Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Hysteria, Paranoia, Racism, Bad Writing, and Ducks
There's plenty of worthwhile reading out there this morning, and this is just a small sample:

In the Capital Times, John Nichols reports a nugget of news I have managed to miss thus far: Republican bigwigs have canceled several elections already this year--presidential primaries in several states--ostensibly to save money, but also to spare Bush any embarrassment over the possibility that he might not win by 99-percent, Kim Jong-Il-like numbers. This should make nobody feel comfortable about the GOP's deep-down commitment to democracy.

If you haven't received the link in your e-mail or heard about it on talk radio or cable news, you will soon: Annie Jacobsen, a writer for a website called Women's Wall Street, had a scary experience on an airplane full of Muslim men she was sure were terrorists--except they weren't. Salon's Patrick Smith deconstructs her experience and finds in it approximately equal parts hysteria, paranoia, racism, and bad writing. (Note to Annie: If you want to impress people, citing Ann Coulter as an expert on terrorism will get you nowhere.)

In 1988, there was a school of thought suggesting that because VP-designate Dan Quayle was young and attractive, he might help pull female voters to the Republican ticket. Sixteen years later, the Democrats have nominated another young, attractive man as a presidential running mate--and while he's clearly impressed some of the ladies, Republicans are suggesting that he's a bit too attractive. Richard Goldstein of the Village Voice examines the homosexual innuendos being launched at the Kerry/Edwards ticket.

I believe it was Eric Alterman, using the theory that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck, who first suggested that George W. Bush is an Al Qaeda plant. The mighty Paul Krugman, taking a page from the forthcoming remake of The Manchurian Candidate, suggests how one might logically expect "The Arabian Candidate" to act in office, if his goals were to advance the cause of militant Islam. Everybody duck.

Also taking a cue from the movies, here's one of the best bumper-sticker/T-shirt slogans I've seen in a long time. Let's hope we can rewrite the ending.

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