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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.
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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We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”