URLs du Jour

2006-10-17 (PM Edition)

OK, I'm all better now.

  • Ever wonder why Andrew Sullivan will set your teeth on edge? Bill Gnade at Contratimes, I think, has some insight on the matter.
    Mr. Sullivan abhors fundamentalism, it is clear. Yet he is apparently blind to that fundamentalism to which he holds so tenaciously: he is ignorant to the fact that everyone holds certain truths as fundamentals. Some truths, of course, are not one whit fun and are rather mental. But there is something rather fundamentally flawed in those who believe they are able to transcend religion and exist in some sort of political neutral zone, where religion does not reside. Religious faith resides everywhere. There is no escaping this fact. Any position that denies this is futile and pretentious. A man who theorizes we can fully partition the atmosphere can only exist in a vacuum: he may be a fine writer at a fashionable journal but he will be smothered should he put his theory into practice. Politics can exist independent of religious precepts about as well as nature loves a vacuum.

    Yes, another pun has crept into Pun Salad. Again, our apologies. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

  • Via Ann Althouse: Popular Mechanics' editor, James Meigs, has onlined his Afterword to the book Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts. It's an excellent rundown of conspiracist tactics. He also shares some of his hate mail, which is predictably odious. Read the whole thing. Really.

    One illuminating point I'll single out: Meigs refers to "conventions where hundreds of like-minded 'skeptics' gather to compare notes." The sneer-quotes around 'skeptics' are richly deserved; these folks, Meigs makes clear, may be the most gullible people on earth. We're used to tossing off the line "If you believe that, you'll believe anything" without thinking too much about it. The conspiracy fantasists make me realize how applicable—and how scary—that saying really is.

  • Should I ever be in the hospital for a painful medical procedure, I would like to think that I would be incredibly brave and maintain my sense of humor. Like Cathy Seipp.

    Probably I wouldn't. But I'd like to think that. Cathy's got the right stuff. In her spare time, she deftly demolishes the thesis of From My Cold, Dead Hands: Charlton Heston And American Politics by Emilie Raymond, assistant professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University.

  • Lileks movies into Iowahawk territory with a Minnesotan smackdown satire of Garrison Keillor. At least I think it's satire. If it's not, I don't want to know.

  • Finally, the intrepid researchers at McSweeney's have discovered the long-sought 1939 denial of tenure letter sent to Assistant Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr.
    Dr. Jones's behavior on campus has led not only to disciplinary action but also to concerns as to the state of his mental health. In addition to multiple instances of public drunkenness, Dr. Jones, on three separate occasions, has attempted to set fire to the herpetology wing of the biology department. Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the statements that come directly from Dr. Jones's mouth. Several faculty members maintain that Dr. Jones informed them on multiple occasions of having discovered the Ark of the Covenant, magic diamond rocks, and the Holy Grail! When asked to provide evidence for such claims, he purportedly replied that he was "kind of immortal" and/or muttered derogatory statements about the "bureaucratic fools" running the U.S. government. Given his history with the Nazi Party, I fear where his loyalty lies.
    "I hate snakes, Jock. I hate 'em." (Via GeekPress.)

Last Modified 2008-05-16 4:22 PM EDT