"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wWednesday, April 30, 2003


The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

posted by Jeremy at 6:47 PM


THE KVETCH: Not sure what to make of it but Buffy got voted off the island tonight. (Worst line of the episode goes to Dawn: "This is my house too." Best line, Spike: "Tell anyone we had this conversation and I'll bite you.") I wonder if I'll be the only one to see the episode as a dig at reality television.

Still not a peep out of KMG.

I've been hard at work on a piece on the looting of Iraq and archaeology. If you want to piss most archaeologists off, just ask them about this article from last Thursday's Wall Street Journal (title: "Let the Market Preserve Art: What were all those antiquities doing in Iraq anyway?").

If my readers don't read Enter Stage Right's blog regularly, they really should. A sampling of recent headlines:






and, my favorite bit:

DEAR KAREN DE COSTER, I Rock. You don't. Regards, Kyle Williams.

What, you're still here? go read ESR.

posted by Jeremy at 12:12 AM

wMonday, April 28, 2003

THE KVETCH: So I went to the Christianity Today website today, expecting to find my latest column. Instead, the Book of the Week slot was filled with a review by my friend and former Weekly Standard editor Beth Henary. My piece should run next week, and I predict that readers will really sink their teeth into it.

Matt Welch has a few fun excerpts from Colin Powell's bio, pertaining to Bandar Bush.

Joanne McNeil worries that using a previous quote of hers as an endorsement just might not do the trick. She recommends this one instead: "Charming, Delightful, Authentic, and Witty." Hmmm.

Finally, if you haven't read this new McSweeney's piece on Chomsky and Zinn's "analysis" of the Two Towers, you really must:

Chomsky: And here comes Bilbo Baggins. Now, this is, to my mind, where the story begins to reveal its deeper truths. In the books we learn that Saruman was spying on Gandalf for years. And he wondered why Gandalf was traveling so incessantly to the Shire. As Tolkien later establishes, the Shire's surfeit of pipe-weed is one of the major reasons for Gandalf's continued visits.

Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

Zinn: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire's pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor's unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

Chomsky: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf's pipe-weed ring. He's trying to divert it.

Zinn: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf's interest to keep Middle Earth hooked. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 3:57 PM

wSunday, April 27, 2003

GOSPEL GOLD: Here's another article from my final issue of the Report. I post it here because an egregious edit toward the end of the piece made me sound like an arrogant Christer. (Yes, the opening is dry. I wasn't allowed to open with a quote. Please soldier on through.):

Amazingly profitable grace
Gospel music is big business, but not without controversy

For the last few years, two entertainment stories have made predictable seasonal blips. The first is the dismal state of the music industry in general. Sales of new records are down, profits have plummeted and a large number of young people feel nothing but contempt for the record companies after the shuttering of Napster.

The second story is about how Gospel music, known inside the industry as Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), has bucked this trend. According to SoundScan stats, for the first six months of 2002, CCM sales were up 18% over the previous year, at the same time as both rap and rhythm and blues saw roughly the same percentage decline. That would be no small gain: according to Mark Allan Powell, author of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, the CCM industry claimed roughly US$1 billion in business for the year 2001.

However, Mr. Powell says that such figures, like much else in the CCM industry, are fraught with controversy. "At issue is what 'counts' as contemporary Christian music," he explains. In 2002, "the GMA counted the soundtrack to the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, one of the big sellers for the year. Granted that the soundtrack does consist of pop-country and bluegrass versions of Gospel songs and was beloved by CCM fans, it was also bought by many who could care less about religion."

Another reason for the difficulty is in nailing down what exactly constitutes CCM music. The genre has its own group of bona fide stars, including solo acts as Michael W. Smith (worship), Twila Paris (worship), Steven Curtis Chapman (country); more eclectic groups such as Jars of Clay (light rock meets Gregorian chants); and more energetic acts such as Audio Adrenaline (rock). But there are a number of groups about the periphery that share the same assumptions of those in the CCM industry, as well as many of the same customers.

Case in point: Creed is a rock group whose most recent album, "Weathered" went triple platinum in Canada, and double platinum in a whole host of other countries, including New Zealand and Thailand (and six times platinum in the U.S.). Some of the lyrics of their last three albums rail against abortion ("we kill the unborn/ To make ends meet"), contemplate the crucifixion ("I feel the pain that was given/ On that sad day of loss") and endorse the idea of original sin ("The covenant has been broken/ By mankind"). And yet, the band's website claims that they "are not a Christian band." Their music is not distributed by Christian specialty shops and sales of Creed albums do not count towards "Gospel" in the SoundScan tally of record sales.

There are several reasons for some musicians' reluctance to embrace the CCM industry, including the bottom line. One artist consulted for this story estimated that since he converted and tinkered with his music to reflect this fact, he lost about a quarter of his audience. By eschewing the Christian label, acts like Creed are able to create just enough ambiguity to keep their millions of secular fans from jumping ship.

CCM music reflects the quirks and desires of a distinct subculture and is seen by many as a ghetto art form. Rolling Stone magazine has argued that evangelical Christian music constitutes a "parallel universe." Mark Joseph, editor of the Rock Rebel website (www.rockrebel.com) and author of The Rock & Roll Rebellion: Why people of faith abandoned rock music--and why they're coming back explains, "The CCM industry was set up by executives who saw the music devout young artists were making and decided to help them market it to fellow believers. Only the artists themselves hoped to take their music to non-Christians. That has always been the conflict: niche marketing vs. the Great Commission."

The desire to reach a larger audience has led several CCM artists to "cross over" to secular record labels and some to bypass the industry entirely. Mr. Joseph, both the chronicler of and the loudest cheerleader for this change, observes that Christian artists "are beginning to make inroads into the mainstream entertainment culture." Groups such as Sixpence None the Richer, Lifehouse and Creed are able to be heard on most music radio stations, even if the songs that get the heaviest rotation are usually not explicitly Christian songs.

However, Mr. Joseph may be too quick to write off the CCM genre entirely. Without a very profitable "parallel universe" to prove the value of Christian music, it's unlikely that secular music labels would be snapping up young talented Christian acts, or allow them to express their beliefs in as unfettered a manner as is presently allowed.

Curious about what actual CCM artists thought of the industry, this magazine contacted Jamey Bennett, lead singer of the hip hop group Royal Ruckus (www.royalruckus.com), based out of the CCM Mecca, Nashville, Tennessee. "We grew up on this stuff. I was listening to 'Rapping for Jesus to the Beat' at age six, so we've definitely been part of the subculture since we were young," says Mr. Bennett, with a laugh.

Though Royal Ruckus is "having a lot of fun," he says, the industry is not without its share of frustrations. Such as? "It's very hard to get a song out there that could express something that isn't easily categorized as explicit Christian content. There's definitely a little thing that people joke about in the industry: Jesus per minute: JPMs…We could not get away with 'Puff the Magic Dragon' unless he gets saved."

Many also find the conduct code that is expected of CCM artists to be stifling and/or hypocritical. "I know a lot of Christian artists get away with this, that and the other, including scandalous things. It's a very visually oriented conduct code. Don't be seen," says Mr. Bennett. Most record companies, for instance, expect CCM musicians to be public teetotalers.

Also: "I think Christian music, as long as it maintains a truncated worldview--where every song has to have a moral--, never will be where rock music is. It won't be as effective and it won't be heard by as many."

So there isn't likely to be a CCM version of "Sympathy for the Devil" in the near future?

"I don't think so," he says.

posted by Jeremy at 1:57 AM

wSaturday, April 26, 2003

NAMECHEQUES: The very silly Alan Henderson remarks on my Monty Python test results: "I fisk in your general direction. Why do think I have this outrageous blog, you silly idiotarian?! Now go away, or I shall fisk you a second time." Also, the Enter Stage Right blog has been lousy with references to moi (I accidentally chastened somebody; go figure). Not that I'm complaining.

posted by Jeremy at 11:17 AM


FRIDAYS: This should have been a horrible day. Computer and e-mail problems ballsed up the first half of it and an important interview fell through. Next week will be even more lousy with deadlines. And yet... I simply wasn't able to sustain the funk.

Lord knows, I tried but the sun was out and my '91 Sunbird wanted to go for a ride. I drove to Bellingham via the usual roads and decided to take the long way back, tracing I-5 and hooking East just shy of the Canadian border. Windows down, one hand on the radio looking for fun tunes, humming or grooving as I wove the car in and out of traffic. Bliss.

posted by Jeremy at 1:44 AM

wThursday, April 24, 2003

ENDORSEMENTS: I've been thinking for some time about including a few standing quotes about this site's proprietor over there on the left. The problem is, I'm not sure my idea of a great endorsement quite "fits" with what most people would expect. To wit:

"offensively jaded" - Joanne McNeil

"the 17-year-old binational conservative dynamo" - Kevin Michael Grace

"Lott never sleeps" - Kathy Shaidle

"don't let him write about you" - name withheld

Whaddya'all think?

posted by Jeremy at 7:34 PM

wWednesday, April 23, 2003


I'm so like Bart!

I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you? by Lexi

posted by Jeremy at 8:36 PM


THE KVETCH: Ughh, winding down from one very hard review before I have to wind up for another. Dandy. Here's some stuff to read:

Has Chris Muir been reading my column?

Wlady Pleszczynski has a hell of a piece on Sandy Koufax in the current print issue of the American Spectator (which, if I am not mistaken, also includes a book review by moi).

Steve Sailer answers the old question of whether there are atheists in foxholes. (Answer: in .01 percent of all foxholes.)

And we end with a bit from Jesse Walker:

TRUE TALES OF BALTIMORE: So last night R. [his fiance] and I are walking the series of blocks that separate our car from a party. We pass three elderly women, and R. decides to mess with them by suddenly saying, "I don't know if I feel right about having an affair."

There's a pause. Then one of the old ladies yells, "GO FOR IT!"

posted by Jeremy at 4:33 PM


MUSINGS: Cool, Ana Marie Cox added this site to her list of links (albeit under the "TOTAL STRANGERS" heading). Looking over her resume, I notice she doesn't list her stint at the American Prospect, nor her association with In These Times.

Given the brevity of her tenure at the Prospect, I understand the first omission (and, hey, anybody who gets fired from the Prospect is OK in my book). But I thought she was the D.C. editor of In These Times. Then I looked at the masthead. No mention, and the online version of her ITT articles have no credit line. Odd. Maybe I'll e-mail her about it. But then I might lose my standing as a total stranger.

posted by Jeremy at 12:39 AM

wTuesday, April 22, 2003

PIPING HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My new "Latte Sipping" column has just been posted over at the American Spectator Online. lt's the belated intro column:

Maybe it was last week's unusually bad karma -- taxes and the death of God just do not go well together -- but I found myself reflecting on the arbitrariness of opinion writing. Articles you think will outrage people grow stale and dry up quickly; dashed-off pieces and throw-away phrases are much more likely to stir the pot.

Case in point: the responses to my last column and to a review that appeared simultaneously in the Weekly Standard. The first argued for exporting American Christianity to Iraq. I called for the separation of mosque and state. I said Ann Coulter had a point (though not so much about the invading and killing bit). When the column was posted, I expected a deluge of letters, spontaneous protests and a few roasted effigies. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 11:25 PM


HAPPY EARTH DAY TO ME: Today, I finally got my '91 Sunbird back ($1,100 poorer, alas) and decided to get a new lawnmower. Well, it's Earth Day, so it must be time to send everybody to my column defending environmental apocalypticism:

[A]t a time when we've learned to be tolerant of the faiths of others, conservative skeptics have been less than charitable in their relations with environmentalists. They have practically rubbed their noses in the fact that resources have not significantly ebbed, or that pollution is not the dire crisis that many once feared, or that recycling can be counterproductive, or that nearly every predicted catastrophe of the last 50 years has not come to pass. The way things are going, it's a miracle that someone has not yet displayed a baby seal in a jar of urine. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 9:53 PM


UH OH: This can't be good:

French Guard
I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous
accent, you silly king-a?!

What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Jeremy at 9:53 AM


I DO NOT RECALL: This will be of limited interest to my audience, but it's the last article that I wrote for the Report, as I wrote it. Enjoy:

Campbell's opposition
Voters are using the right of recall to establish a counterweight to B.C.'s sitting government.

Call it what you will: a gimmick, a waste of money or a fetish for ever more extreme forms of democracy. But several B.C. Liberal MLAs are privately calling the right of recall the bane of their existence.

Though Elections B.C. announced in a press release on February 27 that the attempt to unseat Val Roddick (MLA from Delta South) was unsuccessful, the possibility of unseating a sitting representative has struck the fancy of several B.C. residents. Election B.C.'s website (www.elections.bc.ca) lists six outstanding recall petitions (for ridings in Nanaimo-Parksville, Alberni-Qualicum, Columbia River-Revelstoke, Nelson-Creston and Victoria-Beacon Hill) and more are likely to follow.

According to Trinity Western University political science professor John Dyck -- whose research on recall movements during the early '90s was presented before the then-NDP government and helped to usher in the current law -- the bar for recall remains almost prohibitively high. Though the "magic number" is 40% of those voters who were registered to vote in the riding in the last election, because of migration and the high rate of disqualifications the actual number of signatures needed is much closer to 50% of the residents of a riding.

Before the current crop of attempts, there were 14 other tries, only one of which was even close. The one was Paul Reitsma, a scandal prone former MLA for a Parksville-Qualicum riding who resigned before the final recall count could be issued. "The supposition is that he likely would have been turfed," says Prof. Dyck.

Recall campaigns are costly and expensive and must be conducted within a timeframe that makes it difficult to gather the required number of signatures, let alone enough valid ones. With such a slim chance of succeeding, why recalls have been attempted as often as they have is an interesting question. Occasionally, personal animus toward certain elected officials plays a role. There is no recourse for recalled politicians. If Elections B.C. determines that enough valid signatures were gathered, the seat is instantly vacated and the previous holder's career is likely over.

However, there is another use toward which the right of recall can be put--one that is not fully understood in most B.C. newspapers. Because the province's current political arrangement represents what Prof. Dyck calls a "marriage" between a Parliamentary system and a more populist variation of representative democracy, voters can use recall to introduce some opposition to the largely oppositionless B.C. Liberals.

This view certainly seems to be reflected in a poll commissioned by B.C. Citizens for Public Power. It found that 40% -- that magic number -- of B.C. residents would likely sign a petition to remove their local MLA if he or she votes for the government plan to privatize some of the functions of B.C. Hydro.

Several politicians are taking the threat to their political careers seriously. Energy and Mines Minister Richard Neufeld has even gone so far as to promise that he will resign if his government ever fully privatizes the crown corporation.

The real possibility that the people could give the government a black eye has, in turn, brought up a lot of anti-recall sentiment. The Vancouver Sun recently editorialized that the recall legislation should be "repealed outright" because it "makes a mockery of our electoral process." Calvin Townsend, a professor of political science for TWU who specializes in political theory, agrees with the Sun: "Recall, initiatives, plebiscites, referendums damage democracy. They don't enrich it for one second. I believe strongly that, once elected, you're in. Unless you pull a Nixon," he says. "You want to put power in the hands of the people: let them have a say. Well they do and that's in the polls. Leave it there."

Though Prof. Townsend believes that Premier Gordon Campbell is "going just hog wild crazy" with the recent drunk driving scandal and tax and spending cuts, he argues that the next election cycle is the appropriate opportunity to "kick the bastard out."

As for B.C.'s experiment with more representative forms of democracy, the professor advocates repeal. Otherwise, "Any type of legislation that has to be passed, guys will just freak and say 'Oh, I could loose my job over this.' So they'll just throw it to a referendum. Instead of allowing our representatives to do what they should be doing, it handcuffs them."

And that would be positively un-Canadian.

posted by Jeremy at 12:38 AM

wMonday, April 21, 2003

THINGS TO DO: I likely won't have much to say here today -- deadlines and such -- but I wanted to thank a few people for some kind mentions. They are, in no particular order: Rebecca Grace, RiShawn Biddle, Jim Henley, Rick Hiebert and Kevin Steel.

posted by Jeremy at 5:00 PM

wFriday, April 18, 2003

THE DAY: I was working on a nice long post, but it's Good Friday so I decided to finish and publish it next week. See y'all then. Oh, and happy birthday to Kevin Steel.

posted by Jeremy at 3:21 PM

wThursday, April 17, 2003

KMG WATCH, DAY 13: By my count, it has been 13 days since Kevin Michael Grace updated his website. That is all.

posted by Jeremy at 11:06 AM

wWednesday, April 16, 2003

OH, DID I MENTION...: Just realized the headline below makes zero sense without an explanation. I'm doing a weekly column for the American Spectator Online (also known as the American Prowler; don't ask). It's called Latte Sipping in honor of my highly caffeinated State. The column isn't anchored to a specific day yet, but I'll post links here every week.

posted by Jeremy at 1:25 AM


MY LATEST SPECTATOR COLUMN: It's a response to Steven Waldman's essay in Slate which called for Franklin Graham's organization to be barred from Iraq. An excerpt:

[According to Waldman] it would be in the interest of national security and regional stability to repress the missionaries. For constitutional purists, Graham could be reined in without official -- or, I suppose we could say "official official" -- intervention. If George Bush were to privately ask him to "stand down," he would likely acquiesce. The Rev. could still contribute to the humanitarian effort by raising money and giving it to third parties like Doctors Without Borders. "Better yet," he could give it to Muslim charities. Waldman asked readers to imagine with him the kumbaya-like effects such a donation could have on "interfaith tolerance."

But once we've had that moment of Zen, it might be fun to think about the reaction that blue state America has had to Islam during the War on Terrorism. When Ann Coulter wrote her infamous column advocating that the U.S. respond to September 11 by "invad[ing] their countries, kill[ing] their leaders and convert[ing] them to Christianity," it was the last part that sparked the most outrage. To many, this was vile, retrograde stuff. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:04 AM

wTuesday, April 15, 2003

19 QUESTIONS: I bought a mediabistro account earlier this year and it came with the opportunity to put together a free portfolio website. Please give it a look. It includes an interview with me (and me) available nowhere else.

posted by Jeremy at 1:53 PM

wMonday, April 14, 2003

GO READ SOME STUFF: I should probably post something to prove that I'm still alive and kicking, if nothing else. Here are some quick reads:

Steven Landsburg asks, given the propensity of Iraq's previous government to take stuff from its people, what's the big deal with the citizens taking some of that back by looting the museums and those government buildings still standing. It's like a retroactive tax cut.

Radley Balko highlights two stories that are worth comment. The first is a good reason to boycott CVS Pharmacy. The second is about that wacky story of a week or so ago, in which an army chaplain said that he'd let troops bathe in the extra water he brought along but only if they agreed to get baptized. Turns out the chaplain was having a bit of fun with a gullible journalist.

Everywhere I turn, someone is landing a body blow on the American Prospect. Matt Welch whacks Michael Tomasky about the ears with a large wet fish for putting partisanship ahead of freedom of speech. And former TAP Online editor (and, so far as I know, current contributor) Chris Mooney decided to "make an example" of James K. Galbraith over a column which predicted a "holocaust" in Iraq. Quoth Mooney, "He must feel pretty silly right now watching Iraqis dancing in the streets."

All for now.

posted by Jeremy at 11:18 PM

wSaturday, April 12, 2003

DEATH AND: Just wrote a few rather large checks to the IRS and sent them off. I will have more to say about this.

posted by Jeremy at 5:16 PM


E-MAIL WHOA!: OK, so Mailsender fixed the server connection problem but decided to prove they don't do things by halves. I'm now getting two of every e-mail readers send.

posted by Jeremy at 1:38 PM

wFriday, April 11, 2003

E-MAIL WOE: When I bought the deviantreadings domain name through Yahoo, the account came with a high grade web-based e-mail program called Mailsender. This I have used exclusively for the last year or so, being mostly satisfied with the results. No, it isn't perfect but it's not a virus magnet like many PC based e-mail programs. Plus: Unlike other web-based e-mail, it has almost unlimited storage capacity. I've come to rely upon it to be there at any time from any Internet outlet (most libraries, for instance, block out popular e-mail programs, but leave Mailsender unscathed). I conduct my business and personal correspondence with Mailsender and use it to send things between computers. It also functions as a tool to bring some order to my fairly chaotic life.

So the last three days have been hell. The e-mail hasn't been down all the time but it's been so sporadic as to be worse than useless. I start to compose an e-mail and then can't send it. I spend an hour-and-a-half trying to get in to the account, only to be kicked back out once I gain entry. The week has been rich in frustration and poor in productivity. I called the Yahoo tech support people and told Michael or Guy or whateverthehellhisnamewas that the only reason I still maintain the domain is for the e-mail. He apologized, blamed "server problems," and promised that they would be fixed in short order. I certainly hope so.

posted by Jeremy at 4:45 PM

wThursday, April 10, 2003

BEST... DISCLOSURE... EVER...: Chris Mooney, in a book review about the politics of food safety:

Bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria kill some 5,000 people each year in the United States. (Full disclosure: Salmonella from a McDonald's chicken sandwich nearly killed me when I was 17 years old, and forced me to miss high school graduation.) [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:30 PM


ON THE OTHER HAND: Cato's Patrick Michaels predicts that Tony Blair's price for supporting the war in Iraq will be President Bush's about face on the economically disastrous Kyoto climate treaty:

This won't happen in a very public fashion. Instead, watch the legislation. The current Senate energy bill contains three provisions that come pretty close to enacting Kyoto. If the administration lets them slide through, the deal has been done.

And if the deed is done, then so is Bush. I can't think of a better way to lose the conservative vote than to sign on to Kyoto.

posted by Jeremy at 12:26 PM


VICIOUS LAUGHTER UNJUSTIFIED: While the hawks are practically dancing in the streets (scroll down), I thought it might be a good time to eat a little crow. On March 17, I wrote that in the event of war

I hope that the Iraqi army will surrender without a fight. I also hope that no American soldiers or Iraqis are exposed to nerve agents or biological weapons, and I'm really hoping that that mote scenerio--trenches filled with burning oil making a wall of fire--doesn't happen. Also, it would be nice if Hussein didn't set the oil fields on fire.

Cue vicious laugh track.

Or, you know, don't.

Tragic, tragic things could still happen in Iraq, but so far a number of the worries by squishes and doves have been proved wrong. There have been civilian casualties but not massacres; soldiers haven't given up without a fight but the dessertion rate has skyrocketed; nerve gasses or other toxins have not been used on U.S. forces; and most of the few oil well fires that were started have been put out.

Unlike some, I never doubted the ability of the U.S. armed services to pull this off. But I'm glad that the mission--about which I was deeply conflicted--has gone so well.

posted by Jeremy at 12:15 PM

wWednesday, April 09, 2003

NOTICE TO READERS WHO WRITE ME: My e-mail has not been the most reliable of late, but it's still working. If you send something to me at the deviantreadings address and it bounces, please re-send.

posted by Jeremy at 5:11 PM

wTuesday, April 08, 2003

ONE LAST THING ON KELLY (FOR NOW): Several people have weighed in with nominations for their favorite Michael Kelly column. Here's mine:

I am an old man, and I sit on my porch watching the world go by. Watching the world go by became a major pastime again after the enactment in 2020 of the Communications Sweetness and Light Act, which built upon the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the Communications Wholesomeness Act of 2000 and the Communications Purity of Spirit Act of 2008, and which pretty much finished off what there was worth watching on the tube.

I smoke my pipe. Well, not "smoke" exactly, and not "pipe," really. It's shaped like a pipe, but it's made of solid recycled farm-raised maple. It has no bowl, no hollow stem. Real pipes have been illegal since the first year of the first Rodham administration. The pipes were the last of the regulated Nicotine Delivery Systems to be phased out; cigarettes of course were the first, banned by Surgeon General Brazelton in 2002, followed by cigars in 2005 and smokeless tobacco in 2006.

A lot of people still illicitly smoke, of course; and you can score snuff on any inner-city corner, and there are kits you can buy to convert a solid pipe into a fully hollow one. But since the passage of the "three puffs and you're out" bill, I haven't really wanted to take any chances with the law. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 4:05 PM


MORE KELLY: John Wilson has a good column on Michael Kelly's book Martyrs' Day:

Martyrs' Day isn't a flawless book. It was written by a young man--albeit an extraordinarily sharp-eyed and resourceful young man--and it has a bit of the swagger of the Tough-Minded, Hard-Drinking Journalist, the Man Without Illusions we know from many a novel, many a film. But if you have been saturated in the unreality of so much of the media coverage of the war, take a chapter of Kelly as an antidote. Before you know it, you'll have read the entire book.

Also, Marty Peretz, proving that he really is a cad, insists that he didn't fire Kelly over his "coverage of Vice President Al Gore." Rather,

Kelly's single-minded focus on President Bill Clinton's improprieties distorted his perspective on the policies of the Clinton-Gore administration and brought him into conflict not only with me but also with much of the intellectual history of the magazine.

A distinction without a difference.

posted by Jeremy at 12:02 PM

wMonday, April 07, 2003

MICHAEL KELLY, R.I.P.: My column on the death and life of a man who died far too young:

Michael Kelly wasn't always right. In his support of the War on Terrorism, I think he was too quick to discount the real -- as opposed to the hysterically exaggerated -- effects of said war on domestic civil liberties. But he was brave, principled, kind, honest and, ultimately, more right than most. I hope that his two sons come to realize that when people call their father a great man, they aren't just saying it for the boys' benefit. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 1:04 AM

wSaturday, April 05, 2003

WHAT A WEEK: Bad news all 'round, I'm afraid. Michael Kelly dead, Victor Olivier gone from the Report (if you can still call it the Report), and a whole host of personal calamities that seem terribly petty set against the first two items. One of things that helped get me through it all was this collection of haunting new tunes by Kevin Steel. (If I didn't know any better, I'd say "Helicopters, Fools and Dragonflies" was fraught with double meaning.)

On the subject of Kelly, I'll have more to say. Steel writes of a recent phone conversation that "Mr. Kelly was one of [Jeremy's] journalist heroes." Try only. I do not have a high opinion of most journalists (including myself), but I somehow made an exception for Michael Kelly. His tenure at the New Republic was perhaps the best 10 month run that political rag ever had (even with the Stephen Glass scandal). His writing was always so... on, and it was especially daring in the pages of the center left journal of record. When he was fired for his frequent abuse of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, I cancelled my subscription and have refused to buy the mag since.

One of the things often remarked upon in his obits was his tendency to scout out new writing talent. Last summer, I sent some clips to the Atlantic along with a few proposals. They shot the proposals down but encouraged me to submit other ideas. Though nothing came of this, I'd like to believe that it was Michael Kelly who liked my work enough encourage it along. Wishful thinking, I know. But, this week, what else is there?

posted by Jeremy at 4:44 PM

wTuesday, April 01, 2003

ASK A QUESTION: RICK, you recently quoted from a column from the Northern Sentinel on blogging. The writer, one Allan Hewitson, noted that some bloggers have managed to make a few dimes off of this medium. Andrew Sullivan, for instance (who Hewitson comically says used to be a regular at National Review) was recently able to pull down about $80,000 (U.S.!) in contributions from devoted readers.

You replied:

Well, if you discount the great weblog payola scandals of the late 1950s, I'm sorry to disappoint Mr. Hewitson by noting that this is not a problem. Most of us webloggers do it for free, just for fun. I would want to know what my friend Jeremy Lott has to say on this though, as he often tries to turn his weblogging into something that On Dead Tree publishers can use. I'm not daring him to do so, however, as that might understandably be a very private thing that he doesn't want to discuss.

I'm not going to throw out figures, but my blogging has conferred some modest financial benefits, in addition to "fun." A few entries have been picked up, pretty much as-is, by other outlets. About half a dozen short posts have been developed into articles, usually at an editor's request. The nuking Mecca flap, for instance, started out as a blog entry. Also, opportunities to write for Comment and the National Post have resulted directly from someone reading my blog.

For any working writer, there are a lot of other long-term benefits to running a blog: You can build an identity quite apart from any publication. Interested readers can be alerted when new articles are published. Potential employers--both freelance and long term--can get a much fuller sense of who they're dealing with. You can say what you want, when you want.

Hope that helps,

posted by Jeremy at 1:33 AM



Andrew Sullivan, yesterday:

Marshall has staked a certain amount of cred on being just, well, so much smarter than anyone in the administration, but a hawk as well.

Jeremy Lott, week before last:

[T]he position of what some have dubbed the "fair weather hawks" is more of a posture than an argument. Beneath all the blather about "multilateralism" and "timeframes" and screwing with the "international state system" is a disdain for Bush and company, and an arrogant belief that if only they were in charge, Osama's head would be displayed on a pike, Saddam Hussein would be in exile, the United Nations would be eating out of our hands and the lion would lie down with the lamb.

posted by Jeremy at 12:55 AM


REAL MEN: Colby Cosh comments on the critics' switch from "quagmire" to "quicksand." If this war turns out better than expected,

A quick scan of the dictionary shows that there may be a distinct shortage of nouns beginning with 'Q' available for future conflicts. However, "quiche" is still available, and, with a little imagination, is definitely serviceable. "The commitment of American troops to [Whateverstan] threatens to become an undercooked quiche which will leave American morale and prestige mired in a goopy, distasteful mess. Already we are coated in the flavourless eggs of Islamic hostility; the charcoaly bacon of world opposition; the limp, unchewable spinach of guerrilla warfare. Mr. President, have you forgotten that real men don't eat you-know-what?" [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:39 AM


HERBIE THE LOVE SUNBIRD: In an entirely non-war related note, I found out today that my car is going to be fixed after all. My '91 Pontiac Sunbird is back, baby!

posted by Jeremy at 12:35 AM