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2007 September Archive at Three Roads Blog
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Archive for September, 2007 Page 2 of 2



The worst name you can call a conservative

The worst name you can call a conservative is “flip-flopper.”

Why is that? I think it has something to do with the conservative disposition. Most who are right of center take pride in the immutability of their positions. Changing one’s mind on something, for a conservative, signals a lack of commitment, a pitiable vulnerability to the influence of others, and/or simple political opportunism. At least that’s my anecdotal, totally unempirical take on reality.

When the LA Times reported on a recent study that said that conservatives think differently and are less willing to change their minds when supplied with new information, I thought, “Yeah, that pretty much jibes with how reality appears to me.”

Many people critical of the study reduced the story to “researchers say liberals are smart and conservatives are stupid.” And in fact, some liberals thought the study was unfair and overly critical of conservatives.

That’s not what I took away from it, and I wonder how conservatives reacted. I’m tempted to say that they’d agree, with pride, with the study’s findings, because what liberals disparage as close-mindedness, conservatives tout as steadfastness. I don’t think a study that says conservatives are less likely to respond to new information would be offensive to someone like George Bush. In fact, for many religious conservatives, the older, more antiquated the information is, the better.

Think about the average conservative from Kansas, who thinks the latest science text book ought to be replaced by the Old Testament. New information has no bearing on his world view—and he finds that a source of pride and strength.

Movie review: 3:10 to Yuma

Say what you want about Russell Crowe’s surly off-screen antics, the man delivers a convincing dramatic performance in every movie he makes, and 3:10 to Yuma is the latest illustration.

Filmed on location in a stunning part of New Mexico (exactly where I don’t know) this classic western remake gets just about everything right. It keeps with traditional western conventions but still seems fresh and new. All of the archetypal characters are there: the bad guy with a glimmer—and in this case it’s really just a glimmer—of good; the down on his luck rancher who by force of circumstance is compelled to take a huge risk; the slimy railroad man; and on and on.

I won’t give anything away that’s plot related, but for those of you familiar with Six Feet Under, you’ll be surprised by the reincarnation of Claire’s arty boyfriend as a creepy and utterly believable gun-slingin’ villain.

I miss Arrested Development

I came across this clip** from the show recently while reading the Economist’s blog, Democracy in America.

It’s a bit of a mystery to me why this show only lasted a few seasons. Then again, I don’t know how the writers could have maintained such a high level of creativity and comedic density for more than a couple years.

Since we don’t have a decent cable package, our TV-series viewing has a bit of a lag. We’re only now hip to the Showtime series Weeds. While it’s no substitute for Arrested Development, it’s a great show—funny for the most part, serious at times and occasionally quite poignant.

And if Arrested Development spurred a new appreciation for Jason Bateman, Weeds does the same for Kevin Nealon, who plays an incorrigible stoner/certified public accountant.

** The particular video is no longer available on YouTube, due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox.

Federer-er beats Djokovic

Or did Novak Djokovic lose? (I suppose that in any tennis match there is a little of both going on at the same time.)

The young Serb did seem a little humbled by the packed court—as Federer clairvoyantly predicted after losing to Djokovic in the Montreal final before the Open. The big points—the ones where he could have won sets—eluded him. I think there were about eight such points.**

But he won’t be Novak Chokavic for long. He’s 20 flippin’ years old. In a year he’ll be a better match for R-Fed.

* Correction: there were only seven set points, according to the NY Times’ US Open blog. Also from the Times, an interview reveals that Djokovic has something that Federer apparently doesn’t: a self-deprecating sense of humor.