Posted by: readerjohn | October 7, 2011

Tasty Tidbits 10/7/11

  1. Cobblestone Conservative.
  2. George Will on Elizabeth Warren.
  3. Paraphernalia
  4. Chromosome wars.
  5. … but I know what I like.
  6. Maurice Sendak may be even more inconsistent than I am.
  7. Overheard.
  8. Happy birthday, JWR!

1

The American Conservative has a full-length article on Jane Jacobs, who 50 years ago took on a certain Robert Moses (a very powerful and visionary man, whose vision became a bit of a nightmare for millions of others) and stopped him.  That I consider Jacobs the hero and Moses the villain (not Snidely Whiplash) reflects one of my lesser-blogged interests: how we’re shaped by our built environment.

The American Conservative author doesn’t go far enough – whether or not it was of interest to Jane Jacobs, suburban sprawl is a problem – but his admiration for what Jacobs did to conserve some of the virtues of New York City is well-placed.

It turns out that they also have a symposium on Jacobs. It reminds me that a few conservatives really do “get it,” though they are not in power in the supposedly more conservative major party, which probably would deride them with some epithet like “socialist.”

2

George Will sets the new high-water mark for criticism of Elizabeth Warren:

[Elizabeth] Warren is (as William F. Buckley described Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith) a pyromaniac in a field of straw men …

Warren’s emphatic assertion of the unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behaviors by others — misses this point: It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously. Liberalism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.

I particularly liked the second paragraph of the quote, but with a caveat: today’s faux “conservatism” picks winners and losers based on which little corporate piggy squeals most endearingly for the teat of tax breaks and the paraphernalia of crony capitalism.

3

Speaking of paraphernalia, that can be your “word power” word du jour. I find the origins of the word particularly fascinating.

4

My kid has more chromosomes than your kid!

(Sarah Palin quoting a bumper sticker she was sent by another Down Syndrome family)

5

I don’t know great poetry, but I know what I like. And at the end of Day 1 of a 2-day Elder Law Institute, I like Thursday’s poem from Writer’s Almanac.

6

Sendak has lived here for 40 years – until recently with his partner Eugene, who died in 2007 …

Ebooks: “I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.”

(The Guardian’s feature on Maurice Sendak; emphasis in original) The juxtaposition is the point of the post.

7

The following is an approximate account of comments by a liberal Episcopal friend, uttered very recently, which I’m still processing.

I went to a fundamentalist wedding in [omitted] last weekend. It was scary. The preacher talked about how much fun he’s had hanging out with the couple. It was over in 25 minutes. I guess they’re married, but there was just nothing churchy about it.

[To me and an Anglican (as opposed to Episcopal) mutual friend] At least we three all have real religions.

My [Episcopal] priest is marrying his partner in New York in a few weeks. Then we’re going to bless their union back in [Indiana city].

I’m not trying to make any particular point. But the idea of an Episcopalian, with a gay priest who’s soon going to marry his same-sex partner, being creeped out by an utterly un-liturgical Marriage – What to call it … Service? Liturgy? Chat? –  struck me as a challenge to my categories.

My friend is kinder toward Anglicanism than is her Presiding Bishop:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she’d rather have these properties become Baptist churches or even saloons than continue as sanctuaries for fellow Anglicans …

“We can’t sell to an organization that wants to put us out of business,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori, who added that her job is to ensure that “no competing branch of the Anglican Communion impose on the mission strategy” of the Episcopal Church. Indeed she has no complaint with Muslims, Baptists or barkeepers buying Episcopal properties—only fellow Anglicans.

(Twenty-First Century Excommunication, Wall Street Journal)

8

It’s the 162nd birthday of James Whitcomb Riley. (HT Writer’s Almanac)

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

(To save time on preparing this blog, which some days consumes way too much time, I’ve asked some guy named @RogerWmBennett to Tweet a lot of links about which I have little or nothing to add. Check the “Latest Tweets” in the upper right pane or follow him on Twitter.)


Responses

  1. Truly enjoy tidbit #2…and it fits with my argument lately that I’m not really a liberal (even though I agree with Warren’s quote on its face) because I believe in truly conserving what we have: our environment, our democracy, our families, our businesses, our health…

    The problem, of course, is that Will and “conservative” columnists writ large have been too slow, if at all, to draw the line between the truly conservative and the faux conservative corporatism/consumerism that makes up America’s GOP.

    Enjoy your blog. Always good food for thought.

  2. About tidbit #2:

    Nah, not buying it. It’s Will, not Warren, who is building straw men (or, in this case, a straw woman), as the opposing op-ed in the Post by Greg Sargent ably demonstrates. And Will throws in a bit of guilt-by-association into the bargain, by referencing A particular liberalism, partly incubated at Harvard, intimates the impossibility, for most people, of self-government — of the ability to govern one’s self. If there is such a distinct school of liberal thought, the fact that Mrs Warren teaches at Harvard does not demonstrate that she belongs to that school. Will signally fails to demonstrate that from Mrs Warren’s actual words or actions.

    I am usually a fan of George Will’s columns which are usually well-thought-out and sparklingly written. Not this time. Badly done, George; badly done indeed.


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