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 could say all that needs to be said with a disrespectful and dismissive “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…” Word count: Seven, or five, or three, or whatever. Maybe twenty to capture the sheer magnitude of the blah-blah-blah-ness and get-nothing-done-ness and waste-of-time-ness of the event.
But this would venture outside my sphere of knowledge, for I am not in the Noonan/Chait/Podhoretz camp of folk who suffered through from moment to moment (and now bitterly regret it, I venture to say). I am in the more voluminous set of casual observers who caught a snippet here and there, and then read the re-caps afterward.
It is purely out of respect for the mere concept, not the practicality, that says one should confine one’s remarks to those things about which one knows — that I shall refrain from going out on a limb speculating on what a massive waste of oxygen this really was. Let the record state, however, that in my opinion this would not be going out on much of a limb at all. I’ve attended meetings.
And so I shall quote from persons who are known to me to be experts on their chosen subject matter.
First up, is me. Commenting on meetings in general, in the Architects and Medicators essay. Prescient as always.
Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally.
The architects, who see the world as a massive assembly of parts, each part further reducible into a plurality of parts and then into atomic parts that can be reduced no further…grind through an agenda. Or blast their way through. If, that is, things are left up to them. The medicators, who see the world as a mysterious orb that gives off emotional vibes, bask in the glow of the meeting and go through this time-consuming cycle of adjusting the emotional tenor, then feeding off of it. Then adjusting it again.
It doesn’t take too much professional experience before one can say one has sat through both types of meetings. Doesn’t take too much wisdom to start to notice the contrast.
The fact that this “summit” took seven and a half hours tells me all I need to know about what kind of meeting this was. And that tells me all I need to know about what sort of person was running the meeting. Let is say none of this comes to me as a huge surprise.
Next expert (who did not attend) to opine is James Taranto, in yesterday’s Best of the Web.
[Wall Street Journal Commentary’s John] Podhoretz…summed it up this way:
My sense of this summit is that President Obama is exactly as he always is — extremely intelligent, knowledgeable about policy details, so certain of the rightness of his views that he has no compunction about declaring the views of his antagonists to be merely politically convenient rather than substantive, startlingly condescending at moments, and even more startlingly long-winded when he gets going. As a result, he both looks good and bad in these settings — good because he’s serious and doesn’t appear to be a fanatic, and bad because of the condescension.
Which prompted this defense of condescension from [The New Republic’s Jonathan] Chait:
Podhoretz calls Obama “startlingly condescending at moments.” How can that be avoided when you’re trying to have a high-level discussion with people who reply either on debunked claims at best and talk radio-level slogans at worst?
Actually, describing that as a defense of condescension is too charitable, isn’t it? It’s an example of condescension. If we didn’t know better we’d think Chait was exaggerating in order to illustrate Podhoretz’s point. And it’s not the first time–not even the first time in a day–that Chait did this. Podhoretz’s post quoted an earlier one of Chait’s:
President Obama is so much smarter and a better communicator than members of Congress in either party. The contrast, side by side, is almost ridiculous. . . .
Most the time [sic], this is like watching Lebron James play basketball with a bunch of kids who got cut from the 7th grade basketball team. He’s treating them really nice, letting his teammates take shots and allowing the other team to try to score. Nice try on that layup, Timmy, you almost got it on. But after a couple minutes I want him to just grab the ball and dunk on these clowns already.
Here we have a sterling example of how ideological predilections, his and mine, might color our opinions here. Except for one thing: You can only think Obama is Lebron James playing 7th graders if you are already certain his opinions are right, because the best you can say about this summit so far for him is that it’s a draw, and it’s probably worse than that. And given that only 25 percent of the public wants ObamaCare, he needs to be Lebron James. And Pete Maravich. And Oscar Robertson. And Kareem. All at the same time.
Chait actually makes two distinct claims about Obama: that he has a superior intellect and that he is a superior “communicator.” The first claim could be true, although it is far from indisputable. But the second claim is so absurd as to be delusional.
Obama has spent the past year trying to sell Americans on ObamaCare. He has failed utterly, as Podhoretz notes. Now, maybe Chait is right that opposition to ObamaCare is a product of stupidity. Maybe ObamaCare would be popular if a majority of Americans were as brilliant as Jonathan Chait. But in a democratic republic, elections are not limited to the elect. Shockingly, half of all Americans have below-average IQs. They vote too.
By no imaginable standard can a politician be considered a great “communicator,” or even an adequate one, if he is unable to persuade voters of average-or-below intelligence to back his policies.
Further, is there any evidence that Obama is especially good at communicating with those on the far right of the bell curve? Chait is persuaded, and we’re willing to stipulate that Chait is brilliant. But Chait was persuaded before, and we know lots of brilliant people who oppose ObamaCare.
Obama is very good at making smart liberals feel superior. That is a communication ability, but not a terribly useful one for a politician in a democratic country.
This is a “D’Jever Notice” moment and a “Best Sentence” all rolled into one. The D’Jever notice moment is about conservatives and liberals — supposedly, in spite of their different outlooks on the world, they view each other in more or less exactly the same way. Dimbulbs, on the other side of the divide, who are just plain wrong. Two images opposite from each other. Alike in so many ways, just mirror-image-flipped.
It’s obviously not so. Conservatives — the ones I know — are pretty consistent in their curiosity about what makes sense to liberals and how it might make sense, even for a moment. In a “What in the F*ck Are They Thinking??”, bewildered sort of sense. They become disgusted with it, but only occasionally and only temporarily. They/we are constantly trying to come up with explanations.
This is not true of the liberals. They are dismissive of those who disagree with them. They work at achieving a superlative of this dismissiveness, and they work very hard at it. As if they’re competing with each other, which they probably are.
They are not curious. They are like Jonathan Chait. Just dunk these clowns already!
And the best sentence has to be this zinger at the end about “Obama makes smart liberals feel superior.”
Under what circumstances, as a flawed human mortal being, could my need to feel superior to others trump my curiosity about how lesser human beings think? The only answer I can produce is that something might have happened to make me feel inferior, and I’m trying to compensate for it. But that, again, would venture outside of my sphere of knowledge…and so these skewed priorities of “smart liberals” like Chait, and many others, shall remain a mystery to me.
They must be realizing inwardly, right about now, that it isn’t going to work because it labors under an irreconcilable internal contradiction. The process of deciding what is to be done, is to be an all-inclusive “summit” from which no one will be deprived of the opportunity to participate. This will ensure that the conclusion at the end will be perfect, in some way, having been produced democratically. But! In the process of producing this decision we shall make it a glorious goal of ours to neutralize, to ineffectualize, to practically geld any & all who do not share our correct opinions.
These are mutually-exclusive, oppositional goals.
Barack Obama tried to achieve them both on Thursday, and that is why He wasted so much time and got nothing done.
That’s my take on it, just from what little I know, since I did not attend. I await the words of those who disagree with me and are in a position to so disagree, since they attended and I did not. Should any of them come along, I bow before their superior knowledge.
But I don’t need to dive into the sun to know it’s hot.
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