January 08, 2005

I Tried, Honest, I Really Did

I have been a bad blogger, a lazy blogger, a bad lazy bad bad blogger. This is likely to continue; I always hate January and do my best to hibernate during it.

Still, I tried several times this week not to be such a bad lazy bad bad blogger; I tried to do better, because isn't that what January is supposed to be all about, doing better?

And it just didn't come off. Therefore I present: Things I Thought of Blogging About This Week, but Then Was All Like, "Enh:"

  • Biscuits, and the art of making good ones, and the impossibility of making good ones in my boyfriend's ultra-primitive kitchen, but then again didn't the pioneers manage it with fewer utensils than my boyfriend has? So what's wrong with me? I know in my heart that dry, crumbly biscuits never happen to Bree Van De Kamp. You could lock her in a room with one rusted fork and a thimble of milk, and come back an hour later to a five-course meal, freshly-pressed laundry, and new window treatments. Bree is like the pretend Martha Stewart, meaning she never has to go to jail unless the writers put her there and, best of all, I don't have to hate her domestic goddessness because she's not real. I am free to envy and revel and aspire.

  • The English are correct that Americans use the word "biscuit" to describe things that, well, aren't, if you're the sort to worry that "biscuit" means "twice-cooked" while American biscuits (again) aren't. Here's the sort I am: I'm the sort who wants a magic ray gun that I can use to instantly transport all the Limeys who care about this distinction back in time with me, to a little lonely campfire somewhere in the American West, so they can proceed to tell the cowboy baking biscuits over it that he's using the word "biscuit" incorrectly to describe what he's cooking. Go on, now, you weedy little porridge-gobbler: Tell the nice man WITH THE GUNS HANGING OFF HIM that he's wrong about the word "biscuit." Tell him. Please.

  • And then I worked up a good head of steam about this really nasty proposed bill in Virginia but quickly got overwhelmed with the part where it's just just, just . . . just a truly revolting idea, frankly, and so maybe someone else can find a way to get the message through to Representative Cosgrove that a miscarriage is not a crime better than I can.

  • Conservatives will be truly conservative again, at least in the sense of preserving some sort of aesthetic order, when they start demanding Kid Rock be removed from the inauguration festivities not because he uses dirty words, but because he sucks. Oh, I'm not saying he isn't a fine and decent human being; I'm just doubting his entertainment value. And please, someone remind Michelle Malkin that the last time pop music entertainers used clean language and were deemed family-friendly, it resulted in some jackass giving them a variety show, and the world suffered a lot more from that than it could ever suffer from Kid Rock.

    Finally, while I'm nagging: Don't count on people getting a super-convenient case of amnesia whenever your side spends a few years making a case for lefties as (and I think this is a phrase I'm borrowing from Tim Blair, but I'm not sure) "joy-killing funsuckers," and then later behaves like . . . a bunch of joy-killing funsuckers. Which is not to imply that Kid Rock ever gave anyone a moment's joy, or fun, or even seasons in the sun for that matter, but you know? No one outside D.C. cares about the inauguration anyway, for the love of humanity.

  • Wait, wait, I may not care about this exactly, but look, I really could have got an entire post out of this topic, because I thought of one last thing. Politics, in practice, is the art of mixing principles and pragmatism or, as that delightful Zen koan "The Gambler" teaches us, the art of knowing when to hold 'em, knowing when to fold 'em, knowing when to walk away, etc. So listen: When your average citizen can give you a better response than--

    "Uh, Bo Derek . . . and that guy, who's that guy?--Ferris Bueller, and that guy, he was like the teacher in that movie? You know the one? Ben Stinefeld? . . . and, uh . . . well Schwarzenegger still counts, right? So that's three . . . ."
    --to the question, "Name as many Republican entertainers as you can and, please! Take your time, take all day if you need it!"--look, when Americans can get beyond three in that task, THAT'S when you bludgeon them over the head with the principles. Until then: Pragmatism.

    (Thanks to Andrea Harris for the biscuits (and tea and maybe a little cake) link. Thanks to getupgrrl and Democracy for Virginia for the Cosgrove link.)

    I SUPPOSE AN UPDATE IS WARRANTED, 01/09/2005: Blogging is not like riding a bicycle; you can forget how to do it, and the first thing I usually forget is to credit, credit, credit--so belated credit to Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom for pointing me to the WorldNetDaily article about disinviting Kid Rock in the first place. Holy crumb, has that comment thread mushroomed. Like all lengthy comment threads, it eventually degenerates, but the bulk of it is still good reading. I thought a few comments were worth cherry-picking from it, so I hope Jeff doesn't mind if I excerpt one or two or three or four little things.

    First, I think Allah summarizes the social conservative argument neatly, and in his usual levelheaded fashion:

    . . . libertinism isn’t something most Republicans want to promote, particularly in conjunction with a presidential inauguration. Besides, any kids who are turned on to the GOP by seeing Kid Rock perform are in for a rude awakening the next time Santorum and co. introduce a piece of socially conservative legislation. “Wait, dude, what? I thought Republicans liked pimps.”
    And, on whether disinviting Kid Rock signals a demand from the White House that all Republicans "walk in lock-step:"
    No one’s saying he shouldn’t be allowed to perform because he supports gay marriage. We’re saying he shouldn’t be allowed to perform because he goes around calling himself a fucking pimp.
    Allah, bottle whatever it is you've got that allows you to argue in favor of things I'm against without being an arrogant, sanctimonious prick about it. It'll sell.

    Bill of INDC Journal issues a plea for perspective I'm partial to:

    I think everyone needs to unwind their panties and keep their eye on the ball of killing terrorists and cutting taxes, instead of organizing boycotts and letter-writing campaigns over stupid shit like this, which is a bid to fracture the fragile coalition of libertarians, moderates and conservatives that allow us to do the first two, vastly more important things.
    Now if only we all could get past the very natural human tendency to demand our information in bite-sized, digestible chunks of light, fluffy, trivial goodness. Sure, that'll happen.

    Bill also wants to remind people who the swing voters are, and why we need them, filthy language and all:

    The majority that voted Republican was a coalition of others beyond conservatives. And the conservatives that insist on making shit like this a big deal will overreach and swing the balance of power back to leftists one day, you watch.
    You can't eat the cake and have it too; that is, you can't spend weeks debunking "the mainstream media" and "liberals" for their bad-math observation that many voters chose "moral issues" as their deciding factor during the election . . . and then insist that "moral issues" are the deciding factor in determining whether someone's really Repbulican or not. One or the other, folks.

    Jeff himself also makes good swing-voter points:

    What the Republicans need to shed (in my opinion) is this reputation they have for being humorless moral scolds.
    My brother and I had a good conversation along those lines over New Year's. When I think "humorless moral scolds" nowadays, it tends to be directed at people who call movies like Team America "funny in parts, I guess, but ultimately so hateful." (That, unfortunately, is a paraphrase from a blog I'll likely never be able to find again, so I can't be more precise or even link it.)

    But both my brother and I are old enough to remember when the tsk-tsking came almost wholly from Republicans, while Democrats were the party of FUN! We like the fun in my family. Jeff likes the fun too, not to mention the boobies, and he reminds a social conservative which of them has more to lose if the Republican "big tent" starts a-shrinkin':

    You have more to lose than I do. Because at least under Dems I can see boobies and hear naughty words. And worship Satan.
    Unfortunately for Satan (or . . . is it?), Jeff has since decided that Pat Boone is his master.

    Read the whole thing, or most of it. What else are you going to do?

    Andrea, meanwhile, wants Republicans to be the party of adults and hire some entertainment that doesn't suck--or at least some entertainment that doesn't use the word "suck" as often as I do. As she puts it:

    This is a Republican administration, and that should mean uptight and dignified, not "just like the Democrats only pro-gun."
    As one who's guilty of wishing the Republicans sometimes were "just like the Democrats only pro-gun," (and "pro-give-me-back-my-tax-money, you bastards"), I can see her point.

    Finally, the best religious conservative argument in favor of letting Kid Rock perform comes from Baldilocks:

    It’s interesting that some conservative Christians would rather bar this man, as if he were a leper, rather than teach him, lead him and embrace him. It’s almost as though he’s been asking to be embraced by his countrymen—especially including those of us who are justified by faith--by celebrating things American rather than spitting on them as well as all things Christian.

    The guy has long been reaching out. Somebody ought to grab his hand, rather than slap it away. Besides, I doubt that he’ll sing “F*ck You Blind” at the ceremony.

    People, that is true compassionate conservatism--not to mention just plain good sense.

    Final update, not Kid-Rock-related, and aren't you the lucky reader for that! Regarding the bill proposed in Virginia by state representative John Cosgrove, requiring a woman to report all incidents of "fetal death" to law enforcement within 12 hours of same, it seems Mr. Cosgrove has responded appropriately to the outpouring of concern by women of all political backgrounds; see getupgrrl for the short version, or Democracy for Virginia for the full. Good for you, Mr. Cosgrove. Sometimes the wording of a bill is everything.

    Posted by Ilyka at January 8, 2005 01:53 PM in i don't know you tell me
  • Comments

    Maybe all we can count on is, the party in power will become the joy-killing funsuckers, eventually.

    Posted by: jdc at January 8, 2005 06:10 PM

    Most catfights get boring rather quickly. The Kid Rock thing has sustained its amusement value over a pretty long period. If it can hold on until January 20, maybe a lifetime achievement award will be in order.

    Posted by: Rob at January 9, 2005 05:24 PM
    Allah, bottle whatever it is you've got that allows you to argue in favor of things I'm against without being an arrogant, sanctimonious prick about it. It'll sell.

    Not sure if you're being sarcastic here or not. In any case, I wasn't trying to argue on behalf of social conservatives. My problem with "the pimp of the nation" playing an inauguration concert has less to do with America's moral fabric than with respect for the office of the presidency. By the same token, while I have no problem with KR performing for the troops (even his raunchier material), I sure as fuck wouldn't want the guy singing at the Memorial Day wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Time and place, time and place.

    What still puzzles me is how the self-styled "big tenters" on Jeff's thread didn't make much of a fuss when I suggested it would also be inappropriate to have 50 Cent play an inauguration event. Why the distinction? Surely 'Fitty' could clean up his lyrics for one night; he had a radio hit last year with that one song ("I love you like a fat kid love cake"), didn't he? Seems to me it's his persona, not his lyrics, they're objecting to -- which is exactly what I'm objecting to about Kid Rock. And yet they still ended up throwing all sorts of sanctimony at me. To put it another way, it seems that what distinguishes me as a closed-minded snob who needs to "put his big boy pants on" and everyone else over there as hip, happening, down-home South Park Republicans is that I draw the line at Kid Rock and they draw it at 50 Cent. Real bunch of fucking rebels, they are.

    Posted by: Allah at January 10, 2005 10:15 PM

    Not sure if you're being sarcastic here or not.

    Totally not, though on rereading what I wrote, originally intended as a compliment, I find it comes off a little . . . arrogant and sanctimonious. Doh!

    I thought you made your case better than most on that thread. And while I didn't link it directly, I think you also made a good point that though Usher probably has a few "dirty" songs in his repertoire, he wouldn't raise the ire Kid Rock did because, as with 50 Cent, it's the persona, not the lyrics. Usher doesn't go around calling himself a pimp. You see him on television and he's got a suit on (though he forgets the shirt a lot), he's clean, quiet, polite. He's not wrapping himself in an American flag while grabbing his crotch.

    Me, though, I'm not keen on rescinding invitations. It sends a message, and if you're me the part of that message you're getting is, "You can stump for the party, you can perform for the troops, you can lend your support, you can certainly do for us, but just try getting in here if you've cultivated a 'pimp' image in your life. Just try it."

    If I'm anywhere on the whole thing, it's probably somewhere between Baldilocks and Andrea--wherever that is.

    Posted by: ilyka at January 11, 2005 12:26 AM

    You know, anyone can be a sanctimonious, moral scold. It doesn't really matter if you are arguing in favor of pimps and titties or against them if you are treating your opponent as if his opinions are evil.

    Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 11, 2005 12:58 AM

    I never answered Allah's question about Fitty on my thread because, well, I'm lazy.

    But here't is, since it's be re-introduced and there's a half hour until "NYPD Blue"; had the Inaugural committee invited 50 Cent on behalf of the Bush twins, I'd have no problem with it whatsoever. It's their choice. I might say, "wow, what a lousy choice," but I wouldn't think of it as the administration's making a statement about how women should be treated when they ain't nuzzle the jimmy, either.

    Posted by: Jeff G at January 12, 2005 03:36 AM

    Ilyka writes:

    Me, though, I'm not keen on rescinding invitations. It sends a message, and if you're me the part of that message you're getting is, "You can stump for the party, you can perform for the troops, you can lend your support, you can certainly do for us, but just try getting in here if you've cultivated a 'pimp' image in your life. Just try it.
    And from my site:
    [...] I’ve simply said that the decision to invite KR to play at the Youth Party of the inaugural wasn’t any kind of statement to begin with (it was, after all, the Bush twins who wanted him there - because he is popular with their age group and because they are fans, evidently), but that disinviting him would in fact be a statement - one that suggests that Republicans, far from having strong moral values, are the party of faux outrage and moralistic posturing.
    The stars have aligned! EMBRACE YOUR INNER BOONE!

    Posted by: Jeff G at January 12, 2005 03:43 AM


    I'd have to let go of my inner Marie Osmond first. And she gets so damn petulant when I do that.

    Posted by: ilyka at January 12, 2005 11:27 AM