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False Advertising (K-Lo Don’t Kill Me)


Tear Tattoos


A couple dozen readers — please no more — have sent me emails about what a tear tattoo by your eye means. Answers include: It shows you’ve been in jail, a gang, a rape gang etc. Some say it also means you’ve been raped or done some raping. Again, I don’t know if this O’Keefe shmo actually had a tear-drop tat or whether he simply had a really unfortunate birthmark. If someone actually watched the segment, they might be able to clarify for me. As for the actual meaning of the tattoo, my sense is that it varies.


Draft, Etc.


A notes on my piece today about Rangel’s draft proposal. In a more interesting follow up on my Rangel piece, I’ve discovered an excellent article in the latest issue (January/February 2003) of The American Enterprise magazine (not available online). The piece, by George Washington University professor Robert Cottrol, makes a very good case that an expanded ROTC program can supply the backbone of a homeland security force. During a crisis, a homeland security force would take pressure off the National Guard, which will be deployed overseas, and would also supplement overstretched local police, many of whom are in the National Guard, and thus away during a conflict. The advent of terrorism means that domestic targets will be vulnerable in time of war. But we no longer have the forces to guard those targets. A homeland security force would require only short enlistments, and thus could be made up of college graduates with an ROTC background, and no plans to make the army a career. This would be another way to recover the citizen soldier ethos, while still working through volunteers.

Web Briefing: July 29, 2014

More On Bad Writing


Corner reader Jeff Stockwell of Stockwell Design writes: “Working in advertising I find most of the copy that adorns web sites is either written by designers or clients. These people for the most part are not writers. I would guess that a professional writer came nowhere near the copy for that web site. And students can’t write because unless they are being taught by a writer, they’re not learning the correct skills. Being able to diagram a sentence qualifies one to be an English teacher, but not a writer.

“A woman I know is a professor of English (and writing, I think) somewhere in Texas. When I used to ask her to write newsletter articles for me, I just wanted to kill myself they were so incomprehensible. She used to crow about winning writing awards.”




E-mail: “I think the worst thing about these commercials is that they are so far from the truth as to actually encourage drug use. In other words, as anyone who has smoked weed knows, you don’t get violent on weed — you get passive. The one where the kids run over the girl on the bike is particularly insidious. If you’ve ever driven stoned, you know the problem is that you are overly cautious, not underly so. As for the one where the boy takes advantage of the girl, that’s kind of silly since many men who are stoned out of their minds have trouble getting an erection. So if anyone has ANY knowledge of weed and its effects, they know these ads are pure horses—. So it very well might cause people to take admonitions against truly insidious drugs (i.e. cocaine, heroin, pcp, etc.) with similar grains of salt. Further, the dangers these ads predict from weed use are actually MUCH more noticeable with alcohol use….”

Pro-Ad E-Mails


Thanks for all the thoughtful e-mails. Here are two good pro-ad ones (rendered, of course, spaceless).

E-mail: ”These ads are targeted to kids. It is routine and probably advisable to overstate the arguments against something harmful when you are talking to kids….The cost of kids involving themselves with drugs and drug culture is potentially their life. In that sense, the gun going off is a metaphor, not a probable outcome.”

E-mail: “i am a prosecutor in California. While you think the ad regarding the gun is ridiculous, it really happens. One case that comes to mine sent the shooter away for manslaughter after he shot one of his best friends while they were smoking marijuana in a van and decided to play with a gun. the fact that you disagree with the philosphy underlying the ads doesn’t mean that the situations don’t happen. (i don’t know, but i’ve seen most of the ads and all of the situations they portray are real-life scenarios we’ve seen in my office). . . . doesn’t mean that you are going to kill someone just because you smoke pot, but not every drunk driver crashes, either. Should we not publicize the carnage caused by some drunk drivers because it misrepresents the impact of all drunk drivers?”

That Explains It


Jonathan – I knew there was a reason why Tapped had lapsed into self-parody. You nailed it.

Not Over Yet


The Washington Times today reports that the Bush administration is unlikely to file a brief with the Supreme Court in the two University of Michigan cases involving racial and ethnic preferences in admissions. But based on my conversations today with various administration officials, I think the decision is very much still up for grabs. The brief is due in a week, on January 16, and everyone who opposes affirmative discrimination ought to keep up the pressure on the White House to do the right thing.

Why Can’t Johnnie Utilize Optimum Communications Skills?


A reader who followed the links to the school I mentioned earlier is befuddled by the school’s mission statement, which pledges the school “to provide an environment conducive to the development and growth of the academic, social, and physical skills of each student by improving instruction and performance
outcomes, providing a safe and orderly school climate, and promoting
community involvement. “

Says the reader: “Environment conducive? Improving instruction and performance outcomes… ? Why is it educators can’t write?”

Which prompts the question: why can’t students write? Perhaps it starts here. This kind of asinine jargon is depressingly common, even among people who write for a living. I used to work for a newspaper whose bosses were thrilled when they came up with a “mission statement” that vowed to make the paper the community’s “most valued information provider.” Can you imagine H.L. Mencken or any of the great ink-stained wretches working for an “information provider”? If news executives want to figure out why fewer people are reading newspapers, maybe they should stop thinking of their enterprises as “information providers,” which signals sterility, and start thinking of them as newspapers.

Tapped Tanks


Is it just me, or has TAPped declined precipitously since Chris Mooney’s exit?

Anti-American Lemming


Ken Nichols O’Keefe is the guy I “debated” today on CNN International. Of course, I could be wrong, but he struck me as a barnacle of clichéd propaganda masquerading as a man of integrity. He’s leading a bunch of “human shields” to Iraq. He seemed to believe that risking his life automatically made his arguments right and honest. As if were I to agree to be a human shield for the Mafia, my action would be incontrovertibly morally correct. In the few short minutes we were on, the former U.S. Marine and soon to be Baath Party meat-prop suggested America was in on the 9/11 attacks, was going to war for oil, called me a coward (yawn), and mentioned a half-dozen times that Bush didn’t win a majority of the votes in the last election. It really is difficult to exaggerate how much this guy represents the pugnacious ignorance of the anti-war left. If Lenin were alive he would brief his staff on the meaning of “useful idiot” with this guy’s picture. It was hard to tell from the monitor, so I might be mistaken but I believe he has a fake tear tattooed next to his eye. For whom he metaphorically weeps, I could not tell you. But I can guess.

“Incompetent and Shameful”


The Economist accuses Lomborg’s accusers.

Derb Day


I hope Roger Kimball is watching and enjoying the fine art of procrastination.

Re: Organ/Breasts/Portfolio


I am sorry. I have burst many readers’ bubbles with that unflattering talk
about my own physiognomy. It was all in jest! Here, to reassure everyone,
is a recent photo of the Derb.

You Say Khazi, I Say Karzy


Not Arabic, anyway, Andrew. According to this site, the Arabic for “Where is
the toilet?” is “Feen el-hammaam?” Could be a useful phrase to know…
though perhaps not as useful, under present conditions, as: “Everyone please
gather round, I am about to blow myself up.”

Michigan Quotas


Anybody who wants to learn how the University of Michigan’s system of racial preferences in admissions actually works should go here. It’s an admissions calculator put together by the Michigan Review, the conservative student newspaper.



John, isn’t the spelling ‘Khazi’ ? As I recall it, the derivation is indeed from the days of the Empire, although it does not feature in this rather useful website.

Food Books, Food Tv


Ach, poor Jonah! I could never ever never ever ever be a vegan (for some reason, certain people assume crunchy-cons are by nature tofu freaks; perish the thought!). Tofu shmofu, have you ever had farm-raised eggs, scrambled, with chorizo sausage? As Jerry Clower used to say, “Haaaaw! Gloh-ry!” I almost want to take the train down to DC and cook the first meal you will have after breaking this draconian, Mordor-inspired fast. Actually, I just want to cook. And eat. I am reading the most wonderful, cheering, get-thee-behind-me-January book: It Must’ve Been Something I Ate, a new collection of journalism by Jeffrey Steingarten, the robust and high-spirited food columnist for Vogue (who knew they had a food columnist?). If you like to eat well and unapologetically, you must have this book. I’m afraid my comfort-loving, hobbitish nature is coming out as I enter early middle age. About the only TV I watch anymore, aside from the news channels, is The Food Network. I can’t get enough of it (except for Iron Chef, which is so last year, and Emeril Lagasse’s program; Emeril seems like a nice fellow, but that “Bam!” shtick sours my stomach). If I won the lottery, I’d go to cooking school and become a food writer (look for my piece in the new NRODT on the way onerous health regulations stifle small farmers and traditional food production). Basically, I want to be Jeffrey Steingarten when I grow up. I gave up on The West Wing this season, but if they do episode about a State dinner, somebody give me the high sign.



Oh boy. In response to queries, here are the answers: _Portfolio_–Doing
fine. I dumped everything into money-market funds at just the right time,
from dumb luck (I was changing brokers) not market sagacity. There it will
all stay till the Bush boom takes off. Breasts–A disgrace (technically,
I suppose, two disgraces). The word “gynecomastia” mean anything? Do NOT
need enlarging. Organ–Basically fine, though the vox humana stop is a
little sticky.

Blegging: Hank Williams Bio


Rosie & I are going to see the Hank Williams play-bio-songfest
on Jan. 25th. I am a huge HW
fan. (Not so Rosie, who had to be patiently talked into it. “White trash
music!” she sniffs when I play HW. Rosie, in most respects a sweet and
charitable soul, has a streak of class snobbery. Amazing that after 16 yrs
she has still not woken up to the fact that SHE MARRIED WHITE TRASH.)
Anyhoo, it has occurred to me that I have never read a proper biography of
HW. Checking Amazon, I see at least three. One will be quite enough,
thanks–but which one should I read? Anyone know which is the best HW
biography? Answers to [email protected] please–my hotmail account silts
up with 250K emails promising to enlarge my organ/breasts/portfolio, so the
2K emails from friendly readers get bounced with “Inbox full” messages. I
wish Hotmail would do something about this.


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