar with, but history proves the gist of his presentation. My impression is that Green and Saltz don't know the territory that well, and I don't expect them to. They're art critics.

My sense is that you simply don't like what Beck said.

Compare my comments to your postmodernist bloggers if you like, but for me, what was revealed re the Beck presentation and the reaction to it is that when all the crickets start chirping at once, a guy like Beck knows he's hit pay dirt.

99.

That guy

September 7, 2009, 12:03 PM

"Well That Guy, let's not leave John S's comment isolated because he brought up something new to the discussion - the rights of doctors and the implications of taxing everyone to benefit a few." good point!

I was thinking after having read that, how there are some damn smart folks who read and comment here. Hat tip to both Johns.

The only comment I can make about the national health care debate is from my time in Germany. As a international student I was covered and the 'service' I received was very good. Of course I was young and healthy and only had checkups.

I was talking to a Sweed the other day who's mother is on a wait list to enter a long term care facility. She was praying for a hot summer so... well her wait would be lessened shall we say. If national health care turns the average Joe towards that type of logic. Well, we might want to really hash this out before hand.

100.

J.T.

September 7, 2009, 12:03 PM

Franklin,

I, too, love the redesign. Nice work!

This political topic has changed my views about some regular Artblog participants in a big way. Some folks don't sound anything like I would have expected in a political conversation. I now wish I hadn't read this thread because unfortunately my views on some folks will be tainted going forward.

Regardless, it has been interesting.

101.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 12:06 PM

Yes, I know I suffer from mixed-metaphoritis.

And, Franklin, I agree with the others about the new format. Suggestion: Change the top visual from time to time, perhaps along seasonal or topical lines.

102.

opie

September 7, 2009, 12:10 PM

John, as you say, the discussion is winding down, but you have now come up with another item I have to take issue with, which is your characterization of Obama's possible self-sacrifice on the altar of health care reform as "love of the purest sort"

No, no no! Please! Suicide is the unrimate selfishness. This man was elected to be our president, not to be a sacrificial lamb for a crappy piece of legislation. He is there to lead our country forward on all fronts for the four-year term the people elected him for. If he went down in flames over this idiocy instead of finally listening to reason and taking positive steps to make real health care reform AND fix the economy and all our other problems I would have to consider him nothing more than the worst president in our history.

Anyway, that said, I also like the new blog design, a lot. The small type is a bit hard on the old eyes but otherwise is very handsome, inviting and "serious" looking.

103.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 12:27 PM

So if I follow you, Tim, you're saying:

- Tyler's selection of facts undermines his argument; Beck's getting facts wrong does not.

- Cohesiveness does not mean acuity, but incoherence does.

- Tyler and Saltz are unqualified to analyze the art at Rockefeller Center, or other analysis thereof, because they're art critics, while Beck is qualified to do so because he is not.

- My stated reasons for why I disagree with what Beck said and the rationale behind it don't matter because "[your] sense is that [I] simply don't like what Beck said."

- Beck has succeeded as a pundit because people reacted to what he said, regardless of whether his statements were true, thoughtful, well-organized, or heartfelt.

I disagree. I do agree, however, that the image should change out when we get our Fall color, our first snows, and then our first blossoms.

J.T., people shouldn't have their political views held against them when discussing art. People are not all of a piece like that.

I see Obama choosing to live to fight another day rather than going down over any single agenda item. The man's too savvy for suicide.

104.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 12:33 PM

John, I reviewed the material relating to President Obama's sacrificing a second term to passing some kind of health care legislation and saw that it is, in fact, a rumor. But I have heard many times from people in his administration that the President would see the passage of some form of health care legislation as his legacy.

In any event, I'm dubious to say the least about your ideas regarding the selflessness of his motives.

105.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 12:55 PM

Franklin, not only have the culture wars lost elections, they weigh heavily against forming "the right cave", I think. They are parasites that suck something from the good stuff's search for a fertile base. This is a vague thought, I know. But it feels like it is true.

I'd very much like to see this developed into something.

106.

John

September 7, 2009, 12:59 PM

Suicide is the unrimate selfishness. This man was elected to be our president, not to be a sacrificial lamb for a crappy piece of legislation.

From what I can gather from Tim's comment, Obama is contemplating not running or running and possibly losing in 2012. He shows no sign of quitting in the middle of his term, like you-know-who, which would much more resemble suicide.

Myself, I thought Palin's quitting was merciful to the citizens of her state. Many of the lies Franklin's reference in #74 document affected them more than the rest of us. It was noble of her to quit, and if it helps her straighten herself out, so much the better.

107.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 1:11 PM

Franklin,

Green's selection of facts, against the backdrop of history, don't make an argument. They only prove that he can gather some factoids to rationalize a reaction. I never said Beck got all his facts right. In this instance, what is far more telling to me is how facts are used, on both sides.

I didn't see Beck's presentation as incoherent.

Beck, Saltz and Green are qualified and entitled to have their opinions. The question is how do those opinions look against the backdrop of history. Again, my contention about Green and Saltz is that, in this instance, they don't seem to know history.

What of your stated reasons and rationale did I not consider? So far, what I know is that you've decided that Beck is nuts and you're using a couple of art critics' reactions to bolster your decision.

Needless to say, saying things for effect is what drives a lot of punditry (and apparently guys like Saltz). I don't know Beck well enough to know if he's that sort, but I'm certain that he noticed that he got a rise with his presentation, and that he'll try to capitalize on it. You should understand that you and the art critics are only helping that cause.

108.

opie

September 7, 2009, 1:17 PM

What that attitude would betray, if it is an attitude he indeed holds, is that he and his allies would be willing to shove this terrible, inchoate clunker of a piece of legislation down the throat of America and render himself a martyr to the consequences, thereby destroying the effectiveness of his remaining time in office. That's what I emant by "going down in flames".

This is a man who is very smart and a proven winner, so i think this may be all just talk. I just hope that on Wednesday he tells us he is going back to the drawing board and listen to reason.

Palin quit because her opposition was able, by virture of a misguided ethics provision in Alaskan state law, to make it impossible for her to govern. I really don't want to talk about Palin any more. You haven't heard the last of her, I guarantee you.

109.

opie

September 7, 2009, 1:19 PM

Sorry, JT. We live and learn, don't we?

As they used to say at the beginning of "The Shadow": "Who knows what evil LURKS in the hearts of men"

110.

John

September 7, 2009, 1:27 PM

I think the culture wars are the effect of "the art glut" Bannard wrote about in the 80s. The situation reminds me of experiments done with rats in which they were housed in abnormally crowded conditions. The rats ceased reproducing and began fighting with each other. "Fertility" was the first thing to go, perhaps as an instinctive, purposeful solution to overcrowding. But my old biology teacher staunchly maintained there is no teleology in nature. If he is right, the rats' behavior would be better explained by saying overcrowded conditions corrupt support required for reproduction, but augment those that inspire infighting.

I'd say the latter explanation might well apply to our expanded art scene. It has done more for battling amongst ourselves than it has for developing rigorous emerging art. It is as if for art to thrive, it needs a certain amount of space, space that became too clogged at some point in the progression of American art after World War II. My guess is that the threshold was passed somewhere around 1970, but it took a while before its bad effects began to dominate.

111.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 1:33 PM

I didn't see Beck's presentation as incoherent.

I quote, from the video at 0:20: "Standard Oil had this big Gothic building in downtown New York, and they wanted to change and update it, and there was no real American architecture in New York City, in the whole world!"

Please explain.

112.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 1:33 PM

By the way, Franklin, what gives me a sense that you simply don't like what Beck said is what seems to be your uncustomarily reactionary posture toward the matter.

113.

opie

September 7, 2009, 1:35 PM

John, That's a good shot at why quantity and "pluralism" do not enable better art. And I think you are right about 1970.

I wish someone (I have said this many times) would provide just such a study of the art business, someone from the outside, someone who can apply a disinterested scientific method. We are not equipped to do it.

114.

J.T.

September 7, 2009, 1:36 PM

Franklin,

I'm not sure if one's political views should or should not impact my view of their writing about art. I'm not sure I have much control over it. It's already impacted me and the only thing that can change it is a faulty memory on my part. I wish that wasn't the case, but the damage has been done.

115.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 1:40 PM

That's admirably honest and self-aware of you, J.T.

116.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 1:52 PM

I'd say the latter explanation might well apply to our expanded art scene.

That's a brilliant insight - I'm glad I prompted you. I guess it brings up the question, how do we make space?

117.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 2:01 PM

Franklin, I went back and reviewed Beck's statement you referred to in context, and it sounded to me like he was simply saying that Rockefeller and co. wanted to make something completely new and quintessentially American. A little clumsily put, granted, but I believe anyone disposed toward affording the benefit of the doubt could get what he was saying easily enough.

118.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 2:08 PM

One way to create space: leave the art world. You leave it while you're making art, or don't you? If so, why not leave it the rest of the time? It won't die without you and you won't die without it.

119.

John

September 7, 2009, 2:29 PM

But Tim, you might die with it.

Art Glut is one of the most important essays written in the last half of the 20th century. It is so witty that it is possible to miss its seriousness. The effect of the overcrowded scene is almost impossible to escape, like the effect of a major volcano eruption.

As I've said before, making successful art is not the sole result of individual genius. You gotta find the right cave, for starters.

120.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 2:37 PM

In that case, I believe anyone disposed toward affording the benefit of the doubt would recognize that Green and Saltz know their history pretty well.

Here you are: The Art Glut, 1986

121.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 2:39 PM

Franklin: We may just have to wait until the expanded scene shrinks or more likely collapses. If the Great Recession turns into the Great Depression II, that may furnish the forest fire that will cull out the overgrowth that stuns everyone's development.

122.

John

September 7, 2009, 2:44 PM

Oh my god, I went and typed "Franklin" in as my name when I addressed his question. Sorry. That was a mistake, not an intention to deceive.

123.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 2:47 PM

Franklin, "In that case, I believe anyone disposed toward affording the benefit of the doubt would recognize that Green and Saltz know their history pretty well."

That's not a logical followup to my comment. All you have to do is read history. And I believe we're beginning to beat a dead horse here.

124.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 2:52 PM

John, why wait?

125.

John

September 7, 2009, 3:09 PM

From The Art Glut: "It has nothing to do with art per se. Art is just the inert part, the commodity. The 'larger' ingredients are money, prestige, and fashion."

Tim, it seems we must wait because, as the passage from Art Glut suggests, the phenomenon isn't of art's own making. The deflation that would come with a depression would certainly cut the heart out of the thing, which is money, and do it very quickly.

If you take away the money, prestige and fashion will surely follow. And from that, space will open up. It would be a case of going backwards to go forward.

In the 60s the NEA made some decent calls and fosterd some positive moves - on a meager budget that did not afford any surplus for advertising. Now when I hear "A great nation deserves great art" in one of their ads I just cringe. We need to reduce all the money sloshing around in the art business.

126.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 3:18 PM

But, John, why not just vacate the premises? After a calamity, wouldn't everyone just rush back in and resume business as usual?
Recessions and corrections in a market are useful for clearing out the underbrush, but the effect of clearing never lasts, so we keep having to have that aspect of the cycle.

127.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 3:20 PM

The comment didn't get a logical follow-up because it wasn't logical in the first place. I have been likewise promised revelations from Derrida if only I would read him for gist and implications instead of the actual words and arguments. I refuse that as well. Even if I didn't, either Beck, Green, and Saltz all get generous readings in which we close the gaps with our own understanding, or none of them do. I vote for the latter. I agree with you about the state of the horse.

128.

Tim

September 7, 2009, 3:34 PM

Evidently your logic is not my logic. Derrida and Beck. Now there's a logical comparison for you! But, let's leave it at that.

129.

John

September 7, 2009, 3:35 PM

You are right Tim, it is all cycles. But it will probably take stopping the money flow to reset this one. Then we can all set sail in a more open environment the will inevitably end in another glut.

130.

John S.

September 7, 2009, 5:46 PM

but the horse isn't really dead! It's only mostly dead. Is there a way that this post can stay until we can hash out the truth? Certainly each participant believes their words to be this, but is there a structure to the argument we can agree to so that we can come to a consensus? A spirit of truth seeking as opposed to defending what we have read? This seems to be a gargantuan task, I know, but maybe its worth it(?) Great(ish) post Franklin!

131.

John

September 7, 2009, 7:52 PM

This will run for three or four more days, right, Franklin?

132.

Franklin

September 7, 2009, 10:58 PM

Yep.

133.

opie

September 7, 2009, 11:04 PM

Anybody watch Miami/Florida State? Maybe the greatest football game I have ever seen, especially because Miami won!

134.

john S.

September 7, 2009, 11:10 PM

it was a good game

135.

Chris Rywalt

September 7, 2009, 11:15 PM

Wow. Since Mr. Bannard wrote "The Art Glut", 23 million works of art were made in New York City.

136.

MC

September 9, 2009, 10:04 AM

Beck would likely prefer Rivera's mural in the DIA representing industry (which I saw recently). The poison-gas bomb-makers depicted might happily distract him from those scary farm implements...

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