Thursday, November 8, 2007

McIlheran Likes It Caustic and Pungent

My good friend Michael Mathias, co-proprietor of Pundit Nation, wrote a post titled "The Banality of Evil Redux." He wrote of the torture issue and noted that Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran admits to having slept well despite evidence that the CIA has involved itself in cruel interrogation methods, popular amongst these being waterboarding, which causes the victim to think he is drowning. Having once almost drowned, I can state unequivocally that the sensation is extremely unpleasant and stressful.

Mathias offers this insight from Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem that Adolf Eichmann "... represented the sort of everyman that had to exist for the Nazis to exercise total control over German life. Hitler didn’t owe his power to the loyalty of his fanatics, but to the acquiescence of the regular German citizen—the ordinary citizens who were only too happy to turn away from the truth, even as greater and greater evils were perpetrated against his neighbors."

McIlheran took offense. He did not like being compared to Eichmann, he thundered. In fact, though, Mathias never said that. He explicitly said he was not calling McIlheran, Eichmann. You can read McIlheran's rambling post here. He concludes by wondering whether "... Mathias has already sent them [Washington Times and Wall Street Journal editorialists] little paste-on Hitler mustaches."

Mathias responded with a knockout blow, which you can read here.

After reading all this, I checked to see if there were any comments to McIlheran's post. I found this comment left by someone named 3rd Way:

Condemnation of Hitler comparisons are apt. A blogger you are supporting with a link from this page has posted a video of Hitler and claims it is a US senator. I hope you condemn the comparisons being made by the Texas Hold 'Em blogger by removing his link. Such tasteless comparisons do nothing but degrade the debate.
Ah, so let's up the ante. McIlheran relied thusly:

Well, you've got a point there, Mr. Way. I assume you're talking about Texas Hold 'Em Blogger's post of last Jan. 20.

All right, then: Tsk, Tex. It was quite a good PhotoShopping, and it's as amusing, in-house, as it was during the previous Clinton years. But it wasn't the most effective argument against Hillary.
I know this because you've made far better arguments. One would hate to think you'd have to do the reductio ad Hitlerium against the Hildabeast.

There, Mr. Way. Taken care of. And as I gave Matthias a heap of free publicity -- and an enduring link to his blog off my post -- I don't think I'll asymmetrically sever my blogroll link to Tex. After all, he remains the Clorox of Wisconsin blogs: pungent and caustic in such a wonderfully beneficial way.
My, he thinks highly of himself. I had to reply to this impossible defense of DiGuadio:

Peter DiGuadio, or Tex, as you refer to him, once proudly admitted on his blog to yelling at a group of Latinos because they were speaking their native tongue. He demanded they speak English, called them "chattering chihuahuas" and suggested they go home, assuming, I guess, they were here illegally. Which, by the way, is still no excuse in case you had doubts, Mr. McIlheran.

I am stunned that the Journal Sentinel keeps you on its payroll ... one who so approvingly links to this character. It's not a good smell emanating from the JS these days.
McIlheran returned fire:

Dear Mr. Rock: You may have missed this one, but I'm not Pete DiGaudio's editor. You may want to go complain to him about that one.

Or, to be more explicit, here's my disclaimer: Hyperlinks from my blog, either in posts or in the blogroll, do not imply agreement in whole or in part with any particular content on the linked pages.

Particularly in the case of the blogroll links, it implies only that these are blogs I look at with some regularity and that I suspect you may find interesting as well. They are, after all, bloggers with viewpoints of their own.

If you want to impose your little speech codes on them, knock yourself out, but don't expect me to play along.
And I conclude here at my blog:

No, you're wrong. Considering the sparseness and selectiveness of your blogroll, it's reasonable to assume a certain amount of agreement with the views of those linked to, including the views of DiGuadio. Additionally, you have accorded praise for other posts he's written in the past, linked to him approvingly and quoted him on occasion. All this implies just a wee bit of agreement..

As far as speech codes, isn't that exactly what you were trying to do with Michael Mathias? I've read his post and nowhere did it imply you were a little Nazi. Michael made a point, albeit a harsh one (as he said), regarding the ease of acquiescence of the “everyman” in WWII Germany. Eichmann is described by the author Michael quotes from as archetypal of that everyman. Your continued defense of the indefensible Bush administration and your dancing around the torture issue brand you as an acquiescent “everyman.” You swallow what you are told and follow in lockstep.

Mathias (one T by the way) is exactly right.

By the way, you still owe Mathias an apology for your little aside regarding Hitler paste-on moustaches. Who now is playing the Nazi-insinuation card?
One More Thing

McIlheran wasn't done, though, and added one more defense of the indefensible DiGuadio, whose writing style he referred to admiringly as caustic and pungent.

Mr Way: Yes, caustic and pungent, just the qualities that made, for instance, H.L. Mencken so readable.
I almost threw up after reading that, but recovered. Here my final comment to it all:

Finally, comparing H.L. Mencken to DiGuadio, even in the abstract, is ludicrous. Mencken was the master of satire and the exquisite use of the lampoon ... quite a bit different from the race-baiting and sophomoric name-calling that DiGuadio engages in.

It discredits you and the Journal Sentinel to lend any credence to DiGuadio's writings.



  1. It should also be noted that, unlike McIlheran, Mencken was actually a journalist.

  2. Hey, I almost drowned when I was a kid, too!

  3. Perhaps, PaddyMac is under McBride's tutorage, eh?

  4. I fear Paddy is self-taught which means that he has a fool for a teacher and a dullard for a student.

  5. My, my. Such Christian comments from the self-righteous who:

    1) actually think they know what "waterboarding" is; and who

    2) have determined in their ineffable wisdom that the Bush Administration is the personification of evil incarnate.

    3) resort, immediately, to personal attacks with "neener neener" as a signature.

    Really, Tim, can't you shed the sandbox-crowd and find mature adults?

  6. It's not just Paddy, of course. I'm always shocked that righties with bigger brains still link to and associate with Peter. And that the MSJ sometimes quotes Peter in the paper!

    Peter referenced Stalin, Hitler and the KKK while talking about the Sheboygan Mayor. It's like he has no choice in the matter. He has to spew invective from the start. Hyperbole is where he starts, not where he ends.

  7. Gee, daddio, I forgot your were the fount of wisdom for SE Wisconsin. You're the one who hangs with Peter and Fred. I wouldn't be so quick to judge.

    And lastly, who here has ever said Bush was evil incarnate. I have disagreed strongly with his policies. I do feel that some of the actions his administration has taken are deterimental to our personal freedoms. But I've never called him the names your side has hurled at Hillary Clinton, her husband ... even Barack Obama.

    And you know what, anytime one of your side attacks a liberal, or liberalism, my political leaders, or my brother (who is gay), then I am going to take it personally.

    You know what to do!

  8. I'm cringing in the corner...

    Quoting you: "the indefensible Bush administration"

    Ummmnnnnhhh...if it's "indefensible," then it must be evil incarnate. That's logic 101.

    And by the way, Mikie DID compare McIlheran to Eichmann as propagandists.

    Right to the "nazi" namecalling.

    So clever.

  9. The two are not necessarily related as in ... the strategies the Bush administration has emplyed in the Middle East are indefensible. They have made error after error, etc.

    Hardly evil incarnate.

    And Mike did not call him a Nazi. There have been reams of scholarly books, such as the one Arendt wrote, that have discussed how the German population could have followed orders so blindy. And there have been tests here in the states, one very famous, in which it was shown that complete strangers could be convinced to induce pain on others.

    McIlheran shows every sign of being a perfect subject for study, as he laps up everything fed to him and repeats it ad nauseum as directed.

    Wow, kind of like you. So clever.