Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You. . .

And remember, this is what the publicist says about the book:

Now, in the stories of Hot Pink,Charles Levin delivers nine smaller worlds, snow-globes of overweight romantics, legless prodigies, quixotic dollmakers, textbook lovers, dirty old men, insecticidal fathers, nervous comedians, angry mimes, and a dumptruck covered with balloons—all shaken together, colliding and embracing. Told with Levin’s unique blend of love and violence, slapstick humor and tender courtship, abstract semiotics and karate chops, Hot Pink is the work of a major talent in his sharpest form.

November 22, 2011

For Dallas Areans of a certain age, November 22 will always bring poignant memories. Even if you don’t believe that John F. Kennedy’s murder was a fateful  hinge point of history and that nothing was ever good again after he died, it’s hard to avoid speculating about how things might have gone had he lived–or, had Lee Harvey Oswald actually been tried for the crime. What if, for example, a Dallas policeman had not urged Jack Ruby to buy a gun a few years before the assassination? I wrote about that question here. 

I first wrote about the assassination in November of 1983, the 20th anniversary, and now the 50th looms into view. Where has the time gone?  But in those decades I’ve never been able to persuade myself that JFK was killed by Castro, angry Texas oilmen, LBJ lackies, the Mafia, rogue elements of the CIA, etc. And reading Vincent Bugliosi’s marvelous book, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John. F. Kennedy a few years ago made me all the more a non-conspiracy buff.

Anyone still harboring conspiracy beliefs should read just one chapter of that book in which the author dissects the major conspiracy claims–I believe there are 28 or 32–and shows why each fails to hold up. I’ve discussed my admiration for the book here.

In Wake of Penn State, Beware of Collective Guilt

NY Timesman Joe Nocera is just one of many now claiming that Penn State should forego bowl games, cancel the next football season, or abolish its football program altogether in the wake of the Sandusky Shame. My mental clay’s still wet on that one,  but in the early going I’ve got to confess some unease at the notion of collective guilt being tossed around here.

Punish the horse-playing Sandusky if he’s proven guilty? You bet. Toss the school’s president and the sainted JoePa? Okay. But as my dozens of readers know, I’ve always had a problem with blaming entire classes of people for the actions of a relative few. Blame all blacks for the black criminal class? Blame all Muslims for the Islamo-jihadist fringe? Blame all Tea Partiers for the racism of a few? It doesn’t seem right.

Already, the Penn State shame has gotten mashed up with two other worthwhile subjects: The alleged overemphasis on sports in America, a complaint not limited to wives on Sunday afternoons; and the absurd fiction of the “scholar-athlete” at places like Penn State, UT-Austin, and other football factories. Both topics deserve brow-furrowing, but they’re not synonymous with what happened in Happy Valley.

Veteran’s Day Through the Years

TWO YEARS AGO ON MUSE MACHINE:

Fort Hood Shooter: Can We at Least Walk to Judgment?

Early thoughts about the Fort Hood gunman. . .  of course, we know a lot more about him now. . . and two years later, this monster is still sitting there awaiting trial, burning up more taxpayer money, and, maddeningly, still bearing his “Major” title. Does that mean, I hate to ask, that he’s still drawing a military salary?

THREE YEARS AGO ON MUSE MACHINE:

Veteran’s Day: How We Can Help

Of course veterans deserve our gratitude. If you want to turn gratitude into action, here are more than a dozen ways to help.


A Kinder View of Perry Brain-Freeze

Okay, in the interest of fairness (Again with the fairness, just when we were having fun?), here’s a much more charitable view than I offered Wednesday night when Rick Perry, stern foe of bloated government, couldn’t remember which part of the BG he wanted to axe. From a reader’s comment to a sympathetic James Fallows:

Mitt Romney has been running for years. Having repeated every issue numerous times, I doubt he will ever stumble or appear to be groping for words. Rick Perry, although on the national stage for awhile, has only been running for president for a few months. My guess is that he thinks he’s up on the issues and that he’s learned them adequately. But I suspect his lapse was due to the not being on the campaign trail long enough.

The full and fair Fallows piece is here. But, duty discharged, I have to say I lean more toward the analysis of Matt Bai in the NY Times:

What’s really missing from Mr. Perry’s campaign — the vacuum that was exposed in the debate — isn’t smoothness or intellect, but a sense that the man is clear on what the moment demands. It underlies the lingering sense that Mr. Perry is running chiefly because he saw an opening he could exploit, rather than having spent much time thinking about what ails the country and what to do about it.

 I like Bai’s reasoning  (full piece here) not only because it seems correct, but because it  echoes something I wrote weeks ago when Perry first tossed his hand-tooled Tony Lamas into the ring: Perry’s candidacy is more opportunistic than anything else, more an attempt to exploit (what then seemed to be) Obama’s weakness than a well-grounded analysis of what he, Perry, could bring to the party.

Perry, as I wrote, may have been thinking that Old Ugly Beats Old Nothing every time. Alas for him, Perry has turned out to be Old Ugly for sure, but he teeters on the brink of being Old Nothing as well.

Clownish Rick Perry Self-Destructs in CNBC Debate

Unbelievable. I’ve been watching these “debates” for 30 years and I have never seen a more moronic, clownish, brain-dead moment for a candidate than I just saw two minutes ago.

Perry starts out to name the three federal government departments he will abolish as soon as he gets to D. C.–and after naming two, he can’t remember the third. That’s how passionate and focused he is on shrinking government–he can’t remember what he wants to kill.  He’s given another chance. Can’t remember..is it the…uh…EPA? No, not the EPA. It’s the uh…uh…people are laughing and smirking.

Prediction: Perry numbers drop by half this week; he’s out of the race before Thanksgiving. What a bozo.