Archive - May 2009

May 22nd

Hate To Love, Hate To Hate, Love To Hate

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A real smorgasbord this week - appreciation for a group I would normally despise, anger toward someone I would normally like, and finally, as a palate cleanser, some traditional stupidity from a traditional source from a traditional state. Makes for an especially disjointed SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY.

First, I need to do something uncharacteristic and strange. I need to thank the millions and millions of people who tuned into the finale of American Idol this week, and voted for Kris Allen, making her the music industry's next great forgettable pop star. Not because I have any idea who she is, or how she sings, or whether she's worthy - I presume the answers to all three are someone I won't be able to escape for a couple weeks, irritatingly, and no, respectively. But she's not named Lambert.

About the only thing in the universe that could make me give even a thin, runny shit about American Idol is the possibility that I might spend the next three months met with "Oh, like the American Idol winner?" Thankfully, that fate is now reserved for the millions of "Allens" in this world, and I'm saved from having several assault charges on my record by July. So, as much as it pains me to say it, yay American public!

I've been holding off on doing a column on Obama's handling of prisoner abuse, detainees, and torture, but things are starting to seem ridiculous. I've mainly been holding off because it's tough to get a handle on. Sometimes it seems like he's simply being careful, getting his political ducks in a row, staying noncommittal until events or the public force his hand, which is irritating, but understandable.

And then there are times, like his speech yesterday, where I'm convinced that on this issue, at least, he's perfectly willing to keep all the dirty little secrets buried so that the Washington power structure he's now fundamentally a part of stays intact. Just like with his abortion speech at Notre Dame, we're told there are two diametrically opposed, ideologically-driven sides to the debate, and Obama wants to find the reasonable, rational middle ground between them.

FUCK THAT. I am sick and tired of being told that the mythical "middle" lives halfway between where the left has always been and wherever the crazy right has moved to now. I'm supposed to move to the middle on abortion NOW, after decades of embryo-fetishists imposing legal restrictions, notification laws, and waiting periods? With clinics under siege and practitioners dwindling? The real "middle" on abortion is to the LEFT of where we are now.

And so it is with torture and terrorist prisoners. Now that the Bush administration has made torture, abuse, murder, indefinite detention of the innocent, and the denial of habeas corpus part of the American tradition, those of us who point out those things are illegal, and that maybe the people who ordered and did them should be held accountable for breaking the law, are one extreme on an ideological spectrum? No. I know Obama gets a lot of mileage out of his whole "post-partisan" thing, but this kind of maneuvering plays right into the way the pundit class and the media in general play every issue. One side says X, the other side says Y, and neither one is right. Except sometimes, one side IS right, and finding a middle ground is justifying and normalizing a significant percentage of wrong.

And finally, because awful, awful excuses are a longstanding traditional topic of this column, I have to give a nod to Arkansas state senator Kim Hendren. Hendren, who is hoping to become a REAL senator in 2010, offered the following statement to explain his word choice. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"At the meeting I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on The Andy Griffith Show. I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way as this took away from what I was trying to say."

I will admit that my knowledge of the Andy Griffith show is not encyclopedic, but I'm pretty sure Barney and Aunt Bee weren't chucking around anti-Semitic epithets every time a couple of Hasidim were caught speeding by Andy. I will say this - from what little of the Andy Griffith Show I -have- seen, any candidate for senator who wants to legislate those values really, really, really needs to lose. I suggest his opponent run ads saying that Hendren supports limiting the ammunition of police officers, releases recidivist alcoholics into the public square, oh, and hates Jews.