A few random snippets on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Oxford:
Whatever the legal issues, Cheney is not coming out of the Libby trial in a very good light. However, it no longer matters politically.
With Blair’s increasing troubles with the cash-for-honours scandal the parallels between Chretien/Martin and Blair/Brown become increasingly eerie.
Krauthammer’s latest is a low for me. This line particularly grates: “We midwifed their freedom. They chose civil war.”
Why has Rice been so quiet lately? The Times argues that with Rumsfeld gone, she is the next to get the blame. Is she also though a victim of this admin’s animosity towards the State Dept? Surely she knew better than anyone that this was the case?
Magazines increasingly drive mainstream political blogging. A venture capitalist friend tells me that ads are not the future of professional blogging. Maybe so, but one model that is clearly emerging is the magazine hosted hub. Sullivan’s move first to Time and now to the Atlantic is a prime example. The magic combination seems to be a couple of full time big name bloggers, a few staff journalists with stand alone blogs, and a group blog with approximately 10 regular contributors. The NRO, The New Republic and Macleans in Canada are all good examples of this model. As a big Atlantic fan, I look forward to seeing where they go with their new online push. With Fallows writing regular posts, and Sullivan moving tomorrow, look for an Atlantic group blog in the near future).
This, caught by Kevin Drum, is really quite remarkable:
On September 10 1956, Guy Mollet, the then French prime minister, came to London to discuss the possibility of a merger between the two countries with his British counterpart, Sir Anthony Eden, according to declassified papers from the National Archives, uncovered by the BBC.
Not surprisingly (insert bad trade analogy here), it didn’t go very far, but the tenacious Mollet was willing to dig deeper, putting French Nationalism itself on the table (insert surrender monkey joke here):
When Mr Mollet’s request for a union failed, he quickly responded with another plan – that France be allowed to join the British commonwealth – which was said to have been met more warmly by Sir Anthony.
Apparently, the offer was actually taken seriously by the Brits:
A document dated September 28 1956 records a conversation between the prime minister and his cabinet secretary, Sir Norman Brook, saying:
“The PM told him [Brook] on the telephone that he thought, in the light of his talks with the French:
· That we should give immediate consideration to France joining the
· That Monsieur Mollet had not thought there need be difficulty over France
accepting the headship of her Majesty
· That the French would welcome a common citizenship arrangement on the
So what do les Francais vivants think of this revelation?:
“I tell you the truth – when I read that I am quite astonished,” the French Nationalist MP, Jacques Myard, told the BBC today.
“I had a good opinion of Mr Mollet before. I think I am going to revise that opinion. I am just amazed at reading this, because since the days I was learning history as a student I have never heard of this. It is not in the textbooks.”
I bet not.
Check out Sullivan’s review of The History Boys. I agree that it was a wonderful movie, albeit from a somewhat more removed perspective than Andrew. I particularly liked how it kept elements of its theatrical origins. In many instances, you felt like you were watching a play. I do agree with the sentiment in his follow up post that the movie was a bit fatalistic on the prospects of gay adulthood, however it undoubtedly captures what I am sure is the inner torment of growing up as a gay teenager, particularly 20 years ago. It also did so in a way that was completely free of the dichotomizing, over sentimentalizing, and melodrama that invariably accompany treatments of the topic. Instead, various perspectives on growing up gay were only one quite natural part of an all-round great movie.
I should also note a feeling that the movie demonstrated very clear distinctions between British and North American sensibilities. Not in a pejorative way in either direction mind you. Just profoundly different. Did anyone else feel the same way?
I am writing regularly at oxblog, but will be cross posting the longer posts here.
Congrats bloggers, you beat Ahmadinejad!
Stengel said if the magazine had decided to go with an individual, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the likely choice. “It just felt to me a little off selecting him,” Stengel said.
Question, why can’t Time pick an unpleasant character as person of the year? Is it because it is released over the holidays? Is it bad for sales? If it is acually the feel good person of the year, or the positive change person of the year, then perhaps Time should change the selection mandate.
ps. Should the policy implications of the choice, whether positive or negative, be considered?
A belated call out to three friends in the blogosphere:
First, a good friend and co-author David Eaves has finally started an eponymous blog. For as smart a guy with as many ideas as him, this is a natural and a long time coming.
Second, Adrian Bradbury, of Gulu Walk fame, has started a group blog on the Responsibility to Protect called Unwilling or Unable?
Unwilling or Unable? tosses the idea of the ‘responsibility to protect’ on the table and asks: Will we ever find the political will to live up to our commitment to ‘prevent, react and rebuild’ in the face genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity?
And third, due to a stealthy pseudonym, and several years incommunicado, DC Grit has gone under the radar in my Canadian blog roll. While I won’t tell you who she really is…I will send you to her site en-mass.
…but the geologist on CBC yesterday said it was real…cool
I nominate Bryant Park, where I am quite happily positioned at the moment. Warm evening, a drink, a fast free connection and superb people watching? Hard to beat, but what are some other suggestions? There are some good ones out there…
Andrew Brown asks why people are such jerks online? Although he suggests it’s because they are trying too hard to be journalists, his wittiest answer is unquestionably that: “we can type much faster than we can think.” TGA weighs in as well, with frustration:
To find these buried nuggets you have to take an exhausting five-mile trek through a seemingly endless swamp of views – some intelligent, others stupid, some well-informed, others ignorant, some polite, others abusive. How could the trek be made easier and more rewarding?
For what its worth, he concludes that user ranking systems are good and that real names should be strongly encouraged. I think that comment ranking can be useful on the bigger sites, although it is still limited by linearity, and am willing to accept anonymity as part of the medium.
Of course, the questioning of anonymous comments and the journalistic role of bloggers are both age old battles. As wiser ones than I have said:
Arguing with anonymous people on the internet is like wrestling a pig in the mud. You both get dirty, but only the pig enjoys it.
We’ve said it a hundred times, and we’ll say it again: Until we brush our teeth, change out of our pajamas, and leave the goddamned apartment for the sake of a story, blogs aren’t going to replace journalists. We’re just going to tease them.