Mish mash fish fash

Dialectical antitheses of the Computer Age:

fish:Tim Sandefur (Cf.)



Please leave alternate/additional selections in comments.

I’d like to take a moment to toast fish. No, not with bread crumbs. Certainly I feel that his contributions to the polite discourse are underrepresented in our Words of Wisdom to the right at the toppish of your screen. His known contributions are below, but I think if you have noted some extra fishwagon around the internet, to submit such in comments and we shall ensconce it like a time capsule from a magical time.

>How about an Emuticon to brighten your day?


>It is also nearly impossible to play Clue in black and white.

>One has to wonder what powerful evolutionary forces were at work that would make beige carpet camo so beneficial. Is it the ability to hide from the most horrible of dog predators, the vacuum? Is it to save him from the dangers of bath time? Perhaps it allows him to lay in wait for the mail carrier unseen by his nemesis, ready to pounce.

>I think you mispelled Joemuntum.

>I think a group spanking is in order. No safe words.

>Pretty much looks like they set fire to a pile of Ken dolls then stuck their faces in it. I will never bow to ground horn-bill, I cast my lot with the Blue Footed Boobies.

>Thank you for your submission to the Journal of LOL cat Poetry We regret to inform you that we will have decided not to accept your poem. Please realize that this in no way reflects upon the quality of the submission, but merely reflects the reality of the large number of submissions and our inability to accomodate all the individuals who aspire to publish in JOLOLCP. We hope this does not discourage you from submitting another poem for a future issue of the journal.

>Liberal Facism will never be written:
From Kant to won’t.

>There was a dad who had a kid on the same baseball team as mine that wore his CFG t-shirt to the practices most weeks. He spent the whole practice haranguing his son about not running fast enough, trying hard enough, concentrating enough. Did I mention the boy was 6 years old? The kid at one point mentioned how his arm hurt and his father went into a lecture about how great athletes are the ones who push through the pain to excel. I wanted to throw up in his hat.

>Like the hammer of Thor!

Lights out!!

Aravosis signing off:


>I would have never expected Brando’s sarcastometer to break at a critical moment.

53 Responses to “Mish mash fish fash”

  • Gregor Samsa:Lou Dobbs

  • Citrus Lover:Bill Donohue

  • KWB:Insty

  • Oh, I was going to pick Gay Patriot West for that one, or Andrew Sullivan.

  • I was thinking post quantity/quality ratio relationship.

    Oh I forgot:

    Mandos:Mark Steyn

  • Brando:Jeffy


    Twisty:Vox Day

  • Hee hee. You said “Steyn”.

  • Pinko Punko:Captain Trollypants

  • That guy was kind of funny. Shame he died.

  • I prefer to think of him frozen somewhere in Arizona. Waiting for Spring training/thaw.

  • He’ll be back… or I’ll kill him. I don’t consider myself a violent person, but I could be pushed.

  • The sad thing is many people probably think reading 3B sounds a lot like this. (Not completely sure why this seemed necessary to add to a post about fish. Hmm, perhaps, this would be more appropriate. This almost certainly is. This, however, is probably inappropriate for some purposes (and all porpoises).)

    And if fish stops blogging, where will I go for exaggerated semantic disagreements? (Such as the difference between the US earning moral authority and functionally having it. We had it by fiat (or at least hucksterism), just like so much else — at least among all the right people…)

  • Please to be seated, plover. Security Department speaks with you now in Homeland.

  • fish will reanimate when it is appropriate.

    Otherwise the movie is over!!

  • plover is shamelessly dropping fish bait into the water…

  • He’s/She’s/It’s/Bird’s a chum chum.

  • *obliviously continues chumming waters*


    A Palawa (Tasmania) or Taíno (Hispaniola) or Venetus (? — of the Veneti of Northern Gaul) or Carthaginian — and many more, I’m sure — might object to your choice for “the most effective genocide in history” — the “the” part at least.

    Also, moral authority isn’t necessarily something one has or doesn’t have in any absolute sense. Moral authority on what issue? And compared to whom?

    Woodrow Wilson could go to Paris in the aftermath of WWI and attempt to bring about the League of Nations as an instrument with the goal of moving the world toward more democratic government and simultaneously ignore those who were working toward racial equality in the US — to the point of having the State Department refuse passports to African-American activists like William Monroe Trotter who sought participation in the peace talks with the goal that racial equality be included in the goals of the League. (Trotter did make it to Paris, and caused a stir in the French press about the treatment of blacks in the US, but did not succeed in getting his ideas heard in the negotiations.)

    At the same time as the British were sweeping the Tasmanians off the stage as if tidying up a closet, they were also abolishing slavery and policing the slave trade.

    German soldiers during WWII were far more likely to surrender to US troops than to Soviets for good reason.

    Would you say that FDR had no moral authority on account of the Japanese internment despite all the other things he did?

    Trying to identify arenas in which the US might exert some kind of moral authority does not have to be about denying our manifest atrocities (though many might use it as such). Further, the moral authority of the US (or any similarly democratic nation) derives from more than just the actions of its government. E.g. things like the League of Nations, the International Criminal Court, etc. proposed by US statesmen which our legislature refused to endorse, and things like Trotter’s League of Nations committed to racial equality which never even saw fruition. As a population, our reaction to the tsunami, and conversely our acquiescence to Bush’s torture policies.

    I have trouble believing that you really think of the issue of moral authority in as limited a way as seems implied by your post (not that I think I’ve done the topic justice here).

    “The idea that the US was ever a moral authority in the world is pure delusion. We are self-interested actors in a world of self-interested actors.”

    “Self-interested actors”. I don’t think you’re going to dismantle Kissenger’s house with Kissenger’s tools. I’ll again refer you to Lakoff and Damásio — the latter implicitly, the former explicitly: there’s a chapter of The Political Mind on problems with the idea of “self-interest”. (I recommend John Ralston Saul too.)

  • fish has Gone Galt?

    Maybe Gone Guppy.

  • I think in the battle between birds and fish… the bird usually wins… correct?? The bird is victorious, or the fish scurries off the the safety of the murky deep.

  • I can’t believe p-love just unloaded the birdly shotgub like that. Yeah, I said shotgub. I’ll also have you know I identified one of fish’s very first comments on 3B, and ZRM will not be amused.

  • Gaaaah. Can’t resist.

    I have trouble believing that you really think of the issue of moral authority in as limited a way as seems implied by your post

    Plover, your points are good, and you are correct in the sentence above. My reaction was specifically to DDay’s assertion that we could “restore our moral authority around the world” re: torture. Perhaps unfairly, I projected onto him/her an attitude of American exceptionalism that is common even amongst a great deal of the self-identifying left. Essentially the idea that we are a generally well-meaning country that occasionally slips up, but everyone really trusts us and looks to us for guidance. The idea that we had something nobel that could be restored is incredibly annoying to me, particularly in regards to America having moral standing on the issue of torture. Most of the examples I gave directly involved torture and/or genocide as key ingredients in our actions. I believe as a country, we have no moral standing in the world on these issues. Outside of the US borders, I doubt I would get a lot of disagreement on this. As I said, we only have bigger guns and better historians.
    While I hadn’t considered the Taino which was genocide on a massive scale, a campaign that killed over 10 million people, over a century of relentless expulsion and relocation, and a final population less that 1% of its original size and in possession of only 0.1% of its original lands, may not be “the” but certainly is “one of the” most effective genocides in history.
    Europeans are certainly good at it too…

    I will take a look at Lakoff, but I have a hard time imagining an interpretation of US actions throughout history that can be seen as anything but brutal self-interest.

  • Related. Jennifer sent me this. Although I would like to rename the painting from “bird eating fish” to “bird and fish have a serious didactic discussion resulting in the realization that fish was right all along so everyone is happy and no harm ever befalls fish.” Or perhaps “please feed fish with your private.”

  • Or perhaps, “Keep your Yin outta my Yang.”

  • While remaining unsure whether Pinko reads the links in my comments and whether Jennifer has designs to make me the instrument of some rather veil-free threats, I will note that I don’t think we’re missing anything Nobel — well, maybe dynamite, which I take isn’t used all that much these days, but I don’t think the Swedes generally invite people to their ceremonies, yell “Psych!”, pants them, and send them home without so much as a case of Lutefisk Surprise®.

    Um, where was I?

    Yes, there are many on the left who fall into exceptionalist thinking in annoying ways, but, in certain contexts, there is also the issue of distinguishing exceptionalism from pragmatism. “[R]estor[ing] our moral authority around the world” need mean nothing more than removing the effects of Bush on the country’s reputation, a meaningful endeavor unless you want to argue that Bush did not degrade that reputation. Whether or not the form that reputation took before Bush was necessarily deserved is another question, but it made some kinds of things easier — both good and ill. Do you have an argument that the kinds of actions the US will take without that reputation will hurt the world less than ones taken with it?

    In addition, the US is seen as a bellwether. Dictatorial regimes (and, ironically, democracies too) around the world have used the Bush administration’s overt championing of torture, secrecy, surveillance and pre-emptive war as an indication that democratic values are decaying as an ideal and becoming obsolete and thus despotic measures are internationally acceptable. (Mugabe pretty much made this argument explicitly.)

    Whatever parts of the US reputation are earned, whatever parts are the sheerest delusion — both on our part and on others’ — the shadow we cast is long enough that that reputation has large scale effects that have little to do with that reputation’s truth or falsity. (It is, I hope, obvious that this is not the same thing as “everyone really trusts us and looks to us for guidance”.)

    This country has barely even begun to deal with it’s own internal atrocities, such as lynching, which we can see the legacy of around us (if we’re looking), let alone the effects we’ve had on people half a world away with little shared culture. And, of course, the exceptionalism contributes greatly to this. (And our “winning is the only thing” habits of thought don’t help either.)

    What constitutes “justice” with respect to large scale historic crimes is certainly a subject of much debate, but thus far we, as a country, seem largely motivated by the desire to simply avoid the conversation.

    Where does one begin unraveling the mutually reinforcing strands of exceptionalism, denial, myopia? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? How do we create a bridge between the human scale effects of our pursuit of abstracted “national interests” and the human need for a self-conception and ideals that allow us to live our lives? Events like Katrina and the financial meltdown shake certain things loose, many of which will be quickly papered over, but which can, if pushed, be made to leave some residue of sociohistorical awareness. (Which our right wing and corporations will set about dismantling the moment progressives’ attention wanders — which it always does, because we have relatively little meaningful dedicated infrastructure for keeping our concerns in the public eye.)

    It should not take disasters and misery to change perceptions, however. And really it doesn’t, as the successes of say, anti-global warming and anti-estate tax propaganda make clear.

    As far as I can tell, painting the kind of unremitting negative portrait you often do, as if a litany of facts by itself is what changes people’s minds, simply doesn’t work. As if “the truth will set you free” does not easily transmute from metaphor to a kind of vitalism. And it doesn’t work because it is based on an untenable understanding of how human reason functions. This case has been made through historico-philosophical arguments (by John Ralston Saul, or say, Foucault), and recently it has become possible to make the case more directly through the cognitive and neurological sciences, as Lakoff tries to do for the context of concrete politics, and Damásio treats of more abstractly (cf. Looking for Spinoza).

    I can never tell how much sense I’m making when I make arguments like this. It’s hard to know which of my premises will appear to come out of left field, and which lines of reasoning are compressed to the point of opaqueness or end up sounding insulting.

    With regard to some of your specific points:

    1) I think you may somewhat overstate how much agreement there is on how to evaluate the US outside our borders, especially when the distinction is made between the US as a nation and people and the US government as a foreign policy actor. Though this overstatement is, of course, nowhere near as bad as that of the exceptionalists who can’t imagine everyone doesn’t love us.

    We not only have the guns and historians, but the imagineers. However much BS was involved in its creation, our reputation as a “beacon of democracy” or what have you, did exist, and functioned as a source of hope in a number of corners of the world — at least as an ideal. That Bush mutilated that ideal has real consequences, however illusory it may have been.

    In the context of what dday said, “moral authority” seems a somewhat inflated name for “our allies need to believe we’re not torturing our prisoners and flagrantly disobeying the Geneva conventions in situations where they wouldn’t”. I don’t think our allies are thinking about the School of the Americas in this context, and well, we won’t mention it if they won’t. It’s also not entirely clear what leg the EU has to stand on if they can’t (or won’t) do anything about Britain’s legislated(!) detention and surveillance policies (cf. the report I linked in my Philip Pullman post).

    2) With respect to genocide, I was responding specifically to the wording of your statement: “the most effective genocide in history”. As genocides go, it’s hard to be more effective than what happened in Tasmania. Plus, given your link, I assumed you meant the Trail of Tears of specifically, not Native Americans generally. Perhaps not the best of readings, but another reason why I didn’t think scale was central to your point.

    It’s hard to tell whether it makes more sense to describe what happened to Native Americans as one genocide or hundreds. From the Europeans’ point of view, it was sort of a unified thing, but no doubt each tribe experienced it in its own way.

    3) “Self-interest” like “reason” is hard to square with universalized definitions when brain science is taken into account. And history seems to show that such universalized models tend to do more to produce Bismarcks and Kissengers and Wolfowitzes than prevent them.

    I’m not saying that something like what you are calling “brutal self-interest” is not a key point, rather that “self-interest” is not as transparent a term as your rhetorical use of it implies.

    4) dday is a he. He’s David Dayen at Calitics.

  • p- I do wish you would front page such serious and interesting pants. We could have a pants exhibition, for the entire internets to view and acknowledge as wonderful.

    Here is how I would start: “in comments, fish vs. shorebird RE: moral authority of USA has jumped the fireline, and I must bring in to the attention of our reader”

    Something like that. I also am convinced dday is a wily otter.

  • More things fish should be blogging about:

    * Where’s the outrage when you need it?

    * A place to have on speed dial when visiting Snag.

    * Lunch with a Randian.

    * An honest capitalist sign.

    * Something to respond to Jennifer’s threats with.

  • Hey, I saw a chink in fish’s non-blogging armor and I went for it… thought he might start blogging again. Can’t blame a person for trying. I know fish doesn’t like to lose to a shorebird (or anyone). I thought I’d just taunt him a bit with the realities of life…shorebirds usually win when going toe to fin with fish.

    And excuse me, but whose ‘derwear are those?? Does fish have cobwebs in his derwear?? Perhaps codwebs.

  • “[R]estor[ing] our moral authority around the world” need mean nothing more than removing the effects of Bush on the country’s reputation, a meaningful endeavor unless you want to argue that Bush did not degrade that reputation.
    While I consider dday to be pretty smart, I think he meant we had moral standing on this issue, and we just don’t. We may have had the illusion of moral standing, but I would draw a more demanding line for morality. For example, the very vocal (and correct) critique from liberals against rendition during the Bush presidency have actually tried to paper over the fact that Clinton was the original source material compare here with here. I do not include the excellent work by groups such as the ACLU in this critique because they always have their eye on the ball.
    I would also assert that any country that wanted to torture would surely know the realities of the US and its use of torture throughout the world, so Mugabe would be free to use that critique regardless of administrations.
    This is probably a tangent or a useless point, because at this point, we are not really discussing the actual morality of the US, but a couple of other things I would summarize as two big points:
    1) is it valuable to pretend we have moral authority in the world? and
    2) what are the most effective methods to effect change that could give us some genuine moral authority?
    On the first point, my answer is– I don’t know.
    You raised a hypothetical objection I might make that false moral authority might make it easier for us to commit more atrocities. I think this is a real risk. I will also concede that symbols of US freedom have inspired others to act in very positive ways, throughout South America for example (with the added irony that the US did a lot to prevent that freedom from spreading out of US control). Based on anecdotal evidence, I would argue my assessment of the US outside our borders is a pretty good one. In Europe, benevolence is generally assumed (with occasional detours such as the Bush junta). But they generally have the same imperial frame of reference that we have, and have wreaked similar havoc in the world. When I was in South America or China, most people held simultaneous beliefs that it would be better for them if they lived in the US, and that the US was, in part, directly responsible for many of their woes. I suspect that would also hold true in Africa and the Middle East, but I have no direct experience to draw on. I will admit my exposure is also very biased in that I was meeting the educated elite in these countries, not an unbiased cross-section. I have wandered off-point again. Perhaps it was the need to fill a void after admitting ambiguity has left me impotent argue. Perhaps the answer to the first question is yes and no. I tend to hate arguments of pragmatism because they tend to empower the Markoses and Balloon Juices that make me want to puke with their fawning to the power of their chosen clan. I believe that ideological purity is something worth striving for.
    The second point is worthy of extended discussion, but I would point out that my blog posts have little to do with enlightened discussion designed to change people’s minds. I think I am more of a tragically inept Falstaff, staggering from barstool to barstool, fond of listening to my own voice, disrespecting the respected, ineffectual shouting into the air, occasionally sitting on a whoopie cushion, but completely lacking the wit or humor of the original knight.
    When I blew a gasket (a common occurrence because of poor design) it splashed onto the blog without quality control or concern for its effect. The sheer ineffectiveness of the acts was one of the reasons I decided to stop. I don’t have the time (and probably the ability) to create effective, convincing, and well researched posts that would make a difference.

  • I would be quite certain that it holds true for the Middle East.

  • COBWEBS? There are so many places I want to go RE:those plover plucked panties.

    It is the visual ideal of the age old classic trollery: “Madam, thou hast a spider-infested cootery!”

  • I don’t have the time (and probably the ability) to create effective, convincing, and well researched posts that would make a difference.

    Do any of us, alone?

    We’re all breathing the same water together, fish.

    None of us on our own can compel the people dumping toxic waste into our fishbowl to stop.

  • Related, in that this is probably what “moral authority” breeds.

  • Fish has brought so much hilarity over the years that it’s difficult for me to conjure one comment or post, although the Journal of LOLCAT Poetry is perhaps his finest hour. However, one of my favorite things he ever wrote was his adventures in shoe shopping. It captures him at his irritable, self-deprecating, anarcho-syndicalist commune best.

  • Brando- that is an awesome one. I also have some good comments from him in the 3B database that I have been going through.

  • BTW, I love the idea of a blog roast. Our efforts would certainly be funnier than the Bob Saget and Larry the Cable Guy roasts.

  • It depends, maybe you should watch the roast they did of Michael on the Office.

    I’m worried that it could go from ha ha to heh heh to ow ow to f*ck you!!!! real fast.

    “Brando likes Rush- that’s the joke- ROASTED!”

    So good.

  • I’m worried that it could go from ha ha to heh heh to ow ow to f*ck you!!!! real fast.

    Next you’re gonna tell us you never ran around carrying scissors when you were little.

  • To find the essence of fish in but one comment. A fish stick, as it were.

  • I thought Jennifer was going to go Godfather on fish. Like he was going to wake up with some sushi rice in his bed or something.

  • Nice aquarium you got ‘ere. Shame if sumthin were to ‘appen to it.

  • I found this at the foot of my bed.

    And I think Snag misspelled fish schtick.

  • I found this at the foot of my bed.

    Looks like a meal Atrios would post.

  • Quick, someone link to the Barnes & Barnes video!

  • I found this at the foot of my bed.

    There is a joke I could make… oh, but I won’t. No, I’m back to being June Cleaver.

  • Besides… it should have been a seahorse head.

  • Like he was going to wake up with some sushi rice in his bed or something.

    Or on a bed of sushi rice.

    To quote the late ODB: “Oh, baby, I like it raw…”

  • z-rot:

    How about this?

  • It’s gotten very quiet around here.

    Somebody must be up to something!

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