Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
May 4, 2007 - April 27, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Gay Thing

"The" Gay Guy, Oscar Wilde

BRITS.42.13-15. I just got off the phone with my sort-of-stepdaughter Monica, the beautiful blonde motorhead who is presently majoring in art history at one of New Jersey's better state universities. I'd called to ask her about this, a blog post written by a young woman who is clearly agonizing about the complications of trying to date straight men while hanging out with gay guys she describes as 'best friends.' I figured Monica would be able to tell me about life in the new world that's been created by the unending celebration of all things gay by the MSM. I wanted her insight about the kind of women who prefer to associate with gay men and therefore face the same kind of emotional ordeal described by "petitedov." What Monica told me will come as a complete shock to Andrew Sullivan, though not, I expect, to other old geezers like myself.

Monica said the only place she had ever seen women who favored the company of gay guys was in the movies. Despite majoring in art history, she'd encountered only one openly gay guy in any of her classes. She expressed the opinion that the gay lifestyle we've all been hearing so much about seemed to her a fiction created by the mass media. Then she changed the subject. She was finishing up her take-home final on Esthetics, and she told me she'd marry her professor if he wasn't already spoken for. Apparently, his ears stick out in an interesting way you'd have to be Monica to appreciate.

Rather than think about Professor Jughead's ears, I found myself thinking about the whole gay thing. Is it possible we've been sold a bill of goods by the Andrew Sullivans of the world? Yes. In fact, I'm pretty sure we have been. So here's a point of view you don't hear that much about. If you're gay, it's going to be kind of a bummer, but sometimes that's the way life is. You'll get over it. Eventually.

I went to an all-boys prep school, back in the notorious sixties. There were close to 500 students enrolled at any given time. We read the prep school novels, of course, but it always came as a surprise how many of them had some sort of homosexual theme. The truth of our daily lives was starkly different. Of the 500 who shared the same prison, approximately 497 spent all their waking, and sleeping, hours thinking about having sex with females. The other three were known by name and, quite cruelly, by incredibly specific anecdote. They were bullied, derided, laughed at -- I'm not boasting, just reporting -- and sometimes viciously persecuted.

These days, they call it homophobia and attribute it to some strain of sexual insecurity widely interpreted as an endorsement of the naturalness, and pervasiveness, of homosexual desires. In my recollections, that's just so much horseshit. Maybe 10 or 20 of the 500 were what we'd all recognize as homophobic today. They went out of their way to make life miserable for the 'queers.' But everybody else was largely indifferent, not hostile but provokable. What they didn't want was being asked to imagine what homosexuals did with each other in private. Stay away from that subject -- the one that engendered irrational disgust -- and they were perfectly willing to pretend there was nothing fatally different about the three odd ones in the student body. The mundane truth of the matter is that while teenage boys are in many ways indistinguishable from animals (don't ask about room hygiene, for example), they're also mostly decent human beings who prefer to live and let live.

That's why my own personal response to the gay rights agenda has been to remain mostly silent. College was a good deal bigger than my prep school, so I came to know gay guys who were uncloseted and perversely proud of their difference from the rest of us. I developed one rule in response. Gay friends were fine one-on-one. Just don't go to gay parties. When they sense they're in the majority, or at critical mass, their personalities change. They become sibilant, aggressive, imitation females, predatory sissies. The friend you thought you knew becomes a cartoonish stranger, prancing and strutting and lisping like the world's worst caricature of Oscar Wilde.

It's not that such scenes are threatening. They're not. What they are is boring. To see a bunch of men turn into a bunch of undesirable women is an oxymoron -- a disgusting bore. Oscar Wilde would have been a delight to meet. He was in all probability the wittiest man who ever lived. But put a bunch of gay guys together and all you get is the gay equivalent of an Elvis convention -- a hundred low-grade Tom, Dick, and Harry versions of the long dead and defiled original.

I forget which brilliant essayist it was who pointed out the irony of the word 'gay' as a label for homosexuals. If you've ever been to one of their parties you know they're not gay at all. They're not spontaneously joyful and larkish. Their hilarity and thuddingly relentless wittiness are forced things, determined, staged, and almost hysterical reactions to what is evidently a fervid self-hatred.

I'd like for them to be free of all that. Hence the silence. But the current lionization of homosexuality as an 'alternate lifestyle' forces me to speak up. This is not a lifestyle you'd wish on your worst enemy. Combine the native promiscuity of the human male with sexual quarry consisting of -- TA DA -- other human males, and you have just created a recipe for fatal unintended consequences. Yes, men are brilliantly creative and ambitious. That's exactly why they need women to keep them from running off the rails into premature self-immolation. Child-bearing issues aside, no 'gay' culture could build a civilization before it perished of sensual and self-hating excess.

It's been said that the Marx Brothers became geniuses because of the Hays office, which forced them to be brilliant rather than blue. The unexpurgated Marx Brothers would be mostly boring today -- not pornographic enough for our jaded tastes and not nearly witty enough to rival the divine Oscar. Sad to say, the same principle can be applied to today's gay culture. They're pitifully desperate for attention, and validation, and approval, but in insisting -- as they do -- that we imagine in vivid detail what they do behind once closed doors, they are insisting that we abandon our native, thoughtless toleration in favor of the pure disgust -- and, yes, boredom  -- most people feel for a kind of sexuality exhibited by no more than 2 percent of the population. For 98 percent of us, sexual excitement lies in the otherness of our partners, not the sameness. Yet it's part of the peculiar blindness of homosexuals that they're convinced all of us secretly lust after body parts we can all see simply by peering into our own underwear. Does it get any more boring than that? The tantalizing wonder of the Kama Sutra reducced to, well, masturbation in a mirror. Homosexuals are the ulitmate narrow-minded clerks of erotica. No wonder they're less than 2 percent of the population.

It's an incredibly tiny minority. And right now, they're overplaying their hand. All that talk about Brokeback Mountain as a breakthrough production was a joke. There's a whole channel, LOGO, devoted to homosexual movies. Guess what? They're broadcasting 24/7. Gay producers, gay directors, gay actors, gay screenplays. Every day. All day. Is there a Jewish channel? No. But a gay channel is somehow an ACLU-granted right. Gays and their outraged claims make them more visible than Jews (also 2 percent of the U.S. population)  in an age when most of the world wants Jews to die and homosexuals to redecorate their apartments. The creative presumptions of homosexuals have made them over-represented in the entertainment fare we routinely receive. What they simply cannot understand is that the increasingly explicit dramas they force upon us are counterproductive. The worst thing they can possibly do is rub our noses in the unpleasant oxymoron they refuse to recognize -- that we can tolerate them only as long they don't force our submerged disgust to the surface and make of our benign boredom an actual event to be dealt with.

Oscar Wilde is dead. He wasn't boring. The rest of you are. Really. God's honest tuth. If you don't believe me, ask Monica.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

La Terreur

Robespierre was invulnerable, too, until he wasn't.

DRAGON'S TEETH REDUX. If Americans-In-Denial, Inc.(make up your own acronym), could stop thinking about Global Warming for a second and focus on the Islamists who want to cut their heads off, they might actually discover what they don't think is there -- a way to defeat these medieval barbarians and have a good time doing it, too.

Yesterday, Drudge linked an item he probably considered a wry distraction from the truly momentous events of the day, like the $120 billion Reid-Pelosi non-aggression pact with al qaeda, but it was an item we should all pay very close attention to. Fortunately for American attention spans, it was accompanied by a picture.


Here's the gist:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been accused of indecency after he publicly embraced and kissed on the hand an elderly woman who used to be his schoolteacher.

At a ceremony on Tuesday ahead of Iranian teachers' day, Mr Ahmadinejad was photographed and filmed by state media stooping to kiss the woman's hand and then clasping her arms in an embrace.

The ultra-conservative Hezbollah newspaper, which is not related to the group in Lebanon of the same name, criticised him on the front page.

"The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to sharia law during Islamic rule [since the 1979 revolution]," it said.

"This type of indecency progressively has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values."

No, Ahdumjihad is not going to be deposed because he kissed the hand of an aged woman. But we have been given a glimpse of the Achilles heel shared by all true believers -- the penchant for schism based on ideological hair-splitting.

Members of the U.S. Congress have been responsible for battling muslim terrorism for more than five years now, and most of them still have no idea what the difference might be between Sunni and Shia flavors of Islam. The boldest of them -- bold in rhetorical terms only, needless to say -- call for an Islamic Reformation to vitiate the blood lust they'd find alarming if they really believed there was a terrorist threat associated with jihadists who keep proclaiming their desire to kill every Christian and Jew on earth. What they've missed in all their years of not reading up on the religion of peace is that the Reformation they yearn for is already ancient history. The Sunni and Shia denominations of Islam represent a schism more profound than the one between Lutherans and Roman Catholics. And the Wahhabi spin-off of the Sunnis is even more psychotic than the Calvinist nonsense that spawned Oliver Cromwell and the Presbyterians. This is important information. Information we could use to our advantage if we weren't so damned superior to the whole idea of religion in the first place.

How so? The entire western propaganda effort to "win hearts and minds" in the Islamic world is misdirected. We waste time and money trying to convince them we mean them no harm and have much to offer if they'll just play nice. All that's accomplished by such appeals to absent logic is cementing their focus on us as the common enemy that prevents the inevitable ideological cannibalism from occurring. The correct mission for western propaganda is to ignore the west altogether, forget Judaism and Christianity, and inflame the existing conflicts among the most devout of muslims. Goad them to become even more extreme in their definitions of what it means to be true to the message of the Prophet. The CIA doesn't need savvy political operatives; it needs demonically shrewd theologians who can catalyze the explosion of Islam into hundreds of fanatical splinter denominations. Then we can stand aside and watch as they tear themselves to pieces in an orgy of religiosity.

I know you lefties are scratching your heads. Unless you actually believe in God, it's impossible to understand what people can do, for good and ill, in the name of God. You think all the religious talk is merely code for their frustration with western economic and military oppression. You're wrong. But I won't debate that with you today. Instead, I'll give you an analogy you can understand. Politics. Politics like yours, in fact. Idealistic, utopian, so ultra-rational as to make ideas into weapons of mass destruction. Think Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. Intellectuals so brilliant and cerebral that the only right answer becomes an icepick in the ear.

Better yet, think French. Think of the Directorate under Robespierre in the French Revolution. Think of the rage you feel when you turn on one of your own who has compromised one of your most sacred ideological principles. Think Lieberman. What you were prepared to do to him is precisely what landed Robespierre in the jaws of the Guillotine. He was a true believer so true that he inevitably became a target for those who envied his power and therefore came to view his power as a proof of hypocrisy, of blasphemy. Ultimately, there was no test of egalitarian humility Robespierre could pass. It cost him his head.

That's the opportunity we're describing for the Islamic revolutionaries and their utopian vision of sharia. The imams try to remain anonymous in order to reinforce a fake image of humility. But they are not humble. With every edict and decree they make themselves rivals of Muhammed himself. And every theological disagreement they have with each other is a crack into which we can drive wedges.

The more power Ahdumjihad accumulates, the bigger a target he becomes for the imams of every conceivable Islamic sect. Eventually he, too, will have his climactic confrontation with an icepick or a steel blade. Like Robespierre, his political power is synonymous with a continual threat to his own life.

Our mission is to exacerbate that threat. And to wield an ideological hammer that will shatter the adolescent cult called Islam into a million dysfunctional pieces.

Remember and savor this scene, with Ahdumjihad in mind:

Robespierre's turn had come at last. By fawning upon the people he had become their idol, and this will happen to any man who declaims against the rich, causing the people to hope for a division of the spoils. Through the populace, he ruled the Jacobin Club; through the Jacobin Club, the Convention and through  the Convention, France. He dictated decrees and directed the administration. Nothing was done except by his orders or with his approval. His caprices were flattered, and his very manias were praised. The tribunal beheaded those he designated without investigation. His power seemed too terrible to his accomplices as it did to his victims. A number had been sacrificed already and others feared the same fate. They banded together to pull down the idol they themselves had set up.

[The committee of general security] ordered that he [Robespierre] be taken to the prison of the Conciergerie. His trial was short. On the following day he was guillotined, together with Saint-Just, Couthon, and his other accomplices. It was quite a distance from the Palais de Justice to the scaffold, and the immensity of the long Rue Saint-Honore had to be traversed. Along the whole course, the people pursued Robespierre with hoots and maledictions. He had been given a conspicuous place in the tumbril, his face half covered by a dirty, bloodstained cloth which enveloped his jaw. It may be said that this man, who had brought so much anguish to others, suffered during these twenty-four hours all the pain and agony that a mortal can experience.

The death mask of AhdumjihadRobespierre, decapitated.

But, excuse me. There is no threat from Islamic terrorists. I forgot. Forgive me.



SHUTEYE NATION. We were doing our best to stay current back in 2000 when we penned this Who's Who entry for America's leading female slob:

Rosabud. Leading real-sized° TV talk show host. Didn't she used to have a sitcom, where she was fat and loud and obnoxious to everybody? Well, now she does it on her talk show, except she's only fat and loud and obnoxious to people who are part of the vast right wing conspiracy°, because there are so many people out there who need the kind of political° education° you can only get from a turd in a pantsuit.

But now we're completely flummoxed. All this talk of replacing Rosabud on "The View" with, uh°, Rosabud?

Actually, we know who should get the gig. You see? Perfect. If the U.S. weren't so sexist, that is. He'd have ever so much more gravitas than Rosabud. Gravitas is measured in avoirdupois, isn't it? Cannes you spell avoirdupois?

No? Then you must be as confused as we are.

The Oxford Union

A roomful of twits.

BRITS. Let me get this straight. The most elite rhetorical society of the United Kingdom, the Oxford Union, actually put forward this proposition for debate: "This House regrets the founding of The United States of America."

The National Review's Jonah Goldberg led the opposition, and his argument is detailed here in all its witty details. I like Jonah Goldberg. He's smart, well read, funny, unpretentious, irreverent, and acute. The transcript of his debate performance only confirms all these impressions.

BUT. He participated. He participated in this ridiculous charade.

I'm not saying he didn't make salient arguments. At one point he said:

(O)n the off chance that there are some in the room who do not get the joke, or -- worse -- that someone here isn't kidding, let me make a few brief points.

First, there is no objection my honorable opponents could make to the existence of America that could not be made about the existence of Great Britain herself.

At least two of these men reject the Enlightenment. And I'm not talking about the French one. But the good one from Scotland. (When it comes to Enlightenments, as Michael Meyers says in So I Married an Ax Murderer -- "if it's not Scottish, it's crap.")

Excellent. He should have sat down after that. But he didn't. He continued to participate. He clearly fails to understand the underlying philosophy of Scottish enlightenment, which is this: Reason with those who can be reasonable; ignore everyone else until they can't be ignored any longer, then kill them.

Here's the argument that never had to be made to a bunch of sodomite twits at the world's most effete university:

Mickey Mantle had a father -- a cruel, controlling SOB who wanted to redeem his lost youth by having a superstar son. Mickey Mantle was great. No one remembers his father. The proposition put forward by the Oxford Union is akin to a lawsuit by Mantle Senior arguing that Mickey should never have been born because the son so eclipsed the father. Such a lawsuit would be dismissed by every court in the U.S. and the U.K. Yes, there was a time when the father had guts and smarts, but that time is long gone (l-o-o-o-o-ng gone), and the mere fact that he is bringing suit against his own son proves it beyond doubt. He's nothing but a failed has-been seeking second-hand celebrity for feats he only wishes he could have accomplished himself. Case closed.

I can forgive Jonah because it's always fun to be the American in the most British of assemblies. There's no other setting -- apart from visiting France or Germany -- that so swells the chest with a pride that gleams from sea to shining sea. It's doubly rewarding to experience this feeling in black tie, with champagne at the ready, amidst the sepulchral vaults housing Britain's liveliest and deadest intellects.

BUT. Jonah shouldn't have participated. He knows it. We console him for his entirely justified embarrassment.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Guv's New Ride

You can't keep a good Jersey boy down for long.

STATE BUSINESS. Yes, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine had a setback, becoming the third straight holder of that office to suffer a broken leg more or less in the line of duty. But he's back in the saddle again, as The New York Times reported Monday:

PRINCETON, N.J., April 30 — Gov. Jon S. Corzine apologized to New Jersey residents on Monday as he left the hospital 18 days after a devastating traffic accident in which he was not wearing a seat belt and was being driven at more than 91 miles per hour on the Garden State Parkway.

“I set a very bad example,” said a contrite Mr. Corzine, who broke his left femur, his sternum and 11 ribs in the accident, speaking from a wheelchair just outside Cooper University Hospital in Camden. His voice breaking with emotion, he added: “I hope the state will forgive me. I will work very hard to set the right kind of example.”

It's true. There's actually a pretty long list of the ways he let the people of his state down. First, there's no excuse for the speed. At that time of the year, on the lower end of the Garden State Parkway, the right vehicle should be able to cruise well over 100 mph with no sweat. I've done it at 120 mph+ myself. But was it the right vehicle? No. Black mark number two. Even a heavy SUV should be able to handle a complex swerving maneuver on that road surface provided it has VR-rated tires, Koni shock absorbers, and metallic brakes. Clearly the governor's ride was not so equipped. Worse than all this, he got caught.

There are only two ways to get caught on the Garden State Expressway. The state police, who go all para-military on you in their designer uniforms when they nail you, can hide on their secret trails in the pines that line the highway and pounce if your vehicle isn't forewarned by state-of-the-art radar-laser detector systems. Obviously, this wasn't Corzine's downfall because he had the state police doing his speeding for him. He got nabbed the second and more humiliating way, by ricocheting off everything in sight after the vehicle went out of control and wrecked. Shameful. A disgrace to every motorhead in the state.

Fortunately, though, it appears that some of the right steps are being taken. According to the Times:

After the brief comments, Mr. Corzine was helped into a black... van, with tinted windows, that he bought and had specially modified... and left the hospital in a six-car caravan about 1:45 p.m. His vehicle followed a black state police Crown Victoria, and was followed by a Chevrolet Suburban — like the one he was riding in at the time of the crash — a Mercedes station wagon, and two other cars.

The governor’s motorcade moved with the flow of traffic on Interstate 295, at some points sustaining speeds up to 70 miles per hour several minutes at a time, according to the speedometer of a vehicle traveling alongside; posted limits were 55 and 65.

This is progress. No doubt, he'll be cruising in triple digits again after the crash trauma wears off. In the meantime, it's a good sign that he's not so gun-shy as to bend over for the dumb-as-rocks double-nickel.

The new "van," mentioned in the NYT article is also a huge improvement over its predecessor. It features abundant armor plate and the aftermarket shocks, tires, and brakes recommended above, as well as a 16-cylinder, 64-valve, 1,001 HP engine specially procured from Bugatti. (It's also a hybrid, just to keep things green.) This should enable the governor to get down the highway at a more respectable speed. It also has custom running lights (see graphic above) designed to notify slower drivers in front to get the hell out of the way of the state's chief executive when he's bearing down on them. Helpful warning stickers are prominently placed on the back of the vehicle to warn away drivers who might be trying to make a race of it, unaware that the quarry they're chasing is being driven by a NJ state trooper:

Inside, the governor will be able to belt himself into a high-performance wheelchair specially manufactured for him by Harley Davidson, so that he can make serious tracks even after he disembarks from the van:

Obviously, the long-term solution is for the Guv to start driving himself again. No self-respecting speed demon wants to leave all the driving to someone else, and it's just not honorable to duck the biggest risks by hiding behind trooper chauffeurs. But he says he's learned his lesson, and we're prepared to believe him. A man in his position can't possibly be ignorant of the values embodied in his state's anthem. (Or proposed anthem anyway. Once upon a time. Before the nanny state mentality descended like a ton of wet blankets.) The words should be burned into his soul, as they are with so many other sons [and daughters; sorry, Monica] of the Garden State, and as he contemplates his responsibilities at the governor's mansion, Drumthwackett, he should be repeating -- or better yet singing -- these lyrics, which have a uniquely new and personal meaning in his life:

Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybodys out on the run tonight but theres no place left to hide
Together wendy well live with the sadness
Ill love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I dont know when were gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and well walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run

Well, maybe not the 'tramps' part. That would be the previous guv.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Buckley Surrenders

The Waning of William F. Buckley

PSOMETHING PSAD. He's got nothing to apologize for, I suppose, but it is time at last for him to stop playing at being the wise elder statesman delivering truth from on high. He's a spent force and anyone reading him should bear that in mind. Today's column is a good example. It's called The Waning of the GOP.

He begins by accepting at face value George Tenet's whiny attempts to cover his massively exposed rear end for the CIA's failures during two presidential administrations:

George Tenet, former head of the CIA, has just published a book which seems to demonstrate that there was one part ignorance, one part bullheadedness, in the high-level discussions before war became policy. Mr. Tenet at least appears to demonstrate that there was nothing in the nature of a genuine debate on the question.

Aver, yes. Demonstrate? Hardly. He has already been refuted on some of his factual statements, and his self-pitying presentation of "his side" on 60 Minutes last night seemed more like the hysterical imprecations of a divorcee than a correction of the record by a former head of one of the most ruthless government agencies in the world. The CIA's job is to provide information and perhaps advice, but there's no guarantee they will be invited to all the meetings. In Clinton's day, they weren't invited to any meetings. But perhaps Mr. Buckley is more amenable to the sobs of sleighted bureaucrats than he was in his salad days. Also, seemingly, more susceptible to scare-mongering by a man whose list of unanticipated catastrophes would be enough to transform any ex-spook into a carpet-chewing paranoid:

A measure of George Tenet’s respect for the reach and malevolence of the enemy is his statement that he is puzzled that Al Qaeda has not, since 2001, sent out “suicide bombers to cause chaos in a half dozen American shopping malls on any given day.” By way of prophecy, he writes that there is one thing he feels in his gut, which is that “Al Qaeda is here and waiting.”

Yep, if there's a gut we've all learned to trust, it's George Tenet's. Buckley seems to. It fills him with despair.

But beyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month.

Has he been spending his weekends sailing with John Murtha and Harry Reid? He's certainly caught the bug of redefining words in convenient ways, as they do. For Murtha and company, 'terrorists' are 'insurgents,' 'professional soldiers' are 'kids,' and 'surrender' will be called 'redeployment.'  In fact, Buckley has gone them one better. Where they have redefined the War in Iraq as 'civil war,' he has rejiggered it as a 'disease':

When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.

A colorful turn of phrase it most certainly is. And maybe at Buckley's age, there's no real downside to imbibing a stew of mixed metaphors conflating Roman Catholic history with viral biology, Prohibition, and Greek mythology for the purpose of going gentle into that good night. But it doesn't do the rest of us a damn bit of good.

He's a bit off his head. He seems chiefly worried, as his title suggests, about the fate of the Republican Party:

General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can’t see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters?..

The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.

If Buckley believes, as he at least implies, that Islamist terrorism is a genuine threat, then he also knows there is no alternative to defeating it. If we don't, it doesn't matter a rat's ass whether there's still a Grand Old Party or not. When New York City is flattened by a hydrogen bomb, the blast will take out the Yale Club too. But that probably won't be the headline.

I can understand that he may be more taken in than most conservative diehards by the false but popular notion that time is running out. It's not. We have all the time that may be required to stabilize Iraq and drive al qaeda out of that country. (No matter how bad things get, we could always execrcise the option of finally getting serious with Syria, Iran, and their accomplices...) What is running out is our resolve to invest the resources and the ingenuity required to persevere until our goals are achieved. The disease comparison is particularly odious. Any student of history -- such as Buckley is -- knows that those who fought Hitler's armies, or Napoleon's, must have regarded them as a multiplying plague, along the lines of Cheney's implicit Hydra reference. Every time you kill one, you face more.

But if you kill enough of them, they eventually lose heart and subside or surrender. And, yes, I know, it won't always be as easy as it is right now(!) to confront our terrorist enemies on an actual battlefield. So their resemblance to a hydra that grows two new heads for each one you hack off can seem more accurate and ominous. But there's another myth that applies, if you want to play semantic and semiotic games. It's the story of Cadmus and the dragon's teeth:

In Greek myth, dragon's teeth feature prominently in the legends of the Phoenician prince Cadmus and Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In each case, the dragon's teeth, once planted, would grow into fully armed warriors...
Cadmus, bringer of literacy and civilization, killed the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares. The goddess Athena told him to sow the teeth, from which sprang a group of ferocious warriors called the spartoi. He threw a precious jewel into the midst of the warriors, who turned on each other in an attempt to seize the stone for themselves. The five survivors joined with Cadmus to found the city of Thebes.

The west -- against all its own most delf-destructive efforts -- still possesses the brightest jewel of all, the personal, political and economic freedom to build a civilization fifteen centuries more comfortable and rewarding than the teeth will ever find in that suffocating dragon's mouth. The jewel is so dazzling that the only way it can fail to divide and conquer the fanatics in the long run is if we decide to throw it tiredly or recklessly away.

Buckley knows that, and he should go on reminding those who need the reminding, not fretting circles around a transitory state of disarray he has seen several times before -- after the surprise defeat of Dewey, the crushing defeat of Goldwater, and the ignominious resignation of Nixon, to name just three. Those are the times you have to stand up and fight like hell. The alternative is a disaster I guarantee he knows word for word:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity...

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Buckley can fall apart if he wants, but we can't afford to.

UPDATE. Despite Buckley's endorsement of Tenet's mea non culpa, I'm not the only one who was singularly unimpressed -- no, make that offended to the core -- by his sliming of the administration that forgave his many sins. Glenn Reynolds linked to almost-as-nasty posts by Roger L. Simon and Christopher Hitchens (h/t Malkin, too). But mine from Thursday was first, funnier, and farther reaching.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh, go away.

A dumb dwarf. Or is that politically incorrect?

WHAT WE DO WITH THE LITTLE PEOPLE. He was always a little man in a suit too big for him. He's the guy who took copious notes without ever understanding the meaning of the lecture. He's the guy who got the plum assignment by working twice the hours his more talented competitors did. He's the guy George W, Bush stands behind when everyone who has stood behind George W. Bush is throwing up in the weeds because George W. Bush doesn't know when or how to fire an idiot.

Alberto Gonzales is a mediocrity. And a gross incompetent. And one of those pitiful little guys who always look like they've been dressed by their mother.

I'm a right wing conservative Republican and I'd rather have Bobby Kennedy running the Justice Department than this guy. What does that tell you?

GWB -- Buy a goddamned biography of Napoleon. Not that it will help. You've become the biggest disappointment of my life.

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