Friday, September 14, 2007

When no Dirty Fucking Hippies are available


One must invent them.

File under, “Whine Globally/Wank Locally”

If future generations even want to know how deep into the local groundwaters Strawman Patriotism Punditry seeped at the start of the 21st century, they could do worse than decant this little gem of shadow boxing deceitfulness from Chicago’s own Neil Steinberg.

You know the rant by now: we all know the rant by now.

A little man with column inches to fill, a mortgage to say, and yet not much of anything to say.

Walks around all day with his terribly sensitive toes distended 40 feet in front of him until he finds some imaginary slight on which to stub them. Then hops furiously to his laptop, which he uses to grope around under his bed for some Larger Conspiracy of Malefactors on which he can affix the blame for his largely imaginary pain.

And as sure as God hates little green footballs, he’ll chart a route more tortured and tenuous even than degrees of separation between Francis Bacon and Kevin Bacon to haul a Terrorist or a Hippy out from under his smelly, sodden bed.

Take a guess which bogeyman Neil ginned up this time…

And yes, this crap is found near the front of a Geniune Big Urban Daily Paper.


The new radicals

September 12, 2007
BY NEIL STEINBERG Sun-Times Columnist
Neil Steinberg
I put out the flag Tuesday morning, in honor of the victims of Sept. 11, who died in our stead, as our proxies, fellow Americans killed by those mad to kill any generic American.

As I stood there, hand on my heart, saying the pledge, I snuck a guilty glance up the street, uneasy about how this brief patriotic ritual might be viewed by the neighbors.

...


Dear Neil,

Fuck you if you feel guilty. I feel similarly uncomfortable when I try to shake it on the dance floor, which is why driftglass don’t dance. Ever. Because I do it badly. Maybe you feel self-conscious because you do patriotism badly? It’s right-hand over left-heart with hat removed?

Not head-up-ass with mouth open.

Conformity, the suburbanite's sin. So what if people aren't rushing to fly their flags? Their loss.


Notice that right here you can actually feel the narrative spiral into the completely predictable, disingenuous bog from which there is no return.

After years of hearing the same broken-record bullshit from the same fatheads, don’t you just know what’s coming next?

And isn’t the fact that you know right where this pony ride is headed just terribly sad?

Hark, and listen as Neil transmutes his own, lingering, free-floating shame over God knows what childhood pantsing incident into a Larger Theme.

First, take a token, generic swipe at The Right to prove that you are a Serious and Objective columnist…


It's a shame that patriotism is usually left to patriots, who give it such a bad name by their mistaken belief that loving the country means blindly supporting any folly its leaders can conceive and heaping scorn on any fellow citizen who misses some conformist benchmark of behavior.

Patriotism isn't cool, but it should be. Forget suburbanites; you'd think the cutting edge would embrace it.


And here we go-go-go...


You'd think the artists and the radicals, the malcontents and the visionaries, college students and tree-worshipping cultists would be the most patriotic of all


Wheeeeee!


understanding that it is this great country that accepts their deviation,



You know, most artists of my acquaintance are working-class people who are trying to do their thing and make their living at the same time.

I have no idea what passes for a “radical” anymore, since a few years ago it was basically anyone who was not willing to lick Dubya’s ass.

College students? You mean the ones I see going head-first into an ocean of debt so they can maybe someday afford half the house their parents have.

And is “tree-worshipping cultist” still code for Al Gore?

Finally, gotta love the word ‘deviation’ shat right into the middle of this cold, lumpy oatmeal. I wonder how Mr. Steinberg would feel if we scrubbed out the lazy writer’s Cartoon Liberal targets and dropped in another stereotype.

One also created and hammered relentlessly home by fascists to give the knuckledraggers someone to despise when they're having a bad day.

Like, oh, say, “Dirty Jew”?

So how does it read now?

“You'd think the Dirty Jew would be the most patriotic of all understanding that it is this great country that accepts their Christ-Killing deviation.”
…”


See, Neil? See how sweetly, sweetly it flows?

Onward.
…while in many other places they would be stoned to death or, more likely, never even exposed in the first place to the ideas that so overwhelm them.

But no. College professors, free-thinkers, vegans, Marxists all sneer at their country.


Wow.

Every vegan hates Murrica? Even the ones at that restaurant where I attended a “Save the Troops” vigil a couple of years ago?

And every college professor hates Murrica too? Even the guy who teaches CAD?

Or contract law?

Or that nice lady who teaches English Lit?

Or that coven of Randite economics ‘bots at the U of C?

The guy who retired from the Navy and teaches workplace ESL because he thinks its so important to his community hates 'Murrica too?

The ladies and gentlemen who teach theology at Loyola?

Who teach Library Science?

Who teach the History of Technology?

Wow!

And Marxists? Really? All seven of them?

And, Neil, you forgot freemasons, the Trilateral Commission and Illumniati. And, of course, the hairy beatniks and their devil jungle music.

What can one say about this antediluvian twaddle, except to note that we have always been burdened by

Ungrateful college students



And dangerous free-thinkers


And by bitter old men under fiscal/deadline pressure to find someone to hate and mock.

Bitter old men who, one must add, get paid substantial sums of money to spout their trainwreck hacktacular prose.

But hush now; Neil continues…

They are young, or so dazzled by the sheen of their beliefs they fail to appreciate the soil they sprouted in, and they let flag-waving, misty-eyed patriotism be dominated -- present company excluded -- by exactly the sort of narrow, hidebound reactionaries who'd thrive under any dictatorship.

We are a nation born of radicalism, living under a constitution penned by rebels. Those who fancy themselves rebels today should appreciate that.

Rebellion has been redefined by a generation that would rather sneer at a country that embraces their individuality than display some patriotism.

Protests are good fun, often compelling theater, and give participants the illusion of accomplishing something.

Occasionally they actually do accomplish something.

But I have to wonder whether the disabled activists who shut down the American Medical Association building Monday actually served their cause or undermined it.

The group behind the protest -- ADAPT -- has been doing this for years. They appear at various locations and jam up the works with their wheelchair-bound bodies, though how denying access encourages somebody to care about your own access issues is a mystery. In my understanding of the world, annoying others generates hostility, not support.

Had the AMA already rejected the chance to endorse the issue at hand -- a federal bill that would make it easier for disabled people to live independently instead of in nursing homes -- I could see how a little vindictive guerrilla action might be in order.

But given that the AMA -- not my favorite organization -- met with ADAPT to hear its arguments, and is considering the issue with apparent sincerity, it strikes me that this sort of protest is counterproductive. Those within the AMA who share ADAPT's view will have a tougher time selling it now than they would have last week.

Anger can disable you as handily as any physical malady. Yet who protests against that?



So instead of writing a little article about a particular organization’s counterproductive and alienating use of protest under a particular set of circumstances – an article which, if well-written, I may have even been inclined to read with an open-mind like the dirty, fucking, America-hating free-thinker that I am – Mr. Steinberg decided to drag every Liberal mother’s son and daughter into it.

Thus proving yet again that, as patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, so using “patriotism” like a Christmas tree on which you hang your every Grand Kook Theory of Everything is the last refuge of a lazy, overpaid writer.

9 comments:

PhysioProf said...

"Anger can disable you as handily as any physical malady."

This guy's just another fucking concern troll.

schmidlap said...

I cringed when I saw that column. Steinberg's normally pretty good--I don't know what got into him here.

prof fate said...

"So there, Mr. Smarty-Pants Communist! (phbbbt!)
Mr. College Professor! (phbbbt!)
Mr. Beatnik! (phbbbt!)"

This shit was already hoary and feeble, when the Firesign Theater parodied it in 1969.

Interrobang said...

Anger can disable you as handily as any physical malady.

Yeah? I think you don't know what the fuck you're talking about, Mr. Steinberg. Looks like you need to either spend a couple weeks in a wheelchair full-time, or else shut the fuck up. (I'd settle for the really serious, heavy-duty crutches, the metal kind with the braces that go around your biceps. And those funky orthopedic shoes with the metal cages around the top.)

Gotta love the hubris of the able-bodied, as I am one pissed-off gimp, and I'll tell you, being pissed off makes it an awful lot easier to get out of bed in the morning than otherwise.

US Blues said...

Kid has got his knickers in a knot.

Anonymous said...

I'm the patriotic daughter of an AIr Force Captain who died in Vietnam. I'm also a Democrat, a feminist, and an atheist. He can take his slander and stick it.

We orphaned military children could have told him that freedom isn't free forty years ago. When we invaded Iraq I knew that there would be another generation like mine, more children filled with grief and rage and despair. More death and maiming and blood for fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. I take going to war very very seriously, and to see these sick cowards beg for more death and call the sane traitors--it's more than I can take.

Susan of Texas

Will Divide said...

That's Neil "Confessed Wifebeater" Steinberg, right?

Pieter B said...

When I hit this graf

It's a shame that patriotism is usually left to patriots, who give it such a bad name by their mistaken belief that loving the country means blindly supporting any folly its leaders can conceive and heaping scorn on any fellow citizen who misses some conformist benchmark of behavior.

I knew that as sure as I was sitting here, that that's exactly what the f***wit was about to do. I must be psychic.

deering said...

Ugh--Neil Steinberg. The jerk who wrote a long screed awhile back about how single people are irresponsible/immature/clueless/doomed-to-die-alone-and-be-eaten-by-goldfish...and how being married turns you into a mature citizen, a real person, a shining example of responsibility, and generally makes the sun shine out your ass. Though, that reverence for marriage isn't enough to keep him from resentfully talking about his wife as if she's a spoil-sport nanny determined to ruin his fun by keeping him on the straight-and-narrow. Why would anyone think this guy has anything worthwhile to say?