Pat Buchanan is entreating the black people of America to be more grateful to America bringing them here in "slave ships." I mean, they got welfare and methadone maintenance and forced Christianity and eventually the right to consider themselves fully human! Where is the gratitude, black people? And no, that is not my word; it's all Pat's. And the news of the day does not get much more uplifting. Remember that guy who founded that (ingeniously named, I might add) anti-Hillary 527 Citizens United Not Timid? Speaking of cunts he outed Eliot Spitzer because they fuck some of the same ones, which is to say those of high class whores, and also he has a tattoo of Richard Nixon. Cunts are a theme today actually, because the Washington Post spent 24 hours following the 24-hour news cycle on the day Jane Fonda said the word "cunt" on TV, an exercise that seemed profoundly depressing, and speaking of depressing 4,000 Americans have officially given their lives to the Iraq and the only uplifting thing is that Peggy Noonan found Obama's speech uplifting. She actually sat there and thought, Go America, Go. Was it the first and last time in our adult lives any of us will have that thought? Hint: Likely! Megan Carpentier of Glamocracy and I depress one another after the jump. Happy Easter folks!
MOE: This story is almost too wonderful.
MOE: Gene Weingarten reads blogs and listens to talk radio and watches five television sets for 24 hours and it gives him a brief appreciation for Rush Limbaugh.
MEGAN: The WaPo site has been trying to get me to read that story for 2 full days but I have been resisting its lure because I don't want to know my future.
MOE: Okay, I'll send you some excerpts. First
". . . the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth." — Umberto Eco.
MEGAN: I read The Name of the Rose in high school. I was mad, upon seeing the movie, that there was not more of Christian Slater's bare ass. I think this would not be an opinion I would hold today were the movie to be made today, with today's Christian Slater.
MOE: And speaking of ...the down there zone, remember when Jane Fonda said "cunt" on TV?
Fortunately, the gaffe is all over the Web in streaming video, and, yes indeed, here she is, Hanoi Jane herself, the bete noire of right wing radio, flagrantly uttering the unutterable. Clearly, Rush and Bill are courageously willing to address this shocking and distasteful subject even at the risk of driving their audiences into multi-orgasmic rapture.
Limbaugh joyfully eviscerates Fonda and moves quickly on to other things, but O'Reilly is in high dudgeon and is all over this reprehensible event. He's morally outraged, and seems to want to wring all he can get out of it, as though it were, say, a luffa sponge.
As someone in the broadcasting business, he says, he doesn't want to become "the scold police," but he wonders just the same if someone ought to call the FCC and demand punishment.
(Later at night, on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," he will devote an entire segment to the issue, practically sputtering in exasperation when he can't persuade his guest, lawyer Anita Kay, to agree with him that heads must roll. Kay will point out, reasonably, that Fonda wasn't using the word in a hostile manner; she was simply stating the actual title of one of the monologues from the play "The Vagina Monologues," which is, ironically, about how the word should be destigmatized.) B-b-but "this is the most vile word in the lexicon of obscenity!" O'Reilly protests. Laughing, Kay basically tells him to calm down and grow up, that the average 12-year-old girl has heard this word, and it's no big deal. It's my favorite moment of the day. (Anita Kay, the cure for the common scold.) The peril of listening to Limbaugh and O'Reilly at the same time is that you tend to compare them, and these are dangerous waters for an unapologetic, unreconstructed New Deal liberal like me. The comparison makes you actually like Rush. He's funny; O'Reilly is not. Limbaugh teases and baits his political adversaries; O'Reilly sneers and snarls at them. Limbaugh is mock-heroic; O'Reilly is self-righteous. So, when Limbaugh speculates that the Democrats in the House committee went after Roger Clemens because liberals hate cherished American institutions such as churches, the Boy Scouts and baseball, you know he's sorta kidding. When O'Reilly says liberals who oppose torture of prisoners just don't care how many people will die in a terrorist attack, you know he's as serious as an aneurysm.
MEGAN: My cunt does indeed send me into a state of "multi-orgasmic rapture" on occasional, but not just saying it. It generally requires some effort on my part and somebody else's. Also, I cannot abide either Limbaugh or O'Reilly, but mostly because yell-y people stress me out. That's why I have trouble watching sports games other than live or in bars- the commentators are yell-y. It's why I'm stuck in hell with Kirin Chetry on CNN (Soledad, how I miss you!), because the Fox and Friends people make me boil for no reason other than that they are yell-y. O'Reilly and Limbaugh both yell and my brain somehow associates this with perhaps the whole of my scolded adolescence and I just can't deal.
MOE: I can only listen to Fox News, on account of my mysterious muting problem. Although I was thinking of switching to CNBC this morning. Here we go. The Dow is possibly up because JP Morgan might be raising its bid for Bear Stearns. Wait, the market is not open yet, that is just what the futures betters are betting. They are talking about something called fractionalization creating a lot of possibilities for arbitrage in these securities. I am not really sure what this means. Do regular CNBC viewers really engage in "arbitrage"? Whatever. Ooooh, someone called Wisdomtree.com is pushing an exchange traded fund that tracks India's economy. Good idea. All right, back to the meme of the day. What is it? A lot of things happened this weekend, including the publication of the Peggy Noonan column that finally pushed me over the edge into the realm of begging Peggy Noonan for an interview.
MEGAN: Also, as of this morning, 4,000 soldiers have officially died in Iraq. Cheney would like us to know that the White House mourns every single death but it is, after all, a "volunteer army."
MEGAN: Because there's nothing nauseating about saying that.
MEGAN: They volunteered to die, so it's not as big a deal apparently. Perhaps to commemorate, we can each take a moment of silence today to think about the 4,000 soldiers and then yell "Cheney, go fuck yourself"
MOE: Aiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee. Puppies! Polar Bears! Peggy! Peggy heard the speech and thought "Go America Go." She just thought it was kind of a downer. The first comment goes:
I think Peggy needs to recycle Reagan101 again, and while she's at it perhaps she can read what a real journalist thought of the speech.....Washinton Post writer Charles Krauthammer's article "The Speech, A Brilliant Fraud".
And, to the all-volunteer army. It's making me think of that interview the German magazine Stern did with Lynndie England. She can't find a job. She's like, "Well what the fuck else am I supposed to do?"
MEGAN: I mean, that sort of a little bit puts the lie to the "all volunteer" army idea. Because definitely some people join despite having tons of other options because it's the family business or they have heroic ideals or just want the extra money or whatever, but some people do it because they don't have good grades, or money for college or career prospects or even job prospects where they grew up. So, yeah, they volunteered to not be even more grindingly poor, to not try to get on welfare, to do something to achieve that American dream thing everyone's been telling them about their whole lives and instead some number of them end up on food stamps anyway and are eking out on existence trying to stay alive in some country where they don't really want us.
MOE: Also, everything that Peggy Noonan said Obama was overly gloomy about can be summed up in this, Maria Bartiromo's response to Tim Russert's query as to what America's biggest economic challenge is.
Well, our biggest challenge economically right now is the tight credit environment. From an individual standpoint, it is very tough to get a mortgage, it is very tough to borrow money anymore. From a business standpoint, the same thing. I would say one of the key representations of what's happening right now is what happened at Carlyle Capital. Very simple stuff, Tim. They had $600 million in assets, they borrowed $22 billion. Doesn't work out. The math just doesn't work. And that's exactly what's happening. People have overextended themselves, businesses as well as consumers, and now we're paying the price
$22 billion off $600 million in collateral, huh? That's a good trick they pulled off. Think if the credit environment got a little looser I would be able to buy a loft in the West Village using my couch as collateral? I would vacuum it first and everything.
MEGAN: Duh, Moe, the $600 million wasn't the only collateral. It was also secured by the fact that 90% of every person involved was an older white man who went to a small number of the right schools and participated in the dinner clubs or fraternities or whatever deemed appropriate by their set and who belongs to a small number of socially appropriate country clubs or whatever. That's the real
MOE: DAMMIT YOU AND YOUR FINE PRINT MEGAN
MEGAN: I am a cunt like that.
MOE: Okay does rehashing that conversation I'm pretty sure we already had but for the constant cache-clearing of the 24-hour pundit cycle that we'll come back to a moment because I'm going to tell you about my mom, and also, ask what you did to commemorate Christ's resurrection, about how McCain wanted to switch parties after 2001 just delay the inevitable awesome conversation about the Nixon-tattoed Republican huckster who tipped off the government to Eliot Spitzer's whore habit (because he went to the same whores, duh) and also, printed up those clever Citizens United Not Timid T-shirts that sunk the Hillary campaign?
MOE: Cunts are such a theme today!
MEGAN: To commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (no H., thanks), I had brunch that included bagels with lox, champagne and coffee. Then I took a nap. I worked, then I went to dinner with a friend who is having relationship issues, and I came home and worked some more.
MEGAN: And I talked to my parents.
MOE: I got high with a very good friend whose name I am gonna leave off the blog even though he seems to have posted pictures commemorating that on his Facebook profile. It was the first time I have ever 1. bought weed by myself, which I did successfully, along with the first time I have 2. attempted to roll a joint, an endeavor at which I failed miserably.The best part of the evening was buying junk food in anticipation of the muchies. The next morning we walked a mile and a half to Chipotle but it was closed. I got on the wrong subway home and ended up getting out in Williamsburg and walking home over the bridge. I smiled unilaterally at a lot of Hasids and realized it was Easter only when some dudes sitting at the front of the bridge said, "Hey sexy, happy Easter."
MEGAN: It was really good weather, wasn't it?
MOE: And my mother said that she always forgets until she visits my sister in Charlottesville how marginalized and disenfranchised black people are. And the throwing his grandma under the bus line went over well with her. She was like "when he said that I was like, oh my god that is like a universal experience, to cringe over how old white people talk about black people." We have a lot of typical white people in my family as you can probably tell.
MEGAN: Wow, your mom is cool. I think I might owe her some wine some time.
MOE: But it made me think, you know, the same thought Gene Weingarten had over the extent to which regular voters are completely oblivious to the meme of the moment and thank god for that.
MOE: Now G-d can you do something about William Kristol? And Pat Buchanan?
MEGAN: Word. The whole Gene Weingarten piece reminded me of the conversation I had with my parents about how I do this in the morning and I was like, well, I get up at 7, read 15+ sites and then start typing and they were like, wow, you're the most well-informed person we know and then I realized I was probably fucked and this is why I'm a political misanthrope.
MEGAN: I think Bill Kristol, who, seriously, if you put that man in some fucking clown make up IS THE JOKER FROM BATMAN will take care of his own demise. But someone get Rachel Maddow a spit shield for when she has to sit next to him on MSNBC.
MEGAN: and by "him" I mean Pat Buchanan
MOE: Apparently Michael Smerconish has been defending the speech. He's a much-beloved Pennsylvania conservative radio talker. Ugh, but before I feel click over on one more thing only to rue that here we are, balls deep in the memes again, let me call out this sentiment from Pat Buchanan's most recent blog utterance.
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.
MEGAN: [sits in stunned silence]
MEGAN: DID PAT BUCHANAN JUST WRITE THAT AFRICAN-AMERICANS SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR SLAVERY BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN FORCIBLY CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY??!!!!
MEGAN: (I apologize for the capital letters, but it was that or chuck my laptop at a wall)
MOE: He actually asked, "Where is the gratitude?
MEGAN: So, why the FUCK is he still a commentator on MSNBC? Oh, right, they're trying to out-Fox Fox or something, because that's why they're 3rd in the ratings.
MOE: I'm not sure. I don't know. I think I have heard sentiments from my grandfather who was a typical white person of the first generation immigrant vein that would echo these sentiments. I think William F. Buckley might have echoed these statements. Enough of these statements might give you the notion that racism is endemic in white America, you know? Because implicit in statements like this, I don't have to point it out to you but I will anyway, was that buying and selling and pricing people as commodities is not a grave injustice if they are black. What is interesting is that Judeo Chrisitian rooted humanism is supposed to be the basis for the notion that a person is a person, uniquely different from other objects and organisms, and yet here he seems to be subverting that notion, rendering it backward according to some logic I can barely fathom, except to echo Obama via William Faulkner.
MOE: Via Peggy Noonan.
MOE: The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past.
MEGAN: Like, it's obviously not the motherfucking past if people like Pat Buchanan think that
MEGAN: Seriously? The means (slavery) are justified by the ends (acceptance of Jesus Christ as their savior, forced or not)? Seriously? This is what people think? What country do I live in? No wonder Michelle Obama isn't proud of it all the time.
MOE: Pat Buchanan went to my brother's high school, a Jesuit boy's school in Northeast DC. That is what is scariest but most fascinating about that statement. It is not coming from the progeny of anyone who actually owned slaves. Who actually knows, at all, what he is talking about. Perhaps he ought to listen to Mike Huckabee.
MEGAN: Perhaps Pat Buchanan, too, ought to just go fuck himself.
MEGAN: The list of people who can go fuck themselves seems to be growing.
MOE: You had a little piece of recent civil rights history you wanted to share with the class, didn't you Megan?
MEGAN: I did, in the vein of people that can go fuck themselves. The New York Times reminded its readers (some of whom heard it for the first time because they were too young at the time) that Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a nod to the unreconstructed racists of the world.
"In 1980, Ronald Reagan, campaigning on a platform that included "states' rights," opened his general election campaign in Philadelphia, Miss. — a decision criticized because it was where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964.
. I didn't know if was actually possible to be offended by stuff that happened 28 years ago, but it turns out it is actually possible. Reagan advisers who thought this was a good idea? Go fuck yourselves.
MEGAN: It was in a story on race in campaigns. Also, the incident was actually chronicled by no less than American chintzy painter Norman Rockwell in an enormous and moving painting that you will find in absolutely no book of his work anywhere (because I've tried) but you can see a bad internet print of it here. It's actually really moving in person.
MEGAN: Also, Lt. Governor Michael Steele? Former Senator JC Watts of Oklahoma? Condoleeza Rice? This is what the Republican Party thought was acceptable when you were joining up. Pat Buchanan's remarks? Still acceptable in the Republican party. If Obama has to explain his allegiance to his pastor and friend of 20 years and should have left him by the wayside to "prove" his love of America, I would like some explanations from you about that shit. Thank you. And go fuck yourselves.
MOE: No, go fuck whores!
MOE: Gay whores!