On another note, I'm just about done with the first draft of the book, so normal (i.e. haphazard but slightly more frequent) posting should resume soon. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone.
 
 
So a couple of girlfriends and I are planning a bachelorette party. Our friend, the bride-to-be, is an extremely sophisticated lady. She has an old typewriter, and uses it. But she is nonetheless a bachelorette and, as bridesmaids, we have certain responsibilities.

And that is how I stumbled upon what must be a first when it comes to sexualized internet content:
 
 
A short break from finishing the book to offer a comment on Josh Treviño. When I first met Josh, about a year ago, it was immediately apparent that he was one of the sharper right-wingers in a state with no shortage of those. I was tickled when the Guardian announced that he would start writing a column about American politics for them. They also hired Glenn Greenwald at about the same time--Greenwald is from the left, and also a good hire.

The announcement has ignited a backlash and a campaign to get Josh fired, centered around a tweet he wrote on June 25th last year: "Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." I'm glad to see that Josh apologized and clarified that it was intended as an expression of support for Israel's right to defend itself, using force if necessary. It was a callous way to make that argument, though, and although I don't have a ferocious position on Israel, I would not be "cool with" the situation posited. With that said, it strikes me as a stretch to call the specified tweet "incitement to murder". An additional charge, that Josh is a white supremacist, is silly. (For another perspective, see Seth Mandel at Commentary, among others.)

Josh's critics are obviously within their rights to argue with him, this being a free country and all, and if they want to attack him in more personal terms--well, he's probably not in a position to complain about manners. Still, I hope the campaign to get him fired fails. His views are different from mine in many respects, but he doesn't come by them glibly, and he is an ardent and informed advocate for them. (I thought his take on the Ryan pick, for example, makes an astute point about incumbency.) That is, of course, why I value his perspective and presumably this is why the Guardian hired him in the first place. Josh is certainly more abrasive than I am, which is partly because I'm not a partisan, and partly a temperamental difference. He doesn't mind a stampede, whereas I'm like this guy. When it comes to the public conversation, I would prefer it if people were always fair, broad-minded, and civil. Given that people on all sides occasionally fall short of that aspirational ideal, however, it's better to risk occasional offense than to circumscribe the discussion or live in an echo chamber. 
 
 
On being invited to a dance near San Patricio, circa 1875:

"...And there I was handed the sourest lemon I had ever tasted. During the evening I approached a young miss of “sweet sixteen,” Lizzie Hinnant, whom I had met a few times before, and asked her for a dance. Without even the stereotyped excuse of a previous engagement she answered simply and curtly “No.” Feeling somewhat melted I thought I would embarrass her in turn, so I thanked her and told her that since there remained in the sea as good fish as had ever been caught, I’d cast my line in another place. Instead of “wilting,” as I thought she would, she came back with this: “Certainly there are, but unfortunately for you they have quit biting at toads.” I retired to the “shade of an old apple tree” and butted my head against it in sheer desperation. Since then I have known that the “Yellow Rose of Texas” grows on a thorny bush.”"

(From The Trail Drivers of Texas)
 

Ted Cruz

08/01/2012

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Here's my take on Ted Cruz's victory last night--it's going to be in this week's issue of The Economist, as well, but they put it up early online.

Apologies for the dropoff in blogging of late, by the way. My book (draft) is due at the end of the month, so I'm making an effort not to have any substantive thoughts that aren't directly related to that. A very concerted, moderately successful effort. Yes, I'm having a super-fun summer. How about you?