Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh, Magoo!....You've Done It Again!

Such a marvelous day in the history of our nation that it can only be slightly marred (or, if one's tastes are sufficiently perverse, enhanced) by the semi-literate pretensions and ravings of Jonah Goldberg. Here, in attempting to critique the literary merit of President Obama's inauguration speech, he plays to his strong suite and explains a basic point of human rights to those of us who are too dense to appreciate it:

But the line that grated on me most came from the bit about service and sacrifice. He said:

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

No, “they” didn’t. Slaves certainly didn’t endure the lash of the of the whip out of a sense of service and sacrifice for us. That is one of the reasons slavery is so evil; it isn't voluntary.

Gosh. Is that what's wrong with slavery? Who knew? I guess I'll have to let that 14 year old girl out of the trunk of my car now and get my money back for the duct tape. Gee. I knew there was something wrong about slavery but this whole volition thing is really wild. Thanks Jonah!

But, as most of us know, the slaves did endure the lash "for us" - certainly "for" those who purported to own them, but also for their children and for the hope of a better future, however long it might be postponed.

Not content with vicodin-addled bullshit like this, we also get to endure Jonah as would-be copy editor:

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

Gathering clouds and raging storms? Really? How did that survive the first draft? Oh, and shouldn’t that be forebears not forbearers? A forbearer is someone who refrains from something.

Well, thanks to Marc Ambinder's yeomanlike work dissecting the speech, those who would care to know will recognize the "storms....clouds" imagery as allusive to a hymn by one-time slaver and later abolitionist John Newton. Perhaps that is why it survived the first draft.

I could go on (for instance, Goldberg's niggardly interpretation of the expression "forbearer" -which actually is a word, albeit an archaic one) but this time it really is too easy. Follow the link and read his whole post. I do understand that the myth of Goldberg's insight exists primarily in his own mind, but gibberish like this ought to lay that legend to rest for good.

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