Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Stay in the Middle East? By Leon Hadar.

Why Stay in the Middle East? By Leon Hadar. The National Interest, March 27, 2013.

Obama’s Strategic Denial. By Colin Dueck. The National Interest, March 27, 2013.

Moralism and Realism. By Paul R. Pillar. The National Interest, March 26, 2013.

Wonkette Attacks Mark Levin. By Gary Legum.

Mark Levin Will Drown In Own Spittle Before Admitting Americans Maybe Not That Conservative. By Gary Legum. Wonkette, March 19, 2013.

Sex After Christianity: Gay Marriage is a Cosmological Revolution. By Rod Dreher.

Sex After Christianity. By Rod Dreher. The American Conservative, Vol. 12, No. 2 (March/April 2013). Also here. Gay marriage is not just a social revolution but a cosmological one.

My Second Thoughts About Gay Marriage. By Rod Dreher. Real Clear Religion, July 12, 2011.

Who Defines Marriage? By Daniel McCarthy. The American Conservative, March 27, 2013.

The Gay Moment. By Andrew Kopkind. The Nation, May 3, 1993.

Gay Marriage: From Sexual Outlaws to Sexual In-Laws. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, March 26, 2013.

Why Gay Marriage Will Win, and Sexual Freedom Will Lose. By Megan McArdle. The Daily Beast, March 26, 2013.

Gay Marriage: Freedom Should Be Central Issue. By Reed Galen. Real Clear Politics, March 27, 2013.

Megyn Kelly’s Prediction for Supreme Court’s Ruling on Gay Marriage. Fox News Insider, March 26, 2013.

If Same-sex Marriage Is a “Right,” There Are No Rights. By Terry Jeffrey., March 27, 2013.

How Will GOP Deal With Gay Marriage. By Rush Limbaugh., March 27, 2013. Audio at DailyRushbo and YouTube.

SCOTUS Questions on Gay Marriage Would’ve Been a Sanity Test in Earlier Eras. By Rush Limbaugh., March 27, 2013.

We Lost Once We Modified the Definition of the Word “Marriage.” By Rush Limbaugh., March 28, 2013.

How Did This Happen? The Left Corruptedthe Language, Undermined Morality – and There was No Pushback. By Rush Limbaugh., March 29, 2013.

The Christian case for gay marriage. By Mark Osler. CNN, May 19, 2012.

Pastor Oliver White: Jesus was Wrong About Marriage. By Larry O’Connor. Breitbart, March 27, 2013.

Christian Minister: If Jesus were here today he’d support same-sex marriage. The Right Scoop, March 27, 2013. At CNSNews.

St. Paul UCC Church at brink of closing over gay-marriage stand. By Rose French. Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 31, 2012

Church Loses Majority of Members Following Pastor Oliver White’s Support for Gay Marriage. By Billy Hallowell. The Blaze, June 6, 2012.

Pastor Oliver White risks church for his principles. By David Mattingly. CNN, June 10, 2012.

Gay Marriage is the Media’s Vehicle, Destination is to Destroy the Church. By John Nolte. Breitbart, March 26, 2013.

Abortion and Gay Marriage: Separate Issues. By Jonah Goldberg. National Review Online, March 22, 2013.

Alan Dershowtiz: Gay Rights Are “Unstoppable.” By Bill Hoffmann. Newsmax, March 27, 2013.

The Long-Term Future of the Gay Marriage Debate: Stalemate. By David French. National Review Online, May 10, 2012.

Life in the Marriage Stalemate. By David French. National Review Online, March 28, 2013.

I Was Wrong About Marriage. By David French. Speak Up, May 7, 2010.

Gay Marriage and Freedom. By Rush Limbaugh., March 18, 2013. With related articles.

Egypt Falls Out With Obama. By David J. Lynch.

Egypt Falls Out With Obama Dealing With Sputtering Growth. By David J. Lynch. Bloomberg, March 25, 2013.

Egyptian Cleric: U.S. Aid is a Jizya Tax. By Nathaniel Botwinick. National Review Online, March 27, 2013.

Egyptian Cleric Dr. Khaled Said: U.S. Aid to Egypt Constitutes Jizya Tax. Al-Hafez TV (Saudi Arabia/Egypt), March 17, 2013. MEMRI TV Video Clip No. 3779. Transcript. YouTube.

More on Egypt and Morsi here.

The Brutal Realism of “Game of Thrones.” By Tom Holland.

Game of Thrones is more brutally realistic than most historical novels. By Tom Holland. The Guardian, March 24, 2013.

Game of Thrones Season 3: Chaos Preview. Video. GameofThrones, February 10, 2013. YouTube.

Dungeons and Dragons: The power politics of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. By Matthew Continetti. Claremont Review of Books, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Spring 2012). PDF.

Out of This World: George R. R. Martin and His Fantastic Universe. By Cathy Young. The Weekly Standard, April 2, 2012.

Game of Thrones Season 3: Inside The Episode #1. GameofThrones, April 1, 2013. YouTube.

George R. R. Martin: The American Tolkein. By Lev Grossman. Time, November 13, 2005.

George R. R. Martin’s Dance with Dragons: A Masterpiece Worthy of Tolkien. By Lev Grossman. Time, July 7, 2011.

George R. R. Martin Interview, Part 1. By James Poniewozik. Time, April 15, 2011. Part 2, April 18, 2011. Part 3, April 19, 2011.

Game of Thrones Watch: Freedom’s Just Another Word. James Poniewozik. Time, April 1, 2013.


This week, that thing is what I hope will be a big theme of season three: freedom, as an absolute, as a relative term, as an ideal and as a liability.

Dany, when we meet her, is a queen in search of an army, and the way to get one in the part of the world where she comes from is to buy one–literally, in the form of slaves. She’s not keen on the idea, in part, maybe, from the memory of herself being offered up like chattel by her brother Viserys in service of his own royal ambitions. When they get to Astapor, the reailty is even more chilling: the Unsullied are trained efficiently and brutally, proving their detachment and loyalty by killing slave infants.

Dany is repulsed, but I don’t think this is only about morality. It’s also about duty, and her own quest. Dany wants to rule Westeros, which means more than getting an army; it means learning to lead. As her aide Jorah puts it, “You’ll have a true khalesar when you prove yourself strong.” Can you take a shortcut to leadership by buying strength? (A.k.a. the Lannister Way to Make Friends and Influence People.) Does she have any choice? Jorah thinks not; she needs numbers, and soldiers are soldiers, free or slave. (The episode’s title, for what it’s worth, means “All men must serve” in High Valyrian.) “The distinction means something to some people,” she tells him.

It’s a pointed comment if you remember that Jorah was exiled from Westeros for slave-trading. Because Westeros is a free land, right? Well, insofar as a successful soldier can negotiate better terms, maybe. (As Bronn helpfully reminds Tyrion: “I’m a sellsword. I sell my sword.”) But as the episode quickly reminds us, the Kingdoms are full of prostitutes, hostages, and masses of the poor who are little better off than slaves.

Westeros is a free land, in other words, where the extent of your freedom is generally determined at birth. And this combination or freedom (in theory, you can achieve and improve your lot) and privilege (in practice, you won’t), makes relationships transactional, even within families. (Tywin to Tyrion: “Jugglers and singers require applause. You are a Lannister.”)

It also seems to have created a lot of resentment among the have-nots, which we’ve gotten glimpses of as the royal family has ventured outside the Red Keep among their hostile subjects. That Margaery has a different way of dealing with the unwashed makes her not just sympathetic but potentially powerful; when she mingles with the poor and orphans and lives to tell the tale, you’d think she had just performed magic. The episode title notwithstanding, “All must serve” is not exactly a slogan the Lannisters live by.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow—speaking of someone whose lot is determined by birth—has managed to get into Mance Rayder’s wildling camp on his deep-cover mission, and discovers that the “savages” have a much different idea of what constitutes a free society. For starters, the idea of kneeling to anyone—even a king or someone you mistakenly believe a king—gets you laughed at. “Stand, boy,” are Rayder’s first words we hear. “We don’t kneel for anyone beyond the Wall.”

One of the things I’m most looking forward to in season three is how well it explores exactly what that means. We’ve already seen, through Osha and Ygritte, that the barbarism that southerners attribute to wildlings also comes with an extreme philosophy of independence: no man (or woman) is the property of another, not just in literal title but in practice.

That may not make a perfect society–and it raises the question of how, in Rayder’s case, one raises and leads an army of free agents. But it offers an interesting vantage on the rest of the series, whose every action is driven by the lust to sit in a pointy chair, so that others may kneel before it.

Trying to earn Rayder’s trust, Jon first says that he fled the Night’s Watch because “I want to be free.” Says Mance, “I don’t think so. I think you want to be a hero.” Implicit in his dismissal is that Jon Snow doesn’t really know what freedom is. This season could be a great opportunity to learn.


Game of Thrones s02 e09. Sandor Clegane: The world is built by killers. Game of Thrones Best Scenes. YouTube, March 13, 2013.

The Enchanted State. By James Parker. The Atlantic, February 27, 2012.

Sex, violence, politics – Game of Thrones comes of age. By Ed Cumming. The Telegraph, April 2, 2012.

“Game of Thrones” Retains Its Crown. By Christopher Orr. The Atlantic, March 28, 2013.

Game of Thrones, Charles Dance interview: “I treat Peter Dinklage appallingly.” By James Lachno. The Telegraph, March 31, 2013.

20 Minutes Inside Game of Thrones Season 2. Video. TVShowsTrailers, March 23, 2012. YouTube.

Game of Thrones Season 2: Recap. Video. GameofThrones, July 13, 2012. YouTube.

Game of Thrones s01 e07. Petyr Baelish: We only make peace with our enemies. Video. Game of Thrones Best Scenes, July 9, 2011. YouTube.

Game of Thrones Best Scenes YouTube Channel.

Game of Thrones Official YouTube Channel.

Game of Thrones Season 3: Anatomy of a Scene - Daenerys Meets The Unsullied. GameofThrones, April 1, 2013. YouTube.

Lena Headey as Queen Cersei and Peter Dinklage as her brother Tyrion Lannister
 in Game of Thrones.

Was Marx Right? By Michael Schuman.

Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World. By Michael Schuman. Time, March 26, 2013.

Karl Marx

Ten Years Later, Iraq Has No Future. By Dahr Jamail.

Living with No Future: Iraq 10 Years Later. By Dahr Jamail. TomDispatch, March 26, 2013. Also at History News Network.

Toward a Hashemite Palestine. By Alan Bergreen.

Toward a Hashemite Palestine. By Alan Bergreen. American Thinker, March 26, 2013.

The University Utopia. By Robert Tracinski.

The University Utopia. By Robert Tracinski. Real Clear Politics, March 27, 2013.