Friday, June 10, 2005

Rudely Yours
I had hoped to post many funny bits this morning from Matt Taibbi of the New York Press, who was supposed to appear at our local Borders last night. However, he's been covering the Michael Jackson trial for Rolling Stone, and since that circus isn't over yet, he's stranded in California and couldn't make it. Too bad, because the guy's been hot lately. Here's a taste of his most recent column:
Progressives in this country have always maintained a kind of fuzzy belief that fundamentalists will eventually just disappear, as if by magic, that the phenomenon of grown men and women believing in devils and witches and angels will inevitably be outgrown, the way children outgrow Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Marx. When some pastor in rural Alabama takes the pulpit to denounce SpongeBob Squarepants as the agent of the Evil One, we figure no response is really necessary--folks will figure out the joke on their own, somewhere down the line.
But it never happens, says Taibbi, and it never will, because it never has before.
This is a mistake, and it is the same mistake people have made for centuries: underestimating the American zeal for superstition, for boobism, for living the intellectual lives of farm animals. A large statistical majority of Americans would rather live their whole lives in perpetual fear of the devil than listen to ten minutes of common sense.
I've been linking to Taibbi's work here for a couple of years, but lots of people had never heard of him before last March, when his column entitled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope" caused fabulous outrage. A sample:
29. New Pope inevitably ambitious cleric burning with earthly vigor and secret desire to undo dead Pope's legacy.

28. Bears everywhere shitting in woods.

27. We'll never get to hear his hilarious post-tracheotomy rendition of "Come on Eileen."

26. Pope recovers and survives until 2009; New York Press columnist Matt Taibbi beheaded by passing garbage truck, March 2, 2005.
But it wasn't Taibbi who lost his head in the resulting outrage--it was the paper's editor. Taibbi, however, to his eternal credit, didn't apologize then, and still hasn't. And in this media day and age, that's nothing short of a miracle. Nobody at Borders knew if he'd be rescheduling his book tour appearance here. Hope so.

Recommended Reading: Speaking of rudeness, I now happily direct you to this post from the Rude Pundit, who takes on the tsk-tsk brigade's criticism of Howard Dean:
But surely there's some confusion in the ranks, when such a prominent, public face of the party takes off the gloves. More than anything, it's like a bunch of Missouri high schoolers around the lockers in 1963, when the first guy walked in after summer break with long hair. Sure, sure, everyone teased him for being gay or girly. But then everyone saw the Beatles on Sullivan, and barbers went broke.
This is the thing Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of them don't get--all across the country, millions of us have Howard Dean's back, and we'd have Biden's back and Pelosi's too, if they'd ever do something brave.

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