Bomb Throwing Pacifist

If you took that happy, smiling guy from the box of Quaker Oats, handed him a bottle of gin and a rifle, and pissed him off to a point where he decided he wasn't going to take it anymore, you'd get a little something like this.

Friday, February 09, 2007

It burns....

Ladies and gentlemen, this particular peice isn't going to be pretty.

There. I said it. That way, you can't come crawling back to me later howling about how I've betrayed you and how you are now scarred for life for all the horrible things you have seen and read on this blog. Yes, yes, yes. I know it hurts. Believe me, I know. The nightmares you awake from in the middle of the night, bursting out of your fitful slumber like a swimmer breaking the surface of a black pool. The loss of vision associated with the retinal scarring. The fact that your eyeballs are now the same consistency of a hardboiled egg and that your optic nerve is now more shot, stripped, and overloaded than Baghdad's power grid (January 2007: 4.5 hours of electricity daily!). The constant state of paralizing fear you must endure at various points throughout the day when you ralize that not only do you live on the same continent as these cretinous throwbacks to the neolithic period, but you actually share your citizenship with then and even breathe the same air.

Unfortunately, I have some bad news. Another weekly column has surfaced from the stinking, cankerous sore that is Alan Keyes' "Renew America." This time it comes a particularly blockheaded mental defective I am sure you will all recognize: our friend, Warner Todd Huston. While Warner is normally better known for his impressive, steely demeanour and his not a little shocking tendency to wear marsupial pelts on his face in a show of backwoodsman prowess, those of you with the suitable nerve may also be impressed that he fancies himself as something of a colunist and pundit as well.

At least inasmuch as anyone with an internet connection, a pathological hatred of society, and two brain cells to rub together can get something published on Alan Keyes' sight. I can only assume that Warner's successful entry into the field of online witlessness is that given his particularly loathsome appearance and barely controlled, squinty-eyed fury that they were willing to waive the two-braincell requirement. Kind of like knowing the guy who runs the rickety rollercoasters of death at your local amusement park. Sure, the sign says you have to be so many inches tall, but what's a little seatbelt malfunction and a 15-storey drop between friends, right?

Anyway, Warner has prepared something very special for us this week, and it goes a little like this.

Internet tattletales -- is it right to 'spy' on a neighbor?
Warner Todd Huston
February 7, 2007

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A recent Wallstreet Journal editorial by Jennifer Saranow entitled The Snoop Next Door, highlighted some interesting websites that have been taking their slot on the World Wide Web of late... and, no, it isn't porn.

Which is something I think we can all be thankful for. Considering the personal goorming standards obviously espoused by Warner and other conservatives like Ted Nugent, I can only shudder in horror at the thought of his sweaty, greasy, bewhiskered form conducting some in-depth "research" on the moral depravity of transvestite prostitutes caught on cam in his star-spangled bikini bottoms and cowboys boots.

Good lord, I think I'm going to be ill.

Apparently these sites are being used to tattle on other people. One site claims to be ready to reveal bad drivers and people who don't know how to park well, one to uncover the identity of the person who is stealing newspapers in the wee hours of the morning before the neighborhood is awake to get their morning editions, and one to highlight litterbugs. All supposedly feature video or clear photos of the perpetrators of the ill the website's creators wish to right.

In other words, these websites have been set up by self-appointed vigilantes to mock and marginalize various pricks about town. While we know that deep down that anything that smacks of shootin' irons, rope, and dead mexicans is the kind of vigilante action Warner would love to get in on, the fact that these websites have been set up to out various jerks is obvious cause for worry around casa Huston. After all, right-wing jerks are the most marginalized and descriminated-against minority of them all!

How should we, as freedom loving Americans, react to websites where people are tattled on, spied upon, or "outed" as the bad guy?

Previous experience in these matters derived largely from the Valierie Plame CIA outing case and the Bushco warantless wiretapping program provide the logical right-wing answer I fear.

The libertarian reaction might be to confront the website's creator and ask them who the heck they think they are by publicly airing other's dirty laundry?

Because as we all know, Libertarians loves them their muzzling of free speech, yes they do (actually, come to think of it...)

Still others would applaud the website because they get to jeer the "jerks" of society who cannot seem to abide by the rules.

And thus intrinsically appeal to Warner Todd Huston who longs for the golden days of yesteryear when women were subservient, cattle was money, and justice came out of the barrel of a gun.

Which is right? Which is the more "American" reaction to these snoop's websites? Curiously enough, both are.

Ahh! HERESEY! Flip-flopper!

There has long been a presumption in the United States that anyone can do anything they like.

Provided they have the lawyers and political connections to cover it up. Just look at the Bush dynasty.

That everything is fair game, as long as what one citizen does doesn't harm anyone else, violating another's rights.

And by "anyone else," we are referring to the 18th century definition of the term: landowning white males within a certain income bracket.

Americans have always prided themselves that primogeniture and Royal privilege do not exist in the USA.

Unless of course your name is Bush. In which case you earned everything you have and don't owe anything to your President father, Senator grandfather, or governor brother.

Of you fall into that one percent of Americans who are victimized by that most loathesome of all taxes, the estate tax.

The lowliest citizen "born in a log cabin" can become president, any poor boy with the drive and an idea can become a captain of industry. For the most part, that has always been right, too.

Of course, the better-educated, more-stable, well-rounded individuals in this country stopped believing in that fairy tale around the same time they realized that the tooth fairy didn't actually exist and that Santa was really mom and dad. After all, the median income of African Americans is only 65% that of nonhispanic whites, there is only one county in the entire United States where the net worth of Black residents is higher than that of White residents, blacks have much higher unemployment rates, a poverty rate of close to 25%, have a life expectancy 5 years lower than that of whites, and numerous examples of inequality too extensive to list here. But hey, as long as Oprah Winfrey and condi Rice are still around, I guess Huston and his ilk will keep pointing that out.

American exceptionalism holds that we can do or be anything and we can do it our way on top of it. We Americans feel we do not need anyone's permission to do what we feel we need to do.

n. Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance: "There is no safety in unlimited technological hubris" (McGeorge Bundy).

[Greek, excessive pride, wanton violence; see ud- in Indo-European roots.]

But fuck that! We're Americans!

We are a proud and stubborn people, bound and determined.

And stupid. Mind-numbingly, paste-eatingly stupid.

For some, though, they take this tradition and try to stretch it to cover boorish behavior. They imagine that their status as an American means they can "say what ever they want" because of "freedom of speech." The courts have, for the most part, agreed with them.

This- taken to its logical conclusion- of course tends to result in spectacularly bad miscalculations.

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So, at some level we have a somewhat accepted "right" in our laws to act like a jerk. That would make the websites that spotlights the jerks seem like a bad idea and perhaps posit that it is the website creators that have the "problem" and not the jerks who are highlighted there.

In other words, the morons who tend to think that freedom os speech and freedom of action also means the freedom to suffer any consequences as a result of that speech. Sure, you can splurt out whatever foul, racist, hate-filled slime crosses your pathetic excuse for a mind, but don't act the martyr when suddenly people go out and brand you as a racist. Just sayin...

On the other hand, a society has every right to define what is and isn't the "proper" way to act in public.

Poppycock! We all know that the Bible and our Judeo-Christian morality is the sole arbiter of what is and is not acceptable in today's society, m'larkey!

Or at least, that's the line he's going to tote whenever the local Gay-Straight alliance decides to have a gay pride parade in his home town.

A society has the right — even the obligation — to set up the rules by which everyone will be governed, to set up community standards. The proper comportment of an individual has always, until recently, been a very important consideration for Americans and anyone breaking the social contract was shunned.

You know I think Warner is coming dangerously close to advocating a set of laws and standards based on the will of the majority of the people and not on the primitive religious codes a a sheephearding tribe of desert-dwelling nomads. And as we all know, that comes dangerously close to advocating anarchy...

George Washington had his 101 rules by which he lived and books of etiquette have always been big sellers in this country throughout much of its history.

You wouldn't know it. Americans are by far and large contempible of such matters as proper dining protocol, sending out thank you cards, and giving up their seats to those in obvious distress.

From the books by The Earl of Chesterfield to Miss Manners, Americans sought guides on how to act, what to wear, how to speak, walk, eat and entertain.

Then given the popularity of reality TV shows, pop music, and what passes forpolite conversation in America, I'd say these two have a hell of a lot to answer for.

There was a time that ended not long ago when nether men nor women would step outside their houses without a hat on their heads and a jacket — or a shaw of some sort for women — across their shoulders. There was a time when curse words would never be uttered in mixed company[...]

Unless of course you were a sailor...

[...]when to be seen as upset in public would be a sign that you are uncouth and unintelligent.

They also tended to believe that skull shape was correlated to intelligence, coal was clean-burning energy, dog fighting was fun, and that sex made you insane. Not exactly the sort of people I want to be taking my cultural ques from there, Warner.

Public virtue was something that concerned the Founding Fathers to a great extent. Many Founders worried that the people would not be able to sustain the Republic because of the tendency of man to allow standards to degrade while existing in a state of freedom.

Which is of course why they were so adamant that we overthrow the rule of parliament and replace it with an oligarchic caste of warrior-kings as per our hebrew ancestors.

Samuel Adams once said, "Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters." But those men of character cannot be found if the society doesn't produce them in the first place.

This of course being the sam Sam Adams who was described by his contemporaries as "the last Puritain" and referred to Massachusetts as "our Christian Sparta on the bay." Not too sure we should be taking our cultural ques from him either.

This requires that the people observe certain customs and rules of comportment in themselves as well as their elected officials.

I.e. staying the fuck in the closet, J. Edgar Hoover, Mark Foley.

It comes down to a uniform sense of morality.

Here it comes! Now just remember a few paragraphs earlier he argued that Society has a good and just role in determining what is and is not acceptable behaviour...

As Teddy Roosevelt said, "To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."

Wait for it...

And before Roosevelt, the great orator Daniel Webster also delved into the question when he said, "Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint."

Wait for it...

Unfortunately, today we have people that make a living by ranting in public like angry, petulant fools and our "celebrities" make their name by acting like selfish, infant terribles.

So, while a live and let live Libertarian might say that people have no right to intrude on others the way the "outing" websites do, those interested in public virtue and a uniform public moral code might stand up and applaud.


Marc with a C, 4:48 PM


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