- - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don’t want no freaks

“[The Greek sabotage] is not really novel, of course; it’s just a slightly more flamboyant variant on the tax-dodging and corruption which has for years characterized the interaction of Greeks with their government. Which goes to show, I think, the folly of adding countries like Greece to the euro.

“Tight fiscal integration with the euro zone temporarily gave the Greeks the aura of belonging to the French and German club. But it didn’t give them the institutions required to actually make that work. Greek civil society is simply not yet ready to tolerate the kind of fiscal rectitude that membership in the euro zone demand. … [T]he level of trust and duty that this implies — in both the government and one’s fellow citizens — clearly isn’t present. …

“I think that both Greece and Ireland should leave the currency. But when push comes to shove, Irish taxpayers are (mostly) going to pay their taxes and accept their service cuts without cheating or rioting; they’ll make their feelings known via the ballot box. The Greeks clearly don’t feel that way about their government, and never have. This is a mistake we make over and over: thinking that we can create prosperity by imposing the forms of mature liberal democracies without the norms. Making an advanced market economy work requires an enormous amount of cultural and institutional capital.”

Megan McArdle, writing on “Greeks Just Say No to Austerity,” on Feb. 24 at the Atlantic

Now’s the time

“As some of you may remember, ‘Burlesque’ wasn’t exactly a hit. … Remember when you saw that trailer and said ‘eh, I’ll wait until the DVD’? Well, this is now your moment. First and foremost, this movie is fun. Not because it’s awesomely bad, not because it’s a train wreck, but because it’s actually enjoyable to watch. …

“You spend the whole first part of the movie waiting for [Christina Aguilera] to break out into song, though ‘singing’ simply put doesn’t really do justice to the sheer power she gets from those vocal cords. She stops the plot dead in its tracks every time she belts out a tune, in a series of wonderful and indulgent musical numbers that just get even more glittery and bombastic as they roll by.

“Of course, that would be a recipe for disaster if it weren’t for the delightful array of supporting roles. Really, the best part about this movie is the casting, across the board. Stanley Tucci seems to be making a career of supporting larger-than-life actresses these days and here reprises his ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ role. … He’s funny, his timing is great, and he’s exactly what Cher needs, as for whatever reason Antin (also the screenwriter) felt the need to write a good third of the diva’s part as a series of tearful moments of financial collapse. Thankfully she’s fabulous for the rest of the film, and her Razzie nomination just seems like an uninspired easy jab at an older actress ‘past her expiration date.’”

Daniel Walber, writing on “On DVD: ‘Burlesque’ is a Glitzy Ensemble Success,” on March 1 at Spout

White power

“Good point being raised by Amy Holmes on Reliable Sources this weekend. Last year during the heyday of the Tea Party the media (not including Fox News) devoted a notable amount of time remarking on how the group was largely made up of white people.

“The recent coverage on the union protests in Wisconsin fail to point out it’s a similar demographic: ‘But I think you could also point out that the mainstream media covered the Tea Party far differently than it covered the Wisconsin protesters. You don’t see the mainstream media pointing out that it’s a largely white crowd, or that these are folks who make more than your median private employee. So, the media didn’t seem to have any problem with those demographics where they did with the Tea Party.’”

Glynnis MacNicol, writing on “How Come The Media Isn’t Pointing Out The Union Protesters Are Largely White,” on Feb. 28 at Business Insider

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