Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the February 2010 issue

The Nation
Thus begins an anfractuous little essay by one Miss JoAnn Wypijewski, apparently a recent participant in the Nation's Learn to Write English Project. How this rubbish ends God only knows, though it appears to be about sex:

In the beginning there was sex. And sex begat skill, and skill (or its absence) begat judgment, and judgment begat insecurity, and insecurity begat doctors' visits, which begat treatments, which have flourished into a multibillion- dollar industry, so that sex between men and women is today almost inconceivable without the shadow of disorder, dysfunction, the "little blue pill" or myriad other medical interventions designed to bring sex back to some longed-for beginning: a state of certified healthfulness, the illusion of normal."
(September 28, 2009)

Palo Alto Daily News
On the howl page of a great California daily Fox News' plot against Muslims and Mexicans is exposed, apparently by a retired professor, possibly with a criminal record:

Dear Editor:
The hatred fostered by Fox News and some right-wing cable talk shows has to be held responsible for the shootings at Fort Hood. They have consistently tried to blame Muslims and Mexicans for all the ills in "merica" and I fear it is just about to get worse.

These people have to be shut down for the good of world peace. If they're not a real news show, take them off the air.

If they're a so-called church preaching hatred take away their tax-exempt status so they can stop funding rightwing candidates who reject all forms of legislation that can solve America's problems-global warming, the environment, education, health care and Iraq.
Jan Krieg,
Palo Alto

(November 10, 2009)

The Progressive
A dispiriting report from one of the Women of the Fevered Brow's diehards, Miss Barbara Ehrenreich, lifelong opponent of lingerie:

Feminism made women miserable. This, anyway, seems to be the most popular takeaway from The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, a recent study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, which purports to show that women have become steadily unhappier since 1972. Maureen Dowd and Arianna Huffington greeted the news with somber perplexity, but the more common response has been a triumphant: I told you so.

On Slate's DoubleX website, a columnist concluded from the study that "the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s gave us a steady stream of women's complaints disguised as manifestos...and a brand of female sexual power so promiscuous that it celebrates everything from prostitution to nipple piercing as a feminist act-in other words, whine, womyn, and thongs."
(December 2009/January 2010)

The Atlantic
Thanks to historian Andrew Roberts' sedulous researches into the anti-American archives, we reproduce a lewd rant that the Current Wisdom Department had inexcusably missed from Joyce Carol Oates, leading proponent of the Hangover Theory of History:

How heartily sick the world has grown, in the first seven years of the 21st century, of the American idea! Speak with any non-American, travel to any foreign country, and the consensus is: The American idea has become a cruel joke, a blustery and bellicose bodybuilder luridly bulked up on steroids, consequently low on natural testosterone, deranged and myopic, dangerous."
(November 2007)
On a famed lunatic Web site Mr. Andrew Leonard traces the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy back to its artistic roots, and of course, slanders An American Hero:

I am always on the lookout for interesting interconnections between unexpected endpoints, but today's installment-bridging together cyclisthate and the infamous right-wing Arkansas Project witch-hunt against Bill and Hillary Clinton-is a doozy, even by my standards., The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog, somehow managed to dig up clipping from the Indianapolis Star, circa 1980, that trashes the notion of bike lanes in New York City in language so malevolent as to beggar description.

A couple of excerpts:

Millions of trucks, buses, taxis, and privately owned vehicles have been squeezed into narrowed streets. Months have been sliced from the lives of drivers and passengers; a drive from 30th Street to Central Park south is now five to 10 minutes longer-God knows how much longer it is if one begins in Greenwich Village. Access to nearby shops is more difficult, and neighborhood dogs, answering nature's call, are terrified to venture toward the curb.

In fact millions of pedestrians, standing at crosswalks, have experienced real terror, exposed as they now are to the mercy and moderation of bicycle riders, people whose lawlessness and viciousness are a matter of record...

Not only are bicycles dangerous, they are as antiquated a form of transportation as the rickshaw. In no advanced city on earth will you find civilized people cycling to work. The urban cyclist is generally a crank, either profoundly antisocial or hopelessly narcissistic and following the strenuous life in hopes of achieving immortality or a legendary sex life. When you encounter him give him a wide berth and never turn your back on him....

Now, I will acknowledge a certain felicity of phrasing and tendency towards what some might call outrageous hyperbole that could lead one to believe that the author of this screed was attempting to be humorous. But then I looked closer at the byline, and saw that said author was R. Emmett Tyrrell, the founder of The American Spectator, one of the pillars of the modern right-wing propaganda establishment, and a name likely to be quite familiar to Salon readers who have been hanging around these parts for more than a decade.

But in case you weren't around back then, the Arkansas Project, in which The American Spectator, funded by right-wing philanthropist/evil mastermind Richard Mellon Scaife, spent millions of dollars in a mostly futile effort to dig up dirt on Bill and Hillary Clinton's pre-White House days, played a role in the national conversation somewhat analogous to that fulfilled by birthers today. In other words, rampant, unhinged conspiracy theorizing! Good times, good times.

Anyway, to learn that R. Emmett Tyrrell hates bicycles is an epiphanycausing event that tempts me to believe that there is a greater purpose to the universe than I am normally prepared to contemplate. Maybe there is a god, and if so, she is laughing at me.
(November 17, 2009)

Washington Post
As the Prophet Obama flops around desperately on the beach, his popularity below 50 percent, his collectivist Democrats still spending madly, columnist Ruth Marcus dusts off adjectives once applied to President Jimmy Peanut and forgets that anile little scamp's eventual doom:

If the dominant figure of the past decade was Bush, the dominant figure of this decade-and assuming he wins reelection-will be Barack Obama. That is trading up.

I've never believed that Obama's election ushered in a magical era of national harmony. But the president is thoughtful and pragmatic. He may have too many priorities, but they are the right ones. His first year in office has demonstrated a useful combination of steadiness in pursuit of a goal and flexibility-steadiness in pursuit of a goal and flexibility in the means to achieve it."
(December 23, 2009)

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