Friday, July 08, 2005

HOW TO TALK TO YOUR RIGHTWING FRIENDS ABOUT LONDON."You either surrender to it or you defeat it. President Bush knows this, and you hold out hope that the Bush-haters might get it but I don't have much hope in that regard because I think there's so much seething rage and hatred for Bush out there that the majority of the Bush-haters are already gleefully blaming Bush for this, and blaming the war in Iraq for this, and blaming Afghanistan for this, and feeling sorry for Tony Blair that Bush roped in into joining us in Iraq. That's the kind of thing. You can expect it to exist in a free country, but it's going to continue to be an impediment, as those people represent forces who attempt to weaken our ability not only take the offensive but to defend ourselves as well. But here's the interesting thing for those of you on the left to consider. The terrorists today not only attacked civilization. They attacked you. They attacked you liberals, you leftists who may think that you're the ones who have the ability to forge a common understanding." -- Rush Limbaugh
"You're pretty goddamned negative. Do you believe in God?"

"Not your kind of God."

"What kind of God?"

"I'm not sure."

"I've been going to church since I can remember."

I didn't answer.

"Can I buy you a beer?" he asked.


The beers arrived.

"Did you read the papers today."


"Did you hear about those 50 little girls who were burned to death in that Boston orphanage?"


"Wasn't that horrible?"

"I suppose it was."

"You suppose it was?"


"Don't you know?"

"If I had been there I suppose I would have had nightmares about it for the rest of my life. But it's different when you just read about it in the newspapers."

"Don't you feel sorrow for those 50 little girls who burned to death? They were hanging out of the windows screaming."

"I suppose it was horrible. But you see it was just a newspaper headline, a newspaper story. I really didn't think much about it. I turned the page."

"You mean you didn't feel anything about it?"

"Not really."

He sat a moment and had a drink of his beer. Then he screamed, "Hey, here's a guy who says he didn't feel a fucking thing when he read about those 50 orphan girls burning to death in an orphanage in Boston!"

Everyone looked at me. I looked down at my cigarette. There was a moment of silence. Then the woman in the red wig said, "If I was a man I'd kick his ass all up and down the street."

"He doesn't believe in God either! said the man next to me. "He hates baseball. He loves bullfights, and he likes to see little orphan girls burned to death!"

I ordered another beer from the bartender, for myself. He pushed the bottle at me with repugnance. Two young guys were playing pool. The youngest, a big kid in a white T-shirt, laid his stick down and walked over to me. He stood behind me sucking air into his lungs, trying to make his chest bigger.

"This is a nice bar. We don't tolerate assholes here. We kick their butts good, we beat the shit out of them, we beat the living shit out of them!"

I could feel him standing there behind me. I lifted my beer bottle and poured beer into my glass, drank it, lit a cigarette. My hand was perfectly steady. He stood there for some time, then walked back to the pool table. The man who had been sitting next to me got off his stool and moved away. "The son of a bitch is negative," I heard him say. "He hates people."
That's from a Bukowski story called "Beer at the Corner Bar." If you get a chance, read the whole story, and the book it's in, Hot Water Music. Then read everything he ever wrote, poems too. Then read it again.

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