Sunday, September 11, 2005


Reality is their Boojum

If you don't know what a Boojum is, check here The right-wing exists because its members are embarrassingly, howlingly ignorant, and when not ignorant, willing to tell any lie. I rarely take off after the lower-level Republican sheep, figuring it's a waste of time. But sometimes they throw their total ignorance in one's face. Sometimes, the smell of manure positively inspires one. Such was the case with a post on Protein Wisdom by Jeff Goldstein criticizing an article by Newsweek. In the anticipation that he will re-write history in attempting to refuse to acknowledge his mistakes, much like a certain notorious law professor, I have preserved a copy. The worst paragraph follows. Goldstein presents Newsweek as saying: We know that Bush watches ESPN. We know that the Iraq War is a failure. We know that the President surrounds himself with yes men. And all these things—when coupled with his “failure of imagination” (a more “imaginative” President presumably would have shredded the Constitution and dropped active duty troops into New Orleans over the objections of a sitting governor (and would’ve done so on Tuesday, as the levees were breaking—in effect, anticipating what the local government was unable both to anticipate and prepare for)—highlight Bush’s failure. Did it slip by you? The levees broke Monday morning. There's another piece of gross ignorance implicit in this. The Constitution does not forbid the sending in of troops. George Bush's father did so in the 1992 LA riots. Well, but the governor agreed with the decision. So, people who know history immediately think of President Eisenhower, who sent troops in when governors did not agree. Repeatedly. I can only assume that Mr. Goldstein is the product of inferior private schools. As are sheep-like posters on his website, who think this sort of gross historical ignorance is actually brilliance. The rest of the paragraph is just dishonest rhetoric: * Does the president surround himself with yes men? The actual charge by former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill is far worse: At cabinet meetings, he says the president was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection," forcing top officials to act "on little more than hunches about what the president might think." * Does Newsweek criticize Bush for watching ESPN? Of course not. Almost anyone with cable watches ESPN. What they point out is that Bush has often boasted of how he ignores the news. For example, he said that no one anticipated that the levees would break. Of course, anyone who watched the news knew that this was precisely the fear that everyone had as soon as they saw that Katrina would make landfall near New Orleans. * What does Newsweek say about Iraq? "The war in Iraq was a failure of intelligence." What, exactly, is controversial about this? Every governmental body that has looked at the Iraq war has said exactly the same thing. There are more examples of gross historical ignorance and many more examples of a tendency to distort and otherwise dishonestly present the situation. Almost everything Goldstein says about Nagin and Blanco is a lie. But the time I have for this analysis has elapsed. The sort of people who write and celebrate this sort of junk represent a lost generation, a generation that has learned to love the lie. Nothing short of a national catastrophe on the scale of the Great Depression will shock them out of it. Reality is their Boojum, you see.
Excellent literary reference. Really, the whole administration history resembles some Lewis Carroll logic - and there are even made up words! Everything is falling into place now... Bush is the Bellman!

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies --
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:"
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best --
A perfect and absolute blank!"
Sue, thank you!

We now know where we are! In the middle of the Bellman's map!

And here's the key to understanding it all, in the Preface:

The Bellman, who [much like Bush] was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit [which on the ship of state in a democracy is the Bill of Rights] unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it-- he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand-- so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." [Precisely how the Bush White House operates] So remonstrance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals [which so far have lasted from 2001-date] the ship usually sailed backwards.

And so we now know that Bush is the Bellman, which is actually a mispronunciation of Billman (not to be confused with Billmon) which no one has been able to correct because of the provisions of the Naval Code. A Billman is someone who takes the Bill of Rights and turns everything a@@-backwards.

It all makes sense when its properly explained.
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