January 30th, 2007


Foot Foot don't live here no more

We've waited a long time, but finally, the 2006 Golden Wingnut Awards for excellence in right-wing blowhardery have been awarded by the Poor Man Institute, at a special ceremony hosted by congressional ejaculator Mark Foley. I urge you to investigate immediately, and for God's sake, whatever you do, do not miss the amazing remix of some of the year's top dipshits, spliced to the tune of the Shaggs' "My Pal Foot Foot". Essential viewing for a scary age.

In other kooky nut news, Cal Thomas still hates hippies (or, the sen has set on the peace movement); James Lileks also still hates hippies (check out the end, where he tells a story about an episode of Dragnet where two gopped-up stoners drown their baby, and is clearly on the side of Joe Friday) and engages in a form of mash-up that the rest of the country stopped doing around the time George W. Bush's father was elected*; and Dennis "My Son Willingly Speaks to Coloreds" Prager notes that cheerleaders are dumb, but even they know that dictatorships are products of liberalism. "That is why, with the exception of Nazism...nearly all totalitarianism of the 20th century was on the Left."

When they came for the cheerleaders, I said nothing, because I was not a cheerleader. When they came for the glee club, I said nothing, because I was not in the glee club. When they came for the A/V squad, I said nothing, because I was not on the A/V squad. Then, when they came for the yearbook staff, there was no one left to speak for me...

*: Electron tip to brandiweed.

World War IV?

Interesting, even-handed article in the LA Times by historian David Bell:

Imagine that on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism...

The people who attacked us in 2001 are indeed hate-filled fanatics who would like nothing better than to destroy this country. But desire is not the same thing as capacity, and although Islamist extremists can certainly do huge amounts of harm around the world, it is quite different to suggest that they can threaten the existence of the United States. Yet a great many Americans, particularly on the right, have failed to make this distinction. For them, the "Islamo-fascist" enemy has inherited not just Adolf Hitler's implacable hatreds but his capacity to destroy...

Seeing international conflict in apocalyptic terms — viewing every threat as existential — is hardly a uniquely American habit. To a certain degree, it is a universal human one. But it is also, more specifically, a Western one, which paradoxically has its origins in one of the most optimistic periods of human history: the 18th century Enlightenment...(t)he unexpected consequence of this change was that those who considered themselves "enlightened," but who still thought they needed to go to war, found it hard to justify war as anything other than an apocalyptic struggle for survival against an irredeemably evil enemy. In such struggles, of course, there could be no reason to practice restraint or to treat the enemy as an honorable opponent...

The war against terrorism has not yet been much of a war at all, let alone a war to end all wars. It is a messy, difficult, long-term struggle against exceptionally dangerous criminals who actually like nothing better than being put on the same level of historical importance as Hitler — can you imagine a better recruiting tool? To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence.