Commentary — May 23, 2008, 2:13 pm

Replies

From: Steven Matz, Chicago
Subject: The Case for Political Rudeness, by Ken Silverstein, May 23, 2008

You make a great case for the effectiveness of rudeness, or ahem, direct language. I wholehearted agree in its effectiveness and necessity.

I work in construction. A few years ago I was chatting with another supervisor, from a concrete company, and he summed up the reality that “sometimes, I don’t know why, but you have to just get in someone’s face from time to time in order to get the project moving.” I supervise a variety of trades and while I don’t necessarily enjoy it, I too find that you have to breathe fire to get things moving occasionally.

My father ran a delicatessen in Northeast Philadelphia and I grew up working with him and watched him often unleash tirades upon hapless customers, employees and suppliers. He made a lot of money and stayed in business for 35 years. The episodes were classic theater: “Are you trying to bust my balls?” he once growled to a particularly whiny customer, who confronted him directly, in his kitchen, during the lunch rush, while holding a plate with a half eaten sandwich. The crowded dining room fell silent; waiting for the coming tirade. I think the guy might have wet his pants at one point.

Watching political discourse over the last 18 years being dominated by right wing loud mouths I cheered when I read about Jim Webb’s retort to Bush’s bullshit comment. W. is a special type of cocksucker and no one save Colbert and Webb have called him on it. He’s lucky Webb didn’t crush his larynx right there on the spot. If I were in his shoes and my boy was in Iraq, shit, I don’t think I could contain myself.


From: Fernando Colina
Subject: Why Does the Wall Street Journal Hate America?, by Scott Horton, May 20, 2008.

Scott Horton asks:

And this raises the question: Why does the Wall Street Journal so disrespect the men and women in uniform who run our military justice system?

The very simple answer is that Cheney and his cabal hold uniformed lawyers in contempt. He and his cronies have maintained the view that if JAG lawyers were any good at lawyering, they would be in private practice. The Wall Street Journal echoes this despicable view.


From: Betty
Subject: Weekly Review, by Chantal Clarke, May 20, 2008.

I thought you might be interested to learn that when one person forces another to have sex, the word to describe it is “rape.” For example, when Wolfgang Priklopi kidnaps a ten-year-old Natasha Kampusch hostage in a cellar dungeon and rapes her, it’s a “cellar rape dungeon,” not a sex dungeon. Framing like that minimizes her trauma and makes rape less horrifying in the public imagination–just for a little bit of misogynist titillation. I would have thought better of Harper’s.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

At the time, Chomsky was still finishing his doctoral dissertation for Penn, where he had completed his graduate-school course work. But at bedtime and in his heart of hearts he was living in Boston as a junior member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, and creating a Harvard-level name for himself.

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