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29 April 2003  

POLITICS

Dont'cha miss Clinton-bashing? In the inimitable Corner today, Jonah Goldberg noted:

…I remember shortly after Bush came into office, a shocking number of liberal C-Span callers believed the economy slowed down because Bush didn't have a "plan" for the economy as Clinton did. "Clinton focused on the economy! Bush doesn't care about the economy!"...

What's so amusing about this is the confluence of ignorances…the idea that if the president keeps his hands on the wheel of the economy and doesn't get distracted it will go where he wants it to go…

Those C-SPAN callers were pretty typical not just of liberals but of swing voters who stayed with Clinton in 1996 and even thereafter.

I remember hearing from many of them that they approved of the job Clinton was doing "running the economy". They seemed to have this mental image of a control room somewhere in the White House with all sorts of dials and levers and buttons and flashing lights, and a sign on the door reading "Economy". When Clinton talked (as he so frequently did) about how hard he was working for the American people, they imagined him in that room, at the controls, burning the midnight oil, keeping the economy humming.

(As a corollary, this was just part of how Clinton successfully made "working hard" into an all-purpose excuse for his sins. He was working so very, very hard for us, he kept saying…and since this is something Americans worship—sometimes rightfully so, sometimes not—and since the country would presumably drift off course and slam into an iceberg if he weren't at the controls 18 hours a day, well it just made sense that Ken Starr ought to leave the big lug alone. It didn't seem to occur to folks to ask just what it was the President was accomplishing with all his hard work. Lots of people work hard with futile or counterproductive results. Not a few have been known to work hard for evil causes.)

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 


27 April 2003  

TELEVISION

Short-attention-span theater. Your humble Goliard has been watching more television news than is healthy in recent weeks on account of the war, and so it is high time for another TV-news rant.

A few nights ago the television was tuned to Hardball on "America's Fastest Growing Cable Network". (Translation of slogan: "Nobody was watching us until five minutes ago.") Chris Matthews was speaking with Madeline Albright. Both of them were relegated to a little box on the side of the screen, while in a bigger box, endless reels of tape of the fall of the Saddam statue, cheering Iraqis in the streets, and other scenes from 9 April played. With audio.

If that wasn't enough distraction for the viewer, the now-customary tickertape continued to scroll across the bottom of the screen, with occasional "Hardball" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" banners above that, the MSNBC bug in one corner of course, and other lame information popping up here and there from time to time to boot (the "Bio Box" and suchlike).

What possible reason could there be for all this stuff? Is somebody sitting there in the director's chair saying to himself, "Hmm…Chris talking with Albright isn't gonna hold the viewers…maybe we should interrupt it with random bits of week-old video, with sound of course so it's harder for the viewer to focus on what they're saying…then we'll throw a whole bunch of other junk on the screen too, and make it constantly changing…then people will be so confused and stupefied they won't even be able to find the remote control, and they'll stick with us."

Even worse is when they do this sort of thing during, say, an important live address by the President. What would be wrong with giving W. the whole screen and letting people just watch and listen? At least we'll always have C-SPAN.

And don't even get me started on other annoyances, such as repeating the same war news for 36 hours straight (at one point, your Goliard's mother was under the impression that at least four different half-brothers of Saddam had been captured), the stupid map presentations where somebody draws a red circle around a big red soldier placed near Baghdad so that we can understand that there are troops somewhere near Baghdad, and endless rounds of idle speculation about the sad but very very very unimportant and stale Laci Peterson story, and so on and so forth. Isn't there a market out there somewhere for a news channel that doesn't liquefy peoples' brains?

And if so, how can yours truly get hired to run it?

posted by The Goliard |  Link  | 
 

I have no blog and I must scream. So your humble goliard has been saying these last few weeks, as Blogger refused to publish like it should, and no help could be found. At last it has been fixed. (For now.) As a public service, a description of the problem The Goliard Blog was having, and the solution, is provided below.

The "edit your blog" page was working just fine…I typed up a little rant, hit the "Post & Publish" button, and Blogger chugged away for a few seconds. It then reported "Transfer successful." But the page never updated. A gander at the FTP log showed that something indeed appeared to be amiss: "description The requested resource (/localOutput/[blogid]) is not available"

The answer was found on the "blogger_user_support" Yahoo! Group. The very same problem had been described in message #1079, and the following answer was provided in message #1114:

We fixed it by copying the existing template file, saved the copy to the desktop, overwrote the old one with a standard template, re-published, then re-copied the old template over the standard one, and re-posted.

Some posters in the e-mail thread reported that this solution had not worked for them, but it worked for me. Woo-hoo. Sincere thanks to whoever it was that provided the advice to that e-mail group.

posted by The Goliard |  Link  |