Subject: Vices That Cross Class Lines
Re: "Chatterbox: Pathologies of the Idle Rich, Part 3"
From: Joseph Britt
Date: Mon Mar 12 9:07 p.m. PT
I like to mock idle rich people as much as the next guy, but some of the pathologies Noah reports on seem awfully accessible to most of the population. The country would be stronger if aimlessness, discontentment with home and work, educations that are fairly broad but rarely deep, and a preoccupation with gratifying physical appetites were common only among the wealthiest of our people. They're not. Nor is the great American middle class much more apt to find moral discipline and direction from public education, military service, or our declining churches.
Subject: Jacob's Jinx?
Re: "Ballot Box: Why Strom Won't Die"
From: Todd T.
Date: Wed Mar 14 3:36 p.m. PT
Ever notice how when you are watching sports on TV and the announcer goes, "Wow, Hog Buick, the lineman for this playoff contender has never been injured. He's the most durable athlete I've ever seen!" And the next thing you see is Hog Buick getting flat killed in the most sickening high-low hit in history. People in the media know that they have this jinx effect, and I think that the diabolical Weisberg is doing his best to use it.
Subject: The Historical Importance of Air Conditioning
Re: "Readme: Quid Pro Quo Pros"
From: Ford Oxaal
Date: Fri Mar 16 6:35 a.m. PT
Running close to $2 trillion through Washington, D.C., every year is steadily eroding this great nation. That is because D.C. does not create wealth—it just spends it. The solution: Make air conditioning illegal inside the federal city, and get back to the reason Jefferson got the Capitol moved to the swamp from New York City in the first place—to make it miserable to endlessly meddle with "legislation" instead of focusing on reality.
Subject: Last Word on Ulysses
Re: "Culturebox: The Literary Critic's Shelf of Shame"
From: Frank Corner, former New Zealand ambassador to the United States
Date: Mon Mar 12 9:33 p.m. PT
I wouldn't wish blindness upon you all. But it has its compensations. Dredging through the dregs of libraries for the blind after reading the easy stuff, I have had the gift of listening to great readers reading great books that, in my busy, sighted days, had bored or seemed beyond me. … I managed to obtain from the Library of Congress one book, Ulysses, read by a brilliant Irish American scholar: luminous, easy, a miraculous experience. If only a great reader could take me through others, such as Gibbon's Rise and Fall.
The Fray posters' " Breakfast Table" produced the best Fray ever. As we said in the Notes at the end of it, we had to send out to the icon sweatshop, as we were running out of stars, checkmarks, and Slate symbols. Old and new posters came to watch—and, for the most part, congratulate—as some of their own walked the highwire. The Breakfast Tablers' participation level in The Fray was unbeatably high … and so Will V. got his star (the only poster ever likely to find it a come-down, as he had a temporary Slate icon last week).
Other recent new star posters are Joann Prinzivalli (click here for a good post) and Publius (click here for a sample, though ignore the words "Ayn Rand does not enter into it"; we've said before in The Fray that Ayn Rand always comes into it). And David W. Rochlin surely deserves a star, if only for his haunting phrase (in a comment about the Strom Thurmond "Ballot Box" —see also above) that he was ready to defend the weak of his herd against "the wolves of wonkdom."
A careful judgment: Many posters thought Steven E. Landsburg should have written more about Anglo-Irish relations and the horrors of the Irish potato famine in his "Everyday Economics" piece. But David W. Rochlin (again) knew exactly what was required: "One line, excoriating the Brits would have been enough. The author should not be forced to write [more] for propriety's sake."
Religious quote of the week (at least it isn't about Satanism—see last week's "Best of the Fray") came in the comments on the "Dialogue" on the inheritance tax. Marcos Kohler wondered about calling it a death tax, asking "Why complain about the state taking 55 percent of your treasure, if God has just taken the whole stuff?"