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Slacker Friday | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Slacker Friday

We've got a new Think Again column here called "William Kristol: Journalism's Indispensable Man."

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA.

Hey Doc:

"Blue winds blown my dreams away/My darling's flown and she's goneto stay."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Gimme A Pigfoot (And A Reefer)" (Bessie Smith.)

It was revealed this week that I'd failed to pay thewitholding tax on the money I paid to the 9,000 Bulgarian sopranos who stood in the middle of the Danube singing to mystified Hungarians my newly writtencantata on the topic of how much I love New Orleans.

Short Takes:

Part The First: You can sell The Politico pretty much anything these days. I swear, if this were forty years ago, there wouldn't be anything in their offices except partial sets of encyclopedias.

Part The Second: What's the over/under on the number of days beforesome Beltway invertebrate suggests that what the Obama administrationneeds to pull itself out of the ditch is a "seasoned Washington veteran, likeDavid Gergen." I'll set it at five.

Part The Third: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's the, well,Bollocks.

Part The Last: Anyone (coughTheLandlordcough) who is critical ofthe Springsteen halftime show for being hammy has obviously forgotten thatsubstantial helpings of ham (and cheese) have always been part of thedeal with him. Remember the hokey faux-James Brown collapse that alwayshighlighted "Quarter To Three"?

As part of my ceaseless attempts to drive myself crazy, I tunedinto The Learning Channel the other night and watched that show about theDuggars, the pullulating clan down in Arkansas who are now up to twofull baseball teams of children. In the first episode, Papa Jesus Bob andMomma Duggar were marrying off their eldest in what appeared to be a vaguelyChristian ceremony conducted at the First Church Of Function Rooms. Thebride and groom shared their very first kiss at the altar. There was nodrinking and no dancing afterwords. Then the camera crew followed thehappy couple all the way to the door of their hotel room. Hot-CHA! I was moreentertained by the appearance earlier of the father of the bride, whoexplained that the object of the ceremony was to transfer the"authority" over his daughter from himself to young LochinDuggar. I was surprised he just didn't take a cow and a couple of chickens in exchange and spare himself the expense of renting the church.

Then, on the next episode of What In The Christ Was I Thinking?,the Duggars all went to volunteer at a nearby wild animal park. Papa JesusBob called the place one of the great family attractions in "mid-America."(Dude, Iowa is "mid-America." You live in Arkansas, which is the South.Deal with it, Gomer.) Anyway, this was described by the Duggars as partof the Christian duty to give witness through service. (The fact thatfeeding wild animals is a lot cooler witness to give than, say, volunteering atan AIDS clinic or a homeless shelter--and that it's unquestionably lessbased in Scripture--went largely unexamined.) Anyway, the Duggars andtheir animal buddies had a fine time of it. Eventually, they allgathered in the monkeyhouse and watched the chimps. Out of nowhere, Papa JesusBob announced that, "There's no way man is descended from apes." Then, oneof the younger Duggars explained that, "Dad told us that we didn;t evolvefrom apes, but that sometimes, the younger kids act like it." Hey-YO!

Creationist propaganda. On The Learning Channel. Wow.

Name: Seymour Friendly
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Re: Israeli film

How sweet it is that Israelis are willing to make up movies exploring fictitious cultural collisions (as if any Israeli Defense Minister would ever live next to a Palestinian, whom the Minister would view as sub- human at best) after the festival of butchery in Gaza.

How can you blithely watch films produced by a nation that engages in mass-murder as a form of electoral maneuvering?

Eric replies: Dear Smartass. The movie is not fictional. And obviously, it was made long before the invasion of Gaza. And your "question" makes about as much sense as the rest of your letter, which is to say none whatsoever.

Name: Steven Portela
Hometown: Fresno, CA

Dude, tell me you didn't purposely omit Late For The Sky from what I presume was a list of albums to get you through a divorce.

Eric replies: Late For the Sky is not a divorce album, bub. She committed suicide.

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