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Afternoon News Roundup

What's Your Damage? When you're watching Iowa coverage tonight remember it’s a lot more complicated than it seems (but please don’t confuse complicated with sophisticated). Michael Crowley, in The New Republic, gives an overview of the Iowa process, which is … Read More

By / January 3, 2008

What's Your Damage? When you're watching Iowa coverage tonight remember it’s a lot more complicated than it seems (but please don’t confuse complicated with sophisticated). Michael Crowley, in The New Republic, gives an overview of the Iowa process, which is especially baroque if you want to vote for a Democrat. Complete with references to Heathers and the underappreciated James Madison (important writer, lackluster executive), Crowley even points the finger at the son of a bitch that got us into this mess: “Johnny” Apple. But, at the point Crowley explains the logistics of how one must stand in a corner before one has “officially committed” to a candidate, I started to think, Iowa voting mechanisms are just as ontologically arbitrary, capricious, and absurd as species of animals being wiped out by the gears of natural selection, so why the hell not get a President this way? Ferguson’s Ominous Tidings for 2008 In The War of the World, Niall Ferguson posited that the 20th century will be viewed as a period of geopolitical realignment. But his story of geopolitics doesn't end with American ascendancy and triumph. Instead, the two World Wars signal the death throes of the Peace of Westphalia-inspired powers (the US included: we are a delayed consequence of the model) in the West and the reemergence of the East. So, here he is, continuing his narrative of the "historical meaning" behind the Middle Eastern bailouts of banks melting down from the subprime fiasco and the Asian ownership of US debt. Where Solitude Ends, There Begins the Marketplace From confirming a thesis, to a more boots-on-the-ground-level analysis of what happened in 2007 and what may be in store for us in 2008. Additionally, Suzy Jagger, analyzes the minutes from a December 11 Fed Reserve meeting on interest rates. The prognosis? How does, “caught off guard” sound? Further Destruction of the "Pristine Myth" An extended update on research in anthropology that demonstrates that Hobbes, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Foucault kind of nailed that whole social theory of “struggle-and-domination” and how it’s actually the “original position” for Homo sapiens. Remember: No Monologues Well, before the WGA gets its ass handed to it by the suits, they’ll at least get to cripple the award shows this year and now they may even take shots at Jay and Conan. Sucks to be collateral damage. Though, I would think mega-checks from NBC help the recuperation process. Twilight of the Forgotten Idols A frustrating meditation on the geniuses lost in 2007. Bryan Appleyard is a bit too kind to Baudrillard and tends to create some questionable (I’d say spurious) connections, especially when it comes to his explanation of “oppressive” male chest-pounding in literature (a libidinal similarity between Mailer and Roth is obvi, but Mailer to Rushdie, too… seriously?). But it’s still refreshing to see the Romantic notion of cultural/artistic genius discussed as a worthy and vital role to be filled.

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