Wednesday, December 8, 2004

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Au revoir pendant une courte période

One of the quadrennial rituals following presidential elections is a whole series of conferences about "What Does This Election Mean?" For those who attend, it's an opportunity to acquire some semi-useful cognitive frames that sound good at cocktail parties and are even occasionally correct.

For those who are asked to present, this is an opportunity to go somewhere nice on someone else's dime and decompress from the exhaustion created by paying close attention to the election. There's a clear hierarchy of these types of conferences -- the more remote and enticing the locale, the better.

I'm not sure how I lucked into this one, but I'll be in Paris for the next few days to talk about "The United States After the 2004 Election," courtesy of the French Center on the United States. Here's a link to the provisional program.

Informed readers will be well aware that I'm punching above my pundit class compared to the other invitees. I plan on treating this the same way my wife and I did when we went on our honeymoon and stayed at resorts we never could have afforded under normal circumstances -- a mixture of bemused detachment and nervous awe.

Talk amongst yourselves -- or:

1) Check out the new scholar-bloggers -- Becker/Posner and Left2Right. And do remember that they're moving down the learning curve when it comes to the art of blogging.

2) There seems to be a kerfuffle about Natalie Portman. Click on Jonathan Last's Weekly Standard article to start, and then go here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Au revoir!!

posted by Dan on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM


Fascinating. I'd love to see Nadine Strossen and John Yoo go at it.

posted by: Al on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Paris, eh?
I suspect you'll be spending much of your time in a defensive posture.

posted by: Bithead on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

How come on the program University of Chicago gets turned into "Université de Chicago" whereas University of California, Berkeley stays "University of California, Berkeley"?

posted by: Moonhawk on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

I've never really gotten the complaint about "Leon". Mathilda's crush on Leon is not reciprocated; he views her first as an annoyance, and later as a daughter. There is never any suggestion that he or any other adult looks at her as a sexual creature.

posted by: Dan on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

As long as we're plugging new blogs, take a look at my own. Post comments, start arguments, relish in the First Amendment, etc.

posted by: Branden Bell on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Dan Commenter (not Drezner), the "complaint about 'Leon'" that Last has is not about the relationship of the two fictional characters, but the sexualization of the youth (actress) Portman - I find it difficult to deny this claim. Last posits that the ritual objectification of women has returned to an infantilizing stage, with Portman's presence in 'The Professional' (I'm a simple American moviegoer) signalling an early moment of which the 'Vanity Fair' "TOTALLY raining teens" cover is another example. The Ambercrombie ads of a couple/few years ago were also all about sexualizing teens.

The herion-chic, waify Kate Moss era was ramping up at this same time (of The Professional, 1994) - the ad agencies and hollywood studios were doing an excellent job of selling us the idea of waifish women (too often called "girls"). These heroin-chic waifs stood in as an acceptable representation of the Portmanesque girls that were not even barely legal.

It is difficult to offer a sane opinion about consentual sex (which is clearly what lies behind this discussion of representation of youth as sexualized) when the youth that are put in these positions are by-and-large without power in a culture of objectifying women. In a society without such power imbalance in gender issues, and then wihtout such a disregard against youth, maybe then we can have that discussion about whether or not a 13 year old girl should be put in the position where she is prancing about for old(er) men "like a virgin".

posted by: jonk on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Congratulations, Dan. I don't think you're out of place at all, especially on the panel you've been assigned. I do wonder why the agenda is printed in French when almost all the panelists will be speaking in English.

posted by: Zathras on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

I'll be in Paris this weekend. If I see Drezner, I'll like totally freak out.

posted by: Jeff on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]


How come on the program University of Chicago gets turned into "Université de Chicago" whereas University of California, Berkeley stays "University of California, Berkeley"?

The reason's simple enough. It's like, hey speak their own language out there in Berkeley, man, ya know?

posted by: Bithead on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Yet another perfectly good excuse for a photo of the hotness that is Natalie Portman -- and Drezner lets it fly right by.

Bitterly disappointing.

And as for Last, men aren't sexually attracted to teenaged girls because of our media. After all, our country's choice of the age of consent is hardly universal.

posted by: fling93 on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Nadaly portman is hottttttt!!!!!!!!

posted by: dernel on 12.08.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

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