Monday, November 01, 2004

as if my trip to indiana last week hadn't made me nostalgic enough for my graduate school days...

Here at Wisconsin, the sociology graduate students have a listserv (socgradchat) where they get to talk amongst themselves and use all their special-sociology-skills to debate the issues of the day. Being faculty, I am of course not first-hand-privy to the discussions held on this listserv, but sometimes reports of discussions do waft their way up to my office. Today, apparently, the graduate students are vigorously debating tomorrow's election and the relative merits of the two candidates. Being sociology, however, the two candidates are not Kerry and Bush, but instead, you guessed it: Kerry vs. Nader. Seriously: Kerry vs. Nader. You thought that perhaps the whole of America was over that debate, but, in sociology we do what we can to produce discourse that blunts the cutting edge and dawdles well back behind the curve.

Word is, if you only watch this video of Nader debating a Kerry doll, you will realize how Nader is the only candidate for those not interested in selling-out all of their left values.

Sources also tell me that, as part of this debate, somebody called Nader a "jackass" and this generated several screensful of angry response about the irrationally harsh political rhetoric of These Troubled Times. Meanwhile, another graduate student later referred to Bush as a "homicidal idiot," but presumably this will pass without comment.

(For the record, the official JFW position on the aforementioned ad hominems: While we generally tut-tut name-calling, Nader has done enough legacy-erasing in the past five years that the "jackass" shoe does indeed fit over his cloven hoof. Bush, on the other hand, is neither "homicidal" nor even an "idiot," at least in any reasonable clinical reckoning of these terms, even if he is someone I desperately want to Just Stop Being My President. Ooh, I'm becoming such a moderate as I get older.)


Anonymous said...

Why the criticism of Nader? His positions are only extreme from the standpoint of what passes as mainstream political debate in the U.S. of A. In Europe he's merely a Social Democrat. It's a conundrum for many progressives: vote one's conscience or for the lesser of two evils in the form of Kerry? I want Bush out as much as the next guy. But, Nader has every right to run, and his efforts may pay off down the line for those wishing for a viable third party. As his positions are clearly distinguishable from those of Kerry, I think his voice should be heard.

Anonymous said...

I will freely admit to the JFW audience that I am the one who called Ralph Nader a "jackass," which, as I see it, is pretty much evident from his debate with 2 action-figure type representations of George Bush and John Kerry (note that the Kerry doll keeps combing his hair...a nod to his "effeminate" elitism?). As far as the socgradchat debate is going, I can sum it up as a few crybabies, who obviously take Nader way more seriously than he takes himself, complaining about how Nader gets a bad rap and Kerry is just as bad as Bush, and blah-dee-blah, while conspicuously omitting any mention of the actual jackass video evidence. One the other side, very solid evidence has been presented to in support of the "jackass" theory as well as in support of Kerry's positions. It's been a fun day! I really think people are just losing it because it's the day before the election.

-Jessie J.

Anonymous said...

A more apt comparison than Kerry vs. Nader is Bush vs. Nader. As Jessie J. so astutely pointed out, Nader is a jackass. Well, so is Bush.

Let the comparison begin!

Anonymous said...

i'm going to go out on a limb here and argue that perhaps -- just PERHAPS -- the debating of the action figures was meant as commentary on the fact that he was excluded from the actual "debates". but, that might be too much of a leap, ay?