YOU HEAR ME NOW?
There's been something of a Cheshire Cat grin about the various
conservative responses to the Democrats' playing of the race card the way
they have over the past few days. They're pretty unanimous, and smug,
about declaring it stupid. A few samples. First, Krauthammer
on Special Report, sitting next to an obviously defensive Juan WIlliams:
Look, this charge is so stupid. It is
also so offensive, and it's [so] lacking in any evidence of any kind
that…this only helps the Republicans. And that's why the White House is
not playing into it.
[W]hen it became clear that Carter had
turned this “debate” from mere fraud to farce, it suddenly dawned on
some Democrats, including those in the White House, that smearing
millions of constituents and swing voters (many of whom voted for
Obama) as racists isn’t the best politics. So one cheer for those who
objected to this idiocy too little and far too late.
But others just won’t let go. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times hears
Rep. Joe Wilson shout, “You lie!” And her instinctive response is:
“Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie,
It’s the “fair or not” that gives Dowd away. She admits to hearing
racism whether or not it’s warranted. That’s called prejudice. And
unlike Wilson’s foolish outburst, Dowd’s was carefully considered.
Dowd, Carter and Sharpton can’t grasp that conservatives are less hung
up on race than they are and that we can get past Obama’s skin color.
“Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never
accept it,” writes Dowd. She’s right. She’s one of them.
For Carter to be correct, we would have
to assume that a large portion of the population was unaware in late
2008 and early 2009 that Barack Obama is a person of color, or that an
increasing portion of the public is turning racist. Occam’s Razor
suggests the correct answer is that Carter is an unhinged, race-baiting
The picture that emerges may not be that of clever, biased journalists
highlighting extremism on the Right and whitewashing it on the Left.
The picture may be of intellectually lazy, incurious, knee-jerk liberal
journalists for whom the extremism of the Left does not register as all
that extreme, and for whom the concerns of half the population do not
even register as legitimate subjects of news coverage.
In short, we may be looking at a case for Hanlon’s Razor: “Never
attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity.” Of course, I would not want to engage in the same sort of
gross generalizations discussed above. Life is just too complex for
that. Accordingly, we could also employ Heinlein’s Razor: “Never
attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by
stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”
I could go on, but that's the gist. I don't know about you, but I
always get nervous when conservatives turn their back on the supposedly
vanquished enemy and start taking bows. In my experience, that's
usually the time to be especially vigilant, if not for a knife in the
back then for a missed opportunity.
InstaPunk has a Razor of his own: Never
attribute to sheer malice or stupidity that which can be explained by
I don't think this sudden racist offensive is even primarily about
opposition to Obama's healthcare plan and other socialist policies.
That's the supreme misdirection the lefties are trying to get away
with. It's a desperate gambit to be sure, with a ton of potential
downside consequences, but what if those consequences are more
acceptable than what they're really afraid of?
While they're all pointing fingers at a handful of Washington Tea Party
signs that feature inflammatory racial imagery, let's not forget that
this is also the week in which the sprawling ACORN edifice has been
dealt a shockingly unexpected knockdown blow. Is it coincidence that this is also
the week that Time Magazine
has -- responding with quite impressive speed -- assembled a hatchet
story on former radio-talk flyweight Glenn Beck?
A Time cover without an Obama on it.
Think about it. Why increase Beck's celebrity by attacking him if he
really is only the fringe "madman" we're supposed to think he is? What
if the truth is that he's sitting on so much dynamite that he has to be discredited before he can
do more damage, regardless of the downside risk that publicity will
increase his viewership and his power? That begins to seem like panic.
Everyone's expecting Obama's whirlwind tour of the Sunday news shows to
put an end to the racial discussion. Maybe it will. But I'm not so
sure. I think there's a good chance he'll be bland in his dismissals
without actually insisting that such apparently suicidal charges stop.
He may, as is his custom, vote 'present' on being aware of the issues but
refuse to denounce and demand an end to the tactics of his rabid defenders. Which means tacit
permission for them to continue. That's certainly consistent with the
way the White House has handled the firestorm thus far: sure, Obama doesn't believe it's racial,
and he would deeply regret it if it were, but his job is to let all the political
distractions sort themselves out while he does the people's business...
(and where have we heard that line before?)
If that's how it shakes out, the motivation of the Democrats and the
media is stark terror about the looming possibility of an ACORN scandal
that can't be contained. The most interesting thing about the votes in
the Senate and House to suspend certain parts of ACORN funding isn't
the senators and congressmen who voted to stop their funding; it's the
8 senators and 75 congressmen who voted to continue that funding. If they're
all in so deep that they couldn't not
vote for ACORN, that would be the biggest corruption scandal in the
history of the U.S. Congress. If this is the real problem, the lefty
racism offensive is not a last ditch attempt to salvage the health care
and cap-and-trade bills, but a preemptive strike intended to provide
cover against the sordid facts any real
investigation of ACORN might tie to 15 percent or more members of
congress and the President of
the United States.
Two key facts that must not be overlooked. ACORN cannot be separated
from the racial makeup of its membership. And any intensive
investigation of ACORN will eliminate any possibility of separating
Barack Obama from the activities of ACORN.
I'm not going to quote from it at all, but sound investigative work has
already been done on the relationship between Obama and ACORN. Its author was the recipient of some of the most nakedly demagogic tactics employed during
the Obama presidential campaign (which is saying something). The work
was done by Stanley Kurtz, one of whose carefully researched articles
Read it. (Yes, I mean you too, the one who never follows the links from
InstaPunk because it's simpler to get the lowdown from the post itself.
This time you have to read it
all the way through.)
It could be that the facts are so scandalous that the only hope the
Dems have left is to be able to claim that even starting an
investigation is a malignant proof that all the president's opponents
are hardcore racists.
Should conservatives be dancing in the end zone, jeering at Dem
stupidity? Or should they be paying very close attention in the huddle,
mapping the game-winning drive? You tell me.
btw, acorns are not by nature insignificant, isolated things. In case
From little acorns, mighty oak
seeds produce good trees. What do bad seeds produce?
Lots on the line. And don't overlook this.
Phony mortgages are trying to make another comeback. Wile E. Coyote
always made a comeback too. Why the Roadrunner had to keep running....
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Mainstream Mama: "None so blind..."
INSTAPUNDIT'S OTHER WOMAN.
What's not to like about Ann Althouse? She's highly intelligent, a law
professor, attractive, a decent writer, and marvelously even tempered,
especially by the admittedly chaotic standards here. As a devout
moderate (whom we've commented on before
in that regard, and here
she's a kind of litmus test of what's going on with
the so-called 'Independents' right now. Her blog also attracts some
talented commenters, which we'll have more to say about later. Here's
what she has to say about all the charges of racism that are flying
around at the moment:
September 16, 2009
Jimmy Carter says "There is an inherent
feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not
be president"... and asserts
that Joe Wilson's "You lie!" was "based on racism."
Lots of people who voted for Obama believed that his election would
reflect the extent to which Americans had moved beyond racism. That was
part of why some people voted for him. Little did we realize that it
would turn every criticism of the President into an occasion to make an
accusation of racism. Racism is revolting, but so is the notion that we
aren't allowed to criticize a President!
Jimmy Carter's supremely sleazy accusation requires a solid, sound
rebuke. It is an effort to place the President of the United States
Imagine if, before last year's election, someone had argued: If a black
man becomes President, anyone who dares to criticize him will be called
1. I would have viewed that argument itself as racist. If that is
really true, I would have said, then it means that we have to vote
against the candidate because he is black, since it is not acceptable
to have a President who can't be criticized.
2. I would also have said: It is racist to say that it's racist to
criticize a black President, because you are being patronizing and you
are saying that a black person needs to be coddled and protected in
some special way that doesn't apply to white people.
Jimmy Carter is doing something that, before the election, he would not
have revealed that he planned to do. It is a low and despicable
political move that he should be ashamed of.
And since demanding apologies is all the rage, let me say that I would
like the wizened old husk of a former President to beg our forgiveness.
Hold your fire, everyone. What's really important about this post is
the response of her commenters, most of whom are her regulars, the ones
who keep coming back because they like a lot of what she has to say.
She is, after all, smart and articulate and routinely makes shrewd
points when her principal devotions are not on the line. What I'm
asking you IP readers to do is read
her commenters, some hundred of them on this post, generally polite and
well spoken but amazingly in agreement on a few basic points. Keep
reading as long as you can. You might
feel better about the national political atmosphere.
You're free, even encouraged, to cherry-pick your favorites and cite
them in your own comments here. Some are gems of concise wit and
wisdom. I'll start the ball rolling with my own favorite so far, by a
commenter named "Lucid" (How cool is that?)
The culture of affirmative action is a
major part of the reason we are hearing the nonsense that criticisms of
Obama are motivated by racism.
Affirmative action policies displace fairness with unfair preferences
for "protected" groups. Beneficiaries of affirmative... action
have a strong vested interest in its continuation -- ask any appplicant
to a competitive college, law, or medical school.
But the continuation of affirmative action policies requires a victim
and an oppressor. Thus, the continuation of affirmative action requires
not an end to racism, but its perpetuation in the myths and narratives
of the culture. And one of the best ways to do this is by accusing
white folks of racism.
Those who benefit from affirmative action literally cannot afford to
not accuse others of a pervasive racism. And at this point in our
history, the truth is that racism among blacks against whites is much,
much more extensive than white racism about blacks. Blacks often don't
even recognize it. This is why Obama could sit for 20 years listening
to Jeremiah Wright's racist rants and think it was no big deal. Because
in the black community, it is no big deal.
The advantage of the discussion we are having now--and of Obama's
election as president--is that it opens up the secret, hermetically
sealed racism of the black community, and its unwarranted sense of
special entitlements and dispensations, to the frictive and dissolving
effects of free speech. But expect the beneficiaries of affirmative
action and of the mythos of racism to scream bloody murder.
Jeez. Reminds me of some of you...
If you don't understand why I'm linking this or if you want more of my
thinking on what it all means, ask your questions. I'll do an early
update if one seems appropriate.
. What impresses me time and again in the new
the way that hysterical charges endlessly repeated against George W.
Bush are actually true of the
Obama regime. As if, with some eerie prescience, the Democrats knew
what they'd be guilty of when
they regained power and made sure to cuisinart future, more accurate
accusations into gray mush before those accusations came true for real.
I feel it every time I try to write about the political crisis we're
now in. Obama is the biggest liar I've ever witnessed in the
presidency. He's the closest thing to a pure power-hungry authoritarian
I've ever seen. He really does seem to be conspiring actively against
the nation and ordinary civil liberties. He really does seem to be in
league with foreign powers who want to use the United States government
in the interests of oil oligarchs, currency speculators, and a handful
of friendly special-interest dictators and billionaires. He really does
seem to be partnering, in some insane way, with Osama bin Laden. He
really does seem to see the power of the executive as a way to punish
demographics he doesn't like and enrich the demographics he does.
All of these were charges levied by the left against George W. Bush.
And every time Obama is obviously guilty of some similar transgression,
the lefties come out to yell that "Bush lied us into war," "Bush
destroyed our rights with the Patriot Act," "Bush went to war for
his cronies in Big Oil," "Bush knew about or even planned 9/11, with or
without bin Laden," and "Bush used Katrina to commit genocide against
African-Americans." That's right. Bush was a stone racist on top of
This is what's particularly scary to me right now. There are so many
parallels between the empty rhetoric surrounding Bush and the reality
of Obama that it causes me to wonder just how extreme the leftist agenda all
that earlier spate of accusations was laying the groundwork for. I
won't venture into the field of paranoid speculations that I now
believe are entirely justified. Instead, I'll go back to the first
The first thing is an incredibly important
thing. Obama is a liar. Not just occasionally, haphazardly, ignorantly.
He is a dedicated, pathological
liar. All of these are from before the election. The lies he's told
since then are even more outrageous.
Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.
By popular demand, the list of
expired Obama statements...
Consumers should be aware that promises, pledged, and soul-healing
rhetoric are only effective for a limited time; upon expiration they
become "just words."
STATEMENT: “Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as
external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a
month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months
from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would
be setting up,” Obama to the New York Times, November 1, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: March 7, 2008: Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha
Power, to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re
in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in
Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop
pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that
he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”
Also: July 3, 2008: "My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything
I've said, was always premised on making sure our troops were safe,"
Obama told reporters as his campaign plane landed in North Dakota. "And
my guiding approach continues to be that we've got to make sure that
our troops are safe, and that Iraq is stable. And I'm going to continue
to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold."
STATEMENT: On June 14, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called
the RNC’s argument that Obama needed to go to Iraq to get a firsthand
look "complete garbage."
EXPIRATION DATE: On June 16, Obama announced he would go to Iraq and
Afghanistan “so he can see first hand the progress of the wars he would
inherit if he's elected president.”
STATEMENT: May 16, 2008: "If John McCain wants to meet me, anywhere,
anytime to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran,
the Middle East or around the world that is a conversation I’m happy to
EXPIRATION DATE: June 13, 2008: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe:
“Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances
between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint
town hall on the economy in July [on the Fourth of July] and an
in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”
STATEMENT: “We can, then, more effectively deal with what I consider to
be one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and
world peace, and that is Iran,” Obama speaking to American Israel
Public Affairs Committee in Chicago, March 5, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are
tiny...They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union
posed a threat to us.” – May 20, 2008
STATEMENT: Question at the YouTube debate, as the video depicted
leaders of the countries, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Would you be
willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year
of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the
leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?....."
"I would," Obama answered. July 27, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: May 10, 2008: Susan E. Rice, a former State Department
and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser
to the Democratic candidate: “But nobody said he would initiate
contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and
JEREMIAH WRIGHT/TRINITY UNITED
STATEMENT: "I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown
my own grandmother."
—Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: on April 28, 2008, cut all ties to Wright, declaring,
“based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I
STATEMENT: Obama said that his church, “Trinity United "embodies the
black community in its entirety" and that his church was being
caricatured on March 18, 2008.
EXPIRATION DATE: On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership at
Trinity United Church.
STATEMENT: Criticism of running mate vetter Jim Johnson loan from
Countrywide was "a game" and that his vice-presidential vetting team
“aren’t folks who are working for me.” June 10, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 11, 2008, when Obama accepted Johnson's
STATEMENT: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be
clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes
retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face,
providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate
safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but
do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor
STATEMENT: “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.” Barack Obama,
December 30, 2007
EXPIRATION DATE: The above statement actually was the expiration date
for his previous position, “I actually think we should explore nuclear
power as part of the energy mix,” expressed on July 23, 2007; the above
statement expired when he told Democratic governors he thought it is
“worth investigating its further development” on June 20, 2008.
STATEMENT: Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . . Simple
question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, "This has
not worked for us; we are out"?
Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that
Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's
answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a
potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and
environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has
been happening so far.” February 23, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 18, 2008, Fortune magazine: “Sometimes
during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he
conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating"
and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the
trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians
are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.
"I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally," Obama said. "I'm
a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can
make this work for all people."
STATEMENT: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue
an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly
financed general election.” Also, a Common Cause questionnaire dated
November 27, 2007, asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008
and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general
election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public
financing system?”, Obama checked, “Yes.”
EXPIRATION DATE: June 19, 2008: Obama announced he would not
participate in the presidential public financing system.
WORKING OUT A DEAL ON PUBLIC FINANCING
STATEMENT: “What I’ve said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at
the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and
make sure that we have a system that works for everybody.”Obama to Tim
Russert, Febuary 27.
EXPIRATION DATE: When Obama announced his decision to break his public
financing pledge June 19, no meeting between the Democratic nominee and
McCain had occurred.
STATEMENT: “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation
[to overhaul welfare], because I think it had some problems." Obama on
the floor of the Illinois Senate, May 31, 1997
EXPIRATION DATE: April 11, 2008: Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996
law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for
signing” it. Obama to the New York Times.
STATEMENT: "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples
should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight
for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the
California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should
make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.” –
campaign spokesman, May 5, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 29, 2008: “I oppose the divisive and
discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and
similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other
states… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your
love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” — letter
to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
STATEMENT: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the
health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue
that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to
the mother carrying that child to term." – Interview with Relevant
magazine, July 1, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: July 5, 2008: “"My only point is that in an area like
partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can
be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It
can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases.” statement
DIVISION OF JERUSALEM
STATEMENT: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must
remain undivided." — speech before AIPAC, June 4, 2008
EXPIRATION DATE: June 6, 2008: "Jerusalem is a final status issue,
which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of
"an agreement that they both can live with." – an Obama adviser
clarifying his remarks to the Jerusalem Post.
We can't believe what he says about anything. Although we might be
forgiven for believing that what he says in the first place is more
true than what he says in the second place. For example, here's what he
said to (and about) ACORN.
Just campaign rhetoric? Sure. Now he'll throw them under the bus, where
they'll join the bloodiest vehicular undercarriage splatter CSI ever had to explain away under their blue blue lights.
When will Americans start learning
they can't trust this man? How egregious will his sins have to
become before people start to reengage with the awful meaning of the
words that were reduced to nonsense by all the spurious accusations
You tell me. Only after that will it be possible for us to consider the
ramifications of the rest of the Democrats' preemptive propaganda
strike. How bad is it going to get? How seriously afraid should we be?
It begins, though, with the first step of recognizing that our
president is an inveterate liar.
Think about that.
The Mission of
that love for the common man is just so, uh, touching...
. You gotta wonder don't you, what they have at
Harvard and Yale
Law School and Columbia Journalism School that makes all the czars so
much better than us. You know, more able to discern what we need and
should do and pay, as opposed
to the crappy crap we want to do with our own
time and money and, well, lives.
It starts with having nice suits. And expensive haircuts. And never
getting laid once in their whole pitiful lives. That's what leads to
the impulse to become Josh Blank, Deputy Chief of Staff in the West Wing.
be happer when we're all in the hole while they pretend they know the way
If only we could all be like them, the world would be a better place,
eh? In fact, they even asked Josh about it recently.
He didn't want to say, but the answer to everything is the head-bop.
It slams your brain into a state of knowing everything about everyone
else. Kewl. Shame that it costs fifty grand to learn it in the Ivy
Secret decoder ring message for the Metalkort
crowd. Yeah, it's a sock puppet job. By me, InstaPunk,
emperor of punks.
btw, here's what
the crowd looked like in DC on Saturday. You see, the crowd that
small for the Washington Post
to cover. The name that comes to mind is Pravda. Start writing, people.
. Just an intro to an article everyone should read
at the American Spectator. A key
IN JUNE, THE HOUSE PASSED the Improved
Financial and Commodity Markets Oversight and Accountability Act, which
would give the president authority to dismiss and replace inspectors
general at five financial regulatory agencies. . . . The bill was
sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), who argued that making these IGs
presidential appointees would make them more “independent” and “ensure
better performance from government agencies.” The IGs themselves
strongly disagreed, testifying in opposition to the bill. . . . The
Larson bill was also criticized by Danielle Brian, executive director
of the Project on Government Oversight, which tracks government
watchdogs. “I think you can be more independent reporting to a
bipartisan board than being at the mercy of the president’s good
graces,” Brian told the Washington Post.
Quis custodes custodiet? The Custodis-in-Chief apparently.
. One of our favorite new sites is Big Hollywood, which
features all kinds of subversive content -- show biz conservative
bloggers, movie reviews that dare to acknowledge political agendas, and
retro stuff like the best TCM (and other) old Hollywood
pictures to watch this week. It's the brainchild of new media lion
Andrew Breitbart, who's behind the oh-so-uncomfortable-for-lefties
ACORN videos that have been surfacing for the last week or so. Today,
though, we were genuinely surprised to find an acerbic defense of Jay
Leno and his new show, which to be honest, we didn't watch and probably
won't. Nothing against Leno per
se; it's just that talk-variety shows of this sort have some of
the numbest, dullest, least spontaneous interviews one could ever
imagine, and it's gotten truly depressing to watch actors one sort of
likes demonstrating what shallow, lunatic boors they are in person.
piece about Leno includes a wholly earned takedown of David
Letterman and a refreshing "critique the critics" (especially NPR)
component that makes it irresistible. A sample:
Jay Leno scored 18 million viewers
yesterday. Letterman draws around 4 million on a good night. If you
like your television personalities too cool for school that’s got to be
troubling – if you prefer those with a hold on the popular culture five
nights a week not parade around with a United States flag (unless it’s
on fire), today you’ve got to be a little frustrated. First ACORN, now
this... What’s happening to my
Even worse, those five hours Jay’s eating up could’ve otherwise been
used to trash Christians and Republicans on “Law & Order: God We
You have to wonder if it will ever happen… If the coastal critics and
their ilk will ever figure out that today they are the establishment …
they are The Man … and that the only real accomplishment of the cruel
little needy Letterman who bounces at the end of their string is
tarnishing a long history of sell outs.
We knew Leno had his good points. He loves cars and motorcycles. He
seems to have an extraordinary work ethic. Yeah, he's a liberal, but aren't they all? Maybe not a CRAZY liberal. Right now we're pleased that
he has the guts to wear that little pin on national TV while working
Maybe he deserves a look? Dunno. Up to you.
thinks this is flattering. I don't.
He looks like the kind of growth that sends you running in headlong panic to your dermatologist.
. Has there ever been a president of the
United States who was actually evil? I know the reflexive answer is
Nixon, the currently popular answer George W. Bush, and the
up-to-the-moment conservative answer Barack Obama. But I believe the
only correct answer thus far is Jimmy
Carter. Obama still has an opportunity to rise above error,
arrogance, ideology, prejudice, and ignorance to become president of
more than his blindly adoring worshippers. Carter, on the other hand,
has repeatedly proven himself a kind of slowly devouring cancer of the
soul, which is a thing he has come to resemble even physically. A sort
of walking, talking melanoma. Hats off to Ed
Morrissey for taking this stand:
If Jimmy Carter believes that the
“overwhelming” portion of criticism towards Barack Obama is due to
racism, does he also believe that the overwhelming portion of criticism
towards Israel is anti-Semitic? Wouldn’t that apply to a man who
hangs out with people who target Israeli citizens for terrorist
attacks? After all, Hamas regularly issues anti-Semitic harangues
and smears, and yet Carter has no problem cozying up to them and
claiming that their criticism of Israel is legitimate.
From now on, using Carter’s own logic, we should note each of his
remarks on the Middle East by saying they come from “Jimmy Carter,
known anti-Semite.” Two can play this game.
. We here at Instapunk have taken some criticism in the
past for giving a good
review and then changing our minds later
(scroll) without alerting the IP readership. This post is therefore an
update in re the third season
of the Showtime series Dexter.
The first review elicited
the following from Thomas Jackson, an upright member of the site's
I realize television has become a race
to see who can get to the bottom of the cesspool quickest. Most shows
lack wit, plot, or anything worthy of the term entertainment,
substituting the attractions that the brain-dead find interesting.
These include filth, gore, sex, and anything you were taught was
unacceptable behavior in kindergarten.
I would note the same people who condemn shows that do not feature
these attractions as boring are the same people who react most
violently against any production code, action against Janet Jackson and
her ilk, or allowing consumers to have a selection of channels on cable
rather than... the gerbil dressed in lederhosen humping Janet Jackson...
The reason for this is clear; while most consumers will take some
channels they have little interest in, most[ly] niche channels. Bravo
had to change when they [went] all queer... attracted Barney Frank and
no one else. But we still get it rammed down our throats.
Dexter being on showtime means we are spared having to see it unless,
like other cable channels, we get a schedule of one horrific program
Original programming need not be torn from the mouth of the Jerry
Springer show. Most of these will pass away unmourned and unnoticed
while the great programs go on forever.
Talent used to mean something in television. Now sensationalism
matters. And we are poorer for it.
Yeah. Okay. And all that. Probably right. We stand rebuked by those who
know without having been tempted. Hats off to your virtue,
Thomas, and nobody feels worse than I do about having to concede that
Season 3 is absolutely FANTASTIC. Mrs. CP and I just finished the
seventh episode and we immediately agreed that it may have been the
best single series television episode we'd ever seen. A cold-blooded
serial killer asked to perform a mercy killing. Something about life
and love and the incredible complexities of moral responsibility.
Something unexpected. Something very moving in a totally antiseptic and
artificially rational way that comes down, as these things do -- for
you and me and the children who will have this power over us one day --
to a coldly delivered soul instinct, but this time presented to us
inside out. Everything we thought Dexter was about it is about. There's an easy epithet
here that would go a long way toward rebutting the Thomas Jackson type
dismissals, but it won't be uttered here. Easy answers are rarely easy
in the learning of them.
The most seriously philosophical and, yes, ultimately religious, series
ever made. And the most discomfiting. The
fact that Michael C. Hall hasn't won an Emmy as the ethical but
admittedly evil Nemesis we only hope
could one day, as a Miami forensic technician, deal (uh, you
know) with David
Caruso on CSI Miami is a
Rent Season 3 at the earliest possible opportunity. You won't regret
it. Even Jimmy Smits is finally acting...
The two-party system probably isn’t
going anywhere, although one of the parties could radically change in
character, or give birth to a truly viable third party, which
eventually devours it. There is too much power to be gained from unity
of purpose, and for all the factional squabbling and single-issue
jousting matches, the division between the parties has become
increasingly clear… at least to everyone except the more clueless
Republican politicians. The past nine months have fast-forwarded us to
a point we would otherwise have reached in ten or twenty years, when
the old game of saddling free-market taxpayers with the bill for
socialist programs could no longer be played. Before we can move any
further to the Left, the essential character of our nation must be
forever changed. In a process that began with TARP bailouts and
auto-company takeovers, and is meant to continue through the
destruction of the health insurance industry, those markets will no
longer be “free” in even a rhetorical sense. To grow any larger, the
government requires serfs, not sugar daddies.
The choice now is between liberty and tyranny. It always was, but like
a used car, tyranny can be made to sound like an attractive purchase:
loaded with good intentions, and financed with no money down and low,
low payments. That deal is no longer on the table, and never will be
again. The restlessness of the Blue Dog Democrats is the queasiness of
people who aren’t sure they stand on the right side of the battle
lines, when the morning fog melts away and lances are lowered.
uh, shouldn't they promote him to the main page, given that he writes
and thinks better than everyone else associated with the site?
Cute thing about "The Green Room." They don't even tell you who wrote
what. Like, who cares, huh? It wouldn't do if he upstaged the
scrupulous moderate, the shallow beta-male cynical atheist, or the
media superstar of the whole shebang, would it?
Only one point we're making here. Go to HotAir
every day, look at the right hand column, scrolling down till you find
the un-highlighted Green Room section, and click on everything till you find Doctor
If he's reading or watching, or if you know how to reach him, he should
know that he has fans who admire and seek out what he has to say. We'd
love to talk to him and exchange views. We're even prepared to pretend
that HotAir isn't mostly hot air. Because his cold air illuminates.
. I've never
understood why so many conservatives keep giving
Howard Kurtz the benefit of the doubt, as if he's actually thoughtful,
fair, and decent. I suppose he's good at posing as all these things,
but that's about it. His latest columns are proof positive of what I
say, but before I dig into the manure pile, I have to remind those who
might stumble in here by accident that this website has long
anticipated the bind the mainstream media now find themselves in. Back
in July 2008, InstaPunk tried to give them some friendly
Continue being the same adoring
cheerleaders you've been so far --
through the inevitable crises and missteps and blunders and failures --
and the already tottering structure of the MSM will collapse in
cataclysmic ruin. You will bore your dwindling audience absolutely to
death, and they will begin seeking honest news reporting elsewhere. (As
they have been, btw, for some time now; how's NYT stock doing these
days, kemo sabe?)
The nature of your bet thus far is idiotic -- that Obama really is the
absolute answer to everyone's prayers you so want him to be. He isn't.
He's a flesh-and-blood man who will stumble and err and make some truly
awful decisions. When that happens, your extravagantly uncritical
support for his rise to power will make you accountable to many
Americans before you cover the first act of his administration. And
when he does take office, the fact that you have let him rewrite all
the rules of what is and is not fair coverage in political reporting
will do you in no matter what course you choose. Criticize him and be
branded with some of the worst labels available in these United States.
(The New Yorker is anti-muslim?
Anyone? Please.) Suck up to him and go rapidly out of business -- not
to mention lose all the power
you have so jealously acquired and used so self-righteously in the last
Take your pick.
Well, they have taken their pick of the options available, and in the
words of the guardian
of the grail, they "chose poorly."
Sorry. Couldn't resist the little plastic stop-motion figures. Kind of
how I think of the NYT and WAPO folks anymore... You plumb the various
degradations of the metaphor; I'm busy.
Now the Pew organization, hardly a bastion of conservative propaganda,
informs us that nine months (?!) into the Obama administration, MSM
coverage of the liberal Christ child's administration has resulted in,
Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low
Public Evaluations of the News Media: 1985-2009
Similarly, only about a quarter (26%)
now say that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not
politically biased, compared with 60% who say news organizations are
politically biased. And the percentages saying that news
organizations are independent of powerful people and organizations
(20%) or are willing to admit their mistakes (21%) now also match
Republicans continue to be highly critical of the news media in nearly
all respects. However, much of the growth in negative attitudes toward
the news media over the last two years is driven by increasingly
unfavorable evaluations by Democrats. On several measures, Democratic
criticism of the news media has grown by double-digits since 2007. Today, most Democrats (59%) say that the
reports of news organizations are often inaccurate; just 43% said this
two years ago. Democrats are also now more likely than they were in
2007 to identify favoritism in the media: Two-thirds (67%) say the
press tends to favor one side rather than to treat all sides fairly, up
from 54%. And while just a third of Democrats (33%) say news
organizations are “too critical of America,” that reflects a 10-point
increase since 2007. [boldface added]
Which brings us all the way up to the past couple weeks, which I submit
are among the worst in the tawdry history of the mainstream media in
the last half century. The self-promoting "Paper of Record" failed to
cover the Van Jones controversy until after
he'd resigned. MSNBC chose to honor 9/11 by focusing on the muslim victims of the attack by
fanatics of their religion on Americans. The 9-12 protests in
Washington were too
small to merit serious coverage by the MSM. You
know, not enough people in attendance to displace real
stories: [scroll for Sunday, 9/13. Tippy-Top Story -- "Americans
easily win third straight Walker Cup." Cool.]
Or something like that. And the ACORN scandal doesn't boast nearly
enough sex, corruption, and federal tie-ins to merit any kind of
excepting the possibility that the City of Baltimore might prosecute
the undercover journalists involved.
And so to bed. (For all you flyover dittoheads, that's a reference to
the diaries of Samuel Pepys. Look it up lunkheads.) Except maybe not
quite to bed yet. There's still the nagging matter of how the MSM
explains to itself the brand new mission of committing journalism by
not covering stories they don't approve of. That's where Howard Kurtz
comes in. His job, officially, is to comment on media stuff for the junior paper of record, the Washington Post.
We have to admit, he's dutiful. He dealt with the Van Jones omission on
and then with the 9-12 protests on Tuesday.
Maybe his unblinking, nose-to-the-grindstone shamelessness is the
source of the respect he's accorded for no other reason.
On Van Jones, his position was that, uh, maybe the press should have
covered the controversy. But only after
he had spent the first half of his two page entry blasting the temerity of a
nobody called Glenn Beck:
It has become a familiar chain
reaction: Talk-show hosts whip up a noisy controversy, which hits
higher decibels as it spreads to the establishment media, which costs
some unfortunate soul his job.
But now the middleman -- the journalistic gatekeepers of yore -- may no
longer be necessary.
By the time White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned over
Labor Day weekend, the New York Times had not run a single story.
Neither had USA Today, which also didn't cover the resignation. The
Washington Post had done one piece, on the day before he quit. The Los
Angeles Times had carried a short article the previous week questioning
Glenn Beck's assault on the White House aide. There had been nothing on
the network newscasts.
"Where is the press on this?" Beck asked in late August during one of
several rants against Jones. But it turned out the Fox News host didn't
need the big news organizations to claim his scalp.
Beck's rhetoric may have been over the top as he denounced Jones as a
"black nationalist" and "avowed communist" (Jones embraced communism in
the 1990s but said he later changed his views). Yet Beck also trumpeted
information that forced Jones to issue two public apologies within
days. The first was for calling Republicans "a--holes" in a February
speech, video of which was posted online by Beck backers. The second,
more serious offense was that he had signed a 2004 petition charging
"that people within the current administration may indeed have allowed
9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext to war." Jones said he didn't
agree with that view, but his signature was on the "truther" document.
Although he began firing at his target
earlier, Beck intensified his assault after a group co-founded by
Jones, Color of Change, launched a boycott campaign that has led dozens
of advertisers to withdraw from his television show -- a detail that
Beck neglected to tell viewers.
As a proponent of creating "green" jobs, Jones was a respected figure
within the environmental movement. But he was sufficiently obscure as a
special adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality
that major news organizations basically ignored him. Only The Post ran
a profile, in December, and a story last month on his government
work... [boldface added}
And blah, blah, blah. That Beck. What a creep. That Van Jones. What a
visionary. Note the boldfaced paragraph. I just loved the phrase, "a
detail that Beck neglected to tell viewers." So the proper journalistic
response would have been to, uh, what? Quit pursuing the story in light
of the fact that the target was retaliating undercover? Or prejudice
the bare facts by preaching to the audience about a suspicion that an
unprovable retaliation might be underway? Yet the closing thought
(always put the most important element, the one you really want them to
remember, at the end of the sentence, junior journalists!) is an
imputation of wrongdoing by Glenn Beck.
But this piece was just a warmup for the real exercise in journalistic
integrity published today. By Howard Kurtz. The conscience of The Washington Post (er, the
American League Champion of newspapers for you dimwit Middle
Americans...) In this multi-page gem, Howie tackles the question of the
9-12 demonstrations his newspaper could hardly bear to report on. (WAPO actually ran an AP account in
its pages rather than its own; the in-house DC staff were too busy with, like, the
Walker Cup.) But forget the facts. What really matters is what it all
meant. And about that we can do no better than consult the ultimate
experts on America, the elite pseudo-intellectuals who reference each
other's finest insights about what the Morlocks outside the Beltway are
up to today:
A Black-and-White Question
By Howard Kurtz
Is it racial?
Are the protesters, tea-partiers, birthers, deathers, doomsayers and
hecklers motivated, at least in part, by a distinct discomfort with the
country's first black president?
Or is that a smear against disgruntled Americans who have every right
to express their dissent?
There is no definitive answer, of course, since we are talking about
millions of people, from Joe Wilson, the disrespectful congressman
who's now raised $700,000 for his "you lie" outburst, to the woman who
told Arlen Specter that Obama is trying to transform the US of A "into
Russia, into a socialist country."
But I began to suspect that race was a
factor for at least some critics when I heard them shouting about "the
Constitution" and "taking our country back." Maybe Obama's health-care
plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is
any of this unconstitutional? Clearly, for some folks, there's
a deeper rage at the man occupying the White House.
I do think we all need to be careful about tarring the critics with a
broad brush. Dissent is an essential
element of America's DNA. Civil rights protesters transformed
the country. Protesters helped turn the country against the wars in
Vietnam and Iraq. The majority of those digging in against Obama's
policies sincerely believe that he is moving the country in the wrong
Still, there is an ugly undercurrent
out there. Yes, some on the right tried to delegitimize Bill
Clinton as well -- remember the garbage linking him to drug trafficking
and murder? -- but this is dark and personal in a much more unsettling
way. What other president -- with a Hawaii birth certificate, no less
-- would be subjected to conspiratorial doubts about whether he was
born in this country?
There was a hopeful moment after Obama's election when the country --
even many of those who had voted against him -- seemed proud of itself
for having broken a racial barrier. Maybe we were all being naive.
Maybe prejudice is not so easily drained from the swamp.
The subject got a major boost in
visibility from Maureen Dowd, who began with the shout-out from
the South Carolina congressman who was a member of Sons of Confederate
"Fair or not, what I heard was an
unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!"
"I've been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer --
the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a
foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who
would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids -- had much
to do with race. . . .
"But Wilson's shocking disrespect for
the office of the president -- no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W.
when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq -- convinced me: Some
people just can't believe a black man is president and will never
accept it. . .
"For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the
feds. In Obama, they have both."
Ouch indeed. [Excuse me. I've just had a tweet from TruePunk. He asks
me to inform you that he's got a post on the way that will make you all
cheer after you're done weeping over this one. Asshole.]
Anyway. How perfect does it get? An inside-the-beltway clown-journalist
actually believes that citing an inside-the-beltway clown-skagop-ed
writer represents some kind of verification of his own
Let's all take a Brizoni moment. Throbbing, pulsating,
EXPLOSIONS of furious contempt I'm feeling...]
Now. Deep breath. Start over. Three simple points I want to make here.
One. (another deep breath)
Only people who don't really care about the Constitution could see
mentioning it as a code word for racism in the current environment.
This administration has assumed authority in areas never before
envisioned by a presidential administration. The right of the executive
to fire private sector CEOs. The right of the executive to set pay for
anyone in the private sector. The right of the executive to take over
private sector corporations. The right of the executive to bypass
congressional advice and consent in order to name "czars" with
responsibilities overlapping and sometimes displacing cabinet
responsibilities with no oversight other than the president of the
United States. The right of the executive to create out of thin air a
"right to health care" and to require
uninsured private citizens to pay for health insurance they don't want.
There isn't one word in the Constitution authorizing any of this. So
people who start to feel the Constitution is being shoved to the side
in favor of executive authoritarianism are therefore racist? Huh? WTF? The people who
find this sinister would be in the streets today if the president
overseeing it were a pink aaardvark.
ALL the talk about race that has occurred since this administration
took office has come from the Obama administration itself. It's really
nothing more than the permanent "get out of jail free" card we warned
about here almost a year ago. Maybe the MSM is afraid to criticize the
administration because they accepted rules they shouldn't have in their
orgasmic rush to elect a black president, but the American people don't
care what color the president is. They want a president who regards
himself as president of all
Americans, not just the politically correct ones. Last week's
healthcare speech by President Obama is easily the nastiest, most
partisan and divisive address ever delivered by a president to a joint
session of congress. (Look it up, you beltway intellectuals.) It was
the moment when the president made it indisputably clear that he is the
president of those who agree with him and no one else.
[btw, Dowdy one (and the Howie one), the crack about adding "boy" to
someone's statement is one of the oldest and lamest jokes in the world.
Let's see. Try adding "bitch" to everything ever said by anyone to
Hillary. "Fat, drunken murderer" to everything ever uttered to Teddy
Kennedy. "MISTER Snopes" to everything said to Harry Reid. "Plastic
Medusa" to every retort to the wit and wisdom of Nancy Pelosi. One difference, I guess.
Doing it to a congressman from South Carolina seems to smack of racial
and geographical profiling. Doesn't it? You bet your tight
(non-homophobic) liberal asses it does...]
The behavior of the Obama administration in the face of protest from
ordinary Americans who have never before been known to take to the
streets in defense of their liberties against the federal government is
despicable. The behavior of the press, however, is not only despicable
but almost incomprehensibly suicidal. In the age of the Internet, NOT
covering stories you don't like is more
than professional malpractice. It's fucking lunacy.
IT'S NO LONGER POSSIBLE FOR THE NEW
YORK TIMES AND CBS NEWS
TO KILL A STORY BY NOT REPORTING ON IT. PERIOD.
What part of this fact of life do you not get? And in case you haven't
figured out the corollary either, allow me to point out that
inside-the-beltway prejudices are easily recognized in Kansas, Idaho, and New Jersey as pretentious
snobbery. You do not get to
tell us what's important and what our concerns imply about who we are. We get to do that.
Yet the patronizing, sanctimonious apologists for a dead autocracy
continue to roll out their rationalizations, excuses, judgments, and
cocktail-party wisdom to the world at large as if -- AS IF -- in
some sense they still speak for us. They don't.
THEY DO NOT.
The opposition to Obama is not racial.
It's MSM support for Obama that's racial. The man is trying to kill the
United States. The importance of the Washington protests is not whether
they numbered 70,000 or 700,000. It's that people who have never
protested in the streets before in their lives -- unlike the generation
of lefties who have lived in the streets without ever earning a dime --
are showing up there now. That's the biggest story in a hundred years.
These people, the ones who are protesting now, didn't even show up to
oppose the ugly treason of the Vietnam War protests. Why are they on
the streets now?
The MSM can't see a story in that other than racism? No. They can't. Which is the ultimate bind. Because they're going to die if they continue to interpret journalism as not covering stories that make Obama look bad. And the more they beat the racism drum, the more impossible they'll find it to criticize him when they finally feel thermselves slipping under the waves for the third and final (drowning) time. Hah. Really. That's the first laugh. The last laugh you'll hear will sound like something from the bottom of a well. But, well, that's where you'll be when you hear it.
Your whole journalistic business enterprise is fucking done. Guaranteed.
And Howard Kurtz? I denounce you as an unprincipled whore. (um, were
you ever upset about this?
Naaaah.) Too bad you can't make up the income differential by donning a
pair of red spiked heels and peddling your saggy ass in Georgetown. No
one would want it.
Maureen? You go, girl. One word of advice: Mandingo.
anyone liked the poster in the top graphic, here is the full-scale version:
Yeah, I kind of like it, too.
An outstanding column today by Victor Davis Hanson called The Rise of the Uncouth. He
fearlessly connects in print some outlier dots we've been connecting
quietly in our heads. A flavorful morsel:
[T]wo tropes appeared after January
20th of this year:
One—cannot we all get along? We deplore this resort to barbarism and
Two—if you dare sound off like we just did, then you are now a racist.
Not So Fast
The problem is that the public is not really stupid and has a long
memory. It hates hypocrisy as much as it does crudity. Part of Obama’s
decline is precisely because of this sudden disingenuousness in which
one rises to the top on hardball, Chicago politics and playing identity
politics (remember Rev. Wright, Ayers, “typical white people”,
clingers, etc.), and then of course wants an end to the crudity (like
hoping the music stops only when you have grabbed that last chair).
Or so Obama said that he wanted a sort of end to the acrimony. But once
he was elected, we got Eric Holder slurring the nation, the President
slurring the police, the environmental jobs czar slurring almost
everyone, and a host of satellites like Charles Rangel and Diane Watson
leveling charges of racism.
So where do go from here?
The standards of civility, torn down during the 1960s, were obliterated
completely after 9/11 (hours after, actually, when Michael Moore (Jimmy
Carter’s hero) wished a red-state had been hit instead). We have no
more “Wise Men” in Washington and New York, but rather graying children
of the Sixties, aging badly. A large segment of the left—from Code Pink
and Moveon.org to Acorn and the unions—believe that they really can
smear and defame and then retreat to mythical standards of decency when
they are now on the receiving end.
You all get so wrought up. Here's the simplest
answer to what's ailing the country. Let's make Washington, DC, a
separate nation. Or to put it less nicely, let's kick them out of the damn country. Think about it. Pretty perfect, huh? They can keep
their congress, their bureaucrats, their experts, their taxes, their
unions, their trial lawyers, their social programs, their Barney
Franks, their Patrick Leahys, their Nancy Pelosis, their Harry Reids,
their czars, their sullen First Lady, and their Narcisssist-in-Chief.
Just imagine what a paradise on earth they can have for themselves...
What do we get? Everything
else. We get to keep the Constitution of the United States. All the
job-creating businesses, the greatest military in the history of life
on earth, all the doctors and hospitals, all the brilliant scientists,
engineers, and technologists. All the cities, towns, and fields where
real work is done and real life is lived day after day. All the
churches, skyscrapers, bridges, farms, siloes, and winding roads and
turnpikes. All the oil, coal, and natural gas. All the factories, all
the stores, all the homes and schools where people make their
lives. All the other resources, too, from trees to mountains rich in
minerals and natural beauty. Of course, we'll have to have a new
capital, which, in my opinion, should be located -- like all the state
capitals -- in the center of the sovereign domain. Looks like somewhere
in Kansas. Okay with you? Okay with me. Actually, it seems like in the
day and age of terror a centrally located capital might be, you know,
There will be some transition issues. We'll need to elect an all new
House of Representatives and Senate. We'll need a new Supreme Court,
which means, obviously, we'll need a new President to make some
Anybody feel that's beyond our poor yokel power to accomplish? Didn't
If you think it's a good idea, pass it on. Let's go viral. And please
let me know where exactly in Kansas the new capital will be located.
I'd like to invest in some real estate. Sorry. Old capitalist instincts.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Not Beating a Dead Horse
Hero Worship is Kewl.
IS, UH, REFORMED. I was going to let this one go. I really was.
Even though Mrs. CP abruptly announced to me that she could no longer
support Ohio State football even if it was one of the abiding
sentimental legacies of my late mother. I understood her:
In Saturday’s game against Navy, [Ohio
State quarterback] Terrelle Pryor put the word “Vick” on his eye black
(”Mika” is his sister’s nickname). As far as I know, he still had
it on in the second half. He had a very questionable quote after
the game, saying “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the
world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from
you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second
chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.”
She was further upset by early reporting that OSU Coach Jim Tressel's
first response was evasive and even flippant. I looked up the record
and Tressel seemed more protective and guarded than casual:
He's a kid, but he had to perhaps expect that this could be
Tressel: I think that's
probably -- you would think, but on the other hand, Terrelle's of the
opinion that, you know what, I'm not any big deal, I haven't done
anything, and like anything else, whether it was a coverage read or a
defensive guy not playing a gap or whatever, these are all moments that
we can learn from, but again, I guess I would refer back to the fact
that you have -- you would have to know him the way I know him to
understand that he didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, to be
insensitive to something that someone feels strongly about, that's just
If there's ever anyone that feels bad about something or downtrodden
about something, he's the first one there with his arms around them,
that's just the way he is. So as they say, it is what it is and you
learn from what you learn from and it's -- to go back to your original
question, I don't know the answer to that because if someone came in
and wanted to put "Mom" on their eye patch or their wrist, I've got a
tough time questioning that.
And so that's part of life and I'm sure Terrelle -- he's one of those
guys that he feels terrible about anything that's not just right. And I
know he doesn't feel good that that disappointed someone. And his
intention would never be to make anyone disappointed about something
and that's just his nature and we all sometimes miss the mark, but as I
say, teachable, learnable moment.
Well, "Mom" and "Mika Vick" aren't exactly the same kind of entry on an
eyepatch, but what a coach says in public and what he says to his team
in private can be two different things, and I also don't believe that
Terrrelle Pryor is actually endorsing killing people or killing dogs.
He took plenty of heat for what he said in Columbus, and he's taking
plenty of heat for it from Mrs. CP. Michael Vick is nobody to look up to. Who would hide this fact from a dumb, naive kid? But it's easy enough to give the kid a second chance, at least until he smashes his girlfriend's face or beats his dog to death.
As I said. I was going to let it go. Until I read Michael Wilbon's
column. Which rubbed me the wrong way. A lot. Here
The folks in the Buckeye State like it
when Terrelle Pryor is throwing or running for touchdowns, when he's
playing quarterback for them. But if
he feels something they don't feel, if he keeps his own opinions and
not theirs, specifically on the subject of Michael Vick, they don't
like the 20-year-old college sophomore so much. Some of them
dislike Pryor intensely because he likes Vick and had the nerve to say
so publicly by putting "Vick" on an eye-black strip during Saturday's
game. You can read the columns, the Buckeye message boards and see how
many think he's dumb, or stupid, or a disgrace to his team and his
This is the world we live in, where
it's not enough to have your own feelings; you have to pound everybody
else until they believe exactly what you do. It's too bad Pryor isn't
eloquent enough to express himself any better than he did following
Saturday's game, when he said in defense of supporting Vick,
"Not everybody is the perfect person in the world. Everyone does ...
kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me. I just
feel that people need to give him a chance."
It's an almost incoherent defense,
really, the suggestion that "everybody murders or steals." Then again,
we're talking about a college sophomore who, not surprisingly, plays
football better than he speaks. I deal with enough college students,
not all of them athletes, who increasingly are numbingly inarticulate,
which isn't the same thing as being stupid. While Pryor ought to be
able to express himself with a little more clarity, he also ought to be
able to like or dislike pretty much whomever he wants without having
outrage directed his way.
When Pryor walks onto a football field or into a college classroom,
where disagreement was encouraged once upon a time, and declares how
much he likes Vick, groupthink (or more precisely, nothink) kicks in. Fans have taken the partisan politics of
Washington to other areas and overrun the internet with pitchforks.
Heaven forbid a player or coach expresses an opinion or anything that
anyone anywhere disagrees with. If Pryor weren't so talented,
well, they might even call for him to be benched this week against
What Pryor said that isn't offensive,
to me anyway, is "I always looked up to Mike Vick and I always will
because I still think he is one of the best quarterbacks." People want
to pass a law now making it illegal to say anything that isn't hateful
about Michael Vick? Last I checked, he served nearly two years in
prison for his crimes. Move on.
The level of intolerance that people
so boldly express now is stunning and even worse, quietly accepted.
Same thing was evident in Kentucky where John Calipari sent a team
jersey to President Obama (which he filmed for his Facebook page) and
came under such heat for it that the post had to be deleted. Don't think for a minute that race under
the guise of conservatism has nothing to do with this.
I've never been a Mike Vick fan, particularly, and thought he deserved
jail time for his heinous crimes. But
the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests that Vick
should have a second chance or that people should simply let him be,
has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the heat for
simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular, some of
us ought to be bold enough to stand with him. [boldface added]
Michael Wilbon should know better than to conflate morality with
"feelings." Before he went to Northwestern University's School of
Journalism, Wilbon attended St. Ignatius Prep, where, presumably, he
gained an education in Christian moral doctrine. His insistence on
further confusing moral outrage with political and racial prejudice is
downright repellent. There's a whole catalogue of hypocrisies he's
committed here, and I am
going to call him on them.
Things Wilbon is dissimulating about, to the detriment of those he pretends to care about:
1. Professional athletes have to care what people think of
them. Like all entertainers. If he cares about Terrelle Pryor, he
should make it clear that making enemies in the audience is a very bad
idea, economically and professionally.
2. "It's too bad Pryor isn't eloquent enough to express himself any
better than he did following Saturday's game." Too bad? How about
tragic, pitiful, fatal? Yes, people are inclined to be forgiving about
the missteps of youth, but we're not exactly innocent about the
implications of what young people say anymore. Hell, the whole popular
culture is designed to rub old noses in the grime of youthful
relativism, isn't it? You can expect all you want that post-adolescent
parents and grandparents will accept whatever whims young idiots have
latched onto for the moment, but you cannot demand that we accept what
we regard as unacceptable because the faces who spit in ours are young,
unmarked, and education free. In case Wilbon can't see it, let me make
it clear for him. People are entirely free to write off Terrelle Pryor
as a person of no interest without even trying to "pound everybody else
until they believe exactly what you do."
3. "I deal with enough college students, not all of them athletes, who
increasingly are numbingly inarticulate, which isn't the same thing as
being stupid." Excuse me? Not the same thing? Ever heard the
phrase "distinction without a difference"? Is that what they taught you
at St. Ignatius and Northwestern? That having a moral conviction, a
story, some demonstrable facts were all that mattered? That if you
couldn't find some way to extract them from your skull in a form
understandable by other people they were still Pulitzer worthy?
4. "What Pryor said that isn't offensive, to me anyway, is 'I always
looked up to Mike Vick and I always will because I still think he is
one of the best quarterbacks.'" I'll come back to this one.
5. "The level of intolerance that people so boldly express now is
stunning and even worse, quietly accepted." Intolerance has to do with
things like fashion, hygiene, and manners. It's an idiotic word when
you apply it to to matters of fundamental human behavior. Can I be
"tolerant" of wifebeating? Pedophilia? Killing? Animal cruelty? As long
as they act sorry afterwards? Sorry, Michael. (Whichever one answers...)
6. "Don't think for a minute that race under the guise of conservatism
has nothing to do with this." I'll come back to this one, too.
7. "But the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests
that Vick should have a second chance or that people should simply let
him be, has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the
heat for simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular,
some of us ought to be bold enough to stand with him." By all means
stand with him. As long as you're still standing with him when his
career goes nowhere and he's tending bar in Dublin, Ohio, 25 dreary
improverished years from now.
But you won't be there, will you Michael Wilbon? You're just using Terrelle Pryor for your own
expedient political purposes. Because there are a whole lot of things
you'd be more forthcoming about if you really cared about Terrelle, or
race, or young people, or even all your political ideals. But you don't
really care about those things. You're just another hypocritical
liberal mass media parasite.
Name calling? Yup. But I can prove it all. You make your living in and
from the world of professional sports. You know -- not kidding, you KNOW -- that the mysterious
difference between the dazzling college stars who fizzle in the pros
and the Hall of Fame all stars in every professional sport is almost
always disciplined intelligence, an ability to work as hard and
productively at the mental aspects of the game as the physical. You
also know that reading, writing, and 'rithmetic figure strongly in this
hidden part of the excellence equation. No, they don't have to be scholars, but being a
person with the attributes of a scholar is indispensable.
That's why the speeches at the Hall of Fame inductions are usually so
moving. Outfielders, point guards, goalies, offensive linemen, and
murderous linebackers step up to that podium and wow us because they
have a sense of history, personal humility, emotional memory, family,
language, and character that makes them momentarily eloquent and
usually overcome. Illiterate, narcissistic psychopaths need not apply.
When brutes do creep into the mix on the basis of pure physical skills,
they are, well, embarrassments, and they may have made fortunes but
they don't rest comfortably in the eternity of the game. Yeah, it's
probable that O.J. Simpson was
the greatest NFL running back who ever lived, better than Brown,
Sayers, and Payton. But whose story would you rather repeat to your
children? And would you still defend Terrelle Pryor if he put O.J. on
his eyeblack because he was "the greatest back ever"?
But you choose to defend stupidity on behalf of stardom and high draft
status while overlooking the one supreme service you could provide to the people of your
race you are so hypersensitive about. You could, not to put too fine
point on it, tell young people the truth. What's that?
What IS that, kemo sabe?
Now hear MY RACIAL RAGE.
I understand you pitched a one-hitter when you were a high-schooler,
Michael. Did you ever think you were going to be in the White Sox
starting rotation? No? Why not?
Because you weren't an idiot.
At St. Ignatius you also paid attention in math class and you knew that
there are only about 10,000 jobs in professional baseball, most of
which pay almost nothing. Compared to jobs for smart well educated
people, which amount to maybe 50
million. Which are far FAR greater odds than any that
exist for making a living at professional basketball. How many NBA
jobs? 500? If you care as you say you do, how can you not stump the
country, night and day, imploring kids to learn everything they can in
school, as opposed to offhandedly reporting that college students of
all kinds are "numbingly inarticulate"? Oh. That's right. You have a
career to look after, WAPO savant...
YOU MAKE ME COMPLETELY SICK. The only hope for young people who have
athletic talent and less than stellar academic talent is to find a
sport in which they might earn a scholarship for the purpose of getting
a real education that could
lead to a job, graduate school, or other
knowledge-based opportunity. Swimming, diving, gymnastics, wrestling,
soccer, baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, etc, etc. Which mean run like
hell from both basketball and football, the worst dead ends in terms of
college opportunity there are. Less than one percent make the pros. The
other 99 percent have no time to go to class and finish as 7-11 clerks
with lifelong physical disabilities well after they've had their 48
minutes on national TV.
What do YOU do? You comment in your cultured, sanctimonious way about
only the most high visibility sports, and you make excuses for the
total illiterates who are exploited by the American collegiate athletic
system and discarded afterwards, except for the celebrated one percent
who get to be privileged thugs, given endless second chances, by you,
in the professional marketplace. Because they give you something to
talk about. And patronize the rest of us about. On air. Screw you.
Terrelle Pryor will be a non-story in the professional ranks. He's an
athlete. But he's as doomed as Michael Vick. Whose inexplicable
failure to be a great NFL quarterback is easily explicated by the fact
that he's -- barring some unlikely intervention by wise, stern men who care -- a
fantastically athletic but narcissistic, semi-literate, psychopathic
punk Just like Vince Young. He'll never look
like a living statue at the Canton induction ceremony, applauded by his
physician, professorial, and otherwise professional children and his beloved wife of 30 or 40
years. Take my bet: Vick (and Pryor after
him if the cycle isn't broken) will spend more time in prison than
delivering motivational speeches. Just
Still objecting, Wilbon? What would you tell Terrelle in private if you
weren't defending him from the
fancied army of intolerant white people
who actually have moral standards? You'd tell him to grow up. You'd
tell him to get an education. Like YOU did. You'd tell him to watch and learn from
the dignity of men like Jamie Dukes.
You should have seen his lesson on NFL
Gameday Scoreboard to his co-hosts about being "the
face of the franchise." Impressive.
Yeah, I know who he is. He
puts you to shame in terms
of pure character stature, Wilbon. Even if he didn't go to private
Catholic school. He's actually learned
something from his Florida State education.
Being a man isn't about race. It's about, uh, well, being a man.
Something Terrelle Pryor will never learn if he reads your columns.
Top points for the first person who can document the tongue lashing
Michael Vick administered to Terrelle Pryor for having picked the
wrong NFL idol... and extra credit for the substitute idols he
suggested to the very fine young man who worships the ground he walks