Happy Independence Day, Friendies! To “celebrate,” I offer this silly July 4 column I wrote three years ago. Better yet, you can join the thrill-a-minute fun of adding to perhaps the most asinine comments thread ever on this blog (though I'll be away from computers and unable to type in responses such as "Hitler Hitler bin Hitler!"). A meme is a terrible thing to waste.... And for my conservative friends, let me give you double reason to celebrate this 227th anniversary: Just think, if you were some kind of filthy Canadian or Aussie, you’d have to be a monarchist! Wouldn’t that feel stupid? See you on Monday.
07/04/2003 12:06 AM
More on the ‘White Jays’ Idiocy: Colby Cosh defenestrates the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin:
It's Richard Griffin's fiery defence of the story that really leaves the Star adrift in the credibility gap. Griffin's editorial starts by praising the "research" and "documentation" in a story whose chief positive assertion was a count of white faces in a team photo. (Estimated research time required: eight seconds.) Then he celebrates the Canada Day long weekend by slandering his country: And while we’re at it, let’s not forget to tip our caps toward race-barrier-free Cuba, where the Dodgers were able to play spring training in 1947 without a bunch of evil rednecks screaming “nigger!” (Never forget that dark-skinned players, long after the color barrier was broken, were forced into separate sleeping quarters in Florida.) Cuba, in fact, was the only place where the best of America’s ballplayers, black and white, could face off against one another before Branch Rickey, Mr. Robinson, and our Canadian pals stepped up to the plate.
There are always going to be issues of race in professional baseball which need to be monitored to ensure the continuing forward movement of the game. It's been that way since World War II when Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier and North American society started on the volatile road toward equal rights and equal opportunity. Jackie Robinson came up to the majors in 1947, you'll recall, while the fires of war were still raging furiously in Europe. But what is this "North American society" of which Griffin speaks? I seem to remember, and stop me if I'm straying into hyper-obscure baseball-history territory here, that Branch Rickey placed Jackie Robinson with the Montreal Royals in 1946 precisely because Canada was a totally different society, one which could accept an integrated baseball team. Which it did, happily: fans caroused in the streets en masse, cheering Robinson to the skies, after he won Montreal the minor-league championship. The "colour line" was an American artifact in an American game. Canada had a role in helping to break it, and is surely entitled to the benefit of the moral distinction Griffin submerges here.
07/01/2003 10:04 PM
The Tofu-Eating Bear: In apolitical news, many of our pals were up in the San Gabriel Mountains this weekend, wishing spatula expert Steve Coulter a happy camping birthday. On the first night, legend has it, Os and Charlie were up late, enjoying cocktails by the fire, when along came an adorable bear cub. “Awwww, look at the bear cub,” they probably said. Then, later, they looked over at the picnic table, and there was an adult California Brown Bear, standing “about four feet tall on all fours,” Os said. “What should we do?” Charlie asked. “We’re doing it,” Os replied. (This is how Os talks.)
The bear made its way over to Os’ car, and promptly smashed in the window. It climbed in, removed the lid from the cooler, and started taking food. But it only ate one item on the spot -- the tofu sausages. Various other meat products were apparently carted back to the Den. So yes, even California bears prefer tofu.
07/01/2003 08:44 PM
Ten Quotes That Aren’t Looking So Good: Speaking of Prognosis, co-founder Chris Scheer is rocking Technorati with this AlterNet Column that lists 10 over-confident Bush Administration quotes about the supposed presence of nasty weapons in Iraq.
You don’t see me writing much about this, because you never know what they’ll find there, I know jack-all about Iraq, and intelligence-gathering is a deeply imperfect science. But if Administration officials knowingly fudged and exaggerated, and/or if they pressured intelligence agencies to produce untrustworthy, politicized information, then I think they deserve to be shellacked, even if you believe that the toppling of Saddam Hussein was the most justified war since WWII. Our security depends on accurate, de-politicized intelligence, and our leaders should not lie to us, especially while justifying war. “What about the mass graves?” is a separate question, unless you really don’t care if your government lies to you, and are unconcerned about which means are used to achieve desired ends.
07/01/2003 08:27 PM
Of David Cerny, Smichov Gay Bars, English-language Failure in Prague, and Prognosis: A post to touch my heart, by Scott MacMillan. Because I am vain and cheap, let’s excerpt his nice words for my former newspaper:
ex-Prognosite Vladan Sir came back from his parents’ place in Ceska Lipa a while back with a big old stack of Prognosises, and I was frankly shocked at the quality of the material those kids put out back in the day. Flattery will get you everywhere, Mac! Actually, the post is more about the amazing art of Czech sculptor David Cerny, and the possible demise of the Prague Pill, the editors of which were nice enough to send me out a few issues, and a copy of a bad column I wrote long ago for another failed English-language publication called Velvet. (Via Dougie Gyro)
07/01/2003 08:00 PM
That’s Why He’s the Editor: Reason EIC Nick Gillespie and I took part in Kevin Holtsberry’s Virtual Symposium on Blogs and the Media, along with Dave Kopel, Jonan Goldberg and Nick Schulz. Gillespie says lots of intelligent things, like
blogs have been overwhelmingly positive in every conceivable way: most importantly, they have allowed for the flourishing of new voices and perspectives; they have massively expanded news and information sources. Five years ago, who had heard of Glenn Reynolds or Atrios? Blogs act as supplemental sources--they add but do not detract from existing sources, so it's the more the merrier. even if it means that conventional journalists need to be more careful and more responsive in their work. Me? I sound like a 14-year-old who just got his first Playboy, with answers like “Oh fuck yeah,” and “unless Osama bin Hitler drops a Death Bomb on the Internet-tube.”
07/01/2003 07:26 PM
Why I Think Bush Will Lose the 2004 Election: Because A) he didn’t win the popular vote in 2000, meaning that his mandate has been shaky from the get-go, and B) the Senate Majority Leader of his own party -- not the organizer of some war protests, not the author of some Guardian column, but the Senate Majority Leader of his own political party -- thinks the Constitution needs to be rewritten to specifically discriminate against the homos. I hope Dubya is asked about this and every other Bigot Eruption at every press conference between now and November 2004.
06/30/2003 11:03 PM
More on ‘The White Jays’: Over at Hit & Run, I pointed out this utterly ridiculous Toronto Star article complaining that the Blue Jays are too white. It was called, um, “The White Jays.” (You really have to go read the thing; it’s a stunner.) I also mentioned the refreshing response by players such as Carlos Delgado (sample: "It was probably the stupidest thing I've ever seen").
What I didn’t mention was that I was tipped off to this stupid non-controversy by the engaging blogger Eric McErlain. (Between two workplaces, two computers, three blogs and everything else, my ability to process e-mail is reaching an all-time low.) In Eric’s own post on the White Jays, we learn that Star columnist Richard Griffin offered up a pathetic don’t-shoot-the-messenger column, pleading that his paper “never suggest[ed] it was racism when it comes to the team's signing of black and Latin American players.” He then offers up this remarkable nugget:
Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi along with Oakland's Billy Beane and other new-wavers believe in building offence through patience at the plate and taking no chances on the bases. That's a pre-WWII style of play. Under those criteria, Jackie Robinson could not have played in the majors. To which McErlain replies:
Again, the implication is clear. Though Girffin doesn't have the guts to say it, he might as well say Beane and Ricciardi are no different than the bigots that kept baseball segregated until 1947. Disgusting. He then goes on to pick apart Griffin’s specious thesis, by showing that Jackie Robinson -- who, by the way, was probably an underrated player, if you can believe it -- actually excelled at the main thing baseball’s “new-wavers” value. I’ll just quote this bit; if you’re interested, you should read the whole thing:
Take a look at Jackie Robinson's career stats. Right off, it's easy to see that his career batting average is better than .300 (.311), and his on base percentage better than .400 (.409). Further, Robinson rarely took a cut at a bad pitch, as he never struck out more than 40 times in any one season.
Over at Baseball Musings, it is suggested that:
Further, Robinson was always willing to take a walk, topping out at 106 in 1952, so it should be clear that he never sacrificed the concerns of the team for the sake of his own batting average. And on the base paths, for the years in which the stat was kept, Robinson was successful stealing 76 percent of the time (1951-1956) -- well above the average students of the game have determined is necessary to help produce more runs.
Part of this is a backlash against something new and successful. Baseball writers, agents, managers and GMs have fed us a lot of hokum for years. And now, with Beane and company starting to prove them wrong, they are in a tither that the general public is going to start seeing them as naked emperors. Sounds plausible to me.
06/30/2003 10:48 PM
E-mail of the Day:
Dear Mr. Welch: McConnell’s actually not from “Deepest darkest” Texas; he’s from Brownwood, where he appears to be the director of the Brownwood Public Library. Hence the reading comprehension.
I agree with you--there are entirely too many Americans running around in America acting like Americans. Doesn't it just make you sick? I say we open up the borders completely and make Americans who love their country an endangered species.
You fucking idiot.
Deepest darkest Texas
06/30/2003 09:35 PM
Senores y Senoras: Guess what I’m listening to right now? An advance copy of the new CD by Jane’s Addiction. Preemie review (meaning, I ain’t even gestated it one time through yet): I love it, even though it might not be very good. Starts off with crazy Perry yelping “Here we go!”, and it doesn’t take much more than that to leave me grinning like an mp3-tard. Full 25-word analysis to come later.
06/29/2003 08:54 PM
Truth or VDare? Hilarious response to my immigration column.
The Treason Lobby Has Reason To Fear
(I left out the hyperlinks, and two other paragraphs.) Brimelow (e-mail him) is author of such charming sentiments as
By Peter Brimelow
The Treason Lobby is worried: “Meanwhile, far off the front page, the simmering public debate and governmental policy shifts regarding northbound [i.e. illegal] immigration continued to reach levels of intensity and velocity not seen since the glory days of Peter Wilson,” warned Matt Welch [email him] on Reason.com last week.
Welch is particularly worried about “VDare, American Patrol and scores of similar sites”
We’ve noticed Welch before. His particular problem seems to be that he doesn’t like the possibility that Department of Homeland Security might actually enforce U.S. immigration law. (Horrors!)
He complains that “immigration reformers…have been repeating the mantra ‘but they broke the law!’ for years. (Presumably, these people have never jaywalked or written the wrong date on a check…)”
VDARE.COM comment: well, there’s a difference between jaywalking and illegal immigration. Jaywalking is trivial, which is why in most jurisdictions it’s a misdemeanor. Illegal immigration is serious, which is why it’s a felony under federal law.
But the Welch Squelch is indicative of a graver problem. […]
Welch is cavalier about the law, not merely because he is cavalier about America, but because ultimately he is cavalier about liberty.
Suppose I had proposed more immigrants who look like me. So what? As of late 1950s, somewhere up to nine out of ten Americans looked like me. That is, they were of European stock. And in those days, they had another name for this thing dismissed so contemptuously as ‘the racial hegemony of white Americans.’ They called it ‘America.’ and
Because of affirmative action quotas, it absolutely matters to me as the father of a white male how large the ‘protected classes’ are going to be. And that is basically determined by immigration. … To get a sense of perspective, we have to go back to the beginning. And in the beginning, the American nation was white. and
[The U.S. threatens to become] a freak among the world’s nations because of the unprecedented demographic mutation it is inflicting on itself. Note how the same people who whine and whine and whine about being called “racist” are the first to play the Treason Card. And for the record, I’m hardly “worried” about sites like VDare -- on the contrary, I find them to be very useful sources of information … and comedy.
06/29/2003 12:08 PM
Hi! What are you doing down here?