Pound the brown hall

Today in the dingbat factory: Brent "Walter Peck" Bozell foams at the mouth over Hollywood's insufficiently grovelling treatment of Christians; David "I Wish My Brother Rush Was Here" Limbaugh pens the world's dumbest column on Iraq and Iran; and Rich "Smirkalot" Lowry pens a 'shut up bitch' column about diversity at the Washington Post. (In fairness, professional crazy old coot Burt Prelusky provides a rare dissenting voice, trashing The Pursuit of Happyness for being sappy and predictable and for glossing over the ugly aspects of investment brokerage. Go figure.)

My favorite bit, though, is from Mary Katherine Ham's squealy celebration of the vindication of the Duke LaCrosse players, who it turns out are guilty not of rape, but merely of being drunken whoremongers. In attacking the "media image" of these fine white athletes, she attempts to claim that, far from privileged toffs, the boys are in fact the product of working-class north Jersey and other humble settings:

Many of the players are indeed well-off and attended prep schools, but they’re not, for the most part, the Martha’s Vineyard-dwelling elitists the media makes them out to be. Here’s how the AP describes their homes:

"Finnerty hails from Garden City, N.Y., and lived in a Dutch colonial house on a cul-de-sac. A lacrosse net and equipment were visible in the yard,which abuts a golf course. The Seligmanns’ home — a two-story red-brick house with twin white columns — sits about 17 miles west of Manhattan and within 1½ miles of three golf courses.

A Dutch colonial and a two-story brick home on cul-de-sacs, near golf courses? They’re not destitute, but I know plenty of folks whose homes would fit those descriptions, who aren’t the country’s elite by any stretch of the imagination.

Delightful! In an attempt to prove that these are just regular ol' ordinary boys whose parents are, I guess, garbage collectors and court clerks, Mary Kate uses an AP report that they live in stylish suburban homes bordered by golf courses, but THAT doesn't mean they're rich, because she knows lots of people like that and they're totally not rich! And, of course, if she was really part of the nation's elite, her ear for her own tone would be diamond-crusted platinum instead of tin.


Look! Down at the mall! It's a shitbird! It's a limp-dick! It's...GOD-MAN!

I wasn't gonna post any Town Hall bullshit this week, but this conclave of impotent Christian numbnuts is just too good to pass up. Let's take a look!

In recent years, most of the Church’s efforts to reach out to the male markets in America have proven only marginally effective.

Much like the males themselves.

Today, most of the male population does not attend church, and those who do often find themselves simply going through the motions.

Much like their wives.

GodMen is an organization that takes a different, more aggressive approach motivating average guys.

In other words, finally! A church that caters to the sports talk radio moron demographic!

"America’s comedian," Brad Stine, who will host the event

Apparently America doesn't require its comedian to be funny, because man, Brad Stine? His jokes don't even have the strength to lay there and die. They're shipped in already dead, like sardines from Thailand.

describes it thus: “GodMen aims to connect men with their spiritual masculinity — making them dangerous in a righteous way.

As innumerable ads and books targeted at salesmen, sports-watching couch potatoes and dudes who think it makes them the equivalent of the warriors of Sparta that they can build a drywall prove, there's always money to be made in this country by telling fat, pasty, soft, weak, pussy-ass white-collar American men that they're "warriors". If these guys really WERE dangerous, they'd be terrifying -- Christian jihadists working themselves into a war fever with the help of God. But they're about as dangerous as a wet sock.

The guys who attend this conference will find themselves stirred and inspired, but they won’t be required to cry or hold another man’s hand. We promise.

Don't worry, you won't have to do anything faggy!

Coughlin will provide a corrective portrait of Christian manhood.

This is, conversely, the gayest sentence ever written.

Philosopher and master illusionist Ken Sands of Mars Hill will illustrate how easily believers can be seduced from the simplicity of the gospel.

When you read "philosopher and master illusionist", didn't you immediately think of G.O.B. Bluth?

“Our belief in the Christian God is not a blind faith relegated to a fairy tale,” Ken says. “In fact, it's irrational to deny God, because the nature of rationality confirms Him."


Other speakers include Nate Larkin, author of the forthcoming “Samson and the Pirate Monks,”

Failed children's author trying to cash in on the megachurch demographic...

and cultural analyst Dave Bunker

Recipient of Scaife money...

They will describe their experience with the Samson Society, a fellowship of Christian men devoted to collaborative living.

A gaggle of barely repressed homos terrified of their own libidos.

“In the final analysis,” Larkin says, “Christianity is a team sport, not an individual event.” Bunker agrees. “God’s design and plan is that every believer should be a functioning part of the Body of Christ. There is no place in the church for either spectators or superstars.”

Hey, a sports analogy! GUYS LOVE THOSE.

Mike Smith, whose management company is organizing the event

Mike Smith, a shameless, hustling opportunist who would be organizing the "SatanMen" event if it would pay more...

says that the aim of GodMen is to help men recapture the dignity of masculinity from cultural forces that have diminished it for decades.


Smith emphasizes that the goal of GodMen is not to create one more "nice" and “safe” Christian man, a passive male whose only response to adversity is to fold his hands in prayer.

Because Jesus hates it when you pray.

Rather, the purpose of the movement is to equip an army of men who embody the spirit of the faithful and rugged Jesus.

Who was just kidding with that "love your neighbor" and "turn the other cheek" stuff.

Smith has also drawn from his musical background and has The "Right Brothers"

Whose latest album, No Apologies, contains a song called "I'm in Love with Ann Coulter" and whose commitment to rebellious, dangerous, cutting-edge defiant rockin' can be found on the six hundred exhortations on their website not to file-share their awesome tunes.

“Words cannot adequately describe this event,” says Brad Stine.

Probably the truest statement in the press release.

This event is for men who are ready to be fearless and dangerous!

Pssssh, whatever, Godmen. Tell it to ya Wal-Mart checkout clerk. You wanna be fearless and dangerous? Volunteer for minesweeping duty in Afghanistan, or start a Christian ministry in Pakistan. You ain't fearless and dangerous 'cause you paid $200 to hang out in a convention center in downtown Nashville all day. Call me when you blow up a skyscraper or kill some Saracens or something, and you know what? I'll still laugh at you.

You go to war with the zombies you've got

You know what occurred to me recently? The image of Muslims propagated by the war blogs is pretty much exactly like that of zombies in bad sci-fi movies.

They’re forever comparing the threat of Islamism to that of Nazis, but aside from some fairly gaping chasms between the fantasy and the reality (foremost of which is that Islamic terrorists do not have their own army, government, or even unifying ethos), there’s even a basic difference in the cultural portrayal. While the public certainly engaged in plenty of racial stereotyping and cartoonish othering of our national enemies in the Second World War, the people up top – war planners, journalists, politicians, generals and commentators – seemed to possess a general sense of realism. They believe that the Germans and Japanese were capable of being civilized, that their battle tactics and strategies were the product of thought and planning and could be understood, that their motivations were recognizable and human, that given the proper circumstances their threat could be contained and their leaders could be neutralized.

With the devil-worshippers of the great deserts to the east, though, it is a different matter. Despite the efforts of modern propagandists to paint them as the second coming of the last really good villains the America At War series had, their portrayal is much more like that of robots or vampires than any Evil Empire you can name:

- They have no motivation but destruction. Their only aim is to kill and destroy, for no reason than that they are evil.

- Even though our liberals and intellectuals are always are trying to appease them, they cannot be appeased. If we negotiate with them it will be seen only as weakness and will spur them to more violence.

- Like the Terminator, they cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be bargained with, and they will never stop killing until every westerner lies dead. You can no more appeal to their reason than you can that of a tornado.

- The inhumanity of their motivation extends to their techniques and behaviors. They do not love their children or their fellows, because the only thing they can love is death. They behead with knives and destroy with bombs, which should be seen not as evidence of their lack of access to modern weapons and tactics, but rather of their savagery. Satan does not use a pitchfork because he does not own a gun.

- As zombies and vampires are united in their thirst for blood and flesh, Muslims are united in their lust for death. There are no innocents among them, for whatever their good intentions, they must obey the lustmord of their faith. It is good to demand from them constant affirmations of their loyalty to our value system – absence of these merely shows how evil they truly are – but such affirmations should never be taken as evidence of true goodness, of which they are not capable.

This realization hit me when I was thumbing through Hugh Hewitt’s blog this weekend and I encountered two posts about the hijacking of a Turkish airliner. The first was presented as yet another example of the vile behavior of the so-called Religion of Peace, yet another horror inflicted on innocents by the bloodthirsty Mahometan, yet another proof that none of them can be trusted. It turned out, unfortunately, that the hijacker was in fact a Christian; the second blog post made a correction, shame-faced in its terseness, stating that the man was not a Muslim, but a “crazy Christian”. Odd, that: a Christian who would do such a thing must be crazy, because the default condition of the Christian mind is peace, sanity, and reason. You never hear these people say that an atrocity has been committed by a “crazy Muslim”, however; the default condition of the Islamic mind is that of violence, lunacy, and murder. Indeed, stating that violent behavior by a Muslim is the result of insanity is the sort of thing a weak, cowardly, politically correct liberal – the kind of person who cannot recognize them all for the monsters they really are – would say.

That’s when it occurred to me that most of the things that right-wingers, from the shitheels at Little Green Footballs all the way up to the President, say about Muslims makes a lot more sense if you imagine that they are actually talking about zombies. I think that’s who they’d rather be fighting, anyway.


Our country: beacon of hope

Some people ask me why I read the right-wing sites, since they alternate between moronic and offensive. Usually, my answer is "because they're funny", but on occasion -- like during the days following Rachel Corrie's death -- they get so grim and awful that I take a couple of weeks off.

Guess how many comments into the articles at Free Republic and Little Green Footballs it took for someone to hope that Tim Johnson dies so the GOP can regain political power?

If your answer is "less than two", you'll understand why I've decided to give these guys a rest until next year.


May your merry Giles keep ringing

In his latest column, Doug reveals that the battle for the soul of humanity will be won by whoever makes the best use of fag and dick jokes. (Unfortunately, this is kind of a dull column, but I only said your Christmas wishes would be granted, not granted to your satisfaction.)

We won’t even draw cartoons regarding this enemy, lest we offend our killers. Wow!

Because, you see, all Muslims are our enemies. Reluctance to offend them all is the same as unwillingness to offend a few.

Murderous Muslims all over the world must be making girlie man, wussy, limp wrist jokes about the West

You know what? I bet this isn’t happening. I don’t think the average al-Q’aeda terrorist is as immature as Doug Giles is.

The failure to define what is “evil” is causing us to capitulate to the apex (or nadir, I guess) of political correctness in a “No %$@&” time of crisis.

Was he trying to say “shit” here? What stopped him, political correctness?

Go ahead; ask someone at the next Winter Solstice office party to define “evil.”

Boy, that’ll be some fine party conversation there. “Say, Jennifer, how are things? Having a good time? What’s up over in Marketing? You look mighty fine in that dress. Say, would you mind defining evil for me?”

You’ll get the typical “it’s all relative” slop, or “there is no objective standard of right or wrong”, or “all absolute truth claims are nothing more than powerplays, man.”

Note that these dudes love to mock the ideas that evil is relative and there are no absolutes, but they never actually refute it or say why it’s wrong.

Y’know, the same emblematic drivel your pot smoking, liberal prof taught you at the University of You-Just-Wasted-A-Ton-Of-Your-Parent’s- Cash-And-Got-Brain-Washed-In-The-Process.

(a) Emblematic of what? I’m not sure if Doug is using this word correctly.

(b) Ha ha, hippies! Go ahead and waste your money at your fancy pot schools! When has a Harvard degree ever paid off?

(c) Nice copy-editing there.

We couldn’t care less. We don’t want to be bothered with what’s going on with the war on Iraq or with other mean people.

Yep. America sure doesn’t care about Iraq.

We want to believe the spin coming from CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] because the truth about Muslim mayhem is too brutal.

Ain’t it the truth? America is just lining up to swallow CAIR’s evil lies.

As far as I’m concerned, CAIR is to prevarication what Carrot Top is to red hair coloring, tie dyed T-Shirts, over exercising and unfunniness.


We think we can talk our way out of this mess. We believe we can Eddie Haskell militant Islam and bebop and scat our way out of their ill will.

Seriously, Doug, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? Your words are so crazy to me.

Yes, the PoMo wannabe placaters of the implacable would like to sit down with Islamofascists

I hear the Placaters of the Implacable are teaming up with the Challengers of the Unknown to defeat the Islamofascists once and for all. Also, are we taking about pomo-wannabes or wannabe-placaters who are postmodernists? A hyphen sometimes helps so much, Doug.

and tell them that “You’re not evil; you simply have a hole in your soul that we would like to help you fill. We should not be fighting. Can’t we all get a long? We should talk more often . . . maybe get together play some checkers . . . and we’d love to have you over for dessert to eat a piece of strawberry pie.”

Now THAT’S sarcasm!

I believe we can be united and that we will eventually wake up and deal with radical Islam; however, I also believe (and fear) that the cohesion, readiness and resolve we need now to truly hammer these death dealers will only come about after we get hammered once again. I’m talking 911-style or worse.

Not worse! That would be even worse and more scarier!

And I’m thinking this will probably occur in the next one to three years.

Way to hedge your bets, there, Doug.

And I hope I’m wrong.



Oh, Fuddles, you complete me

The Second World War, as has often been noted in this space, is the last war that everyone in America felt more or less morally comfortable about. This is why conservatives are constantly invoking it in order to tart up whatever bullshit war they want us to fight at the moment: if they say "Well, we want to knock off this third-world country in Southeast Asia so they don't go commie and rob us of a cheap labor pool", people are likely to wince a bit, but if they manage to find a way to compare it to WWII in terms of halting a monstrous evil before it eats our babies, well, then, boys, we can all rally 'round the flag. Hence the currently popular, albeit totally absurd, notion that our invasion of Iraq is exactly like WWII, except America has gone weak in the knees from decades of soft living and the creeping, womanly influence of liberalism. Today, our boy Jim-Jim, in the course of spelling out why the Baker Plan is a non-starter, regurgitates this notion in a particularly facile way:

It’s as if we invaded France and spent three years getting their government back on their feet before proceeding to Berlin.

Uh. Well, no, James, actually, it's not like that at all. First and most obviously, we are the occupiers of Iraq. We're really more like the Germans than the Americans in this scenario, because...well, remember all those movies you like to crow about, those moral-clarity pictures from the '40s and '50s about the Big One? Remember the French Resistance? That's the Iraqi insurgency. They're fighting to kick us out. When we showed up, the French were happy to see us and universally aided us throughout the rest of the war and beyond. That, to put it mildly, has not taken place in Iraq. For another thing, it was not difficult to reinstall a democratic government after we liberated France, because they already had one lying around that they'd been using up until the Nazis came sniffing around. Likewise with Germany: they had a pretty democratic system pre-Hitler. Neither of them were recently made-up countries invented by an imperial power with an aggregation of ethnic and religious entities unwillingly thrown together by their occupiers; neither had been built up militarily by the countries that would later invade them; and neither -- and here is the most important part -- was a fascist dictatorship for many, many decades prior to the initiation of hostilities. Additionally, we had plans -- extremely detailed plans, down to the minutest issue -- on how to rebuild Europe after the invasion, something sadly lacking in the American effort in Iraq; we had a country on wartime footing rather than one being constantly urged to rack up more debt; and we had the assistance of the entire continent of Europe in the rebuilding phase, an aspect missing now because Europe pretty uniformly thought that invading Iraq was a stupid idea. Moving on, I know you and yours like to pretend these days that Iraq or Syria or whatever are the real killers who murdered Ron and Nicole, and that Iraq was just a warmup for taking out Tehran, where all the 9/11 terrorists came from, but that begs a number of questions, such as why you never include Pakistan on that list or why we didn't just invade Iran and (especially) Syria to begin with. I had been led to believe that Saddam Hussein was the real villain here; and while I guess I can accept your ludicrously morphing rationales for why we invaded Iraq, there is no way in hell you can make me believe that this is exactly like when we invaded France in WWII.

He goes on to mock and deride the Baker Plan's suggestion of diplomatic efforts to democratize Iran and Syria, apparently forgetting that Iran and Syria were both democratizing and liberalizing pretty well with the aid of American diplomacy until we decided to stick them in the Axis of Evil and invade their region, thus galvanizing every radical for a thousand miles, putting their governments and citizens in a paranoid war mentality, and giving their worst leaders an excuse to roll back progressive legislation. Then there's a bunch of vapor about his old man, which ends with a photo of Lileks the Senior reading a newspaper from around the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Which, like another, more contemporary, adventure, is often referred to as a "fiasco".) Lileks conludes thus:

Ah. Yes. Well. The Bay of Pigs. Well, at least we learned our lesson. Talk strong and act irresolute , and the situation will resolve itself. Neatly and quickly. It's not like Cuba ever troubled us again.

Again: Uh...

It seems like Lileks is actually defending the Bay of Pigs invasion, which is so crazy I'm not even going to discuss it, but..."it's not like Cuba ever troubled us again"? He's clearly being sarcastic here, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. For one thing, Cuba never bothered us in the first place; Castro only went hardcore red to piss us off because we told him to get bent, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was much less about Castro than it was about the US and Russia playing big-dick with each other. But more to the point, did Cuba ever bother us again? Are they bothering us now? When, since 1963, has Cuba bothered us? Was there some big invasion that I didn't read about? Did Cuba launch a wave of terrorist attacks against us in the 1980s? Was Cuba sending arms to Hezbollah? I can't even imagine what this 'trouble' he's referring to, exacerbated by our limp-dicked 'diplomacy' and easily solvable by a nice robust invasion and occupation, might be. Does he mean simply that Cuba has had a dictator since then? Because I gotta tell you, there are a lot worse people than Castro. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were dictators only a few hundred miles away, in Central and South America, who made Castro look like Jerry Brown in terms of slaughtering and imprisoning their own people, and we not only didn't invade them, we put them in power. Does he mean that Castro was a commie, and no commies can ever be tolerated, no matter what the cost in human lives of not tolerating them might be? Because (a) that's nuts, and (b) that's the thinking that put dozens of bloodthirsty dictators (including Saddam Hussein) in power for so many years. I mean, help me out here. When did Cuba ever trouble us, except in 1980 when Castro got sick of us bugging him to release his political prisoners and said "Okay, you take them"? Am I missing something, or is it that in the world of Lileks, tiny hapless Cuba has constantly menaced American freedom for the last 50 years?


Now what's the BAD news?

Town Hall has become even more annoying to read than you might expect, due to the presence of multiple pop-up ads (that seem immune even to my robust pop-up blocker) and float-over ads. Frankly, I don't wanna read this stuff that bad. But you might want to check out Dennis Prager's hilariously sophistic defense of his vituperative column about Keith Ellison's decision to swear his oath of office on the Q'uran.

Meanwhile, what's the most depressing article about the grotesque abuses of power in the Bush administration? This New York Times piece about the nightmarish treatment of alleged terror plotter Jose Padilla, an American-born citizen charged with no crime but held for almost four years without any contact with the outside? This Observer piece about a government snitch who was kept on the INS payroll to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars even as he participated in the murder of a dozen people? Or this Washington Post piece about how the Bush administration's response to the outrageous fraud and misconduct by US contractors in Iraq is to try and limit the government's ability to detect and prevent it? YOU BE THE JUDGE!


Lileks Watch, Day Eternity

From the last two days of the Bleat, two excerpts that explain Lileks' character pretty well.

#1 (the Short Form, presented without comment): “I stopped at a Zippo kiosk to reaffirm that they had a lousy selection.”

#2 (the Long Form, presented with comments): “I was going to ignore the Keith Ellison/swearing on the Qu’ran [sic] issue, because I think Dennis Prager is wrong.”

Also because he was lying, and congressmen never swear on the Bible. But that’s not important right now.

“Note to potential emailers on the subject: I’ve heard the issue debated at great length, and am unlikely to be swayed by a reiteration of the points.”

I can’t hear you LA LA LA LA.

“But I did want to note how our papers [sic] editorial page characterized the matter: Prager was appealing to ‘wingnuts’, according to the editorial’s headline.”

I am outraged that an editorial took an editorial position.

“A little jarring in a supposedly sober paper; it’s like seeing ‘libtards’ on the Wall Stret [sic] Journal editorial page.”

I did not read the WSJ’s editorial page at all during the 1990s, when they repeatedly called Bill Clinton a serial rapist and murderer, or in the early 2000s, when Paul Craig Roberts used it several times as a platform to advance his theory that taxation of the rich is worse than slavery.

“In any case, Prager is generally calm and reasonable; he’s not given to blasts of intemperate ranting.”

Like, say, when he said how his son having a black friend was a miracle of God. Or when he wrote a 24-part series about how Christian and Jews are inherently better and morally superior to people of other religions, or of no religion. Or how he said that the chaos in Iraq was totally unforeseeable and we have never ever seen its like before. Or when he said that Christians have no history of forcing their beliefs on others. Or when he said that suicide bombing is the fault of western liberals. Or when he wrote that liberals attacking Bill Bennett for his gambling was like the blood-libel of anti-Semites that Jews eat Christian babies. Or how he thinks that the Q’uran is like Mein Kampf. Or when he wrote that failing to support the war in Iraq is like condoning lynching of black people. Or how he thinks women are for the most part incapable of rational thought. Or how he thinks there aren’t really poor people in America because our so-called poor people own microwave ovens. Or how he thinks Muslims are worse than communists and Nazis put together. Or how he thinks our universities are just big training camps to turn our daughters into lesbians. Or how…you know what? Just go see for yourself.

Yeah, calm, reasonable, and not given to blasts of intemperate reasoning, that’s our Dennis. He’s just quietly, rationally and politely totally fucking batshit crazy.