I’ve said before how I’ve really felt weary of politics (and the same old political blogs) for a while now, and that hasn’t changed. But let me just say this now: I do appreciate the effort Michael “Humpty Hump” Steele has been putting in to make sure I stay entertained. From an endless supply of gaffes to blowing the RNC’s money on lesbian bondage nightclubs and lavish getaways for meetings, he’s really gone above and beyond, and I salute him.
Ahh, John Cole’s just bitter over the amazing irony of how we in the aristocracy of the Confederacy look down on our neighbors to the west (who split with us to join the Union) as the inbred yokels. In a two-mile stretch between my house and town, I must pass five or six houses proudly flying the battle flag.
I read Digby regularly because she’s widely considered to be one of the intellectual heavyweights of the proggie blogosphere. Usually, when I take issue with something she’s said, it’s because of what appears to be naïveté, or — more likely — willful blindness in service to political ideology. But this kind of deliberate partisan hackery really pisses me the fuck off.
It appears this little girl was mentally tortured to death.
I’m sure this behavior isn’t unprecedented. Lord of the Flies was an allegory, but it was also a fairly realistic depiction of human behavior. But I can’t help but feel that the violent, apocalyptic rhetoric of the right over the past few years has torn off much of the civilizing bonds we’d built up over the years. Certainly our recent cavalier attitude toward torture (“when they deserve it”) hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Keep in mind that most of the people who are screaming in red faced rage in news stories every day aren’t young people. It’s older people — the faces of authority — who are doing it. These parental (and grandparental) role models acting out of control with anger gives tacit permission to some kids to act like animals too.
Yes, she’s really trying to say-without-actually-saying that the recent phenomenon of livid, illiterate Republicans with homemade, misspelled cardboard signs hollering on camera about socialism and taxes and Kenyan birth certificates is somehow responsible for teenagers in Massachusetts bullying another girl for months until she committed suicide. If she were simply making that direct claim, it would be merely stupid. But she knows better, and she admits as much right there — humans have always had the capacity for violence and gratuitous cruelty, and anyone who doesn’t have some idiotic, romantic conception of the innocence of childhood knows full well that children can display an astonishing ability to let a pack mentality take over and start senselessly tormenting outcasts for the sheer mindless fun of it.
She knows that. And yet she still tries to use such a horrible incident to score a tiny political point that no one will even remember in two weeks. Fucking disgusting.
I remember staring in slack-jawed amazement back in 2000, after the infamous wilding attacks at the Puerto Rican Day parade in NYC, as someone read an editorial (I think it was in one of the NYC tabloids, but I’m not positive) to me where the author was seriously trying to blame the attacks on Bill Clinton’s behavior with Monica Lewinsky. The “logic” seemingly went something like: Clinton got a blowjob from a willing intern and didn’t lose his job over it, so therefore a bunch of morons, who probably couldn’t even have named the president if asked, figured they could sexually assault random women in public in broad daylight and get away with it. Because again, rape and assault were absolutely unheard of in human history before then.
And remember this classic from Newt Gingrich in 1994, regarding the Susan Smith case?
Here’s what Gingrich said three days before last November’s election — in response to an Associated Press reporter who asked him how the campaign was going: “Slightly more moving our way. I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things.” Gingrich concluded, “The only way you get change is to vote Republican. That’s the message for the last three days.”
Nice company you’re keeping these days, Digs. Be proud.
Synchronicity, baby. I swear by the feathers of Quetzalcoatl, just yesterday I was trading emails with a dear, sweet friend, and I was assuring her in one of them that she hadn’t missed anything at all by not subjecting herself to reading any of Ayn Rand’s novels. At one point in the afternoon, though, I stopped my typing and looked up, a quizzical look upon my face.
I said to myself, I said: “Self? Did you hear something?”
“Maybe… I’m not sure. What did it sound like?”
“Well…sort of like the collective strangled gasp of thousands of frigid, heartless Randroid fanboys and fangirls finding a momentary release from hating everyone else in the world through a simultaneous orgasm, despite the ironic fact that the thought of doing anything collectively would have spoiled even that meager pleasure for them.”
“Ah, yes, that was it. I was going to say it was just the neighbor’s dog making noise again, but no, you’re right.”
I shrugged and returned to my correspondence. Later on, I finally got around to reading the news headlines and noted that a crazy dude in a plane had gone all kamikaze on an IRS building in Texas. Ohhh, that explained it. Hell, even a name like “Joe Stack” sounds like a Rand character; straightforward, firm and rugged! Do we have a rambling fuck-the-gummint stemwinder? You know it! So there you go, my dear, sweet friend. All we need is a rape scene somewhere in there, and you’ve got one of her novels playing out in real time. See what you’re not missing?
I happen to be related to a few Randroids, so I’ve had ample opportunity to observe them in their native habitat. I was curious to see if they would, indeed, be all giddy with joy over this blow struck for freedom. So I solicited their reactions. Would they let puny obstacles like ideological consistency or fear of being called “terrorist sympathizers” stand in their way? Well, would John Galt have let that stop him? Of course not, you stupid, weak, girly-man commie. They were proud to claim this freedom fighter as one of their own (even as they claimed he was actually a leftist, trying to have their cake and smear it too).
I didn’t bother trying to point out that “It’s only terrorism when it’s done by people we don’t like for reasons we don’t agree with” is not a very sturdy ethical foundation. I didn’t ask if it was really only a few short years ago that simply calling the president a liar meant you were guilty of treason. I just promised to get my fellow bleeding hearts in the ACLU and Amnesty International to try and spring them from whatever secret prison camp they end up in under some hidden clause in the Patriot Act, and that I would send them Korans and pornography while they were there.
Eight and a half years and one Democratic president. That’s all it took before I heard Republicans, newly infatuated with moral relativism, start shamelessly arguing that crashing planes into government buildings in the hope of killing civilians was a legitimate act of political protest. If it hadn’t been so goddamned achingly predictable, it would be really funny.
After her appearance in which she dubbed King “inappropriate” and attempted to exit the set, Prejean accused the staffer of lying to her, saying King’s producers promised no phone calls. She belittled McAusland saying, “Is the intern talking to me? Oh look at the little intern, look at the little intern trying to explain!”
“I’ve never been treated so poorly in my whole life,” McAusland, who recently accepted an executive producer position at Newsie.com of Media Convergence Group, said.
Huh. A shallow hypochristian who’s been treated like royalty most of her life because of her looks has no time for the little people. The hell you say. Well, I’m convinced. She’s the lowest of the low. I fart in her general direction and all that.
The thing about the intern reminded me of something else, though…
WHAT LIBERAL DICKWAD? Milhouse is all grown up: He has a goatee, a PhD from Stanford and an online diary where he proclaims his love for Jackson Browne. Liberal bloggers are holding it up like the fucking Alamo, but his run-in with Dennis Miller last month left Alterman looking like he was about to get his head dunked in the toilet for the third time. Even if you agree with him about Ann Coulter and Alexander Cockburn, it’s hard not to root against this smirking, center-left prick who likes his dinner dates rich and famous and his fois gras seared. “He constantly wants to remind you that he’s Eric Alterman,” one of his interns revealed in a rumor-confirming Village Voice hatchet-job, “[and] that he knows a lot of important people, and that you’re a lowly intern.”
Goodness gracious! And as far as I’m aware, Carrie Prejean hasn’t knowingly repeated baseless slanders against Noam Chomsky, or resorted to bullshit Nader-bashing the way Alterman has. And I doubt she makes Bruce Springsteen (or is it Bob Seger? John Mellencamp? All those nostalgia-rockers run together in my head. Their songs all make me think of middle-aged men, Chevy trucks, and shots of prairie grass waving in the wind against a sunset. Anyway, he slobbers all over one of them.) an object of cult worship either, so that’s another point in her favor.
I also had to laugh, given that Digby had just posted something a day or so earlier fawning over the great pwoggie hope Al Franken. Guess what Dennis Perrin can tell us about him?
I’ve seen Franken in action up-close, and he seems to revel in being an asshole. Plus, I’ve been told all sorts of stories about his abusive behavior from various sources, including those who worked intimately with him, his ex-comedy partner Tom Davis chief among them. Tom probably knows Franken better than anyone other than Franken’s wife, and while some of the stuff he told me about his old partner didn’t surprise me, I did wonder how Tom put up with it for as long as he did. Still, the two of them produced some really funny bits on the original “SNL”, so I will give Franken that. But a Minnesota Senator in the mold of the late Paul Wellstone? Don’t make me laugh.
Well, obviously, she didn’t get it. In fact, the experience rattled her in a way I’d never seen before. And who was her main tormentor? Al Franken! Sharon said that she would begin a character monologue as requested, but before she got 15 seconds into it, Franken would shout in that annoying voice of his, “NEXT.” Franken also talked to other people while Sharon tried to perform, telling jokes and not paying attention to her efforts. Then he would stop, clap his hands sarcastically, then grunt “Got anything else?” After maybe 10 or so minutes, the audition was over, and Sharon was led out while Franken completely ignored her. She got her first serious taste of the pricks who run much of American comedy, and it deflated her.
Good thing we enlightened
liberals progressives know how to keep someone’s personal churlishness separate from their thoughts and ideas, huh?
The point is this: Prejean was asked, for some incomprehensible reason, what she thought about gay marriage. She gave her opinion —
“I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
D’oh! My mistake! That was Barack Obama in an interview with the Chicago Daily-Tribune, so, uh, that makes it totally different! Anyway, Ms. Prejean gave her opinion —
“Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.”
— which, to my coarse sensibilities, is so mundane and anodyne as to be worth no further attention. Last time I checked, beauty contestants didn’t influence anyone’s politics or make decisions regarding public policy. All people really want to do is watch them sashay around in bikinis. No one gives a fuck what they think about anything. No one would even remember this if a certain gossip-blogger, notorious for being a gigantic asshole (and a dishonest one at that) hadn’t gone ballistic about it. And here we are, still hearing about this trivia like it matters, and hearing about her personal behavior as if it has a fucking thing to do with civil rights for gays. She gets to look like a victim of uptight p.c. bullies to those who follow politics, and after her nude photos and videotaped self-diddling, she could probably run for president and win with the 18-24 year-old male turnout alone.
Bravo, everyone. Bra-vo. I take it it wasn’t enough you helped make Sam the Plunger a fixture in the news for months on end by dissecting his every inane utterance? Well, at least this shiny object is easier on the eyes, I guess.
Wasn’t it the eminent scholar of fascism, Jonah Goldberg, who called our attention to the theretofore unnoticed line connecting healthy lifestyles to the death camps? What, has the right wing gotten in touch with their inner health Nazis all of a sudden?
The Surgeon General’s job is a bureaucratic one; I’m sure Benjamin can keep up to date on the latest health news, give lectures and shuffle papers full of statistics as well as any skinny person. It’s not as if she’s going to be leading the nation every morning at eight a.m. in a televised, government-mandated five-mile jog, and needless to say (but I will anyway), if she were going to do something like that, these same people would have one enormous, collective aneurgasm. The howls of outrage would be deafening as our basement-dwelling shut-ins would be frantically stockpiling candy and soda while insisting that the Bill of Rights guaranteed everyone the opportunity to eat junk food soaked in beer for breakfast, who do these granola-munching hippies think they are, and so on.
It’s almost like they just reflexively bitch and complain no matter what.
One thing that makes me suspect that right-wingers have a rudimentary sense of humor is the way they keep turning the logic of identity politics back against the clueless advocates. Poppy Bush put a black man on the Supreme Court. Junior gave us a Hispanic attorney general, a black “war hero” Secretary of State, and even replaced him with a black female (and likely lesbian!) Secretary of State. (Needless to say, domestic justice finally became fair and colorblind, and we never again treated the world like our colonial playground.)
But do mainstream liberals progressives ever learn? Would I be writing this if they did?
Finally, Liddy disputed the entire idea that there’s anything wrong with the paucity of women and total lack of Hispanics on the Court:
Oh, is that all it takes? A woman and a Hispanic? So…you guys would have been overjoyed at Justice Harriet Miers and Chief Justice Alberto Gonzalez, then? No? Ahhh — so you mean you want a female, a Hispanic, etc. who share the same political values as you on the Court. But wait, then, I’m confused — if the values and ideals are what matter, couldn’t they, in theory at least, be held by anyone? Would you really care if you had nine fishbelly-white Penis-Americans on the Court as long as they upheld progressive values in their rulings? Or are we getting into some mystical racial/gender essentialism, where the solipsist logic implies that no one can ever truly understand anyone else?
So, basically we have liberal progressive white guilt that only allows people to serve in power as proud representatives of their race or gender as long as they agree with the white progressives who would feel uncomfortable about running things themselves. A kinder, gentler form of satrapy, I guess.
More concern for the “innocent babies” than the right of those dropping bombs on them to be open about their sexuality? Such knavish rot! Glib usage of idiomatic phrases involving forests and trees? I’ll have no more of your scurrilous raillery! Good day to you, sir!
I SAID GOOD DAY!
The White House is backed up against the wall and cannot give a reasonable, logical defense to continue a policy that is hurting our military effectiveness.
Remember when lefties were concerned with, you know, hurting our military effectiveness instead of trying to ensure that the vast, bloated, ravenous, resource consuming machine known as the U.S. military had a superficial veneer of racial/gender/sexual diversity as it went about its business subjugating the world? No? Damn, I’m old.
Hey, anyone who rilly rilly wants to devote their life to possibly getting their ass shot off to make the world safe for American corporate interests to do business in should have that right, certainly — but maybe they should be thinking about more radical agendas than identity politics.