The Carl Online


Roy Grow Speaks About Japanese and Chinese Politics by carlmagazine
September 25, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Academic, Politics

Minnesota Public Radio has posted an interview with International Relations Professor Roy Grow about transpacific economics. Roy is one of the best known professors teaching at Carleton, and not without cause. Not only is he a leading scholar in his field, but he is one of the best orators I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I was lucky enough to spend 3 months traveling with Roy and other Carleton students on the Beijing Seminar. It was the most frenetic and engaging travel I’ve ever done, and one of the highlights of my academic career at Carleton.



Have a Christopher Hitchens Christmas! by Greg Hunter
December 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Misc., Music, Politics | Tags: , , ,

gritchens

I’ve expressed my fondness for Christopher Hitchens before on this blog.  In a time when political commentators are judged largely by who among them can shout the loudest, it’s hard not to like someone who’s such an unabashed stylist.  Hitchens is maybe our greatest living polemic writer, and it’s as much because of the control he exerts over his prose as anything else.  His favorite target is probably organized religion, and in this recent Slate article -http://www.slate.com/id/2206713/ – he vows to write a fiercer anti-Christmas column every year.  Now while I think Hitchens makes a great Grinch – calling the holiday a “moral and aesthetic nightmare” is an example of the elevated purple prose no one does quite so well – I don’t really buy his argument this year, that the U.S. “turns itself into the cultural and commercial equivalent of a one-party state” at Christmastime.

I’m a lapsed Catholic who plans to celebrate Christmas for the rest of my life.  Part of why I’m at ease with this is because the holiday as it is today seems like a bright, shining triumph of the secular.  At it’s core, Christmas is indisputably Christian, but do we really see Christianity casting a shadow over all American institutions each December?  Or do we see market capitalism using the holiday for all it’s worth, with Christians and non-Christians alike buying and selling lots of junk they don’t need?  (Less cynically: when Christmas gives Americans a pretense for family gatherings and gift-giving, I’d imagine those acts of gathering and giving are more important than the pretense itself for many people.)  Organized religions aren’t going anywhere, Christianity included, but seeing one of the two most popular Christian holidays fixed in such a secularized form should be, for someone like Hitchens, a source of holiday cheer.  And speaking of cheer, I’ve had this on repeat lately:

– Greg Hunter



Norm Coleman Loves The New Yorker by Alex Sciuto
November 26, 2008, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , ,

But Im hot on the trail of my Google Doppelganger

On the drive home from Minnesota, in order to pass the time in the back seat of a Volvo driving through hours and hours of cornfields and the occassional Iowan town (Waterloo 4EVA!), I read for the first time a New Yorker magazine front to back. While the shock of realizing all that ten-point-font restaurant/concert/theater/movie front matter had maybe 5% more relevance to a Midwesterner like myself than I expected bringing the total relevance to a grand 5%, what I came away most remembering are the uniquely long physical descriptions of anyone mentioned moderately prominently in the magazine’s main articles.

Anyone who reads the magazine casually knows about the paragraph long descriptions of how a person looks and talks and walks that give the story a bonanza of incidental details that I guess the New Yorker’s editors think is the essence of its journalistic brand. The article about the crazy rebel who starts a brewery needs a description of his chiseled jaw and the swagger of his walk just like the profile of T.I. needs a description of his rock-hard abs to go along with coverage of his weapons charges. I don’t dislike these paragraphs, and they often give the New Yorker’s writers, all of whom are excellent, the chance to flex their descriptive powers.

I wanted to note in this post the frequency of them, but also how they vary. There’s one about a Chinese restaurant proprietor (square jaw, cigarette in his mouth, dark bushy hair, and a good socialist name that no one uses opting for his nickname), one about the restauranteur’s chef (gruff-voiced, thick eyebrows, sense of humor). Another character, a BBQ restaurant owner, also gets a paragraph devoted to his nickname and his ramshackle resume.

Listed and delineated with commas, the details are all similar, but the blending of details into narrative differs with each author. None of the writers drop a description into the story. The best one in the issue I read concerned the rebellious brewer because of how Burkhard Bilger brought the description back into the story. He ended describing the brewer’s voice (“his lips twist slightly to the side and his voice comes out low and wooly”) and, the final line was a quote. The quote, in relation to the description, appeared just as an good example of his diction, but when the next paragraph was read, the quote started the next part of the story. The description served not only to illuminate, but also served a structural purpose, denoting a new setting for the article’s narrative.

It was a lovely moment for me. I started the paragraph expecting the normal, but the end twisted my expectations making the descriptions something more than prettily arranged observed details.

Oh and Al Franken/Norm Coleman. Here’s a post from FiveThiryEight.com containing a primer on all the ballot challenges that are being mentioned in the news and on the web. If you don’t want to take the time to read the entire post, the gist of the post is that the numbers being mentioned daily of who is winning and by how many dozens of votes is meaningless. One type of challenge (the most popular) gives a candidate an immediate additional vote that will probably be dismissed when the challenge is actually arbitrated. We all know that the numbers are provisional, but until I read the post, I didn’t realize how provisional they really were.

-Alex Sciuto



Candidate for Mayor of Northfield by Alex Sciuto
October 13, 2008, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Northfield, Politics | Tags: , , ,

From the Political Action Committee Citizens for a Better Northfield If Brendon Is Elected Otherwise It’ll Be Four Or However Many Years of the Same: BrendonForMayor.com. I don’t know how serious Brendan is for mayor, but his website has an aesthetic all its own. I’d post a picture from it, but it might give one of our readers a seizure. And I don’t want that hanging over my head.

-Alex Sciuto



“Vote Obama” by Greg Hunter
October 13, 2008, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I try to monitor my emotions pretty closely when I follow politics.  Feelings of righteous anger, the thrill of hearing your beliefs amplified on a larger stage or echoed by a large body of people–these are fundamentally dangerous things.  So it’s with a slight sense of caution and embarrassment that I mention how gleeful professional contrarian Christopher Hitchens’ recent takedown of McCain/Palin made me feel: http://www.slate.com/id/2202163/

Whether you agree with him or not–frequently, I don’t–Hitchens is undoubtedly one of the best political writers around in the areas of style and wit, and when he describes McCain’s “increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical,” well…maybe a slight grin of affirmation is okay.

Also, here is a picture of Hitchens being waterboarded:

– Greg Hunter



Critics Kind of Dig the W. by daaaaaniel
October 12, 2008, 8:33 pm
Filed under: movies, Politics | Tags: , , ,

The latest Josh Brolin vehicle, W., is surprisingly getting uniformly decent reviews from critics. I definitely expected them to bring the hatchet down on it, but this is good news. Although I haven’t seen any of Oliver Stone’s past presidential flicks, I’m really stoked to see W. Stone calls it a story about how “[t]his guy who is basically a bum becomes president of the United States,” and from the trailer and reviews it seems to be a story about Bush the person much more than Bush the president, if that makes any sense. Today’s New York Times review has some nice quotes from Stone about his thinking going into it, and makes the case that his other political movies were so over-the-top biased that Stone mostly just stuck to the facts with this one.

Dan Sugarman



The Big Smear by Greg Hunter
October 7, 2008, 5:33 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

So there’s an article that went up on the HuffPost today about a McCain smear on Obama: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/06/mccain-calls-obama-a-liar_n_132355.html

This is not that surprising, granted, but what is surprising is what the writer neglects to mention: that in saying “[Obama] believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed,” McCain basically equates Obama and Hitler in language that’s very, very thinly veiled. I guess when your opponent’s up by almost 10%, it’s time to slap the toothbrush mustache on him. It was made pretty apparent in the press that the McCain camp was going to go even more negative in this remaining month, but Hitler? Really? Already??

– Greg Hunter