Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
April 26, 2007 - April 19, 2007

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Contest: Rewrite the Cartoon

STAY TUNED.  Our story thus far... A Washington Post cartoonist named Toles took a slap at Rumsfeld and in doing so failed to realize that his depiction of a soldier wihout arms and legs might be offensive to American troops. Then all six of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a letter of protest to the editor of the Post, probably the first time they have all agreed on anything. Michelle Malkin has the details, including the original cartoon and the letter. The paper responded today; it doesn't see anything wrong with the cartoon and doesn't feel any apology is necessary.

So we're sponsoring a little contest. Above you'll find the inoffensive image from the original cartoon stripped of its names, labels, and words. We invite you to fill them in however you think appropriate. You can copy the image and Photoshop it yourself, or you can email InstaPunk with the text content you want. We will choose a winner sometime next week and publish the best versions. (You can Bush-bash if you want, but we'll throw your stuff away...) We'll even do the Photoshopping of the best ones if the contestants can't. After we've published the worst you can do, we will fail to apologize for any offense taken by your targets. How's that for a prize?

Just to clarify what we're proposing, here's a sample reworking of our own:

Here's hoping we can get a little help from you and our blogger colleagues in promoting our bit of fun. Thanks for letting everyone know, and thanks for submitting an entry.

UPDATE. Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link. Also, just to make sure everyone understands, both jpeg files and text entries can be emailed to the address shown on this page. You can also enter informally via the Comments section, but please keep the format simple and understandable.

And thanks to Glenn Reynolds, too. More thanks to Ace of Spades.

UPDATE 2/13/06. You'll find the contest results here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Vietnam Psychosis

The Poster Child: Maryscott O'Connor, Center of the Universe

THE DAILY CAUSE. Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt reported on the response of the "KosKids" (NSFW) to the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States.

For those not in the know, Hugh was referring to the contributors and commenters at the Daily Kos, brainchild of Markos Moulitsas, who has become such a luminary of the Democratic Party that even the august Teddy Kennedy is making entries at his website.

The leader of the Kos response was a woman named Maryscott O'Connor. Here's an excerpt from her sophisticated reaction to the defeat of the Dem's crazed filibuster attempt (asterisks mine):

We are F***ed.

The original text is blockquoted below, but it seems cruelly, viciously ironic to keep it up right now.

What I want is a complete list of every Vichy Democratic Senator who voted for Cloture. That's what I want.

The Vichy Democrats: Akaka, Inouye, Cantwell, Rockefeller. Byrd, Bingaman, Lieberman, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Baucus, T. Johnson, Dorgan, B. Lincoln, Salazar, Conrad, Landrieu, Pryor, Carper, Kohl

I don't know what to DO with this list, not yet -- but I know for GODDAMNED sure I won't be VOTING for any of them, lt alone sending them any goddamned MONEY.

Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERF***ING BALLAST.

I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech.

I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me.

Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherf***ing one of them, I'm DONE with them.

I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me.

I guess she's telling us that she doesn't have enough words in her vocabulary to express her chagrin, hence her tendency to rev over the redline into the ignoramus zone of all-caps and F-words. This isn't a new phenomenon, obviously, and she isn't even the first woman cited at InstaPunk in the last week or so who thinks it's somehow persuasive to curse like a 14-year-old boy. A "lady" named Jane Hamsher recently got just as exercised about Kate O'Beirne's book criticizing feminist politics.

What is a little different, and therefore illuminating, is the amount of personal information Ms. O'Connor provides in the bio portion of her website, which is called My Left Wing. Here is the beginning of her "manifesto":

My name is Maryscott O'Connor. (MSOC for short.) I am 37, married (to Adam Crocker) with a 5.5 year old son (Terry O'Connor).

I am also an orphan of Vietnam.

My father, Lieutenant Terence Raymond Roach, Jr. of the Third Marine Division, was killed on February 8, 1968 at Khe Sanh, during the Tet Offensive. I was born 3 months later, on April 29, 1968.

This is a sad thing (although the word orphan in my experience applies to children who have lost both parents). One might be tempted to feel sorry for her if she hadn't elaborated to an unattractively revealing degree:

I consider Vietnam to be the defining feature of my life. Had it not been for that unjust war, I would have grown up with a father and a happy mother. Had she not been widowed, my childhood would have been very different; I cannot imagine it would have been worse (that's a lie: I can imagine Terry Roach coming home with PTSD and providing me an even MORE f***ed up childhood than the one I had -- but I choose NOT to imagine it that way). It ought not surprise anyone that I have an extreme sensitivity to needless war. [emphasis and asterisks mine]

Bear in mind that this woman is 37 and has a 5.5 (?!) year old son, yet she still expresses herself like a teenage girl in the throes of a self-induced anxiety attack. We are all supposed to give her plenty of leeway about her "extreme sensitivity" because she was a victim of the Vietnam War. It's hard not to gain the impression that of all the dark consequences of Vietnam, this is the one that matters most, because it happened to Maryscott. Even the alternative universe in which her father survives Vietnam is stained with potential disaster. She doesn't miss him; she weeps only for herself. From her very first breath on, she has been a victim, acting out in every conceivable way, taking her revenge against every possible accomplice in her misery, however tangential: the federal government (especially those who advocate a strong national defense), the military, capitalism, authority of any kind, men, and, probably, the United States of America.

Think I'm overstating? Here's her chosen epithet for herself:

A Radical Leftist Liberal Socialist Commie Feminist Pinko from Hell

I have always been politically aware, a Democrat and a liberal. In 2000 I became a political activist. The national shame of that sham election spurred me to contribute to John Kerry, to volunteer for the Kerry campaign and to become involved to a degree I never imagined possible for me, by joining a liberal blog (Daily Kos) and interacting with thousands of people who felt as I do – that George W. Bush is the worst thing that has ever happened to the United States and that we must do everything in our power to elect John Kerry and John Edwards.

Of course it's her style to exaggerate for effect, but when a conservative describes himself as being "to the right of Attila the Hun," his exaggeration is nevertheless informative. So, too, with Maryscott.

There are millions of us out there in the world, and, like me (as I have discovered to be true), many American liberals have spent the past 5 years feeling as if they wandered in a wilderness, bereft of companionship, solace or sustenance. Once having found communities like Daily Kos, we also found our voices again. We discovered that, contrary to the claims of the Vast Right Wing Corporate Propaganda Machine, we liberals are legion.

What if all our voices, cacophonous as they might sound to the uninitiated, are actually the harmonic, symphonic key to saving democracy, saving the Democratic Party – and by extension, saving our beloved nation and the world from the heretofore deafening and meretricious roar of the Radical Right Wing?

So I say to you now: WE are the messengers of truth. WE hold in our hands the power to change the world. WE hold the high ground, my friends.

How hard is it to imagine her experience of life as she would see it? Who would require more data (more, say, than the vision of wandering "in a wilderness, bereft of companionship, solace or sustenance") to delineate a story of unending ordeals, obstacles, injustices, and unfair accidents as she might tell it? The fact that she does tell it would be superfluous if it didn't also reveal her self-obsessed unawareness that all lives exhibit these attributes, whether we're all in perpetual mourning for a person we never met or not. Here's an excerpt from the section titled About Me.

I WAS a professional actress, before I simultaneously became OBSESSED with politics and realized I would never, EVER be able to do and be what it takes to make a successful acting career here in Los Angeles.

I am not one for false modesty; talent-wise, I happen to be a gifted actress. That's no more to my credit than the colour of my eyes -- I was born with it. Also not a half-bad singer.

But… I do not have the single-minded drive and willingness to subjugate all else to my aspirations to a career as an actress. If I could go back in time and change one decision, it would be this: I'd have finished college and then turned LEFT out of Ann Arbor instead of right. New York. I should have known that the stage was my proper milieu. But I had a man to follow to Los Angeles, and out-of-whack delusions and expectations of a film career. The lure of fame and money and love was irresistible to my vanity and self-aggrandizing self-image. Thus did vanity contribute to my seemingly irresistible (though certainly subconscious) drive to f*** up my life for at least a decade.

But such is life; had I made different choices, I certainly would have had a very different life... but I'm actually sort of ENJOYING the life I lead today.

Yeah. We noticed. But in case we don't believe her, she gives us more details in a section titled Minutiae about Me:

If you’ve made it this far into my logorrheic self-obsessed biography, Congratulations! Have some trivia:

•    I’m a recovering alcoholic. Haven’t had a drink since November 22, 1996.

•    I’m a smoker. And serial quitter. One day, I swear, I WILL defeat this ***ing addiction.

•    I am on disability, due to an immune disorder that causes chronic pain and fatigue (fibromyalgia – what a bullshit diagnosis).  Adam used to make a living as a photographer, but Bush’s fabulous economy forced him to go back to work in the film industry.

•    My husband and I are college educated people (though I dropped out of the University of Michigan to move to California with my first husband and royally f*** up my life for a solid decade). Adam's parents were wealthy and my mother was solidly middle class. Our combined income now puts us somewhere on the edge between middle and lower-middle class. Before I became disabled, my son and I already qualified for MediCal and Medicare because our income had become sufficiently low. However, as our income stagnated over the past four years, my MediCal benefits were cut and my share of cost increased to the point where we could not afford to avail ourselves of medical treatment.

Fortunately, last year Adam became eligible for health insurance through his union (though continuing with that coverage depends on his working at least 300 hours on union jobs, which are scarce). It came just in the nick of time, too – shortly after getting the healthcare benefits, I had to undergo testing for uterine and ovarian cancer. I might have been tested and treated months earlier, but opted not to seek yearly physicals because of the increased share of cost through MediCal. However, should the worst diagnosis have come to pass, I was more worried, frankly, about our share of the expenses than I was about dying. Twenty percent of a medical crisis is enough to bury us. It turned out to be a problem easily remedied with a D&C and birth control pills, incidentally. Two treatments I'm sure the Radical Right Wing Neocon Christofascist Zombie Brigade would love to make virtually impossible to receive...

If you've waded through all this and are still here, you've probably had a gestalt by now. How utterly perfect this woman is as a symbol and archetype of the contemporary American left! She's a victim, she's a victim, let us count the ways: war orphan (sorta), exploited and duped out of college by a MAN, substance abuser, a sufferer from chronic fatigue (Is this the syndrome nicknamed "The Yuppie Disease"?), perpetually under the thumb of the healthcare bureaucracy (and apparently an expert in the Byzantine intricacies of health insurance, MediCal, and other freebie programs), and throughout, of course, a victim of the endless machinations of the "Radical Right Wing Neocon Christofascist Zombie Brigade."

The only sense of personal responsibility she demonstrates is the cant of 12-step recovery programs for victims of this and that. But fundamentally, she appears to take no real responsibility for anything because her life was ruined by the President of the United States before she was born. No one has ever prospered without having a father.

You already know what they are, but here's an abbreviated list of her political positions:

•    I am pro-choice.

•    I oppose the death penalty.

•    I support gay marriage.

•    I oppose school vouchers.

•    I believe public education should be funded on a per-student basis equally throughout the nation.

•    I support the legalization of marijuana (and, frankly, all narcotics)

•    However, for as long as drugs are illegal (and I realize my views on decriminalizing drugs are not shared by most people), I believe that non-violent drug offenders ought to be put in treatment – not prison.

•    I believe that “three strikes” laws and mandatory minimums must be eradicated.

•    In addition to sentencing reform, I believe in the necessity of massive prison reform in this country.

•    I believe in strong government regulation of corporations:.

•    I support the concept of Fair Trade, as opposed to “Free Trade.”

•    I believe in universal health care.

•    I believe in that most basic tenet of every reputable religion and philosophy that ever existed: Love thy neighbour.

•    To that end, I do believe in humanitarian and sometimes military intervention by the United States and every civilized nation when it comes to genocide (see: Sudan), brutal dictatorships and the systematic abuse of human rights.

That last one's interesting. In case you had any doubt, Saddam does NOT qualify as a brutal dictator: none of his victims was named Maryscott O'Connor. But I'm only kidding. You knew that already.

Overall, the picture is pretty clear. Life's hardships and inequalities should be eliminated by the government, and anything and everything that anyone wants to do is fine and dandy, although if they slip up and really hurt someone else, they should get free and caring treatment from the government. The only freedoms that are truly dangerous and need to be suppressed are free trade, free competition in the marketplace, and the freedom to choose a different school for your children than the one in your immediate neighborhood.

This is what she calls the high ground, and on this basis she claims to be the possessor of TRUTH. But I'll bet she doesn't recognize the freedom of other people -- that is, people who hold different views from hers -- to regard their own convictions as truth. In fact, I don't think she could even understand the argument. Why? Because she lives in a Universe of One. (see the picture above.) Regardless of her talk about the people, there is only one person whose experience means a thing to her, and that person is trapped in a solipsistic nightmare that will last to the day of her death, no matter how many opportunities to learn life affords her. That's why her anger is so utter and so unquenchable. Vietnam slew her in the womb, and so every day, every challenge, every issue is Vietnam, an unwinnable ordeal inflicted malevolently upon her so damagingly that it bleeds away all energy but rage, her last pitiful connection to the humanity that is otherwise "dead" to her. Whose death is she really talking about? And how many other dead are out there blogging for vengeance against the author of all calamity, George W. Bush. The mind boggles.

It's hard to take voices like this seriously, but we have to because there are so many of them and they dwell so permanently outside the bounds of rational discourse. My own first inclination was to feel sorry for her, but this is a dangerous temptation. Maryscott feels sorry enough for herself to let the rest of us off the hook. What we need to do is understand that all the most outrageous loons of the left are likely to have quite similar life stories. What they share is not politics per se, but a view that life is something that is happening to them. Since there is no chance that we can teach them to live their own lives and accept responsibility for both the good and the bad they experience, we are forced to battle them at one remove from their real grievance. There is no chance to change political views that are merely symptoms of an inside-out perspective on life. All we can hope to do -- and therefore must commit ourselves to do -- is win the debate where it counts, in the voting booths of our nation.

That said, I do sincerely hope that Maryscott experiences a miracle and discovers the joy of trading in her politics for a fulfilling life in America.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Senators Kerry and Kennedy counting up votes against cloture yesterday.

STRATEGY. You think it's easy being this stupid?

The attempted filibuster was more symbolic than serious from the start, as Alito's opponents realized they were almost certain to lose yesterday's "cloture" vote...

Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts took up the liberal cause last week, forcing Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to schedule yesterday's cloture vote so that today's confirmation vote could take place.

The debate was largely unremarkable until Kennedy delivered a thundering, ad-libbed speech in which he warned that the Alito vote "is going to have echoes for years and years to come."

"If you are concerned and you want a justice that is going to stand for the working men and women in this country, it's not going to be Judge Alito," Kennedy roared as tourists in the visitors' gallery leaned forward for a better view.

Yes, two of the richest men in the Senate, neither of whom has ever performed a day's worth of physical labor in his life, are the only ones in the country who know what "working men and women" need.

It reminds us of one of the great old comedy acts. We can't think which one. Maybe it'll come to us.

Antichristiane Amanpour

There are just two options, the way we see it.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT. Born in London. Educated at the University of Rhode Island. Worked at CNN. Slept with Peter Jennings. So there's no compelling reason why she would affiliate herself with the United States in any way. So we're not really mad at her for trashing our country, our troops, and our President at every single opportunity. After all, she's been chasing wars for a dozen years or so -- too much sun, sand, shrapnel, sex in un-upholstered vehicles -- these are things that make a girl old and embittered before her time. Not to mention the squiffy Rhode Island accent that makes her sound like she just swallowed a huge squirt of lemon juice. You know, too smart by half. She's probably having the same kind of identity crisis that's made Maureen Dowd envious of Georgetown streetwalkers and other interns.

So, once again -- in our constantly generous way -- we'd like to help. If she really were American, like, say, those network journalists who've made millions trying to destroy every presidential administration that didn't star a traitorous rapist, we'd recommend the Pelosi Total-Head-Rebuild, which always seems to restore women's self-esteem to an exorbitantly inflated level. But Ms. Amanpour is a citizen of the world, who has gleaned nothing but millions from the benighted nation to which she beams her journalistic ouevre, and for this reason we believe she has a second option: join the sisterhood of muslim women she has so solicitously yearned to restore to the beneficent ministrations of Saddam Hussein by taking the veil and hiding from the rest of us her war-ravaged fright mask. Besides, it won't be long before Saks is offering custom made burkhas for the affluent, suicidal feminists who root for Sharia while they spit nails at Alito. These are going to be very expensive frocks, but it's a good bet Antichristiane can afford a rack of them, and they'd go perfectly with the veil and the no driver's license and the Free Pass to the Rape Room. If she's really lucky, she can get her own talk show on Al-Jazeera, interviewing Araby's top female candidates for suicde bombings and honor killings.

All we ask is that the face she's been aiming at us for too long go away. Make it prettier, or make it disappear.

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