1. So I’ll tell you about Ralph’s great conference later.
2. Well, one thing now: Russell Hittinger, who gave a fine lecture on Catholic defenses of marriage and the family against the modern state’s various efforts (beginning with the French Revolution) to reduce people to citizens, turns out to have the most comprehensive mastery of the various first-rate series on TV of anyone I’ve met. He put me to shame. So many conservatives suffer from TV ILLITERACY, but not Russ.
3. Another: I learned that Paul Rahe remains absolutely convinced that Romney will win by a landslide. It’s hard to tell, though, whether his confidence is encouraging, salutary rhetoric or the truth and nothing but. For now, I think Pete below is right. The edge remains Obama’s in winning electors. Romney has plateaued, and few remain undecided.
4. Carl’s fictional vignette on the Lena Dunham endorsement commercial is very funny and conceivably not even ironic. The demographic who could be influenced by Lena’s personal opinion was already 100% for Obama. And the rest of America is reacting with deserved contempt. Remember that Tyler Cowen called Dunham’s GIRLS “Straussian” in its esoteric deconstruction of sophisticated conventions. Ross Douthat added that the “dysutopian” character of the show is too much of the text—too obvious—to be called subtext. The commercial, it seems to me, certainly mocks the attraction of young women to Obama. It also mocks his seeming unreserved endorsement of the contraceptive culture of single Americans that so readily facilitates clueless hooking up, pretend marriages, having one’s first time with a president, and all that. The sad subtext is the present president (unlike some past ones) would never really cheat on his wife with some inexperienced young girl or anyone else. Whether the mocking is deliberate is perhaps unlikely. What’s obvious is that Lena did Barack no real favor. Republicans should pretend to be terrorized by her intervention in the campaign and beg her not to make the president seem even more desirable. Maybe they should wink in the hope she winks back.
5. I also enjoyed Pete’s commentary on CADDYSHACK, which is one of the sloppiest big-budget movies ever made. Maybe he should have added that its biggest jerk is the Chevy Chase character, and it’s hard to know whether that (or much of anything else) is intentional or not.
6. CADDYSHACK, of course, calls to mind ANIMAL HOUSE. That sloppy but insightful film gives us maybe the most contemptible big-screen professor ever—played by Donald Sutherland. He is bored with his own teaching, tells students Milton is irrelevant and unfunny (while getting paid to teach him), whines when the students won’t listen to him that “this is my job,” smokes dope in a silly and self-indulgent way with undergrads (he explains that he’s only teaching until his novel is done, and his novel is “sh—”), and has a one-night stand with one of the Delta’s girlfriend. The message, if there is one: One cause of the Sixties is that even so-called liberal education had gotten ridiculously decadent.
7. Don’t forget the motto of Faber College—seen in ANIMAL HOUSE’s opening scene: “Knowledge is Good.”