Glenn’s blog, one of the most read in the world, lead to a book called “How Would a Patriot Act?” released in May, 2006. Glenn has written for American Conservative magazine and appeared on a variety of television and radio programs, including C-Span's "
DaRK PaRTY caught up with Glenn shortly after the mid-term elections to discuss the last six years of the Bush administration, 9/11, and the war in
DaRK PaRTY: After 9/11 you were a big supporter of President Bush and the War on Terror, including the invasion of
Glenn: The first event which caused me to begin seriously questioning the administration's wisdom and motives was the lawless detention of Jose Padilla, the
The invasion of
DP: The invasion of
Glenn: It is not accurate to say that I supported the war at first. Howard Dean was the first political candidate to whom I ever donated money and that was in 2002 and the beginning of 2003, when he was, far and away, the most vocal and aggressive advocate against the invasion.
I was ambivalent about the war, but ultimately accepted the administration's claims that there was no doubt that (a) Saddam had chemical and biological weaopns and (b) had an active nuclear program. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, believing that such a massive fraud -- they were so categorical that he possessed WMDs -- was beyond their capacity to perpetrate.
I lived in
DP: As a lawyer, you have great insight and respect for the rule of law. In your book "How Would a Patriot Act?" you eloquently argue that the Bush administration has violated the tenets of the Constitution. What do you think have been the administration's biggest abuses?
Glenn: The detention of U.S. citizens (not just Padilla, but also Yaser Esam Hamdi) with no trial, combined with the administration's claim (which they still maintain) that they have the power, is probably the single most severe betrayal of our country's principles that one can fathom. That is a power which not even the British King possessed, at least not since the Magna Carta.
But the greatest abuse is the administration's general theory of executive power -- that the President has the unilateral and unconstrained power to act in all areas relating to defense of the country, which includes both foreign and U.S. soil, against both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and that nothing -- not the American people through their Congress nor the courts applying the law -- can constrain him in any way. That is the defining power of a King. It is what the founders waged war and created a Constitution in order to prevent. And it is the power that this administration not only argues it possesses, but has exercised aggressively and enthusiastically in numerous ways.
DP: What do you think it says about the character of the
Glenn: I don't think Americans are particularly aware of the true nature of the administration's conduct, in large part because the media has so profoundly failed in its role to inform them.
The NSA wiretapping scandal was never presented as what it was -- a law-breaking scandal, a scandal about whether the President has the power to act outside of the law -- but rather as a scandal about whether the President should be able to eavesdrop on terrorists without court approval. The Padilla case was barely talked about at all; I guarantee most Americans are unaware that the Bush administration has imprisoned
The founders envisioned that citizens would stay informed about what their government was doing by an adversarial media, which would expose governmental deceit and inform citizens if things were going awry with their government. For numerous reasons, many systematic, the media simply do not do that and, as a result, Americans are largely uninformed about the truly radical nature of this administration. Nonetheless, Americans have come to the conclusion on their own that the President is dishonest and corrupt, and that is why his popularity has collapsed and, with this last election, so, too, has his presidency.
DP: You write one of the most read political blogs in the country "
Glenn: I began reading blogs during the run-up to the war, in 2002, and found that the blogosphere was the only place where truly critical thinking and informative analysis could be found. Most of the mainstream media was enthralled to the President and his chest-beating war rhetoric. It made them feel strong and safe and powerful, and in exchange, they sacrificed their critical faculties in order to be accepted by this war movement.
The blogosphere was borne out of dissatisfaction with media punditry, and so bloggers were, by definition, more forceful and critical thinkers. The highest level political debates were unquestionably taking place in the blogosphere, and I began my blog in order to participate in those discussions. It is hard to quantify the influence of blogs in turning the public against the war, but blogs clearly play a significant role in keeping the media honest, in forcing them to be critical of government claims and not mindlessly convey information given to them from their favorite sources in the government. More critical reporting by the media of the war effort -- "critical" in both senses of the word - is, more than anything, what led Americans to realize just how duped they were and just how destructive this invasion and occupation has been.
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Summary: While talking a stroll about
He’s often dismissed as a second-rate scribbler of horror stories and adventure tales for children. He suffered greatly under the withering gaze of literary icon Virginia Woolf – who publicly disparaged his works during the height of her fame.
But there’s been a reconsideration of Stevenson as a master of the neo-romanticism movement that sprung up in
It’s difficult to read “Jekyll and Hyde” with a clean slate – the characters are so infused into modern society that a reader would have had to have grown up in a vacuum cleaner not to have formed some kind of impression of the characters (see: Legends of Literature Part 2).
But despite the movies, comic books, plays, parodies and TV melodramas (even the children’s show “Arthur” had an episode based on the story), the novella amazingly retains its freshness.
Stevenson is a beautiful writer – much to Woolf’s chagrin. He isn’t flowery, however, preferring a concise, direct style and relying on good old fashioned verbs and nouns to tell the story. The results, while too straight-forward for the esoteric Woolf, are vivid portraits and strong characterizations. Take this narrative from Mr. Enfield:
“Street after street, and all the folks asleep – street after street, all lighted up as if for a procession and all as empty as a church – till at last I got into that state of mind when a man listens and listens and begins to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once, I saw two figures: one little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sire the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner: and then cam the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left here screaming on the ground.”
This “little man,” of course, is Mr. Hyde. That may be the biggest surprise in the story: the crafty, evil doppelganger known as Mr. Hyde is a dwarf. A twisted and deformed dwarf, but nothing like the lurching giant that he is often portrayed as in film.
While disguised as a supernatural horror story, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is actually an indictment on Victorian morals. We told from the point of view of his close-friend, Mr. Utterson, that Dr. Jekyll is an intelligent, kind-hearted man who is well-respected as he moves into middle age. But in actuality, Dr. Jekyll is bored, frustrated, and exhausted by his propriety.
And that leads the good doctor to his basement laboratory to experiment with mind-altering chemicals, powders, and potions. There he discovers not only a way to unleash his primal urges, but in way that protects his reputation and identity. He has the perfect alibi because he has become another person – Mr. Hyde.
Stevenson, of course, was prevented from telling his readers in detail what Mr. Hyde did on his midnight excursions to the seedy parts of London – but one imagines lots of alcohol, opium, gambling, and sex with prostitutes. Dr. Jekyll is seduced by this lifestyle, until it overcomes him and his urges become so debased that he turns to brutality and murder.
Stevenson’s truly a delight, but often overlooked by serious readers. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is certainly worth the investment of time – because at about 75 pages it reads more like a short story than a novella. You’ve seen the movies, experienced the legend, so why not get the story from the original source? Especially when it’s so much fun.
DaRK PaRTY: First, let's talk about Shakespeare the man. Mark Twain once compared Shakespeare's biography to putting together a dinosaur from a few scraps of bone adhered together with plaster. What do we really know about the Bard?
Jennifer: Well, Schoenbaum has written an excellent biography, “Shakespeare's Lives,” which is put together with sound scholarship, and which does a fine job of knitting up the existing bones into a pleasant skeleton. We know that Shakespeare was a successful entrepreneur with some acting ability, who cared a good deal about property and money, and left his older wife his second-best bed (probably not a bad inheritance, however it sounds).
He had three pleasant years as a prosperous man in
As T.S. Eliot remarked, if you look for Shakespeare, you will find him not in one of his characters, but in all of them. He is everywhere and nowhere.
DP: What do you think is the biggest misconception about Shakespeare?
Jennifer: In short, that he wasn't himself. I find these various theories, such as the idea that Marlowe was Shakespeare, or, on the other side, that Shakespeare was in fact the Earl of Oxford, or Francis Bacon, or whomever, silly and tiresome. The second biggest misconception -- though you didn't ask -- is that he didn't write any prose, when he was probably the finest prose writer in Renaissance England: for instance, much of “Henry IV” is prose, and “Hamlet,” like many of the plays, shifts between prose and verse in compelling ways, creating a perfect rhythm, a new sound.
DP: As an introduction to Shakespeare which play would you recommend first and why?
Jennifer: That's easy: “Hamlet,” because to my mind, it is not only the greatest play written in English, but the greatest play ever written. From a technical point of view, it also contains a mix of Shakespeare's old style and his new style, falling on the hinge of the 17th Century, and ushering in the wonderful tragedies. And also because you can't read it and help but want to read everything; it's the play that makes you understand, in a way, that, as Eliot put it, 'the whole of Shakespeare's work is one poem'.
DP: Yale professor and literary critic Harold Bloom is fond of saying that Shakespeare created characters more real than living human beings. Which three Shakespearean characters do you consider the most alive and why?
Jennifer: I admire Harold Bloom, and I understand the justness but not the justice of that comment. I would say that it lessens, in a way it oughtn't to, the accomplishment of creating characters as real as human beings, though perhaps inhabiting different realities. That being said, here you are:
Hotspur in “Henry IV,” that brave heart who, with his comedic, choleric temper and his disastrous disregard and dislike for flattery, is a worthy opponent to Hal, and who speaks so real one can hear him talking; Rosalind in “As You Like It,” because, in disguise, she gets to tell inconvenient truths, such as 'Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love'; and Lance, that dog at all things from “Two Gentleman of Verona,” because his mutterings to himself, his clumsiness, and his love of his dog Crab show-- even at the early stages -- Shakespeare's unique ability in creating characters who are both ordinary and extraordinary.
That rich and strange combination is one of the lovely things, to my mind, about literature.
DP: Which three of Shakespeare's plays are your favorites and why?
Jennifer: It is hard for me to rank most of Shakespeare's plays, as I tend to think of them together (excepting “Titus Andronicus,” which has always seemed to me quite crude and which is also likely a collaboration). But to have a good-spirited go at favorites, I would say the following.
“Hamlet:” first for love of the thing; second for he ways in which it gives me pause every time I read or see it; third for its beautiful and generous displays of friendship; and fourth because it is a profound exploration of the many different kinds of realities one can countenance.
“`Of all the things that have happened, [the change in telemarketing rules] had the single largest impact,’ said John Kimball, chief marketing officer for the Newspaper Association of America, an industry trade group.”
Kimball, the deluded sod, is blaming the federal “Do-Not-Call” legislation for circulation loss because, he argues, newspapers have lost the ability to cold call people with circulation offers.
That’s not the problem. The problem is that newspapers have been killing themselves for more than two decades.
I miss my daily newspaper. Oh, the Boston Globe is tossed onto my doorsteps every morning – as it has been for more than 20 years. But it’s an empty shell compared to 10 and 20 years ago.
Most of the effort at the Globe these days seems to go into “Sidekick,” a new tabloid section targeted at young people. Sidekick is “irreverent,” “edgy,” and “hip.” Every day Sidekick seems to feature another photograph of an actress in a low-cut top or a boy band trying to look tough.
Sidekick’s graphic-heavy pages are crowded with Hollywood insider briefs, movie and TV snippets, reader commentary on topics like dating and fashion, music and DVD reviews, and excerpts from the blogs of Globe reporters and editors.
In other words, all the things the Web delivers better, easier, and faster. Yet the Globe continues to entice young Internet users back to the newspaper -- alienating their base of readers clamoring for news.
It might seem like I’m picking on the Globe, but unfortunately, every daily newspapers is facing the same challenges – and responding in the same futile manner. Because despite efforts like Sidekick, circulation for newspapers continues to plummet (newspaper circulation has decreased each year since 1984) and ad sales have been dropping like George W. Bush’s approval ratings.
Yet rather than fall back on their core competencies – reporting, analyzing, and breaking news – newspapers have responded by trying to duplicate TV and the Web. This has meant shorter stories, more photographs and charts, and pandering in young audiences with celebrity gossip and “arts” reporting. In other words, they respond with Sidekick sections.
The biggest problem with newspaper executives is that they think the product is the newspaper. It isn’t. The product is content. The “newspaper” is simply a delivery channel. One of many ways now available to bring content to consumers – such as the Web, RSS, blogs, podcasts, email, and video.
Yet despite having the most vibrant, up-to-date content – newspapers have watched content aggregators like Google and Yahoo make mincemeat out of them. In a time when content is king, newspapers have failed to capitalize on it.
Here are three solutions:
(Welcome to the third installment of literary characters who transcend the page to become true cultural icons. These are the characters that have infused themselves into the culture (music, movies, comic books, games, TV, etc.). They have integrated themselves so deeply into our society that many people have never even read the original books (or comic books) that made them famous -- but are intimately familiar with them anyway.
Children’s Literature & Comic Books
Claim to fame: Whisked away by a tornado to become one of the most endeavoring characters in literature and film
Created by: L. Frank Baum
First appearance: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: A little girl in pigtails with a little dog
Supporting players: Toto, Uncle Henry, Aunt Emily, The Tin Man, The Lion, and The Scarecrow
Enemy: Wicked Witch of the East
Quote: “There’s no place like home!”
Tidbit: In 2000, a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” sold at an auction for $666,000.
Claim to fame: The Dark Knight who has become one of the most recognizable superheroes
Created by: Bob Kane and Bill Finger
First appearance: Detective Comics #27 (comic book)
Appearance in a nutshell: Bat mask with a flowing black cape
Supporting players: Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Albert
Enemy: The Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Two-Face and Riddler
Quote: “A bat! That’s it! It’s an omen. I shall become a bat!”
Tidbit: In the 1954, Psychologist Fredric Wertham asserted in his book “Seduction of the Innocent” that Batman and Robin were gay.
Claim to fame: The boy who never wanted to grow up is now a disorder for single adult men who can’t grow up
Created by: J.M. Barrie
First appearance: Peter Pan and Wendy (play)
Appearance in a nutshell: Green tights and a green cap
Supporting players: Wendy Darling, Tinker Bell
Enemy: Captain Hook
Quote: “I can fly!”
Tidbit: Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop, once said: “I am Peter Pan.”
Claim to fame: He talks to the animals, of course
Created by: Hugh Lofting
First appearance: The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: A chubby doctor with a top hat
Enemy: The African King
Quote: Ah, he talks to the animals
Tidbit: The most famous film adaptation of the book was a 1967 musical starring Rex Harrison as the good doctor
Claim to fame: The Man Steel who is one of the most famous comic book characters of all time
Created by: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
First appearance: Action Comics #1 (comic book)
Appearance in a nutshell: Red cape with an “S” on his chest
Enemy: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Doomsday
Quote: “Up, up and away!”
Tidbit: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Superman fan and his long running series had several references to the Man of Steel.
Claim to fame: The lovable bear who may be the most famous bear in the world
Created by: A.A. Milne
First appearance: Winnie-the-Pooh (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: A gold bear in a red sweater
Supporting players: Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Christopher Robin
Quote: “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”
Tidbit: Author Benjamin Hoff wrote two books about Taoism using the characters from Winnie the Pooh to explain the philosophy of the Eastern religion
Claim to fame: The most beloved superhero of the teen set
Created by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
First appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (comic book)
Appearance in a nutshell: Red and blue costume with spider webs on it.
Supporting players: Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn
Enemy: Dr. Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, Sandman
Quote: “Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman!”
Tidbit: The theme to the Spiderman Saturday morning cartoon has been covered by The Ramones, Aerosmith and Tenacious D
Claim to fame: A puppet that became a little boy
Created by: Carlo Collodi
First appearance: The Adventures of Pinocchio (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: A marionette of a boy with a long stick nose
Supporting players: Geppetto, Blue Fairy, Jiminy Cricket
Quote: “I’m a real boy!”
Tidbit: The Disney film adaptation (1940) has been deemed culturally significant by the Library of Congress
Claim to fame: The girl detective you helped usher in women’s liberation
Created by: Edward Stratemeyer
First Appearance: The Secret of the Old Clock (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: An independent 16-year-old girl
Supporting players: Mr. Drew, Hannah Gruen
Quote: “If worry were an effective weight-loss program, women would be invisible.”
Tidbit: There are 56 books in the first and original Nancy Drew series
Claim to fame: The raging green monster and son of Edward Hyde
Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #1 (comic book)
Appearance in a nutshell: Enormous, green, and muscle bound
Supporting players: Rick Jones, Doc Sampson, Betty Ross Banner
Enemy: The Abomination, Absorbing Man, The Leader, Major Glenn Talbot
Quote: “Don’t get me angry. You won’t like me angry.”
Tidbit: There is an Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios Island of Adventure in
I direct your attention to the front row of the courtroom. Take a good long look, my fellow citizens. Why I’m surprised the inebriated old fool remembered to stagger his way into this fine courthouse this morning. Are you going to take the drunken babblings of this doddering, old stooge, Uncle Billy, as gospel? And isn’t that what it comes down to? My word, as one of the most respected businessmen in
Yes, yes, I know you heard testimony from Bert the Cop that he found the Bailey Building & Loan money locked in my desk. But I can look each and everyone of you in the eye and tell you that when I tucked that newspaper into my drawer, I had no idea that it contained the Building & Loan’s cash deposits.
How could I? Quite frankly, I was emotional distraught after the verbal assault Uncle Billy leveled at me as he barreled into my bank battering me about the face with the very same newspaper. He compared me – Me! The head of the draft board – to the Nazis and the Japs! I was speechless! Shocked and chagrinned!
So when I rolled into my office and tossed that old newspaper in my desk drawer, I had no idea it contained any money. I was as surprised as Bert the Cop when he pulled all that cash out from my desk. But not as surprised as when he violently grabbed me by the lapels and dragged me from my wheelchair to manacle my hands behind my back! Me! A cripple and a respected business leader – arrested like a common thief!
It was mortifying! Mortifying!
And do I really need to address the deceptions put forth by George Bailey? And under oath mind you! I have it under good authority that George Bailey actually profited from this whole experience when the discontented, lazy rabble he calls friends and customers emptied out their piggy banks for him. That braying, spoiled brat Sam Wainwright actually cabled Bailey $25,000! Harrumph!
I remain confounded by the loyalty this town gives to George Bailey, a frustrated, angry, and ungrateful young man.George Bailey hates
Let me tell you about George Bailey. He’s an arrogant, rude man who once sat in my office, smoking my expensive cigars, and called me a “scurvy, little spider.” This from a man who stole his best friend’s girl! A man who used to regularly vandalize the home he now lives in! A man who consorts with people of low morale character!
Think about social circle George Bailey travels in. How about Mr. Martini? A garlic-eater and owner of a disreputable gin mill on the edge of town! Nick the bartender? A violent ruffian with a police record! And let’s talk about Mr. Sam Wainwright. Shall we? A philanderer who lives in
But worst of all may be Violet Bick! An allegedly happily married man like George Bailey is often in the company of this woman of loose moral character! A man who once shouted throughout the town how he wanted to take her skinny dipping! A woman George Bailey is often seen giving large amounts of cash. She’s nothing more than a barroom whore!
Now, now, fair citizens, don’t gasp at me! Do you think George Bailey is the only man Violet hits up for money? That she hasn’t come crawling into my office on her hands and knees begging for my assistance? I may have two useless appendages, but my middle one works fine thank you very much!
What? What? Don’t look at me like that! You think your hero – your Mr. Building & Loan – isn’t getting down on that action? Just because I give the little blond a tap every now and then doesn’t make me a bad man. You think its easy being the town cripple? Huh? Putting up with all your shit? But I got my revenge! Oh, yes. I own this burg! You’re like my… my cattle! Bigger bitches than Violet!
Pottersville! That’s what we should call this shithole! Pottersville!Unhand me, bailiff! Judge! Take your goddamn hands off me! Please! I didn’t do it! I’m innocent!
Wonderful life, my ass!