Evangelicals and Democrats

by Kieran Healy on March 6, 2006

“Amy Sullivan”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0604.sullivan.html writes about the prospect of the Democratic party recruiting evangelical or conservative Christians. Kevin Drum “comments”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_03/008354.php

bq. I have to confess that I’ve always been skeptical of the notion that liberals should spend much time trying to get the Christian evangelical community on our side. When push comes to shove, they just care way more about sex and “moral degeneracy” than they do about helping the poor or taking care of the environment, and that means that outreach efforts are ultimately doomed to failure.

Two quick points about this (with pictures!) below the fold.
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Cato on inequality

by Chris Bertram on March 6, 2006

Will Wilkinson emails me to push a Cato Institute forum on “When Inequality Matters”:http://www.cato-unbound.org/2006/03/06/david-schmidtz/when-equality-matters/ . I see that he’s also emailed Glenn Reynolds to promote the same. The paper being discussed is by David Schmidtz. Schmidtz is a serious philosopher whose writings I’ve read with profit and interest in the past. Nevertheless, I have to greet his opening sentence with some skepticism:

bq. Everyone cares about inequality.

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Werkmeister Conference

by Jon Mandle on March 6, 2006

I’m back from a weekend in Tallahassee at the Werkmeister Conference on Cosmopolitanism, held at Florida State. It’s rather rare that we Timberites get to see each other in the flesh, so it was a treat that Harry was there, too. There were six papers with commentators, presented over a day-and-a-half. They were all quite good and spanned many different issues related to cosmopolitan political theory. One of the more striking things was how nice everyone was – and not in an obsequious way – despite some fairly sharp disagreements. In fact, Thomas Pogge commented on this at the beginning of his talk, and some interpreted this as a backhanded complement – yeah, and we had good handwriting, too. But I took the comment at face value – people were willing to talk and listen substantively and there was very little grandstanding or showing others up. Most of us went out for meals together, and a generally grand time was had by all. Still, my hotel room looked out over the capital building, and I just couldn’t shake the images of Elian Gonzalez, the 2000 election, Terri Shiavo …

The plan is for the revised papers to appear in Social Theory and Practice. Abstracts are on the web-page.

Mieville at N+1

by Henry Farrell on March 6, 2006

A piece that I’ve written on China Mieville’s New Crobuzon novels and the politics of fantasy is available at N+1 magazine’s “website”:http://www.nplusonemag.com/mieville.html (link leads to their homepage; I’ll update with a permalink when it’s archived: UPDATE – permanent link added). Anyone who wants to comment, disagree or otherwise respond is welcome to do so here.

The big screen

by Eszter Hargittai on March 6, 2006

There seemed to be quite a bit of focus at the Oscars on the advantages of watching a movie on the big screen (that is, in a theater, not your big screen TV at home). There were several references to this point, including comments by the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the host of the Oscars. We got to see a clip illustrating the importance of the big screen. The clip had scenes from various big action movies such as The Ten Commandments (Moses parts the sea) and Star Wars (some starship scene).

I certainly understand the upside of seeing movies on the big screen (and not just from the profit-oriented point-of-view, but also from the viewer’s perspective). However, I don’t understand how it helps to make this argument in a situation where most of the people watching your clips are viewing them through their TV sets at home. Was the point to show us scenes that would look particularly unimpressive on the small screen, but remind us how impressive they would be on a big one? They were well-known scenes that we know are impressive so how is this supposed to get us to run out and watch movies in theaters?

The myth of Cash

by Chris Bertram on March 6, 2006

I’m linking to “Ian Sanson’s piece on Johnny Cash from the LRB”:http://lrb.co.uk/v28/n05/sans01_.html [via the “Virtual Stoa”:http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Emagd1368/weblog/blogger.html ] both because it is entertaining and perceptive, but also — in the light of “John Q’s Blonde post”:https://crookedtimber.org/2006/03/05/blonde-joke/ below — to report that Chuck Klosterman’s “hilarious sociobiological explanation for Led Zeppelin”, as referenced by Sanson, is freely available to the moderately ingenious via Amazon.com’s “search inside” feature.


by Chris Bertram on March 6, 2006

“Jamie Kenny”:http://bloodandtreasure.typepad.com/ and “Backword Dave”:http://backword.me.uk/ have been keeping up commentary on the Mills/Jowell affair (scroll down for their various posts). Meanwhile, their friends in the meeja have been doing their best with the exculpatory smokescreens. Notable today is “Peter Preston in the Guardian”:http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/comment/0,,1724395,00.html (the newspaper most compromised by gourmet dinners and rounds of golf):

bq. Let’s all get off our high horses. David Mills is the Inspector Clouseau of global capitalism. He doesn’t lurch from hedge fund to hedge fund and pillar to post in order to grow fabulously rich; just to stay one stumbling step away from the knacker’s yard. Silvio Berlusconi (joyous news!) chooses back-to-front men, more naff than Mafia. Old Labour should remember Lord Gannex and John Stonehouse among too many others before it starts casting New Labour stones.

Some of us (including Preston it must be said) are old enough to remember the “Kagan”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kagan%2C_Baron_Kagan and “Stonehouse”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stonehouse affairs. One of the things about “New Labour” was its rehabilitation of Harold Wilson & Co. as against their post-79 detractors, and among the things that the detractors detracted was precisely the association of Labour grandees with the likes of Kagan. So playing the Old Labour/New Labour card here just reeks of bad faith.

The Jowell/Mills business also reminds me — though the parallels are superficial — to recommend the recent Danish political thriller “King’s Game”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378215/ , which centres on dodgy politicians with cosy insider relationships in a leading newspaper.