April 9, 2008 - April 2, 2008
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
alternative lefty cover art for Ann Coulter's book "Treason."
WILL BE MAWRITES
. You know how it goes. You take a stand, you put
your self on the line with that stand, and then someone who's supposed
to be on your side betrays you by proving that your
side is as bad as their
side. That's how I feel right
now. Who could possibly have picked a worse time to defend
Ann Coulter? I mean, she just called John Edwards a "faggot."
This time I feel as if it had been done to me. I throw my not
(in)considerable weight behind the greater civility
of conservatives and then, as if on cue, the one conservative who does
need some defending goes out
of her way to make a total monkey out of me by calling John Edwards a
It's just terrible. Unforgiveable. Captain Ed was actually too
restrained in his condemnation
of Ms. Coulter's tactlessness:
What the ACU did was provide a platform
endorsed by a number of conservative groups to Coulter, who then abused
it for her own purposes. If we are to tolerate speakers at such
convocations using hateful and inflammatory language, then we're
endorsing it and adopting it for our own. I'm not going to stand by and
watch a movement that has the power to free people and protect liberty
get hijacked by someone who treats us as a straight man for her own
idea of a joke.
She called him a faggot
imagine how hurtful that is. The poor man suffers every single day from
the fact that his sexual proclivities could finish his political career
off in an instant -- just like NJ governor Jim McGreevy -- and he goes
throuh the daily torture of watching youthful and athletic aides dash
by him with their spectacularly tight buns while he can't do thing one about it
and then comes the unkindest cut of all. What could be worse? It's
like stripping the man naked and putting a
photo of him in that state on the cover of a book for everyone to jeer
So now I'm speaking to Ann Coulter. Not to all the justifiably outraged
liberals. Just to Ann. Please please
try to put yourself in John Edwards's place. Try to imagine what it
would be like to be made a figure of lewd fun by those who have the
power to scoff and humiliate on the national stage. Have you given even
a moment's thought to how how it must feel to be
John Edwards -- a truly handsome
man with a fat old wife -- a youngish fiftyish fellow with golden locks, a boyish face, and an insatiable appetite for beautiful young men
who would be as attracted to you as you are to them, if only
you didn't have this
messianic passion for saving the world from the heartless trial lawyers
who whore themselves out to the richest pricks of all for cold hard
For God's sake, woman. How would you
feel if mere political adversaries used the crudest possible sexual
humiliations to sabotage your message? You'd probably feel kind of
angry and vengeful, wouldn't you? Think about it. That's why you need
to listen to the wisdom of Captain
, and Michelle
, and Laura
, and especially Captain Ed. You know. Women can generally
take the vilest abuse without turning a hair. They're only women, after
all. But a man -- particularly an old man -- has an ego as fragile as
the most delicate Venetian glass. It can be shattered by a mere word,
at a great distance, in the softest whisper. Think what you've done to
Captain Ed, woman.
Aren't you ashamed of yourself now?
I'll bet you are. Bitch.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Well, okay, then...
WE'RE NOT RESPONSIBLE
shooting at her in the comments section. It's all they have left.
Why are they so afraid of a woman in a world dominated by Bushitler?
So the Internet's a lot like Carl Jung's supposition about
synchronicity in the universe: Ask a question and the universe will
answer. More about that in a later post, but for now, hats off to the News
, the site that met our challenge of yesterday in
considerably less than 24 hours. Clap hands, everybody:
[T]his is what I found, using what I
deemed -- through a mix of TTLB and 2006's Weblog Award lists -- to be
the 18 biggest Lefty blogs, and 22 biggest Righty blogs. I couldn't
account for the 6-month time period, and I even gave the Lefty blogs a
4 blog advantage. But it didn't make much of a difference.
So how much more does the Left use Carlin's "seven words" versus the
Right? According to my calculations, try somewhere in the range of 18-to-1.
Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds and to all the commenters who helped sort
out the technical issues, as well as the other blogs who spread the
word. All that remains is explaining why this predicted result is
actually meaningful, whether the lefties understand it or not. (They
don't, of course. And they won't. Here's a good example
of a "liberal" response to our little experiment. Don't expect much
more than this from anyone on the left.)
It's not about prudery. At one time or another I've used all the Carlin
words right here at InstaPunk. And I've said them all a great many more
times than I've ever written them. It's no longer the case that anyone
can pretend there are ears which haven't already heard these words,
including the six-year-old golden angel who is your daughter. Go to any
sports stadium in the nation and the person sitting just behind you
will be yelling all of them at the top of his lungs. The freedoms
provided by our culture have produced a general coarseness of speech so
pervasive that even to decry it is to appear naive.
So why does it matter? Because we all know that these words are
automatically offensive to somebody somewhere. Even the most profligate
cussers censor themselves in unfamiliar company whose disapproval they
don't want to engender needlessly. That's also why we use them when we
do. Because they're an explosion of rejection. All those lefty bloggers
-- male and female -- who curse like Scorsese mobsters have people in
their lives around whom they would be embarrassed to utter the words
they pour into their electronic diaries.
But if these words are so effective as communication instruments, why
would anyone be embarrassed to say them at any time? They're good
Anglo-Saxon words, aren't they, with all the virtues of that mother
tongue -- short, direct, onomatopoetic, and oddly evocative of the
things they name in ways that the other mother tongues of English,
Latin and Greek, simply aren't. Consider what many would consider the
most offensive word on Carlin's list. The preferred, polite word is
'vagina,' whose origin is conceptual, meaning in its generic sense
'sheath,' which conveys shape, purpose, and use without any resort to
the senses. It's this very conceptualness which makes it polite,
allowing us to understand the meaning at one remove from its essential
physicalness, to distance ourselves from the fascinatingly perfect
evocation of the thing itself embodied in the word 'cunt.' The
Anglo-Saxon locution is a word that's not about diagrams in medical
textbooks or euphemisms in conversations where ladies and children are
present. It's the exact right name for the unnameable inspiration of
the male sex drive, entirely physical, and possessed of other entirely
physical connotations without end. It's a word of power, almost magical
in its astonishing identity with its subject, and it therefore
represents an outer limit of what words can be and do. Beyond it, there
is only the blankness of what words cannot
be or do. (Also consider what it is so many women object to in this
word: the utter reduction
represents to the purely physical, as well as the unnameable things
below that physicality which, at the limit, suggest that they are but
Recollect that I said an
outer limit. There's more than one. I don't know what the record is
today in our high-tech world, but when I was a kid (a long long time
ago) the word we all accepted and therefore took pride in knowing as
the longest word in the English language was
'antidisestablishmentarianism.' Whether it's still the longest word or
not, it will do as an example of the other outer limit of words, the
purely conceptual. It offers absolutely no appeal to the senses, and
its denotation is so specific that it has no synonyms. It is, in fact,
a word of pure cerebration, so exact in its identification of a
particular school of theology that it almost seems to create its
subject by the magical act of giving it a name. The great children's
book author Dr. Seuss once published a work titled "On Beyond Zebra,"
in which he created a new alphabet that began where our A-Z alphabet
ended. Does anyone else find it ironic that the same philosophy which
gives us the coarseness of the blogosphere has also given us the
"post-modern" academic community in which so-called scholars are
engaged in the process of creating a world of meaningless words that
could be titled "On Beyond Antidisestablishmentarianism"? Read any
academic journal in the humanities, particularly in what should be
understandable disciplines like literature, sociology, and education.
No matter how high your IQ, if you're not a professional academic, you
won't understand a single paragraph of what you read.
So there are at least two limits -- an upper and a lower. (For an
outstanding fictional depiction of the consequences of such limits, see
the Ambrose Bierce story, The Damned Thing
The upper limit is conceptual. The lower limit is physical. When these
limits are transgressed, many if not most people are offended. Not
because they're stupid, but because they're not. When poseurs try to
create distinctions out of thin air by semantic gymnastics that have no
correlative in the physical world, people suspect artifice and fakery
and start to read the fancy neologisms as meaningless blanks. When
advocates resort to primitive physical words in supposed support of
what are claimed to be lofty ideals, people suspect that
scenery-chewing theatrics are being substituted for accurate
observation and read the coarse strings of words and phrases as
This is the answer to an age-old paradox of literature and theater.
People have always used coarse language in their conversations with one
another. The Roman poet Catullus is the exception who proves the rule.
He used all of George Carlin's words and more in his "lyric" poetry.
(He once compared the mouth of a dowager gossip to "the cunt of a
pissing mule." In iambic trimeter.) But for the most part,
writers of every age -- drunks, whoremasters, thieves, and damned souls
though they were -- tended to use Carlin's words sparingly. They
understood that the written word, and the performed word, is somehow
different from every-day life. The great 20th century male chauvinist
drunk and lecher Hemingway never
used the Carlin words, and not because he couldn't have gotten away
with them. He distinctly articulated his conviction that these words
have an impact in print that is so disproportionate to their impact in
real life that their presence on the page is intolerable. If he had
known the term "black hole," he probably would have made that
Two reasons. Both have a common source. First, a writer as good as
Hemingway uses words to control the response of the reader. He wants to
communicate what he sees or thinks without the words getting in the
way. He's even willing to make up new words because they can't possibly
have any connotations other than the ones he gives them. But he's
incredibly reluctant to use words for which the reader has some vast
pre-existing set of unknown connotations. If he makes you too much
aware of the writer who's writing what you're reading, he is no longer
a writer but a performer. (Edgar Allan Poe, for example, routinely used
words he could not have expected his readers to know, and today the
only way to appreciate Poe's writings is as
Second, a writer as good as Hemingway also understands the limits of
words. If he ventures too high into the stratosphere of polysyllabic
German psycho-babble, he knows readers will read the words they don't
know as blanks. He also knows that if he descends to the level of
coarse Anglo-Saxon obscenities, it's a confession of failure. When you
write at the lower limit of words, you are telling the reader there are
words for what you're
trying to communicate and every time you use an obscenity or scatology
you're actually inserting a blank the reader will have to fill in for
herself, from her own experience. If you use the word 'cunt,'
regardless of your intentions, you've suddenly inserted a placeholder
for the whole universe of personal connotations she's developed for
this word. And inevitably, those connotations will instantly redound to
a judgment of you, the person who precipitated the process. All
words at the
limit are duplex channels of this sort. No matter how you slice
that's loss of control. Whatever your purpose in writing.
But imagine that your purpose in writing is to persuade, to make a
rational argument, to display your own superior logic and insight to
those whom you regard as ignorant or somehow in need of instruction.
Why would you choose to load up your prose with blanks that allow
readers to interpret those blanks as statements about you rather than
your chosen topic? Why would you choose to be regarded as a mere
performer instead of a locus of reason and morality?
One reason. Because you are irresistibly drawn to that lower limit.
Why? Because your own mental process really is filled with blanks --
half-formed thoughts you can't articulate, unmanageable hostilities you
don't fully comprehend, a need for attention that can't be earned but
only extorted by a sudden shocking explosion of pure physicality, an
irrational plea for
help because here you are at the frighteningly dangerous edge of what
hundreds of centuries of words cannot describe.
For a writer in any arena, repeated reliance on George Carlin's words
is a signpost of failure, incompetence, desperate insecurity, and
utter abandonment of reason. (And, yes, Carlin's words are only a
shorthand for the innumerable other pejorative Anglo-Saxon terms,
idiomatic phrases, and pungent anatomical imagery favored by the
damaged children of the web.) Here's a final exercise: Go to Alicublog
self-satisfied denunciation of this exercise and read his obscenities
scatologies as blanks. Fill in the blanks for yourself. Then report
back on your appraisal of his state of being.
And for all you Ann Coulter "haters," my sympathies. You're never going
to get your wish, which is to have wild passionate sex with her.
an eventuality almost certainly reserved for men who have more than
blanks to offer.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
P.S. to Patterico
Glenn Greenwald... down in flames.
. I followed the links today (h/t Malkin, Reynolds) to
Patterico's takedown of Glenn Greenwald. For any InstaPunk readers who
don't know what I'm talking about, here's the background. A blogger at
the Huffington Post
an attempt to "assassinate" Dick Cheney in Afghanistan failed. Then a
veritable flood of Huffington commenters exclaimed their anger that the
attempt had not succeeded. Some conservative bloggers then inferred
that such comments reflected a sizeable constituency of leftist opinion
in this country. Glenn Greenwald, a fairly famous liberal blogger,
wrote a column at Salon
arguing that rightwing bloggers always blame the lefty blogs themselves
for nasty comments by isolated crackpot readers, who are representative
of nothing and should never be cited as such.
replied with a thoroughly documented post (read the whole thing) that
quotes the heart of Greenwald's piece and observes:
These comments are staggeringly hypocritical, viewed
in the light of Greenwald’s extensive history of spotlighting anonymous
comments at conservative blogs to reach broad-brush conclusions about
the entire conservative movement. Greenwald is a prime practitioner of
this “transparently flimsy and misleading method” of tarring the other
side. And, in marked contrast to Greenwald’s tender concern today for
whether ugly leftist comments “are representative of the blog itself,”
Greenwald is famous in conservative circles for highlighting extreme
comments on conservative blogs — comments that in no way represent the
views of the posts to which they are responding, or of the bloggers
He proceeds to quote at length numerous examples of Greenwald's own
behavior and provides links to multiple others. He concludes by
referencing a Huffington Post
blog entry not mentioned by Greenwald which did, in fact, call directly
for Cheney's death by heart attack, a positioned echoed by countless
commenters who heartily endorsed the sentiment.
Patterico's piece was so devastating that I was curious to see whether
or not Greenwald had responded, so I looked at the Salon column
, which featured
four updates but no mention of Patterico. I did, however, find these
juicy morsels of liberal cant:
It is also worth nothing [sic], as
several commenters did, that most of the largest right-wing blogs do
not allow comments at all precisely because they know the monstrous
sentiments that would spew forth...
Ann Coulter previously expressed sorrow that Timothy McVeigh did not
bomb The New York Times building, and she also called for the murder of
Supreme Court Justices. As Blue Texan notes, she is one of the featured
speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week,
along with Vice President Cheney and three separate GOP presidential
candidates -- as well as Michelle Malkin, who is very, very upset by
the remarks from the anonymous HuffPost commenters today.
Patterico's argument is powerful enough not to need to deal with these
details, but I think they are worth speaking to as a sort of mop-up
operation after the slaughter.
The statement that "most of the largest right-wing blogs do not allow
comments" is as disingenuous as everything else in Greenwald's post. By
"most," he means Michelle Malkin and InstaPundit (as one of his first
commenters immediately specified), because there are dozens of popular
rightwing blogs with very active comment sections, including such
biggies as Hugh Hewitt, Little Green Footballs, Protein Wisdom, Ace of
Spades, LaShawn Barber, The Anchoress, et al. Greenwald fails to
mention that Michelle Malkin was compelled to disable her comments
section because of the many obscene, disgusting, and frightening
attacks on her from the left, which have been abundantly documented
And InstaPundit has explained more than once that the tendency of the liberal MSM and lefty blogs to attribute
commenters' remarks to the blog author without clear differentiation
is the reason he doesn't allow comments. I might add that in
InstaPundit's case, he is more linker than thinker in terms of his
format, which seriously diminishes the value of comments -- these
undoubtedly accrue to the benefit of the posts he is linking to
. In a
word, Glenn Reynolds's "no comments" policy is actually quite generous
to his fellow bloggers.
The Ann Coulter reference is hilarious because it's the first thing all
lefties cite when someone calls them on their constant over-the-top
about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the truly vile debasements lefties
spew at them every day. "But look at what Ann Coulter says," they
shriek. "She wanted McVeigh to blow up the New York Times! And you think
Coulter's the first outrage the lefties cite because they don't have
that many other examples to
cite. If she didn't exist, they'd have to invent her. Who else? Pat
Buchanan? At any given time, a majority of conservative bloggers object
more strenuously to his excessive rhetoric than liberals ever do.
Protein Wisdom and Ace of Spades? They're comedians, and you can see
that because they're actually funny. Michelle Malkin? She may take
extreme positions, but her vocabulary is
a very far cry from the intensely obscene and scatological screeds you
can read every single day at Firedoglake
the DailyKos, Democratic
Underground, Atrios, and the babes
John Edwards hired to run his blog.
You can actually hear Michelle blushing when for the sake of accuracy
she quotes such language from a lefty post. She may be an iron lady in
terms of politics, but she is most definitely a lady. Oh, and yes, she
does make fun of people she disagrees with. How awful.
Which, come to think of it, is the real
distinguishing characteristic between the firebrands of the left and
the firebrands of the right. There are plenty of verbal attacks
launched by both right and left in the war of words that constitutes
political discourse. You couldn't have a free political system without
them. What matters is the quality and tenor of those attacks. Political
passion is fueled by emotion, and emotion in an adversary situation
results quite often in extreme analogies, ridicule, unfairness, and
even cruelty. Yet there is a vast difference between employing verbal
wit as a weapon of ridicule and employing the foulest
cusswords available to describe one's political foes and to wish for
physical destruction. The latter is not wit, which it resembles only
insofar as word choices have the power to shock. When endless
repetition makes them a
thudding refrain used again an again and again without any attempt at
irony or illuminating juxtapositions, it's merely gutter-mouthed
drivel. Its only intent is to injure, not to educate, persuade, or
delineate. A simple test: is there an actual punchline anywhere in
sight? Or is there only an irrational need to scrawl the ugliest
possible graffiti on the biggest possible wall?
Ann Coulter, for example, is a political satirist and at her best a
political humorist. She can be mean, indeed, but there is always a
punchline, an actual definable point she is making that pertains
specifically to the topic she is addressing. You can easily prove this
to yourself because she almost never uses dirty words of any kind.
People are offended by her point of view, not the graphically violent
nature of her imagery. Therefore, the substance of her inflammatory
effect is ideas, not lists of the repulsive consequences she's wishing
on her enemies. When she made her crack about the
terrorists not targeting the New York Times building -- and she did use
the word 'building' -- she was inviting everyone to imagine what tack
the lords of the NYT would have taken in the War on Terror if they'd
had their own landmark headquarters destroyed. It's irreverent, yes,
and perhaps in dubious taste, but it's an exercise in wit, not a prayer
for the violent death of all NYT journalists.
Compare this to the comments Patterico cites in response to Tony
Hendra's "prayer" for the death of Dick Cheney. There's no actual
learning point in the post itself. Its whole purpose is the shock it's
supposed to induce, and the affirmative recognition the writer expects
-- correctly -- to receive from his audience. It's a form of
masturbation, as are the comments, quite a few of which are confined to
the word "Amen."
This is exactly the same sentiment we have seen countless times from
the left. From those who attempted verbal rape on Michelle Malkin as a
"filipino whore," repeating ancient schoolboy speculations about the
shape of her private parts, to those who wished Laura
Ingraham to die
from her recent experience of cancer. Qualitatively, these kinds of
abominations are no different from the sentiments of those who openly
advocate the assassination of the President and Vice-President or, more
sneakily, defend the appropriateness of media vehicles which advocate
the same thing.
Disagree? Well, I propose an exercise to be perfomed by those who have
the software and expertise to carry it out. The exercise is this:
Search six months' worth of content, posts and comments, of the 20 most
popular blogs on the right and the left. The search criteria are George
Carlin's infamous "7 Dirty Words."
I am absolutely certain that the left will far exceed the right in the
number of usages of all these words, which will go a long way toward
proving that it's the right which is still concerned with ideas while
it's the left that's obsessed with the lowest kind of hateful invective.
Anyone care to take up the challenge?
For those who already knew something about Greenwald and his own
history as a nonrepresentative "sock-puppet" commenter on behalf of his
blog, you'll get a huge kick out of Wuzzadem
treatment of today's contretemps.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link (& for correcting my attribution error), and thanks for all the early
interest in the challenge. But we do need to pool our resources here a
bit. Some of you know how to go about searching in a systematic way.
(Is it really best to do this through Google, or to identify the target
sites first and process their copy individually? You tell me) Others
know which sites track blog traffic in order of popularity. I'm fairly
sure that Malkin, Reynolds, and Hewitt are in the top 20 list on the
conservative side, and I'm also fairly sure that DailyKos, Atrios
(Eschaton), Democratic Underground, Moveon.org, and Firedoglake are in the top 20
on the left. But my intuition is no substitute for an actual ranking by
a site that does this as its mission. People who know something, please
put in your two (or five or ten) cents. You can also feel free to argue about who is left, right, or otherwise, although I'll pretty much insist that Andrew Sullivan is neither and shouldn't be included in this experiment.
As to the commenter who pointed out that there will be leftist
offenders on righty sites and vice versa, I think we have to live with
that. The lefties are notorious for outright banning of righty
commenters who disagree, and the righty commenters seem to gang up on
lefty trolls until they go away of their own accord. Either way, it
seems safe to assume that most commenters at a given site are more
likely to agree with the blogger than oppose him. Rest assured, there
will be offenders on both sides of the divide; I'm merely confident
that there will be a very significant difference in the totals.
Whatever you can offer, however slight, will be appreciated. Thank you.
The internet is indeed a miraculous thing. The results are in, thanks
to the News Buckit. We have no idea how much work and sheer
intellectual firepower was involved, but we're grateful nonetheless.
Our analysis of the results and what they actually signify is here
Thanks again to Glenn Reynolds for making an idle question into a
fascinating real-world experiment. Oh. We almost forgot. Those of you who are here because of Alicublog's post, do read the latest post. You'll find it a special treat if you can somehow make it to the last paragraph.