Holiday Blogreading

Recommended reads from the blogosphere and beyond:

* “Slacktivist”: is right: you could do worse than read “this Anne Lamott essay”: every Christmas.
* “Sauron: Offer and Acceptance”: is a great piece by a U of M law student analyzing Sauron’s offer to the Dwarves (as related during the Council of Elrond). Very funny, and don’t miss all the subsequent legal commentary in the comments. Hat tip to Christopher DeJong. UPDATE: Possible subconscious hat tip to “Amygdala”:, too.
* This one’s a couple weeks old, but Jim Henley is at his best in “this entry”: on freedom and democracy:

I really regret the way we toss the term “democracy” around in our foreign policy rhetoric. It gives people the idea that the most important thing in politics is voting. But the most important thing in politics is freedom. The American model is not “democracy,” it’s constitutionally-limited government with a democratic component (even still). Far, far more important than the fact that Americans get to vote is the large category of things on which Americans don’t get to vote. Locking up people who write bad things, jailing people for worshipping the wrong gods, compelling self-incriminating testimony in criminal cases, issuing bills of attainder and other items on an admittedly shrinking list. Even here, it’s shameful that people can vote to prohibit behaviors that a sane country would call “making an honest living.” But we had the idea right. Then we go an screw up explaining it to everyone else.

* Greg Costikyan rather incisively “picks apart”: a New York Times Magazine “article on computer games”:
* John Holbo’s “recent offering”: is only the tail end of a ongoing discussion about the difficulty of academic writing that’s been threading across a number of blogs. I mention it not because it’s an easy gateway to the prior discussion, but because John happens to sum up my thoughts on the subject rather well.
* “Dropload”: is a very cool site where you can leave a file (up to 50 MB) for someone else to pick up. Everything gets taken off after it’s been there for two days. Hat tip to “Lawrence Lessig”:
* Best wishes to Puddingtime, who “waxes philosophical”: on a topic I remember all too well.
* And some happy news: Joss Whedon “has finished”: his script for the “Firefly”: movie. Hat tip to “Amygdala”:, who also brings a bit of bad news: Keanu Reeves is going to play “John Constantine”: Though it also occurred to me that now that the Matrix trilogy as a whole officially sucks, it’s possible to be annoyed by Keanu without having to include any caveats. Call it a silver lining.