Monday, April 07, 2008

Hitchens on a piece of shit named Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Hitchens' point in regards to Obama's underhanded attempts (from "The Speech"--- a fine example of BO-Speak) to equate Ferraro's tame remarks with Wright's fundamentalist lunacy should be required reading for.....all. However obnoxious, petulant, and bitchy Hitchens may be, his writing's about as close as American blogjournalism comes to upholding Madisonian principles.

"""""That same supposed message of his is also contradicted in a different way by trying to put Geraldine Ferraro on all fours with a thug like Obama's family "pastor." Ferraro may have sounded sour when she asserted that there can be political advantages to being black in the United States—and she said the selfsame thing about Jesse Jackson in 1984—but it's perfectly arguable that what she said is, in fact, true, and even if it isn't true, it's absurd to try and classify it as a racist remark. No doubt Obama's slick people were looking for a revenge for Samantha Power (who, incidentally, ought never to have been let go for the useful and indeed audacious truths that she uttered in Britain), but their news-cycle solution was to cover their own queasy cowardice in that case by feigning outrage in the Ferraro matter. The consequence, which you can already feel, is an inchoate resentment among many white voters who are damned if they will be called bigots by a man who associates with Jeremiah Wright. So here we go with all that again. And this is the fresh, clean, new post-racial politics?""""

Yeah.

12 comments:

Max said...

I agree that Wright's a dick, but so are most preachers, including those from the Church of America-can-do-no-evil- aka the MSM. I'm not in the mood for religious tolerance today. See NW. You might be shocked to see that I quote CH without any negative comment. The preface to TPA is damn good.

J said...

I saw it---Hitchens on NWs!---and am rather in shock. Your, uh, Cronyius will not care for it probably, and it could result in some nasty Tolkien-related spam. McOrc, upholding some Realpolitik...........


If you note, a few weeks ago, I took issue with that hog-preacher, Hagee, that Commdr. McCain has alluded to. I agree that Wright is hardly scarier than Hagee. In terms of the secularism issue, Hillary seems about the best. Given JM vs BO, I probably will go with.....NOTA.

Hitchens also recently penned a decent bio of Jefferson (which I have been perusing), and TJ, while hardly morally perfect (ie the Sally Hemmings affair) comes off as quite a worldly and sophisticated thinker. Really, I enjoy most of Hitchens' writing--he's a wit and "bon vivant"--- but Bertrand Russell, or even Dawkins or SJ Gould he ain't.

J said...

Ah HitchensSpeak results not in Tolkien spam: but.......Space Disco from the Big JS!!!!!!!

Actually sky and missy play a few nice riffs here and there, if sorta bar-band-y and predictable. Riddum section eh. Vocalist would fit in with like Charlie and the gals doing a rousing rendition of "Garbage Truck".............

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I think that Olbermann's rant against Ferrarro was over-the-top as well. I mean, it was good to see him hammer a Democrat for a change but, clearly, it was to benefit yet another Dem that he likes better

71 said...

Hitchens is an entertainer, period. He's not a philosopher, he's nowhere near the level of Dawkins or Russell, shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence. His characterization of Wright makes me sick...things were obviously said in parts of his sermons that come across questionably as sound bytes, but they've been taken out of context, and, more importantly, they've been take out of their own historical tradition...Biblical, liberation theology, black theology, etc. When understood in light of a real-historical situation, they are not outlandish remarks.

By the same token, CH's charecterization of Ferraro's remarks as not remotely racist is unintelligible to me. These comments were not overtly and blatantly racist, but little is...they're a product/symptom and perpetuation of systemic racist tendencies in this country. It's much harder to recognize an enemy in disguise, I suppose.

J said...

Fair enough, and I have said much the same: Hitchens may be more a "belle-lettrist" than academic philosopher ala Russell or scientist, yet he did graduate from Oxford. Hitchens' bio on Jefferson, while not exactly Russell/Whitehead's Principia Mathematica, was a nice piece of scholarship. His writing on Kissinger and various atrocities of last few decades seems pretty substantial.

Russell himself would most likely demand more fact-based journalism and less ideology and hatchet jobs: yet he would demand that of the marxistas as well. Besides, poke a logician a bit and he starts to sound sort of like a programmer or statistician --or maybe not even that.

Alas modern journalism and communication has become this sort of bitter, vitriolic exchange: those who object to HitchensSpeak should try reading some of the wannabe-Bukharins or lobotomized HS Thompsons of Daily KOS. Gonzo romanticism is to blame for a lot of the present madness in journalism, methinks (and I say that as an occasional admirer of the Good Doctor's booze and meth fueled prose, though he came from sportswriting, not from, er, Oxbridge.)


I don't find Hitchens off the mark in regards to Wright, and alas I did not really see much wrong with Ferraro's remarks--though I could understand how some might. Obama, it should be recalled, made a deliberate effort to court fundamentalists, and campaigned on a "40 days of Faith and Family". He's a churchie, and not quite as left as many believe. Or shall we say, he's leftist when in downtown SF, and then he waves a flag and cross when in Savannah.

71 said...

Fair enough, Ferraro's remarks could be painted in another light...I don't at all think her intent was malicious. But she could have better considered what she said, and, in my eyes, what she said is a product of a bigger issue.

However, Obama as a churchie?? I'm not so sure about that. I'll grant he may not be an athiest, but that doesn't immediately brand him as a fundamentalist. He has to play the political game if he wants to win the race, you can't fault him merely for that...no liberal can play 100% liberal in the south and still expect to win.

I think Obama's closing remarks in the so called "Compassion Forum" at Messiah College earlier this week speak well to his position on religion. (Disclaimer: I thought this forum was a terrible idea, and still do, but I caught part of it on CNN)

"What I believe is that all of us come to the public square with our own values and our ideals and our ethics, what we believe. And people of religious faith have the same right to come to that public square with values and ideals that are rooted in their faith. And they have the right to describe them in religious terms, which has been part of our history. As I said in some of my writings, imagine Dr. King, you know, going up before, in front of the Lincoln Memorial and having to scrub all his religious references, or Abraham Lincoln in the Second Inaugural not being able to refer to God. What religious language can often do is allow us to get outside of ourselves and mobilize around a common good. On the other hand, what those of us of religious faith have to do when we're in the public square is to translate our language into a universal language that can appeal to everybody. And both Lincoln and King did this and every great leader did it, because we are not just a Christian nation. We are a Jewish nation; we are a Buddhist nation; we are a Muslim nation; Hindu nation; and we are a nation of atheists and nonbelievers. And it is important for us not to try to kill the debate by saying, "Well, God tells me I'm right, and so I'm not going to listen to you." Rather, we've got to translate whatever it is that we believe into a language that allows for argument, allows for debate, and also allows that we may be wrong. And the biggest danger, I think, for those of us of religious faith when we're in the public sphere is a certain self-righteousness, where we start thinking that, "Well, you know, I've got a direct line to God." You know, that is incompatible with democracy. You may have a direct line to God. But, you know, that is not -- the public square is not the place for us to empower ourselves in that way."

J said...

Powerful preacherly oratory from BO as usual, but I do not agree with the message, even in terms of referencing the rhetoric of MLK or Lincoln. Politicians may have to do some Ad Xtianius, but BO goes beyond that. He has capitalized on religion, and made it a central part of his campaign. His comments on religious people vs secularists are nearly alarming (he has on occasion seemed to call into question the 1st Amendment).

The entire American political process is inexorably fucked, as even HL Mencken realized decades ago. What does it mean to succeed by winning the support of millions of idiots (whether they be links oder rechts, red or blue states)? And most of the leftist-blog chitchat completely overlooks that "systemic" problem as they say.

The popular vote should be examined: it should have been improved, upgraded, retrofitted years ago. Not likely to happen of course this year, if in 10 years.

Mencken

I wager we will see riots this summer, from rightist knuckleheads, AND the gangsta-leftists.

J said...

That's sort of my secularist-skeptical ontology. Other times, ah tend to think Anti-Christ arrived like a few seconds apres-Hiroshima (and that's not to say that the Big A.C. might not be read in pathopsychological terms: Thanatos written large). Who cares what herd-mind decides on, whether they are demons....or psychotics.

71 said...

So the problem isn't Obama, it's democracy? You propose a rule of the intelligentsia, I suppose? I don't know the blog well, so I'm not sure what you're leanings are here...but suddenly I'm feeling a very Nietzschean vibe.

71 said...

I'm not sure I totally understand what you're criticizing anymore...

What's wrong w/ a liberal entrepeneur? What does that mean, really?

What makes you think HRC is more Keynesian in her economics than Obama? What did the Clinton cohort do the first time around to earn that praise?

And the Reagan line is just a cheapshot...he praised Reagan's ability in crafting a movement, not a word about what that movement stood for. Political acument vs political substance.

J said...

""""suddenly I'm feeling a very Nietzschean vibe."""""

Yes in spirit to a degree: in principle I'm fairly traditional Jeffersonian-Lockean, classical liberal. Even Galbraith and all that.

Alas that wind's done gone, it appears: in some sense we've returned to a state of nature. So Nietzschean independent if you will. Never been in GOP, but I detest what the left became (that started in 90s). I still read Chomsky on occasion (mostly disagreeing): ye olde compare and contrast to Hitchies! (yeah he's pretty obnoxious and no Chomster, but NC's has for years defended brutal leftist regimes across the globe).

Of course voting reform won't happen soon. Either way, Obama's not in our best interests. He might in the best interests of some: but that set of Some does not include me.

In terms of American pulp-politics HRC remains closer to FDR-Keynesian style policies, however mundane. BO's sort of a liberal entrepreneur type: recall his praise of Reagan. He's inconsistent at the very least.

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