I recently likened Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to the middle-school bully who repeatedly pokes his finger in someone’s chest, hoping to get a response so he can say “He swung first.”
Darrin Bell reverses things, and I don’t disagree. Can you imagine if Iran flew a drone off our Atlantic Coast and then tried to argue over where international waters began?
And, as he suggests, this Orwellian logic leaves no space for reconciliation because it doesn’t want reconciliation.
In any case, I doubt we’ll ever know exactly what happened the other day, though we can guess that it wouldn’t have gotten that far if Kelley and Mattis were still around. When pundits complained that there were no more grownups left in the White House, that was pretty much what they were talking about.
I agree with Clay Bennett. We’ve got a guy threatening to drop bombs on Iran who couldn’t find it on a map, and I’m not sure that’s not literally the fact.
I was never convinced that W was up to speed on all the things Cheney and the gang were leading him into, but, however dishonest and deceitful their plans, at least they had plans.
Are we worse off with villains in charge, or with nobody in charge?
Congress appears to finally be rising to the defense of the nation, but if they pass a law requiring the president to get their approval for military action and he vetoes it, does it make any sound?
I guess we’ll find out, and, meanwhile, Marshall Ramsey sums it all up as well as anyone.
And I’d add Joel Pett’s latest to the mix. I hate knee-jerk criticism of the media, that foolish, populist Will Rogers pablum of rejecting it all.
However, it’s fair to ask not just where the need to build audience overwhelms the mission of educating the public, but at what point “giving the people what they want” is like letting your kids live on nothing but ice cream and Coca-Cola. They may love you for it, but the long-term results won’t be pretty.
For instance, after every election, the Wise Pundits of Media gather round to decry horse-race coverage, and then, when the next elections are upcoming, they run breathless stories about who’s in the lead instead of stories about who’s proposing what.
So now we’re fixated on Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders because familiar names lead in the early stage of the horse race, and keeping their names in the news keeps their names in the public mind keeps their names high in the polls.
Granted, not as bad as four years ago, when the clown who kept dropping his pants and hitting himself in the face with a pie got enough free coverage to vault him to the top of the GOP’s list of candidates, but we’re working on it.
I’d like to see a chart of our 10 most pressing issues with where each candidate stands on each one, but it’s more fun to talk about Biden’s misstatements and whatever the hell Bernie’s up to.
And then, as Paul Fell notes, there’s the pressing issue of what we should call a place where small children are separated from their parents, deprived of care, covered with feces and snot, denied basic toiletries and forced to sleep on concrete floors.
If you want to talk about naming these places, go ahead and compare the Cuban concentration camps and the concentration camps of the Boer War and the German concentration camps and the American concentration camps, and sort out which ones were called what, and by whom.
That is, when the Americans rounded up people of Japanese origin, they didn’t say “Come live in concentration camps,” and I’d bet the Germans didn’t use the term, either.
Anyway, we’d rather cover the pissing match than the facts themselves.
Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?
I had to read today’s Pickles twice to make sure it was as incoherent as it had appeared the first time.
It’s like one of those commercials for bidding sites where people brag about getting a TV set for 37 cents without disclosing that they’ve also wasted $500 bidding on stuff they didn’t get.
Or that old joke that goes “It’s windy today.” “No, it’s Thursday.” “Me, too, let’s get some lemonade.”
Anyway, it cracked me up and taught me nothing and had no greater significance that I could discover.
Juxtaposition of the Day
This pair, on the other hand, warmed my heart, not so much because of what they depicted but because they bucked the usual comics page plot of “I hate camping.”
Adam@Home had started that way, and I groaned as he enthusiastically led forth his ungrateful, citified kids. And then it reversed and the unexpected twist is always a nice element of humor.
Edison Lee, by contrast, simply sets up the difference without resolving it, and I suppose you could have some plot where the boys are forced to go outside and play in the dirt, but it might get all preachy and not fun. Simply stating it and letting Orville be the cool guy for a change is quite enough.
When Theodore Roosevelt was police commissioner in New York, he used to carry a couple of John Burroughs’ nature books with him when he’d go visit the slums, and he’d hand out the books to the kids he encountered, in hopes that some of them would become curious about the world out where the sidewalk ends and visit it one day.
“The country is the place for children,” he wrote in his autobiography, “and, if not the country, a city small enough so that one can get out into the country.”
I’m prejudiced, of course, having grown up with frogs and snakes and chipmunks and, yes, bears, in my immediate neighborhood, but, in a world where we now have sanitary wipes available at every grocery store to cater to the OCD crowd, it’s good to have the value of dirt acknowledged for the rest of us.