The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Random pop-culture notes

October 13, 2006

• The Crane Wife is, as my friends predicted, growing on me. The prog-rock turn worked much better in The Tain, and I don’t think I’ll ever find the Decemberists‘ fourth LP superior to their prior three, but there’s still a lot to like about their first major-label offering.

• Jonah Goldberg’s the worst kind of sci-fi geek: one who doesn’t know a whole lot about the genre . I actually agree with him about Dean Stockwell’s line in the premiere of Battlestar Galactica, but he’s wrong about everything else. The writers of BSG understand the fragility of goodness in the face of difficult circumstances and that even good people will make immoral choices. It is hard to find a more consistent theme in the show.

Indeed, the notion that one person’s terrorist may be another’s freedom fighter isn’t sophomoric: it is a verifiable fact.

The question is whether we should ever approve of terrorism, a queston BSG poses but, so far, hasn’t answered. Now that’s the mark of good science-fiction: to present us with “inconvenient” circumstances that challenge us to rethink or affirm our preexisting beliefs.

• Why is The New Republic intent on proving that blogs don’t threaten the press, but that they do threaten the pundit class?

That’s all.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.