Friday, June 15, 2007

The Friday Follies:
Global Infantilism

ADDING IT ALL UP. What a week. All the best of western civilization was on display this week, with special highlights provided by various liberal leaders in the United States, the mass media, Hollywood, and, oh yes, the peace-loving muslims of the middle east.

The tone was set early on by Dan Rather, who was kind enough to offer some constructive criticism to his old employer, CBS Evening News. Dan suggested that Katie Couric's newscast was failing because it had been too "tarted up" with Paris Hilton stories by her producers. CBS executive Les Moonves told Dan the news hadn't been tarted up and the only reason viewers were ignoring Katie like that was because they were a bunch of sexist old white men, probably a lot like Dan. That's when Dan said it wasn't about gender, and Moonves fired right back at him:

"It is so."
"Is not," Dan replied.
"Is too."
"Is not."
"Is too."
"Uh uh."
"Uh huh."
"Your mother wears army boots."

And then they both ran home crying. Which brings us to the tragic and mesmerizing saga of Paris Hilton (who actually got only an hour or two of coverage by CBS News). Some nasty judge thought that if you lost your license for a DUI and then got caught driving again, twice, and were late for your court date on top of that -- not to mention getting photographed by the paparazzi, driving again, after said court date -- maybe you should go to jail for a while. Thirty or so of Paris's best attorneys tried to get the judge to see how completely unfair it was to put rich people in jail in California for crap like this because they don't even put rich people in jail in California for murder, which she didn't do yet. The judge listened to their arguments and sentenced Paris to jail for 45, uh, no, make that 23 days. The attorneys filed an instant appeal:

"Oh, come o-o-o-o-on. That is SO not fair."
"I say it is fair," the judge told them.
"It is not."
"It is too."

Then the attorneys ran home crying, and shortly afterwards Paris ran home crying from jail, which made the judge mad all over again, so he told Paris, "Stop that snivelling this instant, young lady, and march your little legs straight back to jail. And," he added, "This time, you stay there till I tell you can come out."

Since then the whole mass media, and the blogosphere, and millions of ordinary Americans have been debating the finer points of the case as if they were attorneys themselves:

"That is SO not fair."
"Is too."

All of which eventually caused Paris to release a statement to the press suggesting that everyone should stop thinking about her and give some thought to the problems in Iraq and the middle east and everything.

That's when everybody noticed that the oppressed and misunderstood muslims of Hamas were having a civil war with the oppressed and misunderstood muslims of Fatah in a place called Gaza, which obviously isn't in Iraq because no matter how hard they looked, the journalists couldn't find any American troops there to blame for all the bombing and shooting and death squads that were making the streets run red with civilian blood. Which meant that it must be Israel's fault instead. When Israel pointed out they didn't have any troops in Gaza, either, the Prime Minister of Fatah explained what had happened:

"Hamas started it."
"No," said Hamas. "Fatah pinched me. Hard."
"Only after you pushed me."
"That is SO not true."
"Is too true."
"Is not."
"Your father wears a burkah."

Then they went at it again, like they'd never stopped, which was actually good news for Angelina Jolie, who had just made this really serious important picture about how some of the misunderstood muslims occasionally cut the heads off dedicated journalists, but the journalists have to keep fighting and braving the dangers in their eternal search for the truth, which is a message that resonates even more when muslims are doing lots of murdering in the week before your big movie premiere. So Angelina started scheduling interviews with journalists to tell them about her great message, only she wanted to be absolutely sure that none of the slimy journalists could water down the message about freedom of the press by asking a bunch of questions about her personal life, so she told them they had to sign a contract promising not to ask any personal questions or else she could seize their tapes and sue them for a hundred million dollars. Oh, and by the way, Fox News shouldn't bother to show up at all, because look at their hair and tacky clothes. That's when Fox News published a story about how Angelina was always trying to keep journalists from getting at the truth, like in Namibia, where she and Brad wouldn't talk to any journalists except the ones who could be executed by the Namibian dictator if they asked any personal questions.

"I did no such thing," Angelina replied, with her hands on her hips.
"Did too."
"Did not."

The storm that erupted afterwards from Angelina's publicity machine was so severe that it reminded the Broward County Commissioners in Florida of a huge problem they were about to have when hurricane season got into full gear this season. They needed a big strong radio station with a lot of listeners and satellite stations to be their conduit for emergency weather bulletins to the people who might get killed or drowned or something in a hurricane. The problem was that the radio station with the strongest signal had Rush Limbaugh on it, and Sean Hannity, who were the ones who screwed up the vote recounts in Florida back in the 2000 presidential election, which is how George W. Bush got selected president and started making all the hurricanes so much worse with his global warming tax cuts. Or something like that. Obviously there's no point in telling listeners about hurricanes when Rush and Sean will come right back on the air and tell them there isn't any hurricane and don't take any precautions because there are too many Democrats in Broward County anyway. When he heard about this, Rush Limbaugh responded to the Broward County Commissioners:

"HA HA HA HA," he said. In that way of his. You know. Mean. "HA HA HA HA HA."

So the commissoners ran home crying and issued a statement through their mothers that they didn't care anymore and if people wanted to get hurricane news that was all twisted and lied about by Limbaugh and Hannity, it would just serve them right.

This was unfortunate because it freed up Limbaugh and Hannity to immediately start making fun of Senator Harry Reid, who'd ingested some poisoned bourbon earlier in the week, right before his online chat with a bunch of liberal bloggers, which explains why he couldn't remember all that clearly how it was that he'd decided to call General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an incompetent. In his usual fashion, Limbaugh analyzed the prospect of Harry Reid calling Peter Pace incompetent:

"HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA," he concluded.

But Harry Reid didn't cry. He's not like that. He's one of those babies who just scowls and screams like a descending artillery shell and starts throwing gobs of baby food all over the place.

I could go on. Believe me, I could go on and on. This week was a pip (Dukakis, Pelosi, Nifong, Massachusetts democracy, immigration tantrums, patriotism, etc). But perhaps you're ready for just a couple of adult moments?

Like the essay on Global Warming written by the President of the Czech Republic.

And Governor Schwarzenegger offering grown-up advice to Hispanic immigrants.

Common sense about free speech from Justice Samuel Alito.

And, finally, this (h/t Brit Hume), a small reminder that there still exists a strain of human aspiration beyond infantilism.

Have a lovely weekend.

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