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Slobs At 30,000 Feet. (Update)

Friday, September 28, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

This is the guy across the aisle from me on my flight back from NYC.

a) If you're a grown man, don't wear shorts until the thermometer hits 90 degrees. Minimum. This guy was older than me.

b) If your legs look like this, forget 90 degrees. If the metals around you are still in solid as opposed to liquid form, if you're not standing on the surface of the sun, if you are not the flamboyant member of the Fantastic Four known as The Human Torch, keep your pants on.

c) Ewwww.

UPDATE: Hmm, many comments. Many anonymous. Some using the word "fucktard" which is always a sign of a profound intelligence at work. A couple of points:

1) I did not seek the subject's permission because I didn't need it. The subject cannot be identified from the photo. And I don't earn money from this blog, therefore, no permission would be required even if he were identifiable. However, again, the subject is not identified and can only suffer embarrassment if he recognizes himself (unlikely) and then chooses to identify himself. Why did I not identify the gentleman? See point #2 below.

2) The argument that when it comes to appearance we owe nothing whatsoever to our fellow human beings is the argument of a child. It was a bold, rebellious stance to take . . . in 1967. Now it's just the defensive cry of the boor or the solipsist. Civilization rests not only on law, but on certain codes of behavior. In other words, while we can argue whether this particular man violated some unwritten rule, only a child would argue that there are no unwritten rules, or that such unwritten rules are without validity. (Had I shown the man's face, or in some other way identified him, I would have broken one of those unwritten rules.)

3) The argument that goes "The airlines all treat us like cattle therefore we can behave however we like," is a logical absurdity. The fact that we are treated like cattle (and yes, I agree that we usually are, though not on this particular airline,) does not somehow entitle us to live down to that standard. To argue otherwise is to argue that being treated like a murderer entitles you to kill someone. And I miss the point of punishing me and other passengers because of your irritation with the airline.

4) The East/West argument has some validity. The problem being that in this case I am a native of Los Angeles. I currently live in a very informal college town.

5) The accusation that I am a snob has some validity. Maybe quite a bit of validity. I believe people should dress decently. I think we should attempt politeness toward people we encounter. I think we should try to keep ourselves clean, avoid smelling bad, brush our teeth and cover our open sores. In almost any country on earth, or in almost any previous era in this country, my position would be considered self-evident. Now it seems it qualifies as snobbery.

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Debate Impressions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

Unlike you normal people, I watched the Democratic debate on MSNBC tonight. Don't pretend you watched it. I happen to know you watched Bionic Woman and spent half the time thinking, "So, does she have a bionic . . ."

I could answer that question. But instead I'll bore you with my observations, in no particular order:

1) Biden: The most qualified, thoughtful guy there. But he comes across as whiny, hectoring. He feels like yesterday's hero. All he's got going for him is the fact that he tends to be right about big issues.

2) Dodd: Genial, nice guy, but seems to think his "26 years" of experience are all the rationale he needs.

3) Kucinich: In a weird way Kucinich is Edward's nemesis. Edwards has nowhere to go but left, and every time he does the crazy little gnome is already two steps further left.

4) Richardson: He's right that he has delivered. Except in the campaign, where he is the most inept candidate short of . . .

5) Gravel: Seeking the Alzheimer's vote?

6) Edwards: he got off one good line against Hillary, but he's blocked to his left by Kucinich, and Hillary and Obama hold the center. I suppose he'd be the netroot's guy, which pushes him too far left for me. He seems too small to take the stage from Hillary or Obama.

7) Obama: If we didn't all know he was a superstar we might mistake him for a not terribly interesting pol with too little experience for the job he's seeking. He actually seems bored by the debate. Maybe bored by campaigning. The one time he tries to stick a knife in Hillary he looks down, either too diffident or ashamed to savor the moment.

8) Hillary: Okay, enough with the crazy person laugh. Message: I am not a robot. That aside, she's deft, she's agile, she's not Bill, but she's the class of this field. If there's a candidate who "feels" like a president, it's her.

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I Don't Care If It's a Strad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

We started to watch Ken Burns' new doc, The War tonight. We lasted about 20 minutes and had to turn it off. Why? The musical score.

I don't know the particular piece, but my first guess was Vivaldi. Someone's frenetic violins, in any event, and it was distracting, irritating, irrelevant and inappropriate. I don't think I've ever been as annoyed by a disconnect between picture and score.

I can guess the problem: WW2 is the war that spawned a thousand documentaries. The obvious music's all been done to death. We've heard Deutschland Uber Alles. We've heard the Dirty Dozen martial drumbeat thing. We've heard the period torch songs. We've heard Victory at Sea and the lesser John Williamses. Wagner? Done that. Beethoven? Couldn't do D-Day without him.

Burns must have been down to 50 Cent and Vivaldi. I sympathize. And I'm sure I'll take another run at the film. But I may have to mute during the archival footage.

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