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  1. lonecat commented on Henry Payne about 7 hours ago

    If I’m right, it’s more than a mixed metaphor. One of the functions of ideology, in some accounts, is to mask contradictions. Here there is a fundamental contradiction in conservative ideology, because many conservatives idealize a certainly simplicity of the past (as they imagine it) and they also desire the consumer capitalism of the present. Whatever the Puritans were, they weren’t consumer capitalists. But Payne’s cartoon links these two as if they could somehow be compatible.

  2. lonecat commented on Jerry Holbert about 8 hours ago

    Just about everyone is a moral relativist one way or another. Most people, for example, believe that killing another person is wrong in some situations but not wrong in other situations. So the morality of killing is relative to the situation. So I don’t pay much attention to people who get all bothered by moral relativism.

    It does bother me, however, that some of the people who got upset about Mr. Clinton’s extramarital sex were themselves engaged in extramarital sex. That’s not moral relativism, that’s hypocrisy.

  3. lonecat commented on Jerry Holbert about 14 hours ago

    Because actually no other politician has ever engaged in extramarital sex. In fact, nobody has ever done that. Ever. Just Mr. Clinton. So it made a lot of sense to stop the government and turn the nation’s business over to investigating blue dresses and cigars. It just proves how serious the Republicans are about serving the public good.

  4. lonecat commented on Jeff Danziger about 15 hours ago

    I don’t think he has motives, he has impulses.

  5. lonecat commented on Views of the World about 17 hours ago

    See, here’s the thing: this is an imaginary problem. Many immigrants when they first come retain some of their home culture — and we are often the richer for it. Think of Jewish culture in New York city, and how it has extended into general American culture. It’s particularly evident in comedy. But also think of the influence of Jewish immigrants on the American novel. But then the next generations gradually fade into the general culture, without becoming “just like the rest of us”. There’s a good illustration of this process in one of Vladimir Nabokov’s great novels, “Pnin”, particularly Chapter Five, which deals with Russian immigrants. Another interesting example is all the Jewish jazz musicians, going back to Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, and Italian jazz musicians, like Jerry Bergonzi and Joe Lovano. Have you ever been to Little Italy in Boston or New York? There’s no need to get all bothered about immigration, it’s always going on and it always works out.

  6. lonecat commented on Clay Bennett about 18 hours ago

    Elegant. His cartoons are always a delight.

  7. lonecat commented on Henry Payne about 18 hours ago

    Yes, but sometimes even an inferior effort can be ideologically revealing. For instance, I think we can see here a certain tension or contradiction in conservative thought (of course there can be contradictions in liberal thought, as well). On the one hand, many conservatives want to link themselves to some kind of imagined story of the past, and on the other hand, they are devoted to a kind of consumer economics which conflicts with that image of the past. Payne is often interesting because he doesn’t try very hard to cover over such contradictions. A more sophisticated artist (I think of Norman Rockwell) can do a better job of hiding the contradictions.

  8. lonecat commented on Henry Payne about 19 hours ago

    An interesting mishmash of ideological icons. The story of the pilgrims and the Indians tells us that we don’t need to feel bad about the way the settlers treated the indigenous people; and somehow the story of the pilgrims is linked to modern consumerism in its worst form.

  9. lonecat commented on Signe Wilkinson 3 days ago

    So we should give up?
    Here are some things that have helped: social security, child labor laws, health and safety regulations, labor unions, unemployment insurance, public education, federal deposit insurance. Here are two more things that could help more: a real universal health insurance program, and a guaranteed employment program.

  10. lonecat commented on Jeff Stahler 3 days ago

    It goes without