My self-imposed standards of polite discourse are killing me. I decided it was time to change the tone in politics, so I stopped using words like ****, ****, ***, *******, and ‘euphonium’ in the course of my essays. Vice president D*ck Cheney, meanwhile, standing on the Senate floor, is free to demand Patrick Leahy commit an act of auto-fornication. I don’t give a flying hang what kind of language anybody chooses to use, or where they choose to use it. What bothers me is while the Repugs are out there doing what they want, saying what they want, the so-called liberal media is whimpering that the Left needs to rise above this kind of thing and behave with virginal decorum. Mr. Kristof, can I have a word with you? It starts with ‘F’.
As part of an experiment to see if anybody can read the New York Times more than three times a month without developing brain cancer, I occasionally read the column of Nicholas D. Kristof. I should know better. Modest, learned, and brimming with virtue, a man whose words and accomplishments unblushingly suggest the Christ on one of His better days, Kristof makes me sick. I shouldn’t have been shocked by his column of June 30, 2004, entitled “Calling Bush A Liar”. Kristof is the kind of guy who goes off to do a story on prostitution in Cambodia and just can’t help himself, he has to buy a couple of girls and set them free while a Times photographer discreetly records the event. What a noble thing to do! How human, yet how godlike! I’m sure he sent the girls through college, too. Or maybe they were stoned to death as soon as he got on his plane. He doesn’t say. The point is, here’s a guy who knows in his heart that he’s really virtuous, and seeing as moderation is one of his many strengths, he’s going to moderate his readers senseless. He never scolds, mind you. Just gently sets a better example, a sad, slightly patronizing smile on his lips. Did you ever rescue a Cambodian prostitute? Speaking of which, back to “Calling Bush A Liar”.
Kristof starts off reasonably enough, posing the question, “So, is president Bush a liar?” Now I know as well as anybody that he couldn’t just write the word ‘yes’ and consider the column done. He had to extemporize for a few paragraphs. I’ve done it myself, which is why my piece asking “Is Donald Rumsfeld A Brain-Feasting Zombie” contains several hundred words about the domestic habits of the wildebeest, followed by the word ‘yes’. But as I read on, what I saw made my eyes shoot out of the sockets with such violence that they punched holes through the newspaper, penetrated the wall, and emerged in the next room. According to Kristof, the problem isn’t that Bush is a lying psychopath; rather the problem is when the Left descends to the level of accusing Bush of lying, they’re just being gross and icky like the R**ub**cans were back when Clinton was president (before he wrote the latest Harry Potter novel). I quote:
“I’m against the “liar” label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding.”
He gently chides the Left for its shrill denunciations and apologizes for the man in the White House’s apparent lack of honesty by climbing into his head and figuring out what the matter could possibly be other than lying, which is, you know, so yucky to even accuse somebody of:
“Mr. Bush’s central problem is not that he was lying about Iraq, but that he was overzealous and self-deluded. He surrounded himself with like-minded ideologues, and they all told one another that Saddam was a mortal threat to us. They deceived themselves along with the public – a more common problem in government than flat-out lying.”
You see? That’s all it is. He’s just overzealous and delusional, so quit calling the man a liar.
YAAAAAAARRRRGHHH, as Governor Dean might say. What makes me want to vomit is that anybody could possibly be so smug as to suggest polarization is the problem, when it’s actually a symptom, like death is a symptom of being shot through the head – and furthermore, that his problem with polarization is it makes America increasingly difficult to govern.
What the f*** does that mean? Is governing this country supposed to be made easy by compliant citizens? Is THAT why we’re here? Jeezum H. Jumping Jiminy, better we should all march in lockstep into the ovens than make things difficult for the maniacs currently in command of this nation! O Nicholas, what a supplicant, mewling, lickspittle Polonius thou art, spineless and vile. Maybe I’m just feeling guilty because I’m not as excellent as you, or maybe insults and rage have impeded my understanding. I don’t care.
Nicholas D. Kristof, go make love to yourself.
BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter and cartoonist, who lives in a large human settlement 100 miles south of Bakersfield, which we cannot name for security reasons. Ben also has a lot of outrageously priced crap for sale here. A collection of Tripp’s essays, Square in the Nuts, will be published this summer. If his writing starts to grate on your nerves, buy some and maybe he’ll flee to Mexico. If all else fails, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org