Thursday, 12 November 2009

Once upon a time Camille Paglia could be counted on to write with force and clarity. That time has passed:The solipsistic members of Congress want us peons to be ground up in the communal machine, while they themselves gambol on in the flowering meadow of their own lavish federal health plan.Jack London would have looked at that sentence and deemed it overwrought. Then he would've reconsidered, thrown in a few King James-quoting cavemen and declared it a masterpiece. But Jack London was not a serious scholar like Paglia, who proves her seriousness by paraphrasing Palin: The brutal abandonment of the elderly here is unconscionable.Death panels! Her keen attention to the language of a bill that, at the time, did not yet exist served her well. But if there's one thing we can count on from Paglia, it's that she pays attention to her prose: One would have expected a Democratic proposal to include an expansion of Medicare, certainly not its gutting. The passive acquiescence of liberal commentators to this vandalism simply demonstrates how partisan ideology ultimately desensitizes the mind.If "gutting" is the new "vandalism," does that mean taggers are now murdering or murderers are now tagging? I only ask because a scholar of Paglia's self-professed stature would never mix a metaphor or lazily appropriate the language of someone whose partisan ideology ultimately desensitized his mind? Obama has dithered for months about a strategy for Afghanistan.Dick Cheney? Really? Besides, weren't we talking about health care? On other matters, I was recently flicking my car radio dial and heard an affected British voice tinkling out on NPR.Apparently not. On science, Dawkins was spot on—lively and nimble. But on religion, his voice went "Psycho" weird—as if he was channeling some old woman with whom he was in love-hate combat.That metaphor doesn't even deserve to be called mixed. I'm sure it makes sense to her and would to us, had she be bothered to explain it. But that would require her to remain on topic for more than a few sentences: Continuing on the theme of overrated male writers, I was appalled at the sentimental rubbish filling the air about Claude Lévi-Strauss after his death was announced last weekI always tell my students that if you begin too many paragraphs with some variation on "another example of," you're either proving something you've already proven or are trying to slap a signpost on a non sequitur, and that in either case, you're not developing an argument. Paglia might benefit from sitting in on my class: Now on, with relief, to pop!Non-ironic exclamation points! They are signs of a great writer! By "pop," I'm sure she means "current popular culture" and not "a reference to Madonna to prove beyond all doubt that this column is an exercise in unwitting self-parody." Now, come on, people, do you really believe that Lady Gaga is 23 years old?Praise Jesus, she at least avoided— And now Madonna is trying to resuscitate herself, body and mind, by taking transfusions from Brazil!You have got to be kid— Is it true, according to press rumors, that Madonna is vacationing...
"These trials will be a stunning blow to the rugged image of the abstract American." Until recently, the phrase "transnational Left" only appeared in print every once in a while (and then only in articles that also granted the existence of global Jewish banking conspiracies). Lately, it seems impossible to read an article by a mainstream conservative that doesn't assume Obama is a figurehead for this amorphous child of the First International. For example, the very serious Blane McDonnagh Andrew McCarthy argues that Obama's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in accordance with the laws of the landwill provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America's defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.Obama and Holder are not trying to reestablish the rule of law, they are engaged in a game of political chicken with their real constituents (the transnational Left) and, because they blinked, they owe a tribute of American lives to their overseas masters. The problem with such paranoid stylings is that 1) Mohammed and his compatriots were tortured and 2) the entire world already knows that. What can these men say against the United States that hasn't already been published by international news syndicates? These trials will not be a farce intended to give the bogeyman that is the transnational Left the leverage it needs to prosecute the previous administration. Former Presidents are only kidnapped and tried overseas in spy novels and Chile, and I doubt conservatives want their icons compared to Pinochet. Central to this deluded argument is the notion that the current administration would prosecute these terrorists for reasons other than being terrorists: [T]he great hope of the terror-backing neo-communist left, at home and worldwide, is that the Obama administration will continue to build a case for torture trials for former Bush administration officials.Suffice it to say that when a professor of political science conflates American liberals and most of the rest of the world with communist revolutionaries, he should be taken very seriously, especially when said professor happens to be "an umatched competitor whose tactical elan would make Machiavelli proud." Because a political science professor who compares himself to the colloquial mascot* for the scorched earth method of maintaining political power is exactly the sort of person who would never argue in bad faith were it expedient ... except when the professor in question is Donald Douglas, in which case it's best to assume he's a tendentious braggart. Simply put, there is no singular "terror-backing neo-communist left" that the administration seeks to appease with these trials, and those who claims otherwise are being disingenuous in the service of a small-minded version of what constitutes "American interests." Rehabilitating our reputation as a just arbiter in world affairs might compromise the masculinity of the American brand, but it'll also make the world a safer place for living, breathing Americans. *Machiavelli was a far more interesting figure than his contemporary caricature would suggest. See the section...

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