Monday, February 18, 2013


I have been following online kulturkampf mag Acculturated a while now, but I may have to stop. First there's this new Downton Abbey essay by Ashley E. McGuire -- a servant was sent away for having been knocked up, apparently, and McGuire reacts:
On the one hand, Grantham’s hypocrisy makes me glad for progressive laws that ensure that sexual assault gets prosecuted and that men have to pay, at least financially, when they sire a child. 
On the other hand, it makes me wonder, are things that much better today?
Men are expected to sleep around to be manly. But whereas women were once expected to be pure, now women are expected to sleep around (thanks Hanna Rosin!) to be feminists but still somehow be pure to be desirable.
They do?
Like it or not, virginity in a woman is still very much valued.
It is? Oh hold on, McGuire has evidence:
Nothing exemplifies this better than recent examples of women auctioning off their virginity for absurd sums.
Then I looked at the Acculturated TOC and found an essay called, "One Way to Resurrect Manliness: Everyone, Dress Better!"

I'm genuinely flummoxed. I want to keep making fun of them, but I begin to suspect Acculturated is really an epic internet fraud like Christwire. I'm afraid I'll look silly when they rip the mask off and turn out to be a bunch of Vassar students having a laugh. Come to think of it, I've seen few besides the very dumbest conservatives ever linking to them...

Another bad sign: They do podcasts at Ricochet, an obvious parody site.

Does anyone have the inside story?  Thanks in advance.


  1. MRC21011:09 PM

    Can't vouch for their authenticity but they do seem to be taking the Downton Abbey storyline very, very seriously. I suppose we could point out to them that Lord Grantham's primary concern is appearances and since everyone in town knows that Ethel the maid used to be a hooker (that she's also an unwed mom is not the point), whereas Thomas the valet's sexual orientation is known only within the household, it's the person who's causing the family to lose face who has to leave and the person whose scandal can be hushed up who gets to stay. Or, we could explain to them that this is a TV show, Thomas is one of the better-known and popular characters who can always be relied on to carry a storyline or two and he won't get written out until the fat lady sings because that's how TV shows work. You'd think someone who writes about pop culture would know that.

  2. whetstone11:24 PM

    Parody is generally better crafted than that piece, or at least crafted at all: "Lord Grantham lets him off the hook. Facing jail time–for homosexuality was illegal in those days–Thomas gets off the hook." My editing instincts tell me that Acculturated is the kind of thoughtless incompetence that's the seal of authenticity.

  3. BigHank5311:38 PM

    If you were throwing a huge and elaborate joke, would you invite Ben Domenech?

    1. Anything Ben Domenech is involved in is a huge joke.

  4. Wow, Ricochet is a real trip. If it weren't for the fact that there are some real-deal conservatives with actual reputations on there, I'd call it a Poe for sure. More likely, it's just been massively infiltrated.

    It leads me to a quandary I've been working on for a while. If someone creates a work of satire that is later accepted as sincere by the group it targets, does it remain satire?

  5. Nothing exemplifies this better than recent examples of women auctioning off their virginity for absurd sums.

    "is reality porn really really conservative, or just really conservative?"

  6. BigHank5312:15 AM

    Well, you got me to drag my ass over to their site and read way too much of the crap on it. For example, their mission statement:

    Which contains the following sentences:

    On this blog, we take a good look at pop culture and ask why? Why does pop culture resonate with so many people, and what does that say about the world we live in and the kinds of lives we are living?

    We like being rich. We like being good-looking. We like having fast cars and leather couches and stainless steel kitchen appliances and hot girlfriends with perky tits and boyfriends with big schlongs. We like loud music and parties and hanging out. We like drinking and smoking. We like kids, unless we don't, but either way our tits are still perky and schlongs are still big, and we use them a lot. We like watching things blow up. We like fancy clothes and expensive restaurants and secrets and detectives and doctors and lawyers and sports stars and affairs and jewelry and gossip. We like watching bad things happen to people who deserve it. Jesus fuck, Emily Esfahani Smith, is it that hard to figure out pop culture? It's not like you're having to dig the subtext out of some Borges, is it? How many times d'you need to see a rerun of Big Bang Theory to realize that you've seen everything there is to see there, that it's all surface, the cigar is just a cigar, and Marshall McLuhan's left nut is smarter that you'll ever be?

    If it's a joke, Ms. Smith has been working on the project since at least 2007. She edited The Dartmouth Review in 2009 and from there oozed into the Hoover Institution. This is Andy Kaufman territory, except I don't think he was willing to degrade himself to the point of giving Victor Davis Hanson the following tongue bath:

    I'll put money on real. They haven't been getting links because they're po-faced scolds in their twenties who don't even have the sense to drink while their livers can still take it and get naked while people still want to look at them with the lights on.

  7. Hattie12:38 AM

    In my case it is definitely the appliances.

  8. Spaghetti Lee12:56 AM

    I'd like to see this comment naked with the lights on.

  9. Spaghetti Lee1:09 AM

    OK, I'll cop to being guilty, occasionally, of over-analyzing some pop-culture fluff, but this is just getting absurd. The amount of obsession over this standard issue costume-drama is ridiculous, it's like they've never seen one before. And I'm not really sure how you can get to age 30, have a college degree, and not have read Austen or Bronte or Wharton or anything else that deals with glamorous, ill-behaved aristocrats and their strained relations with the lower class, so that the very concept doesn't leave you breathless and waxing poetic about how significant it is. I don't mind pop-culture analysis, I don't even mind when a conservative tries it, but kee-rist, bring something to the fucking table. You're not the first Big Thinker to stumble upon the virgin-whore complex in fiction, so don't act like it.

  10. bjkeefe1:13 AM

    Welcome to the inaugural Acculturated-Ricochet podcast on pop-culture! In our debut show, Ben Domenech and I interview art historian and
    literary critic Camille Paglia ...

    Imagine if, for some reason, you couldn't get the headphones off ...

  11. Truly, we are living in John Nolte's America. If we can call it living.

  12. But whereas women were once expected to be pure, now women are expected to sleep around (thanks Hanna Rosin!)

    Hanna Rosin's expectations did not have anything to do with my decision to sleep around.

  13. shahbaz shadani2:20 AM

    Latest Updates about Forex, Latest Forex Tips, Currency Exchange Rates, Forex Market Rates updates, Learn Forex Tips Online

  14. Odder2:43 AM

    Yeesh: I'd like to leave a cutting quip, but was raised to be too politely reticent in the face of such blarghsmarm.

  15. Sweet FSM, Domenech and Paglia?!? Will he plagiarize her shallow, recycled pop culture "insights"? Will she opine about Madonna in relation to Ben's favorite flick, Red Dawn? A talk with Paglia, who gives Rand Paul a run for his money in the dumb-people-convinced-they're-brilliant category? (Throw in Jonah and you might as well nuke 'em from orbit – it's the only way to be sure.)

    Headphones, hell – I'm having Clockwork Orange eyes-forced-open nightmares.

  16. If a conservative satire is staged in the woods, and no one laughs at it, will it get a book deal at Regnery?

  17. montag23:19 AM

    Oh, I think two words pretty much answers the question: 1) Ben 2) Domenech.

    Our little Ben is not a creator of satire or parody. It's just not in him. He is, however, a supremely suitable subject for it, given that he has reached a degree of priggishness virtually unheard of in someone of his young years.

    The only way the site could be considered a parody would have been for the creators to have appropriated Domenech's name for the purpose, and I have no doubt that, had they done so, his outraged screeching could be picked up by the Mars lander. The plagiarist never finds humor in having other people's words put in his mouth by anyone other than himself.

    Beyond that, there is a certain theological "how many angels on the head of a pin" self-absorption and self-congratulatory masturbation to the writing that strikes me as authentically loopy. I'd be happy to be wrong, but, lard help me, I don't think they're spoofing.

    If they are, they are really, really, really good at it, and no one should feel badly about being suckered by such greatness.

  18. There's nothing wrong with over-analyzing pop culture. It can be fun.

    Let me repeat that: it can be fun. It should not be used as a tool through which to desperately attempt to scry the future path of your ailing political party.

  19. Precisely. The Onion fools people because it's crafted like a real news source. It looks and sounds like one. You can't just slap that shit together.

    Conversely, you can slap together a bunch of trite but sincere pablum. Witness: the entirety of rightwing blogging.

  20. When you spend decades in that loopy space they've created for themselves, ideas that were once patently absurd begin, in context, to seem reasonable. I'm reminded of that recent French adaptation of Sleeping Beauty that starts out with nymphs bathing naked in a pond and ends with me not knowing if it's a fantasy movie or if it was all a metaphor in the first place. I'm not sure where I was going with this.

  21. Kordo4:03 AM

    I dunno. Between the VDH epic and the REALLY involved Lady Gaga deconstruction and the general breathless fascination with fairy tales about Ladyships and Manly Lords ... seems too easy. Having said that, she can stand the regular company of Ben Domenech, and in what I could stand of the podcast, I didn't hear her laugh in Paglia's face, so maybe she's legit.

    ".. she was editor of the Dartmouth Review."

    A quick browse of that sight did not impress, but perhaps standards have lapsed since her departure.

  22. Pope Zebbidie XIII4:27 AM

    Let's return to the naked nymphs and continue from there shall we?

  23. nanute6:01 AM

    Is that you Meghan?

  24. smut clyde6:21 AM

    If a tree falls over in the woods and claims to be a victim of liberals, does it get interviewed on PJMedia?

  25. aimai7:32 AM

    Two words for y'all: Poop Ship. As Athenae just pointed out at first draft CNN spent upwards of 50 thousand dollars to be "first" to cover the listing Poop Ship and its fecal horrors--and it "paid off" in high ratings for the entire day.

    Shall Acculturated not stoop to conquer? Asking why these people choose to focus on something like Downton Abbey is like asking why people eat icecream--because they like to, because its easy, because its popular. That's the whole point.

    As for Downton Abbey itself I think you are all missing the point there too. What is appealing about Downton Abbey is that it emulates a long ago, statelier time in being indescribably boring. Its shot in slow motion as well as slow focus. Every disaster is telegraphed for you weeks, even months, in advance. You have plenty of time to prepare yourself. Its basically Telletubbies for people who are obsessed with wealth, power, and sex. You can park yourself, grandma, or a toddler in front of it and know that for an hour or so the characters will throw their arms up and giggle peacefully, no one's senses will be overwhelmed with words or facts or anything much. They've stripped it down to people's basic issues and dressed it up with lots of frills and removed it far enough from us that if it agitates you you can always say "but now we have the vote" or 'the war is long over" or "people don't die of that anymore."

  26. BigHank537:32 AM

    Good Lord, you'll learn nothing from The Dartmouth Review's web site. Try the Wikipedia page:

    Short version: it's a significant boarding station for the wingnut gravy train. There's one editor-in-chief every year, and I doubt it's a position you can get by just walking in off the street.

  27. Jeff R7:40 AM

    I dunno. Maybe you should ask Norman Lear.

  28. Derelict7:49 AM

    I'd vote for parody, but all available evidence indicates that conservatives are unable to either produce or understand parody.

  29. Jon Hendry8:20 AM

    Oh, lookee here at The Atlantic.

  30. Jon Hendry8:24 AM

    "A quick browse of that sight did not impress, but perhaps standards have lapsed since her departure."

    The Review also brought us Dinesh D'Souza, who was editor in the early 80s. How much further could their standards have fallen if they were that low 30 years ago?

  31. Jon Hendry8:26 AM

    "And I'm not really sure how you can get to age 30, have a college degree, and not have read Austen or Bronte or Wharton or anything else that deals with glamorous, ill-behaved aristocrats and their strained relations with the lower class"

    [Waves hand.] Hell, I'm 41. Never really went for that sort of fiction. Not really my bag, and it didn't come up in high school or college.

  32. BigHank538:33 AM

    Given that it costs $40/year to make comments at Ricochet, I'm going to stick with "grift".

    The commenters are a trip*, too. Did you know the explosion in tuition costs is due to Jimmy Carter's expansion of federal student aid?

    *Not one of the good sort of trips, unless you have a soft spot for Morlocks.

  33. Provider_UNE8:38 AM

    Short version: it's a significant boarding station for the wingnut gravy train.

    Which seems to have picked up a few cars from the Orient express (see D'Souza, Ponnuru and throw in an Emily).


  34. Mr. Wonderful8:59 AM

    "what does that say about the world we live in and the kinds of lives we are living?"

    There's your tell right there. This "what does that say" wheeze is the intellectual fraud's way of announcing, or faking, smartness, for purposes of gulling the rubes who didn't go to Dartmouth and earning big bux as a wingnut mouthpiece. Amazingly, what "it says" always turns out to be what the writer "says" and has been saying all along.

    Every lame, groping, making-it-up wingnut "pundit" invokes this, especially when their predictions are proven wrong, as they always are. "Yes, Obama won. But what does it say about our current cultural moment, that a candidate as patently phony as Romney, did so well in the end?"

  35. Well I'm gonna turn the lights out because I am not sure what I am going to do to this comment is legal.

  36. Is there any way the Atlantic won't debase themselves these days?

  37. aimai9:11 AM

    I think "what does it say about us" is the spectators view of history. Like the Earl in Downton Abbey it is what passes for a cri de coeur of shallow people for whom "what say they?" is not followed by "let them say" but "oh noes, what if the milkman finds out?"

  38. It's Kremlinology. They approach a piece of pop culture some liberals like because they assume the china patterns and ballgown creases are full of hidden symbols and cryptographs that subliminally appeal to Democrats.

    Of course, if you can prove that it's actually fundamentally Republican (because everything is the domain of one or the other), all the liberals will shriek, stare at their hands, intone "What have I become?" in their gravest voice, then trade in their Prius for a Hoveround and get mad about Chappaquiddick.

  39. aimai9:19 AM

    Ok, I followed that link down the rabbit hole and lo and behold I find Esfahani's ur article castigating that Alinsky of the vagina: Hanna Rosin. Here's the earth shattering tale of a young woman who, like Maggie Gallagher, the founder of NOM, made the mistake of getting drunk and letting a Dartmouth (Maybe Yale) frat boy seduce her:

    Not long after she arrived on campus in September, Nicole had started hooking up with a guy who belonged to one of the more popular fraternities on campus. As she explained to me over coffee that day, one night in the fall, she got drunk and ended up having sex with this guy in his dingy frat room, which was littered with empty cans of Keystone Light and pizza boxes. She woke up the next morning to find a used condom tangled up in the sheets. She couldn't remember exactly what had happened that night, but she put the pieces together. She smiled, looked at the frat brother, and lay back down. Eventually, she put her clothes on and walked back to her dorm. Mission accomplished: She was no longer a virgin.

    This, apparently, was feminism's fault. I, too, blame Hanna Rosin.

  40. sharculese9:23 AM

    On this blog, we take a good look at pop culture and ask why? Why does pop culture resonate with so many people, and what does that say about the world we live in and the kinds of lives we are living?

    Y'know, if you're going to do the whole 'engaging with pop culture' thing, it's probably best not to telegraph your imagined condescension.

  41. Halloween_Jack10:04 AM

    Aside from some of the usual suspects previously listed, there's this wretched project and its list of contributors. Some of the contributors aren't surprising, although we may speculate as to the health of the project and/or the competence of the editors by perusing the out-of-date author notes; MegMac is still listed as being at the Atlantic (she seems to have dropped off Roy's radar since she was assimilated by Newsbeast, and I certainly can't blame him for not wanting to go there), and Chuck Colson is described in the present tense, although Naomi Schaefer Riley may have blanched at listing his current activities, which include getting flaming pig diarrhea enemas from Richard Nixon in hell.

    But, Joe Queenan? Even as Someone Who Disagreed With Him Strongly On Certain Things (although I can't even remember what, exactly, anymore), he deserves better than this. Probably.

  42. Leeds man10:05 AM

    "it emulates a long ago, statelier time in being indescribably boring"

    Yes! Like a royal visit, wedding or pregnancy. They would cover Royal Poops if they could.

  43. I have to admit I'm rewatching the series while I do laundry--its absolutely a classic soap opera in that sense. What strikes me as its extreme and total dishonesty, its wilfull need to soft pedal. Take Lady Mary's affair with the Turk. Its impossible to believe that Mary, the least hotblooded and most calculating woman in the show, would succumb to the Turk's advances. If she gave in to him because she was afraid of the repercussions on her reputation it was, in effect, a rape--and yet the show never addresses the horrors of her situation at all. Raped, dishonored, forced to beg her mother and the maid for help and then disbelieved by her mother/scorned by her mother and pushed towards any quickie marriage to cover up her shame? The weird thing about this plotline isn't that its unbelievable, its that its quite believable and Fellowes didn't have the nerve to pursue it.

  44. Every time I've read alicublog's posts on the conservatives views of Downtown Abbey, I'm reminded of the only thing I've watched of DA and laugh my ass off.

    British comedians (includes my favorites Jennifer Saunders & Joanna Lumley) parody of Downtown Abbey:
    Part 1
    Part 2

  45. Halloween_Jack10:25 AM

    Shall Acculturated not stoop to conquer?

    They'd be following in the footsteps of Rightwing News' John Hawkins (much beloved of Sadly, No!), whose commenters are oblivious even for a site named Rightwing News:

    These are the people who will be the first to go when the real crash comes. They couldn't even shift for themselves for a few days

    I have to speculate on the "real crash" survivability of someone who doesn't quite understand the limited options re: "shift[ing] for themselves" on a freakin' boat in the freakin' ocean. Mostly, I'm speculating on whether hypervitaminosis A is a problem when eating human liver, the way it is when consuming that of the polar bear.

  46. Just close your eyes and think of Victor Davis Hanson. You'll stop wanting to do anything at all.

  47. Halloween_Jack10:28 AM

    Anything is legal in total darkness? Holy crap, I could have avoided so much trouble in my life this way.

  48. Robert M.10:29 AM

    A quick whois search says the domain is leased by Templeton Press, which is an organ of the Templeton Foundation, who an uncharitable person might describe as professional concern trolls for religion.

    So if Acculturated is a Poe, they're fooling their funder/parent organizations as well as the public. Occam's Razor says it's real.

  49. DocAmazing10:36 AM

    Templeton! I hadn't heard anything from them since they were keeping Crunchy Rod in cold storage. They're more sinister than I thought.

  50. The best thing about that parody--which is well worth watching--is the inside the parody parody of the frank, actor's special interviews. Watching "the earl" explain that the best thing is how few lines they have to learn, and how much of the "acting" is in the expressions and then cutting to a scene in which absolutely nothing happens but grimaces is priceless. "Have you all done your looks?" The earl asks, after a scene of unuttrable tedium, "Then we can go through."

  51. gocart mozart11:06 AM

    Yes, and the fact that no one laughs is just further proof that liberals have no sense of humor.

  52. sharculese11:06 AM

    Good to know someone is looking out for the folks who want to enjoy Modern Family but find it too dense to approach without ideologically blinkered Cliff's Notes.

  53. Actually, I think conservative bloggers who keep going on about DA, secretly believe themselves to be in a similar position as Mrs Danvers/Joanna Lumley - too good to be downstairs as she's done theater! Conservative bloggers - too good to be part of the 99%, they should be upstairs with the 1%.

  54. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:16 AM

    But whereas women were once expected to be pure, now women are expected to sleep around (thanks Hanna Rosin!) to be feminists but still somehow be pure to be desirable.
    Ya know, they really don't understand the notion of "choice", as well as the notion of "consent".

  55. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:19 AM

    Pity those Koch checks don't have more zeros.

  56. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:21 AM

    Marie Jon had a couple of posts on Christwire, though I'm pretty sure that Marie Jon was just a glamour headshot and a trolling lefty jokesmith.

  57. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:23 AM

    Ah, a "cri de cul", so to speak.

  58. Budbear11:28 AM

    It's always legal as long as you don't get caught.

  59. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:29 AM

    It's an endeavor which is best indulged in while buzzed, hanging out in the dorm with some snarky smarties. It's not so fun when conducted in deadly earnest.

  60. Budbear11:35 AM

    What about those who slept around before Hanna Rosin was born? Were they prophets or just the cutting edge?

  61. redoubt11:36 AM

    Giving extra zeroes to extra zeroes--there's a joke in there somewhere. . .

  62. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard11:38 AM

    The fact is, I'll believe the site is a parody when Gary Ruppert shows up as a contributor.

  63. Leeds man11:38 AM

    Lumley as Mrs Danvers! Brilliant.

  64. redoubt11:47 AM

    Well, that's just it. It's Popular Culture, and them and their ideas aren't popular except in the wingnut hamster cage (cute at first, but when they run out of food they'll turn on each other) they all come from.

  65. BigHank5311:55 AM

    I'm thinking Joe Queenan stopped thinking about it as soon as the check from Templeton cleared. After all, with an Amazon sales ranking of 369,526 it's not like he has to worry about running into anyone who's read the wretched thing.

    I raised my eyebrows at the inclusion of Meghan Cox Gurdon. I had assumed that the rest of the world had forgotten her (and her children--Winsome, Fidget, Pustule, Travesty, and Staph) once TBogg did.

  66. They would cover Royal Poops if they could.

    They certainly covered Royal Puke.

  67. it's basically Teletubbies for people who are obsessed with wealth, power and sex.

    Brilliant, pithy observation. I want to be chased by Pat Robertson through surreal green fields with this comment while giggling creepily.

  68. M. Krebs12:12 PM

    Couldn't even shift for themselves? What does that even mean? Did he misspell "shit?"

  69. KatWillow12:23 PM

    Why does pop culture resonate with so many people...? Because if it didn't it wouldn't BE Pop Culture, "pop" being short for "popular". Maybe they think "pop" is short for, I dunno, pope? popgun? Popocatépetl? (an active volcano in Mexico). I'm copying from my desktop dictionary.

  70. Halloween_Jack12:33 PM

    It's an alternative form of "fend for yourself", as if the sudden inadvertent conversion of a cruise liner into a floating who-gets-eaten-first experiment were roughly the equivalent of Mom having to travel for a funeral, leaving Dad and the kids to negotiate the order pizza/nuke burritos equation.

  71. Sure, why not? Do you think he'd actually catch on?

  72. I raised my eyebrows at the inclusion of Meghan Cox Gurdon.

    Oh, my god. Megan Cox Gurdon? She's got to be the World's Worst Grandmother by now.

  73. Editor-in-Chief: Floyd Alvis Cooper.

  74. wileywitch1:04 PM

    Yeah. Women don't have to do what we're "expected" to do. That and equal protection under the law sums up feminism. Whether or not to sleep with anyone is either a choice, or it's rape.

    This is not hard.

  75. zencomix1:08 PM

    They sing Bob Roberts songs around the CPAC campfire!

  76. BigHank531:17 PM

    No, and I'm sure the expression on his face at the moment of the big reveal would be priceless. But not valueless: how long would you be willing to endure his company?

  77. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:48 PM

    Associate Editor: Ed Anger

  78. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:49 PM

    Maybe Chief Editor Korir will finally release Michelle Obama's "Kill Whitey" tape.

  79. Dante never described THIS circle.

  80. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:53 PM

    Zeroes all the way down!

  81. They had McArdle as their economics editor, so no.

  82. bekabot2:44 PM

    I would beg to differ on one point. What I think they think is that the hidden symbols and cryptographs are only disguised as dog whistles attuned to attract liberals, but are really magic charms capable of turning conservatives into hippies. In other words, it's all a plot: the honeyed trap is baited with visions of the high life and of boundlessly submissive inferiors who hold forelock-tugging contests in the squalor of their garrets, and with other sugarplums dear to right-wing heart, but it's all a pretext and a ruse. The whole thing is a ploy the cunning Alinskyite lefties have worked out to get you to start watching public TV. First thing you know, you start sympathizing with the servants; next you start to wonder whether property rights really do inhere only in the individual...if that were true, how could families inherit, and how could culture be transmitted? Finally you're ready to get a Prius of your own, but at that juncture you're spiritually dead with your soul in an early grave. Your friends mourn your moral absence and you stop going to church. Such is the evil of the Downton spell, and of other magicks like it. (The "but it's honestly conservative if only they knew" feint you describe in paragraph # 2 betrays the rightie hope that the hocus can be pocussed the other way around.) But except for that, ditto.

  83. gocart mozart3:03 PM

    Pop goes the weasel because the weasel goes pop.

  84. montag23:05 PM

    Thank goodness I'm far enough removed in time from academia to have forgotten that little bit of intellectual fraud.

    It reminds me that there would be no conservative writing at all were it not for rhetorical fallacies.

  85. gocart mozart3:06 PM

    I used to be a liberal until I watched a single episode of Downton Abbey but now I'm very very concerned about Benghazi.

  86. But whereas women were once expected to be pure, now women are expected to sleep around (thanks Hanna Rosin!) to be feminists but still somehow be pure to be desirable.

    I don't know a lot of women who worry about defilement.

  87. gocart mozart3:09 PM

    It's the circle of "What the Hell!"

  88. Podcast Coordinator: Earl Pitts.

  89. gocart mozart3:16 PM

    So krebbs is right, he did mean shit as in build your own damn working toilet on the boat. Lord knows that is what Jon Galt woulda done.

  90. gocart mozart3:20 PM

    and the corollary, there would be no conservative principles at all were it not for hypocrisy.

  91. gocart mozart3:22 PM

    or maybe Marie Jon didn't realize it was satire.

  92. MRC2103:22 PM

    Sorry, but how is your analysis any different from the kind that Ashley McGuire offers?

  93. MRC2103:39 PM

    I'd be surprised if any of the junior Gurdons would want to continue the line.

  94. smut clyde3:44 PM

    whether hypervitaminosis A is a problem when eating
    human liver,

    There is really no safe way to answer this question.

  95. tom m4:03 PM

    If it's the milkman, cri de quart this week. Kthnxbai

  96. Many conservatives seem literally not to grasp this. They view women as a herd who will follow their leader, and they're just fighting over who the leader is.

    It's much like how they think Obama is the King of the Blacks.

  97. KatWillow4:09 PM

    She's not claiming DA is either conservative or liberal. Its just a pretentious British soap opera. "Teletubbies" for adults". I like that!

  98. KatWillow4:14 PM

    I was visiting in England once and watched a newscast on the visit of some Royal to a town. They interviewed a protestor who complained about the cost (to the town) of the visit. "They even have to supply a secure loo!" the woman said angrily "so nobody steals a Royal Turd-" at that point she was cut off. I really like English News Shows. Once they spent nearly 10 minutes reporting on the presence of the US Pacific Fleet near to (protecting) Taiwan from the Chinese fleet. NEVER heard even a 10-second story about the confrontation on US TV.

  99. Perhaps you viewed her opinion about rape as a political statement. Even if it is, it's not the kind of shallow political statement that sums up right-wing cultural discourse, which always amounts to "mumble mumble rape mumble taxes mumble therefore Republicans are right about everything why can't everyone see that?"

    Ignoring the unfortunate political divisiveness of rape, what she's doing is criticizing the show for not having the confidence to follow the stories and ideas it expresses to their logical conclusion. That's more of an aesthetic or literary criticism than a political one. She's not demanding that the show fellate her favored politicians or political ideologies. So to answer your question, that's how her analysis differs from the kind Ashley McGuire offers.

  100. now women are expected to sleep around (thanks Hanna Rosin!) to be feminists

    Uh, did I miss a memo? I thought the whole point of feminism was to get rid of the whole "women are expected to (x)" thing (and the "men are expected to(x)" thing as well, for that matter).

  101. I don't have a lot of sympathy for cruise ship passengers, but I also don't dare imagine that I would handle it well if I had to poop in a bag for almost a week.

  102. satch4:25 PM

    True, but if it's dark, you can't enjoy it as much.

  103. aimai4:26 PM

    Well, that and I'm not asking to be paid for my analysis.

  104. aimai4:29 PM


  105. satch4:30 PM

    Jeezus... I didn't know until just this moment that Maggie Gallagher was the inspiration for Charlotte Simmons!

  106. KatWillow4:32 PM

    Just imagine the little "broadcast" part of the show.

  107. montag24:42 PM

    Speaking of zeroes, Stuart Varney is on his hobby horse about "Downton Abbey."

    It's quite revealing of the conservative mentality regarding the aristocracy, and his description of the U.S. as an "ultra-democracy" is worth a giggle. As if we don't have our own aristocracy in this country, guiding the government in ways big and small (how, exactly, does a Bill Gates get to be treated as an expert on public education, for example?). Varney doesn't exactly address the reasons why we should have our lives ordered by a fellow who can't dress himself and thinks investing with Charles Ponzi is a good idea, but, hey, those are just minor bumps on the path of conservatism's march toward benighted feudalism.

  108. KatWillow4:43 PM

    Or what "pure" means, either.

  109. KatWillow4:47 PM

    Ivory Soap "So pure it floats!" Can one apply that test to women?

  110. BigHank534:48 PM

    Well, he's scarcely going to sue you if you give him the wrong advice, is he?

    Oh, wait...I see the problem now.

  111. BigHank534:53 PM


  112. aimai5:01 PM

    I thought feminism was all about our finally being allowed to be ugly and undesirable. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.

  113. tigrismus5:10 PM

    Only if they're witches.

  114. Leeds man5:30 PM

    I thought it was Guerdon. The gift that keeps on giving.

  115. Leeds man5:36 PM

    You know what's really, really depressing? A royal turd would sell on ebay for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. I heard today that a lock of Justin Bieber's hair went for $40,000. Shoot me now.

  116. Leeds man5:42 PM

    Erm, because aimai's comment is an actual analysis?

  117. aimai5:52 PM

    I couldn't find the link to the Salon article about Maggie Gallagher but it was an eye opener. Right before I conked myself on the head rather than continue consciousness in such a world.

  118. aimai5:54 PM


  119. sharculese5:58 PM

    You mean this one: ?

    OT: I actually had to reread that recently for a piece I was working on, and it's really shocking what a difference a year has made for marriage equality.

  120. parsec6:00 PM

    Well, they set up an award for excellence in journalism and named it for Michael Kelly.

  121. AGoodQuestion6:28 PM

    That's Sir Ian narrating, no?

  122. AGoodQuestion6:28 PM

    Is this a trick question?

  123. Oh, Jesus, I just remembered that nurse who committed suicide after she was pranked by those Australian DJs and gave out information about Kate Middleton's hospitalization. Now I feel a bit bad for making a joke.

  124. And hairy. Don't forget hairy.

  125. I thought Ben Domenech *was* the huge and elaborate joke.

  126. MRC2106:40 PM

    Fair enough. I realise we're all just having fun here.

    But we're mocking Ashley for, to quote Spaghetti Lee above, "over-analyzing some pop-culture fluff". It strikes me that you're doing the same thing. I'm sure someone else will chime in to tell me that your analysis is deep, while Ashley's is shallow, or something. But you're watching a crunchy-gravel soap opera and criticising it for not addressing important issues with the proper perspective -- which is what we're mocking Ashley for.

  127. AGoodQuestion6:41 PM

    There's one editor-in-chief every year, and I doubt it's a position you can get by just walking in off the street.

    Depends how fast your knees can hit the floor.

  128. AGoodQuestion6:45 PM

    It's sweet of you to imply that anything Tom Wolfe has written after 1979 is inspired.

  129. AGoodQuestion7:01 PM

    If the next sentence contained fifteen repetitions of "off the hook", you'd know it was an intentional effect. Or a medley of other early Stones songs.

  130. XeckyGilchrist7:27 PM

    Allowed, hell. It's about making that compulsory.

  131. smut clyde7:45 PM

    Have they committed any collective murders yet?

  132. RogerAiles7:48 PM

    Shorter Ashley E. McGuire: "I used to be a virgin, but thanks to Hanna Rosin, I champ a stiff dick."

  133. Leeds man7:52 PM

    zuzu, it was the media's coverage of royal puke that led to Jacintha Saldanha's death (what I feel worst about is that I had to look up her name). Fuck them, and you have nothing to feel bad about.

  134. aimai9:02 PM

    You misunderstand me. I'm not mocking Ashley for "over analyzing some pop culture fluff" because I'm an anthropologist and I actually don't think you can over analyze anything that has the word culture in it. I'm disagreeing with her for thinking that she can turn watching downton abbey into a serious cultural trope or that she can unambiguously draw either "conservative" or "liberal" viewpoints from a single perspective on a soap opera that people watch from a variety of perspectives.

    However, that being said, I think there are ways we can critique the show as a show--why not? I have enjoyed watching the show precisely because of its vapidity--but there's no denying that David Chase's perspective in The Sopranos or whoever is writing Breaking Bad would make for a more interesting drama, costume and all. The thing that those dramas have that Downton Abbey lacks is, to put it bluntly: guts. The guts to have major characters suffer the consequences of their real political and social situations. The only time they violated that was with the death of Sibyl and that (and the conflict between the doctors and the Earl and his wife) was one of the sharpest, truest, scenes in the entire sentimental cake like edifice.

    I think that Downton could have been great--not because of the repetitive shots of gorgeous settings or the dog's bum but if and only if Fellowes had had the nerve to really show some evil and some pain. He tiptoes up to it in a variety of ways but he just doesn't have the intestinal fortitude.

  135. aimai9:04 PM

    Yes, first we are going to force all the men to be hairy and unkempt and then we are going to follow suit.

  136. XeckyGilchrist9:17 PM

    Stage 1 is pretty much complete, then!

  137. XeckyGilchrist9:28 PM

    Continue? That makes just as good an endpoint as a starting point.

  138. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard9:55 PM

    I'm batting .500

  139. Leeds man10:07 PM

    You sad bastard. It's when the nymphs get out of the pond that things get interesting.

  140. BigHank5310:13 PM

    I have found that the hair on my head wishes to retire and move south, mainly onto my back. Does the hair still count if it's covered up with clothes?

  141. XeckyGilchrist10:43 PM

    Wait, aren't I in the pond too?

  142. I have enjoyed watching the show precisely because of its vapidity--but
    there's no denying that David Chase's perspective in The Sopranos or
    whoever is writing Breaking Bad would make for a more interesting drama,
    costume and all.

    I'll just leave this here.

  143. Wow. That link is a-ma-zing, zuzu. But I guess it kind of proves the point that if Fellowes had been writing Breaking Bad it would have been just as vapid as Downton Abbey. The kind of desperation and soul killing emotional fear that Mr. White experiences in Breaking Bad just isn't what the Earl ever feels--which would be an intersting thing to explore, actually.

    I hear that Fellowes has been contracted to produce a series called The Gilded Age about,well, the gilded age in the US. I don't think he can do it justice--not if people expect something with emotional heft and along the lines of Boardwalk Empire (which I, personally, find unwatchable). But its at least historically and culturally grounded.

  144. Catering: JenBob's House of Pancakes.

  145. And only if Ivory Soap weighs as much as a duck.

  146. In your dream you are everyone in the dream. So you are both in and out of the pond.

  147. I didn't get a chance to say how much I like this comment.

  148. XeckyGilchrist11:43 PM


  149. aimai: It's not that you're over-thinking it— or that doing so would necessarily be a bad thing— but the way you describe Mary, "the least hotblooded and most calculating," just doesn't match what I saw on the show. Early on in season 1, she'd just gotten out of a betrothal to a guy she had no interest in, and was facing the prospect of being married off as fast as possible to someone else not of her choice for the sake of the estate (something that was already destined to happen before there was any secret shame involved). Sure, Matthew had a pretty face, but it was hardly cold-blooded or calculating for her to resent him when his presence reminded her that she was a business asset. So along comes a sexy guy who's nothing like any of those people— though still aristocratic enough that she can believe he understands how things work and will be OK with a one-night stand— and whose desire for her may be shallow but is at least desire. He's still a jerk, but it's not that hard to imagine her deciding that it was worth a try, and I think her reaction was meant to be less "this is against my will" and more "apparently you're an asshole but I'm going to ignore that and play along" (iirc, it was her mother who suggested he had forced her; Mary waffled and then denied it). And I don't see that as "soft-pedaling"— it still clearly sucks that Mary's autonomy is so limited that her desire for a little discreet fun before marriage ends up in so much disaster and undeserved blame.

  150. smut clyde3:19 AM

    I would send him a copy of someone else's invitation.

  151. Provider_UNE7:46 AM

    That would depend on the definitions of "committed" "collective" and "murders". One might say that they collectively commission the advocation of murders.

    Does that rise to Colonel Mustard and candlestick levels? The Jury is still out.


  152. smut clyde2:52 PM

    See, for instance, 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'.

  153. billcinsd5:26 PM

    What do they talk about?

    Pop, Pop, Pop Muzik

  154. aimai6:22 PM

    Yeah. The test of a great writing is when a character takes on a real life of his/her own. Becky Sharp basically runs away with Vanity Fair. Walt Goggins basically runs away with Justified. I get that they are pretending that Mary might give in to a bout of passion but I don't believe it of that actress playing that part at that time. I do think there are tons of ways that that concept--that she is overwhelmed with passion--could have been done in a way that made sense. She could have ended up in a sexy tumble with the guy while out hunting, disgraced herself in front of the theoretical future husband, blah blah blah. Or she could have been assaulted/date raped by the guy and the implications of that could have been explored. But they choose this weird unbelievable mix in order to get a dead guy into her bed. I didn't find it at all believable that he would bother to try to deflower his host's daughter when he had Thomas just begging to fuck him right there, I didn't find it at all believable that he would ask Thomas for directions for getting around the house. They're so fucking cheap they can't even manage to hire an extra actress to play his married older female lover whose room he could have been going into when he stumbled into Mary's. There are about a zillion ways that whole scene could have/should have been written to make sense for its time and place. But they chose to do it half heartedly and then drop even the implications.

    They chose, almost every time, to avert their eyes from real people and real suffering. (Not every time, of course. Ethel's situation was pretty well handled although they fucked up by letting the "nice" grandmother help her out. Daisy's sufferings as they all force her to marry the guy she doesn't love was pretty well done.)

  155. TomParmenter2:58 PM

    It should be fun. I mean, what else should it be?

  156. TomParmenter3:12 PM

    Compare 'shiftless'.

  157. Anonymous11:01 PM

    ӏ'll immediately grasp your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you'νe any?
    Pleаse permit me reсognіze in oгԁer
    that Ι may subscribе. Thanks.

    Have a look at my blοg :: wedding photographers cost
    my web page - fotografo de bodas jaime blazquez

  158. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Oh mу goоdness! Imprеssiѵе artiсle duԁе!

    Thank you, Howeνer Ι am hаving troubles with youг RSS.
    I don't know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    Feel free to surf to my web-site wedding photographer cost
    Also see my web site > wedding photographs list

  159. Anonymous11:20 PM

    It is nοt my first time to go to see thіs web page, i
    аm browsіng this wеb sіte dailly and obtain fastidiouѕ іnformаtiοn frοm here eѵeryday.

    Herе iѕ my web blog :: famous wedding photographers

  160. Anonymous3:53 AM

    Fantastic site you have here but I was curious about if you
    knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this
    article? I'd really love to be a part of group where I can get advice from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

    Here is my blog post how to get lot of followers on instagram

  161. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very
    good success. If you know of any please share.
    Many thanks!

    my blog: software development company profile sample

  162. catamount4:19 AM

    Distort D'Newsa

  163. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Hi to every one, the contents existing at this web page are in fact awesome for people
    knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

    my webpage unscramble scrabble cheat