Archive for September, 2011

The company you keep

In pretty much every election, there’s a theme — sometimes organic, sometimes overlaid by the media and popular perceptions (both of them feeding and feeding off each other). Sometimes the theme has a catchy title like “Hope” or “It’s the economy, stupid,” and other times it’s more of a general, hard-to-describe-exactly feeling.

I’m beginning to wonder if the theme for the upcoming presidential election might be that it’s a referendum not on the candidates, but on their supporters. Rather than people asking themselves and each other if they want to vote FOR a Republican or a Democrat, perhaps they’ll be asking if they want to vote WITH the GOP or the Dems.

I’m thinking of the recent GOP debates, in which the crowd itself has been a big part of the story every time. So far, Republican crowds have cheered for executions, booed a soldier (above), and yelled “let him die!” and “yes!” when asked if someone without health insurance should be refused medical treatment.

Is it too much to hope that voters might ask themselves not only “do I want to vote for Republicans,” but “do I want to vote WITH Republicans”?


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Too much of a good thing

What’s really impressive about this collection of phrases we owe to the Bard of Avon isn’t that it’s got so much stuff in it, but that there’s so much left out. It’s basically a hastily assembled collection by an “English Lit geek,” and yet if it were actually a complete list of one person’s contributions to the English language it would still be really, really impressive. (via English Muse)

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R.E.M. was never my favorite band, and “You Are The Everything” was never my favorite song. But still …

Here’s a scene
You’re in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn’t end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you’ve ever seen
And they’re there for you
For you alone you are the everything

… something about that just grabs me, even more than most of their other songs, most of which I love. Sure, the lyrics can be obtusely weird (“I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my Orange Crush”? What the hell kind of a checklist is that?), and they probably paved the way for a bunch of mediocre alterna-garage-type bands, but for 31 years R.E.M. created fiercely individual music that always challenged, even when they were at the height of their mainstream popularity. They’ll be missed.

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