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Friday, March 21, 2008

Choosing the News

I haven't posted in the past few days because I've been sick. Actually, it wasn't being sick that was the big problem, so much as having been medicated. I won't say what I took, but it left me scatterbrained and blocked -- I couldn't think. I guess I'll never be an Ernest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson, using chemicals like alcohol and cocaine to spur my creativity. I can't think unless I'm sober. At least, not enough to write.

I used to take this stuff that worked great when I got sick. Alka-Seltzer Cold Formula worked great. It left you with a bone-dry and unmuddled head. I'd say that if the flu were 0% and healthy were 100%, it made you feel about 75% -- which is pretty damned good. It's been my experience that most over the counter medications don't really make you feel any better, they just break up the monotony by making you feel different.

The problem with Alka-Seltzer Cold Formula is that they changed it. They actually had to recall it because it did something terrible to pregnant teenage girls. It seems to me that this isn't a huge segment of the population and other medications are so specific that you could still market it to everyone else -- maybe call it Alka-Seltzer Cold Formula for People Who Aren't Pregnant Teenage Girls. We make special formulas for babies and the elderly, don't we?

Of course, there's a certain segment of the population who aren't extremely happy with pregnant teenage girls. Not just the average person who's concerned about teenage pregnancy, but crazy people who believe that every teenage pregnancy brings this once-great nation closer to its doom. That and gays and Muslims and Catholics and Mormons and feminists and people who believe in evolution.

While I was out, many things happened. Not the least of which was Barack Obama's "race speech." That would be the speech where Obama explained his relationship with his newly controversial pastor without dismissing him. The New York Times called "Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage." There was a lot there that needed to be aired, a lot of concerns that needed to be discussed, a lot of things that everyone knows -- but no one talks about.

Given the fairly recent example of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, I think Obama's words have become sadly easier for anyone to understand. I think that all I really need to remind you of are the photos of blacks "looting" supplies and those of whites with supplies they'd "found." Whites are survivors and blacks are criminals -- even when they're doing exactly the same thing.

So, how has the media treated Mr. Obama's Profile in Courage? About the best you could answer is "not in any way that's extremely surprising." Howard Kurz, news media analyst for the Washington Post, put it this way:

It was a 37-minute speech that ranged widely across the jagged landscape of race relations, with Barack Obama challenging the media to lift their level of discourse above the inflammatory rhetoric of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

On the nightly newscasts and in the morning papers, many journalists did try to grapple with the complexity of Obama's Tuesday address about the roots of racial tension. But when the story hit the Cuisinart of talk-show debate, it got whipped into a single question: Did Obama adequately distance himself from the radioactive reverend?

It's as if they didn't even hear it. Or, more likely, didn't listen. They had a preconception of what he "had" to say, had index cards already written out with pithy things to say about it, and when all was said and done, Obama hadn't done what they'd expected and all those pre-constructed talking points were useless.

Which, of course, didn't stop them from using them. If they didn't apply, that was Obama's fault. There are rules about this sort of thing and Barack Obama didn't follow them. He actually addressed real problems and asked us to solve them. We don't do that in our dysfunctional American family -- we wave flags, sing "God Bless America," and insist that everything is just great.

That is, unless you're an extremely right wing Republican nut. The you sing "Why Should God Bless America?" with a full gospel choir, right before a Republican presidential debate for "values voters." Only the flag waving phonies are "patriotic" enough to engage in speaking harshly against America. If you've got one of those stupid flag lapel pins, you can do anything you want, hate anyone you want, discriminate against anyone you want, because the media won't say a damned thing about it. Just like they didn't say anything about that damned choir at that damned debate.

Or John McCain's full embrace of right wing lunatic John Hagee. Where Rev. Jeremiah Wright had a few moments during a 20-year career worth worrying about, nearly all of Hagee's ministerial rantings are insane. This is a man who believes he has a divine mandate to help bring about the end of the world. He's closely tied to a presidential candidate who -- if successful in his quest -- will have all the power he needs to bring about the end of the world. And that's not worth more than a few moments mention. Meanwhile, Wright's been on heavy rotation for a week.

Another McCain backer is Rod Parsley, the "Patriot Pastor." Parsley has his own insane and divine agenda -- to destroy Islam. In fact, Parsley may be even more crazy than Hagee. Check this line out and tell me if it's not frightening in its delusion: "The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore."

America was founded to destroy Islam? That's not just incorrect, that's completely mad.

In fact, Hagee's got the Bible just as wrong as Parsley has the Constitution. When Hagee called the Catholic Church "the great whore," he was referring to the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelations. This is a common theme among conservative American evangelicals. And, not only is it wrong, it's stupidly wrong. Like so much of what these nuts believe, it requires that you ignore facts.

The verse refers to "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." Rome was founded on seven hills. Rome, Catholics, same thing right? Wrong.

Brushing up on our classical history, we're reminded that the seven hills are the Palatine, Aventine, Capitaline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, and the Caelian. You know what's missing here?

Vatican hill. The Vatican's on an eighth hill. It can't be part of these weird-assed prophecy. Biblical expert Hagee is obviously wrong. His anti-Catholicism doesn't come from the Bible. He's just found something in the Bible he can corrupt and deliberately misunderstand to justify his bigotry. In other words, he's nuts.

So, you've got Parsley calling for genocide, you've got Hagee trying to end the world, and you've got a presidential who'd have the wherewithal to do both if he wins. And that's not worth mentioning.

The left has been trying to get the media to pay attention to the religious craziness on the right for decades. Every once in a while, senile old Pat Robertson will say something stupid, and that gets some press. But did you even know about Hagee or Parsley before they endorsed McCain? Did we get a week of having talking heads freak out about them and what they say?

There's a double standard here. Republicans get to do the stuff that Rev. Wright was fried for. All McCain has to do is say he doesn't agree with everything these hateful morons say, but unless Obama beats Wright stupid with a cross, he hasn't gone far enough.

Unless the media gets on these guys, unless it fries McCain for his associations, then they're selectively reporting the news. Just like those survivors scavenging in the flooded streets of New Orleans, when a liberal church and Republican churches do the same thing, the liberal churches are the problem.


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Anonymous said...

Wisco is BACK! and in fine form!!! Great post :) Couldn't agree more.

McCain is "perfect" and Obama has to prove himself -- WTF?? We elect people to lead us, we are not ruled by God-ordained kings -- seems like the media and neocons have forgotten what the country is about. I hope Obama takes on the Kansas Governor as his running mate -- then we get a "black man" and woman in one ticket so McCain and Clinton can just go away!!

Nate - fargosucks said...

I know who Rev Rod and Hagee are, not because I want to, but because it's important to know who is trying to pervert our country to their own deluded vision of the world.

Know thine enemy, someone once said.

I've been railing about this exact same thing for the past few weeks. When that got old, I started ranting about how no one else in the media or anywhere else was ranting about it. Now that you've written about it, Wisco, I don't feel so very alone.

nadinada said...

wisco, not from the heart land but the head land.

yes Sibelius and Obamus, intelligence in a well mixed offering. dry and white, on rye.

we need a change of underwear in this country. somebody has been soiling our bedding for too long we stink with stale power.

i heard the baptists are turning green, so maybe there is still some hope? new wave religion could be like carbon offsets, checks and balance in the right wing?