News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm putting these here so I have some sort of record of my mutterings. Just some rubbish I posted at

I won't comment directly on this Michelle Malkin kerfuffle, suffice to say when it comes to US politics you seem profoundly unreliable. Even if you agreed with any of my political views, I suspect it would still be for the wrong reasons. And if you hated Kerry, you'd be just as barking mad as you are today. And that's the problem. Hate. You're full of it at such times as these. You really love to hate. Makes you feel alive. Well, of course it has the same invigorating effect on many of the rest of us... haha... but as good as it may feel and sound to the ear, it ain't at all persuasive in the written form. Your material on China, where you seem fortunately to have invested less emotional capital, is that much more palatable. When the day comes that you don't give half a damn, you'll be at your peak. Because then presumably you'll be capable of the analytical clarity that comes with detachment. The distinction between humans and other mammals is not to be found in our emotional palette, which I presume is shared with them more or less equally, but in our capacity to reign in our emotions and aspire to detachment. Once you get there, perhaps you can bring in readers via wit. After all, I'm not suggesting readers will come without some sort of emotional pull. They surely won't. But venting hatred and playing at the shooting of fish in barrels? It's just so unpersuasive, unsporting, and... for me... just plain too easy. There's no challenge in it. It ought to bore you by now. It's not a good sign that you haven't tired of this nonsense yet.

Posted by: Biff Cappuccino at April 20, 2006 12:00 PM

Ivan: If you're a fan of Lincoln, you must find it ironic that Lincoln shared so many things in common with George W. Bush. Lincoln was hated in the East for being a rural bumpkin, for starting an illegal war, for throwing heaps of money around on patronage projects, for his hostility to the press (didn't Lincoln jail in excess of a hundred newspaper editors?), for overseeing Sherman's March on Atlanta which was the 19th century equivalent of the bombing of Dresden. Several of Lincoln's generals had a withering contempt for the Great Emancipator; General McClellan in particular if memory serves. A number of Lincoln's generals were political appointees, business hacks who figured they were owed a command. And it took Lincoln more than two years to get the Civil War on the right track (when he discovered Grant, whose nickname was The Butcher. The confederates didn't give him that name. His own troops did. For butchering them in senseless battles. Grant, as you'll remember, praised himself for only reading one book on strategy and learning nothing from it.) And I recall reading somewhere that during battle, troops fleeing were shot on the spot by their own men. The tactic was to place twelve men with shooting irons (i.e. I don't remember what they shot with), behind which walked one man with a revolver and orders to shoot the first man who tried to run. I have the feeling this was the official policy on both sides, after which discipline improved and some serious killing and maiming got done.

You'll also remember that many members of the northern congress were constantly in a state of panic and certain the north would lose. They wanted to end the Civil War by negotiating a truce with the Confederates as late as 1863 I believe (it's late here and I can't be bothered to verify the date). And you'll also remember that most everybody who could dodge fighting in the Civil War did via paying for proxies to fight in their place. A lot of chickenhawks then too.

What a surprise that history repeats itself... Fancy that. I find few things more depressing than being informed solemnly that the current average president is worse than other average presidents.

I am no fan of W. And no fan of Clinton. And, for that matter, I don't degrade myself by admiring anyone from afar. All the while, familiarity breeds contempt. What to do? haha...

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