The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Feb. 1 2003 11:19 AM

Signifying Everything

First Fray reactions to the Space Shuttle disaster.

(Continued from Page 1)

Neither does Bush. The important difference is that Bush is president and it is his job to explain his answer to those questions. Bush has failed to explain how the world will be better off if we topple Saddam. What sort of government will be put into the vacuum? The same sort of slip shod, ill-equipped government we see failing over in Afghanistan? And how will we be better off? Are we going to get free oil out of this invasion? …

For those of you dynamically scoring at home: WatchfulBabbler gets to the heart of Bush's "growth solves deficits" proposition here:

Readers can be excused for checking their closets for skinny black ties and acid-washed jeans, because the fiscal rhetoric of 2003 sounds suspiciously like that of 1983: that old economic shark fin, the Laffer Curve, has found a new shoal in the Bush Administration …

Farce de frappe: Chris Suellentrop argues  that French opposition to American foreign policy is part of a longstanding effort to serve as the voice of an independent Europe. The_Slasher-8 explains that this is a clash between national leaders and not between ordinary folks here. But if the real animus is between leaders, that hatred comes from somewhere. Thrasymachus explains:

Where does this image of America as a militaristic nation of naive cowboys actualy come from? Most likely, the same fantasyland in which France is a nation skilled in the art of diplomacy.

The truth is, America is a power built on diplomatic successes; the naive military hegemon is France. During the Cold War, French intransigence was downright dangerous, to NATO and even to themselves. Nobody needed the French to "pursue their own defense" at the height of the Cold War. . . or to appease Hitler prior to World War II. . .or to fail to negotiate with Kaiser Wilhelm prior to World War I.

He goes on to detail France's century of "diplomatic blunders, military defeats, and humiliating rescues by their allies" and American successes …

Totalitarianism's Terpsichore: Mark Scheffler describes the goose step as part of "the toxic grandeur of mass ideology." gry notes here:

Orwell knew what he was talking about when he said, "The goose-step…is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face." The USMC teaches it to this day as part of their Linear Infighting Neural override Engagement (LINE) system. Bottom line, a boot to the face will kill you dead …

Frum-tum-tugger: Tim Noah sees David Frum's account of the State of the Union as damnation (of Karen Hughes) with faint praise. Frum's response can be found at the bottom of the piece. Churchill, who would clearly be a star if only he had more time to waste, er, devote to the Fray, saw Frum Monday night. His report on is here. When asked "Did you find it difficult to write for such a bumbling orator?" Frum replied

with something along the lines of:

While 43 may not be the most articulate speaker - bumbling over words from time to time - he is a very effective one. That is, if by an effective orator, one means a speaker who gets his point across …

Well, if Bush's style really is no style at all, why would Frum be at all surprised at a "typical state of the union address, with the usual long list of priorities and ideas..."? If you're going to be self-aggrandizing, at least be consistent with it, David …

Early adopters: The Book Club Fray discussion of Strangers and Kin includes many personal stories of adoption. The two best posters in this Fray are Gamebird, wholooks at orphanages and foster care here and the panic over infanticide here, and DeaH, who catalogues of women's reactions to open adoption here