Dec 18, 2012
commented on Congrats, Guys! Suck It, Haters!
Dan's point about six months is valid, but let me remind all of us that life is different for active duty soldiers, and some life decisions are a little more immediate. There's a reason a lot of our grandparents got hitched in the first months of WWII.
Oct 19, 2012
commented on Will Ferrell's Swedish Old Milwaukee Beer Commercials
@2 Old Milwaukee isn't really that much worse than the cheapest beers in Sweden (which all taste exactly the same.
Also, it should be noted, a "cheap" beer in Sweden still costs about 8-9 USD at any bar. You take what you get.
Den här är min båt!
Oct 1, 2012
commented on The Death of a Great Marxist Historian
Could be that Ferguson recognizes that which many of us do--that HobsbawM, regardless of his political leanings (leanings to which I am certainly more sympathetic than Ferguson), was simply a brilliant and engaging scholar. Between his passing and Judt's untimely death a few years back, the field has certainly lost some of its giants in recent times.
Jun 27, 2012
commented on A Note on Superhero Movies
@3 - Your example almost goes to prove Charles' premise. If there's something behind what he's pondering (and I'm not saying I think there is necessarily, though it's an interesting thought--especially given the roots of Superman, etc.), then it's possibly telling that a superhero would *first* appear in Sweden at the very time that social services and a more equitable distribution of wealth have been profoundly reduced as a result of the policies of the current centre-right government (elected in 2006). The so-called "Alliance" administration of Fredrick Reinfeldt and his financial minister Anders Borg have aggressively pursued a neo-liberal agenda that has radically altered the traditionally strong welfare state infrastructure that the Social Democrats started building in the 1930s (adding to reforms put in place by liberals at the start of the century).
But it's more than just economic policy, I think. Superhero mythology tends to value the individual in a way that seems out of step with post-war Northern and Western European culture generally. American superhero comics have been popular in Europe, of course, but to my knowledge they've never had a major cultural impact (ala something like the Simpsons). But Sweden in particular has seen a growing cult of individualism in recent years, somewhat in connection with the rise of Reinfeldt's "Nya Moderaterna" (The new moderates) political movement. It's the reason a character like Lisbeth Salander (who has super-heroic qualities) was seen in the country as so transgressive (a point missed by most American fans of the millennium series). So maybe there's something to what Charles is pontificating here, but it seems to me that it's probably far more nuanced than just people deprived of social services crazing a magical savior.
Then again, you know, Alabama.
Sep 16, 2011
commented on Bachmann Continues Her Brave Fight Against Vaccination
What an idiot--not (just) because of what she's saying, but this tactic. She was never going to get the nomination. I just assumed she was running for VP, but if she keeps attacking the other republicans, they'll never be able to put her on the ticket.