Friday, April 25, 2008
Why So Serious?
It might be time to once again make an important point crystal clear: I'm neither conservative nor liberal. My attitude is that if each side of the aisle finds good reason to dislike the things I say, my opinions, my overall tone, etc., then I'm doing something right.
That said, I have a question for those who count themselves among America's "staunchly liberal" contingent; it involves something I've noticed as I scan the content on the Huffington Post -- the reaction to my pieces as well as the contributions of others.
Why the hell do liberals tend to take everything so goddamned seriously?
I bring this up because there's a tidal wave of righteous indignation gaining momentum across the blogosphere at the moment in response to an ill-advised but relatively harmless comment made by, of all people, Keith Olbermann. While discussing the future of Hillary Clinton's campaign with Newsweek columnist and sycophantic turd Howard Fineman, Olbermann responded to the notion that someone might have to step in to settle the Democratic primary by saying, "Right -- somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out." This was admittedly a really stupid thing to say and, whether forced to or not, Olbermann quickly apologized to those who might have felt that he recommended physically beating the hell out of Clinton. "It is a metaphor. The generic 'he' gender could imply something untoward. It should've been 'only the other comes out -- from a political point of view,'" he said in an official statement.
Only an idiot would fail to notice an undercurrent of sexism among MSNBC's male anchors: Chris Matthews, David Shuster and former MS host Don Imus have all made comments about women that they then had to retract. But likewise, does anyone with a brain really believe that Keith Olbermann was, in fact, suggesting that a man physically harm Hillary Clinton?
Like Shuster's infamous "pimping-out Chelsea" line before it, Olbermann's remark is nothing more than an offhand shot taken by a guy who's essentially talking to hear himself talk. And while it may reveal something about Olbermann's true attitude toward women, once again, I doubt very seriously that he was taking out a hit on Hillary.
And yet, judging by the response from some on the left, you'd think that was exactly what he'd done.
Keep in mind, this is Keith Olbermann we're talking about -- someone who's been a hero to liberal America by giving it the kind of public voice it hasn't had in years. As silly as I thought it was to pitch a fit over John Gibson's comments about Heath Ledger's death, or what O'Reilly and that buffoon Limbaugh have to say about anything at all, at least the outrage was aimed in the, pardon the pun, right direction. These people are the left's sworn enemies; it makes sense to try to play "gotcha" with them, no matter how ineffectual such outrage may be. But Olbermann is ostensibly one of their own; turning on him not only shoots your own cause in the foot, it actually goes a long way in proving why the Democrats can't seem to win an election to save their lives: Republicans are organized -- they get behind a set of people and a set of talking points, no matter how ridiculous, and they stay there. To the left, this kind of unwavering True Belief is stubborn and robotic and proves that your average red-stater can't think for himself. But guess what? It wins elections.
In the past couple of weeks alone, I've been castigated by commenters on HuffPost for titling a column about Gloria Allred "Burn the Witch" ("What's wrong with you? How can you say something like that?"); I've been accused of insulting children ("Kids should rule the world. Imagine a world where children could vote: 'Do you think your mommmy and daddy should be sent to Iraq? Yes or No?'"); and, my personal favorite, I've been raked over the coals for my insensitivity toward lunatic cults ("Saying that someone 'drank the Kool-aid' is cruel to those who died at Jonestown."). And I'm not out there by myself when it comes to facing the wrath of the supposedly free-thinking perpetually aggrieved: Earlier this month, Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi got into a blogging row with aging sex writer and pompous liberal cliché Erica Jong after he wrote a piece which referred to Hillary Clinton as "flabby." Jong didn't just go after Taibbi -- because that would be positively Philistine for someone as erudite and evolved as she is; No, Jong analyzed Taibbi's crack to death before finally coming to the conclusion that -- and I swear, she was serious about this -- insulting Hillary's appearance was a form of Freudian displacement designed to help Taibbi come to terms with the fact that he wants to have sex with his mother. In his own defense, Taibbi responded by just cutting to the chase and calling Jong a worthless hack -- which not only had the benefit of being true, it was infinitely more amusing to read.
Once again, Matt Taibbi is about as liberal as they come -- and yet those who consider themselves, I suppose, the humorless liberal "elite" (and I don't use that term the way the right often does) see no harm in eating their own. I truly believe that, as with Jong, it stems from the constant need to overcomplicate and overanalyze issues as a means of showing off one's superior intellect, and the inability to just go from point-A to point-B in a straight fucking line.
It would actually be funny if it weren't so sad -- and so antithetical to what the left hopes to accomplish, particularly in an election year. I hate the far right wingnuts like poison, but for the most part they can take a fucking joke and don't convene a press conference when somebody offends them, which is one of the reasons they've had such a powerful voice in this country for the last several years.
Jesus people, lighten up -- or you'll die trying (and by that, I don't mean that I'm advocating violence against you).