Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Post Wherein I Quote Conservatives

Rod Dreher asks three important question:
Serious question: Is there any reason to think that a Romney presidency will be different from George W. Bush’s presidency? If so, why? In what ways?

OK, so those were three questions. But I’m serious about them.
The opening and closing paragraphs in this David Frum editorial resonate:
Welcome to 21st century America, where everybody is a victim. Once upon a time, victim status was the reserved property of a few minority groups. No longer! Americans have opened the doors of self-pity to all. White or black, rich or poor, straight or gay, male or female: all believe themselves uniquely persecuted and oppressed. . . .

If you needed one more example of why the American political system so tragically fails to solve real-world problems, here it is, wrapped up with pickles and served with waffle fries.
This Michael Sacasas post also seems to have a unique perspective:
Boycotts and procotts are by now commonplace and predictable, the skirmishes involving a certain fast-food chain being only the latest prominent instance. This got me thinking about the boycotting impulse, particularly when it is aligned with social issues. It seems to reflect the breakdown of public reason. What I have in mind is the situation described by Alasdair MacIntyre in the opening of After Virtue. Unable to reasonably debate differences in a consequential manner because of the absence of a broadly shared narrative of what constitutes the good life, it would seem that we are left with acts of will. Of course, in a consumer society what other form could such action take than marketplace transactions. Perhaps we can describe it as the commodification of public debate. Like war, boycotting is politics by other means. It is weaponized consumption.
Finally, I can remember life without a TV in my home. That was about 50 years ago. I can't remember having a TV that wasn't tuned to an NFL game on Sunday afternoons during football season. These George Will paragraphs trouble:
Various unsurprising studies indicate high early mortality rates among linemen resulting from cardiovascular disease. For all players who play five or more years, life expectancy is less than 60; for linemen it is much less.

    . . . . We are, however, rapidly reaching the point where playing football is like smoking cigarettes: The risks are well-known.

 Not that this has prevented smokers from successfully suing tobacco companies. But, then, smoking is an addiction. Football is just an increasingly guilty pleasure. Might Americans someday feel as queasy enjoying it as sensible people now do watching boxing and wondering how the nation was once enamored of a sport the point of which is brain trauma?

 That is unlikely. Degenerate prizefighting, or prizefighting for degenerates — called mixed martial arts or “ultimate fighting” — is booming.

 Football is entertainment in which the audience is expected to delight in gladiatorial action that a growing portion of the audience knows may cause the players degenerative brain disease. Not even football fans, a tribe not known for savoring nuance, can forever block that fact from their excited brains.

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