Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It really does not get better...

....than this. Lileks is on fire. Large excerpt:

"An angry man on the radio yesterday insisted that talk radio was part of the “fascist control” of the media. He was, of course, a barking lunatic, as nuts as the people who were certain Clinton would use Y2K to appoint himself Bubba the First and suspend the Constitution. But if you dial down the rhetoric a little, you find the same overheated sentiments in more mainstream quarters. It reminded me of Keith Olbermann, who, by his own words, is the first person to criticize the current Administration, all other voices of dissent having willingly stifled themselves in accordance with Archie Bunker Act of 2002. The other day he birthed this rich observation:

. . .That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think. Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth. It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.

Yes, indeed. Well, having just read what actual altering and reshaping rights looks like, I am disinclined to panic over the thing made out in the distant horizon via lightning, even if it reveals “a world” – presumably Manhattan, below 150th street – in which “authority” – presumably Drinky W. Flyboy, the Resident-in-Chief – actually suggests that thinking is unacceptable, and we must hereby rely on our autonomous nervous system.

Hear ye: if ever I announce that the lightning is sending me messages about how the government seeks to control what I think, please have me commited for paranoid schizophrenia.
Then again, it’s no ordinary lightning flash. It simultaneously “reveals not merely a President we have already seen,” but one who is preparing to revoke Keith Olbermann’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of a job on a network a lot of people actually watch. Fine; it’s good red meat, and there’s always a market for that. (Insert obligatory Ann Coulter denunciation!) Mr. O has his furrow, and he will spend the next two years shoving the blade in the dirt. He will have fans and nice write-ups and profiles and the rest of the perks that follow when you stake out a particular niche. Just like Art Bell. And just like Art Bell, he will instantly become a footnote the moment something horrible and significant happens, and his nonsense is swamped by things that actually happen, instead of things he believes are actually suggested.

One of the constant rhetorical ticks in my email concerns my incontinence when it comes to “terrorism.” Apparently people of my ilk are constantly pissing or piddling ourselves when the government plays the ol’ booga-booga card. We drop our Big Gulps and shout “oh, protect me from the scary Mooselmen, Great Father!” I think it was Woocott who first dribbled this particular riposte, and it’s caught on. A day doesn’t go by in which someone doesn’t point out a direct connection between ginned-up scare-news and the retentive abilities of my urethra.
Perhaps it’s so; perhaps there’s a reason I sit in the dark at night making cold calls to Pakistan, hoping the government taps my phone and maybe, just maybe, finds a terrorist on the other end.

But there’s a certain dark jot of damp trouser-front to Olbermann’s rhetoric as well, no?

Today two important speeches were made at the UN: one was a sack of lies dumped out by a religious simpleton bent on heralding the apocalypse, and the other was by the President of Iran. At least that’s how a Fark headline might put it, depending on the IQ level of the submitter. There were various desultory FARK threads on the speeches. My favorite concluded thus: there was the usual debate about whether Ahmadinejad had actually called for the destruction of Israel. (It’s a matter of faith among some that Bush personally blamed Saddam for 9/11, but a matter of debate as to the Mullah’s true feelings about the Jews.) "

And I have to give you his ending just in case you are so stubborn as to not go read the whole thing. The first line is a quote from the Pres of Iran in yesterday's speech.

"Make us among his followers. This would be akin to President Bush concluding his speech with an appeal for everyone to follow Jesus. The commentariat would fall off their chairs en masse: he’s outPoped the Pope! But Ahmadinejad, I suspect, will get a pass. Not because his kumbaya blather and deliciously naughty anti-empire rhetoric chubbed up the lads at AP and Reuters, but because he’s seen as a vaguely absurd figure. He says the most colorful things. Nice smile, too! Always good for a quote, that one.

There’s something else behind the indifferent reaction, though. Everyone has already accepted the idea of Iranian nukes. I think it’s been factored into our subconscious calculations, where they lie as great red glowing things whose threat is somehow still abstract. They won’t use them. They just want them. The way we all want a big-screen TV, and would keep it in the box once we bought it.

I frequently hear people remark that Iran would not be stupid enough to use a nuke, since they know it would bring about retaliation. But MAD only works if the other guy’s SANE. If the Administration regularly made remarks like Ahmadinejad and the other top-tier leaders, critics in the West would have long ago been dissolved in a puddle of corrosive urine. Imagine the President of the United States addressing a group of supporters and leading them in a chant of “Death to Iran.” Imagine what that might mean.

If it helps clarify things, imagine a flash of lightning.

via Dean Barnett

Update: Hugh Hewitt chronicles the mainstream media's view of the Iranian President's speech. As you can imagine, it's pathetic.