November 21, 2005

SO SAD

One of my favorite bloggers disappears and resurfaces so often I can barely keep up with him. His blog-restarting ritual reminds me of the way the X-man Nightcrawler bamfs into thin air. Since this blogger teleports himself around the blogosphere and pops up where he's least expected, I can no longer keep up with the name of his blog or the name he's using for himself. From here on out, I'm calling him Bamf. (Deal with it, dude.)

Bamf normally deals in humor alone, so I was surprised to find one of the saddest articles I've read in a long time: the excavation of priceless tokens found at a concentration camp:

A child's ring. Twisted reading glasses. A few gold coins: scraps of personal dignity, hurriedly buried in a last act of defiance to keep them from falling into Nazi hands. Israeli archaeologists helped by survivors are writing a new chapter in the terrible history of the German death camp at Majdanek, Poland, by excavating grounds long thought to be empty.

Their findings show how the doomed Jews furiously dug into the grassy ground with their hands to bury what personal possessions they had with them before they were murdered in the camp's gas chambers.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 08, 2005

NUGENT

My friend Erin was outraged when she saw the way Ted Nugent was treated on the Donny Deutsch show. (She's at that point in blogging when the media is really ticking her off.) She told me all about it, so when I clicked over to the rerun of the episode last night, I was intrigued.

I ended up so impressed with the way Nugent defended his positions, and so perturbed at the way Deutsch twisted his words around. As one blogger summarized the show:

Donny Deutsch' interview yesterday with "conservative-libertarian" rockstar Ted Nugent and wife was absolutely priceless. There's no transcript of it online but if I find it I will link it. The bottom line: the Nugents enjoyed being thrown the kind of questions one can expect from a mainstream Manhattan media star who doesn't like gun ownership and "supports the war effor in Iraq, but ...". The Nugents, with a smile on their face, cruised comfortably through the interview while Deutsch was getting visibly irritated as he lost ground as the chat went on.

What absolutely killed me about the interview was Deutsch's condescending smirk the whole time. After every commercial break, he re-introduced the segment as an interview with "ultra-conservative" Ted Nugent. (As if he'd ever introduce someone like Ted Kennedy as ultra-liberal.) And since I agreed with nearly every thing that Ted Nugent said, I found myself wondering if I too am an ultra-conservative. Of course, Donny Deutsch thinks he's completely moderate and middle-of-the-road, even though he was droning on and on about animal rights, gun control, and evil Fox news, the Rocky Marciano for every bias-blind liberal. You could just hear Deutsch's voice dripping with sarcasm, since he obviously thought that the Nugents live in a Fantasy World of human-centric personal responsibility. He snidely asked Mrs. Nugent if "the family who stays on the Right stays together?", to which she cheerfully and good-sportedly replied yes. He also went into a long spiel about how rockers are typically into sex, drugs, and liberal agendas and then asked Ted Nugent how he managed to end up on the "to put it nicely, far right side?" Nugent responded immediately with the most wonderful comeback: "Dicipline."

Nugent had some wonderful quotes. When Deutsch was droning about the poor baby Bambis that Nugent hunts, he asked Nugent if he thinks that animals have any rights at all. Nugent said that "rights are uniquely human", that we should treat animals humanely and with respect, but that they certainly don't have rights. When Deutsch started babbling about mink coats, Nugent laughed and said, "A leather jacket is a fur coat with a haircut."

Naturally, Donny Deutsch thinks Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time. Nugent disagreed, citing the flypaper strategy of Iraq -- which he called "baiting the monster" -- and said that the Bush administration should've better articulated this strategy for the public. Deutsch just waved him off with a hand, completely dismissing what he'd said as if he'd not even listened. No fakey-fake "hmm, interesting theory" that talk show hosts normally give, just eye rolling and sighs.

On the topic of personal responsibility, the Nugents started talking about health. The Nugents said that our country has real problems with obesity and smoking, so "how can you demand health care when you don't care for your health?" When Ted Nugent said that lifelong smokers and Krispy Kreme eaters can't just expect the American government to foot their medical bills, Donny Deutsch looked at him like he had a foot growing out of his head. On the topic of gun control, Deutsch kept twisting Nugent's words, as if Nugent wants every fender bender to end in a hail of bullets. Another blogger lays out the ridiculous statistics that Deutsch threw at Nugent, and when Nugent rejected them, Deutsch looked at him with those Fantasy Land Eyes again. When Deutsch asked if the Nugents believe guns should have trigger locks to protect children, Nugent responded by saying that he taught his son that "the trigger lock is in your spirit and mind." That's the most important thing you can teach your child about gun safety, but Deutsch just looked at the Nugents like they were the worst parents in the world.

Incidentally, when the subject of parenting did come up, and when Nugent said that the Osbornes are terrible parents and that Sharon Osborne should be "slapped silly" for the way she lets her children walk all over her, Deutsch had a field day. He started lecturing Nugent on beating women, even though he clearly was using "slapped silly" in its figurative and colloquial sense. And that's when the most important part of the segment happened, in my opinion. Donny Deutsch said something -- and I wish I had been fast enough to write it down verbatim -- about how Ted Nugent has some kooky ideas about gun control, so he wouldn't put it past him to be a wife beater too. That's the scary part. Liberal Donny Deutsch was so out of his element talking to a conservative that he didn't even know what it means to be conservative. He equates Nugent's lifestyle of hunting and self-reliance with some backwards, backwoods notions of male dominance and aggression. Conservative apparently means caveman to Deutsch. By saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Nugent walked up and slapped Sharon Osborne, he laid out a perfect example of how liberal Hollywood types really don't know anything about middle America.

I'm glad I watched the show. Ted Nugent was articulate and entertaining, and Donny Deutsch came off as a huge pansy. I know why Erin got mad at the show, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

UPDATE:

Cali, you can watch it here, though the buffering is acting funny for me.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:43 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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November 06, 2005

FRANCE

Through Right Wing News, I found a Hugh Hewitt interview of Mark Steyn on the riots in France. A few lines really brought back memories:

I went to one of these suburbs that's currently ablaze three years ago. And what was interesting to me is I had to bribe a taxi driver a considerable amount of money just to take me out there. They're miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East.
...
They're places where people who are not Muslim feel very ill at ease. They're places where the writ of the French state does not run. The police don't police there. They basically figure if you go there, you're on your own. You're taking your own chances there. I mean, I don't think Americans understand quite the degree of alienation of some of these groups. You know, there's a French cabinet minister whose title is the minister for social cohesion.

I lived in Angers, France, from 1998-1999. Angers has a population of about 150,000, and I lived right on the edge between the city of Angers and one of these Muslim suburbs. And what I experienced as much as French culture was French-Arab culture.

When I went to get my student train discount, the woman at the counter asked me where I lived. The horrified look on her face should've been my first warning, but it wasn't. The real warning came three weeks into my stay as I was walking home alone in the rain at night. A man on a motorbike drove up on the sidewalk and trapped me between a van and the wall. He started speaking too quietly, and as I strained to hear what he was saying, he grabbed my breasts. I twisted his arm around and took off running. Luckily, I ran into the middle of the street in front of an oncoming car, and the man in the car yelled at the motorbike guy while I escaped. Thus began a year of avoiding the people in my neighborhood.

When we rode the bus, people threw trash at us. We witnessed fights when Arab teens tried to pick up girls. One Brit I knew had a knife put to his throat on a bus. The bus drivers let the Arabs smoke on the bus because if they gave them some concessions, they might be spared real trouble.

When we went to the neighborhood grocery store, young boys (around 12 yrs old) threatened to kill us. One evening while I was on the pay phone, some teens knocked on the glass and said, "Tell your boyfriend that when you get off the phone, we're gonna rape you."

I know that a lot of my problems with France were actually problems with French Arabs. But I lived about half a mile from a police station, and not once did I see a police car check out the area. A man tried to grab me on the street a stone's throw from a police station, which says something about how scared these punks are of the authorities.

France has major problems that have been festering for years. As I watched the footage of these Arabs throwing stones at the public bus, I was not surprised. I'm just surpised it didn't happen sooner.

You know, we kept hearing all this stuff ever since September 11th, you know, the Muslim street is going to explode in anger. Well, it finally did, and it was in Paris, not in the Middle East.

Read all of Steyn's interview, and be very afraid for France.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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