Sunday, December 01, 2002

The Trojans salvaged the split and my sanity by annihilating the Irish last night. This is extra nice because it has the potential to further weaken the BCS's credibility if the Irish are chosen for the Orange Bowl anyway and USC settles for the Holiday. It also puts Trojan fans in the awkward position of cheering on the Bruins next week against Washington State if we want to be Rose Bowl bound. On the Panther front, I now have to root for us to get technically screwed by Virginia Tech beating us out for the Bowl bid (in Phoenix, where I definitely cannot travel to) so that we go to the history and pageantry that is the inaugural Continental Tire Bowl (in Charlotte, which I suppose I can drive to).

It's a little late, but read The Story of Thanksgiving, more or less.

I promised to start talking some politics, and I'll start by saying that what really got me thinking about these issues again was the GOP success on election day in general, and then this George Will column in particular. A key premise of the column is that "liberals" (a sneaky, slimy word that we should work to eliminate from our politica vocabulary, but more on that another time) believe that The People do not know enough to properly govern themselves and thus need guidance from above. Perhaps this was true of the left-wing of Adlai Stevenson's time as Will asserts, and I still think it's half-true. Of course The People don't know enough to properly govern themselves. But here's the rub--as a dyed-in-the-wool post-modernist, I strongly believe in the notion that the more you learn, the less you know. What a more post-modern leftie such as myself thinks is that, in fact, no one actually knows enough to govern an enormous, complex government/society. I believe that the left in this country understands this, but it is very hard to take this message to an electorate. The success of the right-wing in this country, I believe, has a lot to do with putting out the opposite message--the world is not complex, it is not shades of gray--it's black and white, right and wrong, and anyone with "common sense" (a truly despicable term that usually means "something I believe but have not bothered to look up or test in any systematic way") can see that. I'd like to think this problem isn't intractable, and I'd like to think that the Left can make a comeback without the Right doing something catastrophic in the meantime. I'm not sure how that can happen, but I do know that for once the mainstream media actually has the proper take on these things--if the Democratic Party is going to regain relevancy let alone power, it's going to have to do it by establishing and getting out a message, and that message has to be more substantive than "We're the not-Republicans" or "The president isn't very smart". But if the Democrats are to truly create a message it's going to mean not a renewed play for the center-right as the party has tried in recent years; instead, it's going to mean looking to the left to reinvigorate the party and the country's political culture with fresh ideas. I'm not optimistic on this front, but the promotion of Nancy Pelosi is a small step in the right direction. And to get back to Will's column, isn't it interesting that no one ever calls people from overwhelmingly and disproportionately conservative Republican districts out of touch. Just one more example of our national media's conservative bias--and don't let Republican lies convince you otherwise.

On a happy note, I should be back with more fun, happy-go-lucky stories about the coal mine and the Co-Temp next time...

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