Monthly Archives: January 2012

46 States to Go

That was Newt Gingrich’s message tonight after a pretty decisive loss to Mitt Romney in Florida. It’s a good message, because it is true – this is only the end of the beginning.  However, 15% is not even close. You can argue that it’s pretty hard to fight being outspent 5 to 1 with negative ads, but Gingrich completely failed to counter successfully. He looked battered all week, and campaigned like it. I don’t think it’s just him though. I think he is surrounded by people who have panicked, and those sort of people are the last sort you want on a tough campaign.

He was too nice in Iowa, but in Florida he was just too desperate and nasty. It lost people’s sympathy. In South Carolina he got it right – you give people an alternative vision. You whack your opponents, but only on the way to articulating conservatism. He needs to refine that, increase the discipline levels, and figure out a new game plan, because if he continues to campaign this way he will lose.

The stakes are high. I was watching Romney on Greta last night and what he said really bothered me. Greta asked him what his first day in office would look like. He mentioned the usual crap about getting rid of Obamacare which every candidate has pledged to do, but then he mentioned two other things.  He said that he was not going to tolerate China rorting its currency, and talked about raising tarriffs on China.  He also talked about a tax rebate for savings for the middle class.

These are just awful policies.  You don’t promise to start a trade war with China on your first day in office!  There is nothing conservative about tarriffs.  All tarriffs do is make it more expensive for poor people when they are shopping at Walmart.  It’s an insane policy, and will destroy jobs and economic growth.

Sillier still is his rebate policy.  Poor people do not, and usually cannot afford to, save money.  The people who save money are the rich.  Romney’s rebate is a genuine bona fide “tax cut for the rich” in the worst way.  It will be a rort which helps the rich and does sodall for the poor, without any real economic benefit, since it is making a ludicrously complicated tax system even more complicated.

And that’s before you even look at Romney’s terrifying proclamation this week that he would not touch Social Security and Medicare – the two biggest items of expenditure in the Federal budget.  I know he was campaigning in Florida, but how any Tea Party voter can take him seriously is beyond me.

Newt would do well to cut out all the crap about the past records, which is what Florida has been about, and focus on what I see as some hugely blunderous policies by Romney.  He needs to hammer the bastard on them.  They show that Romney actually has no clue about economics and what conservatives want.  That is where Newt’s focus should be.

PS:  Sarah Palin has endorsed Newt for Nevada.  Good God, woman, just cut out the crap and start campaigning for the man.  You have the power to save him.  Stop teasing us all!

“Rage Against the Machine – Vote For Newt!”

“And I say, you know, you’ve got to rage against the machine at this point in order to defend our republic and save what is good and secure and prosperous about our nation,” Palin continued. “We need somebody who is engaged in sudden and relentless reform and is not afraid to shake up the establishment. So, if for no other reason, rage against the machine, vote for Newt, annoy a liberal, vote Newt, keep this vetting process going, keep the debate going.”

Fox News Foxes: Moar Guilfoyle :-P

Since 90% of my blog traffic seems to be owed to the delightful Fox News Foxes (and perhaps a mistaken identity on my first post), here’s some more of the delightful Kimberly Guilfoyle. She was married to a commie Mayor, but we forgive her because she’s so damn sizzling:

Why Cynthia Nixon is Right About “Being” Gay

I think a lot about gay people.  They are of fascinating philosophical, sociological and theological interest. So the furore that Cynthia Nixon has sparked is fascinating:

Cynthia Nixon learned the hard way this week that when it comes to gay civil rights, the personal is always political. Very political.

The actress best known for portraying fiery lawyer Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City” is up to her perfectly arched eyebrows in controversy since The New York Times Magazine published a profile in which she was quoted as saying that for her, being gay was a conscious choice. Nixon is engaged to a woman with whom she has been in a relationship for eight years. Before that, she spent 15 years and had two children with a man.

“I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me,” Nixon said while recounting some of the flak gay rights activists previously had given her for treading in similar territory. “A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”

To say that a certain segment of the gay community “is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice” is an understatement. Gay rights activists have worked hard to combat the idea that people decide to be physically attracted to same-sex partners any more than they choose to be attracted to opposite-sex ones because the question, so far unanswered by science, is often used by religious conservatives…

For about the last forty years or so, the sodomite community has been absolutely determined to classify homosexuality as another distinct minority group, like black Americans, or midgets.  To do this, they have been adamant that people are born gay or straight, that they can’t change who they are, and that for a gay person to try and be straight is unnatural and harmful.  In this they have been helped hugely by many conservative Christians and religious people who have discriminated against homosexual behaviour as if gay people were in fact a discrete minority group.

So when real people like Cynthia Nixon casually point out that the emperor has no clothes, all hell breaks loose.  There is a frantic scramble for people to justify their behaviour as innate and unchangeable:

Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen…said he found the actress’ analysis irresponsible and flippant, despite her ample caveats.”Cynthia did not put adequate thought into the ramifications of her words, and it is going to be used when some kid comes out and their parents force them into some ex-gay camp while she’s off drinking cocktails at fancy parties,” Besen said. “When people say it’s a choice, they are green-lighting an enormous amount of abuse because if it’s a choice, people will try to influence and guide young people to what they perceive as the right choice.”

Well no shit.  It seems obvious to me that there are some forms of sexuality that are healthier than others.  We don’t encourage teenagers to masturbate in public, for example.  But nobody goes around saying that people are born public masturbaters.  And to say that Nixon didn’t choose to be a lesbian, when she says she did, is just ridiculous.  How the hell would Wayne Besen know?

I don’t think anybody is born gay.  All creatures are born to perpetuate the species, and that necessitates heterosexual sex.  That’s not a religious viewpoint, it’s basic biological science.  Gay sex is, by biological definition, abnormal.  But we are also not  born sexual – it develops as we grow up and become aware of ourselves, and our bodies, and interact with others.  All manner of factors conspire to influence what we find attractive, what arouses us, and the sort of people we pursue for sexual gratification.  This produces a huge spectrum of sexual attraction in the world.

In this light, I think it is important to view same-sex attraction and sexuality as a common part of life.  We should not discriminate against, or stigmatize, people who have different attractions from our own, as everyone is in the same boat.  I don’t think God judges people on the basis of sexual attraction, and Christians who feel that way are not looking at their own shortcomings and sexual desires and actions.

However, I do not subscribe to the view that God intended for us to have sexual relations with anyone outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  I don’t think anyone can ultimately experience a completely fulfilling love life outside that.  I believe that peace and fulfilment in life ultimately come from faith in God and his saving grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that we need to have faith that God’s will for our lives is better than following our own desires.  Which is of course no easy thing, but then nothing in life worth achieving is easy.

Saying one is gay is no more meaningful a statement than saying one is a tennis player.  It is certainly not akin to talking about one’s weight or the physical nature of one’s body.  Activists argue that “being” gay cannot be changed, and if they mean that same sex attraction cannot be changed, then I agree that telling someone not to be attracted to the same sex is a bit like telling someone not to like tennis – you can gradually go off tennis over time, but you can’t instantly not like it because someone sends you to a camp to “cure” you of it, or shames you out of it.  On the other hand, nobody makes you play tennis.  It’s not compulsory.  You can like tennis without engaging in it.  In fact, nobody is making you play any sport at all.

Florida Primary Bits and Bobs

It looks like Romney may well win Florida on Tuesday – he is eight points up there in a poll out today.  This won’t kill off Newt, we are almost beyond killer blows in this campaign now.  But unless Newt can make it close, it will make things a lot harder for him.

Funnily enough, Newt is still up nine points on Romney nationwide.  This suggests one thing to me – that if you outspend your opponent by millions of dollars on attack ads, you can bash people over the head until they vote for you.  I am not sure what Newt can do about this, as he still does not have the money Mitt does.  The consolation may be that as the frequency of contests increases, Romney will have to spread his resources more thinly.  If Newt can hold that lead despite a loss in Florida, he might still prevail in Nevada at least, and take Colorado and Arizona, setting up for a decisive contest on Super Tuesday, March 6th.

Without the constant attack ads, I think Newt has gotten some sympathy.  He has had some good TV time, although the debates have not gone so well in this state.  People don’t like the GOP establishment attacking him, and Bob Dole’s attack on him, and endorsement of Romney, backfired hugely and probably helped Gingrich.

What might also help is Herman Cain’s endorsement tonight:  How much will it help?  Not nearly as much as the crown prize – an explicit Sarah Palin endorsement.  She’s been defending him all week, but doing her usual tease.  With all the folks barracking (no pun intended) for Mitt, this is not on.  She needs to come out and give Newt a boost.  Newt needs some people on his side with the courage to stand up for him.  Lord knows there are enough people on the other side playing scorched earth.

You Should Join National

Do you believe in reducing taxes, reducing the size of government, offering choice in health and education, reforming welfare, and protecting property and individual rights?

Do you think John Key is a bit wet?

Can you not utter the words “Nick Smith” without spitting over your left shoulder?

Do you HATE the fact that there are now almost no right-leaning politicians left in parliament?

When someone suggested back in the eighties as a joke that you should steal a dead baby’s identity and apply for a passport with it, did you do nothing more than laugh and say “I don’t think so!”?

Do you live in any of the following electorates:  Whangarei, East Coast Bays, Pakuranga, Waikato, Taranaki-King Country, Wairarapa, Ohariu, Ilam, Otago, Clutha-Southland, Invercargill?

You should join National right now!

New Zealand is not going to change unless people like you step up, join the party, and run for parliament.  Join up, get onto your local branch committee, and start making friends so that when 2014 rolls around you can put yourself up for candidate selection and have some support behind you.  The seats I mentioned are highly likely to have candidate vacancies in either 2014 or 2017, so set yourself up now.  Get in there and start making a name for yourself.

If you don’t do it, the commies win.  And that sucks.

PS:  I am doing my part too.  Look for me to run for Governor of Texas in 2018 😉

Why the Left Win in New Zealand and the Right Lose

New Zealand right now seems to be bereft of political figures who will boldly state what needs to be said, and defend freedom.

The National Party in its current state reminds me of Ted Heath’s Conservatives in Britain.  They are weak, wet, managers of Labour’s reforms, and the minute someone questions their convictions they either back down or pretend they are doing something else.  There is a definite sense that in order to be popular, right wing views need to compromise and “be reasonable” to accommodate what is seen as a left-leaning electorate.

Case in point David Farrar’s blog.  Occasionally he will say the right thing, but much of it is hand-wringing and compromise.  One particular view that jumped out at me was on the Crafar Farms issue:

I should state my view on the Pengxin bid. It is:

Ministers should follow the recommendations of the Overseas Investment Office…

That was the first bit, and I didn’t read any further.  In that sentence Farrar has already conceded the argument!  But the correct view on this issue is that we should allow foreign capital to flow into our country to create jobs and wealth without any hindrance.  There is no compromise view.  The Overseas Investment Office serves no good purpose whatsoever and should be abolished.  It costs New Zealand’s economy hugely.

What is so hard about standing up for this view?  And why is it so hard for National politicians and bloggers to make such a simple argument?

New Zealand desperately needs a Thatcher who can stand up to the Left and stand firm on principles like these.  Otherwise the slow drift to poverty will continue while the Nats continue to smile and wave.

The Masses Against the Classes

Just a quick post because I have been very busy at work lately and haven’t had much time. But what a joy it was to see Newt Gingrich win South Carolina on Saturday!  Not  because Mitt would suck, but because this has turned into something else that is bigger than two guys who want to be President.  It is now a battle of the Masses against the Classes.  An uncouth conservative rabble who have seen in Newt the fighter they desire, and the moneyed, powerful, party grandees backing Romney as the one who will preserve propriety and balance in the force.

Already things have turned septic.  The Power Line blog has all but refused to support Newt if he is the nominee, saying that they will focus on winning the House and Senate instead.  Chris Christie has given the Democrats a beautiful campaign ad with his “Newt has embarrassed the party” quote.  And grouchy old commentators like Charles Krauthammer have been driven mad at the thought that such a thing could come to pass.  We have seen the true face of the GOP establishment, and it ain’t pretty.  There is some major toy-chucking going on.  The elites are very very scared indeed.

All this simply makes me like Newt even more.  Though maybe “like” is the wrong word.  Polling is pretty clear on this – most people don’t actually like Newt.  In fact, it is precisely his unlikeability that has propelled him into frontrunner status.  Fickle woman that she is, Lady GOP is spurning the suit (and suits) of nice guy Mitt, and living a little dangerously with bad boy Newt.  They have correctly surmised that only a cheating arsehole has enough of the nasty to go after Obama.

Newt could still be tripped up.  He released his Fannie Mae contract tonight and it could be problematic for him, given his previous glossing over of it.  Voters like a penitent sinner, but they don’t like being lied to.  And  maybe Romney will find that mojo or whatever it is he has been lacking up until now.  But I think a grilling of Newt on Fannie Mae would be a better bet.

All this of course just gives me the opportunity to post a Manic Street Preachers song, so here it is:

Newt Kicking (Dumb)Arse

Politics:  This is how it is done…

 
That’s one of those beautiful moments in politics that gives you goosebumps.  A lot of love out there for Newt right now.  We’ll see if that translates to votes tomorrow.

 

Perry: “Vote for the Adulterer. It’s Important.”

In an eventful day in the GOP primary race, Rick Perry is out, leaving only the four horsemen of the apocalypse:

“I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform this country,” Perry said.

Making what he called a “strategic retreat,” the Texan obliquely referred to Gingrich’s checkered personal life just hours before an interview with the former House speaker’s second wife was to speak out in a TV interview.

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?” said Perry.

Citing his Christian faith, Perry said of Gingrich: “I believe in the power of redemption.”

Perry’s endorsement is important, simply because he is the first major Republican to endorse Newt.  Sarah Palin also all but came out and endorsed him (but only for South Carolina).  So it will count for something.  Allegations of seeking an open marriage notwithstanding, the momentum is with Newt right now.  Two polls now put him ahead of Romney, who is having a hard time being a Massachusetts Yankee south of the Mason Dixon line.

Many pundits have expressed surprise that Perry’s campaign has been so awful, given that he is the longest serving Governor in Texas history.  Texans are less surprised.  He has had the benefit of very weak opposition, and since the Governor of Texas is basically a figurehead, it’s been difficult to mess up the job.  Put up against the big boys, his laziness and other weaknesses were exposed.  He simply didn’t live up to the hype, and he has mercifully been smart enough not to go on.

I am going to be biting my nails all day Saturday.  I think the man who wins this state will probably be the nominee.  However, there is no reason why the campaign could not continue on for another two months, given that the delegates are apportioned according to the number of votes received.  There is plenty of time for someone to land a king hit and still cause an upset in the latter stages.

Fox News Foxes #4: Juliet Huddy

She’s a reporter on Fox who is blonde and rather tasty.  I’d tell you more but Wikipedia is off right now:

The Waterfront Strike: A Golden Opportunity Being Missed

The longer I have been away from New Zealand, the less interested I find myself in NZ politics.  However, it has been interesting to see the reaction to the waterfront strike there.  I think there has been much chortling on our side of the divide at the ridiculous wages that these workers are paid and the sheer chutzpah of them striking for even more.  But to me these are micro arguments, not macro ones.  There is an opportunity to convey our vision here in the big picture that is being missed.

I say this because it seems like most on the Right have completely missed the point of WHY Ports of Auckland is in a mess.  And it is shameful, because it is so obvious.  Ports of Auckland is in this situation because it is publicly owned.  If PoA was a privately owned company or listed on the stock exchange, there is no way in hell its owners or shareholders would tolerate an average wage of $90k.  We would have a more efficient port, with more jobs for Aucklanders, a better profit for shareholders, and a flow-on to the NZ economy.  Public ownership has led to councillors kicking the can down the road and turning a blind eye to inefficiencies, all aided by a union which has gotten too big for its boots.

We can castigate the union and the workers all we want, but at the end of the day turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and people will always act in their own self-interest.  And in doing so, we ignore the real travesty here, and the real problem – the notion that it is better for some companies to be kept in “public” hands.

Local and national governments should not own companies.  It is a bad idea for nearly everyone except the workers who are creaming it.  Let’s stop being gutless and make the argument.  There, I started for you.  😉

GOP Nomination: Then There Were Five

Looks like Huntsman is out.  Like a wounded pet dog that needs to be shot, I’m glad he will soon be out of his misery, but all the same I am sorry to see him go, and he will be missed.  He was a far better candidate than his godawful campaign suggested.  I would have called it the worst Presidential campaign I have ever seen, but for the fact that Rick Perry is also running, and at least Huntsman realised his errors and made an (all too late) effort to correct things.

But it is pointless to muse on what could have been.  To be the President of the United States, you have to know how to read the mood of the electorate, connect with people and get them to vote for you.  And while Huntsman was a good solid conservative Governor of Utah, he utterly failed to do that, so he is not qualified to be President.

Beautiful Words on Martin Luther King Day

MLK’s latter years – those after the 1964 Civil Rights Act – are often forgotten, especially since King became vocal about the Vietnam war and moved the focus of his campaign to northern cities in a way which made previously sympathetic Yankees uncomfortable.  But as this recently discovered 1967 speech to a Cleveland high school audience shows clearly that King was not in favour of the tokenism that his successors have veered towards, and he says it beautifully:

“If you are setting out one day to be a good Negro doctor, or a good Negro lawyer, or a good Negro schoolteacher, or a good Negro preacher, or a good Negro skilled laborer, or a good Negro barber or beautician, you have already flunked your matriculation exam for entrance into the university of integration.

“Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street-sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say ‘Here lived a great street-sweeper who swept his job well.’”

Happy 83rd birthday Martin Luther King.

 

 

Real Life > Satire

No, this is not from The Onion.  This is actually the cover of Newsweek magazine:

It’s also probably the most honest piece of journalism we’ve seen from the mainstream media lately.  Oh, and surprise surprise! the article is written by Andrew Sullivan, who spent much of 2010 trying to prove that Trig wasn’t actually Sarah Palin’s baby.

Why are the MSM so DUMB?!

This May Well Be The Only Time I Agree With Bill Maher

I wouldn’t piss on Bill Maher if he was on fire, but I probably would once he had burned to death.  But I digress.  He said something awesome which I agree with, and here it is:

“…a dead body is just a fucking body that’s dead and it just doesn’t bother me that much what we do to them… If they were real Taliban, if they were people who burn down girls’ schools you know, and do honor rapes, threw acid in people’s faces, I’m not that upset about pissing on them, dead or alive.”

US TV Forced To Show Anti-Abortion Ads By Election Laws

This news made me laugh:

Terry, who founded the Operation Rescue organisation that came to prominence by blockading abortion clinics and has been jailed for his activities, registered as a Democratic presidential candidate against Barack Obama in order to use a federal law that requires television stations to air political adverts uncensored within 45 days of a primary or general election.

The ad he plans to run includes graphic pictures of a black man hanging from a tree, murdered victims of the Holocaust and of aborted babies. “The slaughter of babies by abortion. This is murder. President Obama perpetuates this massacre,” it says.

I doubt these laws are going to last too much longer at this rate.  It means that any idiot with a few million bucks to spare and an axe to grind can get his pet issue in the news, simply by saying he is running for President.

However, the reaction is telling.  Are people really more outraged by being shown images of aborted foetuses than they are the fact that millions of abortions happen every year?  To my mind, people need to see these images.  Personally they terrify me, and I can’t look at them without crying and wanting to retch.  The debate as to whether the practice should be legal or not will continue, and I am uncertain as to what the correct answer is, but the immoral nature of abortion seems unquestionable.  These are little babies, deliberately destroyed.  Confronted with the reality of abortion, can it truly be justified as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy?!

Free speech is a healthy and wonderful thing, and it is nice to see Democrats’ campaign laws being used against them in such an extreme manner.  It makes pissing on a Taliban corpse look like high tea by comparison.

Last Stand for the Tea Party

As I have long predicted, it is all coming down to South Carolina.  The Republican Party nominee for President of the United States will largely be decided there.

Romney’s lead has narrowed greatly in the polls there since his triumphs of Iowa and New Hampshire.  While in theory the contest continues until April, three in a row would pretty much sew it up.  It would guarantee him Florida, and funding for future contests for other candidates would dry up.  Probably only Ron Paul would be left to take the fight to him, and while the Conservatives in the GOP hate Romney, they don’t hate him that much.

We are at a point in the race where things have clarified.  While Huntsman did well, he failed to get the bounce from New Hampshire he needed.  Conversely, Santorum did so badly in New Hampshire that it all but canceled out his strong showing in Iowa.  Perry needs South Carolina to stay in the race, but right now he is nowhere there.  Ron Paul is Ron Paul.  The only candidate in the race who can possibly win South Carolina besides Romney is Newt Gingrich (who one poll shows is within two points), and it is fair to say that unless he can find a lot of cash to keep going it is his last stand.  The nominee will eventually either be Romney or Gingrich.

A Romney nomination would not be a disaster in itself.  Both Romney and Gingrich come with baggage weighing them down, but both can beat Obama with a good campaign.  And both would be miles better than Obama if President.  But a Romney nomination would be a disaster for the Tea Party.  It would be severely weakened in influence, and Romney’s easy win might see him move towards a mere “tinkering” platform, only opposed by the Paulbots who could be more easily marginalised. Personally, I think he is the weaker of the two candidates.  He has some great qualities – he is clearly a good manager and has excellent composure.  I think he would be a solid, but cautiously conservative President.  Which to me could never be enough.

Newt would be much better.  Sure, he occasionally says and does things that make you cringe, but that is how he lives and campaigns, and how he governed when he was Speaker.  He is bold, radical, inspiring and visionary.  He was the Tea Party before the Tea Party existed – the man who put together a cohesive platform for the GOP that retook the House for them, then implemented it, balancing the budget and reforming welfare.  Unlike Mitt, he has been consistently Conservative and he has a track record of changing America for the better.  He’s not perfect, but only Newt would properly implement a Tea Party agenda and be the radical that the US Government now requires to avoid further descent into disaster.

There are eight days before South Carolina votes, which, to coin a cliche, is a long time in politics.  I can only hope that Newt pulls Mitt back, wins the primary, stays in the race, and keeps the Tea Party dream alive.

 

The Red Wine Research Scandal

This is an unparalleled disaster:

A University of Connecticut researcher who studied the link between aging and a substance found in red wine has committed more than 100 acts of data fabrication and falsification, the university said Wednesday, throwing much of his work into doubt.

Dipak K. Das, who directed the university’s Cardiovascular Research Center, studied resveratrol, touted by a number of scientists and companies as a way to slow aging or remain healthy as people get older. Among his findings, according to a work promoted by the University of Connecticut in 2007, was that “the pulp of grapes is as heart-healthy as the skin, even though the antioxidant properties differ.”

Here I am, drinking litres upon litres of the stuff in the vain hope that it would improve my skin and fortify my cardiovascular health, and we now find out that one of the fullas who did the research clearly has been taking cues from your average climate scientist.

While some are saying that this does not necessarily mean that red wine isn’t helpful for the skin and the heart, I am despondent.  I may have to somehow cheer myself up.  Perhaps with a bottle of… ?

Has Culture Frozen in Time?

A Vanity Fair article suggests so – that in the last twenty years there have been no significant changes in trends, fashion or design:

Since 1992, as the technological miracles and wonders have propagated and the political economy has transformed, the world has become radically and profoundly new. Here is what’s odd: during these same 20 years, the appearance of the world (computers, TVs, telephones, and music players aside) has changed hardly at all, less than it did during any 20-year period for at least a century. The past is a foreign country, but the recent past—the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s—looks almost identical to the present. This is the First Great Paradox of Contemporary Cultural History.

Think about it. Picture it. Rewind any other 20-year chunk of 20th-century time. There’s no chance you would mistake a photograph or movie of Americans or an American city from 1972… with images from 1992. Time-travel back another 20 years… again, unmistakably different, 1952 from 1972. You can keep doing it and see that the characteristic surfaces and sounds of each historical moment are absolutely distinct from those of 20 years earlier or later: the clothes, the hair, the cars, the advertising—all of it…  The modern sensibility has been defined by brief stylistic shelf lives, our minds trained to register the recent past as old-fashioned.

I don’t quite agree with this.  One only needs look at an episode of Seinfeld from 1992 to realise that it did look quite different, albeit less different than five years before that.  And 1992 was all about grunge, and that particular fashion is quite obsolete now.  Nobody wears those plaid shirts and baggy jeans.

However, the article has a point.  Things have definitely slowed down.  And if the author Andersen had reduced his timeframe slightly – to 1997 perhaps, his case would be infinitely stronger.  Grunge was over, alternative music pretty much sounded like it does now (with the same artists in many cases), hip-hop was introduced to Eminem and Puff Daddy and became the mainstream phenomenon we know today – fashion ceased to have any defining features that would make it different from today… life has simply frozen into place.

There are tiny distinctions, of course.  It is hard to imagine films like Fight Club or American Beauty being made today, for example, or a book like No Logo being written in quite the same way with its focus on labels and corporate marketing.  But I regard those phenomena as grunge’s hangover more than anything.  The rot had already set in.

But I think therein lies the key to Andersen’s dilemma.  While he blames the fast pace of technological change for the stasis, my view is also that grunge culture basically killed off cultural change for good (or at least the forseeable future).  When fashion becomes anti-fashion, when alternative becomes the mainstream, when everything is open to question, derision and cynicism, what is left?  It has the effect of just locking everything in place, because nothing is real any more, and even what is fake simply becomes the equal of the real.

The other contributer is of course the internet.  It used to be that mass media defined trends and culture for us.  But there is no such thing as seeing T Rex or Roxy Music on Top of the Pops for the first time and running out to buy the latest glam rock gear any more.  There’s blogs, and facebook, and “Hey, check out this cool video.”  It’s almost impossible to start an all-encompassing trend or fashion that way.

In conclusion…