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.

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Mentions July 16, 2014, 7:00 pm

“The End of Retirement” on MSNBC

Watch Jessica Bruder on MSNBC’s The Cycle

Official Business June 25, 2014, 8:00 am

Garry Winogrand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

A retrospective exhibition from June 27 to September 21 in New York City

Heart of Empire, Mentions June 20, 2014, 11:41 am

Andrew Cockburn on Democracy Now

Andrew Cockburn discusses the origins and possible fate of Nouri al-Maliki’s prime ministership

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Return of the Strongman·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, Egypt seems poised to become its burial ground.”
Photograph (detail) © Ahmed Ismail / Getty Images
Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:

12,000

Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.

British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today