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

You've stumbled upon the website of Jeremy Lott. (To learn more about me, go here.) I can be reached at JEREMYAL123 -- AT -- YAHOO.COM.


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wSunday, February 29, 2004


GIRLY GIRLS MAKE ME LAUGH: This is what I have to put up with.

posted by Jeremy at 1:14 PM


wFriday, February 27, 2004


GETTING MY PASSION BACK: In response to my recent long midnight musings, former colleague Rick Hiebert worries that the daily grind is getting to me:

Perhaps Jeremy needs to find the fun parts of his day job, or find ways to make his freelancing fun. Let's wish him good luck on that quest.

If that's the impression the post created (and it probably was -- though I blame it more on the reflections on life and death toward the end) then I should issue a corrective. The job, like any job, can be tiring and, at times, tedious. But so what? It's also the best job I've had and a lot of fun. And I do genuinely enjoy editing pieces by our clutch of writers (see Shawn Macomber's piece on Alan Greenspan, for instance). It's just that there are trade-offs and time spent editing or seeing to the business end of things cannot be spent on writing -- for the Spectator, for freelance, or for this cozy little forum.

That said, I did do two cover stories this week and one of them, on the fury over The Passion of the Christ, is still generating comments. Today's Reader Mail is well worth a look.

posted by Jeremy at 11:27 AM


wThursday, February 26, 2004


BAH, CAN'T SLEEP, HEF: Well, apparently the Courtmeister isn't the only one in this household suffering from insomnia. Bother. Might as well blog.

Housekeeping stuff first. There are a few responses to my piece on the Passion over at the Spectator's Reader Mail. To answer David Hornik's letter, I believe there are two "defensive, circle-the-wagons reaction[s]" to Mel's movie. Christians feel compelled to stick up for a movie about the death of their God, and non-Christian mostly secularist critics feel the need to change the subject by shouting anti-Semitism. Also, Shawn Macomber has a good piece on his trip to the movie on the website. His capsule-review-within-a-report:

The Passion is a difficult film to describe. It is as unrelenting as it is powerful. The air in the packed theater crackled with electricity, as the hype and the reality collided on the screen above us.

For all the talk of ultra-violence and gore, the film isn't any harsher than your typical Martin Scorsese pic. But knowing where the story is going, the tragedy of what this man suffered despite his goodness and innocence -- I never felt anyone in Goodfellas was being unreasonably whacked, for example -- made watching it all the harder to bear. [more]

Finally, a true story. Day before yesterday, I made it into the office about 1. My phone display said and there was a message waiting. I dialed in the code and listened to a message from a job headhunter. She was looking for an someone to edit a six page section in the front of a certain monthly magazine and wondered if that would interest moi. The magazine? Playboy.

Let me say that again: I got a call from a headhunter who needed an editor for Playboy Forum, and my name somehow made it onto the list. The worst part of it is, you'll all have to take my word for it, because I accidentally deleted the message before I could copy it or take down the particulars.

posted by Jeremy at 1:56 AM


wWednesday, February 25, 2004


SON OF MAN, ANTI-SEMITE?: Here's my take on the controversy surrounding the Passion. The title: The Passion and the Fury. Sounds like a bodice ripper, no?:

By now, we've settled into an old familiar routine. Non-religious, specifically non-Christian, critics rail against Mel Gibson's self-financed The Passion of the Christ and accuse it of anti-Semitism. The New Yorker reviewer called it "a sickening death trap, a grimly unilluminating procession of treachery, beatings, blood and agony," which will give warrant to the old saw that "it was the ancient Jews who were principally responsible for killing Jesus." For good measure, he concluded: "another dose of death-haunted religious fanaticism is the last thing we need."

Gibson & Co. forgo the visceral reaction ("what d'you mean 'we' paleface?") for a rational one, but the facts do not count as an absolute defense when the charge is racial animus. Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League isn't going to care that the line in which some members of the rabble accept collective responsibility for the death of Jesus of Nazareth (the passages in the synoptic Gospels which draw charges of blatant anti-Semitism) was removed from the subtitles, or that Gibson publicly disavows Jew hatred, or that this is a work of art, for God's sake. Gibson practices a schismatic "pre-Vatican II Catholicism," and he's made a movie about the death of Christ, so it must be anti-Semitic, QED [more]

posted by Jeremy at 8:55 AM


wTuesday, February 24, 2004


PUBLIC CITIZEN OF THE WORLD: Some day in the far flung future, I may go into the details that occasioned today's cover. Suffice it to say, I did not expect to write about Ralph Nader when I woke up this morning. I occasionally use the old Suck style to do a now-in-the-news type story, so I decided to go with that here. Suck haters may want to give this one a pass:

It may be an inapt metaphor to use the same week as Mel Gibson releases his tribute to Franco Zeffirelli and Apocalypse Now, but what the hell: the die is cast. Ralph Nader, the man who invented consumer advocacy (he single-handedly put the kibosh to the Volkswagen Bug), told Tim Russert Sunday that he will run for president as an independent candidate. The announcement came as a great big loud smack across the face to Democrats, who still blame Nader for scratching out Al Gore's chances in 2000.

Republicans, for their part, were giddy as schoolgirls on prom night, though they made a real effort to muffle the giggles. The exuberance of bloggers such as Mark Shea ("exxxxxcellent!"; "Kerry's Toast") was met with faux adult Elephant voices. David Frum cautioned that while he'd like Ralph's run to spoil this election for the Dems (deep sigh) he just didn't see it [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:31 AM


wMonday, February 23, 2004


EVE STARTED IT:

My inner child is forty-five years old today

My inner child is forty-five years old!


I've never really liked children, not even when I
was one. I want things neat, ordered, and
adult--fine wine instead of french fries, pina
coladas by the pool instead of beach sand
between my toes. Now if only my fellow adults
would stop acting like such, well, children!


How Old is Your Inner Child?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Jeremy at 10:16 AM


w


NOTHING NEW UNDER THE MOON EITHER: So one of my roommates was complaining today that I don't take advantage of this forum often enough. I've no quarrel with that assessment, as far as it goes. One reason for this is that this editing thing can really take of you. Between the business end of things, the website, and the print edition of the Spectator, my writing has been scaled back rather drastically. Even freelancing has become difficult. This week, I told an editor I thought I'd have a review to him on Monday. In fact, it took until Friday, at 4:30 in the afternon. And if I don't have the energy to freelance, I shore don't have what it takes to blog.

There's something else, that I hesitate to mention, but really don't know how to get around. Last year, not long after I got here, I got very, very sick. I downplayed it on this site at the time, but I've never been that close to death. A really bad fever was raging, the only movement that I was capable of was shaking uncontrollably, and I wasn't able even to cry for help. If the fever didn't break at exactly the right angle, to use a poolhall metaphor, I doubt I'd have the mental capacity to write these sentences.

That is assuming I still had a pulse. At the time, I did not believe I would make it through the night. Normally, for people with some religious sense, that's the time to start striking deals with the Almighty. You know, If I pull through this, I'll... And of course people often do pull through and then discard the terms of the deal. Proof, one supposes, that we'll say anything if we're truly desperate.

But that wasn't me. I saw, or thought I saw, death coming and made my peace with it as best I could. I prayed some, I reflected on my life and family and friends. Regret was, of course, a major theme. I wondered what heaven or hell looked like and pondered where I'd wind up. And then the fever broke and my strength started to seep back in. I limped into the far bedroom -- vacant at the time -- and watched the sun come up as I sipped Ginger Ale to try and replenish some liquid.

I was beyond exhausted. The muscles in my face had spasmed so much that I was incapable of expressions for the next day. And I was relieved but not overwhelmingly so...

Anyway, I'm going to bed now, but there have been very few days since when I haven't wondered what I'm still doing here. A lot of things that I would have written about seem unimpartant or silly. I write less about politics nowadays because, frankly, I care less. Such is life, I suppose. Or maybe it would be better to say, such is death.

posted by Jeremy at 12:01 AM


wTuesday, February 17, 2004


CLEAN FOR DEAN: Would have posted this yesterday but I got the stepmother of all headaches (not exactly a hangover but the drinking didn't help, I'm sure) that didn't quit until well into the editorial meeting today. The food and the painkillers kicked in at the same time, so I uh, volunteered to stand up and write stuff on the whiteboard. Hey, it beat passing out.

So the piece, featured on the CT website yesterday is a review essay of Dominic Sandbrook's Eugene McCarthy: The Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism. The opening is very obvious, but it was fun to write:

Stop me if you've heard this one: Fed up with the complacency of the Democratic Party, a respected but quite liberal old hand seeks the presidential nod. His surprising frankness and his palpable disgust with the current administration, which is prosecuting a controversial war, attracts an enormous crowd of young, idealistic, enthusiastic, and—let's face it—angry supporters. The media excitement, the policy missteps of the incumbent president, and the overall mood of the country all indicate that he's got a real shot at the Oval Office. Then, a gorgeous preppie senator from the Northeast steps in and mops up, leading to. …

And there the analogy between Howard Dean and Eugene McCarthy—and between John Kerry and Robert Kennedy—breaks down, because a certain Palestinian activist cut short RFK's bid for the presidency. Instead, voters had to choose from Tricky Dick, last-ditch segregationist George Wallace, and McCarthy's longtime-ally-cum-bitter-enemy, fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey [more]

posted by Jeremy at 8:44 PM


wSaturday, February 14, 2004


DON'T KNOW WHY: For today's Spectator I wrote a review of Norah Jones' latest, ironically titled Feels Like Home:

Come Away With Me sold 18 million copies and the title track received heavy rotation on radio stations. Jones emerged from the shadow of her father, famed sitar player Ravi Shankar, as a jazz/blues musician with a light but pleasant touch. Even the more bluesy songs on the album (i.e., "Cold, Cold Heart") were delivered with a grin.

Her freshman album was hopeful, well produced, and lusty. In the most frankly erotic song of the set, Jones begs a suitor to "come on home and turn me on." Quite a few of the numbers have her hoping, waiting, anticipating that she will be able to hook up with a certain someone. One critic called it music to make out to.

In that vein, we might call Feels Like Home music to break up by. Anticipation has been displaced by uncertainty and regret. "Carnival Town" begins with the Merry-Go-Round as a metaphor for modern life: We whirl around in a hurry and ultimately get nowhere. This circularity surfaces again in "Above Ground" in the form of a ceiling fan which interrupts Jones' burdened thoughts [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:32 AM


wSaturday, February 07, 2004


I MAY NOT KNOW POETRY, BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKE:

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
---Those dying generations---at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre
And be the singing-masters of my soul
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

("Sailing to Byzantium," by William Butler Yeats)

posted by Jeremy at 9:40 AM


wFriday, February 06, 2004


WHY US IRISH ARE BETTER: Boy, when Kevin Steel says he's written a "little wrist-slasher of a song" he isn't joking! Bring on the pain.

posted by Jeremy at 7:27 PM


wWednesday, February 04, 2004


TIMBERLAKE IN '04: Why I like co-editing the Spectator website Reason Number 2342: We sometimes resist the urge to be timely, in favor of good writing. Two articles today on yesterday's elections and three -- count 'em, three -- pieces on different aspects of the Super Bowl. Here's Andrew Simmons on the Super Bowl in San Fran:

Given the crowd's lack of muscle tone and green politics, one might expect this bunch to be less enthralled by the biggest game in football, a game which, according to a small, clueless minority, is a brutish sport. Thuggish skull-cracking is prized above nimble athleticism and perplexing parallels to modern warfare are the order of the day.

And your expectations would be crushed right about the time that Panthers' quarterback Jake Delhomme stumbles out of the pocket looking for a receiver. Patriots linebackers roar past his blocker to maul the quarterback from his vulnerable blind-side. Struggling like a tender antelope in the unforgiving jaws of a ferocious wild cat, Delhomme flounders but manages to fling the ball away before he crashes on the turf.

The living room erupts in raucous cheers. "Damn, he got dropped cold," screeches my friend, the 130-pound librarian/actor. His roommate, a skeletal special education teacher/musician, concurs. "Did you see his helmet bounce?" he shouts, cracking open a fresh brew and ripping a hot wing in half. "Did you? Oh man, that was awesome!" They both pound the coffee table like mental patients. [more]

And here's Kevin Michael Grace on that half time show:

BUT THE SECONDARY, MORE popular, meaning of "decadence" has to do with moral or cultural deterioration. The word is often prefixed with the intensifier "Weimar," referring to the republic and the rout it engendered in Germany after the First World War. And Weimar is certainly the word that comes to mind after Janet Jackson's choreographed tribute to Cabaret.

There we had La Jackson, kitted out in a greatcoat that would have made Joseph Goebbels blush with envy, striking "Rhythm Nation" fascist poses, while at her feet lolled lovelies attired in corsets, stockings and Sally Bowles bowlers pretending Sapphic ennui. How droll! [more]

posted by Jeremy at 8:07 AM