Saturday, September 07, 2002

What is it about bloggers and rock and roll? Or, as Tom Lehrer once said, "rock and roll and other children's music". Rajaton, a Finnish vocal ensemble, is substantially better. Unlike most rock and rollers, they can sing, and because their lyrics are in Finnish, you don't have to risk listening to a lot of trite words.
Brad DeLong remarks that his 9 year old thinks Lord of the Rings is slow going. He makes some vague comments about perhaps Tolkien wanted to describe hobbits. Perhaps he could point out that if all that matters is getting to your destination, you aren't going to have much fun getting there.
I hope the Krauthammer piece I talked about below does not get missed in the (deserved) hoopla over George Shultz saying, essentially, enough already. Shultz makes much of UN resolutions. I suppose he has to, because a UN resolution is the last refuge of the delayers and appeasers (see the frivolous Richard Holbrooke today). But all the UN talk made me think of a review of Daniel Kelly's new biography of James Burnham. Roger Kimball reviewed it in the latest New Criterion. He noted Burnham's brutal comment about the UN's ritual attacks on US policy: "Why in the world should any sensible person give a damn what some spokesman for cannibalistic tribes or slave-holding nomads thinks about nuclear tests?" Now off the top of my head, I don't know what UN members practice cannibalism (Idi Amin has refuge in Saudi Arabia), but Sudan is hardly the only country practicing slavery, just the most noticable. More to the current point, why does anyone give a damn about an organization that makes Libya chair of its human rights committee, and makes Mary Robinson high commissioner for anything more responsible than refilling the water cooler.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Dave Kopel discourses on fanatical advocates of gun control. He chalks some of it up to hoplophobia, a bizarre fear of guns. At a university, it creates a farce. He warned, over a year ago, that in Zimbabwe, it was leading to genocide.
The invaluable Charles Krauthammer reminds us that 9/11 is about remembering not just the loss, but the danger.

The temptation on any anniversary is to just look back. But on Dec. 7, 1942, the country did not just look back on the sunken Arizona. It looked forward to the destruction of Japan.

Peggy Noonan, in OpinionJournal, talks about how she plans to spend the coming September 11. I have not altogether decided how to spend the day. I will be listening to some patriotic music, and plan to play "Songs of Israel" by the Kibbutz Artzi Choir (damned if I can find it online). I have also ordered "Our Town is Burning: Cries from the Holocaust". The point is to remember why we are still at war, and to remember who is on the frontline in the war against the barbarians. Given the support from the Czechs, I will remember to play some Smetana too (it helps that I have always been keen on his music).

I will not spend it at the university. Right after 9/11, I heard a math professor explain that it was all because of the U.S-Israel alliance. In other words, a bunch of crazy fanatical Muslims, mostly from Saudi Arabia, kills a few thousand people, and he says, blame it on the Jew. I'm still trying to figure out, nearly a year later, how this left-wing professor's comment differs from the press release of the Nazi Party. There was the engineering professor who insisted that if the US caught bin Laden, it was not morally fit to try him, and should turn him over to the Hague for a trial by a jury of his peers. The moron thinks that there are jurys on the European continent. And there was the dear medicine professor who was persuaded that George Bush started the anthrax cases to keep up his poll numbers.

I will not be spending September 11 with these moral degenerates.

The magnificent Mark Steyn reminds us in the Spectator what 9/11 was about, and dumps on the creepy professors and journalists. A stirring call to arms, not to be missed.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Blogs have been picking up the story of the survey of American and European attitudes towards terrorism. Mixed stuff, with 55% of Europeans saying that America was partly to blame for 9/11, but still supporting an invasion of Iraq. Don't look at the news stories. Go straight to the poll site for all the details.
My protest against the anti-Israel fanatics.

Crazy Richard, a store in Tel-Aviv, sells t-shirts and sweatshirts from Hebrew University and Tel-Aviv University. I bought one of each and wear them at the university. It drives the fanatics nuts (I have only been called a Zionist pig once, though), and brings out the people who aren't hostile to Israel. Unfortunately, Crazy Richard does not sell the sweatshirts on their website; you have to fax them about it. I don't have any special reason for picking Crazy Richard, except they were the only place I could find that sells both sweatshirts and t-shirts for the universities.

As a passing note, I have puzzled over the Zionist pig remark. As a non-Jew, can I be a Zionist?
The Wilson Quarterly is always worth looking at, and some of its articles are online. In the latest (Winter 2002) issue, Richard Bulliet, The Crisis within Islam, argues that both modern technology and institutional weaknesses in Islam have made it vulnerable to the sorts of people who like to kill other people. It makes for fascinating reading.
In the event you missed it, Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago Divinity School published her superb Why Public Intellectuals? in an earlier edition of the Wilson Quarterly. If you want some sense of why professors should ever be let out in public, read it.
Welcome to AtlanticBlog. I'm an American academic working in Ireland, caught in many ways between two worlds. Hence the name, AtlanticBlog. In my experience, European academics are even more lemming-like in their conformity to academic fashions than their American counterparts. All right-thinking people know that [enter your mindless cliche here: George Bush is stupid; the American electoral college is crazy; Iraq is undefeatable and anyway an invasion means that every Iraqi will die; Americans are wildly untaxed; American culture is an oxymoron; Israel is always, always, always wrong; . . .]. Bored with this tripe, I have decided to post (vent spleen) thoughts without having to listen to the tut-tut crowd.