21 March 2012

The political consequences of suburban public space

Via Digby, in a long and fascinating article that details the unfolding dystopian nightmare of Florida under Republican dominance, a little observation jumped out at me:

I don’t want to downplay the noble efforts of the Floridian Occupiers (yes, they exist) but the state’s overwhelmingly suburban geography, its lack of density and dearth of prominent public space, prevents the sort of spectacular urban reclamation that made Occupy so compelling.

This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time, but it occurs to me only now that migration back to urban cores of educated White cultural liberals over the last couple of decades is part of the formula that gives rise to the Occupy movement as a revival of street protest.

13 March 2012

Things I say unreasonably often

Criticism:
  • disconcerting
  • mortifying
  • tempting
  • vexing
  • that ain't right
  • shenanigans
  • X is corrosive of Y
  • that isn't even wrong
  • X is maddeningly half-true
  • X is pernicious nonsense
  • that's just wacky
  • boneheaded
  • doomed
  • evil and doomed
  • crazypants
  • I'm against it
  • worse than useless
  • that way lies madness
  • I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such an X
    (classically, X is “question”)
Praise:
  • X is a Great American
  • X is mighty
  • altogether fitting and proper
  • right and righteous
  • admirable and recondite
  • relevant to my interests
  • I don't know what that is
    but I think I'm in favor of it
  • that's crazy talk
    (used ironically)
  • is it madness ... or is it genius?
  • probably not factual but definitely true
  • neither evil nor doomed
  • necessary for the progress of Western civilization
Analysis:
  • I respect that
  • I submit X
  • I suspect X
  • implicit
  • animating principle
  • X militates in favor of / against Y
  • X is not the same as Y, but they rhyme
  • that's X for all the reasons that it's X
    (most often X equals either good or bad)
  • X with X sauce
  • has the X nature
  • implausible
  • at least plausible
  • plausible ... but unlikely
  • there's no profound reason for that
  • epistemologically challenging
  • why is this good?
  • X is neither sufficient nor even necessary for Y
  • anti-X
    (anti-helpful, anti-feature, et cetera)
  • reasonable people may differ about X,
    but not about Y
  • a theory of vast explanatory power
    (used both straight and ironically)
Other stuff:
  • I don't want to know; in fact, I want to not know
  • I'm just sayin’
  • ... but I digress ...
  • discourse
  • nourish
  • cultivate
  • using X-based technology
  • thanks for the word
  • mad science
  • X qua X

12 March 2012

Harper's Index

I just discovered that there's an index of Harper's Index that goes all the way back to 1984.

My favorite thing is when it juxtaposes two figures and you find yourself saying, “I'm sure that's significant, but I don't know what it signifies ....”

06 March 2012

Due process

Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar tries to joke about the Executive Branch claiming the right to assassinate US citizens.

In case you missed it, the Attorney General of the United States spent a little time yesterday discussing the circumstances under which the President could order your death without having a trial or even having charged you with any crime.

I just wrote that sentence myself, and I still keep re-reading it, thinking “that can't be true.”

He manages to get some witticisms in, actually. But. Not funny.

In addition to cracking wise, he has some smart analysis on the Forbes site.

Time to break out my “the horror” tag again. Brr.