Monthly Archives: January 2012

On Obama, Adler and Israel

JJ Goldberg has written the best thing I’ve seen yet about Andrew Adler, the Atlanta Jewish Times columnist who suggested that Israel may want to assassinate the president of the United States. Goldberg’s take is politically and historically astute and I wish everyone would read it:

And Obama? He pressed for a settlement freeze to get Netanyahu and Palestinian chief Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table. No aid suspensions, no angry, lectern-pounding press conferences. And he talked about using the pre-1967 lines as a basis for border negotiations, which has been turned into a falsehood that he wants Israel to return to those actual lines. Nearly every senior member of the Israeli defense and intelligence establishment publicly favors negotiations based on the pre-1967 lines. The notion of an indefensible border is not in Israels military vocabularyits used purely for political grandstanding and foreign consumption. If the pre-1967 border was indefensible, how did Israel win the 1967 war in six days? For that matter, why is that the last war Israel managed to win quickly and decisively?

Not to be a mushball centrist, I’m not sure who I have more contempt for- those on the left who are obsessed, knee-jerk Israel-bashers, or those on the right seeking to demogogue everyone to the right of Bibi as anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, self-hating Jews, etc. It’s at the point where when I read something from either side my eyes glaze over and I almost forget which side I’m reading.

On the Death of Paterno

I’ve said some pretty harsh things about Penn State in the past couple of months, and I stand by all of them. The university absolutely disgraced itself in a way that I don’t think I can ever forgive, as numerous people actively participated in the coverup of a serial child rapist who was caught red-handed and allowed to roam free for another decade. And then students rioted not over the abuse, but over how Joe Paterno was treated.
That said, I am of course sorry that Joe Paterno is dead, and I am sorry that he had to suffer. He was by all accounts a decent and honorable man, who sadly made a catastrophic decision late in life that will unfortunately forever taint his legacy.
This reminds me a lot of Kirby Puckett, also a universally beloved, larger-than-life athletic figure who had a shockingly horrible fall from grace followed not too long after by his death. Us Twins fans had a pretty complex reaction to Puckett’s death- and the tarnishing of that previously perfect legacy is part of what we were sad about. I’d imagine that, other than the most obtuse Penn State fans, that’s what happening here.

Oscar Nomination Reactions

I suppose a year in which there are nine Best Picture nominations and I had no quarrel with seven of them is a pretty good year. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is a movie that I didn’t think anyone liked, based on a novel that I KNOW no one liked, yet here it is up for Best Picture for some reason. And while I didn’t hate “The Help” as much as some people, and actually really enjoyed its three nominated performances, it has no place in a Best Picture race.
In my rankings of 2011 movies, the nine Best Picture nominees were ranked 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 30 and 44; I saw “Extremely Loud” after I made my list but it would’ve been somewhere in the 70s.
While I was glad to see “Cars 2” shut out of Best Animated Feature, and was pleasantly surprised that the Academy rightly left “J. Edgar” out of the Best Makeup race, I just don’t understand some of the acting snubs. Michael Fassbender gave THE performance of the year in “Shame,” which was ignored, as was Albert Brooks for “Drive,” who deserved to win Best Supporting Actor. And while I detested “Young Adult,” Patton Oswalt was very, very good in it. And no Kirsten Dunst for “Melancholia”? Come on.
Was “Certified Copy” not eligible for Best Foreign Language film for some reason? Maybe because it’s in multiple languages and “from” multiple countries? The documentary category is a mess, as usual- no “Tabloid,” “Senna,” “Page One,” or “Pearl Jam Twenty”?
And if you’re going to choose a song from “The Muppets,” why not “Life’s a Happy Song”?