Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday, Wednesday

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Obviously posting took a backseat to real-life nonsense today. But I did look at the Internets. Here’s what I looked at.

* The House Next Door and SF Signal try to figure out whether this season of Heroes is back on track.

* Gang of 100? Via Lenin’s Tomb, Columbia president Lee Bollinger receives a “statement of concern” from over 100 faculty members partly in response to his poor behavior during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit.

* Nicholas Guyatt reviews Chris Hedges’s American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America for London Review of Books. I linked to Hedges a bit on the old blog earlier in the year, when this book was getting a lot of hype—I’m curious why this review comes so late. I’m also surprised to see Guyatt take such a skeptical attitude towards Hedges’s thesis. I haven’t read American Fascists, but my impression has been that the book is about the (very real) dominionist movement within American evangelicism, not an assertion that all evangelicals are dominionists. And what to make of this:

It would be a mistake to imagine that the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century. Despite the present spate of books decrying a fundamentalist takeover of the Republican Party, there has been plenty for evangelicals to complain about even since the triumphs of Bush and Karl Rove. As Thomas Frank argued in 2004 in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, the striking thing about the Republican alliance with evangelicals has been the thinness of their legislative achievements: abortion is still legal, campaigners for gay rights have made real strides and the wall between church and state remains largely intact in American classrooms. Frank suggested that legislators had pulled off a confidence trick in their courting of evangelicals.

The truth is precisely this: the religious right has controlled American politics for the past quarter-century without actually getting any of the things they want. What happens when they finally realize they’ve been hoodwinked? Hedges has this right; the business wing of the Republican Party is locked into an alliance with powerful and dangerous forces it will not necessarily be able to control forever.

* NYU students would trade their right to vote for an iPod. Can you blame them? In a country so completely gerrymandered on both a macro (Electoral College) and micro (Congressional district) scale, voting is more or less a fraud across the board. The vote of someone living in New York City isn’t even worth an iPod; the vote of someone in Florida or Ohio, maybe, but only just.

* Train passengers face routine airline-style bag checks and body searches as part of a new counter-terror crackdown announced by Gordon Brown. Next up, strip searches. Freedom isn’t free.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 15, 2007 at 4:39 am

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