Saturday, 15 October 2005

Welcome Readers of Kos, Hunter Division You are legion and have busted my Site Meter .... but I invite you to look around. But be careful. The china's expensive and the cats bolt for the door. That said, the house recommends the posts to your immediate right labelled "Would That They Were Representative." If you prefer a drubbing of a different sort, let me suggest Michael Berube's entry on Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen and his nearly depleted wrong reserves. UPDATE: Alright, I know that you and I agree that "conservatives" (however "we" define the term, i.e. despite our differences) are the Devil, but I'm more than a little disappointed that 3,719 people have reconnoitred these environs and not a single person has taken issue with anything I wrote. Stop the self-congratulatory applause. No one here will pat you on the back. Surely you know that while the statement the committee made with the Pinter decision is a strong one. But if they've at all been influenced by his recent poetry then they've compromised their standards and have degraded the legacies of previous award winners. Again, not to say that I disagree Pinter's position on the war in Iraq, but given the quality of his work since he's "retired," sound reasons for criticism abound. As Scott McLemee (someone you all should read) said: This award makes sense only as a foreign-policy editorial disguised as a literary prize. McLemee's as snugly left as you or I, but he has the balls to be honest about the decision. I only say this because, while I appreicate the link and the overwhelming amount of traffic accompanying it, there's an annoying sense of rallying 'round the banner to the criticism of conservative criticism of Pinter's selection. He wrote brilliantly about contemporary issues thirty years ago. But since he's "quit" the literary business for the pundit racket he's been hit-or-miss: "hit" on the Iraq debacle, yes, but "miss Miss MISS!" on Milošević. And the quality of his work of late, as I indicated when I mocked both LGF commenter "Carolyn" and Pinter for the substance of and response to "American Football." In other words, those on the Left (Old, New, Radical, Über-Radical, or what-not) need to not wear the blinders of their brethren on the Right; they need to differentiate between legitimate criticism of artist's work and the stupidity of those who would pride themselves on reading naught but Dan Brown. The Left is as impotent as ever, and no amount of self-congratulation will change that.
Geological Weirdsma; or, When This Floor's A-Swayin', We Best Start A-Prayin' [Pithy Prefatory Remarks: Lots of people read Kos. More read Instapundit. I've already replaced the wheel on that counter twelve times this weekend.] Six years in California acclimates you. There I sit at the desk pictured left (albeit in its embarrassinly cluttered mid-quarter state) when all of the books I've added to the piles you see start to sway. My mind invariably turns first to the prospect of cats wrestling where cats ought not be wresting. Then I turn to the bed and see all four cats, ears perked, tales interrogative, seeking the source of this sudden shaking and it occurs to me that I'm experiencing what the natives call an "earth quake." Everything slows down. Things sway slowly and ignoring the unverisal impulse to survive I shout "I think the earth itself protests!" The wife shouts back her quick concur and the next thing you know we're staring at each other from opposite ends of the hall thinking the same thought: Is this someone else's The Big One? It isn't. (Not today at least.) But in honor of the small one located 49 miles SSE of San Clemente Island, I present the following quotations from John McPhee's magisterial Annals of the Former World: As we could plainly see from the interstate, the rock now residing in that striped mountainside had once been brutally shoved around—shoved, not pulled, and with such force that a large part of it had been tipped up more than ninety degrees, to and well beyond the vertical. Overturned. Such violence can happen on an epic scale. There is an entire nation in Europe that is upside down. (50) The declivity was by no means sheer, just steep—a steepness, I judged, that would have caused the vehicle, had it slipped off the road, to go end over end enveloped in flame at a hundred yards a bounce. (106) On the striated pavement of Algeria lies the till of polar glaciers. there are tropical atolls in Canada, tropical limestones in Siberia, tropical limestones in Antarctica. (115) Certain English geologists produced confusion by embracing continental drift and then drawing up narratives and maps that showed continents moving all over the earth with respect to a fixed and undriftable England. (118) The swelling up of mountains was described as an orogeny. Ontogeny, phylogenry, orogeny—accent syllable two. The Antler Orogeny, the Avalonian Orogeny, the Taconic, Acadian, Alleghenian Orogenies. the Laramide orogeny. The center of the United States had had a dull geologic history—nothing much being accumulated, nothing much being eroded away. It was just sitting there conservatively. The east had once been radical—had been unstable, reformist, revolutionary, in the paleozoic pulses of three or four orogenies. Now, for the last hundred and fifty million years, the east had been stable and conservative. The far-out stuff was in the far west of the country—wild, weirdsma, with its welded tuffs and Franciscan melange (internally deformed, complex beyond analysis). (32) And that, children, is why we stand in doorways when we feel the...

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