Thursday, November 2, 2006

Sticks and Stones

I am continually astonished at the emotional sensitivity of these neocon politicians and media-heads to words. When I criticize Bush or Cheney, I am talking mainly about actions—somewhere between 50,000 and half a million or so murders that these fellows have committed; another few thousand here at home, lost through criminal negligence in the Gulf Coast; and uncounted more lives lost, broken, ruined, or impoverished because of the callous, arrogant, and pompous actions of a few brutish, thieving old white men. Aside from their ubiquitous lies, I don't particularly care what they say; but my soul burns with white anger at their deeds.

The neocon establishment, however, is morbidly sensitive to criticism—both of itself and on behalf of others whose nerves, they imagine, are as raw and weak as their own.

To me, it is a mark of desperation. If you can't find something substantive to react against, just cry foul over a joke—and Jon Stewart's jokes (as even a neocon can recognize) are too good to criticize. I actually read the Kerry remarks over which so much has been made, before the bitter parade of hurt feeling had gained much momentum. I thought, "oh, the guy's pointing out that poor kids and minorities get shoved into the military while Uncle Dick's little precious stays at home, safe and sound." It's a point I have made in this very space before, and which I have read and heard others make in the media and the blogosphere.

So let's be very, very clear: John Kerry hasn't dropped an ounce of white phosphorous onto any Iraqi women or children in the past four years. John Kerry hasn't sent a single cruise missile into an orphanage or a hospital; John Kerry hasn't tortured a single person; and so far as we know, John Kerry hasn't alienated any allies, ruined any nations, or spawned any new terrorists around the world.

But he made a joke about how to avoid military service—probably because, thirty-odd years ago, he saw rich kids like George and Dick staying home while he and others went to Nam. Jesus, what a traitor! Send him to Gitmo and have a waterboard with his name on it ready.


In Memoriam: One of the great lights of American literature has gone out, or rather transformed to the next realm. William Styron was a great, talented, and often troubled man. If you have never read Sophie's Choice, I would urge you to; it is one of the classics of American lit, and you will most likely never forget it. And his tiny "memoir of madness," Darkness Visible is one of those books that every psychotherapist in creation ought to read at least once.

One is tempted to call this a sad day. But pick up one of his books, and read this great man's musical and haunting prose, and you will have cause to celebrate his life.

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