Friday, January 29, 2010
When progressive historian Howard Zinn died on January 27, NPR's All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with something you don't often see in an obituary: a rebuttal.
After quoting Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR's Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz to symbolically spit on Zinn's grave. "There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn's intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect," Horowitz declared. "Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly alter the consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse."
Mmm...I love the smell of smear in the morning. Smells like...integrity.
Well, I'm sure they've provided this sort of "balance" when prominent Right-wing intellectuals have died. Oh wait, they haven't.
UPDATE: Jon Schwarz responds. Well done.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Public morality requires public action, and all available public evidence points to a man with the character of a common politician, whose singular ambition in life was to attain power; nothing in Barack Obama’s political career suggests that he would ever willingly commit to a course of action [ie, end the war in Afghanistan now] that would cost him an election. His preposterously two-faced approach to Afghanistan, wherein he simultaneously escalates the war while promising to begin “the transition to Afghan responsibility” just a year later, is a perfect illustration of his compulsion to split the difference on any given political question. (One could also point to the health-care boondoggle, or to his utter capitulation to Wall Street in economic matters.) He dilly-dallies, draws out both friends and opponents, dangles promises in front of everyone, gives a dramatic speech, and then pulls back to gauge the reaction. Since the policy itself is incoherent—and, as usual with Obama, salted with stipulations and provisos—he can always trim and readjust as necessary. Deadlines and definitions of “combat forces” are infinitely malleable. Since Obama is an intelligent man, surely he understands the meaning of the word mendacity.
Having embraced and professionalized the powers of force and fraud previously associated with the likes of John Yoo and Dick Cheney, Obama has embarked on a course of war that will certainly invite further abuses of power. His political survival now depends on martial success in a land that has defeated some of history’s most brutal strategies of conquest. Obama has set a trap for himself, but because he is such a clever politician, the spring is just as likely to fall on us instead. Such insidious governance demands serious, sustained opposition, not respectful disagreement or fanciful historical apologies or mournful lamentations about the tragedy of his presidency. Principles can be sacrificed to hopes as well as to fears.
What I should really do is just commit suicide. I have this little Sunday ritual I started around the time I publicly compared the torture at Abu Ghraib to a fraternity prank, where I climb into my Jacuzzi and put a gun in my mouth. But I can never work up the guts to pull the trigger. A few times I came close to overdosing on prescription pain pills, but my goddamn doctors were always there to save me. If I had any sense, I would just hole myself up in a Red Roof Inn with a case of Jack Daniel's and slowly drink myself into the gaping maw of death itself.
But what can I say? I guess I'm just too much of a fat fucking pussy to follow through.
You know what? I wish someone would just kill me. I'm serious. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Oh my God, how can you say such a thing? You can't print that in a newspaper!" But see, I don't care anymore. I've cried my tears. I've battled my demons, and I've lost. It's over. It's all over. The only thing left for me to do now is just go away. Have I even once contributed a single ounce of good to humanity? Put me out of my misery. I wouldn't make a fuss. I wouldn't even humiliate myself by saying goodbye. For the first time in my odious, pitiful life, I'd accept my fate with quiet dignity.