Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Smart Enough to Pay Attention

In Salon, Michelle Goldberg reported yesterday on Saturday's antiwar march in Washington, and the hard fact that liberals who want the troops brought home now (are you listening, Dennis Kucinich supporters?) just don't get that we have a responsibility to ameliorate the conditions we caused there--up to and including spending the controversial $87 billion approved by Congress earlier this month. Goldberg, one of the best reporters working right now, suggests that liberals need is a positive progressive plan that's more nuanced than "bring the troops home," and not just more expressions of hatred for Bush in particular and the war in general. Today's letters in response to the story add further illumination.

Recommended reading: The boys over at Spinsanity have had a good week, with posts on Ann Coulter's feeble attempt to correct a handful of the dozens of factual errors, ad hominem attacks, and straw-man fallacies in her books Treason and Slander, and Bill O'Reilly's attempt to counter criticism of his self-important belligerence. Spinsanity's work is devastating precisely because it's measured, quiet, and utterly factual--something Coulter and O'Reilly know nothing about.

One other thing: Tonight is the third-season premiere of Fox's 24. The show will have to go quite a distance to top last season's plotline, which started with terrorists threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon in Los Angeles and ended with several stunning twists. This season takes place three years later, with several new characters--and, no doubt, surprising appearances by some of the old ones. The show is a wonder for a number of reasons—but the best one is that it's made for adults and presumes that the audience is smart enough to pay attention. Fox doesn't always serve it well—its on-air promos for the show last season tended to give away significant plot points and always played up the show's violence—but the fact that something so good ever made it to network TV, let alone survived, is something to rejoice about.

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