Monday, 19 March 2012

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The words-next-to-each-other argument hops to a new low. Ben Shapiro's fully embracing the words-close-to-each-other mode of argument, but he's doing so without any indication that it's not actually a serious mode of argumentation. Let me break it down for Ben: when Scott and I make that "argument," we're actually mocking the person making it. For example, you write: We can see the clear footprint of CRT [Critical Race Theory] all over the Obama Administration. That's an admirable job of putting the words "Critical Race Theory" and "Obama Administration" in the same sentence, but your Cheney-esque decision to hire yourself as your own editor fails you on two fronts here. First, there are words between yours words. Did Jonah Goldberg write "Liberals are all over fascism"? Of course he didn't: he wanted nothing to interfere with the backward flow of negativity from "Fascism" to "Liberal." Which brings me to my second point: Not only do you add pointless words between your words, your filler is in the service of a metaphor that doesn't mean what you think it does. You're saying that CRT's mark upon the Obama Administration is a "clear footprint," one which can only have been left by an invisible one-legged giant. Are you claiming that CRT is an invisible one-legged giant which hopped -- one and one time only -- on the Obama Administration? At the very least, you want that thing in the plural and the present tense. You want your readers to imagine themselves being unable to see a one-legged giant hopping on the White House forever -- an animated gif which in its infinite loop resembles nothing so much as a static image of the White House. Because that's the reality of it. The invisible one-legged giant? That's all in your head.
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The top 15 English-language television shows of the post-network era? Since 1) I have nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon besides grade 170 essays and 2) we've been talking about trolls and trolling of late, I thought, "Scott, you should troll your own blog!" So here goes: After watching last night's episode of Fringe and consulting the deep recesses of my nerdy soul, I'm going to declare that Fringe is very close to eclipsing The Wire as the best English-language television show I've ever watched. That final conditional means I'm not going to include shows from the dark days of network television, because I've seen more silent films than I have episodes of Hill Street Blues or Airwolf. Now, I know you're going to complain that Fringe opened as an X-Files clone and didn't evolve into anything interesting until midway through its second season -- when, threatened with cancellation, the writers decided that if they were going to be cancelled, they may as well do so on their own terms -- whereas The Wire's first season was a well-orchestrated slow-burn, and I'm not going to disagree. But what I appreciate about Fringe is that it's become what it is despite itself. Or maybe I'm just being unduly presentist. Either way, here's my list: Fringe (technically 1a) The Wire (technically 1b) Deadwood Buffy the Vampire Slayer Mad Men The first season of Twin Peaks The only season of Firefly Seinfeld Every episode except the series finale of Battlestar Galactica Doctor Who The first and second seasons of Homicide, as well as that episode with Vincent D'Onofrio The UK version of Prime Suspect The first season of the American version of In Treatment The second and final seasons of Angel The UK version of Life on Mars UPDATE: Shows some idiot neglected to include on this list include: Arrested Development; the second, third and fourth seasons of Babylon 5; Breaking Bad; the UK version of The Office; Freaks and Geeks; Leverage; and ... Plus all the ones I forgot or couldn't stomach including, like the Michael Moriarty episodes of Law & Order, which have been retroactively ruined by his crazy Canadian racism. I imagine I've forgotten quite a few, but I'm just as (if not more) interested in discovering and/or being reminded of items not included above.

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