Monday, August 01, 2005

Absence of irony; absence of shame

Last night I stumbled upon an article that is so well written, so insightful regarding the outlook of this administration as well as its effect on the nation and the world, that I want to beg you to click through and read it in its entirety. The article is by Hal Crowther and is entitled, "Shame is for sissies". The subtitle reads thus:

The Bush administration's contemptuous nomination of John Bolton to represent America before the world shows what happens when ignorant, arrogant people with no principles come to power.

Here are some other passages:

Bolton is simply the Republican fist with its middle finger held erect, a calculated insult aimed at the Democrats, the media and the world--a rude gesture of unprecedented arrogance and defiance. Is this a coarse joke, irony served White House-style? For America's most visible and sensitive diplomatic post, they offer the ultimate anti-diplomat, an obnoxious bully so incapable of diplomacy or common tact that he offends everyone he encounters, Democrat or Republican, ally or enemy.

"It is totally erroneous to speak of Bolton as a diplomat," said retired diplomat Frederick Vreeland, who worked with him under President George H.W. Bush. "He spoke of the U.N. as being the enemy."

I have some background on Bolton that isn't generally available, a report from a friend of mine (nameless unless someone doubts him) who was his classmate in military school.

"Short, non-athletic, arrogant, unpopular and highly intolerant of other people's opinions," Bolton's classmate recalls, "sort of Napoleonic but without any of Napoleon's talents for leadership. Making him ambassador is like thumbing our nose at the UN, and foreign diplomats understand that."
Pathology lurks. Somehow the whole country--the whole world--has begun to pay dearly for the fact that Bolton, Bush and Cheney were never the best or the brightest or the most beloved. The late Hunter S. Thompson was no unimpeachable news source, but he got my attention when he described George W. Bush as "a baffled little creep" who used to adhere to the fringes of the fast Houston cocaine crowd--and once passed out in Thompson's bathtub.

"He was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing," Thompson recalled. "He was insignificant in every way. He had no humor (my italics)."
Totalitarian thinkers, Hannah Arendt once wrote, are characterized by "extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of the man who can fabricate it." If you told me 20 years ago that a cocky free press, still flaunting Richard Nixon's scalp, could be reduced to groveling impotence by the likes of George W. Bush, I guess I'd have laughed at you. But the other night I saw some film of Syrian troop carriers leaving Lebanon, and the voice-over--this was CNN, I swear--said something like "another triumph for the president's master plan to liberate the Middle East."

It startled me like a slap in the face. When did Karl Rove plant his microchips in their brains? The Goebbels Network is ever-expanding...

Once again, I do urge you to read the whole article. I've given you just a taste.

I have no idea who Hal Crowther is but I intend to find out and track down other articles of his. I am very impressed by both his observations and his analysis. And I experience his writing style as simply riveting.

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