Archive for the ‘Real Patriotism’ Category

“Lefties Just Don’t Have the Same Feeling About America as the Hard Right Does”

Friday, December 26th, 2008

I don’t have the same feelings about my girlfriend as her last boyfriend did. I don’t love her. Sure, I claim to, because I seek to improve her by pointing out her flaws. That schmuck she dumped, he used to say a bunch of nonsense like she was the “greatest, best woman God has ever given man on the face of the earth.” Loser. One of the surest signs of love is it makes you talk stupid.

That language seems pretty harsh when you use it to talk about the love between men and women, doesn’t it? Joel Stein seems to think so; he concedes as much in the very last sentence of this love-without-loving screed of his. Up to that point, however, he’s perfectly clear on the idea that this is exactly the kind of sentiment a “nuanced” individual should have toward his country.

I don’t love America. That’s what conservatives are always telling liberals like me. Their love, they insist, is truer, deeper and more complete. Then liberals, like all people who are accused of not loving something, stammer, get defensive and try to have sex with America even though America will then accuse us of wanting it for its body and not its soul. When America gets like that, there’s no winning.

But I’ve come to believe conservatives are right. They do love America more. Sure, we liberals claim that our love is deeper because we seek to improve the United States by pointing out its flaws. But calling your wife fat isn’t love. True love is the blind belief that your child is the smartest, cutest, most charming person in the world, one you would gladly die for. I’m more in “like” with my country.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity loves this country so much, he did an entire episode of “Hannity’s America” titled “The Greatest Nation on Earth.” In that one hour he said, several times, “the U.S. is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the Earth.” One of the surest signs of love is it makes you talk stupid.

If Joel Stein doesn’t feel love, there must be another thing or two that can make you talk stupid. That or he comes by it naturally.

I owe Stein a debt of thanks for introducing me, indirectly, to Gerard Van der Leun when the latter saw fit to critique the speaking style of the former, nearly three years ago, in one of the best essays I’ve ever read: The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throught the Land. What’s it about? It’s about how some thirty-ish adults nowadays talk with this tone of voice that inserts a residue of question, however thin it may be, into phonic pronouncements about everthing, even things that contain no question. With such a dizzying consistency that nothing is ever pronounced.


But as you can see from Stein’s writing, he finds refuge in the pen. In this forum, he can pretend to be more than certain about things — even about the evils of certainty. I hope you click on through to Gerard’s website, and then to Hugh Hewitt’s, and then crank your speakers so you can listen to the vocal Joel Stein. That’s quite a different character, one constantly striving to show a charming paralysis-by-analysis in every little thing he says, or asks…and succeeding only in propping up a nauseating, foppish sort of formlessness, sort of an intellectual variant of structurally vacant, gelatinous goo. He seems to be unaware of his own internal contradiction: If nothing is allowed to stand as an absolute or as a certainty, then there is a problem, for that in itself is an absolute and a certainty.

That’s a conundrum. It produces such a devastating handicap, that all decisions made in its presence, may arrive at a beneficial conclusion only by random chance.

I don’t know what kind of progress Stein has had in resolving it; therefore, I don’t know what his other opinions could be worth. I’m not sure his employers or his readers have figured it out either.

Hat tip: Cassy.

Oh and let the record show that I’m crazy about my girlfriend. I cherish the day I met her, and I feel exactly the same way about my country. But…if I were afflicted with this kwestion-kurse, to such an extent that every sentence that escaped my lips had that annoying tonal quality of dro…ning…ques…tion…? at the end of it, and I’d completely lost my readiness, willingness and ability to state absolutes and fasten my name to them — some kind of gelded senile-dementia for thirty-year-olds — I wouldn’t be blaming it on her.

Update: Oh, dear. The audio of that wonderful interview has fallen into an innerwebs-hole. We shall have to roll up our sleeves, in the hours or days ahead, and see if we can produce it again.

In the meantime, what a glorious relief that must be, however temporary, to Mr. Stein. So long as he stays away from any stray microphones, he can scribble and scribble away, and pretend to be sure of what he’s talking about.

Five Words

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Freakonomics held a contest to find the best six-word motto for the United States, and in my book it was a smashing success because the grand prize winner was a work of art:

The United States of America:
Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay

The runners-up are plenty good enough to reproduce here, each and every single one of ’em.

Caution! Experiment in Progress Since 1776

The Most Gentle Empire So Far

You Should See the Other Guy

Just Like Canada, With Better Bacon

When Gerard wrote this up, he graciously accepted a late entry, an unforgivably smarmy tidbit that percolated in the frontal lobes of one of the writers for The Blog That Nobody Reads…the blog you’re reading right now. The nobodies who don’t come by to not read The Blog That Nobody Reads, will relate to the observation that this was quite out of character for us — our entry was shorter than par. We nudged up against the gauge at a trim, slim five words, sixteen percent less than what was originally requested.

Yes, that’s right! We expressed an idea in less space! Five little words…and by the time they’re done, without a single additional syllable, the reader is offered proof of what makes this country truly, uniquely great. They’re so inspiring you almost want to run, walk or jog to the Bay State and chuck a couple crates of tea in the harbor all over again.

To find out about content thereof, you can follow the link to Gerard’s site…or…you can use your mouse clicker and highlight the text below…drum roll, please…

The United States of America:
Our Poor People Are Fat