Daily Archives: March 21, 2010

David Frum: “Health Care Waterloo” [Updated]


Update: Frum yesterday declared in an interview with ABC, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering that we work for Fox.” 

Ex-pat Canadian conservative pundit David Frum, (son of the late great CBC journalist Barbara Frum) has declared the GOP defeat on health care reform their Waterloo:

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

Frum’s punchline: So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry.” [My italics]

That says it all.  “The conservative entertainment industry” includes all of Fox News: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year, and prominently features the clownish figures who are its most public face: Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity.  How can you tell when Fox News pundits are lying?  Their lips move.

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A Little Rebranding


A small but telling change: We are no longer “A Weblog Dedicated to Northrop Frye” but “A Website Dedicated to Northrop Frye”.   The reason is simple.  With the journal now taking on content and the Denham Library in the capable and dedicated care of Clayton Chrusch and Jonathan Cox, we are more than just a “Weblog”.  We now possess a serious and growing permanent scholarly collection, and we will continue to add to it.

As to the blog portion of the site, we will continue to try to post daily on issues that are “Frye-related” in the broadest sense: that is, progressive and with an eye to the social context of the imagination.  We assume the engagement of Frye scholars in the big world beyond literary scholarship.  And no blog is an island.

ChatRoulette [Reposted]


ChatRoulette is the latest big thing on the Intertubes — it is to this online fashion season what Twitter was to the last one.  The ingenious little video above has only been up on YouTube for a week but already has almost 4 million views because it very sweetly captures the playful possibilities of encountering random strangers via your web cam.

You can try ChatRoulette for yourself here.

Developments on the Web are moving so quickly these days that we’ll try to update you regularly on sites of interest.  And please let us know if you’ve come across something you’d like to share.

Reposted: It is in the nature of the Internet that some things are transient: the original video has been taken down for “violation of use”.  Whatever.  But it has been reposted on another account — and we’ve linked to it.

Also, the wonderful Ben Folds did a tribute to the video the other night at a concert in North Carolina.  You can watch it after the jump.

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