Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I’ve never particularly cared for Ben Shapiro. The man is a good writer, but so are many others, and I always got the impression he was getting a lot of attention because of his pedigree, his educational history, and his age. The habit he has that gets under my skin, is to write about what he thinks is going on, and comment about it as if it’s an established fact. Now, in all fairness, everybody who writes about current events ultimately has to do this, over and over again. I try to sprinkle mine with “I can’t prove it, but” or words to that effect. To me, when I write about something, there’s a situation involved. The situation has become worthy of comment, because something has been left unexplained — so you start with what has been left unexplained. And within that, you start with what you know for a fact. Only then do you opine about what could be going on, to explain what has been left unexplained.
Shapiro seems to be opposed to this…which is fine, it simply means he is creating a product intended for consumption by others.
But early his morning I was looking for an article on this weird phenomenon I don’t understand, called Barack Obama. Obama is a freshman senator from Illinois, a possible candidate for the presidency in ’08. He is a candidate the way Julia Roberts is a movie star: A good one, the evidence says only a good one and not a great one. But the hype says he’s more than great, he “walks on water” and he’s the “real deal.” NOBODY knows why this is, as far as I can see. To reason and common sense, he’s simply more articulate than our current President. And many others are that much.
And I was googling for an article that was wondering the same thing, and sought to explain it — the way I would have. I’m not sure I was able to dredge it up again; this thing in the Seattle Times has a few phrases that set of some bells. Maybe that’s it. But by mistake, I run into this thing by Ben Shapiro. Once again, Shapiro has it down cold, he knows everything. This is no great offense mind you — where he speculates, he speculates safely. And, again, other people are just eating his product up and demanding seconds, so that’s great. It’s just, once again, I’m seeing a younger man who hasn’t learned things about what-you-don’t-know-yet, that I’ve had to learn. He’s a living pictogram of lessons I’ve already been taught, that I have no desire to learn again.
But Ben Shapiro is becoming an excellent writer. He’s a better writer than Barack Obama is a presidential candidate; not just good, but great.
And hey, if he thinks he knows something about this Obama character that I’m just starting to figure out, there’s a pretty good likelihood that he’s right. I’m still more confused and befuddled than young Shapiro, so for the time being I’ll read what he has to say about Sen. Obama. Nothing, absolutely nothing I say, has come to my attention that would directly contradict the explanations Shapiro has to offer. And he seems to have turned that corner that aspiring writers sometimes turn, where his output actually becomes a source of education and entertainment at the same time. In that sense, he’s more senior than I am.
He has virtually no voting record; he has virtually no articulated positions. Ask his advocates, and they will describe him as “a breath of fresh air” — but ask them about a single position he holds, and they will stare at you as though you are speaking in tongues. They will tell you, however, that Obama “understands” every position you hold…Where’s the meat? It’s all well and good to campaign on the basis of “common sense” and “smart government,” as Obama did in his softball interview with Tim Russert, but no politician in history has ever campaigned on any other basis. Where does Obama stand? His own writings display the weakness inherent in his platform of “understanding”: If you profess to understand everything, you understand nothing. Not every conflict can be glossed over by “hugging it out.” Focusing more on “understanding” and less on questions of morality coddles the immoral.
Take, for example, Obama’s “understanding” with regard to our enemies in the war on terror. In his new introduction to his first book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” Obama writes, “My powers of empathy, my ability to reach into another’s heart, cannot penetrate the blank stares of those who would murder innocents with abstract, serene satisfaction.” Except, of course, that Obama proceeds to “understand” those he has just dismissed, blaming terrorism on “the underlying struggle” between “worlds of plenty and worlds of want” — a neo-Marxist interpretation of the rise of Islamofascism. “I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless,” Obama writes, “how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into despair and violence.” This is a sickening comparison; even the worst inner city youths generally do not join up with Al Qaeda.
What makes him a good writer? Many things in this piece do, but this sentence stands out: “There is a thin line between being open-minded and empty-headed.”
Bingo. You nailed it.
Although my indictment against Mr. Shapiro stands — what it comes down to, is, like a teenager he’s “young enough to know everything” — this is not necessarily bad. In fact it can come in handy. People like me need people like him.
Here’s a case where I would like to apply the energies of one who is quick to figure things out, and slow to uncertainty: How the Republicans will handle Barack Obama should the freshman senator be nominated. With questions like the ones I have, it’s impossible to find the Achilles’ Heel of a given target; but I have high confidence Mr. Shapiro has identified it correctly. Senator Obama is weak. Weak is a one-syllable word, easily understood, with a primal meaning for those interested since prehistoric times.
I’m taking it as a mostly-established tradition, now elevated beyond any possible doubt, that the Republicans won’t use this against him. If they do, they won’t do it properly. To much of the electorate — especially those who re-elected President Bush in ’04, but voted for a Democrat Congress in ’06 — it is a highly relevant issue. Why is it, that the issue of Sen. Obama’s weakness on issues, will not be exploited?
Why will it not be discussed by the Republicans — not even to a tiny fraction of the volume and rage, with which Democrats excoriate George Bush for his public-speaking failures?
Have we reached a point where Democrats and Republicans agree, that the spoken style is everything, and positions on issues mean nothing?
This is still something I must conclude with a question mark. Other folks, Shapiro included, are far more certain about what’s going on. I’d sure like to hear from them.
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