Category: attack of the wuss

You sing a little Creedence, they point the cannon at you

It seems that yesterday’s Concert For Valor was not just a giant holiday rock concert but a call to arms for the 101st Chairborne as well. When bleedinghearts like Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and, well, any rapper get somewhere near the Marines, it’s apparently time to fix bayonets and start charging:

Perhaps we should expect no less during the Obama administration, but a Veterans Day event on the National Mall was marred when artist Bruce Springsteen and other notable musicians decided to play an iconic anti-military song.

In The Navy? First guess.

The song, not to put too fine a point on it, is an anti-war screed, taking shots at “the red white and blue.” It was a particularly terrible choice given that Fortunate Son is, moreover, an anti-draft song, and this concert was largely organized to honor those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you think CCR’s Fortunate Son bashes the military, or potshots “the red white and blue”, you might try listening to it. Hearing the song for the first time in the midst of a Hannity fugue-rage makes for poor comprehension.

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

The gist of this is clear enough. The politically powerful will start the war but you, poor schlub, will have to fight it. Let’s go to the source:

John Fogerty and Doug Clifford were both drafted in 1966 and discharged from the army in 1967. “The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself,” Fogerty said. “It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.”

This is a timeless truth of modern America. Rich men start wars, poor men fight and die in them. In post-modern times, women get to die in them too.

When interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, John Fogerty was once asked: “What inspired ‘Fortunate Son’?” His response: “Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war.”

John was exactly right. He’s still right today. Look at the list of people who refused to fight in Vietnam, whose children refuse to fight today. And as to the song being anti-draft, let’s remember that Dick Cheney was drafted five times but never ended up in Vietnam. It’s not about how the government operates per se, it’s about how class does.

And you know who knows this best? The people who ended up doing the armed bidding of the wealthy and cowardly. The Americans who volunteer to fight in our wars but are not powerful, not well-heeled nor well-connected. They’re not even middle class. They’re our working stiffs and our poor. The veterans know it so well that they don’t need a thesaurus and a lyrics sheet to get the point:

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

The 24-karat graspers who cheat their taxes aren’t about to let one of their children join the Marines. Certainly not while there’s a war on. Mitt Romney, we’re looking at you.

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, oh

George W. Bush went AWOL on the Alabama National Guard during the Vietnam War. Thirty-something years later he deployed National Guardsmen under his command to the War in Iraq – then frequently rotated them back again for a second tour of duty. Or for a third. Many of them were killed. This is not lost on anybody who was there.

It would be one thing to complain about the concert performance if the holiday were ‘Federal Armed Services Day.’ Then we’d be talking about the government’s history as much as we were the soldiers and sailors. But it’s Veterans Day. It’s meant to celebrate people, not bureaucracies. It’s a day to take stock of what these citizens went through, and fathom the depths of their sacrifices. To ignore that a good many of those sacrifices were engineered by design, as a means to save the wealthy and well connected from the dangers of war, is to put the lie to what we know about military service in America.

Share

The ugly truth, only scented and tailor-made

Hanna Rosin, culture minster.

On Tuesday, Slate and everyone else posted a video of a woman who is harassed more than 100 times by men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours.

Yeah I saw it. You all posted it? Nope, neither did I. But you know how all us blog-jerks are, jerks.

Last time this place featured the hector Rosin she’d just put out a piece (and a book) debuting ‘The End Of Men.’ I could go on about this fascinating topic but for the fact that I did recently, as predicted, die. So for the spirit of the thing we’re only left with Rosin:

How do I know men are finished? I’ll read you a quote that says it all: “Yes. There have been times when I’ve been in a drunken stupor.”

Hint: This is a quote from the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. As far as crack addicts go, talking about themselves, and somehow tapping into the pith of MAN, it really “says it all.”

But in order to win this debate we have to prove that men, quote unquote, as we’ve historically come to define them — entitled to power, destined for leadership, arrogant, confused by anything that isn’t them. As in: “I don’t understand. Is it a guy dressed up like a girl? Or a girl dressed up like a guy?” They are obsolete.

So ta-ta, we bid farewell to ourselves. Later dude. And neither I nor any other agent – forget the English language, ignore the Sphinx, certainly don’t bother Hanna Rosin – can make it any easier for you to understand why. But if you like we can try to tackle something less mysterious, like that video. Okay?

More specifically, it’s a video of a young white woman who is harassed by mostly black and Latino men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours.

I couldn’t tell if she was Latina or white or Jewish. I was only watching the poor woman make a go of it. The point I got was that a woman can’t go walking the streets without receiving a shower of verbal inducements and harassments. If you thought telemarketers were bad, this is much much worse. No phone caller walks a mile beside you down the street like a goblin in your mirror. But it wasn’t until Rosin set her gaze upon the clip the real tragedy was discovered, where the…

…harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, “The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?”

Hanna otherwise wouldn’t mention it, but she happened to be reading her Twitter feed. While what the poor woman had to endure was apparently bad, the context was worse. Why are we watching Aryan propaganda?

He wrote, “We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera,” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” That may be true but if you find yourself editing out all the catcalling white guys, maybe you should try another take.

Hanna would prefer you tailor-make it into “a perfect representation of everything that happened.” In the edit-room sense of “a fantasy.” Then the video will be palatable, thank you. I say if the woman did walk through affluent white neighborhoods and didn’t get harassed, so what? Would anyone doubt it was because the douches were all getting in a round at Brookline, or checking their margins at Smith Barney? Or that some jerk went trolling the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation copy room, where he “approached her from behind and whispered ‘I want to hate fuck you’ in her ear”?

Who cares? The harassment is what matters. We know it’s found throughout the corporate world, and the video demonstrates how it fills the city streets too. But Hanna thinks it’s a bummer. Rather than the internet, perhaps the clip properly belongs in the garbage. Because, realistic though it may be, the “racial politics” of catcalling is pretty “fucked up.” And no one wants to see that.

So the next time any one of you wants to make a documentary, about racism or violence or abuse, here’s a suggestion. Think about the way such a film will be perceived. It might be worth a little editing to embrace a certain person’s aesthetics. Because that’s probably what really matters.

Share

Sully to Bully – I feel your pain

Andrew Sullivan.

Many readers have warned me not to dip a toe into the gamergate debate, which, so far, we’ve been covering through aggregation and reader-input.

O-Kay.

And I’m not going to dive headlong into an extremely complex series of events, which have generated huge amounts of intense emotion on all sides, in a gamer culture which Dish readers know far, far better than I.

Oh-No. Monseigneur Humility deigns to wake. But he dares not dive. And a cherub chub, on Hallows’ Eve, dares not stalk my Snickers.

But part of my job is to write and think about burning current web discussions – and add maybe two cents, even as an outsider.

CANNONBALL.

There’s an atmosphere in which it has somehow become problematic to have a classic white, straight male identity, and a lot that goes with it… I believe in the flourishing of all sorts of cultures and subcultures and have long been repulsed by the nannies and busybodies who want to police them…

Flourishing. Thriving, in the sun. Rising above the fetid mud beneath Andrew’s feet, ’tis precious life. He lowers his gaze – though he was warned not to – at the swaying flowers and tendrils, and there he beholds I WILL KILL YOU CUNT. And he weeps. Yes He Weeps. God Himself, you might recall, once got the exalted Weeps.

…look, many gamers were the bullied in high school; this was their safe space; it was a place they could call home. They now feel it slipping away, and it has unhinged some and disconcerted many, as a lot of mainstream culture has heaped scorn and ridicule on them at the same time. And I’m sorry, but I feel some sympathy here.

GONNA RAPE YOU GOT THAT BITCH. Sure, Andrew, I mean you. Why not? Am I still worthy of your man-geek sympathy? Does it matter if I was bullied by someone, somewhere, at some point in time?

Share

A case of nth-degree boobiary Ebola Panic

The truth is that Ebola virus really isn’t much of a threat. It’s only about as contagious as hepatitis. Unless you have some pressing need to go walking hand-in-hand with strangers along the Mesurado river, it’s something you can easily avoid. Ebola panic however is another story.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky declared on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that “this could get beyond our control” and worried, “Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?”…

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin floated the idea of quarantining airline passengers in the affected African countries before they could fly out. “We’re learning a lot about how it’s spread but the question is ‘How can a person just jump on a plane and get here without a quarantine period of 21 days,’ which I believe is recommended,” he said on a radio talk show Wednesday.

Can you imagine quarantining the thousands of people who arrive here from West Africa every day? Can you imagine lying so shamelessly about a Centers for Disease Control recommendation? Fuck you, Paul Ryan.

You know what’s a good way to deal with this problem? When an African man shows up in your Dallas emergency room with flu-like symptoms, you ask him: “Are you Liberian?” Here’s a sensible one: “Did you just fly here from Liberia?” And then there’s this corker: “Have you recently been in close contact with any Liberians dying from Ebola, in Liberia?” Asking even one of these practical questions of a vomiting stranger could give your puzzled medical staff valuable hints as to what they’re dealing with, but your mileage may vary. Notwithstanding: Booo! That’s not how these clusterfucks go, so now we’ve got a full-blown case of American Ebola Tremons. Matthew Continetti:

We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al Qaeda is on the run, that the border is secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic…

The system can withstand only so many shocks.

Remember when those four guys were killed in Libya? It looked like sheer panic in my neighborhood, I can tell you.

The response by our government has been denial and delusion. But that has further alienated the public, and it won’t be long before things get really weird. Maybe it is time for the political class to panic, too.

Know hope? That’s passé.

Know fear.

You hear that? SShh! Did you HEAR THAT? This would be ghost whispering for our wingnut pals. If only the simple suggestion of ghosts having ears wouldn’t cause an outbreak of volcanic incontinence. THEY CAN HEAR YOU? Then there’s Jonah Goldberg.

If I were in charge of overseas contingency operations at the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, I would send as many suicide-bomber types back to America (and France and Britain) with a new weapon: Ebola.

What a mensch.

I’d tell them: Take as many connections as you can on the flight home. Help people with their luggage whenever possible. Leave a mess in the plane bathroom and a paper trail of your travels that will foment panic when ultimately revealed.

Really a helpful sort.

Have fun for as long as you can and maybe share your spit, sweat, and other stuff in as many creative ways as you can. See a show. Go to a water park and just hang out in the lazy river all day. Eat at a nice restaurant, leave a messy napkin. Don’t bother to wash your hands — and never flush (or if you do, make sure the toilet overflows!).

The Salt of the Girth. He is.

Share

The passion of the unconscious wife, by Andrew McCarthy

Andrew McCarthy takes a breather from whacking his Mohammed piñata to defend our Men of the Gridiron.

The progressive soap-opera storyline of the Rice coverage is that our aggressive, competitive culture, which has made the NFL so popular, desensitizes men to the gravity of domestic violence; that women are uniformly outraged by this state of affairs; and that football and the men who play it must be tamed.

I don’t recall; the men of football; needing to be tamed. Someone however has run amok with the use of fancy punctuation. But that’s no excuse for being a, what other less-cultured bloggers might call, “blithering idiot.”

ESPN’s Sports Center reported, incredulously, that many female Ravens fans proudly wore their No. 27 jerseys… One woman, clad in her Rice jersey, explained that while she did not condone his behavior, Rice had said he was sorry and was deserving of a second chance, just like other people who have done abominable things.

Incredulous.

A second female Rice fan conceded that there was no excuse for the running back’s violent aggression, but contended that it was for the legal system, not the NFL, to punish him.

I can imagine how fans would greet the return of Ray Rice, legendary wife beater – with prominent cheers and boos. This would likely be accompanied by a smattering of home-grown fistfights in the stands. Why the NFL would be leery of such a spectacle is puzzling. Why can’t the big boys just play ball, mommy? Why can’t all football players play every Sunday afternoon? Andy hambing a sportz sadz, sniff. Here’s the point:

Through all of this, the ESPN anchor played the role of amen-corner, not interviewer. There was no suggestion that the women clad in Rice jerseys might have some valid points — it was simply accepted that they were well-meaning simpletons who, like schoolboys, need “reprogramming.”

Oh please, women are the only sensible people on the planet. You never see them, for example, marrying serial killers wasting away in jail. Here’s the round up, pardner:

1.) Progressives say women are “uniformly outraged by this state of affairs.”
2.) But some women, “incredulously,” are not.
3.) You and Bono should listen to these people.

Say, where’s Janay Palmer? Is she conscious yet? Can you speak, dear? The world would love to hear from you.

“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked” for all his life is “horrific,” she said. “Ravensnation we love you!” she added.

Good enough for me. This would be a brand new way of dealing with domestic violence, by the way.

Share

Sean Hannity files actual war report, accidentally

Israel’s war in Gaza winds down – we hope – and some sense of twisted normalcy perhaps settle in. The victors may feel as if they’ve gotten the dirty job done, but the one-sided carnage has shocked millions of people.

The news media weren’t to blame for the worldwide reaction. They merely reported on events as they unfolded. Missiles strikes on trapped and unarmed civilians are certainly newsworthy events, in the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ tradition, so they were only doing their jobs.

You may recall that Fox News’ Sean Hannity has a media job as well.

I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where’s CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?

Sean spent the last four days overseas reporting on the bloodshed. From Israel.

I stayed two days on the Israeli-Gaza border and speaking with the mayor of Sderot, and going to an indoor playground because the kids can’t go out, where rockets landed five minutes before the cease fire. It gives you perspective of how dire the situation is.

It would be more desperate for the little kids if they didn’t have a second playground, indoors. It would be worse for them if their first playground had gotten blown up along with many of their friends. Of the 1500 Palestinian civilians killed so far, at least 300 of them were children. I don’t know how many of the war’s three Israeli civilian fatalities were also children. I should know that grim statistic by heart, and MSNBC has obviously failed.

TVNewser: Overall do you think the U.S. media has been balanced in its coverage of the current conflict?

Hannity: Absolutely, positively not. I think it was interesting when I asked the Prime Minister about it in a round-about way. He challenged the media, saying to reporters ‘now that you are not under the threat of Hamas, now you can tell the story.’ How they are using mosques and hospitals as shields. He was challenging the media to tell that story.

So we’ve been blessed this week with Sean Hannity’s perspective on the war.

…I thought the story wasn’t being told from the side of the average Israeli. As I’m leaving I feel like we gave a good picture, with context and texture about what life is like in these border towns.

And I commend him for that. No kidding. Really:

To be perfectly honest, I got comfortable with the sirens. On the first night, I was in restaurant and the sirens went off, and people, including IDF soldiers, casually walked into a bathroom, and it was no big deal. And at the end of the day I understood it.

Share

The solipsism of Dick Cheney

I apologize for being absent so long. I have a job that eats up most of my time, and then there’s a freewheeling World Cup that’s amazing and brilliant. But there are also other things.

There is a former vice president who crawls out of his taxpayer subsidized transplant-ward hospital bed to remind us how trivial human life is. Other human life.

“I think we did what we had to do,” Cheney added, saying he is still not convinced Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion. “And you don’t get to go back and say, well, we would have — what if we’d ignored all the intelligence?”

If he’d ignored his own cooked-up intelligence there’d be 4,500 ghosts incarnate watching the Americans take it to Belgium on Tuesday afternoon. I’m not scared of the possibility, I welcome them all. But it’ll never happen of course. The prospect would require an apology from Dick Cheney and a time machine, and the former, as we all know, is a complete fiction. Even if he could go back, there’d be little point in it while there are still so many Americans to be burned on the bonfire of his endless desires.

“The Rand Corporation just recently published a study that shows there’s been a 58 percent increase in the number of al Qaeda-type terrorist groups in the last four years. Fifty-eight percent! Doubling the number of terrorists roughly, and they’re spreading out from West Africa all across North Africa to East Africa, up through the Middle East, all the way around to Indonesia…”

“Are you indicating that we could be on track for something worse than 9/11?” [Hasslebeck] asked…

“You know, I can’t say at this point specifically when something like that might happen. But it would be foolish of us to ignore the extent to which there are people who — terrorist-sponsoring states who have in fact tried to provide nuclear technology.”

Summer rerun. They’ll shove an atom bomb up your ass or I’m not Dick Cheney. This man has stared his own death in the face, has watched thousands die in Iraq, has been acutely aware that he’s responsible for the slaughter, and hasn’t been moved by any of it. Dick sleeps like a baby.

Which brings me to a Charles Pierce piece. He decries the rising tide of cruelty in our country, particularly as it seeps into our politics.

It does not have to be this way. After the greatest exercise of systematized cruelty in the country’s history, Abraham Lincoln gave the greatest speech ever given by an American president, and in its greatest passage, he called hold, enough.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Lincoln’s second inaugural struck me. But not in the usual way, as I paid new attention to this part: “…with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right…” Lincoln tells us about managing to make good decisions: We have “to see the right.” It’s something that must be understood before it can be done. Given a complex situation the best choice isn’t the immediate impulse that comes from your gut, to be defended at all costs. Choosing right over wrong is something that needs to be worked at.

This is what Dick Cheney rejects. He is right before he can know the first thing. He is right when he invades Iraq. He is right at the same time all his predictions about the war are wrong. He is right while Americans there by the thousands are being killed. Now we’re out of Iraq and he’s right to demand we send soldiers back in, regardless of how predictably they’ll suffer and die. Right and wrong do not exist outside of Dick Cheney, and these things never will.

Share

Let’s not play politics with Sgt. Bergdahl’s life

Let’s remember a few key things while the feat of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s life being saved by the Obama administration is savagely criticized by Republicans.

The War in Afghanistan is winding down. At the height of troop deployment we had over 100,000 service personnel fighting over there. We now have about 32,800. While it’s painful to acknowledge their deaths, we are losing far fewer soldiers than we once did. On average five Americans are being killed every month in 2014. That’s far less than the 40 or more that were being killed a couple years ago.

And that toll will continue to shrink. The number of American combat troops will drop to only 9,800 by the end of the year. The long War in Afghanistan is nearly over.

Now. This:

Surrender without honor
Obama swap with Taliban endangers the country
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS • June 4, 2014

This is how the right-wing views a prisoner swap with the locals we’re leaving behind. It’s disturbingly reminiscent of what the Axis Powers were forced to do at the end of World War II, isn’t it? We wait with bated breath to hear the final details of their Marshall Plan.

President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman…

Don’t all prisoner swaps work this way? They get the soldiers they want, and we get ours? This sort of thing happens as a war comes to an end. To my knowledge no prisoner exchange has ever started a genocide. The five will be held and monitored in Qatar for the next year, and then the American deployment in Afghanistan will be very small. I know I still feel safe and secure going to The Gap. Anything else?

…for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan.

Now we get to the problem. We don’t like the soldier you saved. It’s a familiar Republican game, treason by association.

But it’s not really up to the President to decide what kind of soldier Bergdahl has been. It’s first up to the professionals to decide that – the Army – and then for them to come to conclusions only after a lengthy inquiry. No one can even try to do that until the sergeant returns home to tell investigators what happened.

Nonetheless conservatives want this president to play politics with soldiers’ lives. After all, they get to do it:

[Taliban commander] Nadeem told the Times that Bergdahl taught him basic ambush techniques and how to turn a cell phone into a remote control for a roadside bomb.

At the time, Afghan intelligence officials also believed Bergdahl was “cooperating with the Taliban” and advising fighters at a base in Pakistan.

Now some are wondering whether it wasn’t a setup – whether Bergdahl defected and then agreed to the prisoner exchange to free the five top Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

And if you can’t believe what the Taliban tell you, then who can you believe?

Maybe this Bergdahl character is a troubled individual, I don’t know. But it’s obvious to me that conservatives are far more bloodthirsty and disturbed in the playing of their politics. When the voters elected Obama president and commander-in-chief (twice), they demanded he hold himself to a higher standard. If he’d made any calculations last week about whether saving this guy’s life would look good on Fox News, he’d have let us down.

Share

Prisoners – OF SEX

Ross Douthat — this man has ideas. Fine and good thoughts they are — but I may not agree with them. Take this Santa Barbara spree killer for instance — no I don’t mean literally. You don’t wanna put this guy in your pocket — he could stab your balls.

Twitter movements have been created, think pieces written, and all kinds of cultural phenomena — from Judd Apatow movies to “pickup artists” and Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” — have been invoked, analyzed and blamed.

And in fairness to the think pieces — I have to be fair, because I’m writing one — in this particular tragedy, the killer’s motives really do seem to have a larger cultural significance.

I’d normally say this poor guy is nuts — but he’s not.

The Santa Barbara killer’s pulsing antipathy toward women, his shame and fury over sexual inexperience — these were amplified horribly by mental illness, yes, but visit the angrier corners of the Internet, wander in comment threads and chat rooms, and you’ll recognize them as extreme versions of an all-too-commonplace misogyny.

You could say he’s a lunatic — but you would be missing the point.

I’ve written before, in the context of the abuse that female writers take online, about this poisoned stream’s potential origins. The Santa Barbara case hints at one such source — the tension between our culture’s official attitude toward sex on the one hand and our actual patterns of sexual and romantic life on the other.

He’s a product of cultural tension — between what Charlize Theron wants and the way Ross Douthat behaves.

The culture’s attitude is Hefnerism, basically, if less baldly chauvinistic than the original Playboy philosophy. Sexual fulfillment is treated as the source and summit of a life well lived, the thing without which nobody (from a carefree college student to a Cialis-taking senior) can be truly happy, enviable or free.

And holy cow we land here, of course. I don’t in the least believe that dorky Hugh Hefner got rich by leading America astray. Middle class America wanted to fuck, really bad, Hugh told them to do it. And they did — surprise. But ever since that day, for dear Ross, the country has been playing a game of blind man’s bluff. As it is dogma with most conservatives, no one can have any sex and remain sane. There’s a legal asylum for such mental illness — it’s known as ‘Marriage.’ And how stoked are you about that?

Meanwhile, social alternatives to sexual partnerships are disfavored or in decline: Virginity is for weirdos and losers, celibate life is either a form of unhealthy repression or a smoke screen for deviancy…

This essay began: where? There was a young man: he had a problem?

…the kind of intense friendships celebrated by past civilizations are associated with closeted homosexuality, and the steady shrinking of extended families has reduced many people’s access to the familial forms of platonic intimacy.

Now we see the root cause of it all — teens horny for platonic intimacy. And it cost the New York Times a week’s salary for Ross to present this pornography of oatmeal.

Share

In praise of sitting quietly and listening thoughtfully to bad people

Even the liberal New York Times…

It’s commencement season, cellphones off please, no texts or tweets. Even with a hangover from debt, alcohol or regret, grads across the land may be lucky enough to hear something on the Big Day that actually stays with them.

Oh Timothy Egan we do love smarm.

This year, there’s the remarkable life story of the African-American scholar who grew up in the segregated South and rose to become secretary of state. Didn’t hear that one? Nobody did. Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to give the 248th anniversary commencement address at Rutgers University this coming Sunday. She canceled after a small knot of protesters pressured the university. It’s no contest who showed more class.

A psychopath who is here to stay and they call her…Condie. Slaughter a hundred thousand civilians and Timothy pegs you for Princess Grace. Complain about her presence to the people who just charged you a hundred grand for the ceremony and Timothy thinks you’re a brat. Well you’re all adults now so you have do whatever Mister Op-Ed says. Sit down shut up and listen thoughtfully to a few Tales From The Abattoir.

But if every speaker has to pass a test for benign mediocrity and politically correct sensitivity, commencement stages will be home to nothing but milquetoasts…

Give me a brisk, strong, witty defense of something I disagree with over a tired replay of platitudes. It matters little if the speaker is a convict or a seminarian, a statesman or a comedian.

If you’re going to bar war criminals from speaking at graduation it won’t be nearly as much fun. And then what sort of people will be left to give the address? Losers? Wimps? No thank you ma’am. Timothy would prefer to sit in the hot sun and listen to Ted Bundy offer a sparkling defense of serial homicide. Oh Yeah Bullshit. And if anyone isn’t already aware that Condoleezza is a lifelong coward, as if she might go to Rutgers to defend her corpse-riddled career, they’re nuts. Rather he’s nuts. And how shamefully easy it is to lose your Pulitzer Prize on the turnip truck.

Share

‘Twas Perfesser Instapundit in the USA Today with the butthurt

Perfesser Emeritus of Dumbsplaining Glenn Reynolds stands at the USA Today lectern and readies himself, looking serious (turning his notes upside down, then downside up) before today’s lecture: The Media Hate Republicans.

He opens with a stab at rhetoric.

Why do organizations like CNN let Democrats’ arrested for felonies slip through the cracks?

The question sets the tone brilliantly. Isn’t the world a seesaw battle between Democrats and Republicans? And if CNN is not willing to be mean to one, aren’t they being mean to the other?

California State senator (and, until last week, candidate for secretary of state) Leland Yee was well-known as an anti-gun activist. Then, last week, he was indicted for, yes, conspiring to smuggle guns and rocket launchers between mobsters and terrorists in exchange for massive bribes…

This all sounds like news. You’ve got charges of huge bribes, rampant hypocrisy, illegal weapons and even a connection with foreign terrorists — and from a leading politician in an important state.

A ‘leading politician in an important state’ I probably would have heard about. But unless you live in Northern California, like me you’ve never heard a word about Leland Yee, the San Francisco politician who was arrested for shoplifting in 1992 and stopped for soliciting prostitutes in 1999. Gun-running sure as hell trumps those previous raps and he’s welcome to rot in jail.

But why isn’t CNN all over this story? A gun-hating Chinese Democrat from Pelositown exporting arms from the Philippines? If they’d only let the perfesser run their San Francisco bureau he’d have Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy on this in a heartbeat.

CNN…didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.

But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators.

Glenn doesn’t understand how ‘media’ work. Which is understandable since he believes all things originate from authority. CNN is failing in its role as Media Daddy, refusing to focus proper attention on Leland Yee and start a political wildfire. If the resulting scandal should burn down the White House, well that would be a fine example of balanced reporting.

But life is more complicated than that. There’s a second authority involved in the media complex: The audience. If they’re bored with a story, then they kill it. And it doesn’t matter how much indignation a perfesser manages, the controversy simply goes away.

In the case of Stacey Campfield, CNN were only taking their orders from the crowd. He’s a provocative asshole who posted an image of an “assault pressure cooker” to lob insults at gun control advocates while Boston Marathon bombing victims were still fighting to survive. The predictable and purposeful outrage landed him an interview on, yes, CNN. It shouldn’t surprise Glenn that CNN’s archives retain links going back to CNN’s interviews, but it does.

In the case of Hopper, CNN has a single four-paragraph blurb on him in Ed Hornick’s ‘Political Circus.’ And only then because Hopper was being recalled when his wife informed reporters he’d abandoned the family to live with his young mistress. Dear me the extent to which CNN will go to take down Republicans, it shocks you. But if you’re not yet full of astonishes, you can always try swallowing whatever argument Glenn cooks up next. In this dish, a turkey:

We’ve seen this before, of course: Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff dismissed the horrific Kermit Gosnell trial as a “local crime story”, even as the press was going crazy covering another equally local crime story, the George Zimmerman trial.

Take in the warped panorama of Instapundit world, where Gosnell plays an ignoble Democrat and Zimmerman a good Republican. In George’s case, CNN had it in for the young conservative while the rest of the country couldn’t have cared less. But somebody left the TV on in the den, and then all sorts of people got angry, or at least said so, or feigned their outrage or something. And for no reason! If the media had pulled the same crap on Kermit Gosnell you’d have seen NBA players standing center court in support of the pro-life movement, sporting the same “Abort Obama” t-shirts the cool kids wear. Yep.

Share

Because the Irish have a great friend, as you know, in Rupert Murdoch

Oh no. Now we’re upset about something. If only a demented billionaire could come to our rescue.

Dtuigeann tú? No fays in our parade. Either that or we don’t drink Guinness which is a small price to pay for me and my people because we don’t care for its timeless silken raven warmth, by death’s teat. We might also not slumber or sunburn casually or fist-fight about every pointless thing on the planet.

Share
Next