A Supposedly Fun Thing Ricochet’s Never Going to Do

 

So I’m thinking into the future here about Ricochet’s answer to the National Review cruise. Why, you ask? Isn’t that a little premature? Well, yes, but I’ve got another deadline, which always inspires me to apply my mind to any problem but the one I’m supposed to be solving.

My train of thought went like this. I found this great link to the best magazine articles ever written, and if you’ve got a deadline, too, I suggest you not click on it, because there goes your weekend. So instead of working on what I’m supposed to be doing this morning, I ended up re-reading, among other things, David Foster Wallace’s essay Shipping Out, which is about his one-week trip on the cruise ship M.V. Zenith. It was later published as A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. That was the first piece I ever read by David Foster Wallace, and I remember reading it and feeling thrilled to see proof that America could, indeed, still produce that kind of incandescent talent, because for a time I wasn’t sure. Now, of course, it’s impossible to read his work without sadness.

But that’s not my point. My point is that after reading that, I just lost all my enthusiasm for cruising, not that I ever had much of it in the first place. Anyway, cruises are National Review’s market niche, and while I love National Review as much as any red-blooded American woman, all the more so since they publish me, I just don’t see a cruise as a Ricochet kind of thing. For one thing, I don’t think our exuberance could be contained to a seafaring vessel, particularly since I imagine one is not allowed to bring firearms on board. For another, a lot of us are pretty broke. So I figure we need to put our minds to the problem of creating a more appropriate Ricochet signature event, or at least I need to, right now, because the alternative is doing gainful work. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Ricochet Goes to Burning Man! I’ve always wanted to go to that. Don’t you think we could build a great Ricochet “Art of the Free Market” theme camp? I get the sense that a lot of people there don’t realize it yet, but they’re actually on our side. They just need a gentle, inspiring nudge.

Right-wing Yoga Retreat! Wouldn’t it be terrific to go on one of those great-looking yoga retreats you always see advertised in the yoga journals–the ones in some subtropical paradise in Costa Rica, with all those pretty birds and flowers–in the full knowledge that no one’s going to give you that look when you finish your savasana and tell your favorite Ronald Reagan Cold War joke?

Ricochet Self-Defense Seminar! Honestly, the way I’m envisioning this is we all go out to the desert and shoot things and blow stuff up.

Ricochet Shakespeare Camp! I want Ursula to lead this–I loved her description of coaching her students through their performance of Romeo and Juliet. For a bonus, we could reenact the Peloponnesian War with Victor Davis Hanson, in period costume. Family-friendly!

Ricochet Safari! We may have to wait until we take back the government and the economy improves for this, but I’m seeing us stalking the lions on the grassy plains of the Okavango Delta, the elephants watering themselves in the lagoon, the huge blood-red sun, big as half the sky, setting over a grove of mangosteen trees, a flock of swirling kingfishers darkening the horizon, the impala, the zebra, the giraffes, the lechwe, the tsessebe–although I’m a little worried that none of us will be paying attention because we’re all looking anxiously at our Blackberries and fretting over the lack of high-speed Internet access.

Ricochet Bumper Cars! Just a simple outing to the adventure park. Low budget. Lots of you have kids, right?

Classical Liberal Square Dance! Whatever happened to square-dancing, anyway?

The Ricochet “See it While it’s Still There” Tour! Come visit Judith and me in Israel and Turkey! You never know how long these countries will still be here! I’ll personally show you the elusive moderate Moslem, and then we can all hang out and shoot the breeze in Judith’s bomb shelter.

Anyway, those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. They all sound a lot more fun than a cruise to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with cruising, if that’s what floats your boat, but I just don’t think it’s Ricochet.

There are 28 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @UrsulaHennessey

    I love that you did this. I recently came back from a run with the idea for a Ricochet picnic with all these cool events — West Coast/East Coast softball game, Match the Baby Picture to the Contributor, Ricochet Dating Game, etc. I told all this to my husband with wild excitement, all ready to sit my sweaty self down to post it, and he said, “… Ahhh. I don’t think so. It might not sound funny.” I wasn’t sure I was trying to be funny … but I took his advice. It’s often good. ANYWAY, I would like to strike the square dance and hazard a guess that they fell by the wayside once people started actually posting pictures of them. Rob in a straw hat, checked shirt, drink in one hand, doesie-doe-ing (sp?) with Duane …. He might never get another job in Hollywood. I might also have to defer the Shakespeare director’s job to you and Judith. I suspect that the versions you put on in the halls of Oxford might be a shade more professional than anything I did with 6th graders in the South Bronx. But I love these ideas …

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Ursula Hennessey: I might also have to defer the Shakespeare director’s job to you and Judith. I suspect that the versions you put on in the halls of Oxford might be a shade more professional than anything I did with 6th graders in the South Bronx. But I love these ideas … · Jul 31 at 4:54am

    Oh, Ursula, boy do you have the wrong idea about what life was like at Oxford. Judith, I leave it to you to correct the record on this one. Key point: Neither Judith nor I could remember which play it was we spontaneously re-enacted. That should tell you something.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @
    The Logo: Claire will be stateside on a book and speaking tour in late August and September, and this offers a great excuse for Ricochet members to gather at a local bar. · Jul 31 at 6:30am

    I’m all for that of course, but also wondering if it’s possible to see the speaking/signing schedule for Claire. You know, just for stalking purposes…

    • #4
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CasBalicki

    If we shadows have offended

    Think but this and all is mended

    That we have but slumbered here

    While these visions did appear

    • #5
  5. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Trace Urdan I’m all for that of course, but also wondering if it’s possible to see the speaking/signing schedule for Claire. You know, just for stalking purposes… · Jul 31 at 6:35am

    I’m wondering that myself. I’ll let you know as soon as I have word. Do note, however, that I will insist we gather not at a bar, but at the local MMA gym. National Review goes out for cocktails. We go out for fun.

    • #6
  6. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Cas Balicki: If we shadows have offended

    Think but this and all is mended

    That we have but slumbered here

    While these visions did appear · Jul 31 at 6:46am

    You do advance your cunning more and more!

    • #7
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @DuaneOyen

    Everyone (as at Burning Man) gets to camp out, brung food, “shelter”, etc.? The only thing worse than a guided tour cruise (If this is Thursday, we must be in the Jackson Presidency) is fighting bugs and lugging your own tent, food, and blankies.

    But look at Logo’s fine idea; it clearly reveals that Ricochet, just like every other prominent political entity, has nothing really to do wit flyoverland, it is concentrated on the East or West coasts.

    You need to, just once, hold these things in Danville, Illinois. A state border town that has lost its GM plants, its only distinctive factoid is that it was the birthplace of Rob Petrie. ;-( Scott and I can drive there in one day from different points. And all of you international and coastal elites can enjoy the plasitc food of America’s favorite neighbor, Appleby’s!

    • #8
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MelFoil

    We could have an annual Ricky Awards ceremony and dinner. Half the fun might be coming up with categories. And Ricochet participants don’t need to be the only ones getting awards. Vice President Joe Biden might deserve a Ricky for lifetime achievement, for example. I think there are some clips to prove it. :)

    • #9
  9. Profile Photo Contributor
    @JamesPoulos

    Ah, Burning Man. In 2000, when I lived in LA the first time around, I made ‘plans’ to go to the Burn and chronicle it. I went to a fundraising event in a narrow warehouse-like building south of the 10 and everything. There was fire dancing, glow in the dark body paint, girls on three-foot-tall podlike stilts fashioned to look like robotic claws, and a guy playing drums at a kit that spit fire from two metal torches. Seemed like a sure thing. Instead I went to law school, and the libertarians beat me to chronicling Burning Man, with Brian Doherty publishing all the way in 2004 This Is Burning Man. To this day, however, I know some very nice Burners, and I remain sort of astonished that there has yet to be a major malfunction out there involving brutality and death. The largest, most bloodless pagan ritual in all of human history…

    • #10
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    I like the safari idea. All elephants and no donkeys? Sounds cool.

    How about a high-tech barbecue? We could coordinate cookouts in each region on the same day and then set up a video conference between them.

    We’ll even let you sissies on the coasts opt for spaghetti or veggie meals if you prefer that to hamburgers or a big juicy stack of ribs. God only knows what Claire and Judith would be eating.

    Of course, that means our overseas correspondents would be snoring into their midnight meals. And what are the odds that the entire U.S. will have clear skies on the same day?

    • #11
  11. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire

    I guess it’s pretty obvious who would host our Ricochet Game Show.

    • #12
  12. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Aaron Miller: We could coordinate cookouts in each region on the same day and then set up a video conference between them.

    This sounds like the treatment for some art-house documentary about the lonely despair and anomie of the modern man. Ix-nay!

    • #13
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @GADean

    I’m a regular attendee at the nerdy version of Burning Man, the Maker Faire, which includes a bunch of Burning Man attendees in addition to other odd characters. We’d fit right in. There are guys who re-enact naval battles, and of course the SCA, the local steampunkers and even Mythbusters. Lots of people with dangerous hobbies.

    It’s the only place I can wear my Utilikilt and nobody comments…

    Alas it doesn’t happen again until May (though I see that there is one in NYC this year in Sept.). At the very least Ricochet needs a team to provide coverage.

    • #14
  14. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    It’s the only place I can wear my Utilikilt and nobody comments…

    I don’t know about the Utilikilt, but we need to hire their website copywriter.

    • #15
  15. Profile Photo Contributor
    @judithlevy

    I’m a little late to this party — just back from Zichron — but Ursula, honey, if only you knew. I’m pretty sure the only stage direction involved in our reading of Midsummer Night’s Dream was to keep the plonk circulating.

    I wish I could be there for Claire’s tour. In my absence, I’d appreciate it if somebody could order a vodka gimlet on my behalf and hoist it in her honor. As for the Ricochet wingding, I’ll do my best to get there. Especially if it involves bacon.

    • #16
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Hmmm…Ricochet’s Role-Playing Game and Jam Session Weekend?

    Three days of pure and unabashed geekery! Bring your gaming dice and your musical instrument of choice. Blues and Balrogs! Rocs and Rock! Dungeons and Dancing (for those who don’t play).

    Or do I geek too much?

    • #17
  17. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Judith Levy: Especially if it involves bacon. · Jul 31 at 8:57am

    Hold on. Hold on. I know perfectly well that the Judith of yore did not dig on the Swine. What’s up with the longing for bacon, of all things?

    • #18
  18. Profile Photo Contributor
    @judithlevy
    Claire Berlinski: I know perfectly well that the Judith of yore did not dig on the Swine. What’s up with the longing for bacon, of all things? · Jul 31 at 9:22am

    I know. What can I say? I’ve still never eaten a ham sandwich or a pork chop in my life, but I had sausages in Italy that made me swoon and crispy crunchy bacon in the States that just…oh, Lord have mercy. And the forced denial thing…the very thought of the stuff makes me salivate.

    • #19
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MelFoil
    Judith Levy

    Claire Berlinski: I know perfectly well that the Judith of yore did not dig on the Swine. What’s up with the longing for bacon, of all things? · Jul 31 at 9:22am

    I know. What can I say? I’ve still never eaten a ham sandwich or a pork chop in my life, but I had sausages in Italy that made me swoon and crispy crunchy bacon in the States that just…oh, Lord have mercy. And the forced denial thing…the very thought of the stuff makes me salivate. · Jul 31 at 9:54am

    In early America, you could ferment your extra grain, distill off the alcohol to make whiskey, and then feed the leftover mash–corn or other grain slurry–to the hogs. How green is that? Nothing wasted. Just think of yourself as a traditional evironmentalist.

    • #21
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller
    Jimmie Bise Jr: Hmmm…Ricochet’s Role-Playing Game and Jam Session Weekend?

    Three days of pure and unabashed geekery! Bring your gaming dice and your musical instrument of choice. Blues and Balrogs! Rocs and Rock! Dungeons and Dancing (for those who don’t play).

    Or do I geek too much? · Jul 31 at 9:08am

    I’ve got a RenFaire battleaxe and five guitars. I’m game!

    I’ve also got a violin, a clarinet, a steel drum, a bodhran, a pennywhistle, an Iroquois flute, a harmonica, a didgeridoo, a zither, a keyboard, and some strange instrument I can neither play nor identify. Enough instruments for everyone!

    I received the last as a gift. My best guess is that it comes from somewhere in the Southeast Asia. Does anyone know? It has a single metal string running from a tuning knob at the top to a drum at the bottom. The sides can be squeezed to adjust the note.

    • #22
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @DuaneOyen
    The Logo

    Duane Oyen: But look at Logo’s fine idea; it clearly reveals that Ricochet, just like every other prominent political entity, has nothing really to do wit flyoverland, it is concentrated on the East or West coasts.

    Or, it’s because we live out here. Can you blame us? Think of the carbon emissions!

    Be careful, Duane, because the first non-local (to us) gathering we’re contemplating is for Minneapolis — Land of 15,000 lakes, Lileks, Power Line, and more than a few members. Details are even sketchier for this, although we know we should get it in before the permafrost hardens up. · Jul 31 at 10:26am

    I’m on it like a 13 year old girl at a Jonas concert. Of course, being terminally introverted in real life, I will hide in the men’s room for most of the day.

    On a side note, I may be the only literate person in 21st century America who had never heard of Burning Man before reading this thread. I wonder if it relates to the fact that I had never seen Star Wars before 2 weeks ago either?

    • #23
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Aaron Miller

    I’ve got a RenFaire battleaxe and five guitars. I’m game!

    I’ve also got a violin, a clarinet, a steel drum, a bodhran, a pennywhistle, an Iroquois flute, a harmonica, a didgeridoo, a zither, a keyboard, and some strange instrument I can neither play nor identify. Enough instruments for everyone!

    · Jul 31 at 10:39am

    Perfect! I have a clarinet and a saxophone (alto), a penny whistle, a didg, a keyboard, a bamboo recorder, a harmonica, and somewhere I’m pretty sure I still have a Jew’s Harp. I can sing a mean bass or baritone as well and I’m an experience choral director, so I can conduct the Ricochet Grand Choir and Miscellaneous Instruments Orchestra.

    Then afterwards, to the dungeons for orcs and treasure!

    • #24
  23. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Aaron Miller

    I received the last as a gift. My best guess is that it comes from somewhere in the Southeast Asia. Does anyone know? It has a single metal string running from a tuning knob at the top to a drum at the bottom. The sides can be squeezed to adjust the note. · Jul 31 at 10:39am

    Mom? Are you reading this? Someone at the festival has got to be able to identify that weird thing. (My mother is a cellist, the music director of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, which is now in full swing, and a professor of music at the University of Washington. If she can’t find someone who can tell you what that is, no one can.)

    • #25
  24. Profile Photo Contributor
    @judithlevy
    Duane Oyen: I may be the only literate person in 21st century America who had never heard of Burning Man before reading this thread.

    I’m so glad you said that. I’d never heard of it either.

    • #26
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @heathermc

    I’m in the middle of the Wallace essay on Cruising, and I agree, it is very well done. But I must comment on his Professional Smile riff, one of which I am very familiar. Because, I had giftshops catering to tourists for half the year, so I have been on the other side of That Professional Smile.

    Something physical happens to the brain core after one has smiled at some 1,000 or more complete strangers per day, every day, for 4 months. That ‘something’ is, I think, worth a sociology/physiology PhD. The result combines boredom with a weird non-sleepy exhaustion: because being ‘open’ and ‘friendly’ and ‘smiley’ with total strangers is (I believe) against Nature. I can understand why people living in heavy tourist destinations just hate ‘tourists’. And it isn’t about envy over wealth in 3rd world places. It is, I believe, a physical response to a very unnatural way of being. If anyone is aware of a study done on this, please tell me about it.

    • #27
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @JonathanMatthewGilbert

    This could easily fall into the category of things we’d never do that could be fun, but one of the few places in the city that I could proudly wear my McCain button and actually get into supportive conversations with strangers…was the baseball field at Coney Island. That part of Brooklyn is VERY conservative, and I never get the feel that there’s an NRO staffer anywhere nearby. Plus, the Brooklyn Cyclones are actually pretty fun to watch and in September there’s a damn good chance they’ll be wrapping up the playoffs and maybe even winning. Coney Island itself is really coming around, also. Unabashedly tacky (like me) but still fun.

    I am, of course, still looking into MMA facilities but the two I’ve visited so far scared the crap out of me.

    • #28

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