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Opinionist: Good Job, LA Times - You're Almost As Good As The Enquirer
UPDATE: Further down the page, I refer to Jonah as an idiot. That's not really fair, and I apologize. He's
a fu an incredible idiot:
One small point in response (I know, I know: Why bother?). The 13th amendment lists involuntary servitude and slavery as different things. If they were the same, the founders wouldn't have wasted the ink repeating themselves.
In case you're curious, here's a brief description of just how much of an incredible idiot he is. SPOILER: William Seward isn't as far as I know, classified as one of the Founding fathers. Wonderful work there, LA Times. Awesome hiring. (Via Atrios.)
It’s not easy being the LA Times. Like all print media, they've fallen on hard times in the last 8 years. They’re bleeding circulation like a 19th century Russian Monarch. They've experienced a sharp decline in ad revenue and lose money by the crate. They've been, ahem, “forced” into firing essential staffers, which has of course resulted in a marked drop in quality and coverage. Why, they might even be forced to abandon the building they’ve called home for a gazillion years. What's an ossified, megapowerful publishing entity to do? How can they climb out of the half-dug grave and remain relevant in the Internet age?
* Might they consider improving the quality of their reporting? Please.
* What about examining how Americans, having been lied to about practically everything during the Bush years, might be looking for other information outlets where they can get facts instead of lies and guilt trips? HahaHAHAHAHhahah cough. Ahem. Sorry, you just aroused my naturally boisterous blogging sensibilities*.
* Then maybe they could just blame everything on the internet and try shovel a mountain of right wing bullshit down their readers’ throats?
If you’re paying attention, then you know they’ve gone with option 4.
Exhibit Q is their recent decision to add to their editorial pages prominent conservative trustafarian Jonah Goldberg. Many of you may not know who this incredible douchebag actually is. He's famous for three things:
1) He's the son of coprolitic professional conservative complainer Lucianne Goldberg, and thus the recipient of right wing welfare that even George Bush envies. Jonah, thanks to mommy's money, managed to launch a hilarious career on the internet advocating for, among other things, the Iraq war. And like most conservatives, he was conspicuously unwilling to actually, you know, serve in it.
2) He's the author of the hilariously unreadable Liberal Fascism, a book that alleges, with a straight face, that liberal champions of civil liberties and equal rights are heirs to Hitler and Mussolini. I shouldn't need to tell you how crazy that is, but in case I do, think about it like this: When was the last time you met a liberal who advocated for endless war, ethnic cleansing, total corporate control of the government and the slaughter of the nation's enemies?
3) His pearl-clutchingly histrionic support for the Iraq war. He's one of the original conservatives who equated supporting the war with actually serving in it. Think about that - people like Jonah actually believe that their blisterfully masturbational support of this awful war is morally equivalent to actually risking their lives to fight in it. He also frequently accused opponents of the war with disloyalty, cowardice and so forth. When confronted with the absurdity of his statements, he offered a ridiculous response that perfectly captured the venal, pants-crapping cowardice of America's conservatives and led to the liberal blogosphere bestowing him with the richly deserved nickname "The Doughy Pantload."
Today, Mr. pantload treats Angelenos to a startlingly transcendental masterpiece entitled "Forced Servitude In America?":
There's a weird irony at work when Sen. Barack Obama, the black presidential candidate who will allegedly scrub the stain of racism from the nation, vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.
That would be weird irony. Because as far as I know, the last mainstream American candidate who favored a return to slavery died on July 4, 2008. Could it be that Obama is the candidate to continue Helms' legacy and finally restore the glory of the old South? I Declare!
For those who don't remember, the 13th Amendment says: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime ... shall exist within the United States."
And here I thought the 13th Amendment stipulated that "he who killed Jason must verily portray him in the next film." Or maybe conservatives need to stop treating Americans like we're all as fucking stupid as they are. But I digress. Jonah was talking about, what, slavery, right?
I guess in Obama's mind it must be a crime to be born or to go to college.
OH MY GOD! I heard Obama was a blackity black not black enough atheist Muslim black man who also has the audacity to not own a pet. But considering college a crime! That's too far, even for a liberal fascist like me!
In his speech on national service Wednesday at the University of Colorado, Obama promised that as president he would "set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year." He would see that these goals are met by, among other things, attaching strings to federal education dollars. If you don't make the kids report for duty, he's essentially telling schools and college kids, you'll lose money you can't afford to lose. In short, he'll make service compulsory by merely compelling schools to make it compulsory.
It's funny that, when the right seeks to use the government to impose its values, the left screams about brainwashing and propaganda. When the left tries it, the right thunders about social engineering. But when left and right agree -- as seems to be the case on national service -- who's left to complain? As ever, the slipperiest slopes are greased with the snake oil of "bipartisanship."
Yes, because advocating for increased involvement in national improvement, opposing the war, opposing compulsory prayer in school, believing in sexual freedom and civil liberties, and fighting to end discrimination is exactly the same as opposing sexual freedom, religious freedom, the right to dissent and being a massive supporter of the war. Exactly the same thing. Why, how anyone could make an informed judgment, when the left and right positions are actually so totally different and only an idiot could possibly think there's any moral equivalence, is beyond me. Fortunately, Jonah is here to explain how.
This is the real problem with national service mania: It seeks to fix what ain't broke. No, national service isn't slavery. But it contributes to a slave mentality, at odds with American tradition. It assumes that work not done for the government isn't really for the "common good."
Soooo... Obama is proposing that Americans perform national service, and in return, they'll receive increased assistance for things like college? And somehow, that's very similar to being forced to toil in cotton fields and live with the constant threat that your owner might rape you. Or at least, to creating a "slave mentality." Really? OH, Jonah! Truly you are the Harriet Tubman of the Top 10% Tax Bracket!
But Jonah, before you become so self satisfied by your comparison of national service to slavery that you do the world a favor and finally disappear up your own asshole, here's the thing. You're an idiot. And a dick.
Still, I have to admit that it makes perfect sense, Los Angeles being such a notorious enclave of extreme right wing politics, to include noxious right wing conservatives in our local paper. After all, we're home to such an avid conservative voting base, with an anchor industry so utterly enamored with the GOP, that the expression "Hollywood Conservative" has become a Cliché, a stock phrase so frequently repeated that it's lost all meaning except as a way of saying "asshole" on TV without offending the censors.
As everyone knows, there isn't a single depiction of conservative views on TV news programs. Worse, famous liberals like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris are frequently used as political props by ambitious liberal politicians, anxious to relate to the bigots in the Heartland with the associated folksy populism of these liberal icons, while even the appearance of a conservative celebrity in the same zip code as a Republican is enough to send the liberal media off the rails. Even mentioning Barbara Streisand's numerous connections to the Bush Family is enough to inspire a mountain of cash from outraged liberals, tired of Hollywood's close relationship with the Republicans and desperate to claim for themselves a slice of the entertainment industry.
Clearly, LA is a conservative town with a population desperate for right wing propaganda, so it makes perfect fucking sense that the LA Times would finally respond to this tidal wave of market pressure by making their voices heard. And publishing a first rate concubine like Jonah Goldberg in their Editorial Pages really is the right way to respond to this incredible, incontrovertible outpouring of demand for right wing nonsense in the pages of the LA times.
Or perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe, instead, the owners of the LA times ought to reconsider their decision to devote the paper to insulting the town it's supposed to serve. Because last I checked, it makes no fucking sense, from a pure business-plan point of view, to provide the exact opposite of what people actually want to purchase. It's like operating an abstinence only educational center from inside the Hustler coffee shop. Or pissing off your entire base just to score points with dicks.
Call me naive, but it seems like, now that the war is deeply unpopular, as is president Bush and pretty much everyone associated with him, it'd make more sense to try working from that point. For instance, why not bring back people like the sorely missed Robert Sheer, who you fired for having the audactity to not enjoy journalistically fellating the president. You know, the kind of people who were actually right, and actually representative of their city.
Not that we have any illusions. If the last 8 years is any guide, it's going to get much worse until eventually the LA Times has the journalistic integrity and operating budget of a John Birch pamphlet. Oh well. If the LA Times wants to publish lies and obfuscation, so be it. Meanwhile, the rest of us will just have to look forward to reading about their bankruptcy on the internet.
Photo "No Known Restrictions" by Pingnews.com, via Flikr.
*basic joke shamelessly stolen from Larry Gonick.