Friday, January 21, 2011

POLISHING THE TURD. You know the "He's My Friend" number from The Unsinkable Molly Brown? Molly's coarse Leadville pals invade a society party, and declare in a jes'-plain-folks way their affection for one another, and that they'll beat up anyone who messes with them ("If I should yell, 'They got me, Seamus,' he'll come chargin' in!"). The big gag comes near the end, when the music slows down and The Grand Duchess, who drips with jewels, speak-sings in a plummy aristocratic voice her own high-falutin' version of their refrain ("And if anyone dares to presume to display a disparaging frown, they'll have me to reckon with").

Similarly, after weeks of rowdy conservative argh-blargh about how everyone is persecutin' them for Tucson and how Charlie Krauthammer's gonna take 'em to the woodshed, the music grows quiet as Megan McArdle rises from her throne to ahem:
The right has a legitimate grievance here: every time there's some potential act of terrorism, it seems that people feel perfectly free to assume that it must have been a right wing lunatic who committed it. The same people who urged us not to rush to judgement after the Fort Hood shootings didn't see anything wrong with Bloomberg's speculation that the Times Square Bombing--a bombing actually committed by a Muslim terrorist wanna-be--was probably committed by a militia member. And now this.

I am in general impatient with the notion that "discrimination against (fat people, Christians, Catholics, gays, transvestites, etc.) is the last acceptable prejudice." As you can see by the list, there still seem to be a lot of acceptable prejudices left. But this rush to indict conservatives for every incident of mass violence where motives are unknown blah blah blah blah...
The post is 1,455 words long. (Well, I never said it was a show-stopper.) You will see, especially if you read the whole excruciating thing, that the rightwing persecution folk-tale has reached a new stage of development: It's not just about Tucson anymore, but about endless, unfair, blood-libelous attacks on peace-loving Republicans stretching backwards and forward to eternity -- proven, as is customary among her people, by a single casual comment by Michael Bloomberg. (If she'd gone on much longer she would have had to tell the one about how liberals use targets on maps too.)

McArdle's contribution adds no new facts and insights to the topic, but it is delivered with the wrinkle-nosed hauteur she traditionally affects when something excites her moral outrage (usually poor people getting away with something*), which puffs up her prose slightly more than usual. And it does appear under the stately banner of The Atlantic. It is, in other words, a fancy alternative for people who think there must be more to life than Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and so reach for the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe.

When that gets tiresome, there will be other versions to keep their resentment hot: Xtranormal videos, a Declaration Entertainment film, and perhaps a mini-series in the manner of Roots.

* Yes, she's still writing about "jingle mail" in 2011.

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