"You're a funny man, Sully ...

that's why I'm going to kill you last."


Saturday, July 03, 2004


Via Sadly, No! (Happy Birthday, Seb!) we found this entertaining post by August Pollack on how Jackass is not a documentary but a description of the person claiming it is:

I have a film degree, and Andrew Sullivan is a hack blowhard. Guess what, Andy? You don’t get to declare a film a documentary because you think a documentary means “filming people doing stuff.” You see, it’s kind of the definition of “genre.” This is kind of one of the fundamentals of filmmaking I learned while at NYU ... things mean stuff.

The key is in AMPAS Rule 12.

posted by Sully 7/03/2004 08:47:00 AM


Matt Yglesias over at TAPped has a harder look at that Marine’s Post-bashing:

Johnson glosses Chandrasekaran’s pernicious meta-narrative thusly: “Basically, that the Americans are clumsy fools who don’t know what they're doing, and Iraqis hate them.” The fact is, though, that if you look at the polling data from Iraq — including the CPA’s own polls — the Iraqis do hate their American occupiers. What’s more, they didn’t always hate them, so what are we supposed to infer other than that clumsy and foolish policies have contributed to the hatred?


Meta-translation: Things are great in Iraq, only the media won’t tell you how great things are because it’s too dangerous out there for reporters to travel and get the real story. But how good could the good news possibly be if to gather it you need to go places where it’s not safe to go?


[T]here’s no hope of improving our Iraq policy as long as the country is ruled by people who insist on viewing the situation as a public relations problem rather than a policy one.

Because that’s how conservatives give the game away that, at heart, they’re far more serious postmodernists than Stanley Fish or Jean Baudrillard could have ever dreamed of, viewing politics and power as a perpetual play of perceptions, nothing more, nothing less, than whether one takes the red or blue pills.

posted by Sully 7/03/2004 01:24:00 AM


OK. Now where were we?

It was actually salutary to not even look at anyone’s blog, much less the Internet, for five whole days. Well, four, given all the catching up we had to do this afternoon to resume blogging tonight.

And what we got was a nice understanding, which we haven’t had in a while, of how Sullivan’s mind works on a particular problem — in this case Jack Ryan. Jo Fish has a nice take on all this:

Sullivan misses the whole point about Jeri and that most vital of words ... consent. You know as in consensual, kind of like the relationship a certain president and an intern had. Consensual. Maybe not ethical, but certainly consensual. Well, Jack tried to make Jeri (according to her) do things she did not want to do. Repeatedly. Which got him in trouble with the whole consent thing.


Perhaps he’s wishing that Jack had taken him clubbing instead ... I have a feeling that Sullivan could have both given lessons and and introduced Ryan to most of his friends. Then written a paean about the joys of healthy intra-republican sex.

What was that nasty word from the Derbyshire Article he quoted? The one that describes what just happened to Sullivan’s argument? It went “poof”?

and Roger Ailes catches Sullivan’s hypocrisy today (with an assist from Michelangelo Signorile)

But there’s still more to this issue, of course.

First, Sullivan conveniently fails to remember — in fact, he’s probably not even aware since it didn’t happen in Iraq — of the Ryan campaign’s aborted project of having a campaign aide follow Obama around with a camcorder constantly to try to find gaffes they could trip him up with.

Does Captain Bareback not consider this behavior somewhat intrusive?

For the past 10 days, U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama hasn’t been able to go to the bathroom or talk to his wife on his cell phone without having a camera-toting political gofer from his Republican rival filming a few feet away.

In what has to be a first in Illinois politics, Republican Jack Ryan has assigned one of his campaign workers to record every movement and every word of the state senator while he is in public.

That means Justin Warfel, armed with a handheld Panasonic digital camcorder, follows Obama to the bathroom door and waits outside. It means Warfel follows Obama as he moves from meeting to meeting in the Capitol. And it means Warfel tails Obama when he drives to his campaign office.

“It’s standard procedure to record public speeches and things like that,” Obama told reporters as the bald, 20-something operative filmed away. “But to have someone who's literally following you a foot and a half away, everywhere you go, going into the restrooms, standing outside my office, sitting outside of my office asking my secretary where I am, seems to be getting a little carried away.”

Indeed, he would have had company, and not just on Obama’s side of the political fence.

Some senior Republicans were turned off by the tactic.

“I don’t care if you’re in public life or who you are,” Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenville) said. “You deserve your space, your privacy. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

But Ryan’s people were undeterred.

But Jason Miller, Ryan’s campaign manager, insisted Obama’s public movements are fair game and the point is to make sure Obama doesn’t contradict himself with his public statements.

“If he’s having a phone conversation, then Justin is not trying to tap into the conversation or record what he is saying or something like that,” Miller said. “He’s monitoring because you never know when ... a reporter comes up and starts asking questions.”

Now it’s a huge leap, understandably, from a candidate’s public appearances and actions to the private details of sexual allegations as revealed in child-custody cases, which as we all know can and do get ugly. But certainly one has to see adolescent stunts like this as opening the door somewhat to payback.

More recently, Sullivan has indulged in exactly the sort of churlish connection-is-causation conspiracy theorizing he deplores in Michael Moore’s work when he points darkly to the fact that [X-Files theme] a former director of the Tribune Corporation had a son who lost to Ryan in the primary[/X-Files theme].

We can’t recollect whether Sullivan has ever been one of those neocons who pooh-poohed suggestions that Richard Perle had some sort of outsized influence on the Bush Administration’s foreign policy because he was only a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, but it would be interesting here if he had.

Now, if The Blog Queen had bothered to click on the link offered on the Trib profile to, say, the actual results of the primary, he’d see that McKenna finished a distant fourth in a crowded field, last among the serious candidates, his 14.7 percent of the vote less than half of what Ryan got. Somehow we doubt that the senior McKenna would feel so outraged by that result he’d call his former buddies at the Trib and say “GET RYAN!” (A more plausible explanation here is that the Illinois GOP establishment resented Ryan, a political novice, for basically buying the nomination over their preferred guy, Steve Rauschenberger. Word might have gotten out about what might be in those papers, and someone might have grumbled to the media, hoping to pull the pin on the grenade before November and the very likely loss of a Republican Senate seat to a Democrat. It’s not like Denny Hastert enjoys being Tom DeLay’s bitch, after all).

And why lay this whole thing on the Trib’s doorstep? WLS-TV in Chicago was the co-plaintiff. Did someone on Disney’s board want Ryan’s ass?

Sullivan terms the Trib’s defense “specious” but then doesn’t bother to say why. Probably because, as the Trib points out:

In Cook County, there were more than 191,000 domestic relations cases filed from 1999 to 2003. Only 32 of those cases were sealed from public view. If you sought a divorce in Cook County, or just about anywhere else in the nation, chances are your records are wide open to scrutiny by anyone — friends, neighbors, reporters. You cannot have them closed to scrutiny.

In other words, public scrutiny is the rule rather than the exception. The editorialist’s point that increased secrecy in courts, even in sensitive domestic cases, inevitably invites abuse on behalf of politically powerful patrons finds support in this federal case from Connecticut, courtesy of Indiana Law Blog, in which a secret docketing system assured certain persons coming before the courts that no record would exist that they had even filed cases.

(In fairness, the Trib is not entirely correct concerning the universal openness of divorce records. Had the Ryans divorced in New York, the Trib would have been rebuffed).

It’s no surprise that Sullivan, whose concept of privacy has never grasped the notion that one must take reasonable steps to preserve it, that others must be deferential and look the other way from things like personal ads on the Internet, can’t grasp this. We’d also add that if he’s so in favor of marriage, doesn’t the possibility of disclosure of details of one’s intimate life in a divorce or custody proceeding provide a strong incentive to take a marriage seriously and keep it together? How can that be a bad thing for that institution? Or at least to make a divorce as amicable and family-friendly as possible (note that most of these things come out of contested divorces or custody fights, which generate far more paper than dissolutions or amicable ones).

UPDATE: Logan Circle Guy addresses these same issues and adds:

I think it would be really funny, actually, to watch Andrew lead a charge to inform the public about the sex lives of journalists. It would at least keep him off the streets.

For once it’s our turn to say “Meow” about something someone else has said.

posted by Sully 7/03/2004 12:03:00 AM

Monday, June 28, 2004


Sullivan's predictable mutterings about Fahrenheit 9/11 aren't as significant as the fact that he made a big to-do a couple of days ago about refusing to see it in the first place. Oh well, any way Moore gets his royalties ...

Also, he totally missed the point in referring to Ryan's "consensual adult sex." It was not the sex but the consent that was precisely the issue; Jeri refused to give hers to what he wanted to do.

posted by Sully 6/28/2004 03:55:00 AM


For most of this week, blogging may be light if it happens at all.

It just so happens that the two-year anniversary of us starting this falls during a period of time in which we will have other concerns. We are not sure yet if they will preclude being able to do this. We're not optimistic.

So, we hate to sound like Sullivan but it sure would be nice to mark the occasion by using the little white box at the right and making a gift.

In short, we are asking you for some money at a time of year when ... we'd probably be doing it anyway.

Please. We don't like to make the sort of constant reminders Sullivan does, but this is one of those times.

posted by Sully 6/28/2004 03:23:00 AM

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