Posts Tagged ‘The Atlantic’

‘What boots it,’ indeed

July 17, 2019

These boots are made for earning.

In the August 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Michael LaPointe muses at some length on “The Unbearable Smugness of Walking,” as performed by the literati.

Following his examination of two recent books arguing for “walking’s invigorating literary power” and capacity for resistance to “the desire of those in power that we should participate in growing the GDP … as well as the corporate desire that we should consume as much as possible and rest whenever we aren’t doing so,” LaPointe wonders whether, for the writer, walking to work is really nothing more than another day at the office, albeit a larger, airier one.

And he poses the question: “What would it mean, for once, simply to walk and say nothing about it?”

What it would mean, Michael old sock, is that you would not get paid.

“Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet. …

Wake-up call

May 11, 2019

Hey! Who shit on my radio?

Ho, ho. Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic examines NPR’s new “Morning Edition” theme and finds it wanting.

He’s not the only one. Composer Timo Andres and jazz singer Theo Bleckmann had thoughts as well.

“For me, it was so reminiscent of childhood, of car rides to school,” Andres told me later of the old theme. “Even though, objectively, it sounds like an artifact from a universe where Steely Dan was co-opted into writing state-propaganda music.”

The new theme, meanwhile, was summarized more pithily by Bleckmann. “Yeah, it sucks,” he said.

Ouch.

But what do you expect when you commission a committee to compose your theme song?

Robert A. Heinlein was wrong about a lot of things, but he was right on target when he noted that a committee was “a life form with six or more legs and no brain.”

And yeah, the new theme: It sucks.

Superb Owl Sunday

February 3, 2019

The druid Malachy, played by Ciaron Davies, interacts with “Cracker,” a European eagle owl, as the re-enactment of Saint Patrick’s first landing in Ireland takes place at Inch Abbey on March 11, 2018, in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Photo: Charles McQuillan | Getty Images)

For more Superb Owls, see The Atlantic.

Just. One. Senator.

August 27, 2018

One senator could make a difference? What a Capitol idea.

That’s all it would take, given the present composition of the Senate, for that august body to do its fucking job for a change.

As James Fallows notes:

Every one of them swore an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, not simply their own careerist comfort. And not a one of them, yet, has been willing to risk comfort, career, or fund-raising to defend the constitutional check-and-balance prerogatives of their legislative branch. …

In any circumstances, the Senate’s arcane procedures mean that lone senators, determined to make a stand, can hold up business or block nominees to get their way. When the ruling party holds only 51 seats, or for the moment 50, the power of any one or two members goes up astronomically. With great power comes great responsibility—a responsibility that 50 men and women are choosing to shirk.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

May 8, 2014
Hal and his burro Spike from back in the day. A real man would ski from Crusty County to Pueblo. With a burro. In the summertime.

Hal and his burro Spike from back in the day. A real man would ski from Crusty County to Pueblo. With a burro. In the summertime.

And now, the good news: More Americans are cycling to work.

A lot more of them, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — up from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 in 2008-12. And no, they don’t all live in Portlandia.

The bad news, according to The Atlantic? More than eight in 10 of us still drive to work (and mostly alone).

My favorite commuting tale remains the one told by my burro-racing buddy Hal “Mr. Awesome” Walter of Crusty County, Colo., who once skied to work at The Pueblo Chieftain.

“I skied from West Park to the Chieftain, tucking for the glide over the 4th Street Bridge in subzero cold,” Hal recalls via email. “I was pulled over by a policeman and feared I might get a ticket for speeding but found there was actually an ordinance against skiing on the city streets.”

Hal has also run a burro from Wetmore to Pueblo, and without interference from the authorities, as the place was once a stronghold of Donk politics. Plus pretty much everyone in Pueblo likes to see some new ass in town, even the Republicans.

 

One war ends, another continues

December 15, 2011

The war in Iraq officially “ended” today, for those of you who believe in beginnings and endings.

But the war on civil liberties continues. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act contains provisions that the American Civil Liberties Union says could authorize the U.S. military to pick up and imprison, indefinitely and without charge, civilians — including U.S. citizens — anywhere on the planet, including right here in the good old US of A.

Glenn Greenwald views this development with alarm over at Salon, charging President Obama with being more concerned with executive power than civil liberties.

At The Nation, Patricia J. Williams argues that under this law, “if the Defense Department thinks you’re a terrorist, there would be no presumption of innocence; you would be presumed a detainee of the military unless the executive decides otherwise.”

Her colleague Robert Scheer declared that this “assault on the Constitution’s requirement of due process represents a direct threat to the freedom of the American people every bit as menacing as any we face from foreign enemies.”

Andrew Cohen is less alarmist at The Atlantic, saying we’re still “much closer to the beginning than to the end of this dirty business.”

I don’t know whether to be reassured or terrified by that.