Let’s keep it brief.
Posted by KingShamus on September 14, 2012
Not the US State Department, apparently.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.
Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr [Chris] Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.
Hilary Clinton got the proverbial 3:00 AM phone call and promptly mashed the ‘hold’ button.
And she’s supposed to be the adult in the Zero Admenstruation.
I mean, everyone knows that when you need somebody to lead a nation’s foreign policy team, the obvious choice is a former hack lawyer/First Lady/socialized health care legislation writer/serial adultery enabler/one term junior US senator.
But let’s not pick on Hill-Dawg. This is her first try at being Secretary of State. In the upcoming Biden presidency, Madame Clinton will do better at playing dress up in the big girl pants suits.
Instead, why not take a look at the empty chair in charge of this calamity?
Remember when Pantscrease Obama promised America smart diplomacy back in 2008?
“Smart’ must be only having four local clowns manning the security detail at your consulate. In Libya.
U.S. officials told reporters on Wednesday that the Benghazi consulate had “a robust American security presence, including a strong component of regional security officers.” And indeed, one of the four Americans killed was a former Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty, who was “on security detail” and “protecting the ambassador,” his sister Katie Quigly told the Boston Globe. Also killed was an information management officer, Sean Smith. The fourth American who died has not yet been identified. Yet Baja described a very different picture from his visit on Tuesday morning, even remarking at how relaxed the scene was when he returned to the consulate building a short while after leaving Stevens, in order to collect the mobile phone he had accidentally left behind. “The consulate was very calm, with video [surveillance] cameras outside,” Baja said. “But inside there were only four security guards, all Libyans—four!—and with only Kalshnikovs on their backs. I said, ‘Chris, this is the most powerful country in the world. Other countries all have more guards than the U.S.,’” he said, naming as two examples Jordan and Morocco.
This is officially where the wheels come flying off for President Zero.
Shitty economy at home, dead Americans abroad and nothing–NOTHING–to show from our obsequious scraping to the wretched stinking scum of the Earth. Nothing has been gained from the Obama Admenstruation’s foreign policy except the laughing contempt of the Islamo-fascists.
By the way, just in case you buy into Obama’s nonsense, the followers of hardline Islam will never stop hating us. Never. Why? Because our culture represents nothing less than an existential threat to shari’a. The economic dynamism, technological superiority, military might and frantic boisterous culture of America is the death knell of 7th century Koranic zealotry and the adherents to this ideology know it in their bones.
It’s well past time for us to recognize extremist Islam’s obstinate refusal to join the civilized world. The last ten years have made this obvious. The last twenty four hours merely confirms what we all know. Rationalism, free inquiry, dissent, religious freedom, women’s rights, the free market, meritocracy; these concepts may as well be from an alternate universe for the ardent Islamist.
Muslim extremists, unlike the Sanity-Based Community, often pray for their own death.
Perhaps it’s time for the men and women of the American armed forces to grant them their wish.
The problem is that Barack Obama cannot or will not see what he needs to do.
Sniffing the Muslim Brotherhood’s jock, letting Iran’s Green Uprising come and go with a bored yawn, giving Israel the hot tongue and cold shoulder treatment; all that was supposed to buy the United States a whole bunch of new friends in the Middle East.
Instead, we’ve become a goddamn joke.
On the campaign trail, when Joe Biden is pumping his working class guy drag act, he likes to bust into the “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead!” chant. I for one think it’s great that Mister Big Fucking Deal gets to spike the football. It gives the vice president something to do besides shove play-dough up his nose and get lap dances from random biker scabs.
Since Team Barry likes pithy slogans, here’s a new one to roll out on the campaign trail:
How did I do, Obamsters?
MORE: Watch the video the State Department made about Chris Stevens to introduce him to the people of Libya.
I would probably not agree with Chris Stevens’ politics. I get the feeling that he was probably a liberal. In light of what has happened, partisan differences are irrelevant.
What shines through the video, and what many people who knew him attest to, is his desire to spread goodwill. He cared deeply about his mission. He ardently wanted to help the people of Libya during a chaotic time in their history.
What did the Obama Administration do to support Chris Stevens? What did they do to create the conditions for the ambassador to succeed? The Obamatons sent this educated, cultured gentle man into a nest of vipers armed with little more than a stern countenance.
Let that sink in.
Our government sent one of our best and brightest–a person dedicated to peace–to his death. For what? On a wild goose chase to find pockets of humanity in a sea of terrorists, radicals and human putrescence.
I challenge anyone to find a thousand Libyans worth one Chris Stevens.
RIP, Chris Stevens.
Posted by KingShamus on September 11, 2012
Note–I wrote this last year, when I finally felt like I had something decent to add to the conversation. Some spelling and grammatical errors have been corrected, but my feelings about 9/11/01 have not changed. I remain in awe of the men and women that died fighting back against pure evil. I am still overwhelmed by the intense bravery of our fellow Americans who perished trying to save innocent life.
I never grieved for my country like I did on 9/11. Over the past decade, after hearing stories like Betty Ong’s, I now react differently to tragic events of that late summer morning. In the face of our ghoulish attackers, there were people like Betty Ong. When extremist terror came after us, we didn’t lay down and die like animals. We fought back, when everybody said we couldn’t. In hindsight, I realize that I have never been more proud of my great nation and all her astounding accomplishments than I was on that day.
On September 11th 2001, ordinary Americans were caught in the horror of al-Qaeda’s monstrous sadism. The victims of the 9/11 attacks were a more or less random sampling of people from a broad spectrum of life in the States. While none of them could’ve known that they would be murdered by pure human evil that day, many men and women rose up and became America’s first heroes in the war against radical Islam.
One of them was Betty Ong.
The 45-year-old flight attendant was on American Airline Flight 11, the first of two that crashed into the World Trade Center. During the hijacking, Ong hid in the back galley, picked up a crew phone and bravely called the airline reservation desk.
“The cockpit is not answering their phone,” Ong said during the hijacking. “There’s somebody stabbed in business class and we can’t breathe…somebody’s got mace or something.”
The call lasted 23 minutes. Ong spoke calmly, giving important details of the chaotic last moments.
The 9/11 Commission declared Ong a hero.
Here is the phone call she placed–in the midst of the hijacking, with murder surrounding her and in danger of being killed by terrorists–telling authorities what was happening on her flight.
And then this valiant woman was gone.
What did the 9/11 attacks cost us? We can talk about the trillion dollars that simply evaporated from the American economy in a single morning. The destruction of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon was meant to be a symbolic demolition of the United States’ economic and military dominance. But as important as these things are, they pale in comparison to the human price America paid on that day.
Think about the hopes and dreams of the three thousand people who died on that day. What did Betty Ong want for her life? Was she saving for a house or new car? Did she want to get married? Were children in her plans? Did she have career aspirations? These are questions that seem so banal, at least for the living. Tragically, they cannot be answered when it comes to Ms. Ong–or anyone else who died because of Osama bin Laden’s perverse ideology.
Three thousand people are no longer with us, which means three thousand sets of families and friends were victimized on September 11th. Those people who had a connection to the 9/11 victims not only had a part of their lives ripped away from them, but they had a part of their future destroyed as well; the weddings that didn’t happen, the children that won’t be born, the birthdays that have become a time of mourning. When seen from that perspective, the 9/11 attacks take on an almost unthinkably barbaric and inhuman dimension.
It was Osama bin Laden and his followers who decided to make war against us in this fashion. It was bin Laden, one of the most extreme adherents of a religion that has trouble reconciling itself to democracy, human rights, free market economics and the rest of modern civilization, that elected to use large scale terrorism on the United States. America did not seek out this fight. The fight was brought right into our home. We had no choice but to bring war upon bin Laden and all those that would stand with him. We have no choice but to continue to fight against all who follow in al-Qaeda’s path.
On this day, we should mourn. We should mourn for those who had loved ones taken from them. We should mourn for our country and all that it lost on that day. But we should also celebrate the men and women that gave their lives in order to save us. We almost never think of our neighbors and coworkers as potential heroes. As it turns out, the 9/11 attacks showed us that America is full of people who will rise in the face of unimaginable danger to help others.
At one of the darkest moments in this country’s history, there were many like Betty Ong who put themselves in harm’s way in order to do the right thing. During the worst attack on America’s soil, there were citizens that sacrificed their own lives in order to save the lives of others. These folks were not sports icons, blowhard politicians or members of the celebrity class. Our fallen 9/11 heroes were in fact ordinary Americans who were placed into unspeakable situations and performed extraordinary feats of selfless bravery.
On this day of sadness and pain, we should leave some room in our hearts for wonder. Hopefully we never stop marveling at the feats of our fallen champions from September 11th. The valorous dead deserve our remembrance and our reverence. We owe them far more than we can ever repay.
Posted by KingShamus on July 23, 2012
As you all already know by now, Colorado has been visited by mass murder.
A gunman slipped into a midnight premiere of the new Batman movie through an emergency exit early Friday, tossed two hissing gas canisters and then methodically, calmly walked up the aisle firing, killing 12 people and wounding 58.
It was among the worst mass shootings in American history.
Terrorized moviegoers, some dragging bloodied bodies, spilled out of the Century Aurora 16 complex at Aurora Town Center trying to escape shortly after 12:30 a.m.
Coloradans woke up Friday to news of the tragedy, an eerie echo of a similar massacre 13 years ago in a different Denver suburb, at Columbine High School. Once again, a mass shooting in Colorado was recounted around the world.
“Our hearts are broken,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
“It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This is one of those times.”
In response Christopher Nolan, the director of “The Dark Knight Rises” has issued this statement.
“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.
I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.
The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.
Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
Humans have loved artful storytelling since before there was such a thing as the written word. Oral tales and cave paintings–some of which still survive to the present day–are a testament to our age-old fascination with a rousing yarn. The enduring power of a well-crafted tale will exist for as long as there are people.
What sort of stories do we tell? The vast majority of our written and pictorial entertainments revolve around a struggle between good and evil. Good has been given many faces. Evil can be depicted as low banality or the heights of fantasy and every possible permutation in between.
What we must remember about our stories is that, when done well, the heroes and villains serve as metaphors for real world people and ideas. The Daleks of the Doctor Who television series are a science fiction stand-in for German National Socialism’s murderous racism. Wall Street‘s Gordon Gekko is the human face of greed. Conversely, Neo from The Matrix trilogy is a classic Jesus figure. James Kirk, the lead character in the original Star Trek series, is a symbol of post-WWII American optimism.
This is one of the reasons why the shootings at the Century 16 Theater are so horrifying. Films are meant to deliver potent symbols and show us compelling characters to root for and against. Reality is not supposed to intrude on our islands of comfortable diversion. We would never go to a theater and knowingly put ourselves in a life-or-death situation. Evil shouldn’t come off the screen and attack us in our seats.
Another reason why we are all shocked by this tragedy is that 2012 America is, statistically speaking, a relatively safe place. The homicide rate for the modern United States is just about the same as it was during the early 1960’s, a fairly quiet time in our nation’s history. For most Americans, violence doesn’t affect our day-to-day lives or cast a bleak shadow over our memories. The closest many people in the States get to murderous criminality are the fictions we create for ourselves. Things like James Patterson novels. And police procedural television shows. And motion pictures.
Given all that, one might be tempted to assume that Americans would react to terrorism with nothing but selfish panic. A people largely untouched by criminal blood lust, more used to looking at stylized violence on the silver screen than real sadism in their streets, would be expected to simply flee in an every-man-for-himself melee. Instead, the Aurora shootings have produced stories like this:
Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.
“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”
…Equally heroic was the 24-year-old Teves, who hurled his girlfriend to the floor as bullets whizzed through the theater.
“He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet,” said his aunt, Barbara Slivinske, 57. “He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it.”
…Samantha Yowler had a similar story of horror and heroism about her boyfriend, Matt McQuinn, whose last living act was to shield her from death. Yowler, 26, survived with a gunshot wound to the knee and is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.
McQuinn’s family credited his quick actions for saving Samantha’s life. Witnesses said he dove on top of his girlfriend as the shooting started and that Samantha’s brother, Nick, who was also in the theater, helped get her out of harm’s way. Nick Yowler was unharmed in the shooting.
“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the McQuinns’ lawyer, Robert Scott, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Matt perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded . . . and went home to be with his maker.”
How are we to explain this sort of self-sacrifice? Our knowledge of human instinct suggests that the will to live is stronger than any other impulse. Yet these three men used their bodies as shields to protect others from harm. They had to know that their actions could result in their deaths, yet they did it anyway.
What this terrible shooting should teach us is that real-life heroes are extraordinary in every sense of the word. The good guys that populate our fictional tales may be blessed with incredible powers, superhuman will or extraordinary resources. Even with all that, they pale in comparison to people like Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Terves. The heroes we construct are nothing when put up against real people who do the right thing under the worst possible circumstances.
At the same time, the Aurora shooter shows us how withered and barren evil really is. In popular culture, the forces of destruction are sometimes given a glossy coat of panache, intelligence or wit for the sake of good story-telling. With that in mind, contrast the most memorable movie villain with the face of the theater killer. There is nothing original or compelling about the shooter.
In fact, he’s a little more than a poorly conceived mimic. He aped the look and actions of The Dark Knight‘s Joker character. Why? One suspects it’s because he has so little to say. His inability to create anything on his own, coupled with whatever grandiose self-delusions he labored under, meant he had to take on the persona of a well-known movie antagonist. He styled himself like a powerful super villain, but in truth he was a small pathetic figure who could only use murder to make any sort of statement.
Real world evil is destructive simply for the sake of destroying things. Unlike the movies, where malevolent characters are often given nuanced motivations and complicated events to explain their actions, the villainy typified by the Aurora shooter is stupid, cruel and ultimately nihilistic. In the days and weeks ahead, we may find out that the theater killer had some twisted philosophy or inane manifesto that he used to justify his actions. More than likely, the man who terrorized the Century 16 last Friday morning will more closely resemble the 2011 Tucson shooter than any Hollywood villain.
In the end the Aurora murderer is going to be tried, convicted and sentenced. The eggheads will psychoanalyze him for a while until they move on to the next sociopath. If there is any justice in the world, the shooter will get a needle and be wiped from existence.
It is the heroes and victims of the Aurora shooting, both the living and the dead, who need our thoughts and prayers. Pray for the friends and family of those that were lost. They are feeling unimaginable grief and will be for far too long.
How Can You Help?: If you are in the Aurora, Colorado area and you would like to give something to a community that has suffered so much, the Bonfils Blood Center is in desperate need of donations. Here is their website.
More–John Caelan writes:
Mostly, we are terrified of terror without cause. It feeds no agenda, it supports no doctrine, its takes no side. The pitiful attempt to assign it purpose reveals our darkest fears-that sometimes evil has no design. Sometimes, it has no rhyme or reason.
The redemption we seek in this may also be entrenched in the metaphors of Nolan’s second Batman movie, wherein the hostages aboard two ferries in the harbor, both capable of destroying the other with a flick of a switch in a sadistic scenario orchestrated by the Joker, choose not to. They do not empower the mad man by reacting with fear. They just take a deep breath and remember that, where they cannot control the world, they can control their minds and hearts. This is what ultimately leads to victory over madness.
Sometimes, it is sufficient enough to mourn the works of the diabolical. When we institute extraordinary changes in reaction to these events, we truly serve the intent of the perpetrators, or at least those who would capitalize upon the moment. When we simply strive to be better, kinder, and more embracing of each other, evil is baffled.
Great stuff. Read the whole thing.
Posted by KingShamus on June 4, 2012
I’ll raise a beer in your honor, K.
Sorry to see you go homeboy.
Def Leppard was my friend’s favorite band. He especially loved the Hysteria disc. Even though I couldn’t really do much with them, I always liked this tune.
I’d like to think that K is jamming out to this in the afterlife.
Posted by KingShamus on May 28, 2012
Some of our fellow Americans gave their all, and some of them have to carry on in loss forever.
In the run-up to every Memorial Day weekend, for the past several years, a certain photo takes top spot in those most circulated among my fellow military and veteran wives. On blogs, on social media sites, it is shared and “liked” over and over. Taken by the photographer Todd Heisler from his 2005 award-winning series for The Rocky Mountain News, “Jim Comes Home” — which documents the return and burial of Second Lt. Jim Cathey of the Marines, who lost his life in Iraq — the photo shows his pregnant widow, Katherine, lying on an air mattress in front of his coffin. She’s staring at her laptop, listening to songs that remind her of Jim. Her expression is vacant, her grief almost palpable.
We who live and work and play and dawdle away our time in comfort owe more than we can imagine to the fallen.
It is a debt we can never repay.
God bless the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
God take special care of those left behind.
Posted by KingShamus on March 2, 2012
Horrible horrible horrible news.
With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart.
Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.
We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.
Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.
Say a prayer for Mr. Breitbart’s wife and four children. Undoubtedly, they are in terrible pain and grief. We can only hope that in the midst of their mourning they can find some solace in the bosom of their faith and their extended family.
I first read the news over at The Conservatory. After my initial shock–Wait? What? Only 43 years old? How?–I started to look around and see what his friends and allies had to say.
He may have been the greatest genius I’ve ever met, with a keen, intuitive mind. Although he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder — he had a freewheeling quality about him, and his schedule was quite improvisational – Breitbart was also capable of a laser-like focus on whatever subject captured his interest. There were times you’d be talking to him and, if that spark of passionate interest hit, his luminous blue eyes would glow with an intensity that was almost frightening.
You can read elsewhere all about Andrew’s remarkable impact on public communications in this country, helping found Huffington Post and the Drudge Report and then his own developing online empire of Big sites. He was often controversial because his opponents often couldn’t answer his stories online, so they went after the messenger.
Andrew loved it. He was one of the few people you encounter in life who bite at every experience, good and bad. Where does that energy come from? You’d get a late-night call with Andrew excitedly talking up a whole package he was about to post. Might as well listen because you weren’t going to get a word in.
In person he’d get so excited in an argument that he’d be shouting inches away. You’d raise a hand as if ‘OK, Andrew, I’m right here.’ He’d laugh at himself and lower the volume. Andrew couldn’t stand hypocrisy and lying and hiding.
He also couldn’t stand passivity. Friends would describe some awful thing happening and instead of a hug he’d shake them out of wallowing with, “So?” And you’d stop and think, ‘Yeh, right. So what am I going to do about it to take control back?’
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world – knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
Few people are indispensable to a cause, but Andrew Breitbart was. There is no one else like him around. A good number of commentators have been saying that we should honor him by carrying on his fight using the methods he developed, and they are correct: we must not let his life’s work be in vain because his life’s work was to defeat the malignant forces of the Left and see America restored to the ways of The Founders. However, we have some mighty big shoes to fill, so it will not be easy.
At this crucial juncture in our history, we have been deprived of one of best generals. The long slog just got tougher.
He was an unapologetic conservative, but one who defied the media’s template; pro-civil rights, pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights, to the point of boycotting CPAC when it barred the gay conservative group GOProud. Other than his mainstream pro-life views (he was, after all, adopted) you would be hard pressed to characterize him as a right winger on social issues…
Plenty will be written about Andrew Breitbart in the next few days, some flattering, some not. As for me, I will drink two beers in his honor tonight, and remember him the way he was last December in Venice – a big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball surrounded by his family, basking in the coolness of it all.
What was truly charismatic about Breitbart was his never-ending enthusiasm and energy. He spoke fast because he thought fast. He changed topics quickly because he had six or seven plans in mind at any one time.
He actually did things. He was instinctual. Athletes cannot afford the deliberation of thought. They move by instinct and training and muscle memory. They act.
Why did Breitbart sign a lease for a pricey townhouse in DC? Because, he said, “it feels mischievous.” It felt mischievous to establish an Embassy of citizen empowerment in the capital of statist overreach.
He had ten plans a month. He accomplished five of them a month. He acted.
He took over the Weiner press conference because it felt like something he ought to do.
He was brazen. He was bold. The right had no more enthusiastic champion and the left had no more implacable foe.
…I was privileged to sit a mere five rows back from Andrew when he addressed the delegates at Presidency 5 this September. He was mesmerizing from the moment he gamboled out to the podium. What a treat that was and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world in normal circumstances. Who could ever have imagined this day six months later, when dealing with a force of nature like Breitbart?
I can’t. I still can’t.
Like the conspiratorial “dog whistle” of our statist adversaries’ nightmares, Breitbart’s passing was a call-to-arms for the freedom fighters to ratchet up our defense of the Shining City.
What Andrew understood and embraced as a conservative media activist was that, when his name was in the headlines, it was because he was battling for what he most believed in. He also knew that his enemies, the headline writers in many ways, were engaged – and he was fighting. Andrew, like so many of us, lived for that fight. He understood how necessary it was for the right to engage it.
It’s significant that Andrew picked his battlefields as a brave and fearless man. When you are fighting what many conservatives believe to be a biased media in their headlines, you are fighting them on their turf, not retreating, surrendering, or simply musing off in your own little protected, right-leaning corner of the media world.
Andrew Breitbart gave his opponents every advantage by engaging them as he did. And he often beat them.
Read the rest of every one of those pieces. You’ll become angry, you’ll get sad, you’ll laugh and be inspired all at once.
Beyond the shock of Andrew Breitbart’s passing, one of the most overwhelming things I take away is the flattening finality of it. I was a fan of his ‘Big’ websites. “Righteous Indignation” is one of the best political memoirs of the 21st century. His twitter-feed was a long hilarious practical joke on the American socialist movement. Breitbart was like a rolling partisan kegger where the Right could rock out and the Left could buzz off. It seemed like nothing could stop him or his merry-making ways.
Maybe its the suddenness of it that makes this so tough to take. Breitbart wasn’t supposed to go this way. He was supposed to be our gleeful prankster for decades to come. The roastmaster general wasn’t supposed to be taken seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Breitbart’s time in the spotlight might’ve been tragically cut short but it was certainly not poorly spent. In a way, his career trajectory is reminiscent of a Hall of Fame baseball star. The Major Leagues typically elect two kinds of players into their most hallowed pantheon. The first type is the guy who play for many years. He may not be an overwhelming presence in the sport, but he does well enough and last long enough to have fairly large statistics by the time he retires. The second type is the man who doesn’t play for very long, but makes up for it by his sheer overwhelming dominance. Andrew Breitbart has become the Right’s supernova, their short-lived hot-burning star.
Gaze in wonder at the innumerable enemies that Breitbart cultivated over the years. In life, they couldn’t stop giving him ammunition. In death, he has given the Left a glorious opportunity to beclown themselves. Breitbart probably would’ve had a great laugh over that irony.
For every liberal who commented on Breitbart’s passing with dignity, there were many many more who took the low road. Matt Taibbi, Matt Yglesias and a vast horde of internet lefties all happily danced on Breitbart’s casket. While it’s hard to read so much bile, the hate on the progressive side is a reminder that their constant calls for ratcheting down political rhetoric is just a cheap ploy to censor their ideological foes on the Right.
The fact that Andrew Breitbart made such strident classless enemies is amazing. What is even more astounding is how Breitbart used the hate thrown at him as fuel for his fights. Many people will tell you that they enjoy being targeted by the Progressive Church of Latter-Day Stalinists. Often, that brave sentiment will melt in the face of a full-frontal assault from liberal media. Not since William F. Buckley have we seen a man who not only sought out spectacular clashes with the Left, but who did it with such joy. All he did was laugh at the multitudes of angry liberals and their constant raaaaacist!/sexist!/homophobe! bleats, then turn the hate back on them.
Which is what we on the Right should always do. For too long, many conservatives played the media’s game by their rules. This meant a lot of mewling when a liberal accused them of bigotry or greed or some other doubleplusungood thoughtcrime. Breitbart thought that kind of defensiveness was absurd and would always lead to defeat. Instead, he realized that conservatives had to take back the culture before the Right would ever achieve lasting political victories.
That is the greatest lesson we can learn from Andrew Breitbart’s boisterous inspiring life. Breitbart was a warrior in the best sense of the term. His patriotic fervor and unabashed love of the great American experiment was something to behold. The best way we can honor his memory is to remain focused on changing our culture back to one that respects individual liberty in general and the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in particular. It was his life’s work and it should be ours as well.
RIP Andrew Breitbart.
Gone far too soon.
UPDATE I: John Carey from the great Sentry Journal has a remembrance of the man.
Andrew Breitbart once referred to himself as a recovering liberal. As for me I saw him as a conservative champion who embarked on a journey to expose the lies of the left. He was a great American. Rest in peace.
Liberty forever, freedom for all.
As I said in the comments section of John’s post, ‘Liberty forever, freedom for all’ would be a fitting motto for Andrew Breitbart’s life.
UPDATE II: Zilla of the Resistance’s Potluck blog had this to say.
We also have the people on the right who have already are out with the conspiracy theories that he was murdered. Some of the accused are George Soros, President Obama, The CIA (apparently they invented a some sort of dart that gives people heart attacks without leaving a trace except a red spot where the dart hits them), and lest we forget Bill Ayers.
What is being lost in all of this is his family. He has four young children who are dealing with the loss of their beloved daddy. From all the accounts I have ever heard from people who really knew him, he was a very happily married man and a doting father. This is a devastating loss for them.
There will be an autopsy. His father in law has made a public statement that he had a history of heart problems. I personally knew two people who died very young from natural causes. Both under the age of 40. Someone I have known since elementary school has heart problems so severe he can longer work. These issues started in his late 20′s. These things do happen to young people.
Andrew Breitbart tried to shine a bright light on the truth. He firmly believed in it. To honor his memory we owe him and his family some time to process this loss. To respect the fact that he has young children. There will be plenty of time after the coroners determine the true cause of death to talk about what happened. Today should be about honoring a man who stood up for what he believed in. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, as human beings, we owe his family the time to mourn their loss with dignity and respect. Above all, we owe Breitbart the truth, not theories that have no basis in fact.
She’s right. Conspiracy theories just have no place here. Lets all take a break. Mourn the man and pray for his family. Wild speculation about his death right now is unseemly.
UPDATE III: Maggie posts this great video.
I want my legacy to be that they know that they screwed with the wrong guy….I am at war with anybody telling you that you don’t have the right to be a free man.
Face it. The man just understood the fight against progressivism as well or better than anybody else on the Right.
UPDATE IV: Chris Muir nails it.
UPDATE V: No One Of Any Import has some important thoughts.
Well. As a typical average nobody, can I just say? It’s awesome when a bigger voice speaks for you. And that’s what Andrew Breitbart did. When nobody-ol’-me attended the Code Red anti-Obamacare rally, and promptly got accused of terrible racism, what good would my little tiny voice have done?
Not much. Enter Andrew Breitbart, who offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide evidence of this supposed outburst of racism. Of course, no such evidence existed. Because it was a lie.
Andrew Breitbart helped us to feel comfortable with calling out the lie. Most of us have a hard time even believing that folks want to lie about our beliefs and motives. Many of us want to help “The Left” to understand us. We want to assume the best from people. Maybe they misheard. Maybe they misunderstood.
Andrew Breitbart helped us to remember that many people don’t mishear or misunderstand. They hate us. They do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. They do not deserve respect.
Posted by KingShamus on February 13, 2012
It can be argued that Whitney Houston was the most important vocal artist of the last 50 years. The woman sold something like 120 million albums worldwide. That doesn’t include her singles or her videos. Over one hundred twenty million records sold in a career that spanned just 24 years. From that perspective alone, her record is simply astounding.
Check out the breadth of her influence. How many singers have said they were inspired by Houston? Just about any pop vocalist you’ve listened to since the mid-80’s. Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Anita Baker, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson are just a few of the performers that have cited Whitney Houston as a career influence.
Most amazing is how her success changed the way popular music sounded. Houston’s naturally powerful soprano was augmented by gymnastic gospel-infused vocal runs that seemed effortless. Her mentor Clive Davis paired Whitney’s one in a billion voice with uptempo accessible numbers and expertly crafted ballads. The result was a seemingly never-ending stream of mega-platinum hits and rafts of weak imitators.
We don’t know just yet what took Whitney Houston away from this world, but we do know that her last few years have been marked by alcoholism and drug abuse. Addiction is always a tragedy. When someone as talented and blessed as Whitney Houston appears to have succumbed to substances, its a terrifying mystery. What kind of hole in Houston’s life could only be filled by drugs?
Ms. Houston leaves behind millions of adoring fans. And a daughter who appears to have difficulties of her own.
Posted by KingShamus on December 22, 2011
A few rather tardy reflections on the loss of a great public figure.
First, here is Vanity Fair’s memoriam.
Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.
“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.
I was reading Ace’s remembrance of Hitch. Like Andrew Breitbart, I peruse Ace’s comments section almost as much as I read the posts themselves. Most commenters were respectful and more than a few were quite mournful of the loss of Mr. Hitchens. As the comments piled up, another train of thought developed, which could be characterized as the ‘Hooray, The Mouthy Atheist Gets His Comeuppance Sack Dance’. Several commenters, who identified themselves as Christians, seemed to revel in the fact that Hitchens would be damned for his atheism.
An un-Christian response to the death of a human being? Surely.
But then again, what was the grand project of Christopher Hitchens’ life over the last decade? For many people–especially those not familiar with his stance on Islamic radicalism, his disgust for President Bill Clinton or his slow drift away from the political left–Hitch was best known as the public face of atheism. And it’s not like he was particularly gentle about his dislike for religious faith. No, he was a loud-n-proud attack dog for the anti-God side.
It isn’t all that shocking to find that many Christians grew tired of Hitchens’ snarling barely contained disdain for them. Believers are instructed to turn the other cheek and pray for their enemies, but believers are still human after all. Even the most patient Christian will chafe at having his beliefs trampled on over and over again. This is especially true when the trampler in question never bothers to wipe off his boots before stepping on his intended target. Hitchens’ brand of atheism was pointed, angry and more often than not insulting. When he railed against the Church or other religious institutions, it seemed as if his aim was not to change minds but to injure people he perceived as enemies.
In America and the West, Christians have endured decades of writers, entertainers, artists, intellectuals and other taste-makers who attempted to shame believers out of their faith. For many, Hitchens was simply the latest in a long line of pompous know-it-alls trying to make them feel stupid for taking the words of the Bible to heart. Seen in that light, it’s more surprising just how few Christians have piled on in the wake of Hitchens’ passing.
Beyond the question of religion, Christopher Hitchens was a writer that reveled in the act of making ideological allies uncomfortable. Since the time of Clinton’s impeachment, Hitchens was seen by many on the Left as a traitor to the cause. For the audacity of going against American liberalism’s champion, Hitch was vilified by the kind of people who had spent decades using him as an ideological buttress to hold up their arguments.
For many progressives, the final straw was Hitchens’ continuous defense of the Iraq War. The idea of Hitch making friends with the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush was simply too much for many committed leftists to tolerate. The excommunication of Hitchens from the socialist project was all but complete by 2004.
Even as the intellectual Left was ejecting a former comrade from their midst, Hitchens simply wouldn’t or couldn’t play nice in the sandbox with the Right either. Besides his utter hatred for organized religion he made sure to slam other facets of the broad traditionalist caucus. Sarah Palin got no love from Hitch. Neither did the Tea Party; Hitch accused the movement of racial bigotry whenever asked about it. Ronald Reagan, one of conservatism’s great political heroes, was worse than useless in the writer’s judgment.
How much of Hitchens’ argumentative rhetoric came from honest disagreement? How much of it was mere posturing? Sometimes it was hard to tell. The joy Hitchens seemed to take in making people squirm suggests that a good deal of his personality was a well-rehearsed form of contrarianism. This isn’t always so bad; there are far worse sins for a writer than being against the prevailing attitudes of his time.
Still, watch the clip and note how Hitchens goes after Reagan. From our vantage point in the Age of Trillion Dollar Obama, 90’s-era lefty critiques of Reagan’s budget deficits seem ridiculously quaint. More absurd is the sight of a man who at the time still considered himself a member of the socialist movement using national debt as a focus for his attack on the 40th president. For a polemicist who launched into countless tirades denouncing the hypocrisy of his various hate-figures, the grasping for this particular club to bash this particular target is just the sort of cynical opportunism Hitchens made a career out of railing against.
But what a career. To say Christopher Hitchens had a gift for writing is like saying that Lady Gaga has a passing interest in publicity. Even when you found yourself disagreeing with him, he was still far more interesting than most political writers are on their best days. Hitchens was a master of fusing his thunderous moralism to a seemingly effortless ability to create provocative imagery. For this alone, he will be missed by writers and readers across the globe.
But it wasn’t just his writing that made him great. His public persona, an improbable amalgamation of a priapic boozed-up British university student and a joyfully overfed bookworm, made him a joy to watch in a public debate. It was also that improbable mixture that was so surprising. A nicotine-fueled drunk nattering on in a cartoonish plummy Oxbridge accent about Cold War-era Eastern European leftists or some other historical obscurity should not be compelling, yet somehow Hitchens made it work. It’s possible that only he could’ve done pulled off that feat.
For this conservative, it was most enjoyable seeing Hitchens crack on his former leftist pals. Watch and laugh as Hitch eviscerates knee-jerk liberal Eric Alterman’s anti-Iraq War arguments. What comes across most clearly from the clip is the sense that Alterman could not—even at such a late hour–relinquish his lingering hurt over Hitchens’ defection from the liberal sphere. Even as Hitchens piles injury upon injury, Alterman still pines for Hitch to come back to liberal side of the aisle. The barely concealed passive aggression from Alterman gives the game away.
Sometimes a man is defined by his enemies. In many ways, Hitchens was defined by the old comrades he had pissed off over the course of his meandering exit from the progressive movement. The resentment still remains, even after a decade. Repellent lefty shrew Katha Pollitt took the occasion of Hitch’s passing to settle some bitter old scores with her former colleague. Kevin Drum damned himself by damning Hitchens with faint insult. Dave Zirin spun a chance barroom dust-up with Hitch into a comically melodramatic confrontation, complete with a bizarre slapdash amateur psychoanalysis of Hitchens to boot.
Again and again, one is faced with a rather startling revelation: The Left needed Christopher Hitchens far more than he ever needed them. They craved his stylish prose, his combativeness and his intellectual curiosity. More importantly, liberals desperately wanted to be able to claim Hitchens as theirs alone. When Hitch started palling around with liberalism’s enemies, it devastated the socialists–as it does still today.
Was Christopher Hitchens a right-winger, as his many progressive critics accused him of being? Surely not. William F. Buckley once said that an atheist could be a conservative, but a God-hater could not. Hitchens’ disgust for organized religion alone will probably always deny him entry into the conservative caucus. His various other heterodoxies from traditionalism make considering him a a man of the Right impossible.
However, measuring Hitchens by this yardstick is unfair. The man loved his eccentricities more than being a rigid partisan. It was his sort of scattered unpredictable politics, the kind that infuriated both friends and enemies alike, that made him interesting. To complain about Hitchens’ lack of ideological ‘correctness’ misses the point. Hitch forced everyone who read him to question their own assumptions, even for just a moment. During a career that spanned several periods of ideological inflexibility, Hitchens’ ability to break through convention is the greatest gift he could give to his readers.
Hitch would agree with the sentiment that the world is a far better place with people like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden dead. Conversely, the world is a far better place for having Christopher Hitchens live in it for sixty-two years.
Posted by KingShamus on July 24, 2011
In life, there are flowers that bloom quick and fade even quicker.
Troubled Grammy winner Amy Winehouse, with a trademark beehive hairdo, crazy cat-eye makeup and soulful voice, came out of nowhere to set the music world on fire in 2006 with her hit album, “Back to Black.”
The talented British singer seemed destined for superstardom, backed by catchy tunes such as “Rehab,” but her meteoric rise was just as quickly cut short by her crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Despite repeated attempts at a comeback over the past few years, she was never able to regain the magic, and ultimately her talent went to waste.
Winehouse was found dead by her bodyguard in her London apartment yesterday at 4 p.m. London time of an apparent drug overdose.
She was 27.
It’s amazing how fame affects some people. Winehouse was a star in England after her debut album Frank dropped. It wasn’t until Back To Black sold 10 million copies–in the era of massive pirated music downloading–that she became a worldwide star. But just as she became one of the most recognized musicians on the planet, she seemed to slide into self-destruction.
Some pressure makes pipes burst and some pressure makes diamonds. There are folks who can exist in the spotlight and handle it. They might be moral wrecks with wrecked relationships, terrible health and dicey careers, but they can at least survive. Tragically, it seems like Amy Winehouse just could not.
“Rehab” is almost too easy to post in this case. Winehouse’s catalogue had more than it’s share of sadness. “You Know I’m No Good”, with its painful self-loathing and somber melancholy, seems less obvious but more appropriate given the circumstances.
More: CG Hill has a better obituary for the late great Amy Winehouse.
“Rehab” was eventually released to great acclaim and big sales. We all know what happened after that. An extremely-unfortunate remark by yours truly in the summer of ’09:“Let’s hope she makes it past 27.”
Which she didn’t. Damn.
Damn is right.
Posted by KingShamus on November 28, 2010
Good night, funny-man.
Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, who most famously achieved global success in comedy movies such as “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun,” has died aged 84, Manitoba radio station CJOB reported Sunday.
His death was first reported in unconfirmed messages on Twitter late Sunday that suggested the actor had died in the hospital after suffering from pneumonia.
His nephew Doug Nielson, told CJOB that Leslie had been in the hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for 12 days and that with family and friends by his side at 5:30pm Sunday “he just fell asleep and passed away.”
Born in Regina, Canada, Leslie Nielsen appeared in more than 100 movies and hundreds of television shows over the course of his career.
The man was a brilliant comic talent. Here’s a taste.
If you have not seen “Airplane!” or the Naked Gun flicks, get them now. You will not regret it. There is a reason the guy basically had four movies–at least–written for him.
After you’ve watched “Airplane” a few times, you’ll notice how the movie kicks it into high gear once Nielsen shows up. The opening 20 minutes is pretty funny, but Nielsen’s dead-pan delivery of the most ridiculous lines turns an better-than-average spoof movie into a classic. I couldn’t find the clip, but watch for the scene where Nielsen’s Dr. Rumack discusses the passengers with Captain Ouevre (Peter Graves). The sharp delivery and interplay between the two veteran actors is laugh out loud funny.
As for the Naked Gun trilogy, each one has moments of absolute genius. More importantly, it is impossible to see another actor in the Frank Drebin role. Nielsen completely owned the part. The ‘lovable yet stupid cop’ character has been done more than a few times in movie history, but Nielsen infused Drebin with a comedic timing that hasn’t been seen before or since.
Posted by KingShamus on June 28, 2010
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving senator in American history, died Monday at the age of 92, a spokesman for the family said.
Byrd, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate since 1959, had been plagued by health problems in recent years and was confined to a wheelchair. He had skipped several votes in Congress in the past months.
Jesse Jacobs, a family spokesman, said Byrd died peacefully at about 3 a.m. at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va.
So ends the life of Robert C. Byrd.
As Ted Kennedy was a symbol of the moral rot within the modern Democratic Party, the career of Robert Byrd is a manifestation of a distinctly American type of political corrosion. Much is made of the fact that Byrd was the longest serving member of the Senate in US history. Why is that such a magnificent accomplishment? It only means he was able to win a bunch of popularity contests over the years. If Sauron-the head bad guy from Lord of The Rings-gave away $3.3 billlion in other people’s money to West Virginia, he’d be awfully popular with the voters as well.
You know who else polls really well, year after year, without fail? Santa Claus. Why? Because he gives away free toys and all you have to do is behave yourself and you get a first class ticket on the Christmas gravy train. Unlike jolly ol’ Saint Nick, Robert Byrd’s porky generosity came directly from the US taxpayers. It’s quite easy to be Mister Awesomely Popular when there is never some federally subsidized boondoggle you’ll say no to.
It would’ve taken real leadership for Senator Byrd to tell his constituents that they can’t have their cake (paid for by the other 49 states) and eat it too. He probably wouldn’t have every left-wing douche fighting to fellate him for the last 50 years. He might’ve lost an election and have to go back into private life. He might not have been able to create a Senatorial fiefdom based on patronage and barely concealed graft. Then again, he might instead be remembered as a responsible steward of taxpayer money. It’s not nearly as sexy as ‘longest sitting Senator evah‘, but it would be a far more respectable legacy.
Let us not forget the overarching American concern over racism and Robert Byrd’s role in the evolution of racial policies in the nation. The Senator was a former member of the KKK, but continued to kiss their asses for years after he allegedly left the group.
The ex-Klansman allegedly ended his ties with the group in 1943. He may have stopped paying dues, but he continued to pay homage to the KKK. Republicans in West Virginia discovered a letter Sen. Byrd had written to the Imperial Wizard of the KKK three years after he says he abandoned the group. He wrote: “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia” and “in every state in the Union.”
…The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight “with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
Although he later denounced the Ku Klux Klan, his renunciation didn’t stop him from fillibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He also had a habit of opposing black Supreme Court nominations; both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas got the thumbs down from Senator Byrd. Only in the soft-bigoted topsy-turvy bizarro world of the American progressive movement can a man with that kind of record of blatant racism rise to become the ‘conscience of the Senate’. The fact that such a rancorous bigot could soar to the heights of political grandeur is a testament the ‘power for power’s sake’ mentality within the contemporary Left.
There will always be racists. There will forever be pockets of bigotry in America…and within our own hearts. People are flawed and unfortunately racism is one of mankind’s unwashable sins. Hatemongers will be with us in one form or another till the end of time. But we don’t have to elevate racist dickbags like Senator Byrd to the pinnacle of American political life.
Having said all that, surely Byrd’s family is mourning the loss of a towering figure in their lives. It is said that the Senator was a devoted family man and a born again Christian. These things do not erase his public legacy. But they are yet another sign that people are complicated creatures, capable of magnanimity, generosity and love or cruelty, selfishness and hate.
It should also be noted that the Senator was ailing for quite some time. It is hoped that with his passing from this world, Mr. Byrd finds the comfort and grace of his Creator.
Rest In Peace.
AWESOME UPDATE: If you are not charitably inclined towards Senator Byrd…and I cannot say I blame you…take a spin over to Feed Your ADHD. Snarky Basterd’s byline? Hell.
Satan, [Ted] Kennedy’s rival for control of Hell, welcomed Byrd to his kingdom of filth.
“It is with great honor that I bestow the title of KKK Grand Dragon on Senator Byrd,” Satan said. “Only a true Democrat – and we’re all Democrats down here in Hell – could have uttered the great statements he has made over the years.”
Check that stuff out, yo.
ANOTHER AWESOME UPDATE: Nick Gillespie has a nice cold shower for the Byrd-o-philes. Oooof.
But it’s Byrd’s status as the Babe Ruth of pork-barrel spending and taxpayer-funded narcissism that is his real legacy and the one we should never forget or forgive. Here lies a man who pushed his home state to build a statue of him in defiance of a rule that such honorees be dead for 50 years.
Back in 2006, Citizens Against Government Waste called Byrd the “Emperor Palpatine of Pork” and gave him their lifetime achievement award…
STILL ANOTHER AWESOME UPDATE: Ed Driscoll has a nice take down.
President Obama’s potential words of praise to a racial demagogue far worse than even Rev. Wright himself should be especially interesting to watch.
ONE MORE AWESOME UPDATE: Greg at Rhymes With Right has a suggestion for Robert Byrd’s memorial.
Posted by KingShamus on March 10, 2010
I guess that Lost Boys sequel is not getting the greenlight.
Actor Corey Haim died this morning of an apparent overdose — possibly accidental — according to LAPD. He was 38.
Police tell us they were called to St. Joseph’s hospital in Burbank, CA shortly before 4 AM PT to investigate.
Haim shot to fame in the 80s — when he co-starred in a number of films, including “The Lost Boys” with Corey Feldman.
Haim reportedly suffered a drug-induced stroke in 2001 and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center.
Haim also reportedly was in and out of rehab 15 times, but cleaned up in 2004 after moving to Toronto.
Posted by KingShamus on February 8, 2010
Congressman John Murtha has passed away. Condolences to his family.
I prefer to remember him at his finest moment: Smearing innocent Marines to score a cheap political hit against George W. Bush.
Posted by KingShamus on January 27, 2010
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon…sorry, Maaaaaaaaaaattt Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaymonnnn…are crying in their cribs tonight. How do you like them apples?
Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as “A People’s History of the United States,” inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87.
His daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington, said he suffered a heart attack.
“He’s made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, said tonight. “He’s changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can’t think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect.”
Chomsky added that Dr. Zinn’s writings “simply changed perspective and understanding for a whole generation. He opened up approaches to history that were novel and highly significant. Both by his actions, and his writings for 50 years, he played a powerful role in helping and in many ways inspiring the Civil rights movement and the anti-war movement.”
Because the man has passed, I’ll say that he is of a generation of people who truly believed in the socialist project as well as the toxicity of the American nation. As such, he represents the intellectual zeitgeist of his times. In many ways, that’s the highest compliment one can give a person.
In the end though, he also represents the rise of the spoiled tenured radical, spongeing off the richness of the American capitalist system while decrying much of the nation’s history. He also became a darling of the Hollywood kool kid krowd, bringing his brand of snobbish leftism to countless petulant entertainers. All of this is a stain on his legacy. A smart person like this should’ve been able to steer himself off of this intellectual coarse. He instead chose not to.
Posted by KingShamus on December 20, 2009
Whoa. That was unexpected.
Brittany Murphy died early this morning after she went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived, multiple sources tell TMZ.
She was 32…
UPDATE 3:11 PM ET — Sources tell TMZ Brittany Murphy’s mom discovered her unconscious in the shower. We’re told when paramedics arrived, they quickly determined Murphy was in full cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR. They continued CPR in route to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — several miles away — and Murphy was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
We’re told the LA County Coroner’s is picking up Murphy’s body from Cedars later today and will launch an investigation.
The weird thing is yesterday I was sitting around wondering what happened to this woman. I hadn’t seen her in anything in a while.
A sad end for a beautiful young actress. RIP.
Posted by KingShamus on September 21, 2009
Vaya Con Dios, Neocon Warrior.
First, though, it’s important to remember that what made Kristol Kristol was the sophistication of his commentary. Editors and TV producers today reward timely patter, but reject philosophy as tendentious. As a result it’s easier to remember a columnist or TV anchor’s hairline than what he said.
Kristol’s comments, by contrast, stood out so much that they obscured the man. Many are reconnecting Kristol with his most famous remark, that a neoconservative is a “liberal mugged by reality.” Many of us know the quote without remembering the author.
Second came Kristol’s prophesies. Today both Democrats and Republicans are intensely concerned about a problem perceived as new: the interest-group nation, in which competing teams vie to see what they can get in terms of subsidy from Washington. This competition seems to drive all of us now, whether the fight is over a corporate tax break, the earned income tax credit, or a break we get when we turn in our clunker.
Kristol anticipated a nation on the take in a New York Times article, “From the Land of the Free to the Big PX.” He summed up: “The people see the government as a mechanism for the satisfaction of their desires and appetites; the government inches delicately along the lines of least resistance, seeing the people as a congeries of blocs to be appeased, cajoled, or stimulated, as the occasion prescribes.”
I’d say the conservative movement-not just the neo-cons-owe Irving Kristol a great deal of gratitude.