February 7, 2010

I’m thoroughly confused by Sarah Palin’s latest interview with Fox News. This is not to suggest that there are things she says which are non-confusing as that’s hardly the case, just that we seem to have crossed a new threshold of nonsensical living-in-the-pastness.

The former Alaska governor, in an interview Saturday on the sidelines of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, said President Obama’s “lack of experience” has held him back his first year in office and that she would put her credentials up against his any day.

Let’s say, just for arguments sake, that McCain’s experience campaign was valid in 2008. After all, he had been in the Senate much longer than Obama’s four years. And now let’s even say that Barack Obama circa 2008 and Sarah Palin circa 2008 had a similar amount of experience. I don’t believe that to be the case, but someone could make an argument for it.

But how is an experience campaign going to make any sense in 2012? Barack Obama does not have the experience to be president–because he has only been president for one term? Also, what credentials is she planning to match against President Obama? Four years as president vs. a resignation as governor of Alaska. If voters rejected an experience campaign when it was slightly valid, how is it going to work when it is patently false?

The vacuum chamber of conservative media may be hurting her here. She needs to understand the concerns of virtual Americans since there probably aren’t enough real ones to elect her.

Today’s Polls 11.11.08

November 11, 2008

American voters and everyday people from all around the world have been awaiting this election with white-knuckle excitement, and loyal readers of Yesterday’s Salad know that we at the site work around the clock to stay on the bleeding edge of electoral news between daily re-readings of Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays.  Infrequent readers and those arriving at the site from Google and other search engines may be familiar with our in-house prognostication team, known for our award-wining 2007-2008 series of candidate profiles, People Who Won’t Be President, the only set of candidate profiles that is guaranteed to be valid well into January 2009.

Devotees of Yesterday’s Salad are also aware that this election obsession evinces considerable “mission creep” into our primary role as an Art and Culture blog. While we apologize for the fact that this has sometimes transformed posts on American sociology into blatant king-making (such as this post from February 2007 wherein we all but declared for Barack Obama), occasionally it has produced true creative dissonance, such as our definitive political/gaming analysis proving that Sarah Palin is not the Lara Croft of young conservatives. While we are intrinsically averse to such change — not to mention our categorical opposition to Marxism, Socialism, Bill Ayers, Gertrude the Carpenter, and Joementum — we are occasionally in favor of change we can believe in, provided that it is not easily “xeroxed.”

A obvious contradiction is inherent in Yesterday’s Salad, namely that a blog so rooted in conservatism and aloof reflection (the Yesterday is there for a reason) has proved so oracular.  Yet, there exists a more essential, but less obvious contradiction to the site. While we contributors prefer to see the world sub specie aeternitatis (it took years to even get the blog onto a computer), our readers desperately seek the latest newfangled thing, which in this year of election-mania is polls.

While we can see that polls are an unequivocal ill to society — one only need look at the average liberal blogger to see a portrait of caffeine-addled poll-addiction, blearily scanning Five-Thirty-Eight and frantically clicking “refresh” — we are also committed to being a publication for readers. And we will continue to honor our readers’ myopic wishes until they are “thrown under the bus” during our inevitable reboot under the editorship of Tina Brown.  We can only hope that our half-hearted championing of polls sparks an inevitable public backlash against the institution of polls, not unlike the paradoxical effect of Burke’s opposition to Warren Hastings.  It may not be in keeping with our founding philosophy, and it might not even qualify as a half-baked idea, but it’s certainly the maverick thing to do.

c/o Wikipedia, FooFighter20x

From the outset, our inaugural presidential poll looks good for Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Samples from the perpetual bellwether state of Iowa show Obama carrying the state’s seven electoral votes, along with the backwater state of Ohio’s twenty presidential chits. Similarly, residents of the hipper states of the Southwest, such as Colorado and New Mexico, are staunchly “drinking the [Obama] kool-aid.” While McCain seems to be gaining some ground among voters in the so-called “secession-belt” of the rural Southeast, the turning of some heretofore Republican strongholds on the East coast, such as Virginia and North Carolina may be enough to guarantee an overall Obama victory.  Up to this point, the election has been hard-fought, and it is clear that Barack Obama has earned our model’s projected 365-173 victory in blood and good old-fashioned elbow grease. While some might point to McCain’s concession speech as an ironclad sign of Obama’s victory, we would like to remind skeptics that so long as Dick Cheney remains in office, the identity of our next president is really anyone’s guess.

So, we encourage readers to tune into our next session of election-related hepatomancy, wherein we will release another set of heart-breakingly banal polling data, and unearth the all-too obvious truth behind the biggest Palin mystery of all (much to the chagrin of goatee-pundit and fanatic truth-monger Andrew Sullivan): namely, that we are *all* the mother of Trig Palin.

Presidents Then and Now

March 19, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Barack Obama minister controversy. There are multiple issues here that deserve consideration: 1) can a person belong to a religious community without agreeing with everything the spiritual leader says; 2) should we be held accountable for the views of our leaders; 3) do personal relationships transcend ideology? None of these will be treated here. In fact, the whole premise of the controversy is false; as we all know, Barack Obama is a crypto-muslim. Therefore the views of “his” Christian pastor are meaningless. It’s all an act.

But lost amidst the transformation of the presidential circus from a hootenanny to a hullabaloo is the release of a new The Presidents of the United States of America album. As in 1996, The Presidents decided to have their new album coincide with the US elections. That album, II is an excellent album with an incredible A-Side and brilliantly nonsensical lyrics. The greatest example of this is “Twig” by Chris Ballew and Beck, a perfect storm of lyrical daff (old English root, cf “daffy”). For example:

“You paint a monkey gold, let him loose downtown
You start him with a smile, he’ll come back with a frown”

While I’m not really sure what the lines are supposed to mean in a grand sense, they have an inner narrative logic that makes them work. Why should a monkey be satisfied in gold paint? This idea of inner-narrativity was later perfected by the President’s frontman Chris Ballew in his solo project “The Giraffes.” From, “Ghost of a Bad Friend”:

Check out that bunny with the sick fat tumor
Busy ducking punches and dodgin dirty rumors
Evening magazine shows up at his hole
And catches that bunny with the money that he stole
Can’t find an explanation for the way
He got rich as a rabbit in a day

Here Ballew exploits his inner-narrativity to collapse it. The verse begins in an animal world, a familiar motif in Ballew’s lyrics. As in a fable, the Bunny is endowed with certain human characteristics. It lives in a world where Evening Magazines will show up at his hole. But as soon as the world is constructed, Ballew destablizes it. The rabbit “can’t find an explanation for the way/He got rich as a rabbit in a day.” He’s still just a rabbit, no matter how personified he may be, and rabbits can’t get rich that fast. This, by the way, is similar to one of my favourite lyrical techniques: literalizing metaphors. As in this great Destroyer line, “Tried to summon up the spirits/live on Face the Nation/But the Port Authority’s just taxed incantations”

All this said, the new Presidents of the United States of America album, “These are the Good Times People,” is borderline terrible. I should have known from the over-emphatic nature of the title that these would not, in fact, be good times. I just never expected them to be so bad. Ballew’s still singing songs about animals, but now the songs are only about animals. No lyrical or musical complexity. The last album saw the Presidents successfully move in the direction of a standard, “non-gimmicky” rock group with even its most quirky song, “Some Postman,” being incredibly rational, only with a more interesting premise. The album also showed the band’s improving ability to craft narrative as in, “Shreds of Boa.” “These are the Good Times People” is a regression from the last album, the bands worst—worse than “Pure Frosting” which wasn’t even a real album—and, ironically, in their blatant disregard for the reality of the situation, their failures now mirror those of our current President. I only hope the band does some honest soul searching, rather than removing all dissidents from office and minimizing their voices.

Predicting the outcome of sporting events is hard work. Nonetheless, your ever humble Saladeers have managed to be correct exactly fifty percent of the time, predicting that the Chicago Bears would lose last year’s superbowl and the Colorado Rockies would lose the World Series. Of course, these predictions have to be balanced with our predictions that the Indianapolis Colts would lose and the Boston Red Sox would also lose. Sure one could argue that Yesterday’s Salad has the moral convictions of one Mitt Romney, changing positions whenever its advantageous. But such an argument would neglect the fact that America is ready for CHANGE and only a Washington outsider like Yesterday’s Salad can deliver! Besides, prognosis depends upon gnosis, and YS, after the supreme disappointment of Matrix Revolutions, decided to renounce gnosticism once and for all.

So in the name of normative religion, let us now praise famous men and the fathers that begat us, and give voice to the reasons that New York will not stand to fight another day.

1. Nation, Narration, Landedness: Where do the New York Giants come from? What are the origins of this strange identity? This past week, the New York Times printed two articles (shades of the sushi scare) about the Giantss actual home, East Rutherford New Jersey. One focused on the differance of East Rutherford, on the way its status as Giants hometown is elided by the media. As the article put it, “Any TV watcher knows that when the Giants play, the networks usually sprinkle in shots of the Manhattan skyline and Times Square, not the low-slung shops on Paterson and Park Avenues, which is where Noel Figueroa, a hair stylist, can be found.” But this article is relatively friendly compared to the Times’ other piece on the political implications of the Giants’ situation. The article begins with the regional politics (the New Jersey governor claim the team for his state/Ed Koch refusing to recognize the “foreign” players) before situating the conflict in its geo-political context. Not only does the article detail the way the first Gulf War impacted the team (with the outbreak of Operation Desert Storm no celebration was held for the Giant’s Superbowl victory), it likens the situation to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis: “So, yeah, this New York Giants business gripes some people on the West Bank (of the Hudson).” It would seem there are some parallels; the giants lay claim to another “New York” from the periphery. At best it can be said that the New York Giants form a kind of imagined community, and it remains to be seen whether or not a stateless team can defeat a stated one.

2. Mobility: Prior investigation has revealed that the city with the superior transit system is more likely to win than the city that largely relies on internal combustion engines. While conventional wisdom would posit that the NYC Subway is vastly superior to the MBTA, it is clear that more inquiry is required. For argument’s sake, let’s try reading against the grain. The claim that the New York City subway system is superior is largely based on reactionary pastism, the fact that the current system is the largest in the world (as based on track mileage). But what if we direct our view towards the future? What we see is not so pretty: the excellent transit blog Second Ave Sagas has recently documented countless problems with the MTA’s largest capital projects. The MTA has had to scale back their ambitions, decapitating the Fulton City Transit Hub, and removing a track from the Second Ave. Subway. Echoes of past second ave failures abound, and this correspondent can’t help but worry that the line will never be built. Meanwhile, politicians continue to bicker over congestion pricing while Bostonians are finally reaping the benefits of the big dig, and political pressure may force the Patrick administration to actually bring the T to medford and East Somerville. If we reverse Benjamin’s Angel of History and direct its focus towards the future, the blows we call progress are surely more damaging on the New York side. [Ed. Note: YS does not actually believe that the MBTA is superior to the MTA, in any regard except theme song.] More damningly, if we change our mode of transport to air travel, we see that New York is responsible for 75%(!) of the Nation’s air travel delays. Advantage Boston.

3. The Tom Brady Factor: While Eli Manning continues to suffer from the Anxiety of Peyton Manning’s influence, Brady has almost violated the immutable law of genre. Brady has transcended the definition of Football Star and become a media star like no other athlete. Not only has he become a staple of Celebrity gossip, he has changed the nature of that gossip: TMZ now reports on possible injuries to Tom Brady rather than his dalliances. It is hard to imagine how this unprecedented situation can manifest in anything other than a Pats victory. Read the rest of this entry »

2008 Watch: The Return?

October 28, 2007

Mr. TWhere have I been? Astute readers will note I was last seen here challenging the internuts to duels. It’s not everyday that I get the chance to brandish my cherished flintlocks, so naturally I entered into honorable combat with a certain gusto. What I had not counted on was that the LAPD would choose to uphold the law–also with a certain gusto (and with significantly more modern weaponry). I was detained by the authorities, but I promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, I survive as a blogger of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me… no wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Regardless, I was on the run from the law and had to maintain radio silence at all times. My benefactor and semi-professional linguist Dash Hammarskjold recently managed to track me down. In exchange for my eternal servitude, he agreed to smuggle me out of California and into a third world country with poor extradition laws. That’s right: Dash (or Herr Hammarskjold as he insists on being called) sent me to Iowa to resume my duties as lead political correspondent for YSMedia and our sister blogs worldwide.

The fact is that whoever wins Iowa will probably be the next president. All of the campaigns have invested so many resources here that to lose will be a huge sign of weakness. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on these January caucuses, especially if you are under the (mistaken) impression that the president actually runs our government. So, here now, is what’s really going on in Iowa which the news media may is ignoring. To be honest, I have no idea what they’re reporting. Per company edict, Dash had forbidden the viewing of any TV network not owned by GlobalSlaladTech Inc. As you may have noticed, however, our TV division pretty much sucks. There, I said it. Actual content after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »