October 12th, 2005

blowhard

A ha heartbreak

Today is a bad day to be a Chicago White Sox fan. Not only did my beloved Pale Hose lose to the Angels last night -- which necessitates them winning a game on the West Coast, something they've seemed almost genetically incapable of accomplishing in the last decade or so, in order to get to the World Series -- but ultra-conservative dipshit Ben "The Porn Generation" Shapiro revealed in his most recent Town Hall column that he's a big White Sox booster. I don't know if this team can handle the pressure of its two biggest fans being Ben Shapiro and Dennis DeYoung.

There's some other good stuff in Town Hall today, including an elegant defense of, of all things, cronyism by Jonah Goldberg (who is, himself, a living defense of nepotism), and a hilariously deceptive Terrence Jeffrey piece called "Stop the Louisiana Money-Grab" where he boggles at why Louisiana, with only twice the population of Mississippi, needs nearly ten times the aid money. He blames this on the greedy Democratic governance of LA (as opposed to the thrifty, honest Republican leadership of Mississippi), conveniently ignoring the fact that Hurricane Katrina did vastly more damage to Louisiana than it did Mississippi, and that the majority of that damage was to a major urban center, where rebuilding costs are always orders of magnitude higher than in rural or suburban areas due to the more complex and expensive infrastructure.

But the real winner, as always now that Ann Coulter is taking an extended celebrity hiatus, is Dennis "Jews and Christians Can Do Anything Better Than You Can" Prager, in a column with the charmingly blunt title "What Liberals Did To Harm America This Week". Dennis?

The first example involved the ACLU, which has threatened Southwest Airlines with a lawsuit. Southwest ordered a passenger off a flight after she refused to cover her T-shirt on which was printed an expletive -- "Fu--ers" -- referring to President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The ACLU position is not surprising. That organization had once defended a high school student whose school had prohibited him from wearing to class a T-shirt that read "Big Pecker."

Now, I'm honestly not trying to be a smart-ass here: how is one woman wearing a t-shirt reading "fuckers" on a plane where a couple hundred people might see it worse than Dennis writing the word "pecker" in a column where, theoretically at least, millions of people can read it? If the point is that words themselves are harmful and destructive, why is it acceptable to use them in a negative or disapproving sense any more than it is in a positive sense? I don't know anything, I'm a relativist.

To most Americans, the huge increase in public cursing is a sign of a deteriorating civilization; to the Left it is a sign of a freer, less hypocritical one.

Your point being? So far as I know, not a single civilization has ever been brought to its end as a result of widespread cursing. And, indeed, going all the way back to ancient Greece, crude language has been an omnipresent factor in the daily lives of average people. The Victorians and their neo-Victorian heirs, like Dennis Prager, have always been a scolding minority set against the cheerful cussing of the main.

Thanks to this decision (to release Abu-Ghraib abuse photos) by one judge, we are in for another orgy of anti-Americanism in the foreign and domestic news media and another propaganda victory for those who murder people trying to vote, place bombs in tourist hotels and slaughter innocent human beings like sheep.

Here we have a callback to the charming Reagan-era notion that when something bad happens because of wrongdoing on the part of the government, it is the fault not of the people who are responsible for the wrongdoing, but rather the fault of the people who exposed the wrongdoing. Even if terrorists do use this as an excuse for anti-American mayhem, doesn't the blame lie with those who tortured innocent Iraqis? Is Dennis "Absolutist Judeo-Christian Morality Uber Alles" Prager seriously arguing that terrible crimes against human decency be kept secret in order to avoid people getting upset about it?

To understand the destructive nature of this decision, imagine what would have happened during World War II if photos of similar (or more serious) abuse of alleged Nazis were available. Would any judge in America have ordered that they be published? Would such a lawsuit have ever been brought?

Luckily, we can only imagine this, because there are no records of American troops having tortured Nazis. (There are, however, plenty of records of American troops having been disciplined for mistreating Axis prisoners of war, and no one thought it was inappropriate to do so, suggesting that we're unwilling to accord Arabs -- most of whom, at Abu Ghraib, were innocent of any wrongdoing, or guilty of minor offenses like curfew violations -- the kind of humanity and decency we extended even to the Nazis.) Again: none of this would be a problem if American soldiers had not tortured people. THAT is what we should be outraged about. The reason no judge had to decide whether or not to quash photos of American troops torturing German civilians is because there were no photos of American troops torturing German civilians. The best way to avoid these dire consequences is to not do bad shit in the first place.

That Americans will be killed as a result of a judge's decision to release photos is of no consequence to the Left. Indeed, for the ACLU, release of the photos is a victory precisely because it does weaken American ability to fight Islamic terrorists.

No, for the ACLU, release of the photos is a victory because it discourages further torture. This is as bottom-feeding an accusation as one can find, that the whole purpose of the ACLU is to defend terrorists. The purpose of the ACLU is to protect human rights, which, last time I looked, was a big one among the stated reasons why we're fighting terrorists in the first place.

From the pointless judicial weakening of American security, to the fight to force airlines to allow passengers to display obscenities, to the ongoing libel of Bill Bennett -- a libel as far from truth as is the infamous "blood libel" that claims that Jews slaughter Gentile children to use their blood for baking matzo -- this was just another week of harm to a great civilization by barbarians inside the gates.

Liberals=barbarians (yes, of course, because we all know it's conservatives who have moved civilization forward, and since when have any liberals ever helped the cause of human progress?), and believing that Bill Bennett was a tad quick to associate black people with crime = believing an anti-Semitic lie straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (BTW, I am especially impressed at the deployment of the "liberals who think ill of Bill Bennett are guilty of the worst libel since the Jews-eat-Christian-babies lie" line from a man who, two paragraphs previous, made the astoundingly libelous claim that the ACLU's main goal is to weaken our ability to fight Islamic terrorism.)

Another triumph from the man named Prager!
it's a thinker

Vaporing about a dopey TV show

So I finished watching season 1 of Lost, which I liked more than any one man has a right to, and read lengthy synopses of the first three season 2 episodes I missed. It's not a perfect show, it won't roust Deadwood or Arrested Development from their perches at the top of my list of favorite shows -- among other reasons, the script is not great, the acting is often uninspiring, and I can't shake the feeling they're making it all up as they go along, which will result in X-Files-like blueballs when the show gets cancelled -- but it's really well-made, and the plots are strong as hell, and they're masters of doling out suspense, keeping us hooked with the twists, and creating a near-constant level of major menace.

There seems to be a lot of discussion of the appearance, in "Orientation", of the books Turn of the Screw and The Third Policeman, and whether or not they're clues with some relevance or just red herrings. I seem to be one of the few people who have actually read both books, and here's a few thoughts:

Collapse )
what's up your butt?

And now, today's professional bitching

Hey, didn't I used to be a freelance writer? What happened to all my freelance work this month? I've had one record review and a short music feature so far, and other than that, Jack F. Diddley, Esq. Hey, maybe Major Chicago Newspaper will finally cough up the six hundred bucks they owe me and it'll be almost like I'm working.

I can't complain too much about the sudden lack of freelance work, since it frees me up to pursue my two favorite hobbies (writing humor & fiction, and drowning out my despair with drugs and alcohol), but seriously, my editors: do I smell? Okay, so I smell. Does my writing smell? Okay, so my writing smells. Buy it anyway. Last month you bastards ran me ragged, now: nothing. Fui.

Speaking of my smelly writing, I am in the process of finally doing something performance-related with my crypto-humorous writing; I still need to talk to rum_holiday and a couple of other people about the praxis, but the theory is ducks-in-a-row. Hooray, another quixotic and unprofitable artistic pursuit! I'll be the belle of the ball!

Meanwhile, my crappy novel collects dust on the hard-drive. Will I ever finish it? I dunno. But every day I don't work on it is a day that I begin to suspect it sucks like an Electrolux. Is that fear talking? Self-hatred? Laziness? I can't tell. And more time passes when the world is denied an overwritten, pointless novel about Superman punching God.

Still to come this very year of 2005: new Ludic Log entries (no, really); probably some live readings; a spankin' new issue of the High Hat for which I will take the editorial blame; the vague outlines of a comedic dynamo; and more updates on my attempt to sell a collection of short humor pieces and the subsequent claims by editors, publishers, agents and writers that "humor doesn't sell". Because really, who likes to laugh? Nobody.