Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Paglia: say the 'C' word!

by Smitty

Camille Paglia is never a bore, but she, as so many do, misses the obvious:
Troubled by the increasing rancor of political debate in the U.S., I watched a rented copy of Seven Days in May last week. Its paranoid mood, partly created by Jerry Goldsmith's eerie, minimalist score, captured exactly what I have been sensing lately. There is something dangerous afoot -- an alienation that can easily morph into extremism. With the national Republican party in disarray, an argument is solidifying among grass-roots conservatives: Liberals, who are now in power in Washington, hate America and want to dismantle its foundational institutions and liberties, including capitalism and private property. Liberals are rootless internationalists who cravenly appease those who want to kill us. The primary principle of conservatives, on the other hand, is love of country, for which they are willing to sacrifice and die. America's identity was forged by Christian faith and our Founding Fathers, to whose prudent and unerring 18th-century worldview we must return.

In a harried, fragmented, media-addled time, there is an invigorating simplicity to this political fundamentalism. It is comforting to hold fast to hallowed values, to defend tradition against the slackness of relativism and hedonism. But when the tone darkens toward a rhetoric of purgation and annihilation, there is reason for alarm. Two days after watching "Seven Days in May," I was utterly horrified to hear Dallas-based talk show host Mark Davis, subbing for Rush Limbaugh, laughingly and approvingly read a passage from a Dallas magazine article by CBS sportscaster David Feherty claiming that "any U.S. soldier," given a gun with two bullets and stuck in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, would use both bullets on Pelosi and strangle the other two.

How have we come to this pass in America where the assassination of top government officials is fodder for snide jokes on national radio? Davis (who is obviously a glib horse's ass) did this stunt very emphatically at a news break at the top of the first hour. It was from there that the Dallas magazine story was evidently picked up by liberal Web sites and disseminated, pressuring CBS to denounce Feherty, who made a public apology. The gravity of this case was unfortunately overshadowed by feisty comedian Wanda Sykes' clumsy jibes at Rush Limbaugh the next night at the Washington Correspondents Dinner. Sykes (who is usually hilarious) was rushed and inept, embarrassing herself and her hosts. But what Mark Davis did, in irresponsibly broadcasting Feherty's vile fantasy, was an inflammatory political act that could goad susceptible minds down the dark road toward "Seven Days in May."

"Increasing rancor", Camille? Having just finished reading America's Constitution: A Biography, I can safely assert that there is legitimate, dispassionate concern amongst "We the People" about the direction that the country has taken. This is not to say that your emotional characterization of the problem is wholly inaccurate. However, what is sadly absent from your hormonal analysis is the word "Constitution". Modern Liberalism seems wholly rooted in the present tense. Neglectful of history, except as a weapon against the opposition. Ignorant of the future, except where it can be used to mine fear and guilt (medical costs, anthropogenic global warming).

We should instead see "an invigorating simplicity to this political fundamentalism" rather than concern for the foundation and historical direction of the country. Are you sure, Ms. Paglia, that there is no wisdom in "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Amendment 10) Heeding that Amendment, however bereft of nuance, would have been significantly cheaper than the Community Reinvestment Act. Or did I miss something, Oh Condescending One?

The Pelosi-Reid line bit, besides the sad attempt at apologizing for the inexcusable (Sykes), is more glaring in its omission of another movie: Death of a President. Now, I haven't seen DOAP or SDIM, but it seems obvious to me that, unless you have a modern liberal non-command of proportion, that a movie wherein the sitting president gets snuffed might be more destabilizing than a tasteless joke about The Doltish Duo.

So, Camille, can we expect you at a Tea Party on 04 July? Are you afraid to circulate amongst "just folks"? Would your ivory tower crumble to confront the greatness of the country in its simple, positive, Constitutional, laughing-at-the-DC-idiots form? What if, for all their lack of polysyllabic locution, the common people are packing greater wisdom than you?


  1. Wow! Although I abhor Paglia's politics, I thoroughly enjoy reading her column. However, Mr. O. Mcain, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. Your article is accurate, snarky, and verbally delicious. Thank you for expressing in your words, a textual Belushi like "Jane, you ignorant..." slap in the face.

  2. I think you strike a very strong stance toward what I think needs to happen. You are masculanizing politics. Without that happening, in politics, law, social norms, business, and governance, we (in the West) are lost. Feminism must have a stake drive right through it's bleeding heart. Nice shot, man.

    Oh, and good points, too. Some things are multi-dimensional, yes indeed.

  3. Gotta disagree on this one. Paglia is a smart woman who regularly exposes much of the nonsense that passes for thinking on the left. In this case, she slammed the "rhetoric of purgation and annihilation" that led to joking about assasination of top government leaders as people no better (or worse) than Osama bin Laden.

    I've felt my blood begin to boil many times in the past eight years when I've read or heard lefties wishing Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld dead, as Wanda wished Rush dead the other day as if it were a joke -- just as the elevator story was supposedly a "joke."

    Paglia goes overboard dragging in an old paranoid movie about a military coup, but we live in a big country with plenty of screwballs with guns. Squeaky From believed she was doing the country and the world a favor by pegging shots at Gerald Ford, and God only knows what Hinckley was thinking. We don't need talk radio hosts stirring self-appointed avengers of the true nation to action anymore than we needed Squeaky and her crowd.

  4. She does a fine job of stacking the deck in her opening, using half-truths to distort conservative views. I wonder if anyone buys that?

  5. Hmph. The Lefties are all out on this one -- and, as usual, you and the rest of the self-congratulatory "conservative" commenters have fallen for it.

    Sykes isn't important. Lame comedians aren't important. What's important is that Obama guffawed -- and Paglia is just one of the many Leftoids frantically waving their hands to take attention away from that.

    Congratulations. You got mousetrapped again.


  6. Ric – stepped into the mousetrap? Perhaps not. That the President laughed at a crass joke is hardly big news. The woman is a comedian. If you don’t want the President to hear crass jokes, don’t schedule crass comedians. No one's expecting him to sit in the room like he's in a "stare down" contest.

    The greater point is the one Smitty was making, that a grass roots political movement could be termed dangerous and alarming.

    Ms. Paglia is a very bright and capable writer. Her synopsis of the general “argument solidifying on the right” is accurate. Her opinion that it is cause for alarm is not.

    “What if, for all their lack of polysyllabic locution, the common people are packing greater wisdom than you?”

    That’s great stuff, Smitty. Keep writing.

  7. So do you recommend it? (The book, no Paglia)