Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the June 2010 issue


Wall Street Journal
The clever editors at the invaluable Wall Street Journal publish yet another impenetrable column by their house Liberal, Thomas Frank, in their ongoing clandestine intrigue to demonstrate the tediousness of the Liberal mind:

Indeed, the revelations about porn consumption at the SEC must be a libertarian's own wet dream. Here you have a libertarian cause célèbre -- the endless, uncontrollable oceans of Internet pornography -- somehow drowning that libertarian bête noir, regulatory enforcement. Polymorphous perversity itself managed to muzzle Big Brother.

How awesome is that? Why it's as awesome as if Any Rand herself returned to earth and -- shrieking, "bow to Goldman Sachs, parasites!" -- led the bank industry's lobbyists to victory over the financial reform bill.
(April 28, 2010)

Chicago Sun-Times
The noble vision of A. Lincoln lives on in the dirty mind of Hon. Edolphus Towns (D-NY):

Now that the health-care reform is out of the way, it is time for Congress to tackle another matter of major importance: potty parity.

Legislation in the House would require all new federal buildings to be built with equal numbers of toilets in the men's and women's restrooms.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), sees the inequality as more than just an annoyance. To Towns, who has championed this issue in the past, the bathroom imbalance is also a threat to women's health -- especially pregnant women.

Equally important, he says, the disparity is a lingering manifestation of gender inequality and an abridgement of civil rights. "Our nation's history shows that the structure and accessibility of American public restrooms have served as manifestations of more deeply rooted problems of discrimination, among race, physical ability and gender," he said.
(April 11, 2010)

New York Times
Renaissance sportswriter George Vecsey encounters one Billy Payne, chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and "grand pooh-bahot; of the Masters golf tournament, and beholds the prototypical Tea Partier spewing hate:

Without being asked, Payne launched into a prepared statement at his annual pretournament news conference, saying Woods had "disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids."
He added: "Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children."

Remind me again why we are supposed to talk in reverent tones about the Masters. Because it stands for money and power and the exclusion of women and goodness knows what hidden messages in the public rebuking of "our hero," who is part Thai and part African-American.

Just asking, but would Payne have been so quick to deliver his little sermon to a white golfer who was caught straying? My guess is that some kind of double standard whacked Tiger Woods on the backswing. How dare he stray after all they've done for him.
(April 8, 2010)

(Champaign, Illinois)

ACORN goes bust and one of its top officials has to hit the road:

Feminist porn activist Annie Sprinkle will speak on the University of Illinois campus from 8 to 11 p.m. Wednesday in Room 314, Altgeld Hall, 1409 W. Green St.

Her talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled, "My Life and Work as a Feminist Porn Activist, Ecosexual, and Radical Sex Educator." Sprinkle will share some of her life's work, do mini-performances and have a discussion with the audience.

Sprinkle, a "prostitute/porn star turned sexologist/performance artist," has devoted the past 35 years to researching and exploring sexuality, from the sacred to the profane. She has documented and shared her findings through explicit films, photography and sexuality workshops. For the past decade, she has toured her one-woman theater shows as well.
(April 13, 2010)

New York Times
By Jove, he has done it. Times columnist Frank Rich extends his unprecedented string of consecutive appearances in this intellectually rigorous section of AmSpec to four months running! Not even Maureen Dowd has managed such a feat. Yet still Frank has failed to thank us for sending a suitably inscribed copy of The Nebraska Constitution: A Reference Guide. Maybe the security detail at the Times snatched it as a potential terrorist manual for Tea Partiers:

How our current spike in neo-Confederate rebellion will end is unknown. It's unnerving that Tea Party leaders and conservatives in the Oklahoma Legislature now aim to create a new volunteer militia that, as The Associated Press described it, would use as yet mysterious means to "help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty." This is the same ideology that animated Timothy McVeigh, whose strike against the tyrannical federal government will reach its 15th anniversary on Monday in the same city where the Oklahoma Legislature meets.

What is known is that the nearly all-white G.O.P. is so traumatized by race it has now morphed into a bizarre paragon of both liberal and conservative racial political correctness. For irrefutable proof, look no further than the peculiar case of its chairman, Steele, whose reckless spending and incompetence would cost him his job at any other professional organization, let alone a political operation during an election year. Steele has job security only because he is the sole black man in a white party hierarchy. That hierarchy is as fearful of crossing him as it is of calling out the extreme Obama haters in its ranks.

At least we can take solace in the news that there's no documentary evidence proving that Tea Party demonstrators hurled racist epithets at John Lewis. They were, it seems, only whistling "Dixie."
(April 18, 2010)

New York Review of Books

Michael discovers he's developed a crush on Elizabeth:

To the Editors:

In a footnote to my recent piece for the Review ["The Money Fighting Health Care Reform," NYR, April 8], I wrote that Elizabeth Drew was "one of the first" political journalists to draw public attention to the problem of money in politics. Upon reflection, I think this wording underplays her contribution. With the book of hers I mentioned, Politics and Money: The New Road to Corruption (1983), based on a series she'd written for The New Yorker, she was really the first to explore the problem of how money was corrupting politics. Library Journal observed that Drew had done for the campaign finance reform movement what Rachel Carson had done for the environmental movement.

I am happy to correct the record.
Michael Tomasky
Silver Spring, Maryland

(April 29, 2010)

From the Archives
Timeless Tosh from Current Wisdoms Past
(June 1990)

Movies USA

Mr. Alec Baldwin, star of The Hunt for Red October, reveals the workings of his marvelous mind; and, surely, you all remember the hordes of right-wing assassins:

Baldwin is more than passionate about his politics. He has stumped for the Democrats at colleges; he journeyed to the Democratic Convention with Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden; and recently he joined a group called the Creative Coalition, formed by actor Ron Silver in New York. Still, he feels guilty.

He sighs, "I talk about these things because I'm committed and when I'm done I feel kind of disgusted with myself. Sitting in a coffee shop and talking about it is not committed. I think once or twice a month I lie in bed at night and think how I'd like to find a militant organization -- like some Black Panther or IRA equivalent -- that revolved around some important cause and go out and blow up some chemical plant. Really put my ass on the line. One of the most significant differences I see between the right wing and the left wing is that in this country, the right wing's fanatical assassins -- they have better aim." Baldwin gestures ruefully. "I must be really babbling."
(March 1990)

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