First of all, I happened to look at something I've never actually looked at before: his bio, which I'd bet the deed t Jasperwood is self-penned, over at Newhouse News Service. It's got one big laugh line:
He is not reliably ideological, much to the dismay of his e-mailers
HA HA HA! "Not reliably ideological", you say? Okay, look, I'm willing to admit that Lileks isn't Ann Coulter, but for corn's sake a-jumpin' mighty, he's as ideologically reliable as an atomic clock powered by electrodes hooked up to the brains of every senior fellow at the Eagle Forum. I can't recall him ever saying anything even remotely liberal in the last five years. He's an economic conservative, a political conservative, and a social conservative -- he likes to deny this last because he's anti-censorship, but he hates smut, he hates cursing, he hates sexualization, he hates liberal perspectives, he's anti-abortion, he's anti-gay marriage (see below!), he's anti-multiculturalism, and he's against every other form of social liberalization I can think of. He's not even left enough to qualify as a libertarian. The fact that he self-identifies as non-ideological is proof of how totally clueless he is.
More from his bio:
James Lileks was born in Fargo, N.D., and educated at the University of Minnesota. He used his English major to secure a lucrative position as a convenience store clerk, but eventually made his way into respectable journalism.
The charming self-deprecation is quickly undercut by the ludicrous self-flattery. James Lileks isn't a respectable journalist, any more than I am. He's a humorist and an editorialist and occasionally a critic. He's not a reporter. If he's a journalist, Gene Shalit is a journalist.
he writes from a center-right perspective that worries more about terrorism, Iran and Hamas than gay marriage or cussing on "The Sopranos."
See, this is funny, because he writes CONSTANTLY -- including today's column -- about how he's opposed to gay marriage. He think's he's at least quasi-liberal because he supports civil unions, but he only supports them in the sense that he doesn't think they should be banned, the way gay marriage should be banned. And I could find half-a-dozen columns by him without even trying hard where he complains about filth on the teevee.
(But that Janet Jackson flashing on the Super Bowl? Not a good sign.)
Case in point.
Lileks is television critic for the American Enterprise Institute magazine
Oh, man, I did not know this. I almost want to pick up a copy of this conservative think-tank's rag just to read what passes for TV criticism in their view. I'm sure it features lots of complaining by Lileks about Battlestar Galactica's leftward turn.
Anyway, his column today at the Bleat: he starts out by saying he's sad to see Rumsfeld go, although he doesn't say why. He also says "people whose opinion I respect" called for Rummy's resignation long ago, which is akin to his constant claims that "there are legitimate arguments" for ending the war with Iraq or abandoning the Patriot Act, even though he never says what those arguments are or who is advancing them or why he doesn't accept them. He goes on to pout that we probably aren't going to invade Syria now (which means, I guess, that the constant lethal attacks America suffers at the hands of Syrians will continue unabated) and yammers about his new adventures in consumerism before getting right to the meat.
Trolled around some radio and websites today, and noted something interesting: no rancor.
Oh ho ho, you lying sack of shit, Lileks.
Well, you say, this reflects the circles in which you choose to move, and I suppose it does
In other words, you deliberately avoided all the places you usually go, so that you didn't have to hear them bitching and moaning.
but the places I haunt were not brimming with outrage and fury and tales of Diebold deviltry or voter suppression.
Obviously, as my next post will make clear, he wasn't reading Town Hall.
If anything, mixed among the rue and worry, there was something unexpected: Relief. I’m serious: no one said as much, but I have the feeling that many on the right & center-right are relieved to have this Congress repudiated, as much as they dislike the potential effect of the alternative. Two more years of the same would have been two more years of tentative dithering, culminating in another appeal to hit the polls lest the Republic crumble. But we haven’t seen an innovation in policy or rhetoric since the last election.
As Lileks' guru, Hugh Hewitt, has made abundantly clear, this is going to be the official stance of the right after their complete drubbing at the polls. Even Rush Limbaugh is jumping on this train. Despite the fact that the voters handed a resounding defeat to the G.O.P., sparing some of their fiercest outrage for solid war boosters and social conservatives, the absurd position of these Thursday morning quarterbacks is that the Republicans were defeated because they weren't effective enough -- that is, because they weren't pro-war enough, that they didn't pass enough socially conservative legislation, that they didn't do more to slap down Democrats at ever turn. As this must-read column by Matt Taibbi makes stupefyingly clear, that's nonsense; this Congress was unprecedented in their slavish devotion to the president, their unilateralism, their determination to shut out the opposition. Sure, they were lazy, incompetent and ineffective, but in terms of giving the man at the top what he wanted and freezing out the Democrats, they were top-notch. Arguing that what the voters wanted was MORE conservative action is ridiculous; if that's the case, they might as well give up, because barring a complete transfer of power to the executive branch, they're not getting any better than they got. What the voters wanted was LESS of the conservative cronyism, corruption and kowtowing they got from the 109th, and to spin this as a case of voters wanting a purer form of right-wing ideology is delusional in the extreme.
It is the adult thing to expect you will get half of what you want in politics
Oh, really? That's not what your colleagues think, James. They've spent the last 20 years bitching that any time the GOP loses a vote, it's because liberals are a bunch of traitors who want to destroy America.
As everyone is fond of saying, we need two parties
Oh, really? That's not what your pal Hugh Hewitt thinks, James. He wrote a whole book about how the GOP should make it so they never lose an election again.
I was surprised to learn that the gay marriage amendment in Wisconsin included a ban on civil unions – that strikes me as overkill, to be polite.
"My homophobia being affiliated with the more flagrant homophobia of others makes me uncomfortable."
As I’ve said before, my qualms about redefining marriage have nothing to do with anyone’s sexual preference
Word? So you wouldn't mind, then, if we just made a law stating that from now on, whenever heterosexuals get married, it gets called a civil union? Or are you, heaven forfend, trying to protect a special right that others can't have, which is what the right always accuses the gays of trying to do?
it strikes me as unwise to undo a long-standing institution NOW, PERIOD
Yeah, that's what they said in 1860.
and there’s the issue of child-raising and adoption and whether the state should favor one arrangement over another
or, inevitably, whether the state should permit a private institution to favor one arrangement over the other.
I think they kinda made that decision a while back, when they said that a private institution can't favor one race over another, yeah?
Surely we are still able to say that a male-female dynamic, all other things being equal, have an advantage.
Why in the world would we be able to say that? By what measure? Especially with "all other things being equal", which, as we know, they never are.
You inevitably get sidetracked on a discussion of bad hetero couples and great gay couples, which is interesting but irrelevant
So, in other words, the question of whether or not gays are capable of being good parents is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not gays should be allowed to be parents.
we're talking about state policy here, and if you wish the law to regard the absence of a mother or father as irrelevant, tell me why that's a good thing.
This is the biggest piece of bullshit sophistry since his last column. The question of gay parentage and gay marriage has nothing to do with a mother and father being irrelevant; it has to do with whether or not a parenting arrangement, with the needs of the child being met, can be successful without both a biologically male and biologically female parent. Which means the presence of successful parents where both are male or both are female is supremeley relevant, and this dodge about "regarding the absence of a mother or father as irrelevant" is supremely irrelevant. What needs to be asked in any parenting situation is simply this: is the child being adequately cared for? Giving a shit whether there's a male and a female partner, or if they are legally married, or if they are of the same race, or if one is tall and the other is short, that's all bullshit cosmetics. The important factors are whether the child is loved, whether it feels safe, whether it is well-fed and well-raised, whether it gets a decent education and a stable home life, whether it is economically provided for. Where exactly does the question of 'traditional marriage' or 'male and female' enter into these questions?
Anyway. Point is, I think the majority of Americans wouldn’t balk at civil unions, and I think the same majority would accept laws that afford gay couples the right to have the same benefits as unmarried hetero couples via medical visitation, insurance plans, etc.
You do, huh? Strange those laws aren't already in effect, then.
Unlike 50 years ago, most people know someone who’s out. That tends to soften hearts.
Unless the heart-softening takes the form of allowing gay marriage, in which case it's right out.
But when the matter of civil unions gets twinned with redefining marriage, it appears people will vote against the redefinition regardless of the secondary consequences. Preserving the traditional definition trumps any vague sympathetic acquiescence to some flavor of statutory equality.
So, in other words, people are kind and warm-hearted and giving, unless you actually ask them for equal rights, in which case they will make the obvious choice and favor reactionary conservativism over actual legal equality. You're a pip, Jimbo. And clearly not reliably ideological!