[Thursday, May 29, 2003] Baghdad

[Thursday, May 29, 2003]

Baghdad Bob, Don't Leave Us!

Every blogger is dumping on Robert Scheer these days, and even though I'm still in the early "wannabe" blogger stages, I guess I am too. A couple of days ago I found the following absolute gem of a phrase:

"Brownshirt hoodlums of talk radio"
posted by Matt Welch. I just had to post the comment which I have to repeat here, because Scheer is rapidly becoming the Next Big Thing and I don't wanna be left out of the fun. Because when it happens, all we can do is just give in and be carried along by the scheer energy.

As he nears his dotage, Scheer's memory neurons strain and sputter, until at last distant shreds of 1960s sound bytes manage to trickle feebly within range of his diminishing mental grasp... The result is a bizarre, left-wing mutation of vintage Spiro Agnew -- best known for gems like "Nattering nabobs of negativism!", "Effete corps of impudent snobs!", and "Anile agitprops of antiwarism!"

I dearly love it!

I wish someone could tell Scheer about the great Robert Scheer Canard-O-Matic, which has been making the blog rounds. (Mike Silverman's version was almost as funny as Scheer's inspiring columns.)

In terms of "scheer" buffoonery, the guy is fast becoming a national treasure -- and in terms of entertainment value he's catching up with the beloved but missing Iraqi Information Minister.

Anyway, I want more Scheer! (And the stories are everywhere!)

If he is fired, though, where will we get such much-needed comic relief?

Ancient satirists would have loved this guy!




[Thursday, May 29, 2003]

Dying for freedom?

I consider this sort of thing to be the ultimate betrayal of those who died to help the forces of freedom.

They did NOT die to help these dark forces of Islamic tyranny!

My blogdaddy Jeff has already noted Amnesty International's complete hypocrisy on the subject. Checking out Amnesty's web site, I found not one word about the emerging Islamic tyranny in Iraq. (If anyone does, please let me know.) I haven't seen much blogging on this subject yet, but I can't wait! I guess the bloggers will have to do what is supposed to be Amnesty's job.

Next thing we'll see is a Mullahocracy move to strangle the Internet blogbabies in their cradle. That's exactly what a lot of people would like to do here, but we still have that pesky First Amendment.


[Wednesday, May 28, 2003]

When you're dead, who cares if you're White or Male?

I wanted to address a concern expressed earlier (by a rather cool guy) about dead white males, but before I do that, I want to express my gratitude to Mike Silverman for two things:

1. For not complaining when I stole his Mad Libs version of the famous Scheer "Canard-O-Matic" and used it as a Republican Schism-O-Matic. I am still learning about basic rules of propriety in blogdom, and the best way to learn is to make up the rules as you violate them. (Maybe violate the rules as you make them up.)

2. For turning me on to the ultimate book on dead white males, a lovely book called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. A real gem of gallows humor, and I don't know how I'll ever manage to die without it. ("You are a person and then you cease to be a person, and a cadaver takes your place.") Death lives on!

On to the connection of "classical values" with dead white men. And my thanks to Josh for getting me started.

AIDS killed most of my friends -- leaving me alone to ponder the paradox of my survival. I lived merely because I didn't like to get fucked -- which seems unfair. But who asked this hitherto unknown virus about fairness? My friends are now mostly dead white males, which is the destiny of all who were born male and Caucasian. I certainly do not consider any of their ideas to be any less valid now that they are dead any more than I considered them invalid because of race or sex when they were alive.

The ancients did not judge ideas or people by skin color, nor did they devalue ideas because the person who had them died. I think confusion has been created because fundamentalist extremists -- in the glorious tradition of those who gave us the Inquisition, witch hunts, torture, religious wars, and death -- attempt to claim our past in their name. They claim that "traditional values" are their bigoted fundamentalist values, and hence they have a right to force them on the rest of us. They ignore the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and numerous other attempts to liberate Western civilization from such tyranny. They even try to insinuate their bigoted beliefs into our own American revolution. The problem is, they were here all along, and even the founders had to accommodate their intolerance and their slavery lest there be no America to found.

What disturbs me is to see so many people who don't take the time to educate themselves all too willing to throw the Greek-Roman "baby" out with the fundamentalist "bathwater."

That baby was the seed of freedom, art, creativity, and free spirituality, and it proved too much for the forces of control that claim the right to tell man what to do in the name of their tyrannical deity. So, they gave the baby a vicious, gratuitous bath. A very dirty bath it was: bloody, murderous, barbaric, deliberately ignorant. Over the centuries people who yearn for freedom have tried to throw out the bathwater and we have seen periods like the Renaissance -- only to see the baby grabbed anew and then thrown once again into the dark and terrible waters of Puritanism, Calvinism, and the Inquisition. They've scalded, beaten, burned and drowned the baby, and cut off pieces of its genitalia. They have smashed, looted and burned, destroying beauty every step of the way.

Yet in spite of all this, the baby (which I call Classical Values), still lives. It would be tragic if, in a reaction against the horrible bloody bathwater, the baby is thrown out along with it. If we toss out Greco-Roman values simply because of the excesses of fundamentalist Judeo-Christianity, then I fear that a wave of malignant nihilism could eventually destroy the good aspects of our culture, much as Rome was trashed and sacked by Visigoths and Vandals in the Fifth Century (and then again by Protestant fundamentalists in 1527.)

Extremist utopian thinking (which characterizes much of the fundamentalist right as well as the Marxist left) springs in my opinion from the dark, intolerant side of Judeo-Christianity which is steeped in authoritarianism and believes in moral compulsion by force. While fundamentalists claim to be acting for God, and Marxists claim to be acting for man (or "science") the underlying motive -- perfecting man by force -- is the same. Whether sexual morality at gunpoint (fundamentalism) or economic morality at gunpoint (Marxism), the logical fallacy is similar, and, I believe, is grounded in misinterpretation of religious texts.

I for one do not believe that Judaism (a highly civilized and tolerant religion) is responsible for the tyranny that uses its name in that hyphenated word which has become code language for fundamentalism. Nor is Christianity (especially its original version) responsible per se. Nor are dead white males as a group. It is wrong to blame individuals for the acts of others merely because they are done in their name. But some individuals really are the problem. Some of them are alive.

And some of them, I really wish they would join this guy, and after that, just stay dead!

posted by Eric on 05.29.03 at 12:26 AM











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