Harper's Index: Bush Retrospective
January 13, 2009 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Special 3-page edition of Harper’s Index: A retrospective of the Bush era.
posted by Non Prosequitur (37 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Number of members of the rock band Anthrax who said they hoarded Cipro so as to avoid an “ironic death”: 1

Scott Ian, you da man.
posted by jonmc at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


How do you know it was Ian? It was probably the drummer. Cuz that would just be too Spinal Tap be the drummer of Anthrax and die of anthrax.
posted by spicynuts at 11:14 AM on January 13, 2009


I remember reading the quote. Charlie Benante is too busy shutting up and watching the beat.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are all three pages shown on that screen?
posted by mecran01 at 11:16 AM on January 13, 2009


I was expecting just a long, sustained wailing moan with gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyway, it would have been coincidental, not ironic. It would be ironic if they died of a Cipro overdose.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:28 AM on January 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Percentage of Bush’s first 189 appointees who also served in his father’s administration: 42

Percentage of Obama's appointees who also served in the administration of the previous President of the same party: ?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2009


No, wait...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2009


mecran01, good question. I believe so; it's thrice as long as the other posted indexes.

My faves:
  • Percentage change from 2003 to 2007 in the amount of money invested in U.S. faith-based mutual funds: +88
  • Average annualized percentage return during that time in the Christian and Muslim funds, respectively: +11, +15
  • Number of feet the Ground Zero pit has been built up since the site was fully cleared in 2002: 30
  • Number of 980-foot-plus “Super Tall” towers built in the Arab world in the seven years since 9/11: 4
and
  • Days after Hurricane Katrina hit that Cheney’s office ordered an electric company to restore power to two oil pipelines: 1
  • Days after the hurricane that the White House authorized sending federal troops into New Orleans: 4

posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:32 AM on January 13, 2009


Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Cite for this?
posted by lalochezia at 11:35 AM on January 13, 2009


Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3


My being pissed off at this quickly gave way to an overwhelming sense of 'thank god'
posted by newpotato at 11:39 AM on January 13, 2009


Harper's list always has such context-free bullshit on it. Consider this one: Number of words in the first sentence of Bill Clinton’s memoir and in that of George W. Bush’s, respectively: 49, 5

So what does this mean, O Great Article Comprised Entirely of Sentence Fragments? Does this prove that Bush is stupider than Clinton because the opening sentence of his memoir has only 5 words in it? Or does the article assume I already think Bush is an idiot, and will include this in my memory bank of anecdotes that prove my conclusion?

Maybe, like all the others on the list, it is completely meaningless.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Percentage of Americans in 2006 who believed that U.S. Muslims should have to carry special I.D.: 39

What the hell? If that's anywhere close to accurate, we have worse problems than I thought. I wonder what the percentage in favor of mandatory armbands with a crescent moon symbol is?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2009


Cite for this?

http://www.google.com/search?q=bush+vacation
posted by padraigin at 11:41 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pater: "Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll said they felt at least some prejudice against Muslims. The same percentage favored requiring Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID "as a means of preventing terrorist attacks in the United States." About one-third said U.S. Muslims were sympathetic to al-Qaeda, and 22% said they wouldn't want Muslims as neighbors."
posted by peeedro at 11:47 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does this prove that Bush is stupider than Clinton because the opening sentence of his memoir has only 5 words in it?

Prove? No. Contribute evidence? Yes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on January 13, 2009


lalochezia: "Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Cite for this?
"

That number seemed low to me too. I would have guessed closer to 1/2.
posted by octothorpe at 12:05 PM on January 13, 2009


Number of words in the first sentence of Moby Dick: 3
posted by JohnFredra at 12:10 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never read Moby Dick 3. Frankly, I had a hard enough time getting through the first one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:12 PM on January 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Cite for this?


Man, I hate this lazy-ass pretense to critical online reading. See, it says, "cite," and then there's a question mark - their whole project is now suspect, right? Let's spend half the thread now talking about whether Harper's is unfairly demonizing Bush.

For the record, every print issue of Harper's runs a full, detailed list of sources for the Index, though it doesn't appear to be posted online. But hey, good call - maybe just this once, because they couldn't find any other figures with which to condemn the Bush administration, they pulled a figure about his penchant for vacation time right out their 150-year-old, from-Mark-Twain-to-David-Foster-Wallace-publishing ass.

/ax-grind
posted by gompa at 12:12 PM on January 13, 2009 [21 favorites]


I'm sorry. This one made me kind of chuff air out of my lips in a gesture that was 4/5 "WTF how sadly appropriate" and 1/5 laughter.

Minimum number of times that Frederick Douglass was beaten in what is now Donald Rumsfeld’s vacation home: 25
posted by marxchivist at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


So what does this mean, O Great Article Comprised Entirely of Sentence Fragments? Does this prove that Bush is stupider than Clinton because the opening sentence of his memoir has only 5 words in it?

No, it doesn't prove anything. It's not meant to prove anything. It's a collection of statistics for edification and amusement. You're thinking it wrong.
posted by shmegegge at 12:22 PM on January 13, 2009


Number of members of the rock band Anthrax Basket of Puppies who said they hoarded Cipro so as to avoid an “ironic death”: 1
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:30 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moby Dick 3: OH THE HUGE MANATEE
posted by stenseng at 12:31 PM on January 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, and it's amusing, sure. But people really do bandy this stuff around as proof of something or other.

The fact is, Bush has singlehandedly done more to undermine the guiding principles of this country, and been applauded by more people in doing so, than any other person in history. I want that to be what he's remembered by. Not the reading level of his autobiography. Not the way he pronounces the word "nuclear." Not that he tried to give the German prime minister a fucking backrub.

And 49 words is way too long for the opening sentence of anything, unless you're trying to do some sort of Thomas Bernhard thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:35 PM on January 13, 2009


Seems to be a lot of Bush talk in the media Metafilter these days. Is something going on?
posted by Paid In Full at 12:55 PM on January 13, 2009


Number of words in the first sentence of Bill Clinton’s memoir and in that of George W. Bush’s, respectively: 49, 5

"Daddy said presidentin' was hard."

The fact is, Bush has singlehandedly done more to undermine the guiding principles of this country, and been applauded by more people in doing so, than any other person in history

"Percentage of Republicans in 2005 who said they would vote for Bush over George Washington: 62."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:38 PM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The fact is, Bush has singlehandedly done more to undermine the guiding principles of this country, and been applauded by more people in doing so, than any other person in history.

I disagree. The United States has always been about the top 1% gobbling up all they can while screwing over the remaining 99%. Bush just set the bar higher for his successors.
posted by giraffe at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2009


“Maybe, like all the others on the list, it is completely meaningless.”

Well...”Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0” - does say a lot.
But yeah, mostly a list for edification/ amusement.

“I've never read Moby Dick 3. Frankly, I had a hard enough time getting through the first one.”

Dude, you gotta read Dick 3: Whale Harder. Way better than MB2: The Dickening.

“Percentage change in U.S. discretionary spending during Bush’s presidency: +31”

Do people actually pay any attention to stuff like this or just label themselves ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ to better lambaste each other with socks filled with horse manure?

Even GOP/Dem doesn’t really mean what it’s supposed to mean.
We should just have ‘red’ or ‘blue’ and asshats can go argue about why their team is better while people with some kind of actual ethos can debate and come to terms on reasonable decisions based on practical considerations.
...ah, probably just crazy talk.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2009


"Percentage of Republicans in 2005 who said they would vote for Bush over George Washington: 62."

We probably would have been better off with the exhumed skeleton on Washington.
posted by brundlefly at 3:04 PM on January 13, 2009


OF Washington. OF.
posted by brundlefly at 3:04 PM on January 13, 2009


Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Cite for this?

Man, I hate this lazy-ass pretense to critical online reading. See, it says, "cite," and then there's a question mark - their whole project is now suspect, right? Let's spend half the thread now talking about whether Harper's is unfairly demonizing Bush.


This was not an example of "critical online reading" or an attempt to cast aspersions on the project. It was a request for information, and thats why it had a question mark after it. I'm sorry if it touched a nerve: my bush-hating credentials are pretty solid (maybe not solid enough for you?), but the day you're not allowed to ask for a neutrally-phrased non-insinuating verification of an assertion is a sad day.
posted by lalochezia at 3:10 PM on January 13, 2009


This was not an example of "critical online reading" or an attempt to cast aspersions on the project.

Sorry if you got caught under the wrong grinding ax, but every other use of the "Cite?" convention I've ever seen here in the blue has been a veiled attempt to suggest that the source is questionable, usually in some fundamental way.

Given that in this case the source was among the most esteemed, carefully written and rigourously factchecked magazines on the planet, it was a particularly sharp poke at that nerve - which, as a magazine writer who rigourously factchecks his own work even when I'm dealing with a publication that doesn't, is a particularly sensitive one. I wasn't looking for solid Bush-hating credentials, I was defending particularly strong journalistic ones.
posted by gompa at 4:05 PM on January 13, 2009


We should just have ‘red’ or ‘blue’ and asshats can go argue about why their team is better...

I was an election judge (in MN, wooo) this past cycle, and a week or so prior to the election I was engaged in a little pre-election educating for proper poll-station etiquette and expectations over at the great hyperventilating "Orange Satan". Amongst all the other information about how to register the polls, I mentioned that wearing political merchandise, t-shirt, buttons, etc wasn't allowed and people who did so would be politely asked to remove or cover it up. To which someone (non-snarky, and in all seriousness) asked if wearing blue was ok. Left me a little unbalanced. To the best of my knowledge the parties haven't managed to trademark hues of color yet.... Perhaps in another 12 years we'll forgo elephants and donkeys in favor of color splotches... thanks a friggen lot CNN.
posted by edgeways at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2009


Um, both autobiographies were almost certainly ghostwritten.
posted by nasreddin at 6:39 PM on January 13, 2009


My personal favorite was Minimum number of times that Frederick Douglass was beaten in what is now Donald Rumsfeld’s vacation home : 25

I imagine Donny falling asleep in a four-poster bed to the sweet sounds of Frederick Douglass's ghost, crying salty salty tears.
posted by mmmleaf at 7:08 PM on January 13, 2009


I honestly am not being partisan in this comment, but I can see Clinton actually writing his autobiography. Whatever charges you can level against Bill, being poor with words and having an inability to write are not amongst them. Bush... well perhaps he wrote his, but all joking aside I tend to think not.
posted by edgeways at 7:36 PM on January 13, 2009


« Older [Music + YouTubery + BornOnThisDay] = Mincing Up t...  |  The Tiling Database.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments