May 12th, 2005

flavored with age

Vital issues of our times

Dear Eva Longoria,

I realize you don't know me -- to be fair, I'm not sure I know you either -- but I just wanted to say, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, congratulations on winning Maxim magazine's 6th annual "Hot 100" list.

To have come from such presumably humble beginnings (why, to think that five years ago no one even knew the name Eva Longoria!) and struggled mightily against the odds that a beautiful brunette could ever make it big in Hollywood; to have not only bucked those odds and become, as Maxim editor-in-chief Ed Needham put it, the foremost of the "women whose names are on the lips of people the world over" (for who among us has not heard people at the airport in Jakarta, gathered around a communal well in Kyrgyzstan, or lining up for AIDS medication in Namibia breathlessly invoking the name Eva Longoria?), the "women whose careers are headed for the dizziest heights", and most importantly, the "women whose looks will scorch the back off your retina" -- for, if one's retina has a back, surely if it's not scorched off by Eva Longoria, it's literally unscorchoffable: to have not only done that, but to have beaten out such fierce competition from other apparently famous women as Rachel Bilson, Evangeline Lilly, Sara Foster and Ashanti! Well, it's an accomplishment that defies description, and unquestionably justifies the story's high placement on AP's Most Popular list.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this happy event comes from your sincere and grateful response to this unimaginable honor. You described it as "incredible" -- and, indeed, it does defy credibility that a woman who was ranked a pitiable 91st on the 2004 Maxim Hot 100 List could so quickly gain ground in such a fiercely contested field -- and showed just the right blend of humility and pride when you said "This year has been amazing for me." 2005 has been amazing for all of us, Eva Longoria; but who besides you can claim the vast accomplishment (and awesome honor) of being the most dizzy-career-heading-for-est, eye-damagingest, global-lip-on-name-havingest woman of the year? To make your feat all the more staggering, I must point out that the Maxim Hot 100 List is chosen by the editors of Maxim magazine. That's right, Eva Longoria: this isn't some rigged ballot scam or bogus, cheap popularity contest. Your position as this year's top hotness centurion was chosen by professionals, qualified experts in the employ of the nation's leading half-naked-woman-and-expensive-gadget journal, paid masters of the ins and outs of human fabulosity. This isn't the People's Choice Awards. This is the Oscars of masturbatory worthiness.

Kudos to you, Eva Longoria. Humanity has waited for you, and finally you are here. The Wandering Jew may finally rest; the ancient prophecies may now be closed as moot; the question of why we are here is well and truly settled. We are here for you, Eva Longoria, #1 on this year's Maxim Hot 100 List. For you.

yours in frank awe,
Leonard A. Pierce, Jr.
flavored with age

And yet, and yet...

Word reaches us from the western fiefdoms that actress Sharon Stone has adopted a second baby boy, named Laird Vonne! Her publicist, Cindi Berger, says that the child was born to "unknown and unrelated parents in Texas", which I will admit generates some confusion: they can't be completely unknown, can they? And to whom, exactly, are they unrelated? Sharon Stone? The baby? Each other? But these are niggling questions, which should in no way detract from the overwhelmingly important story that an aging Hollywood actress has once again adopted a boy-child.

All praise due to Eva Longoria. But can we afford to ignore this vital circumstance, even for a moment?
flavored with age

Godwin's Law has officially jumped the shark

All right, enough of this giddy celebrity banter. Let's get back to the important business of mocking conservative talking head Dennis Prager, whose son, as I never tire of reminding people, has a black friend.

Now, this post comes to us courtesy of the Huffington Post, the inexplicable celebrity blog-thing of jillionaire gadabout Arianna Huffington. Since Ari is putatively a liberal these days, I'm not sure what she's doing giving bandwidth to an arch-conservative halfwit like Prager, but I'll just assume they became buddies back when she was a Republican and is simply being pally.

Anyway, today, Dennis' boxers are bunched over Ajai Raj, the UT college student who asked Ann Coulter an impertinent question at one of her highly popular lectures and got arrested for his troubles. The fun thing about this article is that Dennis (who is a Jew, as he makes sure to remind us in his endless series of articles about how Jews and Christians are superior to everyone else) takes the opportunity not to merely tisk-tisk at the crude liberals who dared disrupt the intellectual fancies of Ms. Coulter: he decides to sound off on the idea that Ajai Raj represents the second coming of the Hitler Youth.

Let's leave aside the questionable taste and credibility that Dennis displays in dressing himself up as a victim of the Holocaust when he was born in the United States years after the Second World War ended. Let's leave aside that the person he's talking about is an Indian, whose great-grandparents were probably serving gin fizzes to Dennis' great-grandparents. Let's leave aside, even, the fact that ideologically, Ann Coulter is far closer to being an inheritor of Naziism than is Ajai Raj. Let's just focus on the hysterical hash he makes in his haste to invoke the spectre of National Socialism against a lone teenager:

I do not believe the Left recognizes how thin the line between civilization and chaos/evil is.

Because if they did, well, they would, I don't know, not yell obscenities at a woman famous for calling for the mass slaughter of Arab leaders, the forcible conversion of Muslims to Christianity, and the destruction of the New York Times building by terrorists. I guess.

As a Jew born shortly after the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and the gas chambers play a great role in my thinking.

As opposed to liberals, Christians, or people born after 1960, who remain blessedly unaffected by the war.

I recognize that the most cultured European country built Auschwitz

Dennis is a German Jew, so I suppose he's giving something of a confused big-up to Germany here, but the French might dispute his claim. I don't want to pursue the point, it's just an odd one, and, of course, contains the hidden argument that liberals completely fail to appreciate that a civilized nation is capable of barbarity (though it seems to me that liberals are MORE keenly aware of uncivilized behavior on the part of great nations than are conservatives).

that Nazism was a secular, not a Christian ideology

I'm not gonna argue this. I'm just going to say it's an arguable point. Naziism was first and foremost loyal to Naziism; it was an ideology of power, and its architects were cynics whose only faith was in Hitler. But all were raised Christian; they invoked the name of God constantly (to appeal to their followers, almost all of whom were Christians); and their hatred of Jews was straight out of Christian tradition. I'm just saying.

that Ph.D.’s and intellectuals led the way to the death camps just as they did to the Gulag and other Communist holocausts.

Uh, which PhDs were these, then? Hitler? Goering? Goebbels the chicken farmer? Eichmann the failed engineer? Rosenberg the crackpot? I won't argue that there weren't educated men in the Nazi party, or intelligent men who fell under the sway of fascist ideology, but education was never a priority for the Nazis, men of advanced learning were rare in high party circles, and intellectuals were amongst the first targeted by the Nazis, as they were by the Stalinists, as they are always by every type of oppressive regime.

Universities and museums were morally worthless in Weimar and Nazi Germany

Funny, that's exactly what Hitler said. Word for word, almost.

So I have a primal fear of the moral chaos that follows the breaking down of America’s real moral foundations, such as Judeo-Christian values, public decency, freedom of speech, and the military.

I won't touch the nonsense about Judeo-Christian values and public decency or we'll be here all day; the bit about the military being the moral foundation of a country is, well, let's just say that in a discussion of Nazi Germany, let's not go too far with the notion of the military being the bastion of moral rectitude. But what's this nonsense about free speech? He's saying that the breakdown of free speech signals the end of society, in an article where he criticizes someone for exercising his freedom of speech. Good grief.

I see in this student who screams obscenities at a conservative speaker and all the students who joined or supported him, our version of the Hitler Youth, our barbarians.

There you have it, folks: public mockery of the odious Ann Coulter = the rebirth of the Hitler Youth.

To me screaming down speakers at colleges (as I saw the Left do at Columbia University when I was a graduate student during the Vietnam War) and screaming obscenities represent barbarity.

Strangely, Dennis Prager has been silent about the innumerable recent cases of right-wing students shouting down liberal speaker, and the deployment of private mobs to disrupt the vote counts in Florida in 2000, and other examples of public barbarity.

To most of those on the Left, these students are at worst, a bit over the top, and at best fighters against what they most fear – conservatives – not barbarity.

It couldn't possibly be because to them, conservatives are the incubators of barbarity, and they feel a moral duty to speak out? Naaah. It must be like he says: because the Nazis are here again, in the person of liberal college students.