Subject: What's Wrong With Soccer
Re: "Diary: Matthew Yeomans on the World Cup"
Date: Wed Jun 5 6:12 p.m. PT
Investing vast amounts of national pride in a soccer team is not exactly healthy; show me a group of Argentinians who care more about how their team does in the World Cup than about the wretched state their country is in, and I'll show you some people who need to lay off the sports. Soccer can be and is used as an outlet for people who don't want to face their country's collapsing economy, for Europeans who want to show their national feelings have not died, and for Africans who lack a way to deal with government officials robbing them blind. In each case it is being used to stand in for serious discussion and action in the real world. This is not a good thing. This is all the nonsense that surrounds the Olympics, concentrated in one sport and blown out of all proportion.
Subject: What's Wrong With the CIA
Re: "Ballot Box: C.Y.A. Op"
Date: Thu Jun 6 8:03 a.m. PT
Why didn't the CIA have an on-target intelligence estimate in which it warned that al-Qaida and similar groups had the ability and the will to launch major attacks on the U.S. at any time? That's not the same thing as knowing that a specific attack was being planned. In a sense, it's more important. It focuses policy makers on coping with real threats before they create actual harm. It is the central task of the CIA. I'll answer my own question … : mainly because a) the CIA has the responsibility to do this without ever having been given the means to require other agencies (DOD, DOS, and FBI, in particular) to support this critical task; and b) most of the $30 billion-plus spent annually on "intelligence" goes to arguably important information-collecting schemes while the CIA's stable of analysts has dwindled, aged, and become less and less equipped, by intellect, education, and experience, for the task.
Subject: What's Wrong at the Vatican
Re: "Press Box: Vow of Silence"
From: The Bell
Date: Fri Jun 7 2:02 p.m. PT
I wonder if the Vatican press corps [is] protecting this pope … [but] leaving the church and his successor unprotected for the onslaught that will surely follow [when they must]… modernize, address U.S. cultural issues not necessarily in sync with European ones, and hold the highest hierarchy of the church culpable when the actions of priests spill over and impact the common welfare. There comes a point when a vow of silence turns into a conspiracy of silence. I suspect the Vatican and its press corps are hovering fatally near that point.
Subject: What's Right for Spider-Man
Re: "Culturebox: Spider-Man's Vow of Celibacy"
Date: Tue Jun 4 9:58 a.m. PT
I think that the final scene of Spider-Man was intended to give a different message. We're all screaming at the screen, "You can work it out, Spidey!" and we are all full of simple, workable suggestions for the web-slinger. Remember, though, that this is a story of teen-age angst. Spidey was overwhelmed by an urge for moral simplicity and sacrifice that feels good to a teen-ager even though it's totally irrational and unnecessary. It may not have been the right thing to do, but it was a very Spidey thing to do.
The "Culturebox" on the Kozlowski collection mentioned Adolphe-William Bouguereau as the Archvillain of Bad Art. Several Fray posters leapt to his defense, though not the star who occasionally used A-W B as a Fray name: See this article for an example, and post in the Fray if you think you know who it is. …
Tony Silva thinks the Fray comments for "Movies" are as good as the columns, and movie critic David Edelstein replied graciously, welcoming "literate, non-abusive posts." (There were more interesting movie discussions in the Fray on the "Obit" for Lew Wasserman.) Meanwhile, William Saletan wants his "Frame Game" regulars to move with him over to "Ballot Box": Read his appeal here.
Hidden away in "The Earthling," a discussion on how to use writers' names to their disadvantage. David started it with "Wright is Wrong." Zathras challenged posters to find a creative play on "Suellentrop," but there are no takers so far. …