LILEKS (James) :: the Bleat

Monday, September 11, 2006
LILEKS (James) :: the Bleat: "The news is never good. If the economy’s up, there’s an expert on hand from the Institute of the Possible Downside warning about unforseen pressure on the bond market, softening housing, hardening tensions, turgid wage growth, and explosive release of inflationary pressures. Have a cigarette. Was it bad for you?

TV news gives me the same impression, which is why I avoid it. All those earnest faces. Good evening, we’re deeply concerned, and powerless to do anything about it. Although we hope you infer from our brows the need to contact someone, and urge action on this issue. Now here’s a baby giraffe."


David Thomson said...

I rarely have anything directly to do with the MSM. Let someone else monitor their activities. My sense of altruistic duty is limited. A knowledgeable citizens simply has to spend time on the appropriate websites, listen to the good talk shows, and read the National Review, The Weekly Standard. Not to do so, renders them incapable of adequately responding to the troubles of our era.

Knucklehead said...

He pretty much sums it up:

The formulation seems simple: The continued existence of problems at this late date in human history implies that we’re regressing. We’re screwing up, we’ve lost it, and we wander confused amongst the morass of the malaise and vice versa. Hard times, brother. Hard times. I’m not saying they should pretend we live in the Republic of Happy Bunnies Who Pee Champagne, but for God’s sake, sometimes you’d think the bread lines snaked from the Hoovervilles to the soup kitchens again.

Syl said...

I got up, turned on tv. Ads on Foxnews, surfed to CNN, CNN International had the editor of the Irish Times 'too bad for the sideshow in Iraq. America has lost the moral highground'.

Turn to MSNBC, Nora O'Donnell has someone mentioning terrorism. 'Oh, the fear factor' she says.


chuck said...

We’re screwing up, we’ve lost it, and we wander confused amongst the morass of the malaise and vice versa.

And here I thought the American way was *doing* things, not cultivating a sophisticated taste for domestic malaise.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, write news. Those who can't write news, post on Kos.

vnjagvet said...

There is a sure way to change these stories, though.

Elect the Democrats.


After all, it's worked before.

Morgan said...

Wow, that's a great Bleat. The part that really grabbed me was this:

"I don’t listen to that song and wonder 'what has he done to get knocked down?' I salute the boozed-up shouting chanty brio of the sentiment, which is the distant cousin of Cagney snapping of "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Really. Chest out, chin high, eyes bright, up yours if your heart can't find the tinder to shout hoorah. Look: there’s always a place for the bitchers, the carpers, the griefers, the snipers, the angry marginal sorts flinging poo from the cages of their own beliefs. But it’s not the pessimists who will save the West. It’ll be those who believe the West is worth saving, and not because it is the least horrible option whose defense must be prefaced with endless apologies, but because it really is the best hope we have."

Skookumchuk said...

The one thing that Katrina taught me was how quickly our elites lose their nerve. It was like watching a herd of gazelles, with their ears and noses always twitching, ready to run off together at the slightest sound.

And how much more nerve and steadiness resides among the non-elite.

Like I've said, once the intelligentsia changes to reflect new values, the battle against Islamofascism will be half won.

CF said...

It's impossible not to love Lileks.
But you shouldn't ignore the MSM--it is a non-ending source of amusement.

terrye said...


I agree, regular people are tough, they have to be.

loner said...

What Lileks brought to mind:

"When I was out here first, all that we did in the trenches was to paddle about in water and use our rifles. We didn't think of them as places to live in, they were just temporary inconveniences. Now we work all the time we are here, not only for safety but for health. Night and day. First, the fire-steps, then building traverses, improving the communication trenches, and so on; lastly, on our personal comfort—shelters and dug-outs. There was a territorial battalion that used to relieve us. They were hopeless. They used to sit down in the trench and say: 'Oh, my God, this is the limit.' They'd pull out pencil and paper and write home about it. Did no work on the traverses or on fire positions. Consequence—they lost half their men from frost-bite and rheumatism, and one day the Germans broke in and scuppered a lot more of them. They allowed the work we'd done in the trench to go to ruin and left the whole place like a sewage-farm for us to take over again. We were sick as muck. We reported them several times to headquarters, but they never got any better. Slack officers, of course. Well, they got smashed, as I say, and were sent away to be lines-of-communication troops. Now we work with the First South Wales Borderers. They're all right. Awful chaps those territorial swine. Usen't to trouble about latrines at all; left food about and that encouraged rats; never filled a sandbag. I only once saw a job of work that they did. That was a steel loop-hole they put in. But they put it facing square to the front and quite unmasked, so they had two men killed at it—absolute death-trap. About our chaps. They're all right, but not as right as they ought to be. The survivors of the show ten days ago are feeling pretty low, and the big new draft doesn't know anything yet."'

"Listen," said Walker, "there's too much firing going on. The men have got the wind up over something. Waste of ammunition, and if Fritz knows we're jumpy he'll give us an extra bad time. I'll go up and stop them."

Dunn went on. "These Welshmen are peculiar. They won't stand being shouted at. They'll do anything if you explain the reason for it. They will do and die, but they have to know the reason why. The best way to make them behave is not give them too much time to think. Work them off their feet. They are good workmen. Officers must work too, not only direct the work...."

—Robert Graves, Good-bye To All That

I miss Michael Kelly.

There'll be days like this... (Van Morrison...and the Shirelles)