Thursday, March 29, 2007
PRAYING FOR SNOW
t may sound strange, but as I (and the Best Dog in the World, in his kangaroo pouch - and no, that's not his real name) cycle to my office through the crowded soi every steamy Bangkok morning, I'm hoping for a Snow Day.
Alright, I can hear you ask, "What sort of idiot hopes for snow in Bangkok?" Actually, it isn't the cold, icy variety I'm hoping for at all, but the warm, jovial classiness of the Tony kind. We're lucky enough to have a satellite dish here at the Gecko's plush, but tasteful editing suites high above the majestic River of Kings. And while it isn't every day that there aren't enough diplomatic events to fill the two hour daily broadcast of American Embassy TV, leaving room for the day's full press briefing with Tony Snow to be included, it's often enough that a Snow Day is something to look forward to.
Tony is a class act all the way. In an environment that too often resembles a kindergarten, and includes overtly hostile journalists firing insultingly stupid questions at him, he handles the "journalactivists" with the same even hand as he does the more civilised questioners. He even apologised once (unnecessarily I think) for having implied that David Gregory was framing his questions in a rather partisan or antagonistic way. He was absolutely right, but he apologised anyway. The firebrand Bush-hater Helen Thomas once got the best of him though, when he thanked her for giving "the Hezb Allah view." Which was about the kindest thing that anyone could have said at the time.
When Tony spoke last week about Mrs. Edwards' recurrence of her cancer, it was the classiest thing I'd seen in a very long time. Not a trace of a hint of a whiff of partisanship -- he spoke about her challenge straight from his own heart, and it was extremely moving. I don't imagine any of that was carried on the pop networks, but it was impressive. And in fact, the sentiments he expressed that day echoed very much the sentiments expressed on "conservative" blogs following the Edwards' announcement, at least all the ones that I read. I wish her all the best as well, and politics most certainly doesn't enter into it at all.
It was only a couple of days later that Tony finished his daily briefing with the news of his own upcoming surgery. The result was made public by his deputy this week, and it isn't good. The small growth which had been detected earlier (and tested negative) was found to be an active cancer. I've no idea of the prognosis, but my prayers (and I don't do that very often) are with him and his family.
Surely everyone can put politics aside for a few minutes and agree that Tony should also have our best wishes, but apparently it's not that easy. In the past few days. a lot of bloggers have noted some very vile stuff coming out of the high-profile "progressive" sites, like Kos, HuffPo etc. Absolutely no surprise there -- it was expected the moment I heard the news. Arriana had to delete about 400 sick comments to their news story that VP Cheney had been rather close to a Taliban rocket in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. A subsequent story on his health issues had comments closed immediately, to avoid similar embarrassment. But that stuff is expected at such places.
What really shocks me this time is the quality of the readership at the Washington Post, which also now allows comments on news stories. I read all the way through these comment pages yesterday, at the time all 13 of them (20 per page). Today it's up to 19 pages, but I can see in going over the first couple of them that things have been cleaned up a lot. As in, the vilest, scummiest death wishes have been deleted (even though comments referring to them are still there for evidence of what's now missing). When I read them yesterday, it just got progressively (heh) worse as I went through them, although there were also many good people who just wished him well, and others who vehemently disagreed with Snow but still wished him goodwill. But the sheer amount of blind hatred death-wishing was just sickening.
What sort of people think this way? Who posture as being all into peace and kindness and stuff, and at the same time dreaming up perverse fantasies of pain and death for those they disagree with? Like those gentle anarchists in Portland the other weekend with their sensitive death chants (not to mention loose bowels whenever a shred of unburnt stars and stripes is in view), and the good citizens standing around in silent, if not overt approval?
Dig the guy who supports his troops -- at the end of a rope? Dig the well-rehearsed patriotic chants? These folks are all now saving up for their $30 t-shirt from a hate-Fox-News website (and no, I won't link it, find it yourself) celebrating Tony Snow's cancer diagnosis, I just bet. The conspiracy-fueled mindset knows no bounds. But don't question their love of country, because in newspeak that's just what it is.
If you feel inclined to send good wishes for more Snow Days, you can do it right here. You can do it here as well (top of the right sidebar), but if you fear going to that place lest the Rovians spy upon your innermost secrets, then use the first one. It's just a simple mail link, and your email will get to Tony.
Jeez, I hope somebody's looking these over before sending them on. Just imagine what the creeps will be sending him if nobody's watching. It would be enough to sap a guy's will to live...
I apologise for the bad taste you surely have in your mouth after that video, so to make it up to all of you, I'll finish this with something more likely to make you think, from a considerably more intelligent person. I've meant to post this for a few days, and this is as good a place as any.
Believe it or not, this Evan Sayet fellow used to write for Bill Maher, when Maher still thought of himself as politically incorrect. Now of course, he's drowning himself in PC bullfeathers (or shinola, as some call it), but Sayet hasn't followed him into the swamps. He's a good comedian, but this is a serious speech on a serious subject -- and it's really quite good. I feel like I have a better grasp of what's really at the bottom of all this extreme polarisation after watching it, and I think Evan is really onto something here. See what you think. It's more than 45 min. Make time for it.
And once again, get well soon, Tony. Your president needs you. Dammit, your civilisation needs you.