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April 8 2005 5:48 PM

Needles & Threads

The week's best in the Fray.

Andrew Blum's article on lifestyle centers misses a crucial point about earlier shopping malls. Architect Victor Gruen's original designs for shopping malls consciously sought to recreate the dense commercial atmosphere of downtown for new suburbanites. In fact, in the 1950s the only model for successful retailing was downtown. The only other retail option was what was contemptuously referred to as ribbons or strips. These were seen as akin to commercial blight that would reduce property value and the appeal of retail. What Gruen promised at the 1950s shopping mall was to clean up commercial sprawl, create community, and turn a tidy profit. Being Viennese and more than a little critical of Americans, Gruen imagined that he was creating urban density in the midst of suburban sprawl with the mall. Additionally, he often had grand visions of bringing in other uses to the mall: community theaters, daycares, libraries, bomb shelters, and city hall. While Blum may bemoan that Americans have been tricked by lifestyle centers into giving up their right to expression, they already (and for the majority of white middle-class suburbanites willingly) gave it up when shopping malls began dominating the retail world in the 1950s.

--MJH, known outside the Fray as M. Jeffrey Hardwick, biographer of Victor Gruen, on Malls vs. Downtown.

What I'm particularly proud of is how my newfound fame has led people I've never even met to open their hearts and their massive bank accounts to me.

As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is Paul Adams I am a merchant of Omani nationality but presently residing in Britain. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer . It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

Makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks for the praise and good wishes, think about the fairly amazing job Eric has done in alien environs, and, last and least, locdog: neener neener neener.

hg, I think the story has some intrinsic value with respect to what Eric and I are doing, but what was most interesting to and instructive for me was how Froomkin used it as an illustration of a point he'd made in one of his live chats. If you search on the page for "they didn't get answers," (no quotes or comma), you'll see what he did.

--Betty_the_Crow, soaking up the goodwill in BOTF on BTC News' newfound prominence in the White House Briefing Room.

Rhyme can be hackneyed or labored, or impenetrable, as in today's rap music, but at least it shows the poet's de minimus attention to the verbal texture of the work. The Greeks may not have had rhyme, but they certainly had metrical rhythm, as their poetry was meant to be chanted or even sung and often formed a crucial element in a large public ceremony. It was oratorical and therefore, by implicit necessity, rhetorical, that is to say, social, competitive, aggressive, in a certain sense political. Indeed, the poetics of rap are in this regard much closer to the ancients than any Wordsworth or Milton with their, respectively, breathless reflections on nature or allegorical-theological dramas. 50 Cent has much more in common than either of them with, say, Pindar.

All of which relates to the distinction between poetry and prose. There's an awful lot of poetry that fails to live up to the imperatives of that distinction. And what really bothers people, I think, is the question of bad faith in poetics. Interestingly, aesthetics does impinge upon ethics in this way, through the expectations created by formal tradition. Poetry, for all its woebegone impoverished decline, is still accorded a certain prestige in certain quarters. And, as practiced by the members of its somewhat incestuous professional guild, it continues to pride itself on its heritage as the oldest literary genre, etc. So people wonder, if the poet continues to claim the laurel of literary distinction and continues to present his/her work in the grand manner of the canon -- short, symmetrical lines arranged into quatrain-like verses -- shouldn't the verbal texture of the work bear out the necessity of these formal structures? Isn't it incumbent upon the poet to show that he or she can actually do something special or impressive with language?

--MarkEHaag, wondering if "there's more to form than rhyme."

…It's ridiculous for the press to be getting on Prince Charles for finally "doing the right thing." I would take it one step further: how dare the press treat Camilla Parker-Bowles like such a commodity? She's not a knockout, but so what? She's obviously a woman who clicks with Charles on all the important levels -- a life partner, in other words -- and if all the wags have to say about that is "But ... she's a pooch!" then they only reveal themselves to be the shallowest, crassest lightweights imaginable. And sexist to boot: did anybody make jokes about Charles' nose or unappealing personality, or say Parker-Bowles "could do better"? Nope.

This whole business of commenting on the loves of prominent people is so ... so ... 7th grade. Shallowness and cruelty in a group dynamic. It's even below the level of American Idol.

--DemiMundane, taking up for Charles & Camilla.

Thread of the Week: Initiated here, in BOTF, by locdog, attempting to unravel our favorite theological tautology. IOZ cracks back, "Absolutism in the face of divinity is juvenile." And LowDudgeon confesses that "God's just reaction to free-willed sin I can live with," but that "God's just "proaction," if you will, ("God never would have allowed evil unless it was to bring about some greater good") is problematic." HLS2003 tries to place "cafeteria Christians" into the proper context of today's hot-button socio-religious debates … KA2:45 p.m.


Tuesday, April 5, 2005

When the androgynous user name Betty_the_Crow first appeared on BOTF, then-Fray Editor J.D. Connor had an inkling of what may follow. In a classified March 2003 memo prepared for his Fr_Ed successor titled, "So You Wanna Be Fray Editor," Connor wrote of Betty, "probably the smartest poster I starred in my time."

Betty toiled on the Fray's topical boards, often signing his posts BTC News. In fall 2003, Betty announced the launch of BTC News' blog. The site, offering worldwide coverage, was met with much fanfare among stalwart Fraysters. But White House Briefing Room?

As recently as six weeks ago, Fraysters could've gotten in on the ground floor. Last Thursday, gary1 tipped off the Fray to BTC's rush up the blog charts. But today's Washington Post officially inducted BTC News into the big time. In his "White House Briefing" column, Dan Froomkin reported this morning that Eric Brewer, BTC's man in Washington, "became the first blogger to actually ask press secretary Scott McClellan a question last week." The BTC-McClellan exchange:

Q Back to the report on the botched WMD intelligence, have the massive intelligence failures documented in the report caused the President to rethink his policy of preventive war?
MR. McCLELLAN: You know, September 11th taught us a very important lesson, and that lesson was that we must confront threats before it is too late. If we had known of those attacks ahead of time, we would have moved heaven and earth to prevent them from happening. This President will not hesitate when it comes to protecting the American people. And in the post-September 11th world that we live in, the consequences of underestimating the threat we face is too high. It's tens of -- possibly tens of thousands of lives.

Q What about the cost of overestimating?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about the Iraq situation?

Q Going into Iraq, yes, with bad intelligence.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we've talked about this before. The world is safer with Saddam Hussein's regime removed from power. The Iraqi people are serving as an example to the rest of the Middle East through their courage and determination to build a free future.

For more on BTC News' incursion on the mainstream media, check out Froomkin's full column and historyguy's congratulatory thread on BOTF. Fraywatch has just one question for BTC News: Is there a "McClellan-to-English" translator in the works? Could it be the Bushisms of the second term! … KA4:25 p.m.


Monday, April 4, 2005

Fraywatch would like to report that a wide array of testimonials on JPII's legacy spanned the Fray — from Faith-Based to Dialogues. Truthfully, though, the response was far more polarized, ranging from affirmation of the Pope's infallibility to another-meat-puppet-bites-the-dust.

In case of editor emergency, break glass; sound The_Bell:

…At the risk of invoking memories of the old running gag about former Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco from the original Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" sketch with Chevy Chase, news media around the country is united in reporting today that Pope John Paul II is still dead. While watching the ubiquitous news coverage last Saturday afternoon, I learned that after doctors had determined the Pontiff's heart had stopped beating, he was tapped three times on his forehead with a silver hammer by a Vatican official while his Christian name was called out. Only when he failed to answer this summons – and only then! – was he officially pronounced dead.

I sat both bemused and strangely comforted by this affirmation. As a non-Catholic, I have always admired John Paul II. He stood in the Shoes of Peter for over a quarter of a century. A Pope's death is unique among leaders because no known successor exists. In that uncertainty, I can only imagine many Catholics must find comfort in the rituals that might strike some as antiquated or silly.

Like any leader, John Paul II was a representative of his office. Among President's and kings, the common furnishings and accoutrements of past "greats" are often saved and revered. The Pope's ring and seal are immediately destroyed upon his passing; his apartment quickly cleared out and sealed until his successor is ready to re-enter them. It is, in some ways, a reminder of the impermanence of mortality and the vanity of human power. Yet it also strikes me as a kind of humanistic tribute to the way each Papacy is a unique combination of an unchanging Holy Spirit and the individual personality of the man that give It voice.

This Pope, although dearly beloved by millions, will not entirely escape history's critique. While I agree with Mr. Hudson and Mr. McGough that he cannot be fairly buttonholed as a pure conservative, nevertheless John Paul II should be held to task less for anything he did in life as that which he left undone or chose not to do at all. There seems little doubt that toward the end of his reign, probably due to the ravages of age and disease, he did become less aggressive and committed to reform than he was at the start of his Papacy and more devoted to the status quo.

In his last hours, it is said the Pope remained fairly lucid. He was aware of the large crowds that had gathered outside. Those crowds had stopped the chants of "Viva il Papa!" ("Long live the Pope!") from several weeks ago after his initial sicknesses. Now they sat stunned and in dreading anticipation. According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican press office, the Pope repeatedly murmured several times to the crowd, "I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you." Another account comes from the Reverend Jarek Cielecki, editor of the Vatican news service.

At a certain point, a few moments before he died, the Pope raised his right hand, moving it in an obvious, if only faint, gesture of blessing, as if he were aware of the crowd of the faithful present in the square who at the time were following the saying of the rosary. As soon as the prayer was over, the Pope made a very great effort and said the word "Amen." A moment later, he was dead.

Already speculation begins to form on who will be the next Pope. Political analysis is not always useful in this regard. Depending on your degree of cynicism, the College of Cardinals is looking for divine inspiration once locked together in the Sistine Chapel as they are for backroom deals. They have sometimes surprised observers with their choices. Although John Paul II was considered "in the running" last time, he was also considered something of a long shot because he was from an Eastern European communist country and his relative youth. One reason for his election was attributed to the Cardinals' preference to avoid yet another Papal death in the near future after two recent ones.

Some argue the pendulum will swing back and the Cardinals might now like to see a couple of older, shorter-term "caretaker" Popes before elevating another individual who can leave such a lasting impression on the Church. One argument that I think is very valid says that a desire to continue John Paul II's legacy will continue, as he appointed all but three of the one hundred seventeen voting Cardinals within the College.

Perusing the names of the top twenty to twenty-five Cardinals ranked as most likely successors, the battle lines seem to be drawn between Italy and Latin America. The former provides six nominees and the latter seven, with a sprinkling of Western Europeans and Africans thrown in for good measure. The Italians are all pretty solid conservatives while the Latin Americans range from conservative to liberal. Conservative Catholics will want the next Pope to continue John Paul II's strong stance against abortion, euthanasia, married priests, gay priests, and other social issues – and take even more aggressive positions than he did. Liberals, most notably in Western Europe and the United States, would like to see significant reform within the Church on all of these positions and others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no U.S. Cardinals are considered likely contenders.

In Las Vegas, bookies report the current two favorites are Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, both listed at 11:4 odds. Cardinal Arinze would be an intriguing choice, even beyond setting the precedent of the first African Pope. Seventy-two years old, he was appointed a Cardinal by John Paul II in 1985. He would likely be attractive to conservatives for his blisteringly traditional views on social issues. Yet he also holds out a sort of olive branch to progressive for his work promoting interfaith dialogue.

In 1984, John Paul II asked then-Archbishop Arinze to serve as pro-president for the Secretariat for Non-Christians. When that organization morphed into the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he served as its first president for seven years. During that period, he arranged John Paul II's first-ever visit to a mosque. In October 1999, he received a gold medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews for his "outstanding achievements in inter-faith relations". Arinze himself has said, "Theologically, all people come from the same God."

Deborah Caldwell, senior religion editor of Beliefnet feels the next Pope will almost surely come from the Third World because of the Church's growth there. "And if you add in the global clash between Islam and Christianity, the clear choice is Arinze," she says.

That last point is indeed a fascinating way in which the College of Cardinals might choose to carry on John Paul II's legacy. At a time when Eastern Europe seemed vulnerable, a Pope was chosen from its midst and a decade later the Soviet Empire had fallen. While John Paul II had far less to do with that than many Vatican historians will wish to credit him, the election of one of their own doubtless did provide faith, reassurance, and courage to many Christians behind the Iron Curtain. While John Paul II was seldom overtly partisan, he did increase the politicization of the Papacy in this way and others.

The Soviet Union was once seen as he world's great totalitarian regime and threat to peace. Today, that charge tends to rest on the Muslim world and, particularly, Islamic extremism. Perhaps the Catholic Church is looking for a new Pontiff who could reach out to Islamic moderates and reformers as John Paul II did to countless Eastern Europeans. If so, Arinze does seem a formidable contender.

But if the Cardinals are truly looking to duplicate the experience of John Paul II, their candidate must not only be capable of standing up to and reaching out to Islam, he ought to come from within its society as well. To that end, I offer up two names for consideration that probably have not even made anybody's list of long shots.

First is Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir of Lebanon. He currently serves as Patriarch of the Antioch for Maronites. Appointed a Cardinal by John Paul II in 1994, Lebanon has a large Christian population and is currently undergoing reforms to shake off its long-time occupation by Syria. To his credit, Sfeir's life project is described as "promoting dialogue in Lebanon's multi-religious society." His peace-making role in one of the most conflict-ridden areas of the world has made him a very significant figure for the Church. Unfortunately, he is eighty-four years old, and thus, I believe, ineligible for election, which is probably just as well. The Cardinals would be guaranteeing the shortest of reigns if they could/should choose to elevate him.

Second is Ignace Moussa Daoud of Syria. He currently serves as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. At only seventy-four years of age, he could be the perfect "caretaker" Pope. And he comes even more from the "belly of the beast" than Sfeir. Against him is his relative novice status – he was appointed a Cardinal by John Paul II in only 2001. His career is far less impressive than Arinze or Sfeir, including his interfaith work. He currently serves on the Council for Christian Unity, Legislative Texts subcommittee, as well as the Special Council for Lebanon of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. Yet perhaps it is this very blandness that would make him appealing to conservatives.

Improbable candidates should not be dismissed outright because of yet another legacy of John Paul II upon the Church. Back in the early 1990s, the late Pontiff changed the two-thirds majority required for Papal election after enough deadlocked votes had been taken so that a simple majority is sufficient. One might call this move the Pope's "nuclear option." In the opinion of the Reverend Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and the author of the book Inside the Vatican

There is no longer an incentive to compromise and find a consensus candidate. This change increases the likelihood of a more radical and ideological candidate being elected Pope. It means that a Pope can be elected who was opposed by just under half the cardinals.

John Paul II never gave a reason for instituting this change. For my part, I like to believe it was in the spirit of the individuality inherent in each man who heads the Holy See. To the extent that he achieved great successes, John Paul II forced the Church to address the relevant issues of the day. To the extent that he was guilty of shameful failures, it was when he refused to do so or was unable to see the need. Perhaps he wanted to give the College of Cardinals an easier opportunity to put forth unusual, improbable, and even controversial candidates who nonetheless might be in the best position to take the Church where it needed to go in the Twenty-First Century and beyond, each according to the dictates of their own conscience and their best understanding of God's Will.

Liberal Americans Catholics will almost certainly fail to get the progressive reformer they desire. But there is a good chance, I think, that they might get someone from someplace very different than Italy or Latin America. The Middle East Catholic most of us might remember best is the Lebanese comedian and entertainer Danny Thomas, star of the classic TV sitcom Make Room for Daddy. Should the likely Arinze of Nigeria or the unlikely Daoud of Syria find themselves exchanging a Cardinal's red robes for Papal white, then perhaps American Catholics and Catholics worldwide may find themselves asked to Make Room for il Papa.

To read this post in its entirety, click here.


Thursdsay, March 31, 2005

Sig Alert: Witold Rybczynski's past two architectural reviews have generated a flurry of critically sound posts — and, truthfully, any Fray absent the subject heading "feeding tube" these days warrants top billing. Last week's examination of Thom Mayne's Pritzker Prize-winning Caltrans District Seven building in the shadow of Los Angeles' City Hall prompted MsZilla to characterize Mayne's style as "the strangest combo of gothic and art-deco," and robenn to celebrate that it's "nice that a Professional architect can just hit his stride at 61 and continue creating fantastic architecture, maybe even whole schools of innovation for the rest of his years."

This week, Rybczynski comments on MOMA's new extension and its stark, modular five-story facade's "problematic" external relationship to West 53rd Street. As a measure of contrast, Rybczynski points to the University Club a block away. According to Rybczynski, the Italian Renaissance palazzo, designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1899, "responds sensitively to its urban setting. Walking beside McKim's behemoth, one feels small, but never ignored." MatthewGarth disagrees with Rybczynski, taking a modernist tack. On the University Club, MG pshaws:

It's fine. And the attention it offers us is like Social Security: nice to receive, even necessary, but a bit patronizing. This is no accident: MMW are in the business of not making their creations too off-putting, too focal, too easy a set of targets for the masses, who might not be satisfied with architectural attention and may want something more to go with it.

But on the interpretive matter of architecture's urban relations, MG grows more feisty:

Which brings us to the enormous kryptonite wall. Any urban center will have sections of streetscape that just don't care about us. A hundred years ago, Georg Simmel thought it was one of the great achievements of modernity that we no longer cared back. It seems, though, that the lures of sentimentalized flanerie are too much for WR. Too bad. The new MoMA is economical in its concern and its indifference. That's a real achievement these days.

Classicists wishing to rip MG a new one should respond here. BenK may just be one of those classicists. His love letter to MMW reads:

They did some of the best work that this nation has yet to see, and they did it all over the place, for all sorts of clients…

Who doesn't yearn for the return of the old Penn Station? Who hasn't admired the various buildings around Boston and Cambridge of their design? And the post office? The university club?

Why can't we manage to get a few architects today who are similarly humble yet brilliant? Is it a problem of not having the right craftsmen and materials anymore? Are budgets too small for the sumptuous use of stone and wood? Is code too tight, technology in the wrong place?

Is it that architects want more of the profits and thus leave less for the building? Are we more demanding of our buildings and thus the old techniques won't hold up anymore?

Or are minds too small, to focused on 'next great thing' and unwilling to cope with the rigors of doing things in some proven styles... do architects yearn so much for fame that they produce worthless crap... do clients overlook the successes of the past in an attempt to own something iconoclastic?

Where is the problem, and how can we solve it?

Is there really a problem? Get in on the aesthetic debate over in Architecture Fray.

Department of Carrots and Sticks: The pending sale of F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan has slipped through the Fray in relative silence. Even Fred Kaplan's War Stories piece yesterday has yet to stoke the usual partisan flames in the Fray. One explanation may be that this debate has scrambled traditional allies and opponents of the administration, with the Brookings Institution weighing in as a "pro," and the likes of Larry Pressler as a "con." NewAlgier suggests that…

the F-16s are required in Pakistan for the same reason that missile defense is required in the US: to fulfill a domestic political agenda that requires a lot of toys for the military.

Musharraf needs to keep his good ol' boys happy. Perhaps the US is being set up, but it's a lot easier to try to defraud the US than to actually do it. If Osama bin Laden is "suddenly" found, say a few months after the first plane is delivered, would the price be worth it?

Finally, India wants to build its own fighter planes. As the world's largest democracy, it's appropriate that the US help turn them into a superpower. It would be hard to help the Indians, without tossing a few crumbs to Pakistan.

At any rate, this is a hard question over which reasonable people can disagree; very much unlike the Bushies social security, missile defense, and Iraq plans. The F-16 sale might actually be the right decision.

WinstonSmith101 lays out some of the potential pitfalls:

One more point worth pondering is who will end up with these (nuclear equipped) F-16 Fighting Falcons. It is fairly well established that the reason Pakistan has so much trouble fighting Al-Quida is that members of their internal security forces are openly allied with them. Again it worth noting that Pakistan is a military dictatorship and that these security forces are no minor influence on not only the government but also all of society.

The real trouble is what happens if the Musharaff government falls. The man has had at least three assassination attempts in the same number of years. What is the government's plan of succession? Probably the guys who can command these F-16's. Who may that be? I have no idea. However remember that this is THE country where bin laden is probably hiding, and doing a pretty good job of it. Fair to say large segments of the population are Al-Quida sympathizers. This scenario might not happen but is it worth the risk?

Another question is why a country that is so poverty stricken as Pakistan doing spending billions on weapons? Again they are a military dictatorship so I'm answering my own question, but this kind of unbeneficial financial spending only increases poverty and increases resultant political instability.

Finally, Patriot maintains that the F-16 sale is nothing more than a hand-me-down, while alan0nala "love[s] the smell of pork-barrel politics in the morning."

That Time of Year: Please submit your Major League Baseball prediction under this thread in Sports Nut. Winner will receive two Los Angeles Dodgers superb front row loge tickets to a mutually agreed-upon 2006 regular season game. Fray Editor realizes that it's a fairly long commute for most, with the possible exception of CaptainRonVoyage and chango. Tough. There's always ebay … KA5:55 a.m. 


Monday, March 28, 2005

Playing at the Spectrum: Looking at Michael Crowley's quartet of moderate Republicans in that Hollywoods Squre-ish grid reminds Njorl of  "Seseme Street's 'One of these things is not like the other...' game." How does McCain differ from his New England brethren?

John McCain is not by any stretch of the imagination a moderate. On issues of substance, he is to the right of the Republican party as a whole. What makes him unique is that he is neither a delusional religious fanatic nor completely corrupt. Among Republicans, that makes him an outcast.

Zathras, too, finds the lumping of McCain with the New England Patriots a little strange:

Of McCain, Chafee and the two Senators from Maine Collins and Snowe do some useful work in a few specific areas of policy, while Chafee is frankly not anyone's go-to guy on anything.

Only McCain ever showed any promise of being able to fight battles for traditional Republican values on big issues.

So what's the story with McCain five years after South Carolina? Z explains:

…the fight he led for campaign finance reform in 2001 was the last real fight he signed up for.

…It seems clear that he likes staking out contrarian positions and having the image of someone who angers his colleagues -- but he takes no real risks on behalf of his positions and has not couched his opposition to Republican bills in the form of challenges to President Bush. McCain spends a lot of time getting press, particularly interviews on television. These can be a great means of getting points across, provided one has things in mind to say and is not just getting on TV for its own sake. He does a lot of TV for its own sake.

Finally, McCain does not seem to have gathered around him a heavyweight staff able to coordinate his policy positions into something that looks like a platform, as opposed to a random group of positions on issues that happened to show up in the newspapers…

McCain, in short, acts like a man who played the last act of his political life in early 2000 and found the stage lights still on and the crowd still applauding. But after the Presidential campaign and the passage of campaign finance reform he had no lines, no objectives, no strategy, so he mostly made things up along the way. He's still doing it. He is a voice, but not a force.

Fraywatch got a laugh or two from both ominbus1reader here

And then there was Christine Todd Whitman, now going around promoting her book. Wanting to take back the Republican party. Oh, I feel their pain. Imagine being born with wealth, going to all the right schools and actually attending classes, keeping up the noblesse oblige, and then losing everything to the Bushniks.

…and the normally measured ElboRuum's rant from the middle

All extreme political views are complete and utter nonsense. Conservative right and liberal left.

You are all fucking kooks. With the right trying to make this country Jesusland and the left trying to turn it into a commune, you have both the lack of clue I've come to expect from mouth-breathers…the misanthropic social engineers with a bug up your ass like you all are…

And we, the moderates and centrists in this country, whose views are a little more complex than what can fit on a Post-It, can get back to the principle upon which this country was founded…

For a more formal exegesis from the Fray's personification of moderation, check out The_Bell's column on the matter here

Squashing Beef: In the remote corners of the Fray, Ortho_Stice has quietly built an impressive oeuvre commenting on the music 'o the day. Whether it's nominating Beck as best Spanish-speaking gringo or paying tribute to Dre's staying power, O_S has brought to the musical Frays what Splendid_IREny has accomplished with the Fray's Cineplex. Here's O_S on the "dick-swinging culture dominant in hip hop," and how rap wars are wildly misconstrued by those in the mainstream press:

I can't excuse it because the central, dominating beef of hip hop did not stop at verbal salvos. It ended up, either directly or indirectly, in the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. I can't excuse it because nearly every friggin' rapper on this planet, including those participating in very public beefery, has name-checked either Tupac or Biggie with the popular martyr, 'died too young' tragedy theme. You think Biggie and Tupac's deaths were tragedy? Here's an idea: stop being a hypocritical, manipulative testicle-jockey by mourning out of one side of the mouth while fronting from the other. Yeah, you're all carrying on Tupac and Biggie's torches while propogating limp opportunistic beefs from the widow's walks of you Connecticut mansions. And try to keep in mind that their beef was unfortunately real, their beef was a colossal mistake that robbed hip-hop of two of its brightest talents (far brighter than any of these new found beefites- Jay-Z and Nas maybe excepted), and their beef tainted hip hop in the public realm for years. I don't mind beef in general; I do mind when cliched crocodile tears are shed for Rap's convenient martyrs while riding your Escalade all the way to the bank. You Tupac/Biggie-lovin' rappers don't have to eat crow, but lay off the friggin beef.

On the matter of persona warfare, O_S may be a vegetarian, but Fraywatch hopes he'll keep providing us nourishment … KA8:55 a.m.