Sunday, August 19, 2007

Raving Reynolds . . .

I suppose I should stop reading Instapundit in order to save my sanity, but what the heck is Glenn Reyonolds talking about when he writes?; "KOUCHNER IN BAGHDAD: France's Foreign Minister visits Iraq and observes: 'Now we have to face the reality, including the American view.' Think how much better things would be if the previous French administration had taken that view."

A plausible interpretation of what Reynolds is saying here is that he believes that it is France's fault that the Iraq war has been such a disaster. The more plausible one is that He is desparately grasping at straws and no longer knows or even cares what he is raving about.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Have Nothing To Add

Hugh Hewitt:
The reality is that politicians demand that the troops be withdrawn from Iraq because that withdrawal will inflict a political defeat on the Administration. If the Army and marines are obliged to retreat, Democrats reason, there will be no way for the GOP to portray the invasion of Iraq as a sound decision.

Me: Speechless.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ain't My America

Here's something to whet the appetite of Bill Kauffman fans: a description of his forthcoming Ain't My America, from the Henry Holt catalog:
As Bill Kauffman makes clear, true conservatives have always resisted the imperial and military impulse: it drains the treasury, curtails domestic liberties, breaks down families, and vulgarizes culture. From the Federalists who opposed the War of 1812, to the striving of Robert Taft (known as "Mr. Republican") to keep the United States out of Korea, to the latter-day libertarian critics of the Iraq war, there has historically been nothing freakish, cowardly, or even unusual about antiwar activists on the political right. And while these critics of U.S. military crusades have been vilified by the party of George W. Bush, their conservative vision of a peaceful, decentralized, and noninterventionist America gives us a glimpse of the country we could have had--and might yet attain.

Now we only have to sit back and wait for the glowing reviews from Victor Davis Hanson in National Review and perhaps, Fred Barnes in the Weakly Standard. It is being published by the American Empire Project, who should take a lesson from ISI Books and host a group blog along the lines of Reactionary Radicals.

The only catch is that we must wait until next April to get the book.

Pointless . . .

Don Surber illustrates the pitfalls of gotcha! blogging:

Much ado has been made about Fred Thompson, 64, and his "Trophy Wife," Jeri, 40. The 24-year age difference scandalized the feminists so that they have taken the vapors.

Few of them complained about the 37-year age difference in Bill Clinton, then 59, and Monica Lewinsky, 22, when they had their affair.

He's really got those feminists on the run, although he gives us no evidence that they are particularly upset about Mrs. Thompson. But Surber, apparently unaware that Google and other search engines put a mountain of data at his fingertips, has one other problem--Bill Clinton was born in August of 1946 and Monica Lewinsky was born in July of 1973; for an age difference of a bit less than 27 years. It's a large enough gap to prove his point; but since the rest of his post discusses, among other things, how the age gaps between presidents and their wives and lovers have drawn attention for two hundred years, his point is rather . . . pointless.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Land of the Smokies

Knoxville's Metro Pulse has published my review of The Land of the Smokies, from the University Press of Mississippi.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Print Lives!

This has to be the dumbest thing I've seen on the web in the last few days, and I regularly check the Corner. Jeff Gomez, who is apparently some sort of digital/techno fanatic makes the bizarre argument that if some authors are dead, then perhaps books should be as well:
This brings up an interesting point: if consumers don’t seem to care that an author is dead, which proves that they only want the content -- the characters, the stories, the experience -- then they also won’t care how that content is delivered. After all, if they don’t mind the missing presence of the actual Robert Ludlum (a living, breathing person) then they certainly won’t miss the presence of the book itself (an inanimate object). In addition, a physical book has the potential to stand in between a reader and the content they desire. This is especially true in Ludlum’s case since his books are sometimes really large, and not nearly as portable as an electronic device. For instance, the other day on the train I saw a guy gingerly reading text on his iPhone, sitting next to a girl trying valiantly to keep the new doorstop-sized Harry Potter book balanced on her knee.

My first reaction is shock and disbelief that an author who is involved in marketing for Farrar, Straus Giroux along with the other publishers affiliated with VHPS, only just discovered that people continue to read authors after they are dead -- Flannery O'Connor?, Walker Percy? . . . Shakespeare? But beyond that, the status of the author as dead or alive has nothing to do with the optimal medium for reading his or her book.

His observation of someone struggling to balance Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows compared to another's ease of reading on his cell phone strikes me as dubious. I tried a little experiment and found I could easily balance the Potter book on my knee. I also tried Remembered Past by John Lukacs, another large book, and found it easy to balance as well. My cell phone is light and small but its screen only displays about sixteen words at a time. That would require a great deal of scrolling to read a fat book or even the type of essay printed in Harper's or The New Yorker. When people only read cell phones, they won't be reading books anymore. No sane person, especially one who is an author, longs for that day.