Here’s a revealing piece that should tell us all something important about where we are as a “leftist” culture. My only problem is that Sirota shouldn’t regret a word he said. On the Right, “going off” is a matter of daily practice; anybody remember all those people who couldn’t use Obama’s middle name often enough to satisfy themselves, as though (to nick a trope from the Rude Pundit) on the very next mention they’d finally come? One even defended himself by saying, “I just like to say it.” Now that’s “going off,” folks.
Now, look: if the Right wants to bring rhetorical weapons, so should—so must—the Left. Taking the higher moral ground might feel good, might allow you to go home with a sense of well-being, sure, but on the Right they’re laughing like hell about how much yardage they’ve gained. Be sure that the Right thinks of all debates in football terms—or, if you prefer, in terms of battlefield strategy: how much ground won or lost, any casualties, any prisoners? To borrow a bit from the Right Reverend George Carlin (of happy memory), we’re thinking baseball instead. The other side isn’t playing in a park but a stadium. Also, they never joke. They have no sense of humor, which partly explains Dennis Miller. So we have to take this seriously, and meet them with equal intensity.
A lot of people on the Left lack the stomach for it. Once, I helped to roundly heckle David Horowitz; in fact, I started it, Blutarsky-style, by calling out the rudest epithets I could think of under the circumstances (that didn’t take long), and others of like mind were only too happy to join in. Some of my colleagues didn’t like it, but the fact is they should’ve joined in; Horowitz lies damn near every time he moves his lips, so why should we give him even a basic level of respect? Don’t ever expect such a thing ever to come from him or the other side in general, unless you kiss some serious ass. First. Respect for these people is wasted effort. David Sirota has nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, what he did is a good beginning; now, we need people who’ll not just get in the faces of these Rightist shills, but reach right down their throats looking for any sign of a spine.
Instead, deride them whenever, wherever you can. Mock them. Laugh them out of the room if you can. But respect? The hell with that. It’s over.
On a related note, I’m on my way shortly to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to join in the protest against Dubya’s arrival to “conversate” with Bill Clinton. I’m no fan of Clinton either; he sold out the Left in the US from day one in office, and I haven’t forgotten that either. But GWB—he’s quite simply a war criminal and I object to his presence in my city as well as the degree to which the appearance helps him “fill the ol’ coffers.” He should be arrested on arrival, today, and shipped to the Hague for trial, ideally hooded as the Guantanamo prisoners were. But today is a joke, and I’ll be down there to tell him so (not that he’ll be listening, or even notice, I know—the point, as Gandhi reminds us, is that even if the effort’s futile you still have to do it when the cause is right).
I won’t be laughing, either. Trust me. Afterwards, that’s another story….