Archive for the ‘Keyboard builders’ Category

Pam in San Bernardino Has Never Seen High Noon

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Via Rick, a discussion taking place on Desperate Preacher, kicked off by Pam with some comments that are truly asinine noteworthy:

In John McCain’s recent commercials, he calls himself the Original Maverick. In our household, we’ve had some different responses to this. I’d like to know how you hear it and what you think he’s trying to communicate.

First time we heard the commercial, both my husband and son started yelling “Goose!”, much to my amazement. I didn’t understand it at all. They said it was a reference to Top Gun, and that Maverick was a character in the movie, as was Goose.

I pictures guns and cowboy hats, and a swagger down a dusty street.

Neither of these images work for me as an appeal for Presidential Character.

Any thoughts?

My comment at Rick’s place speaks for itself. (DP, by banning Rick, has indicated that the place desires to be an echo chamber above all other things, so I’ll keep my silence there out of respect for their wishes.)

Rev Pam wishes to broadcast to the world wide web that she has never seen High Noon before.

Very well. Noted.

You remember High Noon, don’t you. It’s a movie where the bad guy is coming to Hadleyville on the noon train, and the Sheriff understands a confrontation is in order. All the citizens of Hadleyville go hiding behind doors and shutters, leaving him to face the evil alone. The “consensus” of the town seems to be that evil, in fact, doesn’t really exist — or if it does, it’ll just go away if it’s ignored. Only the Sheriff understands this is wrong, and in his solitude he is not deterred.

Arguably, if this is not the best western movie ever made, it could very well be the western movie with the strongest connection to the unsettling conundrums that surface from time to time in real life.

In fact, I would argue that this is what makes a western movie. Clarity of moral definition…coupled with ambiguity about what to do. Personal safety placed in the corner directly opposite from the “make sure good prevails over evil” corner.

That’s why our leftists hate cowboys so much. Well, it’s true. High time someone said so.

Fuquod, being a keyboard-building fool, chimes in with the discredited chickenhawk argument:

…and rick…did you even attempt to serve?

We call them “keyboard builders” here because their argument is predicated on the notion that if you aren’t personally doing something then you have no business thinking positive thoughts about anybody else who is doing it, nor are you permitted to so much as to acknowledge, audibly or in silence, that what they do needs doing.

The argument they seek to make, depends completely on this nonsensical premise. Not just a little bit. Completely.

So I figure every time I read this argument, and it was typed into a computer somewhere, whoever said it must build keyboards for a living. I mean, the accusation they’re leveling is one of hypocrisy, so I know no way could those guys be hypocrites. They have to be building keyboards.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Operation Yellow Elephant

Monday, February 18th, 2008

We live in a “Daily Show” age, one chock full of silly arguments constructed to offer a semblance of durability without being the slightest bit workable or structurally sound. These are the ideas so confounding and absurd, that whenever you hear them they’re packaged inseparably with a thick layer of obfuscating sarcasm. They can’t be uttered without the requisite bitterly ironic humor. There’s ALWAYS a chuckle at the end. If the idea is taken seriously for even a fraction of a second, it crumbles.

I’m not at all surprised to see ideas like this.

But I’m a little bit taken aback seeing a website dedicated to one of them.

Of course, even there, the idea is never expressed seriously even for a moment without the requisite above-mentioned thick layer of confounding sarcasm. So…out of necessity…and this is always the case…I shall have to do my best to extrapolate it.

My support for the war is revealed to be…

a. Morally tenuous
b. Hypocritical
c. Craven and cowardly
d. Prohibited by law
e. Insincere
f. Worthy of a rap across the knuckles with a ruler by an angry nun
g. Shenanigans!
h. Dumb and stupid, and I’m a big ol’ dopey pie-head
i. All of the above

…because I…
a. Don’t serve
b. Have never served
c. Haven’t personally killed anyone
d. Haven’t been in a fist fight lately
e. Haven’t donated blood
f. Haven’t donated food
g. Haven’t donated money
h. Haven’t been to Iraq or Afghanistan
i. Any of the above

Part of the reason I’m surprised to see this idea enshrined in a blog of its own, is that it seemed to me its glory days had already passed. I’m actually relieved to see this is not the case, because I was never able to dissect this. Maybe this is a great second-chance.

First — we need to find out what’s supposed to happen to me. The nice folks who push this idea, I’m sure, would be righteously indignant at any insinuation that they’re opposed to freedom of speech or expression of ideas contrary to theirs, but you see, it’s impossible to tell that for sure. Their beloved idea is so consistently propagated with that all-important thick enveloping of dark humor and sarcasm, that I’m not sure what they want done and neither is anyone else. Should I be fined $100 for supporting this war in which I’m not fighting? Or should we get rid of our “all-volunteer” military and force people like me to go to the recruiting station?

No, I’m not one of the guys who volunteered. But I understand why they did. I think they were raised the way I was, in a series of rituals that might seem at the time to be unimportant, but when you grow up change the way you look at everything. Like taking the garbage out. What little kid hasn’t complained about having to do that…and yet, if I used the “Operation Yellow Elephant” argument on my mother, which would boil down to the time-honored outburst of “why is it MY job…I don’t see YOU taking out the garbage”…I would have received a stern lecture about we all have to do our part, your father works to support this family and I cook and clean so that you have food to eat and clothes to wear. So, no, you don’t have to see us taking out the garbage. We’ve done our part, you have yours, they’re all important and they’re all appreciated.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to see you sitting around doing what you want all day while everyone else does all the work, just because you fancy yourself to be a brilliant savant of irittating, snotty protestations.

Not that I see our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan as being on par with taking out the garbage…

…well, wait, actually I do. Garbage men are worthy of appreciation. If you don’t have any garbage men, the garbage piles up and pretty soon you’re buried in it; seems to me with the peace dividend of a decade ago, that’s exactly what we had been doing.

But I digress. I think, with this evidence there are people still peddling the thoroughly discredited “you can’t support the war if you don’t fight in it” argument, what I’m seeing are people who were raised by that other kind of Mom. The no-spank-em, Dr.-Benjamin-Spock Mom. The lowercase-m mom.

She said, “you’re absolutely right, sweetie, I shouldn’t be asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself” and cheerfully took the garbage out. Hugs!

And so we have a bunch of people walking around, with the same privileges as you and me, who think — but won’t say outright, not without that all-important thick enveloping of obfuscating sarcasm — nobody should do anything. About anything. They’d like to package their message as “you can’t appreciate what anybody does if you aren’t doing that yourself” — as if that were any more legitimate. But their message really is that you can’t appreciate anybody…period. They were raised from infancy, not having to.

The time came for their lowercase-m moms to educate them about the things they enjoy that are connected to the efforts of others, and the lowercase-m moms took a pass. Why do I say this? Because if you simply accept that most basic of truths, that the staples of our lives — nevermind the luxuries — involve such a diversification and disparity of specialized efforts, that simply going about our daily routines involves a dependence on the beneficial actions of others and we’d better damn well be thankful for them…just incorporating that truism, you inflict such a devastating assault on the ramshackle argument that it dissolves like a sugarcube canoe.

If, on the other hand, you accept the O.Y.E. argument — and nobody’s saying you should, without that little sarcastic chuckle on the end — what a busy life you have now! Because you need to get those coffee beans picked and roasted for tomorrow’s brew. And then you need to pump some crude oil out of the ground and refine it into gasoline for your car. And slaughter that cow, which of course you raised from calf-hood, for your next roast beef sandwich.

Because you aren’t allowed to appreciate anything, or by extension to make any kind of use of it, unless you participate in it personally. Or, to look at it a more direct way, if you don’t participate in anything personally, you are obligated to condemn and deplore it.

Now pardon me, I’m off to take out the garbage. And go build some keyboards while I’m at it.

So You Build Keyboards, Do You

Friday, September 21st, 2007

I’ve been lurking in some of the fool-threads, watching fools from both sides go at it. And it has lately become clear to me that, contrary to my expectations, here in late 2007 the wildly unrealistic and irresponsible “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is still among us.

Back when I provided an answer to it, I had already started to see this repudiated by my most hardcore left-wing friends and I thought it was on the DailyKOS trash heap, or headed there. To the credit of The Left, that is what they do with some of their silliest arguments. They’re like…candy wrappers. Or condoms. Useful for a designated time, for a designated purpose, and once that purpose is fulfilled all you want to do is get rid of it.

Well if the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is a candy wrapper, it has yet to be crumpled up; the yummy residue of what was inside has yet to be completely dumped out. Bad on them, because this shows the silliest arguments can be imbued with Yoda-like life-expectancies within the otherworldly, surreal existence of The Left. Or, at least, can be. That’s a shame. If the elections next year are about anything, they’re about whether the line tethering The Left to what’s reasonable and real has been badly frayed, or severed altogether.

And since the country needs to have that answered, we should inspect exactly what would be needed for “Why Aren’t You There?” argument to make some sense. Let’s start with the punchline itself, and what’s implied by it. You’re an anti-war lefty; you encounter, stateside, someone who thinks we should be fighting the war when you don’t think we should be. At this point, that could mean a lot of things. Many among us think it was a mistake to go into Iraq, but now that we’re there we shouldn’t leave yet. A dwindling minority of grown-ups among us resemble me, recognizing that our decision was to go in or not go in…and for a number of good reasons, not-going-in was just plain unacceptable. We say this was the right decision — the most ardent supporters, myself included, insist it was overdue — doing it over, we’d do things the same way.

Still others think we should leave Iraq, but it’s appropriate to leave the decision about when, up to the President and to Congress. That isn’t pro-war, but it’s not consistent with the “all anarchy, all the time” passion of the DailyKOS crowd. And so, of course, it goes without saying that the KOS kids hate it.

So the KOSsacks “win” the argument, in their own eyes at least, with four words: Why aren’t you there? Oh my, check my chest cavity, a pound of flesh is missing. For it has now been revealed: I don’t support the troops after all. Why, if I were, I’d be there.

Obviously, this is supposed to impress somebody — somebody who isn’t me. It doesn’t mesh with logic and common sense; not very well, and not at all. If I’m to be smeared as someone who only pretends to support the troops, but doesn’t really, it’s a bit like a wrestling match with the proverbial pig isn’t it? It’s a tad difficult to assert someone supports the troops when he’s running around stateside, grouchily making his peevish rhetorical inquiries into why so-and-so isn’t there, arguing that since so-and-so isn’t there nobody else should be. So I’ve always looked at people who say “why aren’t you there” as saying “I don’t support them, or what they’re doing, and neither should you.” I don’t see how that could mean anything else.

They tell me this is an insinuation I shouldn’t dare make. Well, okay…if I can’t say it out loud, I’ll just have to think it in silence, for I can think nothing else. It just doesn’t seem like a very supportive question to be asking, to me.

But let’s inspect the logic that goes into this. You ask “Why Aren’t You There?” and in response, I go homina-homina-homina…the conclusion to be drawn, is that I’m only pretending there’s a good reason for anybody to be there, by deep down I know there isn’t one because if there was, I’d be there myself.

Okay. So…when people recognize there’s even so much as a peripheral reason for something to be done, they do it themselves.

No exceptions. None.

This is incredible. Consider the ramifications. How many things are there that people do, that I personally don’t do and have not done. I’m not a schoolteacher, I’m not a fireman, I’m not a construction worker. I don’t pick coffee beans or roast them or package them or transport them or sell them; so I can’t drink coffee. Logically, my butt need not fit into the chair in which I’m sitting as I type this, since I don’t build chairs — and I shouldn’t have need to type this, since I don’t build keyboards.

A great rejoinder to this would be “Are you a gynecologist or a cop?” Very few would be able to answer to one of those; by their logic, if they’re gynecologists, we must not need the police, and if they’re police, we must not need gynecologists.

It’s been presumed by some that the typical KOSKid lives in his parents’ basement and doesn’t do anything. I’ve found the crudest and simplest stereotypes are the ones that are lacking in merit, and have settled into a habit of dismissing this one. But the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument tempts me to reconsider it. It seems to me to be an argument acceptable to someone who doesn’t do anything and hasn’t done anything. I’ve met, personally, some folks who have managed to channel vast amounts of energy into coming up with reasons not to do things, enough to convince me this is a modern epidemic — this might be the cause, or perhaps, the ultimate effect.

Maybe the plague of the twenty-first century is not cancer, or AIDs, but sloth. A conviction that, if it is to be admitted that anything is important or worthwhile or beneficial to anyone, some boogeyman might come along and invite the person so admitting, to climb aboard and contribute in some way. I’m gathering that some folks find this horrifying, for the simple reason that a meaningful contribution would be antithetical to the way they’ve lived their lives up until now. It would be an unwelcome paradigm shift.

This is something I already know to be true, about some people. Thing I Know #92. Useful people have a fear of becoming useless that is exceeded in intensity only by the fear useless people have of someday being useful.

So I presume when people say “Why Aren’t You There?,” what they’re saying is they’ve managed to live out their lives without contributing anything whatsoever to anyone whatsoever, and don’t want to change.

That is their right. But it impresses me a lot — and by that, I mean down to the marrow of my bones. We have people serving in Iraq, losing parts of their bodies…coming back stateside, getting patched up, learning how to use their prosthetics, and then asking to go back there again. And then we have other people who have made a sort of religion out of not doing anything that might be helpful to someone, and calling into question whether anyone else should help someone, or even say kind things about those who do.

To put it more elegantly, some among us have a phobia about giving away some of their sweat, while others have no compunctions whatsoever about giving away their blood.

And the bulk of both groups reside in the same narrow age bracket. A five-year window somewhere around the half the age I am now.

I see times of deep, irreconcilable conflict in the years ahead. Something like what we’ve already had for the last forty years or so. But much, much deeper and darker.

As for my answer, it remains unchanged. To oppose YOU. Anyone who asks “Why Aren’t You There?” is, all the bullshit peeled aside, a nihilist. Nihilists are having a fairly good time of it right now; they’re injecting a nihilist marinade into everything we do in public policy lately; and, by nature, don’t support the troops or much of anything else. Someone with principle and brains has to be stateside, to make sure they are opposed.

They are trying to make a lot of decisions for everybody else, after all. Those decisions are not wise. They are not harmless.

They have to be opposed.

Why Aren’t You There?

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Why Aren’t You There?

Maybe it’s their cozy history with union thuggery, or perhaps they’ve lately become a little too friendly with Europe. But since the September 11 attacks, it’s come one notch shy of a new dictionary definition: When those on “The Left” engage in political debate, the “debate” invariably stops being an exchange of ideas, and swings around into an exercise in telling people what to do.

Sadly, this remains the case — perhaps even reaches a zenith — when the conversation turns toward Iraq. On this subject, the Left is cornered by people like me, who think it was the right thing to do, and far too late; and, by people who believe it was a hideous mistake, but see the wisdom that now that we’re in there, retreat even in future-timeline form would be a major disaster. Against both of us, I’m entirely unclear on what True Believes on the Left have in mind for a vision. I’m not sure they know either. But boy howdy, they sure know how to look into the sands of the past and lecture anyone who will listen on things that should not have been done.

And their plan is iron-clad for figuring out who is a hypocrite, as if that’s what we need to do in these troubled times: A hypocrite is someone who 1) disagrees with them, oh boy, there’s a shocker; and 2) isn’t actually on the front line in Iraq, fighting the Good Fight. In other words, me. And Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Rourke, Coulter, Elder, Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. etc. etc.

It is perhaps lost on no one, although seldom pointed out anywhere, that if you qualify for #1 then #2 is a given. If you believe, as I do, that the Left is a bunch of bitter, whiny crybabies who can’t get over the fact they lost an election, and a bunch of dullards who simply figure out their Hollywood icons don’t like war and therefore they shouldn’t either, you have a God-given freedom-of-speech right to say so — right up until you enlist. Then you have to hunker down and do your job. If you believe passionately in your points-of-view, you are obliged to leave the commentary to someone else who isn’t enlisted. Ah, but The Left likes to tell people what to do, and lives in a fantasy world where everybody complies unquestioningly — therefore — anyone pro-war, should enlist, and shut up. And when you say they “should” what you mean is they will.

They want zero dissent. That is what they must have, because they can’t cope with dissent. Coping with dissent, it seems, is everyone else’s job.

I’m not sure who circulated this talking point for them. It can’t be someone with too much smarts, because it doesn’t work. It just plain doesn’t. For one thing, free speech isn’t really free speech for anybody unless it is enjoyed by everybody. Another problem is, enlisting is a lot like looking for a job — just because you’ve declared yourself to be on the market, doesn’t automatically guarantee someone is willing to take you. Among the people like me who understand why it was necessary to go into Iraq, are a lot of people who acquired this wisdom over the years noticing the far-flung effects of terrorist appeasement. By and large, we’re pretty old. The Left wants their new rule to apply universally, not just to certain people, so do they think there aren’t any octagenarians and nanogenarians in favor of the war? Do they think there’s no one on emphezema who requires an oxygen tank? No paraplegics?

The point is, when The Left notices that those who disagree, aren’t serving, and announces the discovery of hypocrisy, they show their own ignorance. People who disagree, aren’t serving by definition, because when you serve you give up your freedom-of-speech rights about things like this. People who do that, are heroes. And while they go off and fight with bullets, the terrorists they fight plan to retaliate in the theater of ideas. The terrorists have said so!

Who is left to engage in that theater of ideas? The anti-war left would have it be just them. Nobody else. Their army would march across the battlefield, unopposed, participating in something resembling more of a parade than any kind of conflict. Freed from the burdensome task of having to explain their ideas, they would simply demoralize everybody else until we pressured our leaders into a retreat. The troops would then fly home, the task incomplete, and then sit by the fireplace with the rest of us, waiting to see what happens.

Then, I would have to guess, and I expect no one would directly disagree, the prognosis is that we go back to the days of a terrorist “nuisance.” We’ll argue about Social Security while embassies are bombed. We’ll hash out the details in some well-intentioned and possibly effective welfare reform bill, while ships are blown up. We’ll scream at each other over union rules and cost-of-living adjustments, while planes are hijacked. Every five or ten years, we’ll send our President out to the Rose Garden to shake hands and drink Mint Julip with a terrorist and announce the end of terrorism. And every once in a while when things go really, really well for the terrorists, we’ll have several thousands of people dead in a smoking crater where a landmark once stood. Then it will be front page news, we’ll “come together as Americans, with no Republicans or Democrats” and two months later we’ll go back to yelling at each other over relatively trivial bullshit, while poor Osama wonders what in the hell he has to do to get our attention again.

In short, terrorism would be treated like a really bad weather phenomenon, with no one responsible.

Except when we feel like blaming Republicans. Hey, brilliant plan!

Here’s a much better one, anti-war leftists. I, and millions like me, will intellectually oppose you. Someone has to. HAS TO. And we’re not over there, where you want us to be. What’s worse, is we know why you want us there, and it has nothing to do with hypocrisy. Deal with it.