Dover Bitch

Friday, January 16, 2009

How dull it is to pause!

It's time for Dover Bitch to hang 'em up. This blog has been neglected by me for some time, but I've been waiting until an appropriate day to put it to rest, and that day is finally upon us.

It is the end of an era, at last: The country is now out of Dick Cheney's cold grip. Many of us survived. Some spectacular people did not.

When I started this blog, it did not actually occur to me that anybody would read it. I had zero ambition for it. It was to be my online catharsis.

The day I met Digby, I gave her a poem by Theodore Roethke, "Against Danger." The word "against" is the greatest of all adpositions. Unlike "on," "within" or "among," the word "against" carries with it a vitality. There is an implied force behind it. A will. And to have been a left-leaning blogger during the Bush years was certainly to have been "against danger."

During the anthrax attacks, I had an epiphany while re-reading Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" and Anthony Hecht's "Dover Bitch." In short, it occurred to me that it was presumptuous to assume that the woman in both poems was the "bitch." Perhaps it was Arnold (Hecht makes Arnold the speaker of his own poem). Perhaps it's the man in "Dover Bitch." Perhaps it's all or none of them. A situation can certainly be a bitch. The complaints of both speakers could be bitching.

But the revelation I had is that attempts to reject the world fail. Arnold looked out his window and did not realize the world he despised was right there in the room with him. In fact, his window is a part of that world. He, too, is a part of the world. It is reason I named this blog Dover Bitch and gave it the description: Your window to the world is a part of the world and so are you.

With that spirit, I tried to do more than be "against danger." More often than not, I think I failed. But I learned quite a bit, mostly through my interactions with other bloggers and commentators. And so I would like to thank a few of them.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Digby. Guest posting at Digby's blog is a real fast way to discover how much better she is than everybody else (or at least, than I). I'm happy to say that I think I saved my best post ever for General JC Christian's blog. Thanks for everything, General! I'd also like to say thank you to Glenn Greenwald, who definitely made blogging a more rewarding experience.

Other people who made my blogging days rewarding (and I'm sure I will forget more than a few), some of whom I was fortunate to meet and some of whom I was lucky to engage in correspondence (some I only read) are: Atrios, TRex, Steve Gilliard, Roy Edroso, Dengre, Batocchio, Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith, Suzanne, SteveAudio, Greg Sergent, Josh Marshall, Steve Benen, Brad R, David Neiwert, MJS, Lindsay Beyerstein and Kagro X. I'd also like to thank a certain Maverick, whom I was never able to lure into the world of blogging. He would have made this a much better blog with his own personal touch, but he influenced it, nonetheless.

Finally, it is not only because Obama will be president in just a few days that I'm shutting down today. This blog actually began on the anniversary of Anthony Hecht's death, and it seems fitting to end it on his birthday, January 16th. So in tribute to him, I say farewell on this day.

Maybe I'll see you around in the comments somewhere. Maybe one day I'll feel compelled to call myself a blogger again. I don't expect to. But I wish you all health, happiness and peace, and I leave you with one of Hecht's finest poems...



And the Spirit of God
moved upon the waters

Where the wind listeth, there the sailboats list,
   Water is touched with a light case of hives
Of wandering gooseflesh. The strange power and gist
   Of whatever it is that animates our lives

Scrawls with a lavish hand its signature
   Of ripples gathered into folds and pleats
As indecipherable, chiselled, pure
   And everlasting as the name of Keats.

The surface wrinkles in spirit-shapes that sprint
   Like small rapids or frightened schools of fish;
They blot out images of cloud, the print
   Of passing hulls, obeying something's wish.

These vagrant hieroglyphs, now here, now there,
   In which the fate of everything lies writ
By the invisible majesty of air,
   Prove we are one and all illiterate,

And should be asking: "What do they portend?"
   Other, please God, than those fiery words for coins
That signified to Belshazzar the end
   Of all his hopes and the issue of his loins.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008


FEWER, goddammit.

The staff at TBS should be flogged in public.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

R.I.P. Mitch Mitchell


Thursday, October 16, 2008




Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've been way too busy to blog, which is a drag because this has been a remarkable time.

But since I have about five free minutes, here's my favorite thing about the McCain campaign: It's like the old game Asteroids.

All the talking heads are wondering what McCain is going to do to hit a home run tonight. Chris Matthews just asked what big new proposal he would come up with to grab the headlines.

In other words, the world is zooming around Battleship McCain like a zillion asteroids and all he's got left is the hyperspace button. He's hit it dozens of times already and all it's done is what it's designed to do: move him to another random part of the screen. It doesn't actually blow up any asteroids, nor does it destroy the little flying saucer coming to get him.

It's one of the Four Modes of the McCain campaign:

  1. Attack Mode. Truth be damned.
  2. Man of Action Mode. Something happened somewhere in the world? Quick! Grab a mic and look busy!
  3. Manufactured Outrage Mode. Palin is not a pig, sexist! I had no kitchen table for five-and-a-half years!
  4. Hyperspace! I pick Palin! Campaign suspended! We're buying your shitty mortgage!

Every single thing McCain has done this year falls into one or more of these four modes. Notice that there is absolutely no Introduce Well-Thought-Out Policy That Is New And Will Make Things Better Mode. Wonder why that is.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Campaigner


Friday, September 05, 2008

GOP 2008 Message

Don't expect big government to solve your problems. The real American heroes take some initiative and work within their own communities to organize people and solve problems.

Also, Americans who take initiative and work within their own communities to organize people and solve problems are complete losers.

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Zzzzzzzzz... did I miss something?

Oh. I guess that was McCain's acceptance speech.

I'm heading away for the weekend. Need to clean out my brain after all this washing. While I'm gone, I'll leave you with a few things...

Once again, if you have some coin to spare, consider keeping good satire flowing through the tubes.

Here's the dumbest paragraph I've seen today:

Culturally, there is little for the Heartland to dislike. By now, you've probably seen picture or two of Palin sporting a rifle. Apparently, she's left carcasses strewn across the Alaskan wilderness. In some places -- areas where the nation is growing -- owning a gun is not yet a sin. And unlike Obama, Palin seems to believe that the Second Amendment means the exact same thing in rural Alaska as it does in the streets of Chicago.

Aside from Harsanyi's deep understanding of the "Heartland" as seen from New York City (where I believe he still resides), he appears to be implying that Chicago's streets should be littered with carcasses. A sort of 12 Monkeys vision of the future under McCain/Palin.

I forgot to thank Digby, dday and tristero for having me over at Hullabaloo. It was a pleasure to spend time there, as always. Thanks also to Batocchio, who did a bang-up job posting there with me.

Finally, it's been a while since I posted a poem. Here's one I like:

The Revenant by Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner--

that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

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