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Charlie Pierce hits a home run on John Edwards

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by spinning27, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. spinning27

    spinning27 New Member

    Just got the new Esquire, which contains a brilliant essay by Charles P. Pierce on Edwards.

    One important excerpt, which references Mike Huckabee's wisecrack about Congress spending money "like John Edwards at a beauty shop" during the May 15 debate:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the political culture seems to be determined to fag-bait John Edwards out of the race this time around. Channeling the conservative id from the swamps of its birth, as always, Ann Coulter flatly called him a "faggot" at a conference of conservative activists, and Rush Limbaugh regularly chaffs him as "the Brck Girl." From there, apparently, the affair of the haircuts has mainstreamed Coulter's position into more polite precincts. In April, Maureen Dowd wrote a column in The New York Times that speculated that the country was not ready for a "metrosexual in chief," comparing Edwards unfavorably with her dear departed Irish-cop daddy, who used to get his hair cut at the Senate barbershop for fifty cents. You could almost hear the gentle ringing of sputum in the spitoons. Thus are the issues. Thus are the watchdogs. Thus are the politics while people are dying.

    The important thing to remember is that toughness is a semiotic dumb show now. In that same debate in which Mike Huckabee flexed for the camera, John McCain pointed out that in his experience, which is considerable, torture doesn't work. On this, he was disputed by a former mayor of New York, who once was tortured by the thought that his second wife would not vacate the mayoral digs in favor of his second mistress, and the former governor of Massachusetts, who once was tortured by the fact that gay people were getting married. Toughness was now a performance skill in a cowardly country taught to fear the best things about itself.

    A candidate's actual biography doesn't matter; George H.W. Bush flew figher planes when he was a teenager, and he couldn't overcome the "wimp factor" against Ronald Reagan, whose primary combat experience was battling his way to the bar at the Brown Derby. In the three major national elections of his life, George W. Bush, who couldn't find Alabama while he was serving in the National Guard, defeated three men -- Al Gore, John McCain, and John Kerry -- who had volunteered to go to Vietnam, and he did so by out-butching them. Kerry's awkwardness in hunting clothes somehow trumped Bush's fear of horses.
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    I like his sports pieces better, but that is one hell of a passage. Well done, Charlie.
  3. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Yeah. My career idol, for sure. Good work.
  4. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    My goodness. I wish I could do that.
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I've always found that a little odd, how Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, etc. manage to sound more like the macho war heroes than people who actually served.
  6. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    Not nearly as odd as the rubes who actually buy what they're selling.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I've been waiting for someone to write about this kind of crap. I do think Edwards needs to find a way to blunt the "pretty boy" criticism with a sharp retort or depreciating comment, considering the follicly-challenged candidates on the GOP slate.
    I'm glad to know Maureen has figured out the "country isn't ready" for Edwards. Can't wait for her Obama and Hillary columns. This is what passes for political commentary these days. No wonder Bush was elected twice.

    And of course people go along with the gay-baiting GOP language, see McCarthyism.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'm sure Dowd and her Pulitzer will be glad to know you think she's a hack...
  9. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    And DannOregon is dead-on nails.

    Put aside the hero worship for a moment, Mizz, and realize that Dowd's Pulitzer doesn't make her immune from the brilliant evisceration that Charles Pierce (a far, far better writer, BTW, than the one-trick pony Dowd is) just delivered.

    Dowd's stock-in-trade is rabid, sometimes over-the-top sarcasm and it works -- for the most part. She wrote a column a week or so ago about the apology that the executed former food and drug chief in China gave before they put a bullet in his head and how it would sound if the current administration that never apologizes for anything they do did the same thing.

    Funny stuff... but she conveniently left out a paragraph about how she and the rest of the media should apologize for the abhorrent way they covered Al Gore and the 2000 election, portraying him as a buffoonish clod who couldn't figure out which end of the crayon he wrote "Love Story" with.
  10. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Birdscribe is correct. I seldom read Dowd, because I feel I know in advance what's she's going to say. To me, that's the ultimate in boring. If you sneer at everything, you had better be as good a writer as Mencken, which she's not.
    For the record, judging reporters and writers by prizes is ridiculous. And yes, I've won some, which in fact is one reason I don't hold them in much regard as signs of individual merit.
    Team prizes like in the APSEs are OK, newspapers are a team game. But "best" columnist? That's like best meal or sexual experience. It's too personal a judgment to be institutionalized.
  11. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Dowd has already done her best work.

    Too bad . . . so sad.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    There's a reason this guy ranks in my top 1. My copy of his book is floating around SJ land somewhere. Should be required reading.
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