Daily Archives: June 27, 2010

Quote of the Day


Matt Taibbi on David Brooks on Michael Hastings on General Stanley McChrystal:

” . . . . Brooks drags us all to the same dreary place that every conservative columnist eventually goes to in these discussions of sourcing and secrecy and attribution. He regurgitates the tired idea that the press lost its sense of patriotism after Vietnam and Watergate and began reflexively searching for political scalps with gotcha headlines – instead of working collegially with power to sift through the “kvetching” to sit on embarrassing but irrelevant stuff while revealing to the public the few truths it needed to know. Here’s how Brooks put it:

Then, after Vietnam, an ethos of exposure swept the culture. The assumption among many journalists was that the establishment may seem upstanding, but there is a secret corruption deep down. It became the task of journalism to expose the underbelly of public life, to hunt for impurity, assuming that the dark hidden lives of public officials were more important than the official performances.

This is a load of crap. It’s bad even by Brooks standards.

Yeah, we have a press corps that goes after “impurities” these days, but you know what kind of impurities they’re after? They’re after Monica Lewinsky’s dress, they’re after gay blowjobs in train stations, they’re after governors who like high-priced escorts and televangelists who like to do meth with male escorts. And yes, they go after that stuff with an Inquisition-like intensity nowadays, but that has nothing to do with Watergate and Vietnam and everything to do with the media business turning into a nihilistic for-profit industry every bit as amoral and bloodless as oil or banking or big tobacco.”

James Wolfe


Benjamin West’s “Death of General Wolfe”

On this date in 1759 General James Wolfe began the siege of Quebec which ended with his victory — and death — in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Frye on Canada and Quebec:

Canadians, as I have implied, have a highly developed sense of irony, but even so, de Gaulle’s monumental gaffe of 1967, “vive le Quebec libre,” is one of the great ironic remarks in Canadian history, because it was hailing from the emergence of precisely the force that Quebec had really got free from.  For the Quiet Revolution was as impressive an achievement of imaginative freedom as the contemporary world can show: freedom not so much from the clerical domination or corrupt politics as from the burden of tradition.  The whole je me souviens complex in French-Canada, the anxiety of resiting change, the strong emotionalism which was, as emotion by itself always is, geared to the past: this was what Quebec had shaken off to such an astonishing degree.  It was accompanied, naturally enough, by intense anti-English and separatist feelings, which among the more confused took the form that de Gaulle was interested in, a French neo-colonialism.  This last is dead already: separatism is still a strong force, and will doubtless remain one for some time, but one gets the feeling that it is being inexorably being bypassed by history, and that even if it achieves its aims it will do so in a historical vacuum.  I begin with French Canada because it seems to me that the decisive cultural event in English Canada during the past fifteen years has been the impact of French Canada and its new sense of identity.  After so long and so obsessive preoccupation with the same subject, it took the Quiet Revolution to create a feeling of identity in English Canada, and to make cultural nationalism, if that is the best phrase, a genuine force in the country even a bigger and more significant one than economic nationalism, which is, as Mr. Mayo notes, mainly a Central Canada movement.  (“Conclusion to the Second Edition of Literary History of Canada, CW 12, 450-1)