New Civilization News: Things Get Personal    
 Things Get Personal23 comments
picture23 Oct 2004 @ 11:31, by Richard Carlson

Explaining a koan to Satsu, Hakuin said: "Now do you understand?"
Satsu said: "Will you please explain it again?"
Just as Hakuin opened his mouth to speak, she interrupted and said: "Thank you for your trouble," and with a bow, left the room.
Hakuin exclaimed: "I've been overthrown by this terrible little woman!"

---Zen Mondo

Even if I could utter a wise word, the hearing of which would guarantee you instant enlightenment, it would still be like throwing shit on your heads.


Moonlight and the sound of pines are things we all know
zen mind and delusion distinguish sage and fool
go back to the place where not one thought appears
How shall I put this into words for you?

---Han-Shan Te-Ch'ing

A couple of incidents yesterday make me realize how far from a discussion of issues politics has strayed in the United States. Maybe the goal no longer is calm discussion or learned debate. Maybe instead we want Opinion And Passion, which is the logo of an AM talk radio station I was listening to. Perhaps we've forgotten how to disagree with someone in a civilized fashion. Does anyone learn the skill at home or in school anymore?

The first incident happened in school, where I work. There's a guy who substitute teaches and is sort of retired, like me. We've known each other for 10 years and always have been very friendly. I'll call him Steve, just for the sake of giving him a name I can use here, and I'll say his field is not social studies. I hadn't talked with him at any length since I'd read a letter to the papers he'd written, endorsing a Republican candidate for judge. Steve and I had talked politics over the years, and I'd come to think of him as a Democrat...or at least a liberal Independent. People had told me he worked hard in the teachers union over his 30 years, for the kind of salary and benefits you'd expect from a progressive thinker.

What had disappointed me about his letter was not his endorsement of a Republican, but rather there was not a political idea or issue in it. Instead he wrote that he liked Mr. Ward personally, and had lots of good times with him. He said if you want an honest judge, this is the guy to vote for. So yesterday I asked him what did he have personally against Mr. Shostak, the Democratic opponent. Steve said he'd never met the man and had no idea what sort of fellow he was. So I asked how could he publicly endorse one candidate over another without discussion of any issues or either man's credentials? Steve said, "That doesn't matter. Voting is all personal." I couldn't believe he was saying that. There was no time to talk with him further right then, so I ended sarcastically. "Really!" I said. "And here I thought I was supposed to vote the way my church tells me." I'm not sure he got it.

After supper, I drove Ilona to Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, where she's performing the part of the witch in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. I'd seen the whole evening the previous day, and so I decided to go in only for the last hour this time. I sat out in the parking lot and dialed around the radio. I wondered what was going on talk radio. Friday night is high school football, so there was a lot of that even though the season is winding down. At 970, I stopped short. This was WLS, Chicago's "NewsTalk" radio, and here was "The Sean Hannity Show"---for 3 hours. This man does a shift at Fox TV, and then goes on the radio besides? What a busy beaver! [link] It seems he is "on tour" presently, doing the show in front of audiences in large cities in swing states particularly.

His funding may vary from venue to venue, but his 3 hours is a nonstop rant for Bush. I use the word "rant" very carefully. He takes phonecalls from around the country, and seems to prefer the ones that set him up to go off into searing insult---which is his specialty. He has a computer full of soundbytes---good guys and bad guys---which he punches up again and again. The same ones. Last night it was all about Kerry's hunting trip. Maybe because Hannity was in Dallas, he got the most shouts and roars when he'd play Kerry saying, "I'm a hunter and a gunner," over and over. He was concerned Kerry had bought a new jacket. He played the clip of Cheney saying "October disguise" over and over. Riotous laughter. This was the show. Then Hannity underscored his point: we know Kerry doesn't really support the Second Amendment, just as we know he doesn't really go to church or have a spiritual life.

Then he got Ann Coulter on the phone. In case you live in Spain or Scotland or someplace---and some of the readers of this do---Coulter is a hot conservative commodity in every way. [link] Her latest column, on display right now at that site, lists the following as chief liberal Democrat issues:

"Bush family's connections to the Saudis,
the Carlyle Group,
something about the Texas Rangers needing more left-handed pitching,
the neoconservatives,
the Straussians,
the Jews,
oily Jews."

Hmmmm. Well, maybe some of them. The other night she was speaking at the University of Arizona, when she repeated her opinion that U.S. policy in the Middle East should be to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Shortly after the remark, 2 guys got up out of the audience and tossed custard pies at her. Someone said they were representing a group called "Al Pieda." [link] There's a skimpy video here---if you must--- [link]

Hannity needed to interview Coulter about this horrifying incident. I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of an assault like this, and I believe those young men made a bad mistake---but wait until you hear what she says! Coulter claimed they got up to within a yard of her and still missed with the pies. She said the reason was "they threw like girls." She said she was only too happy to enable them both to try out in prison their desire for "gay marriage." Hannity said, "They were gay?" She replied, "They're liberal Democrat males, aren't they? I almost said 'men'." She said, "They got their faces smashed in. They'd have to be crazy to attack me in front of a crowd of real Republican men. I yelled, 'GET 'EM!' and all the men smashed their faces in." (Pictures of the two after their arrest are here [link] .)

Perhaps the smashing is her wishful thinking or motivated by a deeper intention. The Dallas crowd was stirred up now, and yelling. Hannity encouraged her to go through the incident again...and then again. After 20 minutes of this Coulter said, "It's time conservatives stopped taking this violence sitting down. It's time we hit back! If liberals want to meet us in the streets, let's go: we're ready! We've got guns and REAL men to shoot 'em!" Hannity's crowd was screaming.

After Ilona's play, she and I were driving home, and I had the same station on. Now we were into The Deborah Rowe Program, another call-in show, although Rowe is a local Chicago lady I guess. The topic she wanted to discuss was John Kerry's "November 3rd Surprise." She says Kerry has vowed the Al Gore wimp-out in 2000 isn't going to happen this year. She claims he has a fleet of jets ready for takeoff. They're loaded with lawyers and private security guys. If the election is close Kerry's going to claim the White House and take over. She did not use the word "coup." As we pulled into our garage, Ilona wanted to know, "What is that woman really saying?"

Yes, what are conservatives now saying? Can this country control itself this last week and conduct an orderly, rational election of leaders? What will it mean for America if we can't? What will it mean for this beautiful world?

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23 Oct 2004 @ 12:53 by shawa : Exactly.
That is why we of the rest of the beautiful world (I live in Europe) - follow events with some anxiety.  

23 Oct 2004 @ 16:42 by ov : CBC plug
You all are probably tired of hearing this but {|CBC radio One} is imho an example of what AM talk radio should be like. The radio hosts, almost all of them women, will politely ask questions that uncover falsehoods but once a contrary position to their own has been clearly stated they politely thank the guest for being on the show and don't voice any snide comments or give any indication that there was anything wrong with the guests opinion. Very professional. They are not totally unbiased however because when they have guests with enlightened points of view you can tell that the hosts are happy because they'll occasionally let a little friendly laugh slip out.  

23 Oct 2004 @ 17:12 by jstarrs : Jazz...
...once again, you're bringing roots reporting without hysterics & with damn pertinent questions!
Bless you, man!
ps. May I also put this one up on that forum?


May the Protector Gods be with you!

---Ol' Skullcap  

23 Oct 2004 @ 17:32 by Quinty @ : Scary and very interesting

We all know the history of the phrase "politically correct." it was leftists who first applied this to other leftists who were attempting to be lefter than thou. That no one could be further to the left that they or more "correct" in their views. Coulter is the same on the right: attempting to be as far over to the right as she can. "No one can be further right!" She seems to cry: and will outright all rightwing comers. Well, then look at the face of American fascism, 21st Century style. Coulter believes Joe McCarthy was merely a victim of Communist mud, ie, Liberals. And what a success the right has had with demonizing that word: "liberal." No one dare speak its name, like pedophilia or canabalism. Is Coulter off her hinges? I think that in the manner she violently flings herself at any expression of dissent is certainly unhinged. But, as we can see, from that AM radio show you described, Richard, there is an audience for all that. There is a following. Yeah, things are a little scary. And now with Sinclair and that Pay per View TV company which won't allow Fahrenheit 911 to appear before the election the far right is more emboldened.

If Kerry wins the election one of the first things I hope he does is return the Fairness Doctrine. That, if you are not American, is a rule which forces an equal amount of time for each side on the airwaves, since the air, in the US, belongs to the people. And, yes, I have been in conversations where the issue of which candidate "appeared more presidential" was what seemed to matter most.  

23 Oct 2004 @ 21:01 by vaxen : Examine...
for a moment, if you will, the RTA (The Russel Trust Association aka Skull and Bones) as well as the 'Hegelian Dialectic.' Elections in AmeriKKKa (KKK=Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh)? You have GOT to be kidding jazzolog? Nice piece (Coulter), though...thanks.

Now, in all honesty, how could any apple pie eating, honest Abe thinking, shooting coon and moonshine drinking, red blooded AmeeeeriKKKan man not want a little 'piece' of that action? You tell me.  

23 Oct 2004 @ 22:45 by Quinty @ : Frankly
I think the head was attached to another body, but perhaps I'm a conspiracy monger. And Photoshop wasn't brought into play. If lingerie ran the world then Coulter might get my vote. But then, there's much more going on, isn't there? Though I don't think Skull and Bones is an integral part of any conspiracy: too easy a choice, there. A basic error in logic is to believe that because something is possible it is true. Like the number of angels you can put on a pinhead. Pinheads? No, not Coulter. That is if you can look above the basic demarcation line there, and get back to serious business. (Women may take exception to all this sexist nonsence, but it does keep the world turining, doesn't it?)

PS - I just temporarily looked upon the scene at FOX. They were jubillantly giving the election to Bush, state by contested state. Yes, an intersting election. Do you think all the corruption which is emerging may have been there for many an election season? Long before it was raised up from the mud? After all, didn't Daley give it to Kennedy in 60? Yes, interesting and novel times.  

23 Oct 2004 @ 22:52 by vaxen : HaHaHa...
Well said Sir Quinty! Skull and Bones is actually an old 'German' order. Actually it is the Russell Trust Association, and associates of the associates, that one must 'eagle eye' in session.

I think you're probably correct in the head on another body observation. Yes the 'Elections' here are a farce en toto. I think any real American kid knows that. And, of course, the propaganda machine is owned by whom? ;)

There is something rotten in Denmark and it is'nt the Queen.  

24 Oct 2004 @ 00:20 by vibrani : Coulter
YUCK! She's a one woman Republican and Bush show.  

25 Oct 2004 @ 11:03 by dempstress : Airtime.....
well, as an ex radio and TV journalist in the UK, once an election has been announced here any broadcast coverage at all has to be SCRUPULOUSLY balanced. This can cause controversy as there is a sort of accepted understanding of which of the parties this applies to.....for example the Monster Raving Loony Party is not expected to be given equal airtime with the two main parties (damn shame in my view: they're far more entertaining). The next election may also raise issues over the Liberal Democrats, for long the relatively small third party but looking better by the day as many people become disillusioned with Blair's support for Bush in Iraq and the Conservatives continue to fail to shine. It can be a real headache for the broadcasters, although please note that it doesn't apply to the press, who can be and are as partisan as they please.  

25 Oct 2004 @ 17:33 by Quinty @ : Our superficial mass media
Here, in the USA, we have what's known as "balance" and "objectivity" regarding news coverage. This, as Bob Edwards of National Public Radio recently explained it, means that one guest tells the truth and in the name of balance and fairness another guest is allowed to lie about it. This happens all the time in our corporate entertainment driven mass media, which constantly looks at the bottom line. And the news on mainstream sources tends to be superficial. We still have something like 50 or 60 % of the American people who believe that Saddam was linked to 9/11 and al Qaeda. Somebody is not doing his or her job.

I like, by the way, the Guardian and the Independent. And in print sources see nothing wrong with expressing a slant. That would be far better, I think, than fudging under the cover of being "objective." And if one sides lies more often than the other, let the chips fall where they may. Even if liars accuse the truth tellers of bias.  

25 Oct 2004 @ 19:07 by ov : There is a link
Saddam, 9/11 and al Qaeda are all under the supervision of the CIA.

abstinence in 2004 -- No Bush -- No Dick}  

25 Oct 2004 @ 23:18 by Quinty @ : That's good news

I was afraid things were getting out of hand. Now if the CIA could only infiltrate the White House......  

26 Oct 2004 @ 08:34 by dempstress : 400 TONNES!!
Someone's managed to nick 400 TONNES of high explosive from a known Iraqi military complex without anyone noticing??! No-one thought to keep an eye on it then? Oh yes, and in go the Black Watch. Thanks guys.  

26 Oct 2004 @ 09:46 by jazzolog : Let's Not Exaggerate
It's only 380 tons, Ms. Journalism...not 400 with two exclamation points. For a moment you had me feeling a jot less safe and secure. I'm sure that stuff is around here somewhere...and Tony's new troops will be smashing at finding it and saving the day. It's probably waylaid in some London Post Office.  

26 Oct 2004 @ 09:48 by dempstress : PS
Those Americans who responded to the Guardian's recent Clark County email initiative with extreme but inventive invective (and you a supposedly christian country too) which included refering to Brits as "&*^^%$ tea drinking £*()+""!, please note a report out today that claims drinking tea, especially green tea, can prevent altzheimers. Coffee has no effect.

Could one of you guys please inform the White House?


No beneficial effect, you mean. I have a feeling our need for a slap in the face from a cup of joe to get us going in the morning does contribute to the Alzheimer's.

---Java Jivester  

26 Oct 2004 @ 09:51 by dempstress : Wouldn't be at all surprised
if some of it ended up in London......or Washington, or New York, or.........  

27 Oct 2004 @ 16:51 by shawa : Or Spain

27 Jun 2007 @ 16:22 by Daniel E.Rhoades @ : ann
I think shes hot!!!!!!!!!  

28 Jun 2007 @ 08:31 by jazzolog : Yeah, Mr. Rhoades, So I Hear
I like this anecdote from Rolling Stone~~~

"When a reference to 'my friend Ann Coulter' -- the leggy conservative has been a frequent guest on (Bill) Maher's program -- elicited a round of boos from the audience, Maher shot back, 'I know, I know. But she's different when she's coming.'"

For a review and video clip of Ann's appearance Tuesday on Hardball, which drew a phonecall from Elizabeth Edwards, go here~~~  

28 Jun 2007 @ 23:09 by Quinty @ : Too skinny

I think the photo above is as real as Coulter. (I mean, compare them, the talking Coulter on screen and the wish fulfillment above. After all, what is Coulter all about? Anything for a buck, right? Not that she's a whore, except, perhaps, a whore for herself? Always up for sale?)

Coultergeist, as Keith Olbermann calls her, is like the kid next door who likes to use cow pies as frisbees and lobs them across the yard into your lap. (As you sit there calmly drinking a tall chilled evening glass listening to the birds serenade the sunset.) The spouse may say, "He only wants attention, ignore him." But sooner or later the pile of cow pies in your lap becomes too heavy, smelly, and generally noisome. And acknowledging the kid's presence ultimately becomes necessary. That's what Elizabeth Edwards did. And in a very decent manner. Though god did the pundocracy ever spin this!  

29 Jun 2007 @ 08:16 by jazzolog : Coulter's Ass Costs Money
I don't do much YouTube but I guess that has to change: so much going on at that site. I was struck during the video, which must have been just a small segment of the whole TV program, by Ann's strange replies that Elizabeth's challenge was meant to make her stop writing books. How could anyone be so warped as to make that out of the objections...which were roundly supported by an applauding, shouting outdoor audience surrounding Coulter? I decided the woman, like most rightwingers, program themselves to be focused totally on the main purpose, which on this occasion was to advertise the book that's just going into paperback I gather. She must be on a book tour and so was seeing the Edwards challenge in that light. Neverthless interpreting the Edwards challenge as meaning to curb her freedom of speech looked nuts. Does she need the reminder about crying out a bogus FIRE in a crowded auditorium?  

29 Jun 2007 @ 16:07 by Quinty @ : You obviously don’t listen to rightwing
radio, where that kind of logic is common. And has become more common, alas, with the ascendancy of the far right under Bush. And in today's Truthout there’s piece on how Bush’s foreign policy is geared to his belief in Armageddon, or the Rapture, or some such.

Now the right is all up in arms over the possibility the Democrats will bring the Fairness Doctrine back. Employing the obvious argument that it would impinge on their free speech.

If the right truly were concerned with “free speech” they would welcome opposing points of view. And a variety of opinion. Which is what the Fairness Doctrine attempts to provide. But the right has a virtual stranglehold on the radio airwaves and they are not about to give that up. They will go down fighting.

True, some of the rightwing talk jocks would lose their jobs, but it wouldn’t be the government that takes them but their corporate sponsors searching for increased profit. For corporate sponsorship is what determines who’s on the air, not the realm of ideas. The decisions are market oriented, with no relationship to free speech or the search for truth. Though the right would argue that the free market reflects public opinion.

Since I like to sometimes listen to “talk radio” I wish there were something else on the air other than the far right. So that I wouldn’t be so familiar with the slash and burn logic of a Coultergeist. And that’s here in New England, on the Massachusetts border, close to the heart of the progressive east. There is nothing on the radio here but the far right, the bottom crawling right, the Christian right, the really weird and wacko right and the truly American fascist right.

I salute you, Richard, for taking a simple step for preserving your sanity by not listening. (That is, if you don't ever succumb to curiosity? If you do, beware: it has been known to drive a sane and sensible man mad in less than five minutes.)  

29 Jun 2007 @ 19:03 by jazzolog : Winning A War of Liberty Over Liberalism
I did listen to Hannity a couple times, as described in the entry here. My wife raised an interesting point about Coulter this afternoon. She said what if this woman were fat and ugly, instead of leggy and blonde? Would anyone listen to her fascist bitch comments? Who would they be? Of course there were fat, ugly Nazi bitches eventually, but let's not get ahead of our story.
(No one illustrated ugly Nazis better than Paul's father...which you know if you are wise enough to buy a Quintanilla calendar each year.)  

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