Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

TGIF: “The Jeannie Tate Show”


The Jeannie Tate Show, with guest Bill Hader

Soccer mom Jeannie Tate (Liz Cackowski) hosts a talk show from her mini van in this WB web series.  Her troubled step-daughter and co-host, Tina Tate, is played by Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza.

After the jump, the Hillary Clinton Election Special edition of the show, an extra credit project for Tina Tate’s civics class.

Jeannie Tate’s website here.

Aubrey Plaza’s video website here.  (Aubrey is scary funny.  Be sure to check out her parodies of MTV reality series in “Daddy’s Little Judge” and “Kaplowee.”)

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Quote of the Day: Frye on Mulroney


Mulroney’s dramatic call for a Royal Commission to clear his good name starts to go awry . . .

In his notes for “Levels of Cultural Identity,” Frye says early on:

De Tocqueville says almost nothing about Canada, even though most of the people there in his day spoke his native language, but he does have one wonderful sentence I want to quote: it describes the Mulroney regime perfectly. (CW 25, 231)

That sentence is:

In Canada the most enlightened, patriotic and humane inhabitants make extraordinary efforts to render the people dissatisfied with those simple enjoyments which still content them . . . more exertions are made to excite the passions of the citizens there than to calm them elsewhere. (Democracy in America, ed. Phillips Bradley [New York: Knopf, 1960], 1:296–7 [chap. 8].)

Video of the Day


Graft pays an unexpected, WTF?, dividend

Rep. Joe Barton (Republican, Texas) apologizes to BP CEO Tony Hayward yesterday for the “20 billion dollar shakedown” that BP, poor lambs, suffered at the hands of the White House.

“I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.  In this case, a 20 billion dollar shakedown.”

That’s the “tragedy of the first proportion” in this whole affair?  That “a private corporation” be required to pay — with money — for the ruin and suffering and loss of life and livelihood that transpire as a direct result of its own criminal negligence?

Barton is not only in the pay of big oil, as would be expected, it turns out (surprise!) he’s their top earner across two decades.  From Reuters:

Barton is the biggest recipient of oil and gas industry campaign contributions in the House of Representatives, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Its data showed that Barton has collected $1,447,880 from political action committees and individuals connected with the oil and gas industry since 1989.

Stanley Knowles


On this date the great Canadian parliamentarian Stanley Knowles was born (1908 – 1997).  He represented the riding of Winnipeg North Centre for the CCF from 1942 to 1958, and again for the NDP from 1962 to 1984.  Upon his retirement he was given the unprecedented distinction of being made an honorary table officer of the House of Commons by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Given back-to-back CCF/NDP anniversaries, this is a good time to cite Frye on his view of socialism as the C.C.F. emerged as a national political movement.

The current issue of Maclean’s [Sept. 1, 1934] has a very interesting catechism in it on Canadian problems and so forth that is supposed, after being related to a score, to show whether you are of a Conservative, Liberal, or C.C.F temperament.  It’s pretty ingenious, and interested me chiefly because it placed me, with perfect accuracy.  On the fence with the Liberal and C.C.F. battalions, exactly where a follower of Spengler and Mantalini ought to be.  I think, with the C.C.F., that capitalism is crashing around our ears, and that any attempt to build it up again will bring it down with a bigger crash.  I think with the Liberals that Socialism, as it is bound to develop historically, is an impracticable remedy, not because it is impracticable — it is inevitable — but because it is not a remedy.  I think with the C.C.F. that a co-operative state is necessary to preserve us from chaos.  I think with the Liberals that it is impossible to administer that state at present.  I think with the C.C.F. that man is unable, in a laissez faire system, to avoid running after false gods and destroying himself.  I think with the Liberals that it is only by individual freedom and individual democratic development that any progress can be made.  In short, any “way out” must of necessity be miraculous.  We can save ourselves only through an established co-operative church, and if the church ever wakes up to that fact, that will constitute enough of a miracle to get us the rest of the way. (Frye-Kemp Correspondence, CW 1, 155-6)

And here’s Frye fifty years later in Creation and Recreation on Wilde’s “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”:

Wilde attempted to deal with this aspect of creation too, in his essay “The Soul of Man Under Socialism.”  He remarks there that “a map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”  By “socialism,” however, Wilde means apparently only distributing wealth and opportunity more evenly, so that all people can become pure individualists, and hence, to some degree, artists.  He says that in his ideal world the state is to produce the useful, and the individual or artist the beautiful.  But beauty, like nature and reality, is merely another of those reassuring words indicating a good deal of ready-made social acceptance.  Wilde is preoccupied in this essay by his contempt for censorship, and is optimistic that what he calls socialism would bring about the end of the tyranny of an ignorant and mischievous public opinion.  This has not been our experience with socialism or any other system since Wilde’s time, and his prophetic vision in this essay seems to have gone out of focus.  But, as usual, his sense of context is very accurate: he identifies the two aspects of our subject, the creation of a future society and the continuing of the creativity of the past in spite of the past.  As he says: “the past is what man should not have been; the present is what man ought not to be; the future is what artists are.” (CW 4, 44-5)