Monday, February 20, 2006

On Things Hanging Out

My Soon-to-be-Ex-Sister-in-Law sent me this editorial, written by literary theorist and law professor Stanley Fish, and asked me what I thought about it.

I figured I'd share my opinions with the class:

As much as I hate using a man's name to make a point, you can tell Mister Fish is old, because his thinking stinks.

Who the hell am I kidding? I love doing stuff like that!

The first clue is the title. "Letting it all hang out?" Wow. I was so surprised about that that I almost dropped my Hai Karate aftershave, man.

Seriously, though, this guy's setting up liberal straw men, but he's not even doing a good job knocking them down."The first tenet of the liberal religion is that everything (at least in the realm of expression and ideas) is to be permitted, but nothing is to be taken seriously."

Umm. It's not a religion, dude. That you think it so shows not the failure of liberalism, but your failure to grasp basic concepts of freedom in society. Not every expression is to be permitted. Inciting a crowd to riot is not permitted under freedom of expression; nor is yelling 'fire' in a movie theater. And as far as taking things seriously--who is he to decide who does and does not take any particular point of view 'seriously?'

Then he goes on to denigrate the concept of 'respect:' "The thing about respect is that it doesn't cost you anything; its generosity is barely skin-deep and is in fact a form of condescension: I respect you; now don't bother me."

If anyone's doing any condescending, it's you, Mister Fish. Respect, to me, means a deferential regard towards something. If I have a deferential regard towards someone's religious views, it means I accept that this person has a specific viewpoint, and (assuming he or she is not being hypocritical,) has just as much a right to that viewpoint as I do to mine. It does not mean that I have to agree with it, nor will I feel the need to make him or her agree with my differing view. Where is there condescension in that?

If, however, I espouse respect, yet my actions towards you and/or your beliefs show a lack of respect, now that's some condescension. I would contend that this sort of behavior is more in line with the current Neocon way of doing business. Perhaps Fish is doing a bit of transference here, no?

I also find it fascinating that he has the power to read minds. After all, he knows that "the editors who have run the cartoons do not believe that Muslims are evil infidels who must either be converted or vanquished. They do not publish the offending cartoons in an effort to further some religious or political vision; they do it gratuitously, almost accidentally."

Hold on there, Kreskin. You must be losing something in the telepathic transatlantic translation. Jyllands-Posten is one of the most conservative of Danish newspapers--sort of the Manchester Union-Leader of Denmark, not some moonbat bastion of liberal causes. And did you know that the very same Flemming Rose who ran these cartoons had previously rejected a series of cartoons lampooning Jesus and a host of other Christian icons on the grounds of being too offensive? Rose explained that he used the term 'too offensive' because it was more polite than saying the cartoons were just plain bad. In what world is 'too offensive' more polite than 'just plain bad'? And have you seen the cartoons they did run? They make the guy who draws 'Marmaduke' look like the love child of Rembrandt and Mark Twain.

Just for fun though, let's follow through on his way of thinking. Let's assume that he's right when he says: "The belief in the therapeutic and redemptive force of dialogue depends on the assumption (central to liberalism's theology) that, after all, no idea is worth fighting over to the death and that we can always reach a position of accommodation if only we will sit down and talk it out."

I guess that means that there are ideas worth killing over. So, in his view, it's OK for us to kill Muslims because of our differing belief system? That must mean then that, since they believe differently than us, that it's OK for Muslims to kill us.

Or does he espouse to a double standard?

And what is wrong with believing that we should sit down and discuss our differences? In the end, when everyone's tired of killing, isn't that what we do anyhow?

From where I sit, dude is just using this incident as a launching point for another typical Conservative swipe at the First Amendment. Which, of course, is a bit strange, seeing as how none of the players in this story happen to be from the US. Typical.


Thursday, February 16, 2006


...the number of days since the Vice President shot anyone.


...the number of days since the world was notified that the Vice President shot anyone.

Top Ten reasons Cheney shot that 78 year old guy in the face.

From the home office, Dick Cheney's Top 10 Excuses for Shooting That Guy:

10. Sure, like you've never seen giant game birds wearing day glo orange vests
9. Warrantless domestic spying revealed he was getting phone calls from al Qaeda
8. If the Vice President does it, its not against the law
7. Hoping to put him in a persistent vegetative state so the GOP could pass a law to keep him alive
6. Thought he was hunting Dan Quayle
5. The love between them could not survive back in Washington
4. Birds, Cows, People-- with my eyesight I'm lucky I hit anything
3. Positive the guy's family will welcome him as a liberator
2. Pheasants? I thought we were hunting peasants

and the number one Cheney excuse for shooting that guy:

1. Open season on liberals started early this year

#3 is my favorite. Thanks Dallas Dem at DKos

As I posted over at my crib, Dr. Evil may have been drunk when he shot that guy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Doesn't Anyone Get it?

We are treated to a spectacle where a half-assed excuse of an AG sits in front of a half-assed excuse of an Senate investigative panel and gives half-assed answers that are all framed exactly the same way: "We need this wiretapping to keep our country safe."

Bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit.

It is illegal wiretapping, pure and simple. Has anyone asked this schmuck the following question: "Mr. Gonzales: what does the wiretapping without FISA approval get you that a wiretap WITH FISA approval doesn't? And don't say expediency, because we all know that is a lie."

Of course, it doesn't matter if he lies or not, since he couldn't be bothered to be sworn in.

The reason no one asks the question is because Al can't give us the truth, which is: the only thing this wiretapping gives the President is the ability to spy on people and organizations that oppose the President's policy. This is wiretapping for political gain, not any sort of highminded antiterror use.

And then I go to the Newsweek site and discover that the problem isn't that we have Big Brother watching us--it's that Big Brother isn't competent enough.

Micheal Hirsch says the problem isn't that we have an oppressive overlord--it's that our oppressive overlord isn't very good at the job.

Well, that makes me feel better.

How about you?