Ten second posts

by Ted on January 27, 2006

* Do you suppose that Jonah Goldberg has been asked to supplement his upcoming book, The Hitlery Cut ‘n’ Paste Funtime Reader with a chapter explaining how the Nazis were ferociously opposed to domestic wiretapping?

* I was reading the back pages of Kung Fu Monkey when I came across this, in response to Rove’s old speech that accused liberals of treason:

Did you know that the definition of treason is quite specifically defined in the Consititution? Did you know it’s the only crime actually spelled out in the Constitution? DO. YOU. KNOW. WHY?

No. Of course you don’t. Nobody ever bothers to read the goddam thing.

Because the Founding Fathers had seen the charge of treason used too many times against the political opponents of the British Government. They knew, when the government gets nervous and breaks out the Big Evil Golf Bag of Shutting Up Questions, the first club out is the Treason Charge. They knew the first guy to yell treason was the bastard.

* I’m all for liberals making a fuss about unfair and inaccurate news. I agree that it distorts the news when media organizations get a tempest of feedback when they offend the right without a similar level of feedback when they offend the left. In other words, ditto. And this warms my heart.

But, let’s be realistic about what we’re doing. I can’t remember where I saw it, but one line sticks in my mind: “Conservatives get upset when the media do their jobs, while liberals get upset when the media don’t do their jobs.” Come on, guys. I like honest partisan pushback, and I’d like to see more of it, but it’s simply not the same thing as apolitical media criticism. If there is such thing as apolitical media criticism.

* What bothers me most about Mickey Kaus’s crusade against Brokeback Mountain is not the dumb-ass argument that people go to the movies simply to ogle the opposite-sex actors (hence the pathetic failure of Reservoir Dogs with male audiences), nor the implication that he just isn’t crazy about watching gay intimacy. A lot of people aren’t. What bothers me is his overriding resentment (or, given his professional persona, his faux-resentment) that imaginary liberals would fail to to treat his discomfort with respectful silence.

* Do you ever think that A** C****** will turn back into a mummy if thirty days pass without her name in the press? It would explain a lot.



Sven 01.27.06 at 4:06 pm

Speaking of Goldberg, this is… what’s the right word… phantasmagorical.


Meteor Blades 01.27.06 at 4:23 pm

Now, it’s one thing for the right not to speak up when Ms. C says we should invade the Muslim world and murder all those infidels who won’t convert, and it’s understandable that rightwingers aren’t going to call her to task for naming J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy as two of her five heroes of the 20th Century, but you’d think even the right would perhaps mutter an Ahem when she calls – as a joke, of course – for the assassination of a Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justice. You would think they would be phoning up CNN in droves to get them to excise “conservative” when writing or talking about Ms. C in any future story.

We shall see.

I was going to make Ms. C one of my political projects for 2006 – working on getting as many newspapers to cancel her syndicated column as possible. But then I thought: she’s just a pimple amid the pox that comprises so much of right-wing America, why waste my time? After this latest, however, I’m back on track.


Jaybird 01.27.06 at 5:32 pm

I am not sure that this is an explanation for Kaus’s resentment of Brokeback Mountain but it’s one of mine and so I’ll project it onto him.

When I first saw the trailer, I rolled my eyes when I realized that, yes, they were in fact “going there” and doing the gay cowboy thing. “Jesus Christ,” I thought, “I am going to be yelled at by my wife for not being interested in this movie. I’m going to be called a homophobe for not seeing this as an Important Social And Cultural Event.”

And then one of my friends called me one weekend while the wife was away on business and said “Jaybird! Come see Brokeback Mountain with me! My wife isn’t interested in seeing it and you’re the only guy I know who could be talked into seeing it!”

“I don’t want to see it!”

“Come on! It’s an Important Social And Cultural Event!”

Well, I wasn’t doing anything that night so I said, fine. I’ll go.

And it was a really, really good movie even apart from the whole “makes you feel like you want to apologize for the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s being so heteronormative” thing. It was a good story with complex characters and absolutely gorgeous cinematography.

And I probably wouldn’t have been so hesitant to see it if I didn’t have so much of a sense of how “important” it was.

But, then again, that’s just my reaction.


Christopher M 01.27.06 at 6:53 pm

I’m going to be called a homophobe for not seeing this as an Important Social And Cultural Event

This seems a bit paranoid. Has anyone really been called a homophobe for not caring too much about the movie one way or the other? I doubt it. I haven’t seen it, and have no special plans to, because for various reasons it doesn’t look like my kind of thing; yet no one’s called me homophobic.

What does smack of homophobia is when people like Kaus launch preemptive strikes in which they loudly declare that Brokeback is not an Important Social And Cultural Event and not only that but they’re not homophobic for thinking that despite the inevitable accusations of homophobia they know will be launched by the evil lefty thought police. Methinks the neoliberal doth protest too much.


Jim Harrison 01.27.06 at 7:03 pm

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I certainly will, not for any ideological reason but because impossible love is an irresistible theme.


james 01.27.06 at 8:09 pm

At what point are you allowed to simply dislike a topic or genre with out it being representative of anything else?


Kaus Hackula 01.27.06 at 11:34 pm

I’m not gay.


P O'Neill 01.28.06 at 12:22 am

Jonah was doing one of his lame-ass blegs for a book on Bismarck recently, which may suggest some last minute additions to his already Amazon-discounted book. Perhaps he’s going to argue that Bismarck was a liberal because he brought in old age pensions, and Bismarck led to the Nazis ergo liberals are Nazis. High fives all round at The Corner.


Jaybird 01.28.06 at 1:11 am

James, you ask the following: “At what point are you allowed to simply dislike a topic or genre with out it being representative of anything else?”

I would like to answer as concicely as I can.

The answer to your question is: about 3 minutes after your divorce becomes final.

A followup answer is: I was just kidding honey. You know what us guys are like when we get like this. No, no please put the wire hangar away. Ow ow ow you know I love you and you know that I’d not prefer any kind of life away from you. Whew. Anyway, yeah. 3 minutes after the divorce. I’d talk longer but, you know.


skippy 01.28.06 at 1:40 am

i saw it, with my wife (i got an advanced screening dvd copy).

not the greatest film i ever saw. acting was ok.

(heath ledger, whom we had just seen in “casanova,” has such a great range as an actor. and ann hathaway has come a long way since “princess diaries.” she’s quite a good actor, too).

the thing i noticed about my reaction to it was, during the first part, i kept thinking “well, i don’t get why guys like each other like that, but, hey, if that’s what they do, more power to them. but it just doesn’t speak to me.”

but then in the last part, when jake gyllenhall’s character got gay-bashed to death, i thought “i don’t get why people would be so upset about the same issue i was just feeling, ie, i don’t get why buys like each other like that.”

it’s sad, really (and the movie makes great points about that aspect of society), that people would react to violent killing in response to something “different.” but of course, as mrs. skippy pointed out when i expressed these feelings, those people are just trying to “kill” those feelings within themselves.

now, as to great important social movies that i had no desire to see, but was more than pleasantly surprised when i did, transamerica with felicity huffman was not only exquisitely acted, it was laugh out loud funny. very, very good. and i didn’t want to see that film for the same reasons as the commentors above.

even if you avoid “bbm” definitely go see “transamerica.” frickin’ hi=larious!


Tom Doyle 01.28.06 at 3:08 am

Because the Founding Fathers had seen the charge of treason used too many times against the political opponents of the British Government. They knew, when the government gets nervous and breaks out the Big Evil Golf Bag of Shutting Up Questions, the first club out is the Treason Charge. They knew the first guy to yell treason was the bastard.

This is basically accurate.

U.S. Constitution

Article 3, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833) 3:§§ 1292, 1294–96, 1791–94, 1796

§ 1791. Treason is generally deemed the highest crime, which can be committed in civil society, since its aim is an overthrow of the government, and a public resistance by force of its powers. Its tendency is to create universal danger and alarm; and on this account it is peculiarly odious, and often visited with the deepest public resentment. Even a charge of this nature, made against an individual, is deemed so opprobrious, that, whether just or unjust, it subjects him to suspicion and hatred; and, in times of high political excitement, acts of a very subordinate nature are often, by popular prejudices, as well as by royal resentment, magnified into this ruinous importance. It is, therefore, of very great importance, that its true nature and limits should be exactly ascertained; and Montesquieu was so sensible of it, that he has not scrupled to declare, that if the crime of treason be indeterminate, that alone is sufficient to make any government degenerate into arbitrary power. The history of England itself is full of melancholy instruction on this subject. By the ancient common law it was left very much to discretion to determine, what acts were, and were not, treason; and the judges of those times, holding office at the pleasure of the crown, became but too often instruments in its hands of foul injustice. At the instance of tyrannical princes they had abundant opportunities to create constructive treasons; that is, by forced and arbitrary constructions, to raise offences into the guilt and punishment of treason, which were not suspected to be such. The grievance of these constructive treasons was so enormous, and so often weighed down the innocent, and the patriotic, that it was found necessary, as early as the reign of Edward the Third, for parliament to interfere, and arrest it, by declaring and defining all the different branches of treason. This statute has ever since remained the pole star of English jurisprudence upon this subject. And although, upon temporary emergencies, and in arbitrary reigns, since that period, other treasons have been created, the sober sense of the nation has generally abrogated them, or reduced their power within narrow limits.

§ 1792. Nor have republics been exempt from violence and tyranny of a similar character. The Federalist has justly remarked, that newfangled, and artificial treasons have been the great engines, by which violent factions, the natural offspring of free governments, have usually wreaked their alternate malignity on each other.

§ 1793. It was under the influence of these admonitions furnished by history and human experience, that the convention deemed it necessary to interpose an impassable barrier against arbitrary constructions, either by the courts, or by congress, upon the crime of treason. It confines it to two species; first, the levying of war against the United States; and secondly, adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. In so doing, they have adopted the very words of the Statute of Treason of Edward the Third; and thus by implication, in order to cut off at once all chances of arbitrary constructions, they have recognized the well-settled interpretation of these phrases in the administration of criminal law, which has prevailed for ages.

§ 1794. Fortunately, hitherto but few cases have occurred in the United States, in which it has been necessary for the courts of justice to act upon this important subject. But whenever they have arisen, the judges have uniformly adhered to the established doctrines, even when executive influence has exerted itself with no small zeal to procure convictions.

. . . . .

§ 1796. The other part of the clause, requiring the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or a confession in open court, to justify a conviction is founded upon the same reasoning. A like provision exists in British jurisprudence, founded upon the same great policy of protecting men against false testimony, and unguarded confessions, to their utter ruin. It has been well remarked, that confessions are the weakest and most suspicious of all testimony; ever liable to be obtained by artifice, false hopes, promises of favour, or menaces; seldom remembered accurately, or reported with due precision; and incapable, in their nature, of being disproved by other negative evidence. To which it may be added, that it is easy to be forged, and the most difficult to guard against. An unprincipled demagogue, or a corrupt courtier, might otherwise hold the lives of the purest patriots in his hands, without the means of proving the falsity of the charge, if a secret confession, uncorroborated by other evidence, would furnish a sufficient foundation and proof of guilt. And wisely, also, has the constitution declined to suffer the testimony of a single witness, however high, to be sufficient to establish such a crime, which rouses against the victim at once private honour and public hostility. There must, as there should, be a concurrence of two witnesses to the same overt, that is, open act of treason, who are above all reasonable exception.

Accessed at:
The Founders’ Constitution
Volume 4, Article 3, Section 3, Clauses 1 and 2, Document 25
The University of Chicago Press

More commentary on TREASON


theorajones 01.28.06 at 9:29 am

Dig the mini-posts. But I’ve got to take issue with the broad brush attacks on liberals’ motivations in challenging the media.

Did you see Marshall today? The fig leaf of Abrahamoff “steering contributions to Democrats” isn’t true. There is no truth in the talking point that is being put forth as Abrahamoff is, quite simply, a full-out Republican operative who is part of a DC Republican political machine.

There is, in fact, a group of Americans who would like an impartial media that reports the facts as they are, political consequences be damned, becuase they believe this is best for ‘little d’ democracy. Some of these folks are actually in political life, but many of them are just news junkies and regular folks who care.

Today, those media is so unbelievably controlled by the right that a good number of those people are caucusing with the Dem “political operative” types who you are decrying. But, sorry, their description of their own motivations remains true.

So, yeah, while I’m sure there are operatives involved in this debate, it’s kind of like when the ACLU teams up with a client–decent people advocating for the issue have a presumptive legitimacy even when some of those involved with it have a demonstratedly odious agenda.

Right now, the liberals are pushing for fairness, nothing more. Only when they start pushing for soemthing more (like the Democratic operatives doubtless will) is it fair to challenge the motivations of the people who choose to stay involved in the enterprise.


roger 01.28.06 at 11:27 am

I thought Mickey Kaus was generally treated with silence, whether respectful or indifferent, anyway. Although the liberal blogosphere is well aware of and indignant about this or that rightwing blogger, Kaus is so eager to make that cut that, perhaps, he is simply shut out. The odd negative fandom of having a blog dedicated to hating you — the Sullivan watches, Hitchens watches, there is even a Coulter Watch – I don’t think anybody has ever produced a Kaus watch. That would require actually reading his stuff. I would imagine that the set of voters in the Dem primaries who voted for Lieberman and the set of Kaus’ readers have about the same extension.


nick s 01.28.06 at 2:28 pm

skippy: the correct phrase is ‘SPOILER ALERT’. Thanks.


Tom Doyle 01.28.06 at 3:04 pm

Re: Liberal Fascism : The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton (Hardcover) by Jonah Goldberg

Fascism cannot win mass support directly in the working class ranks. It must find indirect support. This it finds in the Socialist Party leadership and the reformist trade union officialdom. These leaders, influencing the majority of the working class, hold back the workers from revolutionary struggle which alone can defeat and destroy Fascism and under the slogan of defense democracy and “choosing the lesser evil” lead the workers to submit to and support the intermediate steps to the introduction of Fascism. That is why we call these leaders “social – fascists” and their theories “social – fascism.” [1.]

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidiere for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language. [2.]

[1.] Earl Browder, Daily Worker , (April 14, 1934) p. 3. (speech to the Eighth National Convention of the Communist Party), quoted in C. Harley Grattan, “Red Opinion in the United States,” Scribner’s Magazine , (Nov. 1934) pp. 299-305, collected in “The Strenuous Decade: A Social and Intellectual Record of the 1930s,” Daniel Aaron & Robert Bendiner, eds. (Garden City, Anchor Books-Doubleday & Co. (19__) ) pp. 279-280.

[2.] Karl Marx, “18th Brumaire of Louis Napolean” (1852), Chapter 1.

Source: Marx and Engels Internet Archive


John Emerson 01.28.06 at 3:53 pm

Brokeback Mountain is supposed to be going against stereotypes, but if the guys really were sheepherders in the movie, the stereotypes are undamaged.


Jim Harrison 01.28.06 at 11:34 pm

I thought that sheepherds were supposed to have a thing about sheep, not other sheepherds. Hence the shepherds song: You always herd the one you love.


John Emerson 01.29.06 at 7:32 am

Shepherds are supposed to be skeezy, period. They were the hapless commoners of the Old West, not the noble horsemen.


Doug 01.29.06 at 5:25 pm

There were supposed to be ten second posts, but there were only five. What happened to the rest? Did the NSA (thanks for listening y’all) swallow them up? Googled all the way to China? Sent to the undisclosed location[tm] with Dick Cheney?

For that matter, what happened to the first posts? Lost to a proportional representation system? Carried off by single transferable vote? Something even more unspeakable?


engels 01.31.06 at 2:21 pm

There were supposed to be ten second posts, but there were only five.

Worse, actually: I count five including the first post. (Can´t think why the other four were tied for second place though.) Because of this, and since they are all very small, perhaps a better title would have been: Five Minute Posts?

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