Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ethics or butter?

so...i have a lot of things on my mind now, one of which is how actually sad the whole jamie lynn pregnancy debacle is. was she just doomed, considering the main influences in her life? will her mysterious/premarital sex having/churchgoing/age undetermined boyfriend be charged with statutory rape? most importantly, is there any hope at all for ali lohan?

i've complained from time to time about how bored i've been of late by indie rock. perhaps this is a combination of my own laziness, which has pretty much stopped my pursuit of new music, and the fact that a lot of bands who showed promise seemed to putter out. anyway, i gave a listen to many of the songs on the pitchfork 100 list [insert c4ts' disapproval here], in an uncharacteristic show of...i guess initiative? well, not really - after all, i'm listening to music culled and compiled by a bunch of smug know-it-alls. i'm just a lemming. harvey lemming.

anyway, listening to these gave me some hope, although a fun single doth not a great album make. and c4ts, i wrote this in my comment to your post of jens lekman, but the one single pitchfork chose for this list actually made me angry. i had to stop listening. i find him to be insufferable.

oh yes, i meant to ramble on some about the korean election. i'm a bit torn about this guy. i like his hardscrabble background, the fact that he showed signs of an anti-authoritarian bent from an early age by protesting the government's desire to improve diplomatic relations with japan. not to mention, i always questioned the efficacy of this so-called "sunshine policy". sure, it yielded the lone nobel laureate in korean history (i believe), but kim jong-il be crazy, dude. he's starving his own citizens. call me cynical, but he's not going to capitulate bc you offer some niceties.

anyway, i've not yet spoken with my parents about this, but i think my dad's stance is that "well, lee's the lesser of the evils". but is he? what about this corruption charge? do the koreans really want a president rendered impotent by an indictment?

this lee guy seems very result-oriented, sometimes bending the rules to suit his needs and goals. i'm not sure if i can be fully on board with that. i understand you have to grease some palms to make things happen, but haven't we had enough corruption in korea?

btw c4ts, my friend at work today pointed out exactly why i feel uncomfortable with haircut 400 (even beyond this very perturbing rumor of an extramarital affair. lord, please tell me this man wasn't cheating on his CANCER-STRICKEN WIFE). i admire his message and i think his whole "son of a millworker" thing isn't a shtick. it's damn hard to be in the running for president when you're the son of a millworker. but you know, john edwards just seems to really enjoy his money and flaunt it: his ginormous house, his extravagant haircuts, his general opulence. his actions and his message are completely misaligned and, yeah, i know, i can't vote, but i can't trust this dude either.


cold4thestreets said...

Enjoying one's money is a very different thing than flaunting it. The former I have no problem with, and I doubt you do either. Edwards' story is widely known, and I don't think it's unfair to say that sometimes the nouveau riche do tacky things with their money. In Edwards' case, he bought his dying wife the house of her dreams (and the affair rumours, btw, which I couldn't care less about were they true, are totally unsubstantiated). His biggest sin, then, in this regard is a bit of a lack of taste, but from my vantage, this is a somewhat endearing quality of his. He hasn't adopted the posturing, condescending ways of old money. He bought a mansion in Chapel Hill. Dumb move? Maybe, but that doesn't make him unfit for the presidency; nor is it an act of flaunting. Were I him, I'd own a Ferrari and a Rolex too, but I'd still feel passionately that our health care system is broken.

As for the haircut, the extent to which I regard this as a non-story, I can't express. We live in an age that values political image. He knows the one thing he's got going for him is his looks. He goes to ridiculous lengths to maintain this advantage. Again, if this makes him unfit to be President, then I'll be. His only mistake here was not paying for the haircut out of pocket (and thus keeping it off the finance books).

As for flaunting money, I'd point you to one Mitt Romney, whose numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire have been purchased. This last quarter alone he made even more contributions from his personal store of millions. Edwards, meanwhile, is running a publicly financed campaign precisely because you shouldn't be allowed to buy the presidency.

I'm not saying he's not a politician. He is, and as such--like his colleagues in this race--inherently he is to be looked at with deep distrust, but being rich and talking about the poor shouldn't be a liability in this country. It wasn't when Robert Kennedy wanted to be President.

I ask you now, if your three choices are 1) a woman so deeply entrenched with various special interests and so deeply committed to political unimagination she can't talk about driver's licenses for illegals without taking a poll; 2) a man so desperate not to piss off bigots that he insists on political compromise with crazies and hawkish policies in parts of the world he seems to know nothing of; and 3) a guy who, granted, is a poor facsimile of '68 RFK, but a type of copy nonetheless, a Bill Clinton who hasn't read as many books, a guy who's talking about eviscerating the right-wing agenda (instead of dancing around it) and easing life for people who make a lot less than us through simple measures, then what's the problem? Edwards isn't a dream candidate, but if he loses--which seems likely--there will never be another major candidate in this country--ever--who'll taken on the causes of the lower class. To do so will have proven to be political suicide. And that scares me.

E said...

i know your stance is to be aggressive toward any semi-dissenters, so let me assure you that i desperately want to like john edwards (esp in light of that tearjerker of an article about his wife and his anguish following their son's death--damn that was sad). dude, i totally agree with you! edwards really is the only person who even bothers to talk about (with any substance and/or sympathy) all of the people who work damn hard for their money and have almost nothing to show for it. yes, they exist! they don't have health care! they are working their asses off and not living off government cheese! and no matter how much the republicans may wax poetic about the "american dream" or pulling yourself up by the proverbial bootstraps, them straps are becoming less and less attainable. this is serious, tangible injustice.

fuck mitt romney. that guy is a liar and i resent the new york times for painting him as a "self-made" man. yeah, if you substitute "self" for "rich governor daddy who was president of AMC and ran for president himself". and as an astute writer to the editor pointed out, how can this ass claim there is no such thing as "two americas" while he's being chauffeured around in an SUV?

the haircut thing i only scoff at because edwards charged it to his campaign. let's face it, that is a retardedly lavish amount to spend on a haircut, regardless of its purpose. but seriously, pay for it yourself so nobody finds out about it. yeah, it's pretty pathetic that the price of his haircut has more legs as a political story than, dare i say, abu ghraib, but it was a pretty dumb move on his part.

with that said, no, i don't think rich people are inherently unqualified to talk about the poor. as much as pumpkinhead ted kennedy scares me with his reckless driving and probable alcoholism, i admire him for taking on causes that, sadly, few politicians will even give lip service to nowadays.

anyway, do i think edwards is that qualified for the office? i'm honestly not sure. he was a one-term senator and i don't know enough about what he's done thereafter. does that make him less qualified than, say, obama? probably not. who the heck knows? i don't. but somewhere along the lines of the medium is the message/message is the medium, if the primary focus of your campaign is the cause of the working poor, be very careful about the image you project. while there is a difference between enjoying and flaunting your money, the line is extremely fine and people will not bother to parse the differences.

cold4thestreets said...

But I wasn't being aggressive!

I concede everything that's wrong with the guy. Make no mistake, I'm frightened of candidates Obama and Hillary as much as I am inspired by Edwards. Where I might disagree with you, however, is the idea that one necessarily invites (or deserves) increased scrutiny (from a financial perspective) because one's running on alleviating the misery of the lower classes. If you're running as a Christian candidate in this country, no one bothers to check if you know the commandments, go to church, or (as would be helpful for our current President) if you know there was a sequel to the Old Testament. Why the scrutiny here? The only question should be is if you're actually going to implement the policies you're talking about.

As for Obama and experience, I've never criticized the guy for his lack of experience. To do so would be to engage in Republican talking points. He's smart and presumably he'd have good advisers. My problem is how his political naivete seems to manifest itself; that is, how many gaffes he commits that seem to be related to his inexperience (which distinguishes him from Edwards). Today it comes out that Obama, who runs the Europe subcommitte on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hasn't even been to Europe as Senator. The worst thing you can say about Edwards' tenure in the Senate is that he didn't bring home any pork barrell and threw himself fully into national affairs. I think there's a palpable difference between these men in terms of experience.

Also, I point you to Obama's offensive comments in the closing hours of Iowa: he misrepresents the legacies of John Kerry and Al Gore and has staked out a comfortable spot in the political middle. Despite his history of activism and his grandiose words in 2004, I take the man at his word, as it stands today: he is not a liberal. I am. And that's that.

E said...

but i think people should be taken (held?) to task on religion. if you profess to be a christian, then hell yeah you should remember the beatitudes and that conveniently forgotten part about loving others as you do yourself. and no, that doesn't mean you should cut taxes and hope that the excess will somehow find its way down to the masses or that you should only focus on whom you can condemn. all i'm suggesting is a straightforward examination of whether a candidate is a hypocrite, which may not necessarily speak to their skills as an executive, but is that the only thing we want? then i suppose you can commend bush on getting his policies implemented, however reprehensible.

anyway, how is it that i still don't understand the mechanics of this damn "caucus" system in iowa?

and in a related matter, check this out: