Lara Logan. The continuing disconnect
between liberal iconography and reality.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT
WITH OUR STARS BUT OURSELVES. UNLESS IT'S THE STARS INSTEAD.
Everybody in South Jersey has been down with very bad colds for the
past week, some suffering, some nursing, and then vice versa. Anything
that may seem like silence over the past seven days is merely a barely
audible sniffling and mute resentment about loss of appetite coupled
with an admittedly irrational resentment at the world's failure to
amuse the sick or their equally petulant caregivers.
Why I'm inclined to sulk past most of the stories that are
obsessing the 24/7 news cycle. The Wisconsin tantrum? Just stop it.
You're out of money. Even featherbedders (look it up) eventually sleep
on cots at the shelter when the tornado hits. The danger of a federal
government shutdown ("Dyn-jah, dyn-jah, dyn-jah," as Steve Irwin used
to say). Oh shut up. They'll squish together a way of spending less
money without shutting down the government or addressing the real
problem, which is why it's the individual states who are suddenly
having to take responsibility. The pan-mideastern democracy movement?
Don't make me laugh. Except in Israel and (much more remotely) Iraq,
democracy isn't on the table and never has been in the contemporary
Dark Age we call the Arab World. The president is unable to find
anything beyond platitudes and bland nostrums about human rights to say
while the house of cards that comprises the richest muslim-dominated
governments in the world collapses virtually overnight? So what else is
new? He's never had anything but platitudes and bland nostrums to
offer, except when he's interjecting his wildly inflated estimation of
his own importance into public occasions like his Nobel acceptance
speech for a peace he's done more to dynamite (Ah! Nobel!) than anyone since
Jimmy Carter and his no doubt heartfelt desire to legitimize muslim
hatred of the United States and Israel by apologizing for the express
policies that have kept Arab nations from the meltdown we are presently
I'm not with those who are
criticizing Obama for being AWOL in the current crisis. Since
everything he says has a habit of making things worse, I say, "Shut the
fuck up." Sometimes silence is at least copper if it isn't golden or
even silver.. Yeah, we'd be better served by having an actual
president, but since we don't, go play golf, talk calories with your
wife, fill in your March Madness card, and make speeches about the
glory of labor unions in places where people are myopic enough not to
notice how much you've already done to destroy our country and cripple
the stability and economic resilience of the world.
But there's one thing about the mideast disaster I am interested by. I think it's important even though
it doesn't involve heads of state, regime change, or the constant,
continuing perfidy of Israel which even the MSM thought important
enough to cover with respect to Ambassador Sally Rice's quavering,
apologetic veto of the U.N. Security Council's determination to condemn
Israel for illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Is this disgust? Or is it just Mucinex? You decide.
Let me back you up to September
2006, when I was one of the first reviewers of Katie Couric after
she took over Dan Rather's anchor chair at CBS News. [Here's some
constructive advice I offered subsequently 1.
And here's an excerpt I quoted from WAPO media critic Tom Shales in my
original review on the subject of what female journalists were facing
in a male-dominated world:
Couric occupied a chair that once
belonged to Walter Cronkite and, later, Dan Rather, both of whom did
newscasts that were much, much newsier. Yesterday, though, was
apparently a no-news day in the opinion of Executive Producer Rome
Hartman, the staff and Couric herself, since the half-hour began with a
"60 Minutes"-style piece on the resurgence of the Taliban in
The real purpose of this report was to show off Lara Logan, the
intensely telegenic reporter who serves as foreign correspondent. She
went undercover in Afghanistan, much as Rather had done many many years
ago. But as a woman, Logan said, her Taliban hosts "insisted I cover
everything but my eyes."
The story was in fact largely about her -- about how dangerous it was
to do the story, about what a big, "unprecedented" exclusive it was
(Brian Ross seemed to have much the same story on ABC's "World News
Tonight" with Charles Gibson) and how she had to tippy-toe away from
the camp through a minefield, led by a guide.
I think MSNBC's Ashley Banfield had a similar experience, confined to a
protected perimeter while male journalists were allowed to embed with
troops and get shot at, blown up, and killed just like real troops.
Some did. Like Daniel
Pearl, who had his head cut off on camera and broadcast to the
entire world. And ABC's Bob Woodruff, who
received a grievous brain injury from an IED and courageously
demonstrated the steps of his recovery to national audiences. (Please take all the links in this
piece. They're all important.)
Now I want to remind you of a story that made barely a ripple in the
world press because its source (uh, CBS
News) wanted to bury it on
behalf of the victim:
Female news correspondent
sexually assaulted, beaten in Cairo
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was
reporting on the protests in Egypt Friday when she was separated from
her crew and attacked. She is currently recovering in a U.S. hospital,
having been sexually assaulted and beaten.
Judith Matloff is a Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of
Journalism and has known Logan since 1992. She says Logan's story is
unusual not because it happened, but because the public is hearing
What's mentioned in the video
but not in the abbreviated release is the term "sustained sexual
assault." After which, CBS brings down the curtain and tells us she is
recovering with family and friends, and there will be no further
Problems I have with this network
Multiple. Nothing I'm asking you to judge Lara Logan for. Just things
I'm just asking you all to think about.
1. A network news correspondent who
deliberately puts herself in harm's way is not a random rape victim.
What happens to her, by virtue of her job and assignment, is also news,
not a thing to be covered up. It's indicative of the cultures of the
nations and peoples American mass media propose to be covering on our
behalf. When that coverage precipitates savage, violent, sexual crime,
does Logan's right to privacy trump the story her employers are
purporting to report to us?
2. It's outrageous to suggest, as CBS's suppressive treatment of this
story does, that only instances of penetration of women are sexual
crimes, demanding of anonymity or the cloister of "privacy."
Decapitation is the severing of a human head from the human body. Just
because it invariably results in death, how is it not equally an act of sexual violation,
neutering, and abject gender humiliation? Surely, that's it's whole
purpose in a religion which equates the male principle with godhood and
has developed dozens of perverted means of enforcing male will on women
(& boys and infidel men) through such sanctioned customs as honor
3. The U.S. Military continues to be the automatic villain of the MSM
in all coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. If they aren't succeeding in
that aim, how do you explain the disgraceful performance at Columbia
earlier this week? We're supposed to feel that the benighted military
is oppressing Lara Logan back in 2006 when the story was about "how
dangerous it was to do the story, about what a big,
"unprecedented" exclusive it was... and how
she had to tippy-toe away from the camp through a minefield, led by a
guide." All that seems clear now is that her protective contingent in
Afghanistan wasn't there when she ventured into the streets of Cairo. What, pray tell, is she wishing now?
4. Will there ever be a moment when American women -- oh, yes, devout,
lefty feminists all -- awake to the fact that there are fatal
contradictions in their monolithic demands of the 'paternalistic'
establishment? That maybe women who don't believe in combat in the
first place should give up demanding equal participation in combat by
women? That they should maybe, just possibly, quit defending cultures
which enslave women even though they also hate Jews the way all
(presently) highly educated women do? You know what? Fuck'em. Go ahead.
Love your Palestinians, students of Barnard, Wellesley, Radcliffe, and
Smith. When the day comes, they will cut your throat without a single
thought of your brilliant performance on the Verbal SAT. Or your
Q-Rating on the local or network news. But if they can stick you in a
back alley of Cairo, Tripoli, or Tehhran, well, at least they're not
fucking Zionists. Right?
Or is it time for true American feminists to admit that rape by muslim
fanatics is their last chance to get laid by the distorted fantasy they
regard as real men with beards, daggers, housecoats, and ferociously
bad body odor?
Okay. Mucinex. I admit it. I sill feel like shit.
Not going to pull it together. Fed up. I'm fed up. Principally because
there are no men left.
Condolences to Lara Logan. I am
sorry for what happened to you. But it's really not worse than
what happened to thousands of others who took up arms against
barbarians and are now recovering a sexuality permanently damaged by
lost limbs, damaged faces, and imperiled minds.
Just saying. If women are going to be equal in our world, then it's time for women
to concede that penetration isn't the only unforgivable sin our enemies
seek to exact.
Consider this: If we use our fear of irrational Islamic hatreds as an excuse for concealing the crimes visited on our women from dangers the intelligentsia insist on projecting to everyone else -- Damn you, Sarah Palin! -- without ever acknowledging that the real danger to the world at large is irrational Islamic hatreds of the kind that are presently immolating the middle east, then there is no9thing intelligent about our analysis or response. We're just fucking idiots, waiting in line to have our throats cut. But at least we'll be able to watch our wives, mothers and sisters raped to death first.
Listen to the Columbia audio again. Don't you just love that raucous female laugh when the vet declares that bad men are trying to kill her?
My old friend from Columbia hasn't the slightest idea why I'm mad at him. He's nothing like this. Honestly. He's just, you know, better than everybody west of Rhode Island...
Which, truth to tell, makes me think he's spent a lifetime learning all the wrong lessons.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Best in Show.
Her name is
GET ONE JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE FAMOUS NOW. I have a tee-shirt that
says, "No, it's a deerhound." Because everybody asks if it's an Irish
Wolfhound. I expect more of them will know now that it isn't. All you
really have to do is see them move. No other breed flows quite like that.
I'm posting this post because how could I not? Raebert doesn't care.
He's lying on his back on his own loveseat, looking exactly like an
unmade bed. Brush him up and he looks exactly like Hickory. All
deerhounds look exactly like all other deerhounds, except for details
of their faces, which make them all unique. Biggest moment? After the
announcement was made, the handler bent immediately to get what we call
"the sighthound hug." The best moment you can have with any kind of
dog. She knows. That's all that really matters.
End of post.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Not a bad wrap-up
at all. 75% right is a high batting average in these matters.
THE SAME DAY. I told you we had a visit from the daughter-child,
and she asked
if we were going to watch the Grammies, at which I laughed dismissively
immediately surprised to hear Mrs. CP say, "Yes, indeedy." So we did.
The first couple of hours anyway.
Years since I watched one of these things. But I'm glad I did. The only
acts I really hated were Christina Aguilera trying to channel Aretha
Franklin and the F*** You
song performed by Gwyneth Paltrow and a huge guy so gay looking that
Elton John tried calling to protest his costume but couldn't get
through because the ghost of Liberace was screaming bloody murder
across all the available phone lines. At the risk of sounding nasty, I
would like to see Christina Aguilera locked in a closet until
therapists can convince her there's no such thing as a race-change
operation. And I want Gwyneth Paltrow to just please go away, as far
and forever as possible.
But other than that, I was (gulp) pleasantly surprised, mostly. For
example, I'm definitely a latecomer to the Lady Gaga phenomenon, but I
actually get what she's up to. She's doing her own inspired satire of
the whole female pop star routine; her 'shocking' performance was
simultaneously a tribute to Madonna and a brilliant sendup of Madonna.
It's performance art. What I know for sure? She definitely has a head
(or two) on her shoulders, even if they're coneheads. Madonna should
feel flattered and more than a little uneasy. I can see Lady Gaga a few
years down the road reinventing herself not as a pseudo-Brit aristocrat
but a cold-blooded, bespectacled commodities trader with a corner on the tin market.
Here's my real takeaway. Most of these young stars are genuinely
talented, if not always my personal cup of tea. The young female
singers can actually sing, including Rihanna and Katie Perry. Even the
freakish Justin Bieber can sing far better than the dreary boy bands of
old. Motown seems to be making a comeback via Bruno Mars, with echoes
of the Temptations (synchronized dancing by backup singers, anyone?),
Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson, even if they're still
young and derivative to my old ears. And they've all seemingly
rediscovered the charm of dressing up for big occasions. Phony anger is
on the wane. They're happy to be famous and pleased to perform. Rap is
fading -- Eminem's riveting on-stage command notwithstanding -- and
rock and roll is dead as a doornail. A band strongly reminiscent of the
Cure (uh, Muse) won best rock album against a geriatric slagpile
consisting of Neil Young, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, and Jeff Beck (!!!!)
I truly enjoyed the Mumford & Sons/Avett Brothers segment even when
they tried to wreck it with an appearance by Bob Dylan. They were all
so clearly enjoying themselves just making music, and the Mumford lead
singer is someone we identified months ago as a genuinely affecting
Of course I have quibbles. I don't see the appeal of Lady Antebellum or
the other country newcomer, Miranda Lambert. Sorry. Mumford & Sons
should have won best new artist. And I still know nothing about Arcade
Fire, who won best record or something. But I was entertained and not
offended, excepting the exceptions noted above, and I am happy to
concede that it's an improvement not to have to put up with Grace Slick
projectile-vomiting on stage, Cher issuing political pronouncements
from the depths of her moron mind, or gold-toothed assholes sporting
guns and invitations to hump in the back seat of their rented Bentleys.
Never let it be said that when there's progress I refuse to admit it.
I went to bed before Jagger performed. Isn't that a humbling confession
But the chick up top said he still rocks. That's some measure of
vindication for us old farts who couldn't stay awake long enough to
watch. Isn't it?
Just for Mrs. CP. She fell asleep even before I did and missed
Eminem. She likes Eminem.
So do I. Rihanna can sing, and Eminem is a f***ing force of nature. I
will never apologize for this position. (The True Test: He's better
live than in the video.)
should know. (btw, in her continuing revitalization program, she just gave me a Kindle for V-Day. Thereby opening up the whole world of e-books and such to her dinosaur husband. I think she intends to get me published. She's been impossible since she got her I-phone. Are you ready?)