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* Oriental DreamWorks, the joint venture between DreamWorks and a consortium of Chinese investors, has announced that its first feature will be released in 2016. Katzenberg is in Shanghai this week reviewing at least seven different film proposals vying to be the studio’s first feature. The studio plans to “closely link elements of Chinese history, culture and literature in its various productions.” More details in this news article.
* Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) is comign back to TV with a new TV series called Wander Over Yonder for the Disney Channel. The Disney TV Animation-produced show, scheduled for the 2012-13 season, is about:
Wander is an overly-optimistic intergalactic traveler who, along with his loyal but bullish steed, Sylvia, goes from planet to planet helping people to live free and have fun, all against the evil reign of Lord Hater and his army of Watchdogs.
* Composer Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) talked animation in the Wall Street Journal:
What do you think of the shift in animated film earnestness to irony? Menken: Ironic is OK. You can have a Sebastian [the crab in The Little Mermaid], as you can have a Jiminy Cricket. They can be adult and smart. However, they can’t be culturally or morally subversive, in that Disney sensibility. Rango and things like that are edgier. In general, the animated medium lends itself to a sweetness.
Do you personally connect to that? Menken: I first appreciated that medium back in the 1980s when the AIDS crisis had hit full force and everybody—my gay collaborators and friends—was dying. I was so scared for my daughter, Anna, and the only thing that could soothe me was those Disney animated films that were coming out on VHS. It was so safe.
* How did I miss the news that Glenn Beck’s online network GBTV is currently developing an animated comedy series with Icebox. Yes, that Icebox. A lot of readers may be too young to remember Icebox.com, but they were among the more notorious animation dot-com busts in the late-1990s and a punchline for jokes about what happens when sitcom writers try to make funny cartoons.
We seem to be facing a new wave of racial animosity in our country right now, from the Florida preacher who threatened to burn a Koran unless the Manhattan Islamic center was moved, to Arizona’s new immigration law legalizing racial profiling; from Glenn Beck high-jacking Dr. King’s march anniversary on the Mall in DC with an overwhelmingly white Tea Party crowd, to the New York gubernatorial candidate who won the Republican nomination after sending monkey pictures and tribal dance emails mocking President Obama.
In the face of this divisiveness, we have an urgent need to better understand how to bring Americans together across racial and religious lines.
In times of economic insecurity, white Americans have often turned towards blaming racial and ethnic “others” for the cause of their problems. One important reason this happens is the segregation that still runs deep in American society. Indeed, white Americans are the most segregated racial group in the U.S., living, worshiping and going to school in predominantly white communities. Only 15 percent of whites report having even one close friend of color. If white people and their closest white family members and friends do not directly experience racism, how can they develop a deep appreciation of the experience of racism and come to care about it – rather than blame other races and ethnicities for America’s troubles?
I have been interviewing white Americans about how they became aware of racism and came to care enough about the issue to development a commitment to become activists for racial justice. They reported to me the profound impact that building relationships with people of color had on them. For example, juvenile justice advocate Mark Soler knew the statistics on the growing criminalization of black men. Indeed, in places like Baltimore, nearly half of all black men are in the custody of the criminal justice system in one way or another. However, it was when his African American colleagues told him their personal stories of harassment at the hands of the police that Soler began to grasp the reality of that experience in what he calls a more visceral way.
Relationships do more, however, than deepen understanding of racial experience. Through relationships white people can come to care about racism because it affects people they know personally and care about. Soler spent many hours driving to juvenile facilities with one African American colleague. His colleague shared stories not just about his own treatment at the hands of the police but also his personal anguish about how he should counsel his son about the police. The colleague’s fear for what could happen to his teenage son became palpable to Soler in a deeply personal way. Soler’s thirty year commitment comes from both his intellectual understanding of racism but also his visceral awareness and personal connection.
Clearly it’s not enough to just place people together. Indeed, Robert Putnam’s research on diversity and social capital shows that, absent meaningful relationships, racially and ethnically diverse communities are lower in social trust, for example. The activists I interviewed highlighted the importance of their experiences in multiracial organizations like schools and community organizing groups where they built meaningful and reciprocal relationships with people of color, where differences were openly and honestly discussed, and where people had a chance to find their commonalities in shared values for a more just and equitable society.
Perhaps the Tea Party demonstrators will not enthusiastically embrace these kinds of opportunities to work across racial lines. But the activists I interviewed, and many others, are building the local foundations for the emergence of a new racial justice movement. When people have a chance to work together, share stories and bu
There are, of course, differences in priorities within the Democratic fold as well. But the source of the president’s incumbency advantage derives from the fact that these differences will not be played out during the primary season. He will likely enjoy the benefit of not being challenged. So when Republican candidates are invariably jostling for advantage, the president can simply go about his business, looking presidential (and raising money.)
The reason why Ronald Reagan’s historical legacy has been revised upwards in recent times is because the children of his revolution know of no better way to hold themselves together. Or put another way, the celebration of Reagan only reveals the dearth of leadership in the conservative movement, which is still looking to the past because they cannot yet see anyone who can take them to victory in the future.
At this time in the 2008 cycle, Barack Obama had already declared his candidacy, alongside a formidable front-runner, Hillary Clinton.
Today, there is a long, lackluster, and uncommitted list of potential candidates on the Republican side (so much so that even Donald Trump managed to steal the show at this year’s CPAC Conference), but no major candidate has taken the plunge. Why? Because whoever takes the first plunge would become the universal target of all those not yet declared, and will suffer the irony that the first-mover advantage becomes the first-victim-of-infighting disadvantage. The more potential candidates predict infighting, the later they will declare, so that they can stay above the fray for as long as they can. No one candidate feels confident enough to pull the three major strands of conservatism – the libertarians, the social conservatives, and the neo-conservatives – together, and this is why Reagan is still the godfather revered.
Watch the lesser known candidates be among the first to declare as they would be able to secure some national media attention when the Reagan Library hosts the first Republican primary debate for the season on May 2, 2011. The better known candidates have more to lose and less to gain by declaring early.
In particular, s/he who waits until the situation in Egypt as well as the budget battle between the President and Congress unfolds would better be able to pivot toward the emerging priorities of the conservative movement. If Egypt transitions into a democracy friendly to US interests, then neo-conservatives of the Kristol variety would have won the argument
Bestselling author Glenn Beckwill be ending his highly rated television show at Fox News Channel. This can only mean one thing: more books.
The New York Timeshad the scoop: “Mr. Beck is a hugely popular figure on Fox News, averaging 2.2 million viewers a night, though his ratings have fallen somewhat in the last year … Two of the post-Fox options he has considered, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.”
During Beck’s heyday in 2009, the host signed a multi-book deal with Simon & Schuster. Last year he sold 132,000 copies of The Overton Windowin a single week.
Conservative radio host and author Glenn Beck caused confusion and conspiracy theories at one Barnes & Noble store after he announced a 50 percent off deal for a new book.
As you can see by the radio show clip embedded above, Beck announced a special one-day deal for Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25–the first book published by his new Mercury Ink imprint. However, Beck didn’t clarify the online nature of deal. The post later clarified: “Tuesday’s 50% off special of Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 is only available as an online pre-order, not in stores.”
One bookstore employee recounted the chaos at his store: “We had a slew of people coming in to the store, expecting to get the book 50% off (a one day online only offer) but being told that we couldn’t sell the book to them until next week. We got told by several people that this was a liberal conspiracy to suppress this book. Also, we only received 9 books, and there were none in our warehouses, and a very very small number at a supplier’s warehouse. So, underprinting, artificial scarcity and pre-release hype. Also, manufactured controversy in some customers minds about the fact that we didn’t have their book. It’s all very diabolical and brilliant in a way, even though they are gaming the system.”
I tested the red, and I like it. Cranberry is a good color as well. The pinks are a little "fleshy" in my opinion. I did this one, scanned it, decided it needed something, fiddled with it, scanned it again, fiddled with it some more, scanned it again and yep, fiddled with it one more time. I ended up burnishing it a bit with white, then added more color again.
I notice that when I do actual knitting, like this one, I end up burnishing. For some reason the grainy look I do with the yarn doesn't work as well with the actual knitting. Hmmm...
And because for some reason I decided I needed a "why do I bother?" moment, I looked at some of Gary Kelley's work. I could cry. I remember when I was a student at the Academy, for some reason we had a piece of his hanging in the display case for a while. It was an illustration of Stevie Ray Vaughn. I think it was when Gary was just starting to hit it BIG, and I that piece went on to win an award somewhere. I have my travel mug from Barnes and Noble with his mural of the famous writers as a constant reminder of how brilliant some people are, and how...not so brilliant...some of the rest of us are. Signed, Debbie Downer
Elvin Lim is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the course of 200 years, in our presidents’ ability to communicate with the public. He also blogs at www.elvinlim.com. In the article below he looks at the Republican Party. See his previous OUPblogs here.
A political movement is not the same as the party that claims to represent it. And the disconnect between the Republican party and the conservative movement is sharper today than it has ever been since the heyday of the Reagan revolution. Consider the rising star of Glenn Bleck – as if one Rush Limbaugh isn’t enough – and the marginalization of Michael Steele, who wasn’t even invited to speak at last weekend’s march in Washington and who was denied the opportunity to speak at a Chicago Tea party in April. The angry voices in town-halls and the national mall are not evidence that the Republican party has found its voice, but that it hasn’t. When citizens feel that elected officials don’t speak for us, we take up arms ourselves (sometimes, literally).
The Reagan coalition is fraying, because the libertarian faction of the conservative movement has had enough of sitting at the back of the movement’s bus. For too long, they bought Ronald Reagan’s and George Bush’s argument that expensive and deficit-increasing wars are a necessary evil to combat a greater evil, but the bailout of the big banks last Fall was the last straw for them. If Irving Kristol once said that neoconservatives are converted liberals (like Ronald Reagan himself) who had been “mugged by reality,” Tea Partiers are conservatives who have woken up to the fact that neoconseratives are no different from pre-Vietnam-era liberals chasing after utopian
The reason why Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are the heroes of the movement, and Michael Steele is persona non grata, is because fiscal conservatives no longer trust the Republican party who for too long has placed their agenda on the backburner. This, in turn, has been brought on by the fact that neoconservatives have lost their privileged status within the movement because of the delegitimation of the adventure in Iraq and the onset of the economic recession. While the end of the Cold War vindicated neoconservatism, the events of September 11 gave it a new lease of life. Together, these two contingent facts of history contributed considerably to the longevity of the Reagan revolution, even as the botched and expensive adventure in Iraq put a screeching halt on the neoconservative ascendancy.
Americans today face a crisis in their pocketbooks and not with foreign nations. Tax-and-spend liberals are a worthy enemy, but they are nowhere as scary or as unifying as the “Evil Empire” or the “Axis of Evil.”
This is why Republican public officials are doing a lot of soul searching these days as they try to make sense of the disconnect between their ideology and party that has been brought on by neoconservatism’s decline. The lack of coordination and indeed the widening chasm between the party and the movement can be evidenced in Arlen Specter’s cross-over to the Democratic aisle, Senator George Voinovich’s complaint that his party was being “taken over by Southerners,” and in Olympia Snowe’s and Susan Collins’ overtures to Barack Obama.
Most people will agree that we know exactly what Barack Obama is up to, politically. The right-wing talk-show hosts will be the first to tell us. But we really do not know what the Republican party stands for or who could possibly lead it in 2012. This is because the party has lost its synthesizing logic and lacks a unifying hero. This weekend, a straw poll conducted at the Values Voters Summit put Mike Huckabee on top, with 28 percent of the vote, because the straw pollers are Values Voters, who constitute yet another faction within the conservative movement. But what was more telling is that even though Sarah Palin did not even turn up for the event, she nevertheless garnered the same endorsement as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Mike Pence, at 12% each. This is conservatism in
search of a leader.
Because it is parties that win elections and not movements, Republican members of congress should not be taking any comfort from the passionate protests of the Tea Partiers. Instead, they should be embarrassed about the fact that they have been trying to play catch up with a movement that has lost hope in its elected officials. More importantly, the Republican party must find a new way to unite the neoconservative, libertarian, and traditionalist factions of the movement to have any chance of standing up against a president and party, who in 2010, could well be riding the wave of an economic recovery to electoral success.
Elvin Lim is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the course of 200 years, in our presidents’ ability to communicate with the public. He also blogs at www.elvinlim.com. In the article below he looks at health-care reform. See Lim’s previous OUPblogs here.
After attempting a pivot to jobs, the Obama administration has realized that a hanging cadence on health-care will not do. Perhaps they should never have started it, but closure is what the administration now must have. An encore after the strident audacity of hope on health-care reform was temporarily dashed after the election of Scott Brown to the Senate.
In the immediate aftermath of that election, Democrats were in danger of exchanging over-confidence for excessive humility. After Obama’s historic election the year before and Arlen Specter’s party switch, Democrats were overtaken by hubris that Obama’s tune of change could be used to overturn Washington and to compel it toward a Progressive utopia. But just as Democrats were foolhardy to think that 60 votes in the Senate gave them invincible power, they somehow thought after the Massachusetts Senate election that 59 made them completely impotent.
In the media, we hear, conversely, about the conservative comeback in hyperbolic terms. On Saturday, Glenn Beck, not Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney, delivered the keynote speech in the largest annual conservative gathering, the CPAC conference. If Beck’s stardom exceeds that of the winner of the CPAC straw poll this year, Ron Paul, it is because the conservative movement, charged as it is, remains a movement in search of a leader. It is also a movement, as Beck’s criticism of Progressive Republicans in his speech reveals, which is not exactly in sync with the Republican party – the only machine capable of taking down liberal dreams.
And so a Democratic comeback on health-care reform is afoot. With one vote shy of a fillibuster-proof majority, Senator Harry Reid has opened the door to the Budget Reconciliaton process that more Progressive advocates of health-care reform like Governor Howard Dean have been pushing for a while. While it is not clear that there are 50 votes in the Senate for the public option, assuming that Vice-President Biden will cast the 51st, what is clear is that Democrats are much more likely to push through a liberal bill with the veto pivot sliding to the left by ten Senators.
In the White House too, we see a coordinated move to bring Reconciliation back as an option. Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to lay the ground work when he warned that “in time, we’ll see these skyrocketing health care costs become the single largest driver of our federal deficits.” He said this because in order to use Reconciliation, Democrats must show a relationship between health-care reform and balancing the federal budget.
No one in Washington believes that Thursday’s Health-care Summit will magically generate a consensus when in the past year there has been nothing but partisan bickering. If so, the President is not being naive, but signali
Elvin Lim is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the course of 200 years, in our presidents’ ability to communicate with the public. He also blogs at www.elvinlim.com. See Lim’s previous OUPblogs here.
Americans celebrate Independence Day on July 4, the day the words of the Declaration of Independence were set on parchment. John Adams had famously predicted that this day “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” Because these celebrations have become annual rituals, we have stopped thinking about exactly what it is we are celebrating.
For a glaring fact stares at us in the face. The Declaration of Independence has absolutely no legal or constitutional status. Presidents and journalists alike appropriate the principles it articulated in their rhetorical flourishes, but for all its symbolic power, the Declaration cannot be quoted by a judge on the Supreme Court to justify an opinion.
A National Day ought to commemorate what it is to be American, and the truth is, the Declaration may well have been the necessary, though certainly not the sufficient part of what made America America. In 1776, the Continental Congress severed our ties to the British crown. That was only a negative act which did not positively define who we were. That positive definition would only come in 1789, when “We the People” would constitute the American nation.
Two hundred years after the fact, Americans commemorate the events of the 1770s and the 1780s as if they were the same decade. But (in order to understand the strive in our contemporary politics) it is important to recall that the 1770s (and the Declaration) and the 1780s (and the Constitution) represented two opposite world-views. The revolutionary generation and the Founding generation were not always on the same page.
The Declaration, ultimately, was an act to guarantee our negative liberties. (Independence = freedom from.) It was a revolutionary act by “one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.” The revolutionary generation thought, contrary to what most modern liberals believe, that government was evil. The less of it we had to endure, the better.
The Constitution, in contrast, was an act to guarantee our positive liberties or our freedom to do certain things. The American People came together “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The Founding generation, chastened by the inadequacies of the Continental Congress, came to see government in more benign terms. Contrary to Glenn Beck, 1789 was the culmination of a collective call for more government, not less. By 1789, memories of government as a source of evil had receded into the background, while promises of government as a force to do good hovered in the foreground.
The Declaration and Constitution are not of a piece, but are in fact the book-ends of the American ideological spectrum, presenting two competing visions of government; whether it is the so
Elvin – Thanks for challenging me…. You ask the right question.
While it is true that Burkeans – that is, traditionalists – have long been a minority in American conservatism, they can trace themselves back to the likes of folks like John Adams, who, while welcoming Paine’s call for independence, despised Paine himself for encouraging ordinary working people to believe not only in popular sovereignty, but also, in their capacity to “begin the world over again.”
Not for nothing did Adams write in 1805:
“I am willing you should call this the Age of Frivolity, as you do; and would not object if you had named it the Age of Folly, Vice, Frenzy, Fury, Brutality, Demons, Bonaparte, Tom Paine, or the Age of the burning Brand from the bottomless Pit; or anything but the Age of Reason. I know not whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine. There can be no severer satyr on the age. For such a mongrel between pigs and puppy, begotten by a wild boar on a bitch wolf, never before in any age of the world was suffered by the poltroonery of mankind to run through such a career of mischief. Call it then the Age of Paine.”
And regarding the divisions in conservative politics, I can’t help but note here how impressive it remains that William F. Buckley Jr. as publisher of the National Review, followed by Ronald Reagan as presidential candidate of the Republican party, brought together traditionalists, evangelicals, libertarians, and neo-conservatives under one big right-wing roof.
Nevertheless, while Reagan himself broke with the 200-year-long conservative practice of trying to bury Paine’s memory and legacy and joyfully quoted Paine’s “We have it in our power to begin the world over again” when accepting the Republican nomination in 1980 and many times after, he did not really turn conservatives into Painites. Reagan and his gang latched onto only one aspect of Paine’s argument – in fact, it often seems they latched onto merely one line of his work: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil…” No joke, they not only took out of context (that is, Paine’s attack on England’s King, Constitution, and Parliament), they also essentially ignored – and continue
Welcome to the final installment the Politics & Paine series. Harvey Kaye and Elvin Lim are corresponding about Thomas Paine, American politics, and beyond. Read the first post here, and the second post here, and the third post here.
You mention John Kerry’s aversion to invoking democracy. It’s odd that the same John Kerry who spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in 1971 on behalf of the “Winter Soldiers” – an organization of antiwar Vietnam vets – could not bring himself to speak openly of Paine in the 2004 campaign. And even more pathetic that Kerry used Reagan’s favorite words from Paine, “We have it in our power…,” when he accepted the Democratic party’s nomination, and yet he did not refer to Paine. Which is to say that Kerry quoted Reagan quoting Paine! Is that plagiarism or flattery? Either way, it amazed me that conservative pundits never made anything of it.
But you ask if I think it’s possible to be both “populist” and “pro-government.” Here I turn to FDR , who did not hesitate to engage popular memory and imagination and mobilize popular energies in favor of recovery, reconstruction, and reform and who most certainly embraced and pursued government action. In a September 1934 Fireside Chat, Roosevelt said: “I believe with Abraham Lincoln, that ‘The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.’” And for what it’s worth…FDR was the first president since Jefferson to quote Paine, cite his name, and praise his contributions in a major speech while serving as president (see the Fireside Chat of February 23, 1942 and for audio click here.)