The Conservative War against Sheep

by Henry on May 18, 2011

What is it that the right has against sheep? Newt Gingrich’s press secretary today.

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.

It’s a relief to know that Newt has emerged unscathed from his gunfight with the clip-of-smoking-tweets-unloading cocktail-quaffing literati-sheep. But, to be frank, they don’t sound very hard. Would he be able to take on tougher ungulates, such as David Brooks’ squadrons of venom-unleashing rabid command-lambs? Or, for that matter, Carly Fiorina’s evil red-eyed demon-sheep thing in conservative’s clothing? Your guess is as good as mine, but I imagine that there’s a Jeff Minter video game in it.

Update: Chris Y composes a villanelle in comments.

In times when coward literati must
Send armed sheep minions into the attack,
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

A lesser person could not take the flack,
The tweets and trivia put him to the rack
In times when coward literati must.

See him rise up above the snapping pack!
The ovine hordes, confounded, must fall back.
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

Except it’s not like that at all. In fact
No air time, column inches did he lack
In times when coward literati must.

With all their aid and comfort, out of whack,
He couldn’t keep his damned campaign on track.
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

I just don’t understand this wretched hack.
Perhaps he’s using PCP or crack?
In times when coward literati must
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

{ 52 comments }

1

hellblazer 05.18.11 at 8:06 pm

Ah, the attack of the FCINO.

2

Substance McGravitas 05.18.11 at 8:08 pm

3

CJColucci 05.18.11 at 8:12 pm

Is Newt even trying to avoid self-parody?

4

Henri Vieuxtemps 05.18.11 at 8:14 pm

I bet on Zizek’s rats with messed-up brains and laser beams.

5

Henry 05.18.11 at 8:14 pm

bq. Gingrich has been slammed by Santorum.

That sounds like _all kinds of_ sticky, messy and nasty.

6

Henry 05.18.11 at 8:15 pm

I’d forgotten Zizek’s rats. They are pretty formidable dudes. Also – a good name for a band.

7

Martin Bento 05.18.11 at 8:37 pm

I bet someone could do a good interpretative dance of this one.

8

William Timberman 05.18.11 at 8:47 pm

Sounds like it could be a bad translation of one of Mussolini’s harangues — if Mel Brooks had been Mussolini’s speechwriter.

9

Sev 05.18.11 at 8:58 pm

“That sounds like all kinds of sticky, messy and nasty.”

Sheep on dog. Yuck.

10

Martin Bento 05.18.11 at 9:10 pm

Actually, the sheep were upset at the trauma of the experience and their suspiciously Gingrichian offspring. Santorum thinks real men stick to their dogs.

11

Glen Tomkins 05.18.11 at 10:02 pm

If this press release had come from the North Korean regime, one might have made the charitable assumption that the alarming and lurid use of metaphor was at least partially the result of something being lost in translation.

12

Steve Laniel 05.18.11 at 10:04 pm

13

Tom M 05.18.11 at 10:18 pm

I’m not about to be intimated by any elite, political or otherwise. One could catch something horrid doing that.

14

rea 05.18.11 at 10:21 pm

We like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

15

kth 05.18.11 at 10:23 pm

Actually that’s quite a coup for Gingrich, getting Sarah Palin to be his press secretary.

16

Nine 05.18.11 at 10:37 pm

Someone should get Samuel L. Jackson to do a reading !

17

Evan 05.18.11 at 10:47 pm

As the owner of a number of sheep, I have to say these metaphor producers have vastly overrated their capacities. For the most part, they’re horribly inaccurate with even the smallest of arms. We never allow them more than target pistols.

18

herr doktor bimler 05.18.11 at 11:02 pm

19

herr doktor bimler 05.18.11 at 11:05 pm

But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught.

Evidently the press secretary’s previous career involved writing a lot of fanfic.

20

The Raven 05.18.11 at 11:08 pm

I want him to fight econozombies–those things are tough.

21

Colin Danby 05.18.11 at 11:10 pm

Armed livestock. It’s why I stopped going to establishment cocktail parties.

22

Steve LaBonne 05.18.11 at 11:21 pm

Someone should get Samuel L. Jackson to do a reading !

Enough is enough! I’ve had it with these motherfucking sheep at this motherfucking cocktail party!

23

Doctor Memory 05.18.11 at 11:26 pm

This may be the single most on-point Llamasoft reference in human history.

24

bert 05.18.11 at 11:36 pm

There’s a movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t47wAmEfeoY
Inevitably, it’s from New Zealand.

25

BillCinSD 05.18.11 at 11:44 pm

“emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite”

Gingrich has, I believe, intimated many women, but not many in the political elite

26

Sufferin' Succotash 05.18.11 at 11:51 pm

Also obligatory:

27

Sufferin' Succotash 05.18.11 at 11:59 pm

Milton weighs in…

The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed,
But that two-handed engine at the door,
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.

28

alph 05.19.11 at 12:19 am

Samuel L. Jackson? Maybe.

But I’d say this is a job for William Shatner.

(Heard parts of his Mr. Tambourine Man on the radio yesterday—unspeakably great.)

29

Mark Field 05.19.11 at 12:20 am

Evidently the press secretary’s previous career involved writing a lot of fanfic.

Bulwer-Lytton fanfic?

30

P O'Neill 05.19.11 at 12:33 am

The sheep are right. Bad things happen when you’re not on the Washington cocktail party list:

For all their connections, the couple does not often turn up at A-list parties in Washington or mingle with the city’s political elite. “I’ve never met them, I don’t know anything about them and I can’t find anybody who has met them,” said Sally Quinn, the Georgetown doyenne and wife of the former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee. “It’s weird; we’ve always known the head of the I.M.F. before.”

31

SimonW 05.19.11 at 1:17 am

In recent years Jeff Minter’s been more focused on Minotaurs

32

Lee A. Arnold 05.19.11 at 1:38 am

This whole idea that Newt is strong enough to survive his OWN contradictions, takes “trial-by-fire” to a whole new level of heroism. If he prevails in this epic battle against himself, it also would compel the lockstep deaththroes of the Republicans to a new level of dark and scary cult-mechanics. Recall that the two basic problems of the Republican Party are very simple and long-term and inescapably fatal: (1) its only ideology, Reaganomics, finally imploded after long contact with reality, so the vested interests are running into rhetorical self-contradictions, and (2) its only reliable voters, now called the Tea Party, are unscientific and nuts. The Gingrichian persona appears to be another sputter in this demise. There are thousands of hours of video of the guy, taking both sides of every debate! How is this campaign going to work? Are we supposed to vote for a candidate whose slogan is, “It Really Doesn’t Matter What He Says”? How do you know what he stands for, if he is winking at everybody? (The females may have a readier answer for that one.) And now the Tea Party is repudiating Newt and of course the Independents are unlikely to be fooled, although you never know. I had thought that Republicanism could be reanimated for a final zombie fling by a goofy populist demagogue; Ross Perot once came too close; for a brief moment there I was wondering if Trump might be our bane, but Newt seems also to lack the requisite charisma for television-fascism. Or is this all an inside set-up, so Romney can come out and claim to be a little less self-contradictory and hypocritical? “Vote for me, I’m not quite as two-faced and opportunistic?” It really does look like the end of the game for Republicanism. It would be ironic though perhaps fitting if the party broke up over a fundamental economic question, i.e. the Right to a Welfare State, much as the Republicans were born out of the demise of another party over a fundamental economic question, i.e. the Whigs.

33

herr doktor bimler 05.19.11 at 1:53 am

There is the consolation that now no honest or self-respecting journalist will bother interviewing Gingrich, because of not knowing which of his statements he will unstate again (or declare to be ‘inoperative’) by tomorrow.

34

Colin Danby 05.19.11 at 2:07 am

“Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood,”
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/18/gingrich_quote_me/index.html

this is getting more Zizekian all the time.

35

M. Bouffant 05.19.11 at 2:18 am

36

Keith 05.19.11 at 2:33 am

There is the consolation that now no honest or self-respecting journalist will bother interviewing Gingrich, because of not knowing which of his statements he will unstate again (or declare to be ‘inoperative’) by tomorrow.

So it’s straight to FoxNews then.

37

rm 05.19.11 at 3:11 am

At moments like this Don LaFontaine is missed acutely. In a world where literati send armed sheep minions to attack, one man emerges from the smoke and dust . . . .

38

David 05.19.11 at 4:44 am

So how to structure the Google search? Gingrich attacked by Santorum, or Santorum attacks Gingrich? Probably the latter as it more directly contributes to Santorum’s justly deserved “Google Problem.”

39

glenn 05.19.11 at 5:38 am

Gingrich is about as flawed as a condidate can get. The Republicans are pretty much bankrupt of worthy candidates. Look for an outsider to win the nomination: Daniels, Huntsman, Cain, who would also have mainstream appeal (the first two could really give BO a run for his money, IMHO). If the Repubs allow an outsider to win the nomincation, then they’ll let the candidate can take most of the blame for losing the general election, rather than the party.

40

bad Jim 05.19.11 at 6:21 am

Considering Newt’s six-figure bill at Tiffany’s, the most appropriate tune might be “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide:

Enough! Enough!
I’ll take their diamond necklace
And show my noble stuff
By being gay and reckless!
Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha!

Observe how bravely I conceal
The dreadful, dreadful shame I feel.
Ha ha ha ha!

41

ajay 05.19.11 at 8:33 am

34: this is getting more Zizekian all the time.

Heraclitean, I think you mean. Gingrich now (Gn) is a different person from Gingrich on Sunday (Gs), so it’s very unfair and misleading to argue against voting for Gn based on something Gs said; just as it would be unfair to argue against voting for Henry because you disagree with something Chris said.

And the image of a firefight involving cowardly (but heavily armed) literary sheep out of their minds on cocktails is one that will stay with me. Never mind Don LaFontaine, it’s one for Nick Park or Terry Gilliam.

42

Ginger Yellow 05.19.11 at 9:19 am

In recent years Jeff Minter’s been more focused on Minotaurs

Minotron is really great, by the way. It basically is Llamatron, with all the nostalgia value you’d want from that, but he’s come up with a great way to deal with the problem of touch controls for a frantic dual stick shooter. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it’s a stroke of genius.

43

J-P 05.19.11 at 10:43 am

It reads like something Charlie Sheen would say ….

44

Anderson 05.19.11 at 11:00 am

27: Wow, I had no idea Milton hated like that on Virginia Woolf.

… 14: Gingrich, like most American pols, actually belongs to a religion that expressly calls on its adherents to identify themselves with straying sheep. The press secretary’s remarks suggest the mental gulf b/t profession and practice, to say nothing of the inability to think straight.

45

chris y 05.19.11 at 12:50 pm

In times when coward literati must
Send armed sheep minions into the attack,
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

A lesser person could not take the flack,
The tweets and trivia put him to the rack
In times when coward literati must.

See him rise up above the snapping pack!
The ovine hordes, confounded, must fall back.
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

Except it’s not like that at all. In fact
No air time, column inches did he lack
In times when coward literati must.

With all their aid and comfort, out of whack,
He couldn’t keep his damned campaign on track.
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

I just don’t understand this wretched hack.
Perhaps he’s using PCP or crack?
In times when coward literati must
A man emerges from the smoke and dust.

46

roac 05.19.11 at 1:43 pm

No further nominations for Villanelle of the Year, please! We have a winner!

(Prudently verifying the identification, I learn that a villanelle has to be exactly 19 lines long. I didn’t know that.)

47

Anderson 05.19.11 at 2:50 pm

Gingrich should fire his press secretary and hire Chris Y in his stead, all further Gingrich releases to be in villanelle form. Well done, sir.

48

musical mountaineer 05.19.11 at 3:30 pm

I don’t see why this is so amusing. It’s just a forthright statement of the facts. Come on, does anyone really doubt that the literati have it in for Gingrich? But then, you lot may well be literati, judging by your reaction to this…this…villanelle.

Of course, once the furor dies down, Gingrich will probably realize that he got off lightly. Speaking for myself, if the cocktail sheep hadn’t done him in, I would have dispatched a human wave of scalpel-wielding mimes.

49

BenSix 05.19.11 at 3:43 pm

Anyone who’s had the vaguest of connections to Hewlett Packard will crack ribs howling at Fiorina claiming to be a fiscal conservative…

50

Myles 05.19.11 at 4:24 pm

Anyone who’s had the vaguest of connections to Hewlett Packard will crack ribs howling at Fiorina claiming to be a fiscal conservative…

Do tell.

51

rm 05.20.11 at 2:52 am

52

Steve LaBonne 05.20.11 at 1:34 pm

Since Samuel L. Jackson and William Shatner don’t seem to be available, will John Lithgow do?

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