Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


In 1984 I had a world-politics class for which I was working on a paper of contemporary media criticism. Ortega had won his only electoral victory in Nicaragua, and the American press was contradiction itself right and right, reporting (apparently accurately) that it had been a free and fair multi-party election with a (mostly, as I recall) free press, and that the commie had won it, and that therefore, since the commie won it, it must have been a fix, a tainted, corrupt, illegitimate election. The election day photo in Time magazine showed a bunch of poorly dressed Central Americans lining up peacefully to vote. In the same Time magazine issue was a piece on the wartorn elections in El Salvador, which was then near a peak of its internal war. The photos were of firestorms and explosions, and substantial percentages of the population had not had poll access. The press, contradicting itself right and right, congratulated El Salvador on their excellent democracy.

I didn't finish the paper and dropped out instead, but I fantasized of a media critique showing its plutocratic bias (though I wouldn't have said plutocratic at the time). That critique exists now -- Eric Alterman of The Nation magazine and Altercation (on my Links list) is one of its stars. The critique probably existed in '84 too, but I didn't know about it.

More recently, a couple years ago, I fantasized of politics being covered with the depth and breadth and detail and passion of the sports page. Now it is, in blogville -- dailyKos, Atrios, Billmon, Juan Cole, and Eric Alterman are 5 star reporter-pundit-media-critic bloggers, and their pages will link you to many other excellent writers. I hardly have time to read the sports pages any more, and since the Mariners and the Sonics have been mediocre lately, I haven't minded. (Psyched to read about the Yankees losing 22 to zero yesterday though.) Besides, politics is my favorite spectator sport anyway.

Go Blue States! Beat Big Red!


Biting the fruit and sucking its juice, the sweetness and wetness and texture. The seed spells the death of the fruit, and its later continuation. The seed is bitter, frequently inedible.

September first, summer all but over. Listening yesterday to Beach Boys' "All Summer Long," their great gift for singing the sweet juice of life while keeping a hint of the bitter seed that knows that the sweetness is quickly gone.

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