Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Politics&Culture File
From my bedside magazine to the laptop screen: P.J. O'Rourke in the November Atlantic:
What is obnoxious about the motives of politicians--whatever those motives might be--is that politicians must announce their motives as visionary and grand. Try this with the ordinary activities of your day: "My dear wife and beloved children, I say to you this--I will mow the lawn. Lawns are a symbol of America's spacious freedoms and green prosperity. Such noble tokens of well-being and independence must not go untended, lest we show the world that liberty is mere license and see the very ground upon which we stand, as Americans, grow tangled with the weeds of irresponsibility and be fruitful only in the tares of greed. I will give the grass clippings to the poor.

-Maybe it takes a Minnesotan to put geopolitics in layperson's terms, writes the Minneapolis MinnST
Just read Thomas Friedman's latest column on North Korea:
The best way to understand the North Korea problem is to imagine a small neighborhood in which one of the neighbors, an unemployed loser, has placed dynamite around his house and told all the others that unless they bring him Chinese takeout food every day -- and pay his heating bills -- he will blow up his house and the neighborhood with it. The local policeman, affectionately called Uncle Sam -- whose own house is safely across town but who walks the beat in this neighborhood -- is advising the neighbors not to give in. 'Very easy for you to say,' the neighbors tell Uncle Sam. 'But we have to live with this guy.'

"That chatty, just-a-regular-guy-telling-it-like-it-is tone has been a Friedman trademark since 1995, when he got the columnist gig that he calls "the best job in the world," says the Strib, which profiles the columnist.

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