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« Goodbye Area Codes? | Main | Improv 101 »

October 05, 2004

Norm Crosby . . . Live, on Campus!

Fenster Moop writes:

Dear Blowhards,

A couple of weeks back I got an invitation to see a performance by Norm Crosby on campus. I love doubletalk so I said yes, sure.

ncrosby.jpg


Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it wasn't Norm Crosby but Noam Chomsky!

Chomsky.jpg


But it went OK. I was expecting a perfomance by a guy whose schtick has been stuck in amber since 1967 and instead I got . . . a performance by a guy whose schtick has been stuck in amber since 1967.

And hey, Noam was at least as good at doubletalk as Norm! (rimshot)

But seriously folks, it was an interesting talk. Though listening to it put me in mind of that old Firesign Theater album (also frozen in amber circa 1967) Everything You Know is Wrong. And indeed, that seems to be part of his fascination to the younger generation: the entire world is inverted, creating a slightly disorienting, not-altogether-unpleasant experience. A tilt-a-whirl of the mind.

Still and all, you cannot help but be impressed by his intelligence, his lucidity and--truth be told--his humanism, of a sort. Marcuse he ain't, thankfully. When asked about the need for civil disobedience, Chomsky said that, yes, it could play a role, but that it was only a tactic. Far better to organize, to educate and to be educated, the better to make real democracy hum. I endorse that general formulation. Democracy is a sacred and fragile thing, and citizens can always improve it by improving the nature of the public debate. And Chomsky's promotion of his views ought to be welcomed in this regard: let 'em rip, and see how they fare in the public square.

Alas, I fear they will not fare all that well. Chomsky may be a saint to some on campuses but, goldarnit, he's got the same problem he's had since 1967: he's not with the . . . um . . . people.

Explaining this little dissonance is what gets him, IMHO, all tied up in knots. He has to fall back on a kind of false consciousness theory. The people could be free, but they are prohibited from knowing their own interests by the relentless propaganda machine created by a capitalist, corporatist culture. Call it Manufacturing Consent.

Calling Thomas Frank! This is the same approach taken in the new book What's the Matter with Kansas?

OK, yeah, it could be true. Maybe Kansans don't know what's good for 'em. Maybe red state voters are bombarded with ads for things they don't really need and are hypnotized into buying them to float the war machine.

Occam's Razor suggests a different conclusion, I think. People grant sufficient legitimacy to our institutions--economic, political, religious, corporate--because they are sufficiently satisfied with the exchanges they make possible. I have little doubt that if those institutions failed in some major way, legitimacy would be withheld, and we'd have a crisis of one form or another. But that hasn't happened. Chomsky shoehorns everything into questions of power and dominance. I think is more a matter of how culture happens in a mass society.

posted by Fenster at October 5, 2004




Comments

Oh my sweet God, Fenster. You've done it! The next time someone asks me why I don't cut Noam much slack, I'll either point out that those gentlemanly agriculturists have triumphed or use the permalink for this post.

Posted by: j.c. on October 5, 2004 08:48 PM



Fenster, I had the pleasure of hearing Chomsky on my campus back a few fair years ago, and I came away struck and almost speechless. He was not a popular speaker up in our neck of the woods. He is hard on students, since he's out-thought them from the get-go and he's pretty much heard it all before.

Perhaps time has tempered him; I think it may have. At the time he was long on interrupting people and short on explanations. Some hormonal undergrad would take aim with his hothouse brain and start a point, and Chomsky would shrug and shake his head, and break in: "No, your position can't be supported. Think it through." Or words to that effect, but much meaner.

Thing is, he was right each time. He's just a crappy teacher.

It's been my experience, given exception-that-proves-the-rule exceptions, that people accept what is put before them until it reaches a degree of rankness than can no longer be stomached, and because they hadn't noticed it could be better/easier/tastier rather than from any informed lessening of principles. That is, the mass of people will accept less over more out of ignorance rather than informed consent. A thesis you'll recognize from Chomsky, I gather.

No one could ever have designed McDonald's, any more than anyone could have designed Rome, in a day or not. If someone had proposed McDonald's cogently, we'd all have said no, thank you very much. Or this: let's close the local record store with its deep-catalog selection and swimming-in-the-arts staff, and replace it with Tower Records, which carries fewer albums for a higher price in an ad-spattered space and which won't even order a CD for you if you request it. Because it's not convenient for you to want what they don't sell. Good idea? Um -- no. But it works in practice, and people don't know better. Predatory K-Mart and Walmart are pretty much the same.

Or how about we take the radio station you grew up with and fire all the on-air voices, and replace them with a DJ from two states over who is broadcasting breaks to your station and four other ones in the same time zone. The few on-air spots for your local artists were not generating any revenue anyway, were they? Most people didn't listen to them, so we toss them. Good idea?

How about we take a tasteless and vile brew of corn and rice and call it beer, and deluge the country with images of people liking it. Then it must be better than actual beer, right? Even better: let's make fun of actual, tasty, healthy (yes, healthy) beer. There's nothing informed about this, any more than the France-bashing ugliness propagated by the current administration can stand up to analysis.

Nobody asked The People about any of this, and no one (apart from the leftie crackpots, mostly) made it clear what was going to happen. Ask a guy if he'd like a burger for a couple of bucks cooked readymade in 90 seconds or less, and he'll say yes. Of course he will. That's handy. Ask him if he wants to choke a nation and a world with golden arches that will spread like kudzu, serve food that at best is openly bad for you, and take over food for children in schools -- in schools! -- and you might get a different answer. But no one asked, and we never had a chance to say no.

The mergers of a few decades back, the crisis of stardom and fame in Hollywood, the sexualization of teen culture, the loss of voices in music and art: no one asked us about any of this.

Radio stations? Clinton signed that damn bill and we've had a heritage stripped away from us by venal corporate blandness. Television? Much of it still flies, but look at the news. Or what used to be the news.

I never wanted to bank with a multinational institution that would blankly send me letters every now and then to advise me how much they would charge for services with or without my approval. I never said it was all right for someone to make profit off my medical records, my credit rating, or my Internet browsing habits. If anyone had asked, I would have said no.

Institutions have a lot of inertia, and they tend not to fail. They teeter to the rotten edge of riot, and then pull back just a bit. "Whoops," they say, "Sorry 'bout that, never mind." And the mass of people is abused, and abused, and re-abused until it turns away and shrug and just goes to have a beer. Or something that's a little like a beer, but at least it's cold. What can you do about it, after all?

Occam's Razor suggests to me that you do the best you can with what's given -- we generally don't have time or expertise to explore and weigh every choice. Media can substitute the rumor of informed consent for informed consent itself, but our world is lost in the hall of mirrors. "Four out of five doctors agree." We buy it; we believe it. But it's not true.

No one accepted Love Canal; we fought it. But we have no tools to chip away at ongoing Big Oil corporate policies on dumping. They dump flagrantly and illegally and openly, because it's cheaper to fight the lawsuits than it is to clean up. Nothing you or I can do about it. A media that ran from the bottom up might blow that open, but not a media that answers to a Board of Directors.

Culture and information by committee are always shallow and wrong; power and dominance pay for a lot of perks. Thus our Modern Age.

Posted by: Linus on October 5, 2004 09:04 PM



Bravo! Linus! Linus that is quite a cogent little screed that frankly blows away the rather smug "we accept junk because we like it" argument many of all political persuasions (but especially conservatives, libertarians, and statist liberals) promote (like, sadly, Francis).

Posted by: Brian Miller on October 5, 2004 11:45 PM



"but especially conservatives"

Eh. The answer to all your questions and more is local and state autonomy. Since almost all policy is controlled at the top (Government, Media, and Corporations, as well as certain ethnic interests) it's very hard for locals to fight back. Some conservatives would like a return to state and local power.

Of course, people on the left, for the most trivial possible reasons (for example, gay marriage) are willing to federalize whole portions of American life. They've been at it for quite a while.

Posted by: onetwothree on October 6, 2004 12:07 AM



I agree with Brian that Linus has penned a cogent little screed, which I read with care. Linus, if you have a weblog, please pass along the URL as I would be a regular visitor for the dynamism of your prose and your ability to mount an argument.

But I still find your argument, on balance, unpersuasive. Believe me, I tried to be persuaded. I don't go to McDonalds, don't like watery beer, etc. etc. And so I'd like to think that my tastes are correct in some fundamental way, and that the flotsam and jetsam I see out there have been somehow foisted upon us. It just doesn't jibe with my experience.

"We" didn't vote for McDonalds in a plebescite, but we bought their burgers. I remember distinctly when the first (15 cent) McDonalds came to town, there was a buzz in the air about it--people genuinely liked the idea, and showed it through their purchases. That was billions, or trillions, ago. To say that it was all some sort of dumb miscalculation on the part of decades of consumers with money in their pockets--that an ad campaign in the mid 1960s threw a meme-switch in the body politic, diverting millions of uninformed consumers down a cosmic cattle chute--does not seem to me credible.

Ditto arguments about, say, the demise of that nice little record store. I spent a good deal of my post-adolescence--the era of that nice little record store--searching, often to no avail, for cultural product. This new record album, that comic, this book, that film. I often just couldn't find it. That's no longer true.

You can say that the ubiquity of all forms of cultural product in the Modern Age is good or bad (I think, good), but it's hard to deny the fact of it. I didn't vote for Amazon, exactly, but I use it, and find what I want in seconds.

So I cannot buy the proposition that many of our culture's consumer, or even aesthetic, preferences are somehow bogus. I find it demeaning to people whose tastes are not my own, and not historically sensitive either.

Take my dad. He always liked his car, his postwar ranch on a third of an acre and the (now somehow reprobate) car culture that went with it. I may now have a different set of tastes, but I simply can't deny him the agency to make his own choices. I think they were free ones. He liked American beer, too.

But there is a part of your argument with which I wholeheartedly agree. As I hear you tell it, there is a conflict between the free preferences we exhibit when we consume versus the free preferences we might exhibit when we operate politically, through voting, say. That conflict might arise when, to put it in economist's terms, the consumption decision denies us the ability to understand all of its external effects. Thus we might credit my dad with a sincere affection for McDonalds yet still see him grousing about golden arches everywhere.

Conceptually, that argument is sound. And so, as I wrote in my post on Chomsky, I endorse more robust democracy. Conversations about the convenience of burgers-to-go versus hideous golden arches are really conversations with ourselves, ways of coming to grips with our own weighting of values.

So bring it on. It's a valid conversation, and one we are more likely to have in the future if, as I suspect, there's a generational shift afoot between aesthetic worldviews, one which will continue to favor less sprawl and healthier beers. In turn, while I cannot endorse your argument on its face, I favor it as a symptom.


Best,

F.

Posted by: fenster on October 6, 2004 08:20 AM



"Ask a guy if he'd like a burger for a couple of bucks cooked readymade in 90 seconds or less, and he'll say yes. Of course he will. That's handy. Ask him if he wants to choke a nation and a world with golden arches that will spread like kudzu, serve food that at best is openly bad for you, and take over food for children in schools -- in schools! -- and you might get a different answer."

Well, yes, if you ask the guy slanted questions like that, you might get a different answer. Pollsters do it all the time.

Let's slant that question another way. Ask him if he wants a store selling those same 90-second burger for a couple of bucks within driving distaince of every place he goes. Ask him if he's okay with the idea of always having a place to go to buy food that's not necessarily good for you, but he likes the taste and doesn't need to wait very long or spend very much. Ask him if someone needs to pass a law to stop McDonald's from offering this. He'll probably come up with a different answer than if you throw in nonsense about kudzu (which gives the false impression that we'll end up with nothing but McDonald's everywhere you look) and other phrases designed as what lawyers like to call "leading questions".

(Although I still don't think he'd be on board with his school buying food from the place to serve to kids. What schools do that? How do we get them to stop it?)

"Or how about we take the radio station you grew up with and fire all the on-air voices, and replace them with a DJ from two states over who is broadcasting breaks to your station and four other ones in the same time zone. The few on-air spots for your local artists were not generating any revenue anyway, were they? Most people didn't listen to them, so we toss them. Good idea?"

I don't know if it's a good idea or not. But radio stations don't exist for your convenience. You're not paying them; their real customers are the advertisers. There's other places to go to get good music, and even a couple of radio stations here and there that play music worth listening to.

"How about we take a tasteless and vile brew of corn and rice and call it beer, and deluge the country with images of people liking it. Then it must be better than actual beer, right? Even better: let's make fun of actual, tasty, healthy (yes, healthy) beer."

I may be a bit young, but I've never heard of any commercial anywhere in the US making fun of "actual, tasty, healthy (yes, healthy) beer". I've seen lots of silly commercials over the years pushing the cheap American beers and yet, somehow, I can fairly easily find better brands that keep getting restocked and keep getting bought by somebody.

The mass market always has tastes that some would consider "low". Always has and always will. Look at any time period you like - Victorian, mideval, classical, you name it. No one had to "manufacture" it. It's just more noticeable nowadays because the mass market has more money than it used to - because capitalism works, not by "manufacturing consent", but by putting more wealth in the hands of everyone, including people that some might look down their noses at, and enables them to buy more of what they like, and support more and larger and more visible enterprises selling it.

Posted by: Ken on October 6, 2004 08:51 AM



Why is that the sentense that begins with "Nobody asked The People" triggers vomiting reflex in me?

Oh, I know why: I not only "pretty much heard it all before", like estimed Mr. Chomsky, but I lived for 30 yrs in a country where his People paradise was built.

Thank you, but no, thank you.

Posted by: Tatyana on October 6, 2004 09:50 AM



Linus -- to follow up on Tatyana's post, do you have an actual solution to these problems that doesn't involve totalitarianism?

I have a lot of sympathy for the points Ken and Fenster makes but let's grant Linus his points just for argument's sake. That's when his argument becomes very scary.

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 10:01 AM



Kommisar Chomsky and his right thinking apparatchiks will save us benighted masses from our incorrect choices -- NOT!!!

Posted by: ricpic on October 6, 2004 11:02 AM



Well, first off let me say how pleased I am to have escalated an interesting conversation here at Blowhards. I'm at the Day Job right now, so I can't really get into things, but in brief, let me add a few more words.

Fenster - the blog is called Pepper of the Earth, and we rarely engage in politics of any kind - http://www.web-ho.com/blog if you prefer cutting and pasting. I very much enjoyed your cogent and thorough response, which had rather more thought in it than my original did.

A broad argument of my sort is asking for yeah-but-whabout-this rebutting on the small details, and I am glad that you chose to see the motions behind it rather than picking apart the examples. Discussion on the merits rather on the instances is one of the reasons this blog is so remarkable.

Your thoughts on taste and choice are well-taken, and I like them better than Ken's (I suspect Ken and I fundamentally disagree on many things, which is fine). Though as someone who works in the music industry, let me point out that you only think you can get everything you want - your choice has been narrowed at the finding-out-about-it point, which is a whole nother thing. The new trick is to stop outside commerce before it has a chance to take root. That ain't capitalism, that's sick.

I don't think there are any solutions (or perhaps "solutions" is better, with the quotes) to subjects so vast as this. A pat answer would be sort of like saying that the answer to insomnia is sleeping more, or that we can reduce cancer rates by dying younger. Solutions probably only exist on the individual level, and they're more likely to be koans than syllogistic reductions.

In that spirit, let me submit this. An L.A. band called Was/Not Was once did a terrific song which included a long looped voice intoning, "A man liked milk. Now he owns a thousand cows." That is not an answer, but in annoying koan fashion it probably contains the answer, and so I like to think about it.

I'm failing at being brief, but there's a stack of work over there --> that needs attention. Let me zip through some stuff and I'll be back later.

Ken, yes people do make fun of "real beer" ("...and it's warm! What's the matter with those people?"), less now than in the past and not in commercials but through other channels. Commercials are only the visible tip of advertising; Lucky Strike may not be able to use TV or most print media for its campaigns, but the Lucky Strike girls are still at all major lifestyle-product conventions, and they're as hot and giggly as ever. There are many ways to advertise, and only some are easy to spot.

There's a place for McDonalds - my point, or is it dream? is that the place is not everywhere. As with crops, as with deer and rabbits, as with exercise and reading and minerals in the water, some is good, a lot is by and large less good, and a critical concentration is poisonous. I like Starbuck's (minority opinion in my age group), but I dislike having 4 of them within 5 blocks of my house. And I live in Brooklyn ... actually I think I can be located with marginal error now, with just those Starbucks coordinates. In another few years everyone will have 4 Starbucks a few minutes away.

I highly recommend "Super Size Me" for more on schools and food, by the way. If you watch it as a step in the cultural shift Fenster proposes and accept it as one man's story - Spurlock does not actually claim much else in the film or the surrounding publicity - it is a fascinating documentary, without too much knee-jerking outside the lines. Though I'm sure we can both guess Spurlock's politics, they're not contained in the film. There's a bit of "Roger and Me" grandstanding, but not much.

Radio stations: Congress delcared the airwaves as a public trust and acknowledged them as a cultural resource when it founded the FCC to regulate them. Recent years have seen that truth lobbied away. You perceive them as a corporate property, which means we've probably already lost the war. They are not; they are our property and our heritage, on loan to broadcasters, and they've been stolen. To pretend that radio is not a vast cultural resource that belongs in large part to the public is to ignore forest and trees and the entire ecosystem there, in favor of short-term gain. We do that all the time, and it's always wrong.

Low tastes are fine, I have many myself and I'm proud of them, just as the age dictates. And low tastes muscle in and make room in high-taste venues, as they should ("Monsieur would like zee meatloaf tonight?"). When they supplant instead of supplementing, then there's a problem.

Tatyana, one of my favorite documents begins "We the People."

I had family - Jewish family - in the Soviet Union, and obviously no one was in favor of that place; I'm not aware that Chomsky would support it either. The fact that something was done badly does not mean it cannot be done well, and it should in fact serve as a warning lesson to all of us: any system taken to extremes will fail dangerous; I say the same is true of capitalism, and that it's failing badly right now. Needs fixin'. The puzzling thing is why people keep insisting that it's OK.

Politics like all else - JT, this responds to you - lives in grey clothing. I don't have your answers, and I don't think anyone does either. Mass society should more or less swing in middle ground, now one way and now the next, just like science tends to and from schools of thought. The further we get in any one direction, the more wrong we are. I'm not suggesting totalitarianism.

Guess what: Chomsky is not a communist, nor a dangerous thinker. He's a deep and powerful intellect and a leader, and he has a lot of ideas. Many of them are good and I'm sure equally many aren't. But look even in this venue to how quick we are to spit as soon as his name comes up. When the mass of people tolerates (craves?) bad science, rhetorical foolishness, oversimplification and obfuscation, we're in trouble. And we're in trouble now. Our choices are shrinking, our generosity gets meaner. It takes just a couple of people to destroy a good conversation, and sometimes it looks like it takes legislation to bring it back healthy.

Anent which: ricpic, whatever.

Posted by: Linus on October 6, 2004 12:24 PM



Do y'all agree with Linus that capitalism is failing us and that our choices are shrinking? I'm not sure that I do. Like Linus, I can look around and see all the McDonalds, the Cheesecake Factories, those abhorrent Coors Light ads, but I don't have to use them (okay, I do eat at McDonalds on occasion). I go to the small cafe with great sandwiches, drink my local microbrew, and hop over to the Asian market to get supplies for dinner. All of these things seem more prevalent in the last two decades than less so. The coming of Borders and Barnes & Noble may signal a restriction of choice to inhabitents of Manhatten, NY, but are a boon to those in Manhatten, KS. Not to mention the wonderful Amazon.com which saved me when I lived in that large city with awful bookstores, Baltimore, MD.

Posted by: C. S. Froning on October 6, 2004 12:34 PM



C.S. - Capitalism needs to serve the creator as well as the vendor as well as the customer. Does it? We're all citizens, the writer and singer and painter as well as the reader in Manhattan, Kansas and the owner of the bookstore in town.

Amazon is a success story. Not very different than the brilliant Texas chain Half-Price Books, which showed in the 80's that mass selling could be done well, or that Portland OR book chain that I suddenly can't remember the name of. But does the existence of good things outweigh the multinational record labels, the ClearChannels, the Enrons? Just askin'.

And now I really am going back to work. It's a good question you pose.

Oh, and Fenster: I meant to say before, I loved this: "Conversations about the convenience of burgers-to-go versus hideous golden arches are really conversations with ourselves, ways of coming to grips with our own weighting of values." Yep.

Posted by: Linus on October 6, 2004 12:43 PM



Linus, your noble references noted, I still say get suspicious every time you hear" for the good of the People", you're about to get swindled.

Giving more and more power to the government will only change whatever system to the worse. Yours is the common mistake I've encountered here in US when lefties (and left-leaning) people talk about SU - "they made mistakes in implementation, but the idea was good".

Sorry, it's just not true. (Apart from the condescending arrogance of that view) That's what Gorbachev was trying to do with his "socialism with a human face", that's what is going on in Europe (and Europe is going down, I'd even say - accelerating down). Every "social good" idealist who get's into a position of power, will inevitably be thrown out by power junkie who'll start sell left and right for material gain. Why? Because there is no smarter invention since the beginning of times than Property.

So instead of screaming "greedy capitalist swines" and delegating our right to decide for ourselves to Dear Leaders, be it bloody Iraq national-socialist or intellectual Chomsky isn't it better to assume right of property is a sacred right of every human, people are not brainless herd who can't be trusted with "good/bad beer" desicions, all advertisement bombardment notwithstanding, and People have every right to vote with their money?

Capitalism, really, IS ok - if only left swindlers, who want to control masses under disguise of "we know better what's good for you" will leave it alone!

Oh, and Chomsky wouldn't support socialist state because it's not radical enough; he's not a communist, he's much worse. "Bad science, rhetorical foolishness, oversimplification and obfuscation" - why, it's a perfect description of him!

Posted by: Tatyana on October 6, 2004 01:11 PM



I know Linus said he was going back to work, but I have to ask him a question anyway: do you see a significant role for the internet in fixing what you don't like about our current system? As an example, over at http://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/ Terry Teachout has blogged about the role of the internet in making available artists that are not marketed and distributed by big music. Anecdotally, my local radio may or may not suck (in Baltimore/D.C., it was awful) but I can still get KGSR from Austin via the internet.

My own feeling is that the internet is not paradise but is revolutionary. What does everyone else think?

Posted by: C. S. Froning on October 6, 2004 01:12 PM



C.S. - Absolutely. But we need to keep the Net out of the hands of the morons who have already kludged up everything else, because if they have a chance to screw it up again, they will. Amazon would have sucked if Tower Records had done it first. And corps are not content to let things propagate on their own: give them enough access to the Net and they'll regulate it into bits and put down the parts they can't control.

Tatyana - Interesting, but I don't agree. Try this: in my world, "Bad science, rhetorical foolishness, oversimplification and obfuscation" is pretty much the religious right, which wants Creationism in schools and Born-Again Christians in political office.

When the Secretary of the Interior under Reagan hands over national forest land to industry on the grounds that Christ is about to return so it doesn't matter anyway, we're in deep. And yes, that happened.

I very carefully did not say that the communism was a good idea; I don't think it is. It's utopian in a completely unrealistic way. As is the capitalist system, which will steal us all blind and leave us ruined if it is not regulated. You watch out next time you hear someone talk about self-regulation: it means their hands are already in your pockets.

Chomsky, if you've ever heard him, is clear, accurate, and precise, and he does not allow facts to slip away under loose names. Nor does he use the name of God to spread a blanket over terrible acts and claim them just.

The government already has plenty of power. When corporations relocate and regulate the choices that should belong to all of us we all lose. I take heart, for example, when the people - sorry, perhaps The People is what I mean? - of Arcata, CA decide at ballot that there will be no more chain stores in their town. Power to 'em.

I think when you hear "Power to the People" you hear "To the Leaders of the People." I don't mean that at all - I mean power to The People. Like, me.

Property is property for one simple reason: other things are not property. If everything is purple then there's no reason to have a word for purple, it just is that way. We need to be very conscious of what is not property - radio is one of those things. Water is another. Look out the window - if everything you see belongs to someone, run before it's too late!

Posted by: Linus on October 6, 2004 01:45 PM



Linus, 74 years of existence of State of the People (and For the People) has taught me (and 150 millions of it's population) that when a thing belongs to everybody, it belongs to no one, and it goes to decay and eventually disappears. State bureacrat or CEO of the corporation don't gain or loose anything by bad management of the resources, but if the land, or radio waves, or CD shop belongs to the private owner whose livelyhood depends on his managerial decisions, property gets managed much better.

And, as I say, doesn't matter, what is the name of someone who wants to be in total control for the Good Of the Masses - be it a government, a corporation, religious fanatics (how did religios Right get into this conversation? not by me, for sure) or nazist dictator.
If people have no personal(read: monetary) interest (read: GREED) to develop anything, everything will get to seed. I agree there is a danger on the other end - monopoly, but I think society controls ever-spreading corporation monsters good enough with anti-trust laws. And that's one of the very few functions I'd give to a government (along with public defence, safety and health)

It very well could be that Mr. Chomsky is an eloquent speaker; sometimes it's a matter of personal charm; what ideas he's so beautifully advocates is a different matter. After I've read some of his articles, years ago, I will not waste my time (which is mine, I love this word) to listening or reading him again.

Posted by: Tatyana on October 6, 2004 02:19 PM



So regulation is part of handing power to "the People"? That's naive and at odds with everything I've seen in my life. Government is interested in propagating its own interests, which are not at all the same as that of the general population. And democracy is a poor way of directing government. Voters are undereducated and mostly vote for candidates, not specific issues.

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 02:23 PM



"undereducated" -- "underinformed" is a better word.

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 02:24 PM



Again, Tatyana, I disagree. One word: ClearChannel. There are other words, but they just add to the pile.

Posted by: Linus on October 6, 2004 02:25 PM



Linus: can you address Tatyana's well-taken point about property rights in a more detailled way?

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 02:28 PM



I thought you might be interested in this post from the blog Marginal Revolution.

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/09/you_cant_take_i.html

I hope this link works on the comments section.

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 02:31 PM



"Radio stations: Congress delcared the airwaves as a public trust and acknowledged them as a cultural resource when it founded the FCC to regulate them."

Yes, I'm well aware that Congress nationalized the entire radio spectrum several decades ago.

"Recent years have seen that truth lobbied away. You perceive them as a corporate property, which means we've probably already lost the war. They are not; they are our property and our heritage, on loan to broadcasters, and they've been stolen."

Yes, the evil broadcasters have stolen the nationalized airwaves.

"To pretend that radio is not a vast cultural resource that belongs in large part to the public is to ignore forest and trees and the entire ecosystem there, in favor of short-term gain. We do that all the time, and it's always wrong."

It's Congress that pretended that radio is a cultural resource that belongs in large part to the public. What it should have been all along is a means for private operators to transmit cultural resources for the purposes of themselves and their listeners, not "the public". I'm sure most people would recognize the nationalization of the nation's entire supply of paper as a blatant attempt at an end-run around the First Amendment, and yet see no problem with doing exactly the same thing to the radio spectrum, which no more needs to be nationalized than the entire land area of the country needs to belong to "the public".

"There's a place for McDonalds - my point, or is it dream? is that the place is not everywhere."

I agree. But there's no reason for concern - there isn't a chance in Hell that every place of business in the country will become a McDonald's. There may be one in every town, but there's a lot of other things besides. Not only that, but since McDonald's was founded, there's been a phenomenal growth in restaurants that aren't McDonald's. Far from "taking over", McDonald's is just one piece of a gloriously proliferating restaurant scene.

"Low tastes are fine, I have many myself and I'm proud of them, just as the age dictates. And low tastes muscle in and make room in high-taste venues, as they should ("Monsieur would like zee meatloaf tonight?"). When they supplant instead of supplementing, then there's a problem."

But they're not supplanting. Everything is becoming available in more abundance than ever before, and nothing is being supplanted. Some things are growing faster, and becoming more visible, but nothing is being taken away from us. Your complaint boils down to the fact that "those people" are richer than ever before, and now enterprises and cultural offerings catering to them are out where you can see them and spoiling the view. I honestly don't see that as a problem.

Posted by: Ken on October 6, 2004 02:36 PM



JT - When towns choose to ban corporate outlets, it turns out they have that right (I believe there was litigation, but am not sure about that). How else to control them if not by regulation?

We in New York should absolutely tell Starbucks that they can only have so many stores per neighborhood, if that's what we want to do.

Business does not self-regulate. It will never happen. Businesses are designed to expand and consume. Shall we let Microsoft tell us what we can do with the Internet? The RIAA? Will we let lumber companies decide how much forest to preserve? Oil companies choose how to protect the wilderness over oil deposits? Coal companies write mining regulations? McDonalds lobbyists sit in on public health laws? Or should we listen to the people who understand the technology and the science and consider some plans to actually change our lives?

If voters are underinformed - and I think we can all agree on that - then best we work on informing them better, no? Keeping track of politics - as Chomsky has pointed out, among others - is much easier than keeping track of all your local sports teams.

We're squabbling now, which is not really of interest, so I'll bow out for a time. You may have the last word if you like.

Posted by: Linus on October 6, 2004 02:39 PM



My "last word" (unless you choose to write more) will be conciliatory. No one doubts the ability of corporations to engage in actions that are harmful to the public good. But we should all be very conscious of the ability of government to engage in action harmful to the public good as well.

Posted by: JT on October 6, 2004 02:51 PM



"We in New York should absolutely tell Starbucks that they can only have so many stores per neighborhood, if that's what we want to do."

On what basis would you enact such an ordinance? i.e. why? What's the point? Purpose?

Posted by: David Sucher on October 6, 2004 03:29 PM



What's with this imperial we? What about all the other wes who maybe like Starbucks? maybe love it?!

Let freedom ring (the perfect people be damned!).

Posted by: ricpic on October 6, 2004 04:16 PM



David S.:

Lasst March I wrote a post at Fenster's ol' home base that dealt with the Starbucks issue, although in this case it was Dunkin' Donuts. I was suspicious of the "public" motive enunciated to ban chains such as DD in a waterfront town in RI, sensing gentrification posing as populism.

http://fenstermoop.blogspot.com/2004/03/what-this-country-needs-is-good-five.html

As you may note if you read the post, I am conflicted on the subject . . . but I do have a bottom line of sorts.

To wit: while I do not agree with the "manufacturing consent/false consciousness/ads manipulate us all" thesis, neither do I think that the market is some sort of perfect device. Life is gummy, and so must markets be. Buying is simply one way for people to express a preference--typically, in connection with a buyable object or service. But people have other preferences and tastes, around which consumption decisions may not be reliable guides.

I think it entirely possible that I might shop at Wal-Mart if there's one nearby, yet oppose construction of a Wal-mart that is not yet built. That's ironic, perhaps, but not really hypocritical. I see nothing wrong with the creation of a process and a venue to address such collective decisions, and to legitimize them if they warrant legitimacy.

Yeah, yeah some will say government always sucks, that it only represents its own interests. But that argument, carried to a logical conclusion, suggests that there is no rationale for any kind of collective approach, from public health regulations to public parklands. The extreme libertarian view is defeated by common sense--or at least what seems common sensical to me. People are entitled to a view that individual choice trumps all, but I think people with that view are in the minority, along with Chomskyite socialists. Most of us are, I suspect, in the muddy middle.

The public process for excluding Wal-Mart or Dunkin' Donuts may be flawed, and simply a way for an elite minority to impose its views. Indeed, that is my suspicion where Bristol is concerned, and the reason Fenster raised an eyebrow. But the fact that collective matters are often handled poorly is no reason to dispute the legitimacy of a collective approach if handled well.

On this I seem to agree with Norm Crosby.

Posted by: fenster on October 6, 2004 05:16 PM



To return to Thomas Frank's inability to understand Kansans' predilection for cultural conservatism, I think a relevant comment was Chris Rock's about what are the duties of the father of girls: He said something like, Your only duty is to KEEP THEM OFF THE POLE (i.e., don't let them grow up to be strippers).

Posted by: Steve Sailer on October 6, 2004 05:36 PM



What an interesting, and commendably civil, conversation.

Since the Golden Arches apparently stand in for "that which is to be despised about mass culture," I think it's worth pointing out that McDonald's is, in fact, contracting slightly rather than expanding, at least in much of the U.S. The last CEO--the fellow who, you may recall, dropped dead at the company's annual meeting last year--made it a point to close down restaurants that weren't performing. As I understand it, that approach represented a significant departure from the chain's expansionist past.

As a result, the McDonald's here in my extremely wealthy and extremely liberal D.C. neighborhood shut down unexpectedly last fall. Amid certain segments of the population, there was much rejoicing--until someone on the local listserv pointed out that the departure of McDonald's also meant the loss of the only neighborhood business that offered cheap coffee for senior citizens, as well as the only place for the homeless to loiter indoors during bad weather for as long as they wished.

I can assure you that neither the Provencal restaurant next door nor the make-your-own-pottery joint down the block--nor any of the neighborhood's other small, independent businesses, for that matter--have rushed to pick up the slack in either of those regards.

My point is not that someone at McDonald's deserves beatification for (accidentally) providing overlooked services to my neighborhood, only that in the rush to demonize corporate logos, it's easy to dehumanize the individual humans who either need Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and similar businesses or simply *want* those businesses based on a deliberate choice rather than some imagined herd mentality.

Posted by: Jeff/J.V.C. on October 7, 2004 03:31 AM



Linus - coal mining companies probably know a great deal more about coal mining than I do, or most politicians. They contain most of the people who understand the technology. It makes sense to listen to them in the hope of not passing laws that require companies to violate the laws of physics, or drive them into financial collapse. (And, if you think that mining is always a bad thing and financial collapse would be good, presumably you therefore use no products that include things that were mined, which for me raises serious questions about where you live and how you are managing to post messages to the internet without using metal).

Of course the mining companies and the oil companies and the like will seek to use regulations to increase their own profits at the expense of other people, and having to be consulted on it will make it easier for them to do so. But, I have no idea how we could set up a government system that is at once both accessible and doesn't risk this. And governments that are insulated from feedback about the world around them and the effects of their laws do not have good performance records.

Posted by: Tracy on October 7, 2004 04:08 AM



"But the fact that collective matters are often handled poorly is no reason to dispute the legitimacy of a collective approach if handled well."

What if collective matters are handled poorly most of the time? What about government's seeming inability to terminate failed programs? I wasn't really making a libertarian argument -- just one displaying a strong mistrust of government -- but it seems to me that the pro-government position is the one that is grounded in starry-eyed idealism and obliviousness to the real consequences of political and governmental action. It's time to stop treating the libertarian critique as a philosophical exercise and start treating it as the hard-learned result of empirical observation.

Posted by: JT on October 7, 2004 09:57 AM



I'll present some recent evidence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/07/national/07detroit.html?hp

This article made me laugh and cry at the same time.

Posted by: JT on October 7, 2004 09:58 AM



I think you are misreading Frank. His argument is not the same as Chomsky's. He doesn't say that Kansans vote against their economic interests because they are stupid, or because they suffer from false consciousness. His thesis is that on economic issues there is hardly any difference between the mainstream Democratic and Republican parties - NAFTA, free trade, agricultural policy, etc. The lack of real choice on economic issues, in Frank's mind, has created a vacuum filled by cultural issues. Now culture has become the deciding factor when people cast their votes. He does appear to believe that most Kansans are being betrayed by the Republicans since none of the conservative social policies (school prayer, outlawing abortion) ever really get enacted, and all of the economic policies make their lives worse, but Frank is more open-minded than most academic liberals about understanding why most Kansans stay Republican. To conflate him with Chomsky is insulting to Frank.

Posted by: vanya on October 7, 2004 10:50 AM



Not that I am a big proponent of McDonalds, as I rarely eat there, but I feel obligated to respond to some things.

The accusation that McDonalds is unhealthy. This is basically a classist sentiment. Super Size Me is a pretty poor documentary by the way, and doesn't reflect that it's possible to eat in a balanced way at McDonalds when you're not following absurd rules for the sake of making a movie.

I can agree that the market reinforces some of what I would consider good and some of what I would consider bad behavior and tastes, but I don't know of any particularly effective way of dealing with considerations of taste other than how they are dealt with now, through the social-political process. If a McDonalds were going to be built right next to where I live, I might object. However, I would love to have a McDonalds in my general vicinity, as I can get a cheeseburger at McDonalds for 69 cents whereas I currently would have to pay over $2 for essentially the same product at a local burger joint.

Posted by: . on October 7, 2004 12:03 PM



"Super Size Me is a pretty poor documentary by the way, and doesn't reflect that it's possible to eat in a balanced way at McDonalds when you're not following absurd rules for the sake of making a movie."

See, for example, "30 Day McDiet: Results Are In," by Ruth Kava:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/090804G.html

Cordially,

Dave Lull

Posted by: Dave Lull on October 7, 2004 12:30 PM



Linus,

It amuses me to hear or read those who attack or dismiss Chomsky. His arguments are braced with brute facts, yet he is often written off as some sinister specie of ideological mystic. Maybe his conclusions are debatable in the abstract, but his evidence is construed from the concrete. And their cumulative weight lends momentum to his arguments, therefore to his conclusions. Alternative conclusions must first deal with those same facts on the ground, unless, of course, one is more ideologically/politically comfortable in a counterfactual reality [your job should be outsourced, because not having that job will allow you to eventually increase your wages].

Posted by: Tim B. on October 7, 2004 01:09 PM



Hi all -

Since I seem to be the middle of the maelstrom - and JVC called it right, it's a right civil one for the subject, so let's all pat one another on our various backs - I wanted to check in. Busy busy over on my end, but I'll try to hold up my end and write some more tomorrow morning. I have been reading, with interest.

Folks who had trouble with the Starbucks thing, remember the end of the sentence: "if that's what we want to do." Not included by accident.

Fenster, the Bristol situation is interesting and there as here you broaden the debate rather than narrowing it. Thanks for the link.

JT, conciliation is always more welcome than parting shots. I agree, but I think we place emphasis differently. I am not concerned with the rights of government, though I am fairly manic about not giving government any more rights. They've got enough as it is.

On the other hand, corporations are better at being ruthless and have, by and large, no accountability for their actions. They are better organized and more efficient at taking what is not theirs. They are not by and large contrained to tell the truth. I believe they are more dangerous than kludgy backbiting government could ever be. Wherever possible, they need to be slapped down and removed from any role, whatsoever, in the Body Politic.

I'm afraid I don't buy the forest example for a second, in part because I have spent a great deal of time in Maine. Up there, every time land is given to lumber companies for limited use they just go ahead and flat-cut the land, including stretches near the roads which they are not allowed to use (and, at times, other nearby land that never belonged to them to begin with: "oops"). Nothing you can do about it after the fact, and eventually they pay off someone to cough up more land.

I sincerely do believe that the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. Which doesn't mean watching out for terrorists, but for those inside who would abuse our heritage and our freedoms, for personal gain.

Anonymous poster a/k/a onetwothree, McDonalds admitted in its own court filings that everyone knows that their food is not healthy. So we can all stipulate to that. I have a branch near me, and that thing is not really a burger (and it's not 69 cents, sometimes it's not even on the dollar menu). It's a damp and steamy pile of soft, salty food product, as in when they say "cheese food product" in stores when the stuff can't legally be called cheese. Your local burger joint no doubt actually concocts a burger ... I only rarely ate at McD's, and post Spurlock I won't go there ever again.

Tim B. - It's amazing, is it not? Chomsky, that damn fiend. It's his own fault for always being right, eh? We are not in a rational time. One can disagree with his conclusions, as Fenster does, but Chomsky always begins from hard facts, and his process is usually inexorable. He frequently ends up in unpleasant places.

This is usually his point.

Best - L.

Posted by: Linus on October 7, 2004 03:10 PM



Linus,
I don't think I'd like to be patted on the back, even in conciliation attempt, especially Chomsky defenders, so count me out of your socialist utopia.
As to the "hard facts" - people with more brain cells in their pinkie (as my Jewish grandma would say) than 100 Chomsky's brains, like Marx, Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin for starters always started with some hard facts.

It's the conclusions that somehow got them askew...

Posted by: Tatyana on October 7, 2004 03:46 PM



"On the other hand, corporations are better at being ruthless and have, by and large, no accountability for their actions."

Who exactly should they be accountable to? As far as I can tell, unless they're dumping something noxious on someone else's property without permission (and no, having a McDonald's in your line of vision on their own property doesn't count), the only people they need to be accountable to are their customers, shareholders, and employees, all of whom deal with the corporation by choice and have the option to stop dealing with it any time they feel like it.

"They are better organized and more efficient at taking what is not theirs. They are not by and large contrained to tell the truth. I believe they are more dangerous than kludgy backbiting government could ever be."

Not without guns, they're not.

"Wherever possible, they need to be slapped down and removed from any role, whatsoever, in the
Body Politic."

And the Body Politic itself needs to be slapped down and removed from any role, whatsoever, that public safety doesn't absolutely require it to fill.

"I'm afraid I don't buy the forest example for a second, in part because I have spent a great deal of time in Maine. Up there, every time land is given to lumber companies for limited use they just go ahead and flat-cut the land, including stretches near the roads which they are not allowed to use."

You mean they're not treating it like they own it? What a surprise.

If someone owns it, they'll tend to balance preserving its value with making a profit off of it, because otherwise their investment in it goes down the drain. If no one owns it (i.e., the "public" owns it), then the bureaucrats and legislators (who also don't own it) will sometimes keep it from being used at all for ideological reasons, and sometimes let their buddies make money off of it (and maybe split it with them) without any attempt at preserving it because, again, neither the bureaucrats nor the corporations nor the legislators own it or have any real stake in preserving it.

Posted by: Ken on October 7, 2004 04:59 PM



I'm curious if there are any admirers of Ayn Rand's philosophy here. If so, I have a question, one based on my assumption that you would prefer no regulations on corporations in a free-market milieu.

How do you feel about corporate personhood -- with the corporate "person" having gained access to and protection in several Bill of Rights Amendments written for human beings?

I'm really ignorant about this and wonder if Randians think that corporations are persons? ... should have free speech, due process, etc. (even though their board members, shareholders, and managers already have such rights).

Posted by: Tim B. on October 7, 2004 05:01 PM



My knowledge of Ayn Rand's philosophy is pretty much limited to Atlas Shrugged, and I didn't see anything in there about whether corporations should be persons or not.

Limited liability does have a very useful purpose - corporations would have a much harder time getting investors if owning stock exposed you to the danger of all your other assets being seized to satisfy a judgement against the corporation. (And yes, it's a good thing that corporations can exist and find investors - they're the main way that large scale projects can be carried out in the private sector). Treating a corporation as a person seems to be a convenient way to implement limited liability - it lets the corporation be an actor in the marketplace in its own right, and builds a firewall that limits the liability of its owners while still allowing the corporation itself to borrow money and be answerable to creditors, use its own resources to act and have those resources be vulnerable to lawsuits concerning its behavior, etc. But that's not to say that other implementations of limited liability aren't possible, just that this one works and doesn't seem to have any overwhelming downsides.

Posted by: Ken on October 7, 2004 07:28 PM



As Eugene Volokh points out, giving corporations the rights of natural persons has some serious advantages when it comes to protecting freedom of speech, since so many newspaper, magazine, etcs, are structured as companies. To remove human rights protection from companies would mean newspaper owners may well face regulation of their speech or having to restructure into a non-limited-liability form with consequent risk to the assets of the owners.

Posted by: Tracy on October 8, 2004 07:49 AM



I guess it's just me. I find the granting of natural personhood to an abstract, profit-only-seeking entity the height of semantic absurdity. I long for the good-old days (pre-1886), when corporations had strict charter requirements and were answerable to communities -- must defer to the communities' interests. It appears, rather, that everything has been turned on its head. Yes, they are job and investment engines, but I think these engines need tuning down some in order to reestablish our originary democratic precepts. Why should a corporate Person have more policy influence than the will of mere persons?

Posted by: Tim B. on October 8, 2004 09:06 AM



"Why should a corporate Person have more policy influence than the will of mere persons?"

Well, for one thing, a corporate Person is actually an aggregation of the resources and efforts of many mere persons.

Posted by: Ken on October 8, 2004 09:16 AM



Why should a stand-in, person-aggregate Person have more policy influence than an unincorporated mere person or a community of such mere persons? But again, to the semantic thing -- a natural, human person is, by definition, capable of manifesting the traits of *humaneness* and responsibility, whereas a bottom-line-feeding corporation, being devoid of a conscience, has no humane interests or responsible impulses. The idea of an aggregate conscience is baffling to me. Instead of humane and responsible action being an intrinsic component, Big Business substitutes functionality and utilitarianism.

Aside from the ethical and political questions, I remain mostly annoyed at the bastardization of language that would equate a legal fiction with a living, breathing human being. I think we should guard the word "person." I'd be more inclined to use in to designate a chimpanzee than a corporation (legal niceties to the contrary notwithstanding).

Posted by: Tim B. on October 8, 2004 09:54 AM



Wow. Interesting debate. I work in government, and I can certainly say that it is inefficient, difficult, and all that.

The person who claims that corporations can only take what is not there's with a gun ignores the fact that in pre-modern worlds with weak states, corporations often had plenty of guns- and the brave individual homesteader wouldn't have much lick standing up to the coal company goons without a government. Of course, the coal company usually BUYS the local (or State) government, so the practical result may often not be any different, but....

Posted by: Brian Miller on October 8, 2004 03:43 PM



Oh, Brian, those as you say, were pre-modern times.
Now government protects individual homesteader against evil corporations acting as a land grabber, right?

Posted by: Tatyana on October 8, 2004 04:35 PM



Hi all. What a fascinating conversation, and undertaken with such civility as well. I commend all participants.

At the risk of revealing myself as the dumbest person in the room, I have a few things to say:

Tatyana - My ex girlfriend, who I still talk to from time to time, grew up in Bulgaria during the communist years. She shares your aversion to all things socialist; I find it rather telling that educated people from Eastern Europe have so little patience with far-left liberalism.

Linus - I'm one of those people who often dismisses Chomsky out of hand. I've read much of his work only because it was often posted to a BBS I used to participate in (the place is an atheist / free thinker site and is predictably overrun with liberals). I never found his arguements to be particularly convincing. I agree that he is an eloquent writer, but he suffers from the same handicap that all far-leftists do: Believeing that idealogical purity can (or even should) overcome something as basic to our nature as self-interest. Socialism isn't wrong because it's "evil" or "ungodly", but simply because it doesn't work.

For fairly reliable evidence of this one need look no further than Soviet Russia. Yes, I understand that the Soviet system wasn't "pure" socialism ... it was corrupted into dictatorship through the faults common to all men (greed, lust for power, dishonesty, etc...). That is precisely why socialism is such a bad idea - it ignores these failings in the belief that they will just go away once the "pure truth and goodness" of the ideaology is taught to the masses. But as we saw in the USSR "taught to" eventually became "forced upon" ... to the tune of 6 million dead.

Even in states where socialism has achieved a modicum of success - and I'm thinking of Eurpoe's social democracies here - innovation and production has become seriously hamstrung. In Germenay, socialism has brought about a huge welfare class that continues to demand more benefits yet produces almost nothing. None of those countires can make, as an entire nation, what a single US company of 20 people produced earlier this week (a spaceship capable of flying people into space twice in the span of 5 days). These things are not theories or opinions - they are hard empirical evidence.

So when Chomsky supports such a system - claiming, essentially, that we just haven't gotten it right yet - I'm skeptical not because of ideaology but because of evidence. Chomsky's ability to start with facts and come up with accurate conclusions is also in doubt; what was his prediction for the civilian casualties in the Afganistan war? 4 million? That's not off by a factor of 10 or even 100 - it's off by a factor of about 1000. If Scaled Composites had been off by that much in their estimate of engine power SpaceShipOne could have flown halfway to the moon.

I'm not arguing that everything the man says is wrong, only pointing out that he can start with the same facts as everyone else but because of his ideaology ("the US is belligerant and murderous", in this case) come up with conclusions that are so far off base as to be laughable.

I do applaud the passion and civility with which you present your case, Linus, and you are undoubtedly a bright individual. But I disagree wholeheartedly with your estimate of Chomsky and your (somewhat qualified) support of his positions.


S

Posted by: sandor at the zoo on October 8, 2004 07:59 PM



Linus,

"I very carefully did not say that the communism was a good idea; I don't think it is. It's utopian in a completely unrealistic way. As is the capitalist system, which will steal us all blind and leave us ruined if it is not regulated. You watch out next time you hear someone talk about self-regulation: it means their hands are already in your pockets."

You are aware that corporations often lobby for regulations as a means of rent-seeking. Meaning that corporations can use politicians and regulations in order to protect themselves and do bad things to the public. In other words, businesses are extremely adept at using regulation in order to "steal us all blind and leave us ruined". What do you have to say about this matter?

Posted by: lindenen on October 8, 2004 08:43 PM



I just discovered this discussion this morning. It is rare these days to see people discussing these issues in such a civilized manner. I think both the "Left" and the "Right" have something valuable to offer and both sides are also dead wrong on some points. To discuss matters and agree to compromise instead of both sides insisting that everyone must accept their entire ideology as a package deal would be of great benefit. Perhaps we should send a link to this discussion to the candidates to show them how it ought to be done.

Posted by: Lynn S on October 12, 2004 12:02 PM






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