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The “mainstream media” are losing patience with, and even interest in, their erstwhile hero. President Barack Obama never had a chance with the Ailes-Murdoch crowd, of course, and it didn’t take the president long to offend the fierce left wing of the blogosphere. But now, finally, the MSM, which views itself as ideologically neutral, has found ideologically neutral reasons to lose patience with him: that he may be ineffectual; that he doesn’t know how to play the game; that he can’t get anything done. Exhibit A: the health-care bill. The Times’ Frank Rich, the astute dean of the commentariat, wrote recently that Obama has failed to “communicate a compelling narrative” in office and, as a result, “could be toast if he doesn’t make good on a year’s worth of false starts.” And yet this collective falling out of love is great news for Obama. Calling it quits with the MSM is just what he needs. A breakup might even save his presidency. –“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” Howard Fineman, Newsweek
The story is told from the point of view of a young second lieutenant, Mellas, who joined the Marines for confused and vaguely patriotic reasons that are quickly left in tatters by military incompetence. At great psychic and physical cost, Mellas and the rest of Bravo Company, Fifth Marine Division, climb a steep mountain near the intersection of Laos and the DMZ separating North and South Vietnam, then build an outpost capable of withstanding enemy artillery. As soon as they finish, they are told to abandon it because they are needed for a large operation farther south. There ensues a multiweek stagger through impenetrable jungle, the company plagued by lack of food, lack of ammunition and inadequate resupply. One man is killed by a tiger. Another dies of cerebral malaria. Starving to death and bearing a dead friend on a pole, the men of Bravo Company finish their mission and are allowed a brief rest at one of the main support bases. Soon enough, however, they are ordered to retake Matterhorn, which has since been occupied by the enemy. It is there, on the flanks of their own outpost, that the horror and absurdity of war are finally played out. –“The Vietnam Wars: ‘Matterhorn’,” Sebastian Junger, New York Times Book Review
What relics will form the archaeology of network television?
does God like it when we pretend to torture his only son?
was that God’s justice sweeping “over this land like a prairie wind” or was yesterday just breezy?
If absolute truth were the only thing photography had to offer, it would have disappeared a century ago. Photography isn’t merely a window on the world, it’s a portal into the unconscious, wide open to fantasies, nightmares, obsessions, and the purest abstraction, as envisioned by Julia Margaret Cameron, Hans Bellmer, Man Ray, Joel-Peter Witkin, Laurie Simmons, and Adam Fuss. But this is a legitimate concern, and it’s a question of trust. Photojournalism is not over — if the response, both professional and amateur, to the attacks on September 11, 2001, didn’t make that abundantly clear, the public’s extraordinary appetite for the pictures did — but when everyone knows how easily and flawlessly an image can be manipulated, its credibility is constantly in question. But credibility is an issue for all photography these days; although a certain amount of skepticism is always in order, when every image is examined for digital imaging effects, doubt can be not just distracting but corrosive. So the public’s gullibility may be over, but photography, having survived a blow to its confidence, goes on. –“Is Photography Over?” Vince Aletti, SF MOMA
More from TedRoss:
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”