Saturday, September 22, 2007

Getaway Day

An uneventful Friday @ The Atlantic's "Voices" section. Megan McArdle regales us w/ a drug scoring story: "...on the way to meet a friend in order to pick up a little cold medicine" (never heard it called that before) that ends w/ her in a bit of a tizzy: "I stomped out in a huff, proclaiming that 'this is not how people in a free society should live.'" See Clem's fine take on this, if you haven't already.

Then it's on to the world of some sort of sexism, involving Elizabeth Edwards talking about Sen. Clinton. McMegan's reaction?

"There's a weird, protective, send-a-woman-to-attack-a-woman vibe about this. What's next? Des [sic] she sue Ms [sic] Clinton for alienation of affections [sic] ?"

It's not as if John Edwards has ever said anything about Senator C., I guess. Except when he's accused the Senator of being in the pockets of industry & lobbyists & all that. But it's, like, weird vibes, man. Speaking of sexism, a suggestion to Matt Zeitlin: Impetuous Young Whippersnapper & all others typing or speaking: Could we put a moratorium on the use of "shrill?" I doubt if Ms. Edwards was actually strident or intemperate, & the next time the word is applied to a man, candidate or otherwise, will be the first.

But then all hell broke loose, @ 1248 EDT. See Clem just below, or look for yourself if you dare. I'm just going to note that Ms. McA. went off half-cocked, perhaps thinking that her iconoclastic, shocking title, "Jail the Jena 6" was the only work she had to do, besides linking to Instapundit. Heh. Indeed.

(Why do people think they're being so wild & shocking & radical & non-PC when they are merely mouthing the power structure line? Are they really laboring under the impression that we're living in a socialist paradise, where no hard-working honkie w/ an Ivy League degree can get ahead because of "diversity," "multiculturalism," & affirmative action hires, while the Property Police are working their way down the list of assets to be seized & handed over to welfare mothers?)

Whatever her Friday afternoon desires, she was back @ 1436 EDT, after doing some research:
As everyone notes, it's hard to get information on the case, which is trickling out and heavily influenced by where you got your facts. My understanding so far is that the Wikipedia entry is pretty authoritative, and the basic facts are as follows:

I'll accept Wikipedia for birthdates (if not years) & general non-controversial information, but if it says at the top of the page (& it does): "Editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism," I'd question any one's understanding ("So far?" What the hell does that mean? That someone told her it was "pretty authoritative," & until someone else tells her differently she's going w/ that? Trust me, there's a better way to express that. I suppose it's really just another pre-emptive weasel.) of any authority it may have. Google™ News, by the way, has "about 8,514" results for the word "Jena." There may not have as many when Megan was buckling down for her research. And the story's been national for at least a week, all over the tube & the tubes. Wait, no, it's been trickling out, & information (or the case itself, bad syntax there) is heavily influenced by where you got your facts. Or, they might not be "facts" at all if they're heavily influenced by where you got them. (Can you imagine the laughs at the literary agency if she'd actually written some fiction & sought an agent?)

We then get 43 lines of re-phrased Wikipedia entry. How do we know it's re-phrased? Wikipedia uses the word "principal." Megan?
A black kid, who may or may not have been new to town, asked permission to sit under the tree. The principle said "of course you can sit anywhere you want.

The way to tell which one to use, if you're not sure, is that the "principal" is your "pal." My sixth grade English teacher thought that was pretty funny, if not ironic. Maybe Ms. McA's confused by principal (which you don't touch, while living on the interest from your trust fund) & the "first principles" so popular w/ people who think they're principled. Andrew Sullivan likes the phrase a lot.
And close those quotes, it's getting cold in here.

One other difference, & we're out of here. Wikipedia says the now cut down tree in question was referred to as the "white tree." According to Megan:
Jena is a town with racial issues. There was a special tree at the high school that white students sat under to read.

I checked three sources from the Wikipedia entry & found absolutely nothing about the white students sitting under it to read. Are we just winging it here, M?

At Jena High School, students of different races seldom sat together. Black students traditionally sat on bleachers near the auditorium, while white students sat under a large shade tree, referred to as the "white tree", in the center of the school courtyard.[3]

It's not explicit anywhere, but I'd suspect a lot of this has to do w/ lunchtime seating. We see who gets the shade tree & who gets the bleachers. Separate but equal, right? That is, if the bleachers are shaded, & not farther away from the main building than the "white tree" in the courtyard.

OK, final note:

The Wikipedia entry consistently refers to those involved in the various incidents as students, black students, or white students. In the Fair Barn party incident, the participants are identified as black youths & white males or white men.

In Ms. McA.'s recap & final paragraph there are two mentions of "white student(s)," two of "white kid(s)," three of "kid" (whom we know to be white) & seven of "black kid(s)." Not once does Megan use the phrase "black students." I doubt that this is deliberate (Hell, I might not even have noticed, but I've a pet peeve about the use of the word "kid" to refer to anything other than young goats, and there are a lot of "kids" scattered about.) but it could raise some questions, couldn't it?

# of items: 4
Posted between: 1154 EDT & 1536 EDT, w/ comments @ 1428 & 1512 EDT.
Nice work if you can get it. Another late night @ the Wonderland bar trivia w/ Ezra Klein?
Line Count:
McArdle: 113, including comments & 43 lines of re-worked Wikipedia entry
Copied & Pasted: 33
Ratio: Better than 3:1 in favor of Ms. McA.


Adam Eli Clem said...

McArdle read "The Stand" whilst sitting beneath a willow. Took two hours. Then, the bees came.

Anonymous said...

This brings one of Flann O'Brien's Keats-&-Chapman stories to mind. This might not be the right time to quote it at length... but there are shade trees involved, and it ends with the punchline "I like a man who sticks to his principals".

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