Wednesday, October 13, 2010

These Are Not The Words You're Looking For

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery, and thought is viscous. — Henry Brooks Adams

One might add that calling a hippo a giraffe does not give it a long neck and patchy fur. That is the lesson that the clumsy and hateful refuse to learn. In and beyond the current campaigners, the underlying message repeatedly is, "Don't quote me on what I said. Accept what I tell you right now."

Just yesterday, there was such absurdity from both Carl Palidino and Helen Thomas. As disparate as they are professionally and politically, they share a silly and irrational trait. They don't want to be called out for the obvious. They are non-wizards calling, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

The would-be governor of New York, Palidino, did a series of stupid, related things in a speech to and prepared by a group of Orthodox Jews. First, he did the trained animal thing, reading someone else's speech. Second, he redacted part of it while leaving in loony and bigoted comments. Third, he wants the world to believe that just because he said those things doesn't mean he means them or that they mean what they obviously say.

He can't even pretend the recorded speech was out of context. You can get a recap and play the whole thing at the Salon post.

As my mother used to say, "For crying out loud in a bucket!" Here's a guy who believes homosexuality is not only a choice, but that it is not "an equally valid and successful option" and that kids who take diversity curricula may be "brainwashed." a bucket.

Instead of just saying afterward that he hates homosexuals and considers them inferior, he tries the oh-sorry-if-anyone-was-offended ploy, as though the fault lies with those he slurred repeatedly. His whole follow-up statement is here. Despite what he said, he's not anti-gay because he now says he is not.

Likewise, the long-term and very prickly ex-reporter Helen Thomas denies any antisemitism because, well, just trust her.

Perhaps we should go easier on a nonagenarian but for crying out loud in a bucket! In her case, she overreached in commentary on the Middle East. She started out OK with an implicit supportable position that the Israeli government has been imperialist in seizing and holding lands and oppressing residents. Then she went off.

Asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff for comments on Israel, Thomas said — in full context:
"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland."

In response to where they should go, she said, "They should go home."

Then when asked where that home might be, she concluded, "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."

Digging in her tennis pumps, she calls antisemitism complaints "baloney." She stands by her words, wants the world to believe there was no allusion to WWII there, and she's cool with Jews.

With both these cases and so much of the current campaign rhetoric, how many ways can you serve the same sandwich that has so few ingredients?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With regards to Carl Paladino, it is akin to watching Yosemite Sam run for Governor of New York on a platform of rabbit genocide.
I mean the man is a cartoon brought to life, dangerous yes but also hilarious.

Elias Nugator