Monday, October 01, 2007

Time to Spit

In recent months, I have refrained from commenting on the on-going war and American politics, as I realize I am becoming increasingly radicalized in my views. So I have tried to stick to travel and some occasional religious insight. The following post should get it out of my system for a while longer.

I recently watched once more "O Brother Where Art Thou," George Clooney's clever retelling of the Homeric epic by way of Depression-era Mississippi. I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the movie, primarily for the scenes of Charles Durning as Governor Pappy O'Daniel. In my book, Durning is one of the best character actors of all time. Give him a few lines and/or a dance number, and he will absolutely steal a movie--as he did this one. One of my favorite scenes was the one where the ample Mr. Durning did a little jig up to the microphone while the Soggy Bottom Boys were singing. This scene, however, followed perhaps the most satisfying scene in the movie. O'Daniel's opponent, the demagogue Homer Stokes, tried to turn the crowd against our errant heroes. Instead, the crowd turned surly towards Stokes, despite his pleas of "Is you is, or is you ain't my constituency?" The boos gained the day and the incredulous and sputtering Stokes was pelted with produce before literally being ridden out of town on a rail.

I had a brief sense of this same satisfaction while watching Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia last week. And while I am alarmed at our administration's self-serving demonization of Iran, this guy is a real piece of work. He was clearly offput, and in obvious discomfort, by the questioning of Iran's persecution of homosexuals. With a straight face, Ahmadinejad declared there were there no homosexuals in Iran, and that he couldn't understand why anyone would even think such a thing. Yeah right, and there are no left-handed people in Iran, either. Jeez. [While indeed the modern understanding of homosexuality is a Western concept, the behavior itself is thoroughly rooted in the East.] And of course, that doesn't even begin to address Iranian persecution of Christians, Kurds, Bahais, Zoroasterians, etc. Anyway, such a bald-faced inanity was met with hoots of derision from the Columbia audience. Again, very satisfying in a Homer Stokesian sort of way.

This brings me to this excellent story by Taki. It seems that Taki, wife and son were celebrating Mrs. T's birthday at an exclusive Manhattan establishment of the type people like Taki would frequent. An acquaintance stopped by their table, and in the course of the conversation, let it be known that he was with a group honoring Paul Wolfowitz in a private dining room. Taki became incensed: "You actually are sitting down with that lying pig who has caused so much death and is responsible for tens of thousands being maimed and killed?” Then it gets interesting. Taki determined that he would go to the room and spit at Wolfowitz. Mrs. T pleaded with him not to do so, as it would ruin the birthday celebration. Taki reluctantly agreed, but not before some of the waiters had expressed to him their disgust for having to serve such a man. I'm with Mrs. T on this. I am foursquare against scenes in restaurants, believing that one of the best gauges of anyone's character is how they comport themselves in restaurants, particularly in their treatment of waiters and waitresses. So, Mrs. T was correct to reign Taki in. But I do sympathize with the understandable disgust at this ringleader of the bloody cabal that engineered our current debacle.

Taki concludes:

We should not take these liars lying down. These scumbags have caused so much misery and death, so much suffering to so many people, they should not be allowed to walk around with impunity. Forget the think tanks and networks and newspapers which still employ them. The neo-cons know how to survive. The only way to make them realize that they cannot fool all the people all of the time, as they have done until now, is to humiliate them whenever and wherever they appear in public. I had my chance and blew it. Perhaps I will have a second chance while I’m still around.


Steve Hayes said...

About 5 years ago Bill Clinton came to South Africa for a conference I attended. It was the first (and only) time I had seen him in the flesh, and I was fascinated by his suit, how well it fitted, as he moved around the stage.

And every few minutes I came back to the realisation: that's the Butcher of Belgrade you're looking at.

John said...


Mimi said...

There was a very interesting article in this week's TIME about his position as bogeyman for the NeoConservative movement,,8599,1665905,00.html

Milton Burton said...

I don't think he should have spit on him. However, it would have been highly appropriate to call him "a maggot-infested wad of stale dog dung who should be strapped over a barrel and..."

No need to go any further since you have heard my technique for effecting a "paradigm shift" and "attitude realignment" in such people.


John said...

Milton, Don't be so reticent--say what you mean. Ha! As always, it's great to hear from you.