Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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S-P Is the Way to Be!

The chapter on children is the first in Part 2 of Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior, entitled "The Culture War Where You Live" (as opposed to "The Culture War in Your Yogurt"). The second is Chapter Ten, about how traditionalism isn't just for white people. He tries to claim that Martin Luther King was a traditionalist, presumably because he spoke of "Judeo-Christian heritage." Again with all Christians being on Bill's side! Do all the people who are deeply devoted to their religious beliefs but don't think they should force them on others not even register on his O'Radar? As for Dr. King, I don't doubt that he had a lot of what O'Reilly considers traditional values, but his main cause was an alteration to the status quo in order to improve people's lives. Can you get much more progressive than that? In the next chapter, Bill calls Gandhi a traditionalist. I think a lot of this is part of the with-us-or-against-us mentality that seems typical of George W. Bush Republicans. When O'Reilly was promoting this book on TV (I think it was on Oprah), he was trying to peg audience members as belonging to one side or the other based on their answers to a single question. You HAVE to be either one or the other. Would, say, a secular traditionalist cause his head to explode like a robot faced with a logical paradox? Probably not, because he'd just rationalize it away. On the other hand, he refers to Jesse Jackson as "a traditionalist, at least in some ways." He actually only names ONE way (that he didn't want Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed), but I still wonder why Jackson gets to be a PARTIAL traditionalist, while pretty much everyone else has to be all or nothing.

In the chapter on race, O'Reilly writes that "the gay marriage issue is overwhelmingly rejected by blacks. Their religion says homosexuality is not acceptable, and many African Americans bitterly resent the argument that marriage for homosexuals is a civil right." So what? Because homosexuals never had it anywhere near as bad as black Americans did (and, in some ways, still do), gay marriage isn't a civil right? You might as well argue that female suffrage isn't a civil rights issue, because white American women were never kept as slaves (well, not officially, anyway). And yes, it's a sad truth that many victims of prejudice are bigoted in their own ways. I've heard that a certain Mahatma mentioned in my last paragraph had some racist beliefs. Apparently O'Reilly thinks this kind of thing is good, at least when they're the same prejudices he shares.

This chapter also has O'Reilly mentioning that traditionalists are opposed to the "gangsta" movement among black children. I can't say I'm too fond of it either, but guess what? To me, the gangsta thing seems to come out of the same tough-guy attitude as referring to yourself as a "traditional warrior."

Chapter Eleven (no, not the bankruptcy kind) is mostly about O'Reilly's arguments and feuds with various secular-progressive celebrities. There isn't really much that I find worth commenting on, although he DOES use a rather unflattering picture of George Clooney. This from the same guy who complained that he looked "hideous" on the cover of Al Franken's book? Yeah, okay, I know no one's surprised at this point. I do have to say, however, that if the story O'Reilly tells about Nancy Pelosi petitioning to get him fired after he made a comment that she found offensive is true, then I think that was a bad idea on Pelosi's part. Sure, I'd definitely experience some schadenfreude if O'Reilly was fired, but I tend to think it's WAY too easy for people to get fired in this country, and don't generally support calls for MORE firings, even for people I don't like. Besides, isn't it O'Reilly's job to go off on right-wing rants? Firing someone for doing their job well is another one of those things that might make a robot's head explode. But then, hasn't O'Reilly started some petitions to get other people fired? Maybe getting a taste of his own medicine would be an example of that dull variety of karma he apparently believes in.

After describing his fights with celebrities, he says that his book "might also convince some Americans not fully engaged in the culture war to step up and support the good guys: us." But he really doesn't make an effort to explain WHY they're "the good guys," or even to say what they actually believe. Sure, he's given about three trillion things (give or take a few) that traditionalists should OPPOSE, but very little that he feels they should SUPPORT. God, blind patriotism, capitalism, being wished a Merry Christmas at Wal-Mart, and comparing people (but NOT the American government) to Nazis. That's about it so far. Looking ahead, it appears that there might be a little more in the last chapter, but why wait until that late in the book to explain your own position? The statement that I just quoted pretty much drives home the fact that he's not really trying to win anyone over to his side, but just to get those are already more or less on his side to be louder and more obnoxious.

I'll wrap this post up with a thought I had while reading the book. What if Bill is right about there being a vast S-P conspiracy? Well, I'm a pretty secular-progressive guy, so how come I can't get in on it? All I ever get from MoveOn's mailing list are petitions, commercials for Democratic candidates, and offers for free Obama buttons (I still haven't gotten mine, by the way)! Where's all the stuff about undermining the country's deeply held values? Am I not GOOD enough to be a part of that? That really frosts my cupcakes!

Eh, on the other hand, I'm probably better off. After all, I'd never join any conspiracy that would have me as a member.
Tags: books

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