ridicules Maureen Dowd. That probably doesn't sound so hard; it's sort of like playing chess against a chicken. The outcome isn't really ever in doubt; the only real question is whether or not the chicken actually comprehends to some small degree that it has been soundly trounced.
So too it is with Maureen Dowd.
[Thanks to Instapundit.
Which got us to thinking.
Back in high school, we had an English teacher who told us (yes, "us" -- all 644 of us on the staff at Ace of Spades HQ went to the same school) that sarcasm was the lowest form of humor. She was a good teacher, very reasonable and likable; so we believed her-- sort of.
We always thought sarcasm could be quite funny, so it seemed strange to call it the "lowest" form of humor. What we figured she meant was that it was the easiest
form of humor -- after all, you can be sarcastic by merely repeating what someone has said in that juvenile mocking voice you learned when you were five years old -- though it could occasionally be effective and quite funny.
Of course, there are good examples of truly witty and not-so-easy sarcasm. Raymond Chandler is a past-master at the slightly-erudite sarcastic remark. When cops lean on his detective hero Marlowe, threatening him with jailtime and bodily harm, Marlowe is likely to sarcastically remark, "Why don't you stop scaring me half to death and just say what you've come here to say?"
When a Sunday School teacher visits Marlowe in his office, and then proceeds to tell him how much she disapproves of the fact that he smokes, drinks, keeps late hours and speaks to women of low social standing, Marlowe just fixes her a bemused twinkle and asks, "Would it be all right if I just sat here and peeled an orange?"
But, that quibble aside, we believed our English teacher for a very long time. Sarcasm must be the lowest form of humor; she said so, and she seemed to be pretty much on the ball about most things.
But we've now come to the conclusion that she was flat-out wrong. Sarcasm isn't the lowest form of humor at all. There is one that's lower-- far lower.
What do the following supremely-annoying things have in common?
-- Maureen Dowd
-- Sex & the City
-- Gossip columns, particularly those written by women or those with feminine sensibilities, especially British
-- breezy, bullshitty newsletters from a company or a college
-- the introductory blurbs for porno, of both the hard (Hustler
) and soft (HBO's Real Sex
There is one greivous sin that unites all of them:
Tasteless word-substitutions, groaner puns, strained parallel constructions and forced "funny" analogies/equivalencies-- these are omnipresent in all of the above, from Maureen Dowd's latest vapidity, to those horrible movies that run late at night on Cinemax.
We never realized how stupid wordplay was because a lot of objectively-intelligent people engage in it. And a lot of stupid people are incapable of it. Because there was a correlation between above-average-intelligence and wordplay, we had assumed, wrongly, that wordplay must be somehow intelligent and witty.
Despite the fact that we've always abhorred it.
But goodbye to all that. If low-level pornographers -- as well as Maureen Dowd -- can engage in wordplay so glibly, it can't be a particularly taxing intellectual exercise, now can it?
If you watch Real Sex
or Shock Television
(and, we hate to admit it, but we've seen three or four episodes), you know that whenever they're setting up their next soft-core feature, the narrator (always a breathy-voiced woman) cannot resist calling a big-boob featurette a "trip down Mammary Lane." (Big funny on that!) Nor can the narrator simply say "lesbians;' the thesaurus must always be broken out to give us tasteless word substitutions for "lesbians" -- "Sapphic sisters," "lipstick lovers," etc.
Sex & the City
is one of the most egregiously annoying shows on TV. And it's not just because of the obnoxiously "daring" plots & situations. Chiefly the show is annoying because of Carrie Bradshaw's sing-song, girlish, omnipresent narration, in which you can hear the juvenile self-satisfaction in her voice as she makes her next vile pun or strained analogy.
She thinks she's being clever; what she's really being is obnoxiously cutesy.
No amateur college newsletter can ever call a proper noun by its proper name more than once. If the writer calls the Harvard team -- correctly -- "the Crimson" once in the beginning of his jackass rambling column, he cannot call it "the Crimson" again. Oh no. No, after the first mention, he feels compelled to engage in tasteless and obtrusive word-substitutions for "Crimson." You'll get the Scarlet Scholars, you'll get the "Ruddies," you might even get the Mars Marauders.
Because, you know, it's some sort of a rule that a simple and direct (and correct!) noun can't, like, be used more than once any article.
British tabloids are the worst. Saturday Night Live (a horrible show; don't watch it) is currently doing a spoof of this form of inexcreble television, where cute-'n'-smug co-hosts make nothing but one obnoxious and strained pun after another as they relate various gossip stories.
And Maureen Dowd? Well-- what do we need to say? She had one column titled "The Khan Artist." You can pretty much diagnose the illness from just that.
There are five problems, as we see it, with this sort of tastelessly sophomoric wordplay:
1) It's not funny. At all. Ever.
2) But the speaker or writer is always convinced that it is very
funny indeed, which makes it even worse that it's not funny. Car accidents are also
not funny, but no one is making groaner puns at the scene of an accident.
3) It's not witty. Almost all wordplay is perfectly mechanical. There's no spark of originality in it; it's just match this word with this sort-of-sound-alike word in some sort of a strained analogy and the like. Wordplay is to humor what paint-by-numbers is to art.
4) And yet the devotees of this sort of vile wordplay are convinced that they're being extraordinarily witty and erudite and intellectual when they make their awful
glib quips ("quip" is a word they use a lot in wordplay; because you can't just say "remark" -- "remark" isn't cutesy enough).
Which, again, makes the fact that they're not
being witty all the more difficult to take. They think they're being cute, charming, and witty; what they really are is precious, self-regarding, self-indulgent, attention-starved, thickwitted, and insufferably twee.
5) And finally-- this is the worst of all.
If someone actually has something to say, they usually pick the shortest, clearest, cleanest, least obtrusive
style of writing or speaking in order to communicate their thought. Because their idea
is of primary importance, they choose not to distract the reader from the ideas being conveyed by writing in a style of obtrusive and attention-diverting faux-"cleverness."
Because they're selling their news, their facts, their ideas, their takes or their contentions, they attempt to make the words they use to convey their message as transparent as possible
-- actual invisibility is the unattainable goal -- so that the focus is on the message, and not the messenger, and certainly not on the messenger's "cute" sense of verbal friskiness.
But wordplayers do nothing but
lard up their vile prose with very obtrusive, attention-diverting, "look at me" quips. (There's that word again.) Their prose is not even close to transparent; it's not meant to be. It's meant to be downright opaque. You're not supposed to see the idea through the writing; the writing itself is front and center, and the "idea," such as it might be, being conveyed is in fact nothing more than an excuse, or a hook, for the writing.
Why do they do this?
Because, in almost all instances, they have nothing of any real importance to say.
If they did have something concrete, tangible, and relevant to say, they wouldn't need to resort to the cheap, word-count-padding puns and strained connections that is their forte. If they had anything of genuine interest to say, in other words, they wouldn't need to be wasting your time with peppy pap. (Just wanted to see what this sort of "humor" felt like. It feels like the most sinful sort of self-indulgence.)
A lot of people have nothing to say at various times. There's no shame in that-- if, having nothing to say, you say nothing, and don't waste people's time carrying on like a jackass.
But Maureen Dowd rejects this path. She needs attention (and, to be fair, a paycheck) whether she has something to say or not. She thinks that her droll wordplay and irresistable charm are enough to keep the audience enthralled.
When you have no substance, resort to style. That's an age-old rule. If you have nothing of interest to say, try to say that nothing in a cute, arch, twee manner; perhaps you can keep someone reading your gassy bullshit, at least for 600 words or so.
At least that's Maureen Dowd's rule: Keep it opaque. Keep it obtrusive.
Keep it obnoxiously self-regarding.
And, you know-- she won a Pulitzer, didn't she?
Resolved, then: The lowest form of humor is wordplay
, and its most detestable practitioner is Maureen Effing Dowd.
UPDATE: It's not quite "wordplay," but we see now that we can link the worst director in America, Mr. Spike Lee, into this complaint, if obliquely.
Lee definitely does not favor a transparent direction style that keeps the camera invisible in favor of keeping focus on the story. No, for Spike Lee, the medium is the message; and the medium is always Spike Lee's Show-Offy and Obtrusive Directorial Style (the message always is, "Give me an Oscar").
Critics who should know better whoop it up over Lee's insufferably attention-seeking tricks. He's trying to star in his film's from the curious position of being behind the camera and off-screen. But never, ever does he let you forget who the real star of the show is.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yeah, it's a nothing little post to begin with, but, having decided to write it, we have to add a few things.
First, we guess, wordplay isn't always
bad. We don't mind cute wordplay in silly pop songs, for example; a bit of clever wordplay is often better than the likely alternative, like "Baby, I really love the Dickens out of your booty."
But pop songs are intended to be pure diversions; wordplay is just a vehicle for that intended diversion. It's not as if wordplay is going to distract you from the message
in a Backstreet Boys song, now is it?
(But it can become terrible. We used to adore Elvis Costello -- in the back-attics of our brains, we guess we still do -- but he's prone to unforgiveably bad puns and insufferably self-indulgent wordplay. Too many of his lyrics are just glib filler, empty and trivial, intellecutalized masturbation. "The babbling brooks had better shut up"? What can one say to that lyric, except "Errr, um, actually no. No
, Elvis. No
So we guess our rule on wordplay is much akin to our rule on pornography: Not so much an outright ban as a regime of strict restrictions on time, place, and manner.
Next: We just wanted to say that anyone who writes or performs for others is, to some extent, egotistical and narcissistic. We include ourselves in that. You've got to be a bit of an egotist to think that someone else might want to read your slapdash musings.
But, as narcissistic as we might be, at least we generally (generally!) have something called "a point."
It is narcissism to the third or fourth power to think, as Maureen Dowd apparently does, that not only is your scary-talented writing worth reading when you have something to say, but that your clever, precious style is so compelling that people should want to read you when you have absolutely nothing
to say at all.
Finally, we thought about the idea of "vamping." In case you don't know, a performer is usually said to be "vamping" when he has no script or no prepared material, but attempts to entertain or divert through improvised glibness (or, actually, very practiced false "improvised" material, like Robin Williams).
Vamping is usually something someone is forced to do
, usually because the next performer isn't ready to go on so the emcee has to stretch to fill the downtime. When the tap-dancing monkeys are flinging feces at their trainer, you ask the emcee to vamp until the monkeys run out of stool.
Some people are good at vamping. Vamping is almost never as good as prepared material (unless the prepared material is absolute dreck), but one can appreciate the heroic efforts sometimes needed to fill up unexpected dead air, even if doing so entails the use of cornball puns and bad impressions.
It occurs to us that, for Maureen Dowd, the prepared material was all exhausted sometime before the Impeachment trial. And she's been vamping -- stalling -- ever since. She's like a strip-bar emcee on stage stalling for time while Nancy Knockers affixes the pasties on her collosal fun-bags. You can see, and smell, the flop-sweat on her; you can tell she knows she's just one more inexcusable pun away from having a beer bottle chucked at her head.
Either that, or she's convinced herself that she's so damned compelling
an impressario that she can actually just mesmerize a room with whatever stray thoughts pop into her rather vacuous head.
We're not sure which is actually worse-- that she's so vapid she actually can think of nothing to say in these accursedly interesting times, or that she's so damnably self-regarding that she imagines she no longer needs to try to do so.
In Mo Dowd's estimation, points are for little people.
He's Not Vascillating and Weak... He's Just Too Darn Deep & Smart!!!
Mr. Kerry, one of the Senate's experts in foreign affairs, exudes maturity and depth. He can discuss virtually any issue of security or international affairs with authority. What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances and shades of gray in both foreign and domestic policy.
-- The New York Times Editorial Page, endorsing Kerry
Somewhere out there the guy who wrote that Mary Jo Kopechne would appreciate the senior-citizen advocacy Ted Kennedy was doing for her, had he not killed her and had she therefore lived long enough to reach old age
, is reading this endorsement and thinking, "Well-played, Old Man. Touche,
New York Times, touche
Who Am I?
Via Instapundit and TinyVital.
DRUDGE BREAKING: SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IS DOING SOMETHING INVOLVING DISNEY!!!
Catch the full details!!!!
Wow. We're all simultaneously shocked and stunned.
We don't ever bother reading these links, because we don't share Drudge's ongoing fascination with Michael Eisner and the rest of the gang. But since he's linking these stories like a mojobuster, day in, day out, we figured for once we'd link them too.
Even if we have no idea what the story might be saying.
One day we suppose we will care about Disney.
That day, however, is not today.
"The Way They... Surround a Story" about The Passion
As Instapundit says: Oh, that liberal media bias:
The producer, director and co-writer of "Passion" did not sidestep questions about the over-the-top violence in the crucifixion-centered pic --- "I wanted to push people to the edge" --- but said he mainly fiddled with the sound level and tempered the music. More recently, he shot two additional flashbacks --- in the heart of porn territory , no less -- that focus on the teachings of Christ.
What the F could this possibly mean? That the extra scenes were shot in the Valley, where a lot of porno movies shoot? It's LA, moron-- most things are shot there, and especially porn.
Can you imagine any media report noting that a liberal-stroking film -- one about, say, a successful and loving gay marriage -- had pick-ups and re-shoots in "the heart of porn territory, no less"?
We think they'd find such a detail perfectly irrelevant.
So-- how does it suddenly become relevant with regard to The Passion
How low, precisely, are these people willing to go? We're just looking for a ballpark basement.
Andrew Sullivan Civility Watch
Andrew Sullivan enjoys making a fetish out of "political civility" -- at least, that is, when he's not engaging in incivil name-calling himself. When he's not slandering his opponents with nasty name-calling and innuendo, he's capable of working himself into a frothing righteous rage about those who engage in incivil dialogue.
THE TWO EXTREMES: ... And then, along comes Sean Hannity, whose new book has the following obscene title: "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism." Why obscene? It is obscene for Hannity to purloin a sentence from the Lord's Prayer in order to advance his partisan political views. And yes, it is also obscene to equate terrorism and despotism with liberalism. Hannity isn't worthy to speak the word "liberalism," a long and complicated and deeply Western political tradition that is the only reason he can actually publish a book like this and face only criticism. To place it in the same context as "terrorism" reveals that this man has no understanding of what this war is about. It's a war in defense of liberalism, in defense of pluralism, in defense of the various peaceful Western political traditions that Islamo-fascism would snuff out in an instant. Even if he wants the word "liberalism" to describe merely a kind of decadent left-liberalism, it's still unconscionable. Peaceful Democratic leftists, however misguided, are not terrorists. Hannity, of course, is a thug. But that shouldn't mean we should simply ignore this kind of slur. This moral equivalence is as disgusting when it appears on the right as it is when it appears on the left. So why is the right so quiet when it is displayed by one of their own?
Hmmmm... Good question. We'll soon see if "the Left" -- i.e., Andy Sullivan himself -- is willing to condemn such talk when it comes from the mouths of his political allies... or even from his own overworked mouth.
But let's recap: it's wrong to use war-language -- war analogies, war metaphors, etc. -- when discussing internal, peaceful politics. To conflate internal political rivals with external enemy combatants is wrong. It's just wrong
-- damnably wrong -- to deem an opposition political actor or movement a "terroris" or "enemy."
Or at least it's wrong for a social conservative to do so. Apparently it's not quite so wrong for Andy Sullivan to do so.
Here's Sullivan on the new "war" Bush declared on him and his boyfriend (and, one must imagine, his gay-friendly beagles as well) as well as Sullivan's declaration of a war of resistance against Bush:
WAR IS DECLARED: The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land....
NO MORE PROFOUND AN ATTACK: ... There can be no more profound attack on a minority in the United States - or on the promise of freedom that America represents. That very tactic is so shocking in its prejudice, so clear in its intent, so extreme in its implications that it leaves people of good will little lee-way. This president has now made the Republican party an emblem of exclusion and division and intolerance. Gay people will now regard it as their enemy for generations - and rightly so. ...
We must oppose this extremism with everything we can muster.
Sounds a bit ominous with Sullivan speaking the language of violent armed struggle.]
We must appeal to the fair-minded center of the country that balks at the hatred and fear that much of the religious right feeds on. We must prevent this graffiti from being written on a document every person in this country should be able to regard as their own. This struggle is hard but it is also easy. The president has made it easy. He's a simple man and he divides the world into friends and foes. He has now made a whole group of Americans - and their families and their friends - his enemy. We have no alternative but to defend ourselves and our families from this attack. And we will.
We're so glad that Sullivan takes time out from his insufferable prickery, from his frothing sermonettes against name-calling, incivility, and using the language of war -- "enemy," "attack," "war," etc. -- to describe internal political disputes, in order to engage in name-calling, incivlity, and using the language of war to describe internal political disputes.
We're also quite pleased that Sullivan is above all that "hatred and fear" stuff that he decries in his "enemies" who "attack" him. And we're certain he'd never call his opponents "thugs" -- oh wait, he just did, didn't he?
Andrew Sullivan has always been a fundamentally shrill and emotional creature. He's got all the emotional control and intellectual consistency of a mid-pubescent eighth-grade schoolgirl.
And, by the way, in case you're wondering: The first post quoted is from yesterday-- Tuesday. The second quoted post -- contradicting the first in every detail -- is from Monday
. Yeahp-- the very day before.
Sullivan really ought to learn to control these sudden, wild, erratic mood swings.
Another Shock: John Kerry Ahead in French Primary
It's a genuine story:
ST.-BRIAC-SUR-MER, France-- Sen. John Kerry is not running for president here, but if he were, he would clinch the town's vote.
Call it partly anti-Bush backlash after months of Iraq-related mudslinging across the Atlantic, but it cannot hurt that the Massachusetts Democrat summered as a child in this picturesque village, hugging Brittany's rocky shores. Or that Mr. Kerry's cousin happens to be mayor of St. Briac.
"I know my cousin, and I know he has a clear view of the rest of the world," said 58-year-old Brice Lalonde. "And sometimes the rest of the world feels a little bit left out, not understood by the United States."
"I must say too," added Mr. Lalonde, a former French environment minister and one-time presidential candidate, "his environmental policies are much better than Mr. George Bush's."
There are no pro-Kerry rallies or presidential stump speeches in this village of 2,000 year-round residents, which quintuples in size during the summer. The few Kerry-for-president stickers are stashed at St. Briac's tiny town hall. But in this 16th-century village of thick stone cottages and budding apple trees, residents such as Stephanie Lagand quietly are rooting.
"Honestly, I don't like Bush's politics," said the 29-year-old newspaper-shop owner, who moved to St. Briac three years ago. "Mr. Kerry seems quite nice. And he's got this French background."
Our Sensitive Media Reviews The Passion...
...and WorldNetDaily reviews them.
Shocker: Reviewers who have previously praised ultraviolent movies for their craft and visceral effectiveness are suddenly terribly, terribly put off by all that icky blood in The Passion. They're attempting to warn the public away by claiming the film is too gory.
Oh, but they did love Natural Born Killers
, didn't they? That film was an homage to serial murder, with unrepetentent and charismatic killers as its heroes (and they were heroes-- they had more integrity than anyone else in the film's fictive reality). And, in fact, NBK has inspired several
sets of spree killers to commit murders in real-life.
But Oliver Stone's "artistic vision" cannot be criticized. To criticize him for this monstrous film would constitute de facto censorship.
Stone's cynical portrayal of serial murderers as charismatic heroes of a world gone mad -- which, by the way, is how 80% of real-life serial killers see themselves -- for no greater purpose than to sell movie tickets is immune from criticism.
Mel Gibson, of course, is a "wacko" who hates Jews.
Blog Love for FloridaCracker
Since we've cannibalized two of his biggest finds in our last two posts, we think we owe FloridaBlogger some traffic kickback.
So this time, we won't provide the link to the article nor the details.
We'll just tease it. So then you'll have to go to FC for the full story.
Here's the tease:
Somewhere, some afro-centric charter school is guilty of horrible underperformance. The kids ain't learning.
So the charter school is going to make use of a $125,000 federal grant.
For what purpose, you ask?
To hire more teachers, maybe?
To hire better
What would you say if we told you that $125,000 of federal money -- your
money -- won't be going to actually improve the school at all, but merely to buy PR to convince the community that the school isn't really all that bad?
And then, hypothetically, what would you say if we told you that the PR effort would consist of forcing the kids at the school to "tell their story" (i.e., basically lie about how great this failing school is) in "their own ways," to wit, "through song, rap, dance, plays and stepping"?
(Apparently the children can't tell "their story, in their own way," via math, reading, writing, or the like. That would be unfair to those majoring in Double-Dutch.)
What would you say to all of that?
FloridaCracker hasthe full details.
Well, Well, Well: Did the Sensitive Senator Shirk His Duty in Vietnam?
And did he exaggerate the extent of his wounds?
Apparently a biography by Boston Globe reporters is about to be published, asking those questions and more:
The book, JF Kerry, the Complete Biography, will question the extent of his injuries in Vietnam and whether he was entitled to an early release from the war.
Vietnam, The Washington Post opined at the weekend, "is a double-edged issue" for the 60-year-old Democratic frontrunner. Kerry has not authorised the release of his war records - a strange omission, say his political foes, given the ferocity with which his supporters have demanded to see every last document of Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard.
"Vietnam is such a crucial part of his background and his campaign, you would think he would want people to see them," said Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, a conservative journal. "There is going to be pressure on him to release them."
Kerry's conduct during the war, however, was until now thought to be sacrosanct....
Kerry served only four months of a year-long tour of duty after he received three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action. The injuries were not serious; by his own account, one shrapnel wound laid him off for two days and the other two did not interrupt his duties.
Five of his friends died in action and his medals show that, at the very least, he had several brushes with death. The future senator then invoked what he insists was a "three and you're out" rule enabling a soldier with three Purple Hearts to be sent home.
He requested a transfer and was given a plum job as an admiral's aide in Brooklyn. He returned to the US a bitter opponent of the war and was released from the army early.
In response to an inquiry from The Sunday Times, Kerry's campaign staff gave the newspaper a copy of naval regulations stating that "all naval personnel" who are "wounded three times, regardless of the nature of the wound or the treatment required for each wound" may be reassigned.
A spokesman for the US Navy said, however, that such redeployment was not automatic: "It would depend a lot on the nature of the injuries."
Ted Sampley, who runs Vietnam Vets Against John Kerry, said if a soldier could be sent home for minor wounds, "there would have been a lot of people claiming scratches, getting their Purple Hearts and getting out of there".
Sampley believes that the well-connected Kerry - photographed with president John F.Kennedy as a young man - simply received favourable treatment. "How many other people were able to get out of Vietnam early and be reassigned to a cushy post?" he said.
And note that Kerry served for four months
in Vietnam. Now, that's four months more than any of us at Ace of Spades (although we were all unborn before Tet), and it's four months more than George W. Bush.
But how many of you knew this? That he spent four months
in Vietnam before requesting an early out, based upon his three light wounds? Did you all assume -- as we did -- that Kerry spent one or two years over there?
Did anyone in the media bother telling you about this tidbit?
What, do you suppose, accounts for this omission?
Four months in Vietnam is four months in Hell, certainly. But for God's sakes-- this man has been running on those four fucking months
his entire adult life.
It's like doing well for a single semester of college and then coasting on that sweet 4.0 average for the rest of your fucking life.
And what is this "automatic three wounds and you're out" rule that Kerry maintains existed but other Naval officers seem to think only applied to serious
injuries, of which Kerry received not even a one?
brought this to our attention -- again. Maybe we ought to just start subcontracting our all of our blogging to him.
UPDATE: We need to clarify. Certainly there are genuine veterans and heroes who served four months, or less, in Vietnam; some brave men were killed or savagely wounded on their first day of deployment. We don't mean to suggest that one is not a hero for "merely" serving in Vietnam for four months.
But we're angry, as per usual, at the media. The media knows the public -- ourselves included -- has been assuming, and continues to assume, that John Kerry's tour in Vietnam was at least a full one, if not multiple tours. We assume that because no one in the media
-- who have access to all of this, of course -- has bothered to cure us of our erroneous assumptions,
and they've not done that, of course, because the realize the mythical Two Years in Vietnam Kerry is more attractive and heroic than the actual Four Months in Vietnam Before Requesting a Sketchy Reassignment Based on Superficial Wounds and His Family Connections Kerry.
The media's job is to dispassionately inform the public of facts and details. Except, of course, when that imperative conflicts with their culture- and class- informed mission of getting liberals elected to high office.
John Kerry himself has told us an awful lot about his four months in Vietnam-- all except the part about "four months," and except the part about demanding reassignment based on three light woundings.
John Kerry thinks that Vietnam service is relevant. So does the media, at least when they understand that believing so helps a liberal.
If it's relevant-- let's have the facts. Let's not just have Kerry's spin on the facts.
John Kerry: On Second Thought, Maybe You Shouldn't "Bring it On"
Our blog brother-in-arms, BostonIrish,
pointed out to us last week the striking incongruity between John "Flipper" Kerry's macho taunt to Bush -- Bring it On!, the "it" meaning the debate on foreign policy -- and then immediately whining that Bush was impugning his "patriotism" when Bush's allies did, in fact, begin to "Bring it On!"
[By the way: BostonIrish didn't blog this. He's on sabbatical, hunting anacondas in the Amazon basin or something. He'll be back March 3rd, and blogging like a bastard.]
But back to Kerry.
You claim, Senator, to be unafraid of a debate with Bush on the issue. If this is the case, why do you attempt to shut down all debate with your limpwristed whine about "patriotism"?
who's been blogging a log of great stuff lately ("great stuff" meaning "worthy of theft"), links to this excellent article by CK Rairden
. Rairden makes the same point BostonIrish did-- and we're getting steamed all over again about it:
"Now, George Bush and Karl Rove say that they intend to make national security the central issue of this campaign. Well, I know something about aircraft carriers for real. And if George Bush wants to make national security the central issue of this campaign, we have three words for him we know he understands: Bring it on!" - John Kerry, 2004 on the stump.
In an almost surreal moment leading democratic presidential contender John F. Kerry seemed legitimately shocked and outraged that the Bush campaign did exactly what they said they would do. Begin to make national security a central issue of this 2004 presidential campaign. At Kerry’s "bring it on" invitation the Bush camp began pointing out his historically poor voting record in the Senate on matters of defense and national security over the weekend.
Predictably, Kerry played the patriotism card complaining he was a victim and that the Bush political team was challenging his patriotism by pointing out his voting record. So much so that he drafted a letter, handed copies out to the press and then sent it off to President George W. Bush challenging him to a debate on the Viet Nam War.
It's hard to believe that John Kerry would be so unprepared for these questions on his record.
Kerry had stated ad nauseam that he was ready for any national security questions with a "bring it on" mantra that now appears to be nothing more than an applause line. But try as he might, he will not be able to run from this mantra by attempting to deflect legitimate criticism into complaints that his patriotism is under attack. America is at war, and the Kerry campaign would serve itself better to prepare answers, not excuses and victimization. The Bush campaign telegraphed their strategy to question John Kerry's long congressional voting record, and Kerry invited it, stated that he was prepared for it by delivering his signature applause line at every stop on the stump. "Bring-----It----On."
The invitation has been accepted. The Bush team is ready to "bring it."
The Sensitive Senator's whines remind us of the terrific put-down delivered by Lee Marvin to an antagonistic fellow general in The Dirty Dozen.
"I had heard that you were cold and unfeeling," Marvin deadpans. "But now that I've met you, I realize you're really quite... emotional
And if that's too subtle, it also reminds us of the opening of the superb comedy Old School
"My seat-belt seems to be broken,'" a somewhat sensitive Luke Wilson informs his cabbie. "What do you suggest I do about that?"
"I suggest you stop being such a faggit," the cabby replies.
The Sensitive Senator would do well to heed this time-tested principle of leadership. "Faggit" is of course a homosexual slur, but it also does related duty as a general impugnment of one's toughness and masculinity.
This brave warrior really ought to grow a pair.
The Sensitive Senator has shown up for a football game amidst a lot of macho talk about knocking his opponents' dicks in the dirt, but he is now calling the refs over for a special rule, applicable only to him-- for the Sensitive Senator, the two-hand-touch rule will be in effect, and furthermore, they must be light
touches. No hard slapping.
We suggest he stop being such a... well, so exquisitely senstitive and overwroughtly emotional. Such traits do not inspire confidence in a potential Commander-in-Chief. Let's leave it at that.
OUTRAGE! Over the FMA
Over at Andrew "Flip" Sullivan's web-site, he's getting a lot of letters from "outraged Republicans" who claim that they're "shocked and saddened" that the party historically representing social conservatism, traditionalism, and legislative primacy over the activist judiciary has been so uncouthe as to champion social conservativism, traditionalism, and legislative primacy over the activist judiciary.
It's not that we doubt that all of these letters from "ex-Bush voters" and "former diehard Republicans" are actually coming from conservatives who are upset to see the conservative party practicing conservatism.
We're sure they're all quite genuine. We know that, because our own servers are clogged up with similar letters from former Republicans who will now be voting reliably liberal in the future.
We're pleased to present a few representative emails from the literally hundreds of thousands
we've received in the past 24 hours:
Ace of Spades,
I'm a long-time Republican voter. I have voted for each and every Republican presidential candidate since I was a fervent Goldwaterite in the year that started it all, 1964.
Now that Bush has announced his opposition to judges imposing gay marriage on the country, however, I have changed my registration from 'Republican' to 'Democratic.' I will be wholeheartedly supporting whichever Democrat wins the nomination for the Democratic Party Candidate.
Especially if that Democrat is myself.
Representative Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
As your longtime friend and trusted media colleague, it is with greatest reluctance that I write to tell you that forthwith I shall be abandoning my strident support of the GOP. Furthermore, I shall be open (however reluctantly) to the possibility of voting for, and perhaps campaigning on behalf of, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
As you well know, for the entirety of my adult life I've been dedicated to the core conservative mission of preserving the fragile institutions that make our American civilization possible. I have campaigned tirelessly on behalf of sexual restraint and modesty.
However, I am shocked and chagrined that my so-called "representatives" would seek to encode personal sexual morality into the document that gives life to our precious nation.
I will still be attending Bible-study with you and the regular group. However, I think it would be best were you to stop inviting me to your various political roundtables.
Yours in Christ,
Owner and Publisher of Hustler Magazine; President and CEO of Hustler Worldwide Entertainment; Professional Parasitic Crotch-Maggot
Didja ever notice that it's only men who seem truly
interested in mastering the delicate craft of the handjob?
-- Andy Rooney
P.S. Please cancel my subscription to National Review. I'm not sure if you're the right person to contact about this. But have you ever noticed how hard it is to cancel a magazine subscription over the phone? Didja ever notice they just give you the runaround and keep you on the phone forever?
That's gold. That's my topic for next week. That, and adult diapers.
Gor blimey! Gov'ner, I leave the States for a 'alf 'our and there's suddenly nothin' but Barney Rubble. (That's trouble, for those of you what don't speak Cockney rhyming slang.) I'm on Chivas Regal (that's Cockney for "pins and needles") over this bleeding gay marriage amendment.
I'm leavin' the bloody Republican Party, mate. I'm out. Enough with all that rot. If you lot are going to try to define marriage, well I'm afraid you've all gone off your trolleys, Old Man.
Pornographer/Eighties Kitsch Act/Woman Who Apparently Suffers from an Odd Form of Mild Retardation Causing Her to Speak in a Very Bad British Accent
CIA Dropped the Ball on 9-11 Terrorist... Under Clinton
Via Drudge, and probably via everybody else, too.
There were mistakes made by the Bush Administration before 9-11. The media has been all to eager to investigate these mistakes, while meanwhile remaining scrupulously disinterested in the errors and general fecklessness of Clinton's anti-terror policies.
Apparently, the media generally reads from the general Clinton playbook, deciding that it's time to "move on" from investigating any mistakes Clinton may have made, whether sexual or security-related.
But this one story is, at least, a step in the right direction. If the liberal media wants a "full accounting" about the mistakes that led to 9-11, they can hardly demand a selective
"full accounting" that conveniently avoids an examination of the Clinton-Gore-Kerry record.
Roger Ebert's Review of "The Passion of the Christ"
We have little use for Ebert, but a lot of people apparently do. After insulating himself with various caveats and such in order to show just how secular and liberal he is,
he gives The Passion
a somewhat-unexpected four stars (out of four).
If even this kneejerk liberal can't help but lavish praise on the movie's craft and effectiveness, it must be awfully good.
Dick Morris: Kerry's Path to White House Depends on Ignoring War on Terrorism
Many administration advisers are, no doubt, echoing what strategist Bob Teeter told me in 1988 when I suggested that Bush Sr. focus on the need to improve the economy as he ran against Mike Dukakis. "The more we talk about the economy, the more we lower our ratings. People come to believe that the economy is bad when we say it is," he said. His words rang in my ears when I worked to switch Bill Clinton from traditional Democratic pessimism to a generic incumbent optimism about the economy in 1996.
But now Bush must do the opposite. The more Americans think he has succeeded in mitigating the terrorist threat, the more they vote for Kerry. The more they feel that terrorism is still at our doorstep - as it is - the more they back Bush as the better wartime leader.
The traditional incumbent recipe of claiming success backfires here. Bush must make clear to us all the threats that remain, not try to take credit for the end of the terror danger. He must make the most of what he has yet to achieve, rather than try to sell his successes.
Morris notes that "Terrorism" is rated as only the fourth
most important issue among voters. And that's pretty stupid. Bush, he notes, cannot allow that stupidity to stand unchallenged.
In short, Bush has to avoid the Winston Churchill syndrome. He can't be perceived as so successful in his efforts to defend America that his continued presence at the helm is deemed unnecessary.
Please Krauthammer Don't Hurt 'Em
The good doctor
unloads on Kerry, the Democrats, and the liberal media for crying about Republican "negativity" while spending two years calling Bush a liar, traitor, and deserter.
Didja Ever Notice that Liberals are Hypocrites?
And didja ever notice that Andy Rooney is a nasty knee-jerk liberal?
Let's compare Andy Rooney's sensititivity to first amendment issues in two different contexts.
First, let's check out this nasty old crank when he comments upon Janet Jackson bearing her pierced nipple during an S&M pantomime broadcast over the airwaves to millions of children.
Here, the vile old crank seems pretty blase:
I did see reruns on television later in my hotel room, and I thought the guy grabbing his crotch with his clothes on was more offensive than Janet Jackson's breast with her shirt off.
With all the filth on television and in the movies, I don't know what the uproar was all about anyway. We all know what a breast looks like.
They say children were watching but there's nothing most kids haven't seen by the time they're about 7. One of the most offensive moments involved a horse's rear end during a beer commercial. Did that really sell beer?
One guy on stage wore the American flag as a poncho.
Yes yes, he claims he's "more offended" by the various other distateful displays at that halftime show. But this is Standard Liberal Operating Procedure (SLOP). Given an opportunity to condemn bad behavior, always engage in a fit of moral relativism that shifts the focus away from the instant outrage and allegedly mitigates it by comparison.
Does anyone really believe this whiny old bastard was actually offended by Kid Rock's disrespectful use of the flag?
Of course he wasn't; he certainly wouldn't be writing a column about it, had Jackson not showed the world her drooping mommysac. He's only bringing up the flag-poncho in an effort to say, "What's the big deal about the tit?" Had there been no tit, there would also have been no "offesiveness" to be found in Kid Rock. Or the beer ads. Or anything else, really.
So: Mr. Rooney displays an awful lot of tolerance and laissez-faire attitude towards highly sexualized nudity displayed to children without warning on a broadcast channel during the dinner hour.
So certainly he'll display at least
the same "let the market deciede" attitude towards Mel Gibson's Passion film. After all, the film will be rated R, and everyone will be warned what's in it, and of course everyone will have to seek the film out to see it. They won't have surprise-crucifixions broadcast into their homes unexpectedly as they attempt to watch, for example, Sex & the City.
Surely, if he's so latitudinarian and protective of Miss Jackson's alleged right to engage in child-directed Cinemax-level pornography, he'll certainly
be respectful of Mel Gibson's right to make a film about Christ without being slandered for doing so.
Here he is on Gibson and his film.
Pretending to be speaking to the All Mighty, Rooney relates these opinions of God Himself:
"Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you'd tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that's one of your current words. They're crazy as bedbugs, another earthly expression. I created bedbugs. I'll tell you, they're no crazier than people," said God.
"As far as Mel Gibson goes, I haven't seen his movie, 'The Passion of the Christ,' because it hasn't opened up here yet. But I did catch Gibson being interviewed by Diane Sawyer. I did something right when I came up with her, didn't I," added God. "Anyway, as I was saying, Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him? Listen, we all make mistakes."
My question to Mel Gibson is: "How many million dollars does it look as if you're going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?"
Hmmmmm. In the earlier column, Rooney feigned an attitude of "What does it matter what people watch?" He deliberately avoided any language that could be construed as even mildly critical of Janet Jackson. He retreated by implication, as per usual, into the dishonest liberal claim that nearly all "artisitic expressions" are above condemnations, or even criticisms; to do so would constitute virtual censorship. He then excused away her bad behavior by suggesting that there are, after all, worse things in the world one could possibly watch.
But when it comes to Gibson's film about the death of Christ, it turns out that Rooney is
capable of scorning someone's artistic expression after all. Apparently not all
artisitic expression is to be insulated from condemnation and scorn; it seems that if someone dares to make a heartfelt film about his beliefs about Christ, then
one can let loose with the "wacko" and "extremist" name-calling. But not for exposing a tit for children in a pyrotechnic S&M circus; oh dear no, we wouldn't want to chill Ms. Jackson's free speech by speaking even the mildest criticism of her.
It does turn out that, to liberals, there is
something far worse than broadcasting an S&M peepshow to unexpecting children. And that is making a movie about Christ which could be seen by ANY children. Or any adults. Or anybody, period.
"We all know what a breast looks like," he claimed when dealing with Janet Jackson's outrage, ignoring the inconvenient fact that young children actually don't
know what a breast looks like, and ten to fifteen year olds know
what a breast looks like, but we usually try to keep displays of bare breasts out of their range of vision. It should be noted that most 15 year old boys "know" what child molestation consists of, but that's not license for Mr. Rooney to bang a couple of them, now is it?
And furthermore-- well, Andy, we all know what a crucified Christ looks like, too. Certainly we've seen enough Catholic crosses. If merely "knowing" what something looks like is enough to render the display of that thing inoffensive, why does Rooney clearly take such offense to Gibson's filmed depiction of Christ's crucifixion?
One day liberals are going to have to explain to us whether or not the sincere practice of the Christian religion is still permitted in this country, or if it is now deemed such a vicious and gutter practice that it sinks to the level of racism or outright hate-crime.
Didja ever notice that liberals seem well on their way towards getting the practice of Christianity officially branded de facto
incivil and anti-social behavior?
Men sucking face at Disneyworld, no problem. Halftime S&M acts broadcast without warning to children, no problem.
But a film about Jesus?
A society must have its limits, after all.
No "Distraction": Zarqawi's Top Bomb-Maker Killed in Fallujah Firefight