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Oct 25, 2005 8:45 pm


Additionally Noted



Politics and Religion: Fritz Stern,"A Fundamental History Lesson," In These Times, 10 October. Stern teaches a lesson from the German experience.

Farewell: To Rosa Parks. I did not know Mrs. Parks well, though I met her several times. She was a gracious, modest woman of rare courage. The whole nation owes her a debt of gratitude. Well done, thou good and faithful servant of the Lord. Thanks to my virtual son, Chris Richardson, for the tip.

Humor on the Left: Look, I've been as critical of the Bush administration as any Republican could ever be. I'm a left-wing Republican, after all, have never voted for a Bush, and got into academic difficulty, in part, for signing a petition objecting to an honorary degree for GHWB. But what passes for popular humor on the left is sometimes nauseating. When Al Franken jokes about executing GWB, Rove, and Libby for treason, it just isn't funny. I've said it before and I'll say it again, somebody should sue Al Franken for posing as a comedian. But my virtual son, Andrew Ackerman, just sent me an e-mail wishing me a Merry Fitzmas!

He's making a list -- checking it twice –
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice ...
Now, that's funny!

Pity Party: Finally, you can forget about that pity party for Clayton Cramer. After three years of claiming that his book on guns in early America was blacklisted by leftist, gun-hating academics and publishers, Clayton now says that he's got a publisher and an offer of a $30 grand advance. He doesn't say who the publisher is because the contract's not yet signed.
Update: Cliopatria readers are guessing who Clayton's publisher is. So far, the nominees are:
Alfred A. Knopf (doing penance for publishing the 1st edition of Arming America)
LoomPanics (check out the list for guns and"head for the hills")
Regnery (if they like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, they'll love Clayton Cramer)
Soft Skull Press (doing penance for publishing the 2nd edition of Arming America).

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Kevin C. Murphy - 10/27/2005

I dunno...if Ann Coulter isn't the conservative mainstream these days, she's a lot closer to it than the Freepers.

My view of the joke is close to Jonathan Dresner's. The punch line isn't that Rove & Libby are going to be executed -- It's that they're likely about to be indicted for what could very easily be interpreted as treasonous behavior (although perjury and obstruction of justice are much more likely charges), and thus they'll (sigh) have to be treated like traitors.

I'll admit, Franken's joke isn't very funny. But, as someone who spent too much time in the trenches of l'affaire Lewinsky, I'd be lying if I didn't find their predicament somewhat amusing, in a schadenfreude sort of way. After all, this hasn't happened since Haldeman & Ehrlichman.


Dave Matthews - 10/27/2005

"The hard right has been "making jokes" about rounding up and executing liberals/leftists en masse for treason (or for no good reason) for years"

Hmm. While you might find some of this at Free Republic or some such whacko website (and equal levels at DU and other whacko leftist sites), I'm guessing that you'd have a difficult time coming up with anyone on the right who was considered "mainstream" enough to be a serious Senate candidate (Franken stepped out of the running this time, but he's still in the running to take on Norm Coleman in '08)making "humorous" comments that come anywhere near the vitriol of Al Franken.


Barry DeCicco - 10/26/2005

Ralph Luker: "Would you actually laugh when Al Franken talks about executing Bush, Rove, et al., or is he appealing to something in you that is _not_ your sense of humor?"

I might laugh; I might not, depending on my mood. As to whether or not this is _in_ my sense of humor, it originally wasn't. 8 years of watching right-wingers hurl lies and abuse at Clinton, and questioning the patriotism of Democrats, helped put it there. 5 more years of watching right-wingers hurl lies and abuse at everybody who didn't worship George, and questioning their patriotism, while striving to trash the country, helped even more.


Charles V. Mutschler - 10/26/2005

Joking about executing political rivals is free speech, but I'd also say it's in dreadfully poor taste. "The other side did it first, and does it, too" just isn't a good enough reason in my opinion. If this is what passes for wit and intellegence on television these days, I'll pass. We can just expect the diving for the bottom of the pool to continue.

Charles V. Mutschler


Jonathan Dresner - 10/25/2005

I'm a little torn, honestly.

The hard right has been "making jokes" about rounding up and executing liberals/leftists en masse for treason (or for no good reason) for years; Franken, on the other hand, was discussing a case in which "treason" is actually a reasonable working term for the crimes under investigation and it's even got a constitutional definition.

I don't care for violent humor, and I think "they started it" is a terrible justification for any escalation into tactics which we (whoever "we" happen to be) previously decried.

So, I'm torn. I don't think it's terribly funny, but I don't think it's unjustified, either. Franken and Letterman are not the constitutional scholars who should be discussing the question, that much is clear, but I don't know that I'd say it was so far beyond the bounds of propriety as to be worth repudiating as a group.


Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2005

Mr. DeCicco, As a cancer survivor, I'm aware that life is difficult. My point is about what is funny. If you find killing people (whether done by American soldiers or Iraqi insurgents in Iraq or, in speculation, by left "comedians" in the United States) to be humorous, you're welcome to it. I find it nauseating and the fact that other people do it is hardly an excuse. Other people rape, murder, steal, etc. Would you actually laugh when Al Franken talks about executing Bush, Rove, et al., or is he appealing to something in you that is _not_ your sense of humor?


Barry DeCicco - 10/25/2005

Ralph,

After the right made nasty joke upon nasty joke upon nasty joke about Clinton, perhaps it's time for pay-back. How many accusations of treason were thrown around? I heard a lot, and I don't hang out with too many right-wingers.

Imagine if Clinton had started a war,
based on fraudulent intelligence, to boost his power, and punished somebody who told the truth by outing a CIA agent. He'd have been impeached, and nobody would be talking about whether this was in violation of a specific law or not.

So, if you find this difficult, Ralph, that's life.


Anne Zook - 10/25/2005

I don't really know Franken, that kind of 'humor' isn't my thing, but I think this latest round of "jokes" is way out of line.

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