Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Chitlin Archipelago

No sooner does the New York Times expose the blogger gulag than the Huffington Post rips the lid off the Sovietization of Alabama:
When I lived behind the iron curtain, my parents taught me never to talk anyone about anything. This caveat was not restricted to the typical warning given by regular parents to their regular children about the regular concerns of every day life.
No, the lecture I got, as did so many others like me, was a sober lecture given by Soviet parents to their Soviet children, who had to begin schooling in big brother's tactics at an early age. One wrong word could send an entire family to a work camp or prison. . . .
[T]his was the reality of life under the Soviet regime, knowing that everything was watched, everyone was listening, no one could be trusted, and children were often he targets for inquiry into what their parents say behind closed doors. Friends were the next best thing, which may explain what we are about to hear out of the halls of the state legislature of Alabama.
(Via Memeorandum.) As with so many other disjoined rants at HuffPo, it's kind of hard to understand exactly what Larisa Alexandrovna is talking about, except that it has something to do with a federal investigation of Democrats in the Alabama legislature, possibly related to the case of former Gov. Don Siegelman, who was convicted of federal corruption charges.

Subpoenas were issued. Democrats got scared. Considering the notoriously corrupt history of the Democratic Party -- hey, you want to buy a book? -- it's hard to blame Democrats for being scared. But "Darkness at Noon," it ain't.

Seeking clues to the cause of Alexandrovna's outburst of hysterical hyperbole, I checked her biography:
Larisa Alexandrovna is a journalist, essayist and poet.
"... and poet." Bingo. She's a crackpot who guzzles gin, listens to Air America and lives in a tiny apartment with 14 cats.

Lest anyone fear that the Red Army has captured Opelika and established concentration camps in Phenix City, I have assurances that Alexandrovna's extravagant metaphor is bogus.

Friday night, I was able to establish communications with an operative near Huntsville who assured me that he was sitting on his front porch, smoking a cigarette and drinking a Guinness. No telltale clanking of T-72 treads was heard in the background.

UPDATE: OK, OK -- I have no idea how many cats Larisa Alexandrovna owns, or whether she listens to Air America. But when somebody lists "poet" in their biography, it automatically alerts my finely tuned crackpot-detection system. As for the gin-guzzling, that's almost certainly wrong. She probably guzzles vodka.

UPDATE II: Strangely enough, a fairly straightforward explanation from the New York Times:
The concern is a result of a long-running federal investigation into corruption within the state’s system of two-year colleges that has led to guilty pleas on bribery and corruption charges by one state lawmaker and the system’s former chancellor. The Birmingham News reported in 2006 that a quarter of the 140 members of the Legislature had financial ties to the college system, with most of the jobs or contracts going to lawmakers or their relatives. Recent reports indicate the number has grown to nearly a third of the Legislature.
Cronyism, nepotism, corruption -- maybe there's something to that Soviet Union analogy, after all. But if Larisa Alexandrovna meant to compare Alabama Democrats to Breshnev-era Politburo members, she should have made it clearer. More vodka!

1 comment:

  1. Corruption in Alabama state politics has been under fire from investigations since the late 90's. What we are seeing now is simply a harvest reaped from years of sowing by corrupt politicians who just happen to be mostly Democrat in flavor.