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11 September 2008


Matt Marks

"Deep anger"? I didn't really sense that. Some mild snark I guess, but if anything it's cold and calculating, like many of the paleos. I totally disagree with Will (as usual), but Sirota seems to be the knee-jerk, overemotional, name-calling reactionary here.


Hi Matt! Thanks for coming by.

It should be pretty clear based on my posting history that I do not give two shits about "civility," so I'm fine with calling "bullshit" when someone is, in fact, slinging bullshit. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that's an appropriate and necessary response. Personally, I'd be happy to trade a world that has just oodles of name-calling in it for a world less dominated by bullshit.

Also, there is lots of "cold and calculating"-sounding analysis that is completely reprehensible and deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms -- like, for instance, The Bell Curve, which is the kind of thing that gives bullshit a bad name.

Anyway, to return to the topic at hand... do you honestly think the timing of Will's column was an accident? He clearly decided that the anniversary of 9/11 was an opportune time for him to inveigh against the collective bargaining rights of firefighters. And he gave the column a title that instantly invokes the specter of terrorism. And you even agree with Sirota on the merits of the argument. And Sirota's response is a hell of a lot more measured and temperate than mine.

So I guess I'm confused -- when is it appropriate to get angry? You ask me, the problem with the "angry left" (to quote the President) is that we are not angry enough.

josh s

I wish people would inveigh against the "angry right" more often, but I guess "angry right" is pretty redundant. Maybe the "hate-filled right" would be more appropriate...

Matt Marks

Ha! Well, I'm the last to have any grounds for a call to civility - most of my posts are as bitchy and snarky as anything I've read...
But I'm also a bit wary of the jump toward offense when people are merely in disagreement (I'm more speaking of the Sirota post, in my honest opinion, "George Will can go fuck a fire hose" is totally acceptable :) ). It seems that the issue at hand is the aging population and the pension "crisis". Will argues that Firefighters and Policemen should compromise their agreed upon pensions. since they supposedly make so much money anyway. Yeah, it's bullshit. I disagree with it. But it doesn't make me angry, and I don't really see it as a moral issue, but Sirota frames it as such. Like, Will is a big evil "aristocrat" and he can't wait to fuck over the heroes. That's some Disney-ass shit. Partisans on both sides turn issues like these into explicitly moral issues, because it's easier to make people care.
I think it's rather insensitive to have posted this on 9/11, but I mean, it's hard for me to believe that Will actually meant it as some sort of swipe against the firefighters who died, that's just too crazy. Sirota uses that offense to set the tone of his post though. As if Will, disgusted with those damn hero firefighters, took to the typewriter to try and take some of their pensions for his own greedy misadventures.
(The image of Gargamel keeps popping into my head)

josh s.

btw, could someone start a petition demanding that George Will be forced to "fuck a fire hose?" I'll sign it as many times as necessary.


Hey Matt, Josh,

Thanks for your comments!

I am all for reclaiming "angry" -- and especially "righteous anger" from the "angry right." They're not even authentically angry, they're just full of resentment and spite. Whereas we in the angry left have a fury stoked red-hot by the flames of injustice.

I don't really see it as a moral issue

Economic issues are absolutely moral issues -- hell, they are among the most salient moral issues of our time, all the moreso now that inequality is at levels not seen since the original Gilded Age.

You know, people fought and died for the right to unionize, for the right to collective bargaining. Old-school robber barons like George Hearst have very real blood on their hands. So yeah, I get my back up when scions of privilege like George Will try to wave away the value of unions -- even those unions representing people who put their lives on the line for people like George Will every goddamn day.

I do not think there is any chance that the timing of this column was not deliberate. But even if you could somehow prove that it were not, that doesn't make it any less offensive.

"Class warfare" is no joke: the GOP and their plutocrat enablers like George Will have been waging deadly serious class warfare against people who have to work for a living for decades. Gargamel? Shit, that dude's a piker next to a career propagandist and Reagan-era dirty trickster like Will.

Andrew Durkin

Did you perhaps mean a garden hose? A catheter tube? A straw?

cbj smith

I dunno, being up here in the Great White North I'm not entirely saturated in George Will every day, but can you say "troll?" It sounds to me like he is TRYING to get some lefty goat by setting up a straw man on the most sensitive day possible.

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