Sunday, October 24, 2004

Seeds sown, crop grown, . . .

One of the most disturbing things about this election cycle is the amount of hatred the left has whipped up against President Bush. The right wasn't too fond of Bill Clinton, but they are no match for the seething anger being directed against George Bush.

This editorial in the Guardian is a case in point. It's a typical hate-filled diatribe against President Bush, mocking him for his stupidity, and claiming that the whole world is banging its head against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!"

However, the rant ends with this alarming paragraph:

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Yep. You read it right. This scummy writer for the Guardian named Charlie Brooker is calling for Bush's assassination. In an earlier era, there should be consequences for allowing such careless words to be put into print. Consequences for both Charlie Brooker and the editors at the Guardian who allowed their scummy paper to print this call for assassination of a foreign leader.

But that kind of stuff is only published beyond these shores, right? Doesn't happen here? Right?

In August, Knopf decided to publish this book about a planned assassination of President Bush. When I first heard of the book, I thought it was probably only tangentially about an assassination. Certainly no one would try to publish--just prior to an election--a novel where the assassination of one of the candidates is the main point of the book.

I was wrong. Here's a portion of USA Today's review from early August this year.

If your blood boils every time you see the current resident of the White House on television or in print, and if the images from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq trigger a demand for resignations at the highest levels of the military, then put Checkpoint at the top of your reading list. Otherwise, steer clear.

The 115-page novel details one afternoon in the lives of two middle-aged men who have been friends since high school. Ben has driven from his home to Washington, D.C., to see Jay after receiving a desperate phone call. Ben rightly fears that Jay's girlfriend has left him.

But Jay's political obsession overwhelms any personal woes. On the second page, Jay tells Ben he intends to assassinate the president. Jay's fury about Iraqi civilians dying has bubbled into madness.

Specifically, Jay obsesses about a story he read in the Sydney Morning Herald describing a tragic incident in which American soldiers at a checkpoint shot a car full of fleeing Iraqi civilians, including two girls and their grandfather.

Baker writes Checkpoint as if it is tape-recorded dialogue. It is less a novel and more of a passionate cry from the heart about American foreign policy that Baker clearly opposes. Jay believes that Bush has to be killed and the war stopped.

No Bush admirer, Ben argues that Vice President Cheney would be worse stepping in as head of state. . . .

Indeed, it appears that the whole book is a conversation about killing the president--one character convinced it must be done, the other--no Bush fan himself--trying to talk the first character out of it. And the conclusion, according to the review is "open to interpretation."

I have no interest in supporting the publisher or the author by purchasing this book, but I'd like a chance to read it myself to see what is meant by "open to interpretation." Because it doesn't sound as if morality wins out over murderousness.

But here's the line from the review that I found really chilling:

Baker makes you feel as if you are indeed inside the mind of a potential assassin. Whether you want to go there is your choice.
We know that many are willing to go there--are in fact already there, their hatred whipped up by the lunatic left and their DNC enablers. This book will put these already hate-filled readers "inside the mind of a potential assassin." Lovely.

Okay, imagine this scenario. An unbalanced individual--say Michael Moore--reads this book, and already convinced that George Bush is a bad guy is convinced by the narrative that Bush must be assassinated. So he does it.

Should Nicholson Baker be considered an accomplice? Should Knopf be held liable as well? How about Charlie Brooker and the Guardian? The anti-Bush climate in this country is at a point where it's not such a stretch to imagine there will probably be an assassination attempt--not by al Qaeda or a crazed Guardian writer, but by an American citizen gone round the bend, encouraged by the seeds of hatred planted by the American left.

And what might happen if he succeeds? Think this country is divided

UPDATE: Chumley Wonderbar at Plastic Hallway says:

Here's a call to action. Start sending your opinion immediately to the editorial staff of the Guardian Unlimited. Here's the email address: . . .

Good idea.

UPDATE II: Powerline reports that the original editorial has been taken down, and the following statement put in its place:

The final sentence of a column in The Guide on Saturday caused offence to some readers. The Guardian associates itself with the following statement from the writer.

"Charlie Brooker apologises for any offence caused by his comments relating to President Bush in his TV column, Screen Burn. The views expressed in this column are not those of the Guardian. Although flippant and tasteless, his closing comments were intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action - an intention he believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand. He deplores violence of any kind."

How tone deaf is Brooker (and by extension, the Guardian) if they had to have the offensiveness of that piece pointed out by "some readers." And am I the only one who sees a slight insult in the notion that "he believed regular readers . . . would understand"?

I'm not buying it. This is one of those conditional "I apologize
if you were offended" apologies, and not an acknowledgment that the offense was there even if no one wrote to point it out.

The entire column has been saved here. Judge for yourself.


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