Reasons for despair

by Ted on August 5, 2004

* Michael Savage, the nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host with two best-selling books under his belt, said this yesterday:

“When you hear “human rights,” think only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son. And you’ll get it just right. OK, you got it, right? When you hear “human rights,” think only someone who wants to molest your son, and send you to jail if you defend him.”

* “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” come in for a debunking from Matt Gunn, and more from Bob Somersby. For example: I had heard of Grant Hibbard, Kerry’s former commanding officer who has questioned Kerry’s first Purple Heart. Many, many sources have repeated his recollection that Kerry’s wound “resembled a scrape from a fingernail.” I had not heard that his recollection was so bad that he misidentified where Kerry was wounded. (Hibbard said that he recalled the “scrape” on Kerry’s forearm; medical records show that the shrapnel was actually removed above Kerry’s elbow.)

I think what I find most disappointing are the people who know better. They know that this group is untrustworthy, but they find the charges too useful not to promote. And yes, I’m sure that there are ample ways to turn this charge around on liberals. Poetic justice as fairness, once again.

* Roy Edroso points to an old article by Mark Goldblatt about how his debut novel, 176 pages of racial shock-jockery called Africa Speaks, has been “whiteballed” because he hasn’t gotten any big-name reviews. There’s a lot of competition for this title, but I really believe that this self-pitying tripe may be the Worst National Review Article Since They Stopped Openly Supporting Segregation. Worse than “I hate Chelsea Clinton.” Worse than “Howard Dean’s incest vote.” Worse than their stint hosting Donald Luskin’s Poor and Stupid blog. It may be worse than Ann Coulter’s “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”- at least Ann had the excuse that she was in genuine state of grief and shock. Yes, the competition is stiff, but this scrappy guy is a real contender.

(Fun fact: did you know that there were 175,000 books published last year? It’s true!)

I cannot tell you how good Daniel Drezner and The Volokh Conspiracy look to me right now. We need rational right-wingers more than ever.



dsquared 08.05.04 at 8:16 pm

When you hear “human rights,” think only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son.

Was he making an ironic comment on the subject of humanitarian intervention and Seymour Hersh’s allegations about Abu Ghraib jail?

No, didn’t think so.


BTD Greg 08.05.04 at 8:21 pm

Michael Savage is intolerable. He makes almost anyone look reasonable. I’m not sure if the Left has anything nearly as over-the-line. Maybe Ted Rall on a very bad day. Or you’d have to track down some anonymous poster at Democratic Underground.

I’m pretty conservative, as things go, and I can’t stand listening to Savage. You could take any one of his shows and come up with a dozen excerpts that are utterly offensive to almost anyone.


PG 08.05.04 at 9:01 pm

But if someone wants to rape your daughter, that’s A-OK?

Of course, there is Biblical precedent for that…


carpeicthus 08.05.04 at 9:21 pm

Yes, if any white guy ever parodied black hip-hop, he would be dragged over the coals. Therefore Ali G does not exist.

The difference is that Sasha Cohen is a comedic genius, and this guy is so far from being any kind of genius that if he ever entered a room with someone who had good sense there would be a massive explosion.

Good thing he hangs out the National Review.


will 08.05.04 at 9:28 pm

Communist rappers? Why didn’t he cite The Coup? He could even have made mention of the unfortunate pre-9/11 cover of _Party Music_, where Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress sabotage the WTC with audio gear-cum-detonators.

Oh, because Dead Prez is dull and didactic, whereas The Coup has a sense of humor.


nick 08.05.04 at 9:43 pm

Dear sweet Jeebus, that must be one of the worst opening paragraphs to a book ever written. Bullwer-Lytton would be proud.

Hey, Goldblatt? You can’t write for toffee. That, sir, is your fucking problem.


Captain Smart 08.05.04 at 10:05 pm

‘A salaam aleichem, in the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate, the one true God. Yo, yo, yo, I’d like to send a shout out to my people, to my kings and queens. You know what I’m saying? My kings and queens. Yo, and a special shout out to my soldiers, my niggas in arms, the One-Forty-Ninth Street Crew — vagina findas, no doubt. Crazy mad dawgs! I got nothing but love for you. Even you, Herc! It’s all good. The name’s Africa Ali, I’m just 23, and I’m about to drop the four-one-one. Just keeping it real, ’cause that’s what I’m all about. Reality to the utmost.’

Yo, brother, keep up wig wackity wack writin.


Matt Weiner 08.05.04 at 10:19 pm

This is also brilliant:
Satire, apart from its aesthetic value, has a Darwinian function. In the novel Candide, Voltaire satirized the philosophy of Leibniz…
That’s right, Voltaire killed off Leibniz and that’s why nobody reads Leibniz anymore.


Chris 08.05.04 at 10:30 pm

The difference between honorable conservatives and the current administration is encapsulated in this tidbit: John McCain strongly condemns the anti-Kerry ads, while the White House refuses to condemn them. Not that McCain is without some serious faults — but he’s vastly more honest and honorable than Bush and his administration.


djw 08.05.04 at 11:41 pm

Reading one paragraph of that prose was pretty painful, the idea of reading a short novel of that crap simply boggles the mind.

Shorter Goldblatt: I wrote a novel so bad I scared away several agents and editors. Look at me!!


bob mcmanus 08.06.04 at 12:01 am

4th rated National Talk Show, 330 stations, 7 million regular listeners….yet I have never heard a conervative blogger or commenter say anything more approving than “Michael Savage is intolerable.”

Hmmm…something is being tolerated by Republicans, if it is not Savage, then it is his audience or his ideas


Matt McGrattan 08.06.04 at 12:09 am

Matt, to be fair, whenever certain aspects of Leibniz’s philosophy gets brought up the word “Panglossian” is never far behind.

Of course the existence of Michael Savage is direct and incontrovertible proof that this is not the best of all possible worlds.


mg 08.06.04 at 2:56 am

I cannot tell you how good Daniel Drezner and The Volokh Conspiracy look to me right now. We need rational right-wingers more than ever.
But do they even count as right-wingers nowadays? Unless I’m mistaken, Daniel Drezner and Jacob Levy from the Conspiracy both wrote that they lean toward voting Kerry.


Jay C 08.06.04 at 3:39 am

“Michael Savage, the nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host”

After that intro, need any more be said re the credibility/quality of any subsequent comment????


KJ 08.06.04 at 8:44 am

Would you please, please define the term “right-winger” in a way that it actually has a meaning? As it looks now, anybody to the right of Noam Chomsky is a right-winger to you in one way or another, and that’s really a big tent – a lot bigger than the Republican Party.


MFB 08.06.04 at 9:56 am

But, kj, anyone to the right of Noam is indeed a right-winger. In fact, I’m not so sure about Noam.


yabonn 08.06.04 at 11:35 am

Daniel Drezner and Jacob Levy from the Conspiracy both wrote that they lean toward voting Kerry.

Quite revealing about the identity of this administration, don’t you think?

As its majority is shrinking, it’s interesting to examine who the last hard core fan are (or who are their blogosphere representants), and then compare and contrast when they try to put their “moderate/compassionnate/uniter” faces on again.


Jason Kuznicki 08.06.04 at 1:40 pm

Less that half a century ago, African Americans — like the Jews of the Old Testament — were emerging from centuries of enslavement and subjugation with a culture that was stirring in its resilience, rich in its subtleties and epic in its scope.

And I’m sure that the National Review was right there beside them, applauding their brave and principled leaders.

Bah. Conservatism is never having to say you’re sorry.


Matt Weiner 08.06.04 at 9:18 pm

Matt McG–
That’s probably true; I don’t specialize in history of philosophy (especially not Leibniz), so dunno how much Pangloss is used as a stick to beat him with. I do believe that Leibniz gets more respect than Voltaire in philosophy departments these days, but I don’t know whether that is a good thing (Voltaire doesn’t have much metaphysics, I guess).
Another thing is that, when I think about it, the specific view of Leibniz’s that Voltaire was satirizing turns out to be one that I think is the best possible solution to the problem of evil–but that’s a minority view (and not one I hold that deeply).


Alan K. Henderson 08.09.04 at 9:23 am

Did anybody bother asking Savage why he made the statement? Apparently he thinks that some San Francosco Human Rights Commission policy would wittingly or unwittingly enable pedophiles.

If the SFHRC ever campaigned against the Boy Scouts policy to exclude gay scoutmasters, that would certainly explain things.


Matt Weiner 08.09.04 at 7:47 pm

Owning a gun [not equal to] committing murder.
Being a gay Scoutmaster [not equal to] raping children.
Not that I think Alan was drawing that second equation, but really, who the fuck cares why Savage said that. There’s no context that can excuse it.


Alan K. Henderson 08.09.04 at 9:29 pm

Scout policy is justified for the same reason that Camp Fire Girls banning male leaders is justified. It unnecessarily increases the risk of making the organization in question a magnet for sexual predators. To quote an old post, “There may be some heterosexual men who can be responsible leaders in the Camp Fire Girls and some homosexual men (who don’t buy into theological leftism) who can be responsible priests, but if such doors are opened the few good men will be outnumbered by the wolves who will use such an opportunity to expand their hunting grounds.”

I don’t listen to Savage. His remark was not tactful. I don’t know what he’s been saying about the SFHRC. But does he have a legitimate complaint, that the SFHRC has one or more policies that, if heeded, would create more opportunities for sexual predators to snag victims?

Someone should get in Savage’s face and ask him to qualify his remark. After all, you can’t fisk what hasn’t been said.

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