Sunday, March 16, 2014

No commentary required 3/16/14

I haven't done one of these in a while, but today I ran across two commentaries that are some of the best I've read in a long time. As someone who enjoys writing, I am humbled and can't help but think: "when I grow up, I want to write just like that." So I'm hoping that you won't miss them:

First of all, there's Timothy Egan with Paul Ryan's Irish Amnesia.
...you can’t help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy...

Ryan boasts of the Gaelic half of his ancestry, on his father’s side. “I come from Irish peasants who came over during the potato famine,” he said last year during a forum on immigration.

BUT with a head still stuffed with college-boy mush from Ayn Rand, he apparently never did any reading about the times that prompted his ancestors to sail away from the suffering sod. Centuries of British rule that attempted to strip the Irish of their language, their religion and their land had produced a wretched peasant class, subsisting on potatoes. When blight wiped out the potatoes, at least a million Irish died — one in eight people.
Next up is Hunter at Daily Kos with The damnation of the happy slave. This is a long one in which he eviscerates James Bownan's critique of the movie Twelve Years a Slave (which, among other things, suggests that the movie is lacking because it doesn't portray "happy slaves"). But Hunter goes beyond that to make a wider point.
You are probably wondering, right now, why I have taken you on this long slog. Why I have spent perhaps more words critiquing the critique than the critique itself contains. Why any of us should give a damn.

Here is the reason. We need to stop being, to be blunt, stupid.

We need to stop praising people for the ability to say stupid things smartly. We need to stop elevating "opinions" that are, in fact, only better-manicured presentations of crass, much sillier suppositions from which all of the non-embarrassing people have moved on...

...finding a story about slavery grating because it did not portray happy slaves is, truly, among the dankest crevices in the cave of stupid discredited arguments. Whether you present it with pomp or merely drool it out the side of your mouth, it is the same supposition.
There is SO much more to both of these articles. So I hope you'll go read them in their entirety.

In the meantime, thanks to a comment by "anonymous" in the previous post, please enjoy this one by the PS22 Chorus. How can you not LOVE this?!!!

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