|The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)|
Monday, January 06, 2003
Little Green Footballs as a "painful duty," because the constant descriptions of Muslim misconduct are so depressing. I now feel the same way about Steven Den Beste's USS Clueless site, though for a different reason; Den Beste's articles are so damn long-winded and insubstantial that it's impossible to read them.
Let's take his antepenultimate post as an example. In an earlier post Den Beste had criticized "just war" theory; this post is a response to five people who emailed him criticism or questions. Here is the structure of the post:
The total number of <P> tags killed to make this post was 64. Den Beste clearly needs an editor, because there isn't anywhere near enough content to mandate this much text.
One problem with Den Beste's writing is the mind-numbing restatement of the obvious. Maybe Den Beste thinks that he has double the IQ of his audience, and has to spoon-feed them. Or maybe a teacher gave him failing grades whenever he failed to show his work, and the lesson has really stuck with him. Check out these nuggets of genius:
Furrowing his brow and saying "I wouldn't want to reject any of our options out of hand" is how a computer software middle-manager with an oceanography degree gets through his day. But it's not a good technique if you want to be considered the Ur-genius of the blogosphere.
It's a good thing the fate of America is not in my hands, because I would challenge the terrorist to a Game of 99.
I will note that no one who criticized the Catholic Church for its complicity in the priestly pedophilia scandal felt it necessary to waste four sentences deducing that kiddy-diddling was immoral.
I also note that Den Beste is occasionally detached from reality. The USS Clueless schtick is that a bright engineer can solve all the world's problems by analogy with what he learned working at his safe, air-conditioned desk. Maybe Den Beste should get out of the house more; then he wouldn't make alarming statements like
Thanks, but no thanks. It's not what most people want, and it's not what is likely to happen. After all, there was no civilian bombing in response to the World Trade Center attack. Of course, I realize that Den Beste can't reject genocide on the basis of cruelty, but ...
Or check out this confusion of the real world and board games:
The United States attempted such a policy once, during the Kissinger era; Kissinger and Nixon deliberately considered the advantages of appearing unpredictable and arbitrary. This was during a period when the US was viewed as weak, and when the foreign policy of detente assisted America's enemies. Given that Den Beste was going to write a 64-paragraph post, don't you think he could spent a sentence or two examining the real-world consequences of random behavior?
Den Beste styles himself a "Jacksonian;" hardly a post goes by without several paragraphs spent on chest-puffing that invokes Jackson. I might note that if you really want to be random, sometimes the die roll has to mean "do nothing". Was Jackson unpredictable in any of his martial or foreign policies? Can you imagine a foe threatening America and Jackson doing nothing?