Yes. I KNOW it’s ‘googolplex.’
I haven’t bothered blogging for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to give the rest of the blogosphere a chance to catch up. Monday’s big story was that Über-“Christian” Theocrat Sam Brownback’s office apologized for having been caught snooping on an 18-year-old high school student. (They did NOT apologize to the student, note. See bottom for his complete ‘apology.’) And Tuesday’s big story was the bill pending in Congress that would essentially destroy the internet in its current, social form. Both were sufficiently dealt with in Friday’s “Brownback Friday.” Are we caught up yet? Great!
Leave it to the increasingly shameful, increasingly subliterate, increasingly apologist-for-every-government-excess Washington Post to print the most shameful swill about l”Affaire Brownback this side of Brownback’s office itself.
Our Profiles in Douchebaggery series turns its unblinking eye to Ruth Marcus of the formerly credible (not in this century, of course) Washington Post opinion staff, who begins her “Wrong-Way Corrigan” jeremiad by noting her vaginal Sphincteresse Oblige:
Emma Sullivan, you’re lucky you’re not my daughter. (Dangerous sentence, I know: My daughters might agree.)
If you were my daughter, you’d be writing that letter apologizing to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the smartalecky, potty-mouthed tweet you wrote after meeting with him on a school field trip…
It gets worse. But I think we can agree that we’re ALL lucky not to be Marcus’ daughter (or any other of her sentient uterine products). Listen:
Marcus’ Fuzzy Thinking
[… Emma] Sullivan’s foray into political commentary caught the eye of Brownback’s office, which was not amused. The Mission East principal called Sullivan to his office to demand that she write a letter of apology.
“caught the eye“??!?! Seriously, “Mom” you completely ignore the very BASIS of the national outrage? That’s like saying (sorry in advance) “The Jews caught the eye of Adolph Hitler.” Obviously Marcus is NOT speaking English, so a translation is offered hereinafter for the Post pundit’s pandering parental pidgin:
Of course, the governor’s office was dumb to complain about a tweet that no one saw.
The governor’s office was ill-advised to take action on surveillance of children that has outraged all of America. It’s OK for them to monitor tweets and phones and lord knows what else, but what’s WRONG here is that they CORRECTLY “complained” about an OBSCURE tweet. Had it been better known, the “complaint” would have been utterly justified.
Of course, Sullivan has a First Amendment right to express her views — although not unlimited.
If you have a right and it’s not unlimited, then you actually have no right at all is the clear implication of this specious suggestion.
In a 1969 case upholding students’ right to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court found that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate” but added that school administrators may prohibit expression that will “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”
That was about dress codes, and was ignored as quickly as excuses could be found for it. And that has … what bearing on the Brownbackian Browshirting? I guess one of us — Marcus or Myself — is confused.
More to the point, as I constantly remind my daughters, parents are not bound by constitutional constraints. The Constitution does not grant teenagers the fundamental right to have a cellphone or use foul language on it. The parental role is to inculcate values of respect for authority — even those you disagree with — and the importance of civil discourse. It’s not to stand up for your little darling no matter how much she mouths off.
Ah. Even when they’re eighteen, and, like Sullivan, have the full backing of their parents, respect for a man who has spent his political career declaring war against women, against non-theocracy and against science in, well, that TRUMPS any gestapo behavior on the part of Brownback’s office.
Seriously … from a Washington Post columnist? Your parental role is to SUPPORT SAM BROWNBACK, because that will lead to civil discourse …??!?!?
Lady, pull your head out of your ass and take a moment to smell the Limbaugh wafting through the air. The great problem in American politics is that we HAVEN’T stood up to incivil discourse, but a Washington Post columnist says that not only must a high school student — having obtained her legal majority — be silenced by her (evidently inept, or not as ept as Ruth Marcus) mother … to create that ALL-IMPORTANT civil discourse???
Because she’s not an adult is Momma Marcus says so, AND her mother is not as good a mother as Momma Marcus magically views across half a continent away, with zero knowledge of the Sullivan’s family or circumstances.
Another correspondent gifted with magic eyes
No: What’s important is that the tweet was “UNCIVIL” (pay no attention to that Gestapo behind the curtain) and that Emma Sullivan’s cell phone should be taken away, because no child, even if an adult, has a “right” to a ‘cellphone,’ and (by implication) monitoring by the Kansas Governor’s office OF that ‘cellphone’ is perfectly legitimate to maintain “civility.” And heck, those Czechs in the Sudentenland are just crabbily refusing the German people their “living space” their liebensraum.
Not the Sullivans. After the governor complained, her older sister alerted the media. “It’s the speech they use today. It’s more attention-grabbing,” her mother, Julie Sullivan, told the Associated Press. “I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Governor Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her.”
Not only am I morally superior to all participants in this grotesque circumstance, but I’m a better mother than Sullivan’s mother. Listen to my ululating uterine utterances of utter wisdom.
With reinforcements. “We don’t want to stifle our kids’ political free speech,” parent Kate Cook told a meeting of the local school board. “Even though it may not be the best choice of words, that’s how kids communicate with each other.”
It is until we parents insist such language is not acceptable, explain that it is possible to disagree civilly — and insist on an apology when our children fall short.
Perhaps Ms. Marcus misspoke. Perhaps what she actually means is that legal adults aren’t accorded First Amendment rights when Mommy says so, even though Mommy DOESN’T say so, but some nosy buttinsky long-distance Maternal Martinet murmurs her Manichean mishmosh. Mommy Über Alles! (Me, Mommy, and not YOU, Mommy.)
Because Ve Must Haff Order!
“I would do it again,” said Emma Sullivan, emboldened rather than chastened. To put it in her terms, that blows a lot.
Wait! Ruth Marcus is being incivil (just like Rush Limbaugh’s cute little “Magic Negro” dodge) and by her own admission, HER mother needs to take Ruth’s cellphone away.
Is her included email address in case you’d like congratulate her on her idiocy. After all, Ruth Marcus is the All-Knowing, All-Seeing Mother-Beast, who knows Best not only for HER (unenviable) daughters but for ALL daughters everywhere, who DO NOT HAVE First Amendment rights because Mommy Knows Best.
Pamela Geller (l.) and Ann Coulter (r.) Odd, I don’t see
anyone lobbying to have THEIR cellphones confiscated.
(However good an idea it might be.)
Even if they’re Eighteen and legally adults — a fact that Ms. Mommy Marcus clearly KNOWS, since she herself limns the fact in her own puerile potty pundit prose.
But Governor Brownback must be protected from any “uncivil speech” so that mommies everywhere can be good parents and teach their children to mindlessly prostrate themselves before authority and show proper obeisance for any would-be tin god because, you know, being Good Germans is just the way that you prevent that foul wind blowing from the smokestacks of Dachau and Auschwitz.
It’s how you silence all critics of invasions of other nations without real justifications.
Baghdad Bob, Iraqi Journalist
And, by extension, Mommy Marcus expands the Commandment to “honor your parents” to ALL authorities, except that parents become UNworthy of respect and honor if they do NOT teach mindless respect and honor for authority, no matter how crazy, how hateful, how fanatic and how willing to break the letter and spirit of the law that authority is.
This from the newspaper that brought down Nixon is, finally, the ultimate DEFENSE of Nixon.
Justified by Ms. Marcus
He was an authority, and we, poor “children” had no right to disrespect him for his his illegal wiretapping, tax return snooping, abuse of power, unilateral secret wars, bags of unreported and untraced cash, secret coups (ask Salvadore Allende. Oh wait, you can’t. He “committed suicide.”), bugging, burgling and blackmailing.
Thus saith Ruth Marcus, who, like Brownback, only respects the sections of the Constitution that she likes and finds tortuous rationalizations for those things she DOESN’T like, like, evidently, the First Amendment.
And thus do we award the First Annual First Amendment Douchebag of the Year award to Ruth Marcus of the shameful Washington Post, which COULD have continued as a great newspaper, but HAS CHOSEN NOT TO.
And would-be douchebags? Well, Ruth Marcus’ salient example teaches you to never give up. Even as a legendarily awful year winds down, it’s never too late to make a run at the heads of the pack and rise from obscurity to the prestige and flatulence as the year’s Numero Uno Douchebag.
But, wonderful as this titular titillation of our torpid tintinnitus tacks, I have to count Marcus’ daughters UNlucky in the extreme, to have this authority-genuflecting atrocity enabler for a mother.
That’s got to suck.
Or, perhaps HER children can demand that “letter of apology” that Marcus wants Sullivan to write: “Dear World, I, Ruth Marcus, apologize for acting like an asshole and sticking my nonfunctional nose where it doesn’t belong. And I apologize for thinking that I am more important that the first Amendment and that I empowered an egregious abuse of power against a high school student by one of the biggest douchebags who ever lived, whose vinegar and water I am unworthy to refill.”
As Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller wrote in 1801:
Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
Take away their cellphones! (And, sometimes, it’s permissible to break the popular misunderstanding of Godwin’s Law.)
UPDATE: Esquire‘s politics blog seems to have more or less my take on this, up to and including the translation of Marcus’ tortured torpid text. And see Glenn Greenwald’s take on it in Salon.
Here is Sam Brownback’s COMPLETE “apology” from Facebook:
Governor Brownback Makes Statement Regarding Student Tweet
by Governor Sam Brownback on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 10:46am
Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued the following statement today regarding the tweet by Emma Sullivan:
“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.
I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future.
I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum.
Again, I apologize for our over-reaction.”
Any number of “legitimate” media outlets reported this as “Brownback Apologizes to Student.” This is utter swill, e.g. the crapulous Washington Post‘s “Kansas Gov. Brownback’s apology to tweeting student.” No such apology was ever recorded.
At Crooks and Liars, Karoli’s take is well worth reading
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.