Monday, October 18

Shrill Commentary

If you haven't been regularly visiting the Shrillblog*, consider adding it to your bookmarks. The Shrillblog chronicles the swelling ranks of the Order Of The Shrill, explained as follows:

The Order of the Shrill is limited to those who were once sane, fair, and balanced, but who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by one or more of the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, or simple disconnection from reality of the George W. Bush administration.

Paul Krugman was driven into shrill, unholy madness quite early on, but this is because he had the distinction among his media 'peers' of being an honest economist. Yet now, as the Shrillblog documents, it's seldom possible to go a single day without finding another convert to the Order among the media, military, corporate, or public service sectors of our society.

But as a note of advice, most members of the public have not spent much time contemplating the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, or simple disconnection from reality of the Bush administration. They may therefore be alarmed by extreme shrillness, and members of the Order are advised to play it cool and stick to the facts, ma'am.

And the facts include a Knight-Ridder report on the to-be-provided post-war plan that never materialized.

Also, a New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind about Bush's distaste for the "reality-based" community, and his creation of the first "faith based presidency." And not the good kind of faith, but the stubborn refusal to ever entertain the slightest doubt in the rightness of one's actions. This article is long and in-depth, and holds the attention all the way through. It covers incidents throughout the Bush presidency, talks to people on both sides of the aisle, and includes multiply sourced references to Bush's recent comments at a private fundraiser about what a second term would look like.

Suskind closes the article with some words by evangelical Pastor Jim Wallis, a man Bush called on just before taking office to organize an ecumenical meeting of diverse clergy to talk about issues of poverty and faith:

..."Faith can cut in so many ways," he said. "If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

"Where people often get lost is on this very point," he said after a moment of thought. "Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want."

And what is that?

"Easy certainty."

The president no longer consults with Wallis, considering that the gentleman once suggested that terrorism would continue to be a problem as long as no major action was taken to reduce injustice. The president appeared confused by this, and that was the last they saw of each other.

* Also, the Shrillblog is very fond of H.P. Lovecraft, a classic writer of short and very odd horror stories. Any inexplicable words or phrases are unapolagetic lifts from Lovecraft's Cthulhu tales. If that doesn't ring a bell, don't worry about it, the blog is still entertaining and informative.


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