December 19th, 2006

Boss Coffee

Bosses don't know 'bout my additional pylons!

Waking up today was hard, very hard. I felt well enough, all things considered, but I didn't get the sleep I really needed, and after two such nights my body let me know that it was very unhappy and wanted very badly to stay in bed. I compromised and slept in until 0700, and caught the first 535 bus. It got me into work by 0900, and since I worked that extra half-hour last night it all worked out well.

Instapundit links to a pretty worthless piece by Dave Weigel in the LA Times about "right-wing dystopian fiction"; Weigel's beef is mainly with Robert Ferrigno's Prayers for the Assassin (which I'm currently reading) and Orson Scott Card's Empire, which jamestrainor also thought was lame. Reynolds points out that believability has not previously been the standard for this genre (and specifically points out the uber-lame The Handmaid's Tale), which is very true. Most dystopias are polemics of one sort or another, and most polemics tend to suck because it's hard to write them without having all your characters constantly speechifying all over the plot. (Devotees of Ayn Rand apparently consider this a feature of her work, not a defect, but we've discussed that cult earlier.) I'm not done with Ferrigno's novel, but he does posit a not totally unreasonable future in which cultural leaders serve as the opening wedge for massive conversions to Islam, especially after Mecca, New York and Washington are nuked by what appears to be a Mossad team. You can buy the premise or not, and Weigel apparently doesn't; so much the worse for his enjoyment of the book.
However, criticizing the books for being the literary expression of "right wing" politics is the kind of analytic crudity one has come to expect from the "pox on both your houses" crowd at Reason lately. It seems appropriate that it's seeing print in the LA Times, a newspaper that has manged to match its New York namesake in the poor quality of its journalism, if not in the faded star quality of its journalists.
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Why political art sucks

Ed Driscoll reminds me about a guest post by Fernando Teson last week at the Volokh Conspiracy that argued that all political art should be regarded as a failure of discourse. For this he was pilloried by a gang of nitpicking commenters, who made /b/ look like a bunch of Oxford Debate Union members by comparison. (I kept expecting to see "NO U!" break out at any minute.) Teson's basic argument is that political art speaks to emotions, not reason, and therefore makes any discussion futile, but you should RTWT. It's a more elegant argument than me sitting here typing "Polemic sucks".
Boss Coffee

Tool time

They say some guys who pack knives are compensating, but I shudder to think what the guy packing this godawful contraption could be compensating for. I originally saw this thing in a Guardian article via one of Rachel's Miscellany posts earlier this month, but it came up again at Instapundit last night as a follow-up to this post about Swiss Army Knives. Frankly, I'm disappointed that we haven't managed to come up with a better knife-related quip than that old Paul Hogan chestnut in the last twenty years.