February 4, 2008 - January 28, 2008
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The Imus Thing
Our Pride and Joy
Everybody's got this all wrong. It's not about race. It's about New
Jersey. And I'm fed up.
New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and even tiny Delaware's parochial
DuPont chattels all make sport of this state precisely because New
Jersey is the only part of the northeastern U.S. that doesn't
egotistical claims about itself. Philly is one of the worst run cities
in the country, permanently cursed with an inferiority complex caused
by its proximity to New York, and therefore consoles itself with the
fact that it's just across the river from Camden, a much much smaller
and poorer city which nevertheless produced a greater poet -- Walt
Whitman -- than any in the whole history of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. New York is even worse. Having used the northeastern
corner of New Jersey as the perennial dumpsite for New York City's
trash, New Yorkers look across the water at the one small stretch they have ruined and regard the whole state as an inferior and disgusting
Never mind that the smartest of Manhattan's
workforce live quite happily in New Jersey, or that the vaunted
football Giants play all their home games in New Jersey. New
Yorkers to a man (and woman) insist on identifying the stinking
five-mile segment of the NJ Turnpike closest to their prideful
metropolis as little more than their own private latrine. And if you're
looking for a flashpoint, look no further than the 2006 Rutgers
football team, which finished the season ranked higher than any New
York college football team in the last 50 years. How humiliating.
That's why Imus forgot his manners. Rutgers. New Jersey. The Turnpike
State. Yuck. First, Rutgers football. Now, Rutgers women's
basketball. Better than NYU, Hofstra, Columbia, Syracuse,
Cornell, Rochester, blah blah blah. New
They must smell bad. They must be inferior, and ugly,
and laughable. He would never have said anything as incredibly nasty
about the CUNY women's basketball team. His universally shared
geographic prejudice was so huge that it blinded him to the fact that
he chose words which made his Manhattan bias sound racist.
And this is my only objection to the response made by the Rutgers
basketball players. Of course they were insulted. Of course they should
be offended. Their appearance on television demonstrates beyond doubt
that they are attractive, smart, and poised -- more than I'd expect
from the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee,
to be brutally candid -- and they are entitled
if they choose to confront Imus and demand an apology. But what they
should be calling him on is not his racism, but his automatic contempt of
the place they were born. That creepy old bastard didn't just smear
black women who go to Rutgers; he smeared everyone in the state of New
Jersey. How dare he trash our young
people, our students, our beautiful daughters, our hard-working
What they should say is not "Screw you, you nasty old rich white man,"
but "Screw you, you parochial Manhattan bastard. And screw all
the New Yorkers who think it's
okay to insult anyone as long as they're from New Jersey."
Here's the deal. New Jersey is the
greatest state in the union. For so many reasons that it's impossible
to list them all. Okay, I'll list a few, but there are many many more.
New Jersey is:
The most topographically diverse of all
50 states, ranging from mountains to salt marshes and everything in
between, including the best farmland in the world for growing
vegetables, a beautiful and lightly populated bay shore that flows from
one of the mightiest and most beautiful rivers in the country, one of
the largest wilderness areas in the U.S. (the Pine Barrens), and horse
country -- and horses, by gar
-- on a par with anything you'll find in Kentucky.
An architectural treasure and time capsule containing houses dating
back to the 1600s and some of the best surviving specimens of colonial
patterned brick houses, Victorian gingerbread, and Industrial
Revolution commercial buildings.
The only state in the union that honored all its treaties with the Indians.
The site of the colonial town (Greenwich) Rockefeller tried to buy before he settled for Williamsburg,
The site of the turning point
in the American Revolution, the Battle of Trenton, and the only history
changing duel in American History, the gunfight between Burr and
The home of a cattle brand older than any
in the whole state of Texas.
Home of a greater university than any
in New York or Pennsylvania -- Princeton -- and the only state
university in the country -- Rutgers -- asked to join the Ivy League
conference at its inception because of the school's history and
academic excellence. (Not to mention the fact that the first college
football game ever played was between, you guessed it, Princeton and
The birthplace of country music and, indeed, much of the recording
industry. Jimmie Rodgers and numerous other artists cut their first
albums at Victor Records in Camden.
The birthplace and/or home of numerous historical figures, writers,
comedians, musicians, and actors, including Aaron Burr, Grover
Cleveland, Molly Pitcher, Betsy Ross, Norman Schwartzkopf, Buzz Aldrin,
Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, William
Carlos Williams, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Bill Evans, Bruce
Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Ed
Harris, Jerry Lewis, Ernie Kovacs, Eva Marie Saint, Meryl Streep, Ray
Liotta, John Travolta, Bill Murray, Michael Douglas, Kevin Spacey,
Kirsten Dunst, James Gandolfini, Joe Pesci, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille
O'Neill, Derek Jeter, and Martha Stewart.
The only state in the union
which eschews jingoism for humility. New Jersey people root for the
Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers and the New York
Giants, Jets, Yankees, and Mets, and they represent in many cases the
majority constituencies for these teams and don't even demand
acknowledgment of their cross-state support from people who uniformly
laugh at the mention of their state's name. They're the same way when
they travel; people who have never been to New Jersey at all laugh
immediately and scornfully pronounce the clicheed "New Joisey" trope
that makes rubes from Nebraska to Alaska feel more sophisticated than
they have any right to. New Jerseyans laugh right along with them, soak
up what they have to offer, and ultimately move back to the greatest state in
the union, where there are thunderstorms but not tornadoes, droughts
but not uncontrollable wildfires, tremors but not earthquakes, rainstorms but not
hurricanes, overflowing streams and rivers but not floods, and
snowstorms but not blizzards.
Born to run. All of us. Boats, cars, bikes, and everything else. It's
called balls. You New Yorkers could look it up.
We love you, ladies of Rutgers. But please stand up for all
of us. Against the real insult.
Which has gotten really really old.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
and the Dance of the Seven Veils
So now Pelosi's going to Iran
maybe. We can see it, we really can. She'll do a Sheherezade kind of
thing with President Ahdumjihad, distract him from building nuclear
weapons by entrancing him with her magnetic, um, personality and
fantastical stories that keep him guessing until yet another deadline
has passed. She must have a thousand of them, and each one more frankly
incredible than the last. Here's just a small sampling of what she has
to draw on.
'Bama and the Forty-Nine Thieves. About a young man who uses the
magic words "Open Sesame" to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars in
campaign contributions and thus prevails over a posse of corrupt,
thieving Republicans who want to destroy everything of value in the
The Adventures of Clinbad the Satyr.
A magnificent seven-part epic that begins with the youth of the hero in
the kingdom of Ar'kan-Sa and follows him through a series of the most
daring amorous exploits ever told, as well as deadly encounters with
such monsters as the Wicked Witch of the West and the evil djinnh
Sta'ahr, until he arrives safely in the harbor of
hundred-thousand-dollar speaking fees, multi-million dollar book
contracts, and as many harem girls as there are grains of sand in Arabia.
Al-Axxa and the Wonderful Lantos.
The haunting tale of a misunderstood imam who travels to exotic
Caliphornia, where he becomes rich, famous, and wise enough to make
peace between the imperialistic people of his birth and the
extraordinarily reasonable and sensible people who have vowed to
exterminate his ancestors to the last man, woman, and child.
Ja'kerri and the Star of Silver.
A fable of courage, injustice, and ultimate redemption chronicling the
story of a great warrior who shot a man once on a battlefield and,
after receiving great honor for it, realized that every other warrior
on his side was a murderous torturing barbarian. But then he makes it
up with a handful of the murderous barbarians he served with
personally, only to be reviled and slandered by hundreds of thousands
of the murderous barbarians he didn't make up with, until he lost the
election and had to go home to the largest treasure house ever acquired
Harrun Al-Rich-Reid and the Game of
Shells. An amusing episode in the life of the infinitely clever
wizard who outwitted absolutely everybody by making a huge profit
selling land to himself through corporations made of seashells and
innumerable layers of indecipherable marks on paper. Sheer magic.
Al-Addled and the Dangling Chad.
A comic tale of a perpetual youth who discovers, on the verge of losing
everything, that he might be able to snatch victory from the jaws of
defeat by counting things that aren't there until everybody is too
tired to object. Except that it doesn't work out. Because of the evil
The Fishwife and the Empire State.
A fascinating bit of folklore about how a drab, humorless. piano-legged
fishwife somehow managed to convince the subjects of a vast imperial
kingdom to choose her as emperor and let her use them for her own
selfish purposes, exactly as long as she wanted to and no longer,
without incurring even a moment of wrath or outrage.
Ali Murtha and the Counterfeit Sheiks.
A cautionary episode in the life of a great, fat, old warrior who was
almost prevented from saving the world because he once thought about
accepting a bribe that was not really a bribe from sheiks who were not
really sheiks, which made the whole thing moot, although the evil
djinnh tried to make too much of a big deal out of it later, when there
were real sheiks on the scene who weren't even offering bribes but just
wanted to kill everybody and could only be appeased by a total,
unconditional surrender, which nobody but a fat, old, corrupt
ex-warrior could possibly know how to deliver. The surprise ending on
this one is a killer.
The Poisonous Shrub and the Beautiful
Gardener. A lyrically told confrontation between good and evil.
The shrub is really really bad and inarticulate and stupid and
conniving and low-class besides being poisonous and devilishly cunning, which is why the
beautiful gardner has to thrust her proud breasts right out there and
go to the near east to negotiate her own private foreign policy with
the people who have amassed the largest available supply of herbicide.
Sometimes, to save the garden, you have to kill the plants. And the seeds. And the pollen too.
The Caliph's Brother and the
Underwater Chariot. An ancient myth that almost nobody remembers
anymore, about the deeply caring brother of a deeply caring caliph and
another deeply caring caliph. Both of the deeply caring caliphs got
shot to death in acts of insidious treachery. Then the brother is
tragically slandered, and libeled, and mocked, simply because he leaves
a worthless ill-bred woman of easy virtue to die at the bottom of a
river after a chariot accident that could have happened to anyone.
Ahdumjihad will be crying his eyes out when he hears this one.
The Adventures of Sheehan the Shrieker.
Once upon a time, a woman lost her son in a war. Then she immediately
set about committing treason against the nation her son fought for by
courting and praising every single mortal enemy she could find of her
son's country. Something about the mystery of woman in this one. The
Iranians will no doubt understand it better than we do. Especially the
way Nancy tells it.
Jeff-ar-Sin and the Magic Freezer.
A long long time ago, in a kingdom far far away, there was a magical
box that could turn everything you put into it into ice. Including
paper currency. What happens, though, when the evil djinnh shows up and
reveals the secret? Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. But maybe there's
still a trick ending waiting. That's the hook.
Al-Addled and the Warmed-Up Globe.
This one's a total fantasy. Just for fun. We're sure the Persians will
be immensely amused.
Obviously, this is a diplomatic strategy that will require some
patience. We urge everyone to give Ms. Pelosi more time to execute it
than the Democrats usually have. And we also urge the Speaker to invest
heavily in the secret
the original Sheherezade employed in her own dealings
with the potentates of the near east. She may
need more than these kinds of
plotlines to save the day.
. Who else besides me made a point of tuning in to the Nancy
show on CourtTV today to see if she'd have the guts to show
up and report the dropping of charges against the Duke lacrosse
students? (Uh, click on the link and read the entire article. Then
throw up in the nearest trashcan and finish this post.)
She didn't, of course. Despicable, libelous, dishonest, biased, and
vicious. She should be run off CourtTV and made a permanent figure of
contempt and derision
And where is this
excuse for an officer of the court?
Murphy, Psychopath, Esq.
These media prosecutors are not peripheral to the case. They are the
reason Mike Nifong needs to be not only disbarred, but put in prison.
There is in this country a malevolent perversion of the legal process.
Prosecutors have as their mission justice, not convictions. Yet the
media lionization of lawyers which has occurred since the O.J. Simpson
trial has revealed the existence of a monotonously Stalinist stratum of
jurists known as "former federal prosecutors," including Nancy Grace,
Wendy Murphy, Cynthia Alksne, and God only knows how many others
never saw a defendant who wasn't automatically guilty unless his name
was William Jefferson Clinton.
Prosecutorial misconduct is not an aberration in this country. It is a
culture -- practiced by people without conscience, without respect for
the spirit of the law, without reverence for the ideal of justice. They
are little better than John Wesley Hardin in a three-piece suit -- or a
and a black
pencil skirt. Killing people under cover of law is an avocation of
callow narcissists. How surprising is it that so many of them wind up
The only good news is that the ones on TV aren't prosecuting real
cases. What ordinary citizens must demand is that the various bar
associations stop permitting and encouraging functional
psychopaths with law degrees to build careers for themselves by
overcharging defendants, cutting corners to convict them, and getting
away with it scot free.
Mike Nifong has in all likelihood been a rogue prosecutor for his
entire tenure in the D.A.'s office. Like hundreds, maybe thousands, of
other unscrupulous attorneys.
It's time to nail his ass to the wall and send a message.
Won't happen, though, will it? Feel free to comment, all you lordly
Sunday, April 08, 2007
They're a comin'
. InstaPunk has been the
finger in the dike. Older than the supposed elders, fiercer than the
supposed warriors, clearer than the supposed seers. But his time has
passed. He departs. We will let him speak from time to tiime, but his
time has passed. We are the voice of the echoing scream. We are the
heir of murdered man.
The heir is LocoPunk. And his three. Who are purely mean in an age of
mean. Now come the four.