Serious Opposition

by Jon Mandle on October 23, 2003

In today’s New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes:

Unfortunately, there are few Democrats to press my worries on the administration. Most Democrats either opposed the war (a perfectly legitimate position) or supported it and are now trying to disown it. That means the only serious opposition can come from Republicans…

I’ve been puzzling over how a “perfectly legitimate” opposition to the war is not a “serious” opposition. The best I can do is this: he didn’t oppose the war; he’s not now trying to disown it; but he has some worries he wants someone to press on the administration. Anything but Friedman’s own position, although perhaps legitimate, just isn’t serious.

Preferably lost in translation

by Eszter Hargittai on October 23, 2003

I haven’t always understood why some products have different names depending on the country. Nonetheless, there are cases where it’s clear why a name couldn’t or shouldn’t just be transplanted from one context to another. It’s one reason for having at least some locals come on board when expanding a product to new markets.

I am reminded of an Internet company a friend of mine started in Hungary a few years ago called World-Wide Link. That sounds innocent enough but the word “link” exists in Hungarian and means irresponsible or careless, which is probably not the image a company wants to convey or associate itself with in any way.

Then there are the cases that are much harder to anticipate. Apparently sales of a detergent called Ariel plummeted in Eqypt when rumors spread of its possible connection to Israel’s Ariel Sharon.

What’s left of the Israeli left?

by Chris Bertram on October 23, 2003

I heard an interesting paper last year from Yael Tamir which stressed what a good predictor class is of party allegiance in Israel. Things there are “the wrong way round”, though, with the workers voting for the right. So I was interested to read “this Ian Buruma piece from the Guardian”:,3604,1068681,00.html on the Israeli left, and what remains of it.

Eminem in the NYR

by Jon Mandle on October 23, 2003

Andrew O’Hagan has an article in The New York Review of Books about Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem). He quotes extensively, unflinchingly from some of his more notorious lyrics, and points out that some people “might even imagine they have no place in The New York Review of Books.” They do, and his comments make an interesting read.

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Bush Capital Hosts Bush President

by Kieran Healy on October 23, 2003

Dubya joined me in Canberra last night (in a manner of speaking), but I have yet to see this obvious headline used in any newspapers. Security is tight. F-18s are buzzing overhead. I’m used to that from living in the flight path of Davis-Monthan AFB back in Tucson. There, sorties go out several times a day to further harrass the prickly pears on the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range out in the southwestern part of the state, flying over my department on the way. Low-flying A-10s really bring the concept of “air superiority” home.

Back in Canberra, we were walking around Lake Burley Griffin yesterday evening and saw a boat of navy frogmen inspecting the underside of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, presumably looking for explosives, as Bush’s motorcade would have had to drive over it to get to Parliament House and the U.S. embassy. Personally, I’d be more worried that his drivers would get lost on Canberra’s carefully planned road system which consists of elegantly interlocking giant roundabouts, some of which are inside other even larger roundabouts.