Friday, April 15, 2005

Why are Democrats filibustering against people of faith? 


As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."

Did you know that, in the past, the filibuster was “most notoriously employed by opponents of civil rights”?

See the connection?

I Guess This Is Why I Never Watch TV 

Those of you who watch Paula Zahn on CNN are probably familiar with her Viewers' Choice "Person of the Day" feature.

Well, I happened to catch this yesterday. The three nominees for "Person of the Day" were:

--Bill Clinton, for his work fighting AIDS in Africa.

--The brave students of Red Lake High School, who returned to school for the first time since the deadly shooting spree there.

--The Cookie Monster.

Need I say who the winner was?

Again: the choices were a former President of the United States; the child survivors of a bloody school massacre; and the Cookie Monster.

It was noted that the Cookie Monster, perhaps anti-eponymously, now warns children (due to our heightened awareness of the growing epidemic of child obesity in our nation) that it's OK to eat cookies sometimes, but not all the time.

Viewers' Choice: "Person of the Day"

Eric Rudolph: Failed Hero 

Ever since reading Denis Johnson's essay "Run, Rudolph, Run" from his outstanding collection Seek, I had known something about Olympics-bomber Eric Rudolph's status as a kind of hero among both anti-abortion crazies, right-wing survivalist types, and perhaps even folks with vague sympathies for the old outlaw, outrun-the-Feds strain of American mythology.

So it didn't surprise me to hear some of those rural types--interviewed on NPR yesterday following the story of Rudolph's plea-bargain--admitting out of one side of their mouths that Rudolph had a lot of sympathizers amongst them. The real kicker was hearing these same people say out of the other side of their mouths that they were sorry Rudolph wasn't going to get the death penalty, because that would been "a better punishment."

I guess it's really the same side of the mouth. The impulse to privately cheer on the abortion-clinic bomber hiding up in his cave, embarrassing the Feds with his clever evasions, is inseparable from the impulse to wish Rudolph death at the hands of those same authorities. Yeah, they want him to bomb the baby-killers and stay free in the American wild--but, captured, they want him murdered in the most degrading possible fashion: by a faceless government bureaucracy.

This seeming schizophrenia says a lot about these people--mainly about how fucking pathetic and feeble-minded they are. But it also reveals a truism about the nature of the American hero: like Terri, like all those sensational child abductees, like the "heroes" in firefighting hats and riding in unarmored vehicles across the wastes of Iraq--like even the Pope and, hell, Ronald Reagan--we say we love them, we say we want them to live, live, live!!!

But our deepest sense of ourselves will only be satisfied when they die--and the more violently the better. I guess that's sacrifice. Seems awfully pre-Christian to me, but it's what we got.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"Covering" "America" "today" 

It's funny--but not so funny--that in an article about the loss of journalistic credibility, Kristof says something like this:

We also need more diverse newsrooms. When America was struck by race riots in the late 1960's, major news organizations realized too late that their failure to hire black reporters had impaired their ability to cover America. In the same way, our failure to hire more red state evangelicals limits our understanding of and ability to cover America today.

They're babbling in tongues on the streets of the heartland, and Dan Rather sure as heck can't tell us city folk what in the heck is going on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Where to Even Begin? 

"I hope [DeLay] survives, and I hope he will stay in there and do his job," said Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss.

"The power of prayer is the only thing that will sustain you" in the circumstance DeLay is in, Lott added, and he spoke disparagingly of any Republicans who fail to stand by the Texan.

"That's the problem, you know, Republicans eat their own. ... Democrats stand by their own until hell freezes over," said Lott...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Spring Is Here! 

...and there's no time for digging up, sniffing, and nibbling upon corpses like the Spring!

Check out the D.C. cherry blossoms--

--actually I think this is more of a dogwood than a cherry blossom, but you get the gist.

Necro-Porn, cont'd. 

Finchy writes (elevated from the Comments):

You can't forget the role and impact of the international media in all of this, however. TV has never been more of an "altar of human sacrifice," as Paul Virilio has put it.

But even within this twisted, cannibalistic mode of mass representation of death, there is a hierarchy. Not only are the deaths of white individuals (Schiavo, the Pope) considered more desirable and entertaining (hence receiving ten times the attention and prattle of mass catastrophes in developing countries such as the recent earthquake in Indonesia, the ONGOING catastrophe of the earlier tsunami in that region), but even these nonwhite mass deaths are ranked. The recent outbreak of Marburg in Angola will, like SARS, get ongoing coverage because of the sensationalistic nature of the disease (and the titillating possibility that it could somehow migrate from "there" to "here"). This, after all, is far more "fun," or ingestible, than, say, the mass casualties of anarchic conflicts in the Congo; yet another African genocide going more or less unreported. Clearly, different corpses offer different degrees of flavor and edibility; the Pope's has clearly been delectably seasoned with incense.


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