Friday, June 13, 2014

The Superficial Reason One Should Not Read the Paper – And the Superficial Reason One Should

The Front Page of the New York Times provides a microcosm of why I read the paper.  Better to be informed about the world.  I get it delivered and consider myself lucky to have a paper that has an actual interest in the world, not just the latest word on the scandal of the day.  (Aside – Remember when it was Scandal of the Week or Month.  The Good Old Days before 24 Hour “News”…)

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Then there are things that drive me crazy.  And it is right there, called out in small print on Page One.  “David Brooks on The Big Burn”.
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My blood pressure will tell you that David Brooks isn’t good for me.  And, true to form, the rusty jackanape has a half-baked attack piece dress up as Serious Thought.  He talks about the Iraq civil war, but can’t wait to attack Barack Obama for it.  Here is the first mention of Obama , “We’ll never know if all this effort and progress could have led to a self-sustaining, stable Iraq. Before the country was close to ready, the Obama administration took off the training wheels by not seriously negotiating the NATO status of forces agreement that would have maintained some smaller American presence.”
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Good grief. 
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Well Lucy, here is the truth.  President Obama tried to re-negotiate the treaty that GEORGE W. BUSH made to pull out our troops by the end of 2011.  Given the United States’ stellar reputation in destroying their country, the Iraqi Administration said Thanks, but No Thanks.  So President Obama followed George W. Bush’s treaty.  In a totally damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t way, what would Brooksy have him do?  Stay as an invading power?  (Actually he wanted us to invade Iran since our troops are right there, but whatever…)
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Then there is this jewel. “This slide toward civil war was predicted, not only by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and writers like Max Boot, but also within the military.”
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John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two men who never saw a war they didn’t want somebody else’s sons to fight.  If we did everything John McCain wanted we would have invaded Iran in 2009 (remember when he sang, on the campaign trail, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran – to the tune of Barbara Ann?).  We would have military in the ground in the middle of civil wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, the South China Sea, Iran, Georgia (the one of the Black Sea, not the one just north of Florida) and Ukraine.  And kids that is just the ones I remember without googling!  There isn’t a conflict anywhere that John McCain doesn’t fault Obama for not sending the troops into.
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Saying John McCain warned Obama to send troops is like saying gays think Cristian Renaldo is cute.  Always correct and nearly always beside the point.
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So, I stopped reading David Brooks – because the Col Krusty sits in his comfortable office chair and is always sad more young Americans aren’t being killed in a war we can stop – and I turn to the Arts Section (no stop at Sports since Game Five is on tonight and UCLA is on summer break) and I stumble on A.O. Scott reviewing a new Guy Pierce movie.  It is clear from the get go that he hates it, but is going to have fun with the review.  Listen to this opening… “The Rover,” David Michôd’s new film, takes place in Australia 10 years after an unspecified event called the Collapse, which has left everyone in a bad mood and catastrophically short of shaving supplies.
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Ahhh.  Scott is going to have fun with this (A.O. Scott, but me too).  He discusses Robert  Patterson’s role of “Rey” thusly - Rey’s presence situates “The Rover” awkwardly between fable and buddy picture. He may not be as dumb as he at first appears, but at the same time, it’s hard to tell much about him, given Mr. Pattinson’s curious accent (Kentucky? Cajun? Tongue-tied vampire?) and his incessant twitching. Mr. Pearce, in contrast, is all stoical stillness, and watching his actions turns the movie into a not entirely unengaging guessing game.
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I now have a desire to see it, and a desire not to see it.  Because it cannot be as humorous as Mr. Scott’s review.

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