One down, two to go

Precisely no one is shocked as John Edwards finally admits the affair that the mainstream media couldn’t bring itself to report back when it actually mattered:

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday admitted to an extramarital affair while his wife was battling cancer. He denied fathering the woman’s daughter. Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter but said that he didn’t love her.

Clearly he lied about love, which is no crime. Or, not-love, I suppose. Whatever, won’t people stop harassing this poor man? He’s not an important public figure like Joel Osteen’s wife, Christie Brinkley, or Britney Spears, he gave up being a major Democratic Party candidate for President MONTHS ago! You’d think a man whose wife was dying would get some respect for his privacy.

1. John Edwards admits an affair with Rielle Hunter. CHECK
2. John Edwards confesses to fathering Rielle Hunter’s child.
3. John Edwards changes his name to Jeanette, co-adopts Rielle Hunter’s child with Razor Ramon HG.

Now, what was that about the reliability of the National Enquirer versus the mainstream media again? It seems to me the evidence suggests we may need to rethink our dismissal of all those bizarre reports about bat children and aliens. And I wonder how long after the election it will take for all the true stories about Obama to find their way out to the public… assuming Hillary doesn’t find a way to put them out there first.

Pity we can’t discuss the sporting event

Since there’s so little else going on elsewhere in the world:

Russia sent troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today, vowing to protect its citizens in a move described by Tbilisi’s pro-Western government as an act of war. A South Ossetian rebel minister said that more than 1,000 people had been killed in overnight shelling of the city of Tskhinvali, the separatist capital which Georgia claimed today to have captured.

Looks like the Russian reboot process may be coming to an end. I know there were some Soviet defectors who claimed that the end of the Soviet Union was little more than a KGB-run operation to shuffle things around and free itself from the shackles of Communist ideology while convincing the West that the totalitarian beast was dead.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense, given the declining demographics, but perhaps Putin and company have a plan to address that too. You know what I’m thinking: clone army!

Equality Day conspiracy theories

Byron York postulates a scenario:

[L]ook at it this way: Hillary Clinton speaks to the convention on Women’s Equality Day, amid a big celebration of the role of women in the Democratic Party, and everyone is feeling good about how inclusive they are — and then, just hours after celebrating the right of women to vote, the convention denies a vote to the millions of women who supported Hillary Clinton? How’s that gonna work? Might it be that the fortuitous occasion of Women’s Equality Day will actually create pressure for a floor vote?

I had no idea there was a Women’s Equality Day, my impression was that every day was supposed to be Women’s Equality Day. Of course, one wonders what the purpose is, now that women have achieved the equality of a) being able to have a man stripped of his possessions and kicked out of his house on the mere basis of her accusation of domestic violence, and, b) being permitted to shoot dead a sleeping man without lasting legal consequences.

But this makes Hillary’s path to the Presidency clear. She can pull this thing out even more easily than York suggests by arranging for a private conference with Obama at his house, then calling the police, telling them that she’s his wife and accusing him of hitting her. Obama gets hauled off to jail in handcuffs before the real story gets straightened out, the flash bulbs go off and his race is ended before reaching Denver. How could America possibly vote for the man who hit Hillary?

Alternatively, she can just wait until it’s confirmed that he’s not eligible for the presidency due to his fake Certificate of a Consular Birth Abroad. That would work too.

Krauthammer sums it up very well indeed: “The Italian Communist party could win this election. The American Democratic party is trying its best to lose it.

If I were a Democratic strategist, I’d be thinking very, very hard about out how to get Obama off the ballot at or before the convention. If he’s this close to McCain in the polls after 18 months of nothing but favorable press, I think he’s in very serious trouble. Remember, at this point, Michael Dukakis was 16 points ahead. Moreover, the idea that Obama would crush McCain in the debates has pretty much vanished thanks to more idiotic off-the-cuff remarks in the last six weeks than Dan Quayle made in his entire political career.

Of pseudos and the Peloponnesus

David Brooks writes an uncharacteristically funny column in the New York Times:

All my life I’ve been a successful pseudo-intellectual, sprinkling quotations from Kafka, Epictetus and Derrida into my conversations, impressing dates and making my friends feel mentally inferior. But over the last few years, it’s stopped working. People just look at me blankly. My artificially inflated self-esteem is on the wane. What happened?

It’s quite amusing; I particularly liked his concept of the early discarder. I have to confess that I’ve always been somewhat mystified by the concept of an intellectual vogue since I like what I like and it doesn’t trouble me at all that some of my favorite writers, formerly names often heard dropped by the sort of meme lords Brooks mocks, are now passe. There are few things I despise more than a pretense that one has experience of things that one actually has not; it’s amazing how much posery one inadvertantly uncovers merely by happening to live in Europe.

Do tell me again how very European it is to live in Quebec, mon ami….

Spacebunny is always amused when women of a certain age and income level are so good as to tell her what Italy is like, based on the two weeks they spent three summers ago traversing Florence, Venice, and the Cinque Terre. I once nearly had to kick a guest out of our house when he furiously insisted that as an experienced international businessman, he did too know how to make European phone calls, the fact that every time he tried to dial a hotel in Venice he reached someone who spoke only German notwithstanding.

It’s certainly pleasant to know things, but knowledge doesn’t actually make you a better person. Everyone is ignorant of many things, since it’s not possible to be a true polymath in the Age of Information. For all my extensive knowledge of World of Warcraft and Age of Conan, I don’t know much about Vanguard – which is fine – or Everquest – which is not – or Ultima Online – which is really reprehensible. I’m also shockingly ignorant of American Idol and a whole host of pop cultural items, but to be honest, with regards to this sort of thing there’s a good case to be made that ignorance is bliss. I certainly wouldn’t sneer at those who don’t keep up on the state of NFL salary caps, unless, of course, they’re trying to tell me that the Jets are going to keep Chad Pennington and Brett Favre. And I don’t care if Hesse has been out of fashion since the ’70s, I love his novels anyways.

But if it’s pleasurable to be a quote-spewing pseudo-intellectual, it’s even more pleasurable to puncture their pretensions of knowing that which they pretend to know. For example, I would guess that for every 20 people who bring up Euthyphro in a discussion about morality, only one has actually read it… and only one in one hundred of those who have read it understood it well enough to recognize what a dishonest sham it is. That being said, my experience in the response to my last novel has taught me that from the writer’s perspective, it’s more important to create the illusion of brilliance than to create something genuinely brilliant* on a wavelength that no reader can reasonably be expected to detect. I expect the more alert regulars will understand the implications of this lesson….

Speaking of non-pseudos, it is my pleasure to declare that the following individuals have demonstrated that they do actually know their Thucydides and may henceforth feel free to drop quotes from The History of the Peloponnesian War in very good conscience. The three individuals named in bold merit particular distinction as Grand Thucydideans, as they tied for the high score on the final at 96 percent. DocBrown also merits GT status as the Most Valuable Commenter throughout the course of our collaborative reading.


*I’m not claiming to have written anything brilliant; it’s not for me to judge. But no one can have judged that aspect of Wrath at all, as said wavelength has remained undetected to this point.

**John scored 23/25 but was awarded an extra point for catching my error in conflating Demosthenes and Nicias in the question about “the brilliant Athenian general” on the final.