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scottmichael

I thought the 2nd rate spy novel guy with the weird hat was Tom Clancy.

KathyF

I read your post on Roger Simon the other night, when I was reading your backlog (backblog?) and I remembered something I wrote right after 9/11. When the towers fell I had just finished a scene in a novel where the protagonist had to dig out of earthquake rubble, and I felt awful. Like why should I be entertaining people with such horrible scenes? It stopped me cold for quite a while.

I never took the path that Simon did. In fact, I quit writing again during the presidential primaries, partly in order to get rid of what I considered the greatest threat to our safety, GWB. So in a way maybe I did react like Simon.

Donny

It is indeed notable that those people who are the most fearful of terrorism and the most supportive of belligerent foreign adventures likely to trigger even more terrorism, tend to be those who are the least vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

mrs. norman maine

Who knew all this was going on at the James Lileks site?! I go there all the time, but ignore the "Bleat" and scroll merrily through his collections of vintage matchbooks, '50s postcards, old comic strips and, best of all, his "gallery of regrettable food."

So on the strength of his endless fascination with this stuff, coupled with his truly brilliant and witty commentary, I'll give him the "good egg" defense.

But since I haven't read the bloggy part of his site, I don't know what the heck I'm talking about, of course.

Tilli (Mojave Desert)

All right-wing movements are based in guilt, fear and paranoia.

They believe we don't deserve the good things in life because, after all, we are all sinners in the eyes of God.

Or something like that.

res publica

What a great take on Lileks. The first bit of his work I ever saw was the Gallery of Regrettable Foods, way back in the Neanderthal days when there were still cool new websites popping up and the Gallery hadn't been published in book form yet. I laughed until my sides hurt, and I still think it's funny, because I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old, but that's another story. Imagine, then, my disappointment at learning that everything else he's ever done is fully retarded schlock. And then came 9/11, and he came so thoroughly and publicly unglued that I feel sorry for him on a pretty regular basis.

Vivek

No wonder they hate FDR so much, what with including freedom from fear as one of the basic freedoms we should strive for.

They either don't want to or can't, and they resent those of us that keep trying. But in the end, FDR implanted it in our minds.

Shakespeare's Sister

Lovely, as always.

Molly, NYC

Also, it's a good bet that the guy voted for Bush, that he is a hawk on the war in Iraq . . . But it's also a good bet that he's not.

A better bet than even you might think.

On Memorial Day, I went to the observance at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (about a 15-minute stroll from the AMNH). It was mostly what you'd expect: Some local politicians, a couple of incomprehensible clergymen, the American Legion and VFW, a lot of seniors (many looking quite sharp in their old uniforms), a surprising number of homeless guys I recognized from the neighborhood. Speaker after speaker got up and talked about the soldiers they remembered: WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf . . .

Then a VFW guy got up and talked about making the rounds of politicians to keep the local VA services from shrinking. Not much satisfaction from them, and he ended by suggesting that if they were going to close the hospital, they should end this war.

And the crowd went wild! Hoots, cheers, applause. Sitting people stood. And thereafter, the speakers took their stands--mostly against the war.

Not to say there weren't any "my country right or wrong" types, and okay, this is the sapphire-blue Upper West Side, not Tulsa. But these folks take their patriotism very seriously and no one (including me) came for anything besides a plain, vanilla Memorial Day service. If this crowd is pissed off about the war, I can only imagine the rest of the country's disgust.

denisdekat

"They hate us for our freedom from fear."

This is one of my favorite turn arounds I have read in a while, good one Lance!

Linkmeister

"His new site is called ScreedBlog."

Wait until Roy Edroso finds out about this!

Roy's had a great time skewering Lileks, Reynolds, Noonan et. al. for the past two or three years; I'm sure he'll be delighted to have a new target.

harry near indy

i agree with linkmeister.

roy will beat on lileks like he owes him money.

Cornholin'

Interesting.

And yet, this is what Lileks wrote on September 12, 2001:

"HELL no. I am not going to live in fear. They want my freedom, my peace of mind? Come and get it.

"I won't do your work for you."

Link. Scroll towards the bottom.

Jack (CommonSenseDesk)

I dodn't realize he was a good writer ~ of fiction, anyway. It does appear, however, that writing fiction has provided him with a breadth of experience that translates nicely to blogging!

carla

People have two basic emotions: fear and love. Everything else pretty much boils down to those two. These people want you to spend as much time in fear mode as possible.

It's creepy freaky how these guys operate. They don't just want you to be afraid...they want you to be pissed in your pants paralyzed with fear.

They never lower that terror alert..EVER. Bush never tires of using the words "war on terror" and "terrorists" and "America haters". It's all about grinding people into the ground.

That fear gives Bush carte blanche to do what he wants. As long as he speaks to their base emotions...people will keep supporting him.

Until or unless an appropriate alternative comes to the fore.

AlanDownunder

Why is it that targets are mainly blue-state but the targeters are mainly re-state?

mac macgillicuddy

"and that 2nd rate spy novel writer guy who wears the weird hat, but who's name (and grammar) I can never remember"

Tilli (Mojave Desert)

Interesting.

Now I know why the "Gall Regr Food" I got for Christmas years ago was such an annoying read.

The original art is great fun, yet I kept screaming at the book: Hey! let's have the original text. It's gotta be funnier than this.

Interesting.

Like a smell that's just not right.

letitia

C'mon, please name the writer who pushed his way off the plane but now is embarrassed by it--embarrassment doesn't absolve accountability (I hope).

Kip W

Lileks's stuff is humor-shaped. It has obvious punch lines; you can tell where you're supposed to laugh. It's sort of like a used car we looked at some years back -- felt good, handled nicely, looked fine, but it smelt of cat piss. The agent said that'd come right out, and we looked at each other and said, well, why didn't they do that before they showed it to us?

Thus with Lileks. The stench of meanness permeates everything he writes. Whenever he turns a clever phrase, it's to try and make someone else look bad and make him look good. His every joke comes at the expense of some poor yahoo who's just not as clever as he thinks he is. Smug superiority is all he's got, and it's pretty pathetic after a very short while.

newyorker

As someone who has gone to school, lived, worked and raised a family in NYC over the last 40 years I offer these observations re: New Yorkers.

a) Fearless: If you are afraid you wont be able to cross the street. The cabbies smell fear and will run you over if you allow it.
b) Careful: Stand back from the edge of the subway platform. There could be a nut standing behind you.
c) Rude: Who you calling sucker, sucker?
d) Self reliant: Everybody you run into is trying to make a living. There are 8 million stories in the naked city.
e) Cynical: No, I do not want to buy a bridge. I dont care that it will take me to Brooklyn and back.
f) Entrepeneural: Walk Canal St from 6th Av to the Manhattan Bridge. Chinese, Africans, Middle Easterners, Greeks, Cubans, Eastern Europeans, South Americans, Asians, etal. All selling something. All trying to make a living.
g) Helpful: Take the "A" or the "E" train to Chambers St. Ground Zero is right upstairs.
h) Brave: Over 200 firemen died on 9/11. They ran IN when everyone else was running OUT.

I cried like a baby on 9/11 knowing that those evil SOB's (Al Quaeda) targeted New York because it is the Greatest City in the World. Their victims were of every race, religion, or economic status that make up New York.
I still tear up when I think about all the victims and their families. People who set out to make a living, but ended up dead.

We wanted our leaders to hunt down Al Quaeda and kill them. But instead we are off on GW's excellent adventure in Iraq, while Bin Laden cannot be found.

Soon however, like most New Yorkers, I realized that "ain't nothin' happening but the rent".
Life goes on. New York City will always be a magnet to the rest of the world. We will always build and re-build.

So, if you are fearful, New York City is not the place for you.



Bob Munck

Well and truly said, newyorker. I only lived in NYC for a short time in the early 70's, but ever since, everywhere else is "out of town." It occurs to me that one of the reasons that the right wingnuts hate NY is that it continued to be NY after 9/11, didn't become Little Rock or Kansas City.

Scott Sala

This is garbage.

I don't have time to debunk the whole thing.

The bravest person that week was a muslim couple. Geez, could you be a bigger multicultural sap.

Bush isn't funding security here and we are just all normal in nyc? Really? I work next to the NY Stock Exchange and see dogs sniff the undersides of truck every day while I got to get my Starbucks across the street. Go visit Federal Hall and any photo you take will likely have a security guard with an automatic weapon in the background.

Point is, the government is protecting us, which is their primary function. ANd you said it yourself, Bush asked everyone to go back to normal, and they did. Why are you complaining now?

You also act as if the rest of the nation is hunkered down in Art Bell bunkers. I suppose when any writer writes about concern for America's safety you just assume they are paranoid freaks. Gimme a break.

I live in NYC, am Republican, and am not living in fear. But I'll be damned if I will sit around and let whatever happens happen next. Much like you.

Diana

I also live & work in downtown NYC and am not living in fear (although I must admit that I live in the sapphire blue village). Sorry, Scott, but real security is getting lax. I don't mind because for the most part it didn't make sense anyway: the 9/11 hijackers all had I.D. and anyway there never came a point where they could have been busted for not showing it, nor did they carry anything that could be found by a dog, etc.

As for saying "you'll be damned if I sit around and let whatever happens, " well, what exactly is our fearless repub government doing other than that? Just the other day I went by ground zero with a friend and I said, "four years later, Osama's fine (for all we know) and there's exactly one building actually going up at ground zero, the whole rest of the site is still empty, and does anybody care? Not that I can see!" and she agreed.

So, Scott, what are you doing, except going off to your job like the rest of us and letting whatever happens, happen? You could always join our military and volunteer for Afghanistan. But that would be too much trouble, wouldn't it?

Lance

Scott, yes, as a matter of fact I can be more of a multicultural sap. I can be any kind of a sap. I'm pretty good at sappiness. But as it happens, I wasn't being sappy. You, on the other hand, were not reading closely.

I wrote that that couple were two *of* the bravest people in America that week. Lots of room in that *of* for soldiers, firefighters, EMTs, flight attendants, passengers on Flight 93, and even stockbrokers and Rudy Guiliani. Lots of brave people that week. And that couple was brave, considering all the violence and the threats Muslim-Americans and any Americans who looked Middle Eastern had to endure. The Islamic Cultural Center on the SU campus was vandalized that week.

As for the security measures you describe down by your work: I admitted I don't know what things look like down there, but besides that, I never said that we can do without security measures of any kind.

The post is about not living in fear. And you aren't. You are one of the New Yorkers I was admiring from the bus the other day. You are still downtown, going to work every day, living your life. Good for you, especially if you were working downtown on 9/11.

I also didn't say anywhere w\that I think most people outside NYC are living in fear. In fact I wrote that I think most Americans aren't, they are living their lives. I did say that the most terrorized people are the Right Wing bloggers. In real life you are brave. On your blog you talk scared. The rhetoric you and your fellow Right Wing bloggers indulge yourself with on your webpages is fear-filled and fearful, tough as you think your talk is. You push fear on others too.

And perhaps you have served in the military or you are too old to serve now, but an awful lot of your comrades at the keyboard are young enough to go fight and they aren't doing it, are they? So what is it exactly that you are all doing to keep another 9/11 from happening? Worrying real hard?

Science teacher from around here, father of four kids, a member of the National Guard, was killed in Iraq Tuesday.

What the hell are middle aged Guardsmen doing over there? Why aren't there more regular soldiers?

Because it would cost too much, and we got to protect the tax cuts. You're a Republican? Voted for Bush, did you? You voted for that man's death. That's what you did to keep IT from happening again.

Joyce

I think the argument misses something, which is why do the wingnuts embrace the fear so readily. The answer, I think, is that fear gives you permission to hate. The right wing has been bereft and abandoned since the fall of the Soviet Union, looking for a good collective candidate for their hatred. The 'gay agenda' didn't make a very satisfying substitute for the menacing communist global empire. Now they have an enemy again, and it makes them feel secure.

So yes, they need the fear so they can have the hate, therefore the fear makes them feel secure. They've never lived without it, you see.

gmanedit

Joyce, I agree with you that the fear gives them permission to hate. But who they hate is liberals.

blue girl

Scott:

Great lead-in sentence: "This is garbage." -- because all that follows truly is.

steve duncan

They also hate us because we got laid in school. High school. And we got high and laughed and rolled on the ground and knew what feeling silly was and didn't care what others thought. They hate us because we saw the Stones and Zep and all the other while they polished their pocket protectors. They hate us because on 10 minutes notice we drove to Lauderdale, skinny-dipped with a few dozen friends on hot summer daze and often think or talk about things their mothers told them were bad. Overall they hate us because their prudish, conservative tight asses are permanently irritated by the knots in their shorts. Fuck'em.

nathaniel hellerstein

Another reason for the fear is economic. Unfortunately some let their fear mislead them, so they vote against their interests. This leads to more economic upheaval, leading to more fear, etc. The alternative, as Lance notes, is to have our lives instead.

Kip W

False dichotomy, steve. I had a pocket protector in high school while being a hippie who got beat up for having long hair and two-tone shoes. Don't shut out your allies on superficialities, please. A lot of the jerks in power now were happily scarfing down drugs then. The difference is that now they're scarfing down money (or Scaifing down money) and looking for ways to bust anybody who does Now what they did Then. A fink is a fink is a fink, regardless of how they looked in the 70s.

Lance

Kip, Steve, I think it depends on where you grew up and who young hung with. Right now there are a bunch of Right Wing mouthpieces who pretend to be hip, with it, and too cool to be Liberal. Liberals are sqaures, man. We're the real rebels, preaching power to the Man! The so-called South Park Republicans. Ann Coulter and Ann Althouse and others make a big deal of their supposed rock and roll, wild-ass pasts. But these people are just fronts. They're allowed to fake it because they're useful in helping to lure young people to the cause.

But the real leaders of the Right hate the 60s and all it stands for, not just rock and roll and sex and drugs, but Civil Rights and the anti-war movement too. The Right's real soul is repressive and puritanical. They despise music, sex, individual freedom, nonconformity, and everything else that makes people feel free and alive, and I think that actually includes courage as well.

Big Worm

I like this bit: "I hate to break it to these theorists, but it does not take guts for a young man to want to have multiple sex partners. It takes guts to settle down and have a family and rein in the roaming libido."

indeed. because were he not married, you know the short, balding, paunchy, stay-at-home dad would just be swimming in nubile babes.

Sean

Hey Scott:

You write that:

"Point is, the government is protecting us, which is their primary function. ANd you said it yourself, Bush asked everyone to go back to normal, and they did. Why are you complaining now?"

I'll tell you why this liberal is complaining.

Your government is not really protecting you. If your governemt and your fellow Republicans really wanted to protect you, the EPA would not have suppressed reports after 9/11 that the air downtown was a danger to your health.

Instead, the Bush Administration and Christine Whitman suppressed the information, altered the reports, and reassured all New Yorkers that the air downtown after 9/11 was not a threat to your health. We now know that was a complete bullshit.

My partner works in the NYSE and he has bouts of the 9/11 cough and sinus problems as do many of his co-workers.

Glad you're a Republican, Scott. Most men on Wall Street are good, loyal Republicans, yet your own party played you like fools after 9/11 placing corporate profits over your right to know the truth about the very air you breathed.

HStewart

George W. Bush has always seemed to be a very fearful person. (And having seen his parents, who can blame him?)

cs

This is so wonderful to read, it borders on brilliant. And the final line is, I think, exactly right. Republicans have been afraid of something -- commies, blacks, bra-less women & long-haired men, gays, the latest immigrant wave -- as long as I've been alive. If they weren't so hateful and destructive I'd feel sorry for them.

patrick

Voted for Bush, did you? You voted for that man's death. That's what you did to keep IT from happening again.

ooph.

That's gonna leave a mark.

glenstonecottage

Republicans have been afraid of something -- commies, blacks, bra-less women & long-haired men, gays, the latest immigrant wave -- as long as I've been alive. If they weren't so hateful and destructive I'd feel sorry for them.

Yes, the hatred is important because they get off on it so much... but the hatred is directed at anyone who doesn't kneel down before their twin idols of Conformity and Authority...the same two qualities that led many Germans to admire Hitler so much.

Filled with Authority-approved hatred, the wingers are like coiled springs capable of unleashing terrible violence.

Just for one example, can you imagine some sociopathic ideolgoue like Ann Coulter having the power to arrest and interrogate you?

And do you really imagine she wouldn't torture liberals, if she thought she could get away with it?

DA

Jimmy Buffett said it this way:

"Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost

These are the things that terrify me the most

No aliens, psychopaths or MTV hosts

Scares me like vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost

Had a dream last night

Took a time traveling ride

Back to my childhood

Where those monsters reside

They snack on innocence

And dine on self-esteem

But I like to be in touch with what makes me scream ..."

Tell ya what makes me scream, BushCo ... what the Bush Cartel / Regime is doing to America is 1,000-times scarier to me than any foreign threat.

...now I try to be amused

...the real leaders of the Right hate the 60s and all it stands for, not just rock and roll and sex and drugs, but Civil Rights and the anti-war movement too.

Yep. They hate the Clintons because to them they are the embodiment of the 60s.

They despise music, sex, individual freedom, nonconformity, and everything else that makes people feel free and alive...

Actually, many of them like hedonism, only just for themselves.

Saintperle

It seems those who plundered the rest of us to accrue their personal wealth and fences and alarm systems are perhaps feeling guilty, but perhaps, more simply, and not to play psychoanalyst, are so surrounded by their luxuries they spend all their time worrying about someone taking it away from them.

N. Nasr

"Yep. They hate the Clintons because to them they are the embodiment of the 60s."

Please don't bring them into this. There's plenty of legitimate reasons to hate the Clintons that have nothing to do with the who, what, where, how and why of Bill getting his knob polished or Hillary "not knowing her place" as a first lady.

In fact, Clinton did a lot of things that Bush has done.. just earlier, and not quite as loudly.

Repressive "anti-terrorism" legislation & shredding the constitution? Check

Premeditated, unprovoked warfare? Check

The largest buildup of federal prisons and more Americans locked up (and for far longer sentences) than at any previous time in the nation's history? Check

Wag the dog? Oh hell yeah!

Suffice it to say that this list could go on and on. In fact entire books have been written on the subject, the best of which, free from wingnut looniness are the following:

"Feeling Your Pain" - James Bovard

"No One Left to Lie To" - Christopher Hitchens

"Al Gore: A User's Manual" - Alexander Cockburn


Let's keep things in perspective. Just because we've got the worst president in history currently occupying the White House doesn't mean we have to look at his predecessor through rose-tinted glasses or fondly reminisce on his reign.


Great post by the way, Lance. Found it via a link at Dennis Perrin's blog.

walter

"Voted for Bush, did you? You voted for that man's death. "

Nonsense. Do you have any evidence Kerry would have prevented that man's death? Was Kerry calling for a US withdrawal from Iraq? Because I seem to recall that he wasn't.

walter

Yes, the hatred is important because they get off on it so much... but the hatred is directed at anyone who doesn't kneel down before their twin idols of Conformity and Authority

No bigger hater than a republican-hater. Do you honestly imagine 51% of the USA conforms to your overwrought stereotype?

"We saw the stones and Zep" - please grow up.

Lance

Walter, As a matter of fact, I don't think Kerry would have pulled us out of Iraq, at least not quickly. And I wrote a post about this right after the election.

http://lancemannion.typepad.com/lance_mannion/2004/11/a_good_man.html

You're right. Kerry did not call for withdrawl. But he did call for funding the war properly and fighting it properly, and that would have meant we put more troops, regular troops, trained for combat, in Iraq. That man who died Tuesday was in the National Guard. He enlisted back in 2000, not to fight terrorists, but to make extra money to help his growing family. He wound up over there because Bush and Rumsfeld wanted to fight their war on the cheap. And they haven't changed, haven't learned. A vote for Bush was a vote to continue the mess Bush has made over there.

And my point was that that Right Wing blogger who was claiming to be fighting the fight against terrorism was just doing some empty boasting. All he and his fellow braggarts have done is vote for Bush and the effect of that has been continued incompetence in the running of the war over there, which has gotten lots of men and women killed to no purpose.

glenstonecottage

No bigger hater than a republican-hater. Do you honestly imagine 51% of the USA conforms to your overwrought stereotype?

Nope, not 51% of the USA, probably more like 10%.

The other 41% are just gullible shitheels like you, Walter... stupid enough to be manipulated by a bunch of flag-wavin', bible-thumpin', gun-carryin', evolution-denyin', fetus-obsessed wackos.

walter

The other 41% are just gullible shitheels like you

As I said, no hater like a republican hater. Glen, mouth breathing hyperventilating nitwits like you are why Kerry lost. For the sake of my party, the Democratic party, please try to curb your bigotry a bit.

"He enlisted back in 2000, not to fight terrorists, but to make extra money to help his growing family"

Assuming that's even true, it's simply not a good enough reason to enlist in the army or any other high-risk line of work. Part of the risk is that you'll be sent into combat to enforce a policy with which you may not agree (though as it happens, most soldiers vote Republican as well.) This commitment is spelled out on the enlistment form in black and white.

"that would have meant we put more troops, regular troops, trained for combat, in Iraq"

Neither you nor Kerry have any evidence at all that "more troops" would be sufficient to end or even mitigate the violence in Iraq. For all we know, "more troops" would entail more checkpoints, more humiliation of Iraqis, more recruiting for the insurgency, and many more dead fathers of four.

walter

Thus with Lileks. The stench of meanness permeates everything he writes. Whenever he turns a clever phrase, it's to try and make someone else look bad and make him look good. His every joke comes at the expense of some poor yahoo who's just not as clever as he thinks he is. Smug superiority is all he's got, and it's pretty pathetic after a very short while.

Sounds just like Wolcott.

Lance

Walter, telling people that can't predict what would have happened in an alternative universe is not an argument. More regular troops would mean more young, unmarried troops and fewer mothers and fathers of four over there. That that might have resulted in the death of more Iraqi fathers and mothers and children is a possibility. It's also possible the Martians could have come down and put a stop to the whole mess. Who knows?

We don't know what would have happened if Kerry had won. We do know what Bush was doing in November of 2004, screwing up Iraq and Afghanistan. Voting for him was voting to continue the screw ups.

But the point is still that the only thing guys like Lileks and the other Right Wing bloggers have done to fight terrorism is cheer hardily when other men and women go off to kill and die in their place.

That's all they've done.

Glen and Walter, please tone down the rhetoric or take it outside. The ground rules here are that anybody gets to call ME whatever you feel I am, but you must be civil to each other.

Lance

Walter,

The man didn't join the Marines, he joined the National Guard. In 2000 the most dangerous assignment he could reasonably expect was disaster relief. But you should read the story about him. He sounds like a good guy.

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2005/06/09/soldier1.htm

But they all do.

The story has taken a weird turn though. This is from this morning's paper:

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2005/06/11/investig.htm

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