Button Pushers Everywhere!

There’s a lot to gab about this week, so it’s a good thing our hosts had some extra time. Among other things, the trio delve into the moral scolds who think it’d be a great idea to bowdlerize our favorite children’s stories; and they’re glad to hear how Vivek Ramaswamy will shake things up as the newest Republican candidate for 2024.

Then Eli Lake, who spoke with the hosts the day after the invasion, returns to assess Ukraine, Russia and the United States after one year. They get into Putin’s troubles, Europe’s surprising resilience, China’s alleged jump into the fray, and… nukes, of course.

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There are 33 comments.

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  1. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    This bowdlerization is frankly a translation into a new language, in that translations never bring across the whole cargo — it’s simply not possible.  The example of pulling hair vs wigs misses some characterization and texture, as well as substituting a supposedly equivalent expression in “nicer” terms. 

    No translation can convey the meaning of the original, and instead brings new baggage from the new language.  It’s an old problem, and not really disputed except by people with an axe to grind about the similarity of all cultures and so forth — those folks.

    So this is really a translation project, from a faraway free land into the shorn and weighted language of an oppressed people.  Be nice.  Or else.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wasn’t “fat” changed to “enormous” and isn’t “enormous” worse?

    • #2
  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I think the word @roblong was looking for, in regard to China, was “inscrutable.”

    • #3
  4. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I think the word @ roblong was looking for, in regard to China, was “inscrutable.”

    Inscrutaburu.

    • #4
  5. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    The “updaters” of Roald Dahl’s books are grave robbers, pure and simple: editorial vampires of the worst sort.

    • #5
  6. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins
    @LeslieWatkins

    The Ukraine problem is a Sowell-like quandary in that both sides are right, but because neither is seeking common ground, tradeoffs are impossible. I’m personally very much on the side of assisting Ukraine, but there’s nothing cringy or creepy about the skepticism held by Americans who are more localist than internationalist. I find Eli Lake’s rather dismissive tone regarding J. D. Vance’s constituent concerns (i.e., the kids who actually go to war) to be jarringly common among intellectual interventionists. The complementary approach would be to say, “I get the concerns of critics like J. D. Vance, but I think the crucial need to keep Putin in check overrides them.” It’s not a matter of using honey rather than vinegar, but of recognizing that there’s merit on both sides because there most definitely is.

    • #6
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):

    The Ukraine problem is a Sowell-like quandary in that both sides are right, but because neither is seeking common ground, tradeoffs are impossible. I’m personally very much on the side of assisting Ukraine, but there’s nothing cringy or creepy about the skepticism held by Americans who are more localist than internationalist. I find Eli Lake’s rather dismissive tone regarding J. D. Vance’s constituent concerns (i.e., the kids who actually go to war) to be jarringly common among intellectual interventionists. The complementary approach would be to say, “I get the concerns of critics like J. D. Vance, but I think the crucial need to keep Putin in check overrides them.” It’s not a matter of using honey rather than vinegar, but of recognizing that there’s merit on both sides because there most definitely is.

    When skeptics have been called Putin lovers, no sure there is a common ground. 

    • #7
  8. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):

    The Ukraine problem is a Sowell-like quandary in that both sides are right, but because neither is seeking common ground, tradeoffs are impossible. I’m personally very much on the side of assisting Ukraine, but there’s nothing cringy or creepy about the skepticism held by Americans who are more localist than internationalist. I find Eli Lake’s rather dismissive tone regarding J. D. Vance’s constituent concerns (i.e., the kids who actually go to war) to be jarringly common among intellectual interventionists. The complementary approach would be to say, “I get the concerns of critics like J. D. Vance, but I think the crucial need to keep Putin in check overrides them.” It’s not a matter of using honey rather than vinegar, but of recognizing that there’s merit on both sides because there most definitely is.

    When skeptics have been called Putin lovers, no sure there is a common ground.

    Then read my post and the following thread.

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):

    The “updaters” of Roald Dahl’s books are grave robbers, pure and simple: editorial vampires of the worst sort.

    Editorial vampires is a great line. 

    • #9
  10. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    I am disappointed that @jameslileks did not mention that Minnesota, in the midst of an ice storm is, because of global warming, outlawing gas-powered chainsaws.  That is peak stupidity (so far).

    • #10
  11. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture.  Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    • #11
  12. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden.

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    Which could also explain why, even if Putin gave a nukes order, it wouldn’t be carried out.

    • #15
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    Which could also explain why, even if Putin gave a nukes order, it wouldn’t be carried out.

    Or Biden. Neither man is worth it. 

    For the record, I think the nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was worth it but I would like we humans to avoid nuking any other city.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    Which could also explain why, even if Putin gave a nukes order, it wouldn’t be carried out.

    Or Biden. Neither man is worth it.

    For the record, I think the nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was worth it but I would like we humans to avoid nuking any other city.

    A worthy goal.  Especially since modern nukes are so much more powerful.

    • #17
  18. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    I know that “Sambo’s!”

    In late 1977 and early 1978, my husband and I were 20 and 23 and had jobs as night janitors at the Santa Barbara City Administration building: cleaning toilets, vacuuming offices, emptying ashtrays (!). We’d finish around midnight and sometimes go get a coffee at Sambo’s before going home. (I can’t recall if it was still called Sambo’s at that time or if we just knew it had been called Sambo’s.)

    My husband was a Santa Barbara native; I was an outsider. I was also quite pregnant at the time we did that hard job and gave birth to our first child in April 1978 at Cottage Hospital.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    La Tapada (View Comment):

    I know that “Sambo’s!”

    In late 1977 and early 1978, my husband and I were 20 and 23 and had jobs as night janitors at the Santa Barbara City Administration building: cleaning toilets, vacuuming offices, emptying ashtrays (!). We’d finish around midnight and sometimes go get a coffee at Sambo’s before going home. (I can’t recall if it was still called Sambo’s at that time or if we just knew it had been called Sambo’s.)

    My husband was a Santa Barbara native; I was an outsider. I was also quite pregnant at the time we did that hard job and gave birth to our first child in April 1978 at Cottage Hospital.

    I seem to remember there being a Sambo’s in Bend, Oregon around that time too, although it might have been gone or changed names by the time I left in 81.

    • #19
  20. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    Which could also explain why, even if Putin gave a nukes order, it wouldn’t be carried out.

    Or Biden. Neither man is worth it.

    For the record, I think the nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was worth it but I would like we humans to avoid nuking any other city.

    A worthy goal. Especially since modern nukes are so much more powerful.

    Possibly; but nuke designers have been substituting precision for size for decades.

    It’s very hard for naïve Westerners to grasp that tyranny works.  For example, the Shi’ite majority in Iraq could never have overthrown the Sunni minority without American intervention.

    Ill-trained Russian troops throw themselves at enemy lines, just as they did during World War II, because the death ahead of them is merely probable, while the death behind them — from Chechens with machine guns — is certain.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I dont know anything g about modern Russian culture. Are they on board with or predisposed to total mobilization the way 1930s Germany and Japan were?

    Considering that a lot of people seem to be fleeing Russia to avoid possible conscription, I’m thinking they aren’t.

    Why would anyone want to die for Putin? It would be like dying for Joe Biden. No matter how miserable your life is it is worth more than dying for those bozos.

    Which could also explain why, even if Putin gave a nukes order, it wouldn’t be carried out.

    Or Biden. Neither man is worth it.

    For the record, I think the nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was worth it but I would like we humans to avoid nuking any other city.

    A worthy goal. Especially since modern nukes are so much more powerful.

    Possibly; but nuke designers have been substituting precision for size for decades.

    It’s very hard for naïve Westerners to grasp that tyranny works. For example, the Shi’ite majority in Iraq could never have overthrown the Sunni minority without American intervention.

    Ill-trained Russian troops throw themselves at enemy lines, just as they did during World War II, because the death ahead of them is merely probable, while the death behind them — from Chechens with machine guns — is certain.

    Haven’t many Russian soldiers recently been surrendering rather than fighting?

    Although I suppose that risks any family they might have back in Russia.

    • #21
  22. ThomasMcInerny Coolidge
    ThomasMcInerny
    @ThomasMcInerny

    Rob needs to read up on his WWI history. Turkey was all-in with Germany from the get-go in 1914. Military exchanges between Russian and British vs. Ottoman entities occurred in Oct./Nov. 1914. Action in the Dardanelles and the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign in the Spring of 1915 solidified Turkish-German affinities until 1918.

    • #22
  23. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Peter mentioning the hotel in Santa Barbara leading into some of the old-time California stuff reminded me of when Mrs. Tabby and I were newlyweds (about 40 years ago, and at the time had very little money) we’d sometimes stay at a Motel 6 (we believed it to be the first of the chain, and I’m not sure it’s the same facility that is the Motel 6 today) that was immediately behind a really fancy beachfront hotel. The Motel 6 room rate was about 1/5 the rate at the fancy hotel. Our splurge was we’d eat breakfast at the fancy hotel because we liked the high quality breakfast foods available at fancy hotels. We could afford a fancy breakfast, but not a fancy dinner. The fancy hotel was all spread out along the beach, and we joked that our room at Motel 6 was probably closer to the fancy hotel dining room than were some of the rooms in the fancy hotel. 

    • #23
  24. Peter Gøthgen Member
    Peter Gøthgen
    @PeterGothgen

    I still have the (Danish) copy of “Lille Sorte Sambo” that I grew up with.   The parents were “Black Mumbo” and “Black Jumbo”, and the human characters were all horrible caricatures of Africans, despite the book taking place in India.  Little Golden Books published the story revised as “The Boy and the Tigers”.  They made the Indian characters actually look Indian and have Indian names; otherwise, the book is unchanged.  

    As much as I despise bowdlerization, in this case the original was clearly done by someone who literally couldn’t tell the difference between dark skinned people from different sides of the planet.  The story is rather cute as children’s stories go, and it is nice to have a readable version for future generations (while saving the original for historical purposes).

    • #24
  25. Mark A, Man of La Munchkin Inactive
    Mark A, Man of La Munchkin
    @MarkAlexander

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Mark A, Man of La Munchkin (View Comment):

     

    • #26
  27. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    I taught fourth grade for 24 years. After recess, I always read aloud to my class for about 20 minutes. They loved it! They were required only to listen…not quizzes, no work about it…it was just for relaxation and enjoyment. I always read Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl the first week of school. It was entertaining, and I could easily finish the entire book in five days. 

    Plus…they were fourth graders now, and were ready to hear some good writing. This book was extra fun to read because it mentioned nose-picking, belching, and other bodily functions. The students were always amazed that I’d read it aloud! They loved it! And then they’d go to the library and check out all the Roald Dahl books the next week. It was my way to introduce them to reading for fun. 

    DO NOT change Roald Dahl!!

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    I taught fourth grade for 24 years. After recess, I always read aloud to my class for about 20 minutes. They loved it! They were required only to listen…not quizzes, no work about it…it was just for relaxation and enjoyment. I always read Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl the first week of school. It was entertaining, and I could easily finish the entire book in five days.

    Plus…they were fourth graders now, and were ready to hear some good writing. This book was extra fun to read because it mentioned nose-picking, belching, and other bodily functions. The students were always amazed that I’d read it aloud! They loved it! And then they’d go to the library and check out all the Roald Dahl books the next week. It was my way to introduce them to reading for fun.

    DO NOT change Roald Dahl!!

    Yep, that kind of thing is how I first experienced Charlotte’s Web, and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.  Maybe one or two others, but those are what I remember.  We also got to order from Scholastic Book Service on occasion.

    • #28
  29. Charlotte Inactive
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Mark A, Man of La Munchkin (View Comment):

    [Twitter embed about the Ian Fleming books]

    Damn it. Are you kidding me? So this is officially what we’re doing now, author by author, book by book? It’s so gross and illiberal I can hardly stand to think about it. Where is the outrage? Why are there so many people who seem to think this is a good idea?

    I reread the whole Fleming Bond series a couple of years ago. The books are gloriously, unmistakably, thoroughly, almost parodying-ly of their time and place. Why would anyone want them any other way?

    • #29
  30. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Mark A, Man of La Munchkin (View Comment):

    [Twitter embed about the Ian Fleming books]

    Damn it. Are you kidding me? So this is officially what we’re doing now, author by author, book by book? It’s so gross and illiberal I can hardly stand to think about it. Where is the outrage? Why are there so many people who seem to think this is a good idea?

    I reread the whole Fleming Bond series a couple of years ago. The books are gloriously, unmistakably, thoroughly, almost parodying-ly of their time and place. Why would anyone want them any other way?

    Yup.

    How many persons of eastern european descent does it take to change a light bulb?

    Two for safety.

    • #30
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