Archive for July, 2005

July 18, 2005

The Full Monty: I Reply to Tailgunner Bernard Goldberg

Bernard Goldberg’s new book “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37) lists me as #15. Here’s the <a href=” http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/7/6/16128/65032#readmore
“>full list for your edification.

I’m fascinated by the fact that I obviously annoy the neofascists and McCarthyites so much. I mean, all I do is type words into a keyboard and splatter ink across white paper. And yet, to hear Goldberg et al. tell it, I’m destroying America—which is to say, their vision of America. Which is weird. They control the three branches of the federal government, most of the mainstream media (when’s the last time you saw Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky on the tube, sitting next to Ann Coulter?) and most state governments as well, yet a cartoonist and essayist can nevertheless drive them nuts.

Well, whatever.

Goldberg, as if this comes as a shock, is intellectually dishonest. In his entry for “Boondocks” cartoonist Aaron McGruder (Goldberg has a hard-on for cartoonists, including three of them in his top 100 list), he references a speech McGruder gave at which he insulted Condi Rice and other right-wing extremists. Thing is, that speech—delivered at a party for center-left magazine The Nation—is famous for the way McGruder savaged liberals. Some of them even got up and left while he was talking. Sure, he tossed off a few anti-Condi slags, but leaving out the fact that McGruder is an equal-opportunity disser is, well, plainly the work of a liar.

Al Sharpton (#17). John Edwards (#16).

Which brings us to the Ted Rall section.

Even on the furthest fringes of the America-bashing Left, distinctions have to be made: there is loathsome and there is beneath loathsome. And then there’s Ted Rall. [itals Goldberg’s]

Bear in mind that Goldberg’s thesis behind his book is that the Evil 100 contribute to the coarsening of American culture. As if an enemies list isn’t coarse. As if Courtney Love’s one-word entry (“Ho.”) put the English language through its most rigorous paces. Most notably for this intro, though: Goldberg is a bit of a plagiarist. Much of what he writes about me is lifted from my website or other online sources, and he starts out with “loathsome.” Regular Rallblog readers will recall that the right-wing New York Press listed me as #2 Most Loathsome New Yorker” a couple of years ago. Gee, I wonder where he got that.

Rall is the editorial cartoonist, columnist, radio commentator, and all-around creep, whose work often borders on the psychopathic. He is to reasonable debate what hyenas are to opera.

Goldberg’s local opera company must be an interesting one. Also: how can cartoons be “psychopathic”? Then he goes on to discuss my Pat Tillman cartoon, conveniently leaving out the fact that Tillman was killed by “friendly fire”—an incident the government covered up and repeatedly lied about.

And though his diatribe against Tillman was so offensive that most outlets refused to run it, it was by no means an aberration. [Rants about my comments about Reagan, and then Bush 43, follow.] Rall obviously doesn’t see himself as the aformentioned all-around creep that he so obviously is.

And so on. If you want more, check out the “beach reads” table (yes, really) at your local Barnes & Noble.

Still think Jon Stewart’s cool? Consider this: he invited Goldberg to publicize his neo-McCarthyite tripe on “The Daily Show.” He’s never asked me. Or, to my knowledge, Aaron McGruder. Nor Jeff Danziger (the third cartoonist) referenced and slagged in the book.

Keep fighting the coarsening, Bernie.

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July 17, 2005

Attitude Presents: Stephanie MacMillan!

Coming December 2005:

Attitude Presents: Stephanie McMillan!

Pre-order the third volume in the “Attitude Presents” series and you’ll be the first to receive your copy. Not only that, you’ll be encouraging a brilliant up-and-coming cartoonist at a critical time in her career. Advance orders are very influential on bookstore buyers, so please click and click often!

More on this very cool book later, but you can check out her work online at http://www.minimumsecurity.net.

July 17, 2005

Third to Last

JJ informs us:

Hey Ted. You might have already gotten an email(s) ’bout this, but the word you were looking for is “antepenultimate.” Keep up the good work.

Your faithful sesquipedalian reader–

Awesome, and thanks for sending that in.

July 17, 2005

Why?

Joshua asks, reasonably enough:

I read the transcript of Hannity and Colmes that was referred to on your blog. I don’t understand why you go on those Fox News shows, Ted. To me, it is similar to trying to have a scientific argument with creationists; it simply legitimizes them and gives them a forum to spout their lies. Sean Hannity and his ilk are masters of spin, logical fallacy and lies. It doesn’t matter that you’re smarter than them; they’re masters of their medium.
And Colmes; what a sniveling worm. Is he afraid Sean is going to hit him or something?

Re: Colmes – I feel sorry for him, having to work next to that psychotic mook Hannity every day. Hannity never turns it off. He’s REALLY like that, even off the air–trash-talking, insulting, downright rude. Unsurprisingly, staff turnover for H&C is high; you hardly ever see the same person working there twice. Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, is decent when the cameras are off. It’s not like all right-wingers are like Hannity, thank God.

So why bother? It’s a question I’ve often asked myself. Mainly because, now that I’ve lost my outlet as a talk radio host, it’s the only way to convey my ideas in the broadcast medium. I also think it’s important for thinking Americans to show the neofascists that they’re fast on their feet and aren’t afraid of them. On the other hand, as Joshua says, it’s their show and they control it.

Few viewers are aware, for instance, that “The O’Reilly Factor” is taped a few hours in advance. Liberal zingers tend to get “lost” during the editing process. Fox’s guest chairs are lower, smaller and less comfortable than the host–and you don’t get a table to lean on (something that media trainers will tell you is a must for a TV appearance). “Hannity” is live but the guest’s mike is turned on while Sean runs off his mouth about nothing of importance.

There are other sins: Hannity’s show likes to book you to discuss a topic only to have the subject change to an unrelated ad hominem attack once you’re there.

Unsurprisingly a lot of first-rate liberal personalities, resentful of sandbagging tactics, have stopped appearing on Fox. I don’t blame them. But until Air America or Clear Channel calls to offer me the kind of access to America’s eyes and ears offered by those shows, I’m not quite ready to follow suit.

July 17, 2005

Subject Line was: “Get a Useful Life.”

Hate mail from Sidney:

I am sorry to be yet another to inform you, but you have not a clue. You have made a life for yourself by chanting ignorance amongst the masses. In the end, when you look back, you will pat yourself on the back for the absolute nothing you stand for. You are a terminal whiner. Don’t breathe so much. It is a waste.
How vain is this, ‘This permits me to spend more time doing something constructive, like corresponding with people who understand and appreciate what I do.’ Let me translate…if you don’t agree with me, why should I listen to you. Moron!!!!! I know you might feel this correspondence is validation for what you do. I have to tell you though that I read one editorial of yours, was disgusted, went to your archives and read two more with the same result. Crawl back under your rock buddy, you missed the boat.

Penultimate is the word for second to last. Is penultimate penultimate third to last? if so, that’s the sentence in this email I agree with.

July 15, 2005

Ted Rall Merchandise

Karl (no, not THAT Karl) writes:

Just was curious about why the Generalissimo El Busho merchandise segment of your website consistently comes back with the message “the page can not be displayed.” (at least on my personal computer) Perhaps you might
know if this is a glitch in your website, involved servers, or something odd in my computer. Or at worst, is this yet another government attempt to somehow block our freedom of expression? Any daylight that you might shed on the above given situation would certainly be appreciated.

Not even the evildoers at 1600 Penn can prevent patriotic Americans from getting their fix of TR merchandise! My former merchandise provider, Agitproperties, appears to have gone under. So I’ve created a new site at http://www.cafepress.com/tedrall that has all the TR merch your capitalistic heart will ever desire. I’ll change it from time to time, so if you want something now’s the time to get it.

July 15, 2005

Karl Rove, Traitor

Derek writes:

You are beginning to demonstrate a pattern of disregard for pesky facts in your ravings.
As the facts are developing, Ms Plame was no longer a covert operative of the CIA at the time of Mr. Rove’s statements to the reporter. She had been stateside for over 5 years, working at a desk in the CIA headquarters building. Sorry, Ted, but you don’t go to work everyday parking in the CIA lot and remain covert. That just doesn’t work.
Identifying someone as a CIA employee (there are hundreds of CIA employees that are NOT covert operatives) when that person blatantly passes through the doors of the CIA building every day can’t possibly be considered crossing any lines, legal or ethical.

First: neither the CIA nor Plame nor Wilson can or will comment on what covert actions she may have been involved in during the previous five years…because they’re covert. So we won’t find out, yes? The point is, Rove didn’t care about the national security of the nation which employs him and grants him top security clearance. If no one was endangered as a result of his treasonous actions (and there are doubtlessly others), that’s just dumb luck–like driving through a schoolyard full of kids and not hurting anyone. But he should still be taken off the road.

Once again, the liberal (I’m sorry, “progressive”) community has come up with a dry well. The more you scream and wail, the more foolish you look as the objective facts of the situation come into focus.
Too bad for you that there are dozens of news outlets these days that still offer the public unbiased facts in their reporting.

Heh, heh. Right.

By the way, I hope you’ve gone back to Dayton recently to update your impressions of the culinary offerings available there. Even if you think the people of the Miami Valley are fools and rubes, there are at least a few decent places to eat.

So I hear. Can’t wait to check ’em out soon.

July 15, 2005

Future Speaking Gigs

Dan asks:

I read with joy, a whole year after the fact, the transcript of your appearance on Hannity & Colmes from June 2004. Do you have any other appearances scheduled? I’m a big fan and have never seen you speak.

I post media appearances here on the Rallblog if and when there’s sufficient advance notice. I also speak in person, usually at universities and before various groups, when invited. Anyone interested in inviting me to talk about my cartoons and contemporary politics should drop me a line at chet@rall.com. (Please note: I request an honorarium.)

July 14, 2005

McCarthyite on “The Daily Show”

Brian writes:

Goldberg was the guest on The Daily Show tonight. Jon Stewart gave him a moderately hard time. I thought he did a decent job challenging the premise of the book, and Golberg was clearly frustrated by Stewart’s silliness. Still, I was hoping he would rip into Goldberg like he did Tucker Carlson on Crossfire. He’s generally too deferential to his guests – the interview with Colin Powell a few weeks ago was nauseating. Maybe they should let Lewis Black sit in on interviews. Goldberg spent most of his time discussing the “coarsening” of the culture as though he was doing a public service by identifying the culprits. I thought that was elegantly rebutted by the footage of Jimmy Carter building a house
overlaid with a graphic showing him as #6 on Goldberg’s list which they ran before going to commercial.

As if Goldberg’s blacklist wasn’t coarsening the culture! Honestly, I don’t really understand why so many Bush-bashers like “The Daily Show” so much. I find much of it dull. And it’s hardly balanced: the guests run from centrist Dems to right-wing Republicans, as if the third of the country to the left of that spectrum doesn’t count. In that respect it’s indistinguishable from most other media outlets. Jon Stewart is a smart, funny and talented guy, but his show could be more interesting.

Good luck moving up in the ranking. Maybe you can do something to get him to juggle the order prior to the paperback release. It’s a really obvious idea now, but some person or group should write a book listing the people
who really are screwing up America. Of course you and several other people on Goldberg’s list have already written about some genuine scoundrels, just not in the same format.

Various progressive blogs have done that already. As for moving up in the ranking, the trouble is that I barely have time to screw up America as it is. Between cutting the lawn, drawing cartoons and figuring out why my car is making that funny whirring sound, by the time I get around to screwing up America I can’t even do a half-decent job.

July 14, 2005

Was Bush Crossing His Fingers?

Garrett writes:

Just read your Treasongate: It’s Not Just Karl Rove on commondreams.com
Check out video of Bush’s 2001 inauguration. When he’s asked if he’ll uphold the Constitution, note his body language.
It’s eerie.

There is, indeed, a strange shift in Bush’s body movements at that point.