The Once And Future Chicken
Just for the next little while, I’ve changed the name of my blog from “Running Chicken” to “Ari Kohen’s Blog” … just to make it easier for people to figure out whose blog it is they’re reading and to then spell my name correctly when they quote me.
I’m thinking about possible subtitles now.
Maybe “The Blog of Ari Kohen” or “The Once and Future Chicken.” Some suggestions I’ve gotten already include “Chickens of Future Past,” “Kohen Blog,” and “The Kohen.”
The New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the New Orleans Hornets, formerly the Oklahoma City Hornets, formerly the Charlotte Hornets) are being criticized once again for unveiling a terrifying mascot. In the past it was the “Pierre the Pelican,” who was accused of haunting the nightmares of children and adults alike. This time, of course, it’s their ghoulish Mardi Gras-themed “King Cake Baby,” who is undeniably one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.
But rather than suggesting that the New Orleans mascot designers are “doing it wrong,” I want to argue that they’ve really hit on something here. We live in an era dominated by the presumption that mascots should be cute, cuddly, and cartoonish, that they should appeal to young children. Why not, instead, use your mascot to strike terror into the hearts of your enemies?!
In that spirit, I say, “Well played, New Orleans, with your horrifying, soul-swallowing baby and pelican.”
[And, yes, I know it’s not the Darth Vader; we all saw him die over Endor, obviously.]
It’s starting to seem like Nicholas Kristof had a bad break-up with a political scientist at some point in his past or else that he’s never actually read anything written by a political scientist.
But, anyhow, here’s a real world application of my training as a political scientist: I know a bunch of Greek words that prevent me from embarrassing myself when I’m lazily throwing shade at an entire academic discipline.
Here’s my lone (and pretty tongue-in-cheek) contribution to the wailing and gnashing of teeth inspired by Nicholas Kristof’s Sunday op-ed about the lack of real world engagement by university professors (especially political scientists).
No word yet from Human Rights Watch’s Kenneth Roth or Kristof on their reactions to my argument. I assume I’ll hear back once they’ve had more time to read and digest the points I made about the way a philosophical grounding that works in a pluralistic society impacts people who want to shore up the idea of human rights and prevent real world abuses.
Some excellent responses to Kristof can be found here, here, here, and here.
Today’s Comment of the Day comes from a Canadian throwing some shade at John Tyler on Presidents Day … even though that’s a picture of James K. Polk!
And, no, don’t even begin to ask me to identify photos of Canadian PMs … unless they’re all photos of Trudeau.
In honor of Presidents Day, here are some American presidents you probably don’t know or care much about!
Tom Perkins is doing anything he can to stay in the news:
"The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said.
"But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?"
The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: “I intended to be outrageous, and it was.”
Perkins seemed to be aware that he was courting controversy, saying that his voting proposal would “make you more angry than my letter to the Wall Street Journal.”
In all seriousness, though, an undergrad wrote up this idea a year and a half ago and his peers in my class laughed about it for about twenty minutes. If Perkins is looking for more ideas to make people angry and pay attention to him, he should consider getting in touch with that undergrad, since virtually everything he writes gets lampooned all over the internet.
Alternatively, Perkins can just see what else he can compare to the Holocaust.
I had a meeting this morning with a man I’d never met. I was wearing jeans and a zip-up fleece, which is pretty much my uniform this winter since I’m not teaching and thus don’t need to wear my teaching uniform of khaki pants and a button-down shirt or sweater.
He said, “So, you’re a professor, right?”
I smiled and said, “I am. But I’m not really dressed like one today.”
He said, “That’s ok. I knew you were a professor because of your beard.”
Sabbatical beard achievement unlocked!
The other day, someone asked me how deeply I’d delved into the Star Wars expanded universe.
By way of response, I simply asked, “How much do you want to know about what Wedge Antilles has been up since the Battle of Endor?”
Understandably, the person had no follow-up.
There’s no real reason for me to put this here.
On the other hand, there’s no reason not to.
So, here’s: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #6 (by Jimmy Kimmel Live).
Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K
Today in things I just don’t understand:
People are paying attention to a “debate” where one of the parties is absolutely certain that the creation story in the Hebrew Bible is what literally happened.
Apparently Americans who don’t know how to use contractions also don’t much care for commericals in which the lyrics to songs about America are translated into a variety of languages.
USA! USA! USA!