Scary thought

March 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” Alexander Pope in An Essay on Criticism.

I miss the good old days . . .

March 30th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

. . . when it was considered bad manners to discuss your religious beliefs in public.

Women in the military

March 7th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m stunned by Helen Benedict’s Salon article on the abuse routinely meted out to women in the US military – or, for all we know, in any nation’s military. Suddenly, the scene in M.A.S.H., where the guys expose Hotlips in the shower, doesn’t seem so funny any more.

Daily Howler weighs in … and in … and in …

March 6th, 2007 § 2 comments § permalink

While he makes a surprisingly good point, in his thesis that Coulter and Maureen Dowd are cut from the same cloth, Daily Howler does go on a bit about it. He could have made the same point in two or three cogent paragraphs, instead of banging on for pages and pages, chewing the same cud.

I used to like Dowd, but I began to tire of her during the Gore/Bush presidential campaign. Her brand of ad hominem writing begins to cloy after a while, especially when she starts filling column after column with whimsy, like the dialogues between Gore and his bald spot. That said, I would not go so far as DH, by painting her into the same odious corner as Coulter. Dowd has become captive to her celebrity status, you get the feeling that she is playing to her adoring audience. Coulter, on the other hand, is stuffed to the gunwales with hatred and contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with her neo-con rantings, so she lashes out with the most hurtful and sleazy words that come to mind. She’s like the kid in the playground who, mad as hell, blurts out “and you’re an old poopy-head!”

Unfortunately, the Republican propaganda machine, as re-tooled by Karl Rove, has perfected the art of slinging baseless insults at opponents and then moving on swiftly (‘scuse the pun), confident that sufficient numbers of the base are dumb enough to believe anything and will vote accordingly. So, should Edwards make it to the final cut, some blue-state Republican stalwart will look at the ballot, see his name and think, “Didn’t I hear somewhere that he’s a faggot? I’m not putting one o’ them in the White House, no sirree.” Which moves Coulter’s playground-style slagging onto another plane of harm altogether.

The Sound of Silence (update) (update)

March 6th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

I love this! For so long, Coulter and her ilk have used the power of the almighty dollar to scare advertisers away from television programs or newspapers they didn’t like. Nice to see the biter bit . . . especially in her wallet, which is the only place she has feelings. Now the question is, should her publicists make her meet with gay advocates to “apologize” for her insensitivity, or with John Edwards?

The Sound of Silence (update)

March 5th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

It seems I was wrong. On the same day as I made the original post about Ann Coulter’s foul ramblings, the NYT ran a piece by Adam Nagourney. It’s funny to watch all the Republicans scuttling for cover. Quite a comedown from the days when they were happy to bask in La Coulter’s fame; now they’re all terrified that her foaming at the mouth might leave them with flecks of spittle on their brand new “moderate” emperor’s clothes.

Oprah and “The Secret”

March 5th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

I have to confess that I’ve never “got” Oprah Winfrey, even though some people whom I quite like and respect are devoted fans. I tried watching her once or twice, but she just seemed like a kinder, gentler Jerry Springer. While I’m sure she is a force for good in terms of literacy, having single-handedly encouraged millions of people to read, most of the books she has espoused through her Book Club don’t appeal to me that much either.

I admire the way in which she transcended the rigours of a childhood blighted by sexual abuse and rape, although it could be argued that her unending, highly public battle with her weight indicates some lingering trauma. The way in which she showers gifts on people reminds me of girls I knew in boarding school who bought their so-called best friends by sharing with them their lavish food parcels from home. And I really had to laugh at her implicit threat to call on her devoted fan base to boycott Hermes for not treating her after-hours arrival at their door in Paris as she thought fit. Store clerks in Paris treat everybody, regardless of their skin colour, like crap. Somehow, I couldn’t see too many Oprah-watchers being in the habit of forking out thousands of dollars for Hermes bags!

Worst of all, she is also responsible for unleashing the ghastly Dr Phil on the world, a crime for which she can never be forgiven. And now, she’s hawking the latest self-help garbage, The Secret. As Peter Birkenhead points out, in this article in Salon, “Oprah hasn’t just endorsed “The Secret”; she’s championed it, put herself at the apex of its pyramid, and helped create a symbiotic economy of New Age quacks that almost puts OPEC to shame.”

The Sound of Silence

March 4th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

It probably says something about the state of the American press that there has been low to no coverage of Ann Coulter’s crack about John Edwards. A minor TV celebrity has to abase himself and go into rehab for using the same slur about another actor, while she gets away with using it to describe a presidential candidate. So much for the “liberal bias” of the media. (Although, it would be nice to think the lack of coverage is because the “quality” press has decided that, if they ignore Coulter, she might go away. One can only hope.)

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