October 30, 2002
Rank Posts of the Week
If you're curious about just how foul it can get, you can consider a pair of posts this week centering around the death of Senator Wellstone:
First, we have this bit of rancor:
As far as I'm concerned, this piece of traitorous shit useless idiot can rot in Hell forever, I'm not ever going to say something nice about a load of crap that was willing to trade the future of my two boys for the fake halo of being "principled".
You can rot in Hell, Senator Wellstone, I couldn't care less.
The author has since elided the parts about Hell because it "isn't Christian" to condemn others to Hell, which opens a whole can of worms about where the author's piousness or Biblical literalism begins and ends; and he(?) also gets rid of the "traitor" part because, well, someone bothered to call him on it. In other words, a prime example of the sort of soup-pissing you get from the worst of the blogosphere: ultimately there's no "there" there and it all becomes an exercise in embodying a Spinal Tap album title.
Which brings us to the other end of the "desecrating graves because the Innurweb lets us" spectrum:
There is no indication today that Wellstone's death was the result of foul play. What we do know, however, is that Wellstone emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone. For our government to maintain its credibility at this time, we need an open and accountable independent investigation involving international participation into the death of Paul Wellstone. Hopefully we will find out, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this was indeed an untimely accident. For the sake of our country, we need to know this.
I do. I do know it.
I think I should almost be relieved, though. For the past year, we've been watching the country deal with a horrible, horrible shock in the way people do, trying to wrap some sort of coherent narrative around something that's unspeakable. People like the commentator in the first excerpt have gone about it in their own way, erecting a world view that involves a small band of "right thinking" citizens vs. the Entire World, including turncoat Democrats and Europe (especially France) while the whole world burns around them. For a leftist to find his voice and wrap another tragedy in The Conspiracy is ideological leavening for a country that has lost its collective shit, probably has a right to lose its collective shit, and will eventually re-seek its center if it's populated by normal human beings, which it is.
In other news, I found a copy of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism today, and was happy to add it back to my bookshelf. I imagine it's considered hopelessly "Cold War" by people who don't put it on the syllabus any longer, but I remember and love it from my first run through college because it pricked at my "college lefty" preconceptions that Naziism and Stalinism were "polar opposites." I'm looking forward to reading it again. Once I finish 1066 (in honor of an upcoming "medieval dinner party" at Michael and Sue's) and The Riddle of Amish Culture (in honor of nothing in particular, except, perhaps, my own Anabaptist upbringing, such as it was.)