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    How to Bring a Blush to the Snow

    Posted by Sean at 11:57, September 17th, 2008

    I almost always like Bruce Bawer’s writing, but I have to say I’m baffled by his most recent piece on PJM. It’s a reflection on how ten years of living overseas have changed his perspective on America. Some of it will be familiar to anyone who’s live abroad for a long time–the way the local language changes your English, the way coming home and seeing little quotidian changes (such as those garish new dollar bills) can jolt you into feeling very keenly how far away you live.

    And yet some of it was disturbing. Bawer’s tone is thoughtful, not surly, but the sentiments expressed toward the end veer toward whininess:

    Yes, yes, I’m still an American, and proud of it. But the longer I’m away, the less firmly that label clings to me — for I’m increasingly aware that the America I lived in is an America that’s no longer there. It’s an America where the Twin Towers are still standing, an America where my father is still alive. For millions of Americans, including my eight-year-old niece in New York, that America, my America, is not even memory, but history.

    When my partner and I flew back to New York for my father’s funeral, I couldn’t bring myself to write “0” on the customs declaration form next to “Number of family members traveling with you.” Instead I wrote “1.” At Newark Airport, the immigration official to whom I handed my card asked me where that other family member was. I indicated that he was in the non-citizens’ line. She asked what our relationship was. I explained. Her face colored with contempt, and with an angry slash of her pen she turned my “1” into a “0” as she spit into my face the words: “That’s not family!” It was a succinct summary of the U.S. government’s official position on my life.

    Well, maybe it was all meant to be. If I hadn’t come here, and stayed here, I wouldn’t have written While Europe Slept — my own modest contribution to the effort by many people on both sides of the Atlantic to save the West from itself. When I left America, I never imagined myself writing such a book: in fact my immediate plans were to write a book about how wonderful Amsterdam was. Alas, the Amsterdam I was so eager to celebrate ten years ago is also gone with the wind. But that’s another story.

    Oh, I don’t know, Bruce–I rather think it’s exactly the same story in practical terms.

    When you feel out of step with you’re own people, it means a great deal, and you have to wonder what it says about you. When you live in a foreign country–no matter how much you know about, care about it, and live a daily life that’s integrated into it–you still have a comforting distance from it. You can appreciate its good points without being on the hook for its bad points, because it’s not the society that formed you. When friends start telling you that you’re getting to be more like a native than the natives are, you can draw warmth and satisfaction from the compliment; and yet if you’re still awkward and out of place sometimes, that’s okay, too, because you are, after all, a foreigner.

    I really loved that feeling*, but in a sense, it’s a dangerous crack high. As my best friend in Tokyo, an Englishman, once explained to another Westerner about why he still listened to the BBC daily: “The U.K. is my country, and even if I’m over here, I’m responsible for it.”

    Bawer wrote a lot in While Europe Slept (a book I greatly admire, BTW) about the ways social democratic European societies have adjusted to post-colonial and post-war realities. The general cultural relativism has benefited gays in that some countries recognize gay unions. But the flip side is the dysfunctional approach toward immigration; policies that allow Muslim immigrants to “preserve their culture” sanction behavior that would get locals punished by custom or law. And skittishness about being judgmental has had the perverse effect of allowing anti-Semitic and anti-gay violence to start rising again.

    Does the ability to move to Norway to be with his partner, however understandably meaningful it is to Bawer, really trump the other disturbing long-term trends? The note that he ends on seems to say so, despite the disclaimer that he remains aware that Norway has its social problems. One can only hope that we’re not seeing the beginnings of Andrew Sullivan-ization here.

    A final note on Bawer’s anecdote about the line at immigration: yet again, the implicit argument is that failure to give legal recognition to gay partnerships is bad because of how it makes us feel. When I started this site, I wrote so much about what a bad, bad idea that is that I don’t feel like going into it now. But it’s a bad, bad idea. And I hope I never see the phrase “the U.S. government’s official position on my life” again.


    The focus on feelings also makes me uneasy about this piece by B. Daniel Blatt (a.k.a. Gay Patriot West) about what gays think of Sarah Palin. Policy isn’t excluded–there are allusions to her reform-mindedness on the one hand and to her support for policies that aren’t good for gays on the other. But the focus is on how exciting Palin is, delivered with the sort of pep-rally tone that we should all be over now that her nomination is weeks old.

    Oh, and she’s nice to gay people.

    However, those gay people who know her best, men and women who live in the Land of the Midnight Sun, are delighted about Palin’s nomination. Eric DeLand, an openly gay man who lives in the Kenai area, said even Democrats and independents like her: “They may not agree with her on everything, but they agree with enough; they’re happy with McCain’s decision to pick Sarah.”

    Erich says the governor knows him — and knows he’s gay. That hasn’t changed her treatment of him. She’s always been respectful. Indeed, he offers, “I’ve never seen her mistreat anyone for being gay or for whatever.”

    She’s also said that “she’s not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay,” confirming Eric’s impressions. We do wish she would chastise her church, the Wasilla Bible Church, for promoting the notion that homosexuality is “curable.” I fear, alas, that is not going to happen.

    This stuff isn’t inconsequential–Palin’s ability to deal with all kinds of constituents matters, and dispelling the myth that social conservatives are all rock-throwing gay-haters is important. On the other hand, why is it the governor’s duty to “chastise” her church (“Naughty church!”?) on theological points? And why does everyone in this article seem to be so gushy? I don’t want to overthink these things–in terms of political positions, I agree with the guys at Gay Patriot more often than not. But the vague impression from this article is that she’s mostly good, sometimes kinda not, on the issues…but she’s cool and we love her! (And what is that “plucky nature” thing about? I’m sorry, but if war erupts in some region that threatens a shipping lane or resource, I want my executives to have more than just pluck. At least no one in Blatt’s article used the word diva.)

    * Of course, it gets more complicated over time, because once you’ve demonstrated an ease with local customs and woven yourself into the lives of the people you know, they’ll start to expect you to know how to think and behave. But “Oh, that’s right–you’re a foreigner,” whether tacit or expressed, still covers a multitude of sins indefinitely.


    Posted by Sean at 17:33, September 16th, 2008

    Hi, Republicans.

    I know that it’s deeply satisfying to see the leftist Democrats and the media react to the Palin nomination. Many of them seem so deranged by fury that they’re about to tear themselves clean in half like Rumpelstiltskin. While the attendant resurgence of the culture wars has been troubling, there’s been nothing brought to the surface in the last few weeks that wasn’t there all along. Open, forthright debate is the best approach to these things, even though it inevitably gets contentious.

    On the same token, can we please bear in mind that what you’ve asked us to do is to vote Palin in as vice-president, based on certain particular premises? No, the media should not be purusing her more ruthlessly than it did Obama (who’s at the top of the Democratic ticket). No, they should not be trying to parlay her daughter’s pregnancy, her tanning bed, and her past as a sportscaster into evidence of unfitness.

    But you knew exactly what was coming, and you’ve been overselling her. Maybe not overselling how good she’ll be for the White House, but overselling what she’s done so far. Cato, of course, has been looking into her actual record on taxing and spending (via Q and O). The conclusion as I interpret it? More heartening than the average politician, getting better over time, but not exactly the bill of goods being marketed at the RNC:

    As Wasilla mayor, Palin has a decidedly mixed record on taxes and spending. She slashed her salary and cut property taxes by 40 percent because of booming sales tax revenue from new stores.

    But Palin also increased the budget by spending on roads and sewers, left the town nearly $20 million in debt and raised the city sales tax by half a percent (she said the money was needed to support construction of an indoor ice rink and sports complex and a police dispatch center).

    As governor, Palin slashed more than 10 percent of the state’s budget in 2007 (Question: Besides his checkbook, has Barack Obama ever balanced — much less cut — a budget?). She vetoed $268 million in state projects and imposed objective criteria on the projects.

    Libertarians should be cautiously optimistic about Palin. She has shown a dogged willingness to go to war with the worst elements of the Republican Party, but her missteps on some tax and spending issues means that libertarians should aggressively pressure a McCain-Palin administration to toe the small government line.


    Palin supported and signed into law a $1.5 billion tax increase on oil companies in the form of higher severance taxes. One rule of thumb is that higher taxes cause less investment. Sure enough, State Tax Notes reported (January 7): “After ACES was passed, ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s most active oil exploration company and one of the top three producers, announced it was canceling plans to build a diesel fuel refinery at the Kuparuk oil field. ConocoPhillips blamed the cancellation on passage of ACES [the new tax]. The refinery would have allowed the company to produce low-sulfur diesel fuel onsite for its vehicles and other uses on the North Slope, rather than haul the fuel there from existing refineries.”

    There are good reasons for an oil-rich state to tax oil production, but a fiscal conservative would usually use any tax increase to reduce taxes elsewhere. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I see no evidence that Palin offered any major tax cuts. She did propose sending $1.2 billion of state oil revenues to individuals and utility companies in the form of monthly payments to reduce energy bills, but that sounds like welfare to me, not tax cuts.

    All right. Not a social democrat, but not fearlessly principled. There are possible answers to the doubts raised–you can’t change everything at once and must choose your battles, some projects are legitimate for the federal government to fund–but if she or the McCain campaign has addressed them, I haven’t heard. I’m not as worried as some people about her hiring people she trusted when she took over as mayor and then governor. (Seriously, does the party that moons nostalgically over the Clinton administration really want to be arguing that there’s something suspect about bringing along a merry band of loyalists in the course of your rise from Palookaville? Today’s program is sponsored by the letter T…as in Travelgate.) But given her short track record, it would be nice to know about her decision-making process. How does she evaluate options? Whom does she turn to for information? Do her key staff members and confidants have histories of achievement that justify her trust?

    The foreign-policy-experience question has returned with renewed force since Palin was selected, but I remain unsure whether it in and of itself is as big a deal as we all wish it were. I still like Anne Applebaum’s column from over a year ago:

    As for foreign policy decisions made in office, it’s far from obvious that any specific kind of experience has ever helped a president make good calls. Vice President Harry Truman first heard that there might be some difficulties in relations with our Soviet wartime allies in April 1945, when Franklin Roosevelt’s death made him president — yet within months he had launched the Cold War. On the other hand, Lyndon B. Johnson had held national office for years before becoming president, but he still couldn’t cope with Vietnam.

    In fact, there may be some sorts of experience that are actually detrimental to a potential president. I worry, for example, about Hillary Clinton’s much-vaunted travels as first lady: She came, she made carefully prepared speeches, she received polite applause. [At this date, I think you could say something similar about Obama’s international tour.–SRK] It won’t be like that if she’s president, and I hope she doesn’t think it will be. Other presidential candidates have been governors of large states or mayors of large cities and have bragged that they conducted mini-foreign policies of their own. Still, the world looks quite different (and Mexico seems a lot more important) from Austin, Sacramento or Santa Fe, N.M., than it does from the Oval Office, while the verbal bombast needed to win votes in New York might not go down so well at a Group of Eight summit.

    Speaking of international experience, Applebaum herself has had plenty, and I doubt she meant to imply that there’s no point in trying to predict as best we can who will do a good job on foreign relations. If Palin’s resume on foreign affairs is going to be challenged in ways that, say, John Edwards’s (in 2004!) was not, then what would be useful for us to know is which allegiances she thinks are most important and who her role models are. What is she studying, whom is she talking to, what information is she absorbing against the day that she has to make (or contribute to) decisions in a crisis?

    The GOP’s been benefiting plenty from the Palin nomination; I just hope it remembers that we’re not voting for Best Embodiment of a Female Archetype.

    Those Eyes, That Mouth

    Posted by Sean at 15:16, September 13th, 2008

    Crummy week. If the post that follows is more dyspeptic than usual, don’t worry; after some retail therapy, I’ll be back to normal. Which is dyspeptic anyway, so forget I brought it up.

    So, how about that Sarah Palin? Has she touched a nerve, or what? The last week or so has been nothing if not entertaining. Legions of lefty types had regarded the zeal and fervor of Obama supporters as deeply moving, evidence that government could still inspire and ennoble and bring us all together (for collective action enforced by state power).

    And then the very second the public started going cuckoo for Sarah Palin’s Cocoa Puffs, the same lefties were all like, “Zeal and fervor? We HATE zeal and fervor! Politics requires a cool head. Why aren’t people retaining their cool? Besides, who could get zealous and fervent over THAT bitch?!”

    Much of the right, for its part, appears to have forgotten just as quickly how scornful it was of the Obama personality cult. Near-religious ecstasies of devotion toward an untested politician have suddenly become perfectly acceptable now that they’re directed at a pro-life Republican.

    Palin is the nominee for vice-president, and she’s being pitched as the Washington outsider who hasn’t spent her entire life lusting after and preparing for a position on high from which she can boss us all around; so she has more room to learn on the job. What those of us who haven’t written her off or converted to her priesthood out of hand have to size up is whether she has at least baseline policy knowledge, can project authority and confidence when challenged, and has a learning curve.

    I thought Kirsten Powers’s assessment of the Charlie Gibson interview was pretty on-target:

    Her responses to Gibson’s cross-examining seemed canned and rehearsed, a little like the answers you might give in a tough college interview. But that may be a result of the ham-fisted editing – which seemed to cut her off mid-thought on many answers. ABC should release the entire, unedited interview, so that Americans can judge her more fairly.

    The biggest concern is that she appeared to not know what the Bush Doctrine is. There are, in fact, different definitions of it – but all have had an impact on this nation. One hopes Palin is more up to speed than she seemed.

    Of course, she needs to be questioned on many issues – but this interview left us with little new information about her.

    Americans already know she lacks foreign-policy experience (as, by the way, did Democrats’ 2004 VP candidate, John Edwards). All we could learn from Gibson’s grilling on that topic was how well she’s memorized McCain’s positions. Why ask her whether Georgia and Ukraine should be admitted to NATO? Her position will match McCain’s, just as Joe Biden’s stands will mirror Barack Obama’s.

    Interviewers are supposed to ask tough questions, but Gibson’s contempt was barely disguised, and I think it probably backfired with a lot of viewers by making Palin look more sympathetic. Palin didn’t do all that great, but she didn’t fall flat on her face, and Obama partisans, worrisomely, don’t seem to understand the ways in which they may be helping her. She stayed polite and even-keeled; she appeared under attack without appearing to need protection. And yes, in this country it’s tactically really stupid to mix up praying that we’re acting with God’s blessing with declaring that we’re on a mission from God.

    Added later: And sure enough, there was a reason for those jerky cuts; the full transcript of the Gibson interview doesn’t reveal her to be a heretofore-unrecognized geopolitical expert, but her full responses clearly don’t make the loopy points the aired interview wanted them to make (via NewsBusters).

    The Spangle Maker

    Posted by Sean at 16:13, September 5th, 2008

    Virginia thinks Sarah Palin is working a cowgirl-glamour persona. (My use of working doesn’t mean it’s necessarily insincere, only that she’s consciously capitalizing on it for effect.) Years ago, she (Virginia, that is) also wrote an article in Reason about our obsession with politicians’ looks:

    Righteously upholding the idea that looks don’t matter, these watchdogs all studiously ignored the embarrassing truth: Not only do human beings make judgments about how other people look, we enjoy doing so. We’re not going to stop just because ombudsmen of various sorts tell us it’s bad manners. And in an age where we see more and more good-looking people, either directly or through the media, we’re getting more and more judgmental. When it comes to looks, double standards – of whatever variety – are disappearing.

    Pretending we don’t care how people look doesn’t make us stop caring. It simply encourages us to equate good looks with other qualifications. Instead of treating beauty as one value among many, we come to treat it as the greatest value of all. It may not seem fair to treat looks as important. But it’s far more fair than treating appearance as something more.

    Of course, Sarah Palin’s look is being trashed by her detractors on the left and swooned over by her new fans on the right, but those reactions hardly say anything about either end of the political spectrum. Remember the years of torturous obsession with Hillary Clinton’s hair and clothing styles? The sort of Americanized Anna Lindh look she eventually settled on actually suits her very well, I thought; and (who knows?) maybe that actually had something to do with her having found her voice and identity as a public figure.

    Margaret Thatcher was a conservative woman who went for the old-guard look: hats and pearls and silk and heels. The high-maquillage thing worked for her, both because it flattered her physical entity (ramrod-straight carriage and stern expression) and because it enhanced the image she wanted to project (upholding standards in the face of destabilization). Palin very wisely didn’t try to go for the updated American version of that look, because she doesn’t represent Thatcher’s imperious, unbending stability.

    I think Palin’s sexy librarian look works for her very well, in that she inhabits it convincingly; it seems to be an extension of her real self. The American sporty style of dressing up allows her to project authority and respect for the occasion but also look ready for physical action. She seems feminine without seeming girlie.
    How much truth there is to her image is hard to judge at this point, but it’s working very well for the people the McCain campaign was trying to court, and it will be interesting to see whether the Obama campaign draws useful lessons from it.

    Added later: As my final thought before the weekend, here’s a weirdly apposite Olivia Newton-John video. For one thing, this has to be the best song about obsessive lust ever built around an election metaphor. For another, in 1982 or so, she was the public figure who embodied athletic, can-do, feminine glamour.

    A chemical reason / If reason’s your game

    Posted by Sean at 12:44, September 5th, 2008

    To judge from the guy in the orange tie against the green background talking on television last night, I’m guessing…there’s a Protestant Leperchaun running for president of the Irish Republic? How nice.

    Of course, that wasn’t it. It was McCain halting through another speech, yet again flogging the Incumbent Protection Act of 2002 as a victory for the people, extolling the virtues of service (as defined by him and his ideological allies), thirsting for the dreaded “bipartisan cooperation” (more profitably understood in practice as “mutual enrichment through horse-trading”), and nattering moronically about “independence from foreign oil” (perhaps one of those nice free trade types in the GOP could explain to him and Palin, using Tinkertoys if necessary, the rudiments of the global economy). Since it’s de rigueur to say this to avoid seeming like an ingrate, I’ll say it: I admire the man for not buckling under torture as a POW. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make him any less of an all-around jerk.

    The jerk recognizes that we’re at war, doesn’t want to march us further toward nationalized health care, and doesn’t lust after the esteem of officials in E.U. member countries, so I’m still voting for him anyway. (Bonus factor: the press has gone even further off the groupie deep end than it was for him before. It’s not good to have an executive that the supposed watchdogs are so bent on insulating.)

    Of course, Palin’s turning out to be the wild card. Regarding her nomination itself, I agree with Connie:

    I do not yet know how entrenched she is in her social conservatism–if her social conservative beliefs are personal or if she intends to make them into political issues. Since Alaska is a social conservative state (and if socially conservative legislation is passed, it may only be done at the state level), it is difficult to know if she respects the difference at the national level.

    Yes. My hope–and as a classical liberal/free market libertarian, I’m used to having my hopes dashed, so it’s a rather wan hope–is that Palin will turn out to be the right choice for the wrong reasons. The Democrats went ga-ga for Obama despite his thin record as an executive and frantic policy zig-zagging because they loved his hope-change-healing routine and the self-righteous rush of being able to vote for a black candidate; foolishly, they didn’t see that they were giving the Republicans an engraved invitation to show that two can play at that game. I’m not going to claim that I predicted the Palin selection, but I find it amusing that people on the left are so flabbergasted that the GOP dredged up a woman politician (to provide a PC club with which to hit back at critics) with an earthy, family-oriented persona (to make her easy for Middle America to identify with) and pro-life, social-con beliefs (to appeal to pro-life social cons). If the election results see the Democrats getting rope-a-doped, well, they’ll just be getting what they bought.

    We’ll be seeing soon whether she’s able to capitalize on her own momentum. As Eric says, if she doesn’t start screwing up, the wisest way to go after her is probably going to be to paint her as a far-right ideologue, someone who not only has off-beat beliefs–Americans can be pretty forgiving of weirdos who are as polished and media-genic as Palin–but wants to impose them on Americans from on high. We’ll have to watch closely to see whether she actually does.

    Northern Exposure

    Posted by Sean at 00:18, September 4th, 2008

    I wish I were totally on board. Too many questions remain about Sarah Palin’s qualifications. I don’t mean her experience–we all know more or less the extent of that–I mean her inborn gift for running things, for not backing down when challenged directly, and for learning about tough policy matters on the fly. But she has serious gravitas as a speaker that implies that she could be a redoubtable leader, and she knows how to leaven things to appear approachable. She’s doing everything right so far. I realize that those of us who want a modest, ushowy executive branch are in the minority, so her job isn’t to court us; but if it were, she would be doing everything right to this point.

    Added at 12:23: Ooh…my favorite pit-bull, owned by one of my favorite people, agrees!

    “If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to wear the proper clothes.”

    Posted by Sean at 19:25, September 3rd, 2008

    Over the weekend, Deep Glamour posted a Q&A with the girls from Go Fug Yourself. Too bad they weren’t asked to put their claws into Madge, which they’re notably good at doing–and they also apparently think Daniel Craig is hotter than Sean Connery?!–but it’s a fun interview nonetheless. Interesting that they both see Grand Central as glamourous. I love the place–don’t get me wrong–but I’ve spent all my time in New York living five blocks from it, so I tend to associate it more with weaving through people walking through the main concourse or vying with other customers for cheese at the market than with thrilling rendezvous.


    Posted by Sean at 13:42, September 2nd, 2008

    No, I’m still not dead, and yes, I’ve been posting intermittently–thanks to those who’ve asked after me. Lots and lots to think about. If you want to know what I think about the Palin selection, a few scattershot lunch-hour things come to mind:

    1. I’ve been saying until I’m going grey that I don’t think of the president as the rainmaker- or rockstar-in-chief. I’m doing quite well at finding meaning in my life, prioritizing which goals I want to pursue and which will remain wistful dreams, and staying informed so that I can do my best as a man and citizen. I don’t need the president to be an inspirational leader and keep me roused from my complacencies or any of that nonsense. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you expect me to flip out about the Palin nomination because she’s not a super-cool Somebody.

      There’s room to maneuver there–this is not a disaster on par with the Harriet Miers nomination, I submit. Miers was being tapped for a job that required evaluating arguments according to a pretty well-defined knowledge set. There was little indication that she had that knowledge set; she appeared to have devoted her career, instead, to developing her managerial and networking skills. But the job of president or vice-president is somewhat different. Wonk-ish presidents can do disastrous things; talented but untested presidents have been known to learn as they go.

      Understand, Palin is not necessarily the type of Nobody I might have envisioned for the Washington Outsider president of my dreams. I would have preferred someone with long experience in the private sector, accumulating a track record of decades dealing successfully with the ups and downs of market forces and competing parties and priorities in multi-national corporations. And trying to inflate Palin’s experience into something it’s not–her state totally borders on Canada, so she’s practically the Secretary of State!–is ridiculous and is making some Republican commentators look like total idiots. As Leslie Watkins says at Virginia’s place, we have “unclean data” now, but to the extent that we can judge at the moment, there seems to be a good possibility that Palin has the raw materials for and that her learning curve is sufficiently steep for the Executive branch. We’ll certainly see, won’t we?

    2. To all my European and Europhile friends who are always bitching that the American electoral process drags on and on pointlessly, and that it would be so much better if we limited campaigning to just a few weeks before the election–well, you’re kind of getting your wish, aren’t you? We’ve got a candidate who’s coming in out of nowhere two-odd months before 4 November, and she’ll be vetted without having beamed at us from a thousand press conferences and campaign ads since 2007. Don’t even think about screeching that this is a ridiculous situation because there’s not enough time to appraise her accurately.
    3. OMFG, her husband is hot.
    4. Attacking the Palins’ daughter is really, really, really unwise, and I hope the left-liberals who think they’re helping Obama by doing so will wake up. We are not talking about Amy Carter here. Bristol Palin is a teenager (so most Americans want to protect her) who will soon be a young married woman (so most Americans will identify with and admire her). The more good grace with which she and her parents respond to attempts to make her into a symbol of conservative hypocrisy, the more voters will be turned off. I’m not saying that because I want Obama to win; I’m saying it because I think we all benefit when both competitors in a presidential race bring it and don’t screw things up for themselves. If you reflexively think this girl’s life is compromised for good because she’ll be busy rearing a child instead of applying to Yale, you are going to lose huge swathes of the electorate.
    5. The title refers to this Cocteau Twins song, not to anything you speakers of German might think:


    Posted by Sean at 20:44, August 25th, 2008

    Virginia Postrel and her collaborators’ new blog is now live for real. Interestingly, if not surprisingly, they chose a purple color scheme. (I wonder what cemented purple in the imaginations of so many world cultures as the color of royal exclusivity and aspiration.) For some reason, the blog reminded me of this Kylie video:

    The video isn’t dominated by purple–though it is shocking pink + blue, so it’s one shade of purple split into its components. But it does have a female aviator suspended in glamourous unattainability, and it has dreamy wisps of smoke in the external shots of the spaceship. And it’s an excuse to post about Kylie, which I can never resist anyway.

    This world is yours and mine

    Posted by Sean at 19:46, August 16th, 2008

    Time to leave for dinner, but I can’t let the day go by without saying…

    Happy birthday, Madge. You drive us all bonkers, but we still love you anyway.

    Madonna’s frequently been dismissed as someone who couldn’t have gotten attention without frantically courting controversy, but many of her best songs have actually been unassuming and warmly casual.

    I’m such a fag I still listen to the Who’s That Girl? soundtrack:

    There was more to American Life than goofy rhymes about Pilates and hotties:

    Romeo and Juliet / They never felt this way, I bet:

    And if I were exiled to a desert island and only allowed one pop song, it would be…