Finley seems to think that the capacity of the American people to contract catastrophic diseases with no medical resources is a Constitutional right and that Obama is being a bully in seeking to make sure that the great number of the uninsured have coverage they can afford. This upsets Finley no end and writes himself into a perfectly illogical snit: what's really being argued for here isn't anything like Liberty, Freedom or Individual Rights, but rather a thinly disguised rant for the sick, the injured, the poor and the homeless to die off faster than they already are. This is just mean, in plain fact, the reactionary , paranoid ravings of someone who is afraid that he is going to have his toys taken away. Rather than discuss what needs to be done about health care, Finley drapes himself in the flag and red-baits the issue. That is cowardly, it is cheap, it is disgusting and self centered.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Nolan Finley is editorial page editor for my home town newspaper, The Detroit News, and he writes an opinion column that reflects the terse bluntness of someone who does not give a righteous rat's ass about the welfare of others. He is a seriously constipated White Guy who prefers his anger to facts, compassion. His Bible, it seems, are the numbers appearing the Bottom Line. Today he equates "Obamacare" with an historically unprecedented attack on the rights and liberties of American citizens. He only seems content when is in a foaming lather.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Some of otherwise bright pop culture journalists reveal in the frequent over rating every entertainer who displays a spark of independent thinking and an unwillingness to stick with the status quo. Such is the case in a recent Slate article staking a claim for anti-magician Penn Jillette as being a public intellectual, ala Chomsky,Vidal Christopher Hitchens or William F.Buckley.
It makes me imagine that some desperate cabal of Internet editors, eager to have ready material on which to fill up their web pages with the daily requirement of sniping, toadying, salivating gruel, decided that Jillette was a public intellectual because he had a loud mouth, was a libertarian, and an aethiest; being a contrarian, though, does not a credentialed Big Thinker make, although it is ideal for the tell-tale Swelled Head . A bellicose sort, Jillette is the kind who considers his opinions--routinized contrariness all--are made brilliant and more nuanced if he both shots them in hoarse bombast and laces the points with various "fucks" and "shits".
But really, when was the last time you read something from this guy that was worth quoting?I suspect that Jillette would stiff if he were to a sit down discussion with these writers. Jillette is a moderately funny provocateur who can from time to time get you to think in meta-terms about the whole issue of images and appearances and or willingness to surrender our skepticism for some sense of living in a meaningful universe. Fine and dandy, but that is as far as his discourse goes when one listens to him at length, and extending his nihilism to media corruption and seduction of its audience false paradigms presented by entrenched political concerns , all through the clever metaphor of his magic act strains after awhile, and is reflective of the usual grousings of a self-appointed
Everyman who has found a pitch that can be applied to nearly every subject that comes his way. Jillette is less a public intellectual than he is crank with a malleable script. Not that he's alone in this guise of being a "public intellectual"; Gore Vidal, more knowledgeable by far than Jillette in the Humanities, none the less manages to reassert a particular number of notions that he's been carping on for several decades. I will say that Jillette is as much a public intellectual as Orson Bean was. Or Dick Cavett. In defense of Bean and Cavett, though, both realized that they were paid entertainers, not pundits credentialed with degrees and teaching positions, and honed their curiosity about more worldly and abstract affairs by knowing how to ask interesting, knowledgeable questions to those who were the professional experts. At best, this skill gave the curious audience better answers than they would have expected. Charlie Rose does this. And again, Jillette is not Charlie Rose. Penn Jillette is a bellicose fool in a perpetual state of irritation. He is a man in search of a stroke.