What Goes On A Memorial?

November 8, 2009

In Connecticut a furor has arisen over the wording on a memorial for those who were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The town of Kent is putting up a memorial to a young man, James Gadiel, from there who was killed that day in New York City. Work on the memorial has been halted, though, because his father, Peter Gadiel, demands that it say his son had been “killed by Muslim terrorists.” He claims any other wording is “too soft” and would only be caving in to “political correctness.”

I’m no fan of “political correctness” myself, but what the elder Mr Gadiel wants is just not done on monuments of this sort. “Political correctness” is not at issue here … rather, custom and propriety are. If it were, there’d be lots of World War II memorials saying, “Blown up by Nazi bootlickers” or “Shot by imperialist Nips,” and Korean War memorials saying, “Slaughtered by Red invaders.”

I get that the elder Mr Gadiel is angry about his son’s death, but his emotions should not dictate what the town of Kent does with its money. He may appear — as the father of the deceased — to have the moral authority to make this decision, but the cold reality is that he does not.

What has made this case worse than it needed to be, is that the bellicose and sanctimonious Bill O’Reilly has taken up the Gadiel cause and rallied the troops of the Right against the town of Kent, condemning their “political correctness.” Unfortunately — and as usual — O’Reilly’s furor is displaced; his claim is, as I explained, moot.


Lots Of Bills Have Lots Of Pages

October 29, 2009

House Minority Leader John Boehner is whining about the length of the latest healthcare reform bill. It’s too long, he says. I agree it’s long, but to assume that all bills that long must, by definition, be “bad,” is not logical.

The truth of the matter, as Slate explains, is that lots of bills are long. The length of many of them is because pork is thrown in, in order to encourage members to vote for it. “Omnibus spending bills,” which are nearly an annual ritual in Congress, typically number well over 1,000 pages.

Sorry Mr Boehner, but the length of this bill has nothing to do with whether or not it’s good or bad.

Concentrating on one aspect of this bill while ignoring the rest is hypertrivia. Opposing the bill because Democrats authored it, is partisanism. Whining about yet another version of a healthcare bill — which has been worked on in Congress in one way or another since January, with none of it going anywhere — is hyperreacting. Appealing to people’s fears of “bureaucracy” … which is not evidenced in the number of pages in the bill, especially if those pages are more Congressional pork than anything else … is emotivism. Let’s grow up, Mr Boehner, and stop being maturity-deprived.

Limbaugh Vs. Obama

September 17, 2008

Here’s the latest dust-up going on between Sen. Barack Obama and Rush Limbaugh, the Right-wing mouthpiece:

Rush Limbaugh, featured in a new, Spanish-language Barack Obama ad, says the commercial distorts his past statements and amounts to “race-baiting” by the Democratic nominee.

Let’s be honest here, the initial salvo in this particular fracas — Obama’s ad which targets Limbaugh — is ridiculous on its face, because … you guessed it! … Obama isn’t running against Limbaugh!

Yes, that means Obama is guilty of associafying.

Limbaugh is, of course, hyperreacting in response, which is no better.

The whole thing is hypertrivia anyway because old quotes taken from Limbaugh’s show really tell us nothing about Sen. John McCain, do they?

Note: My “definitions” page explains what I mean by the terms “associafying,” “hyperreacting,” and “hypertrivia.”