Tuesday, May 17, 2005

POLITICO

For the simple reason that I don't want to embarass you all with my incredible wealth of knowledge in the areas of world history, international affairs, stock market fluctuations connected to oil productivity, and the growing concern over agricultural subsidies, I tend not to discuss politics here. But sometimes I like to break a piece off. When I do, I tend to let it sit and fester on the floor until it gets moldy and stinky. Then I sweep it away and who knows what becomes of it; it lies waiting for some gleaner to pick through piles of trash to find it, not knowing what it is when it is found, taking a bite and even, perhaps, grimacing, throwing it over his shoulder, and returning to find his fortune in the large pile of rubbish.

If you'd like to know the general flavor of my political views, I direct you to The Bull Moose. Not only do I enjoy reading his site, I also highly agree with his ethos: a return to the principles of the Bull Moose Party, founded at the turn of last century by Teddy Roosevelt. A not so accurate list of what the Bull Moose Party believes in: gun rights, environmentalism, social progressivism (including a progressive tax), woman's right to choose, letting the gays get gay-married, a strong military with a hint of isolationism, lots of nature hikes, smoking from a pipe, leaving well enough alone, doing what you want, punishing the bad guys, fighting for the little guy, and so on. Call it the Common Sense Party. A dash of conservatism, a sprinkle of liberalism, and the continued effort to check ridiculousness from both sides at the door.

Another fellow whose opinion I enjoy reading is a Mr. Christopher Hitchens. Though I disagree with his continued assertion that the War in Iraq was an absolute necessity, I can't help but be at the least marginally convinced of many of his arguments. Now that we are in the position we are in in Iraq, it makes no sense to parse words and hesitate to denounce the absolute evil that is showing its face in that country, day after day. And I do think that people that have any sympathy whatsoever for these assfaces that are blowing up cars in markets and taking hostages and executing Iraqi soldiers in the back of the head are complete imbeciles. I personally have no interest in going to fight some war in Iraq - I'd rather not come back maimed and mute with shrapnel in my neck - and though I did not completely support the initial invasion of Iraq, it does rile me up to read and hear this muddling of history and facts. America is the Great Satan because it is presumed a soldier consecrated the Quran at Guantanamo Bay? Sure. But when the "insurgents" blow up a mosque in Baghdad, they're making a statement against the evil that is America. Brilliant.

This article by Hitchens is great not only because it oozes anger and righteousness, but because of it's clarity - Christopher Hitchens = the new William of Occam?

6 comments:

King Koopa said...

Hitch is my dawg, fo real! Probably the most intelligent, most convincing political writer I've read.

I'm still dissecting his newest book Love, Poverty and War, but it's brilliant and I highly recommend. AM, you'd dig his essay on LA quite a bit.

Once I read Hitch's review of Fahrenheit 9/11, I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. His influence on me should also partially explain some of my pricklier posts on here. Haha!!

Danny Fisher said...

Probably the most intelligent, most convincing political writer I've read.

Well, maybe a few years ago. (The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice is a take-the-stars-out-of-your-eyes, can-I-laugh-at-this?-funny, call-your-friends brilliant piece of incendiary journalism.) He's been more than a bit spotty since his more pronounced embrace of "neo"-conservatism. His work now seems to run the gambit from the kind of clarity the AM praises and the kind of offensive idiocy usually reserved for Ann Coulter and the like. My favorite example of the latter: the embarrassing "His Material Highness," a supposed expose of the Dalai Lama that deliberately left out crucial pieces of information, played fast-and-loose with the facts, and took more things out of context with manipulative gusto than any five Michael Moore films put together (but I'm sure it helped get him some attention and book sales).

While we're on the subject of Hitchens and religion, his stuff about Gandhi in the new book strikes me as very arrogant and more than a little racist. He's not a scholar and, boy, does it certainly show.

One more thing: I know Hunter Thompson cringes from beyond the grave every time Hitchens is on television pulling his boorish lout act. The only good thing that shit has ever given us is this.

And he's way off on Somerset Maugham--my, um, "dawg fo real."

(P.S. For a really sharp take on the state of Hitch, check this out.)

King Koopa said...

Well, since the dude's an atheist, I'll probably feel the same way when he does an "expose" on Jesus Christ. C'mon, let's hear it, Hitch. But, you gotta grant that he's got a unique perspective that sets him apart from most political commentators.

I like the way he argues and I find myself thinking, "Finally, I found someone who sees the world kinda like I do." No political party or ideology is necessarily more right than another and nothing is above reproach. But, when he believes in something, he's passionate about it and he can back it up. Whether or not I agree with the point he's making (I'm usually not learned enough to really judge one way or another) I always learn something new and it gets me interested in learning something else. Like the AM, Hitch can drop some serious knowledge. That's what I'm all about, fill myself with bits knowledge so I can use it to form my own opinion about something else related. As far as Hunter S. Thompson, I think the two were kindred spirits too, he wrote an obit for him...

But, as we all know, when you're smart enough, you can rationalize anything...so, you gotta be careful not to buy into everything a guy like Hitch says.

On the real tip, he's my dawg. But, so's the AM and I disagree and argue w/ him all the time.

Awbnid said...

So, Danny. Am I to assume that you feel Hitch was not offensively idiotic until he publically became difficult to clearly classify as a leftist?

Just wondering.

Danny Fisher said...

Am I to assume that you feel Hitch was not offensively idiotic until he publically became difficult to clearly classify as a leftist?

Yeah, nice try, Awbnid.

My point is that I think Hitchens lost his bite by choosing a side--any side.

And for the record, what I said was: "His work now seems to run the gambit from the kind of clarity the AM praises and the kind of offensive idiocy usually reserved for Ann Coulter and the like." I didn't say he was offensively idiotic, period. I said that his work veers between the clarity the AM articulated so very well and offensive idiocy.

Awbnid said...

But wasn't the point of the post to which you linked above that Hitch has lost credibility because he values being a contrarian too much? It seems you are offering divergent criticisms. It seems it's not that he's "choosing sides" that you find to be discomfiting. It's that the sides he chooses do not easily fit into a common ideology.

Which is what I happen to like about him. And I agree, by the way, that some of his broadsides are better than others. It's fun, though, that people-- myself included-- tend to think that the weakest of the positions he takes are generally the ones with which they are pre-disposed to disagree.

Your link suggests this is a bad thing. I disagree. It may be a pose, or it may be genuine, but there are plenty of writers out there carrying the water of the clearly left or clearly right. If Hitch's tactic is to instinctively disagree with them, that makes for stimulating reading. It is that characteristic that so many enjoy.