"Only a crazy person would take what we say seriously"

Violent language and violent rhetoric can be a problem, but I do not think it is the main problem afflicting our diseased political discourse.* The main problem, rather, is disingenuous rhetoric that coolly and calmly demands a violent response from anyone who believes it or takes it seriously. This talk may have nothing to do [Read More...]

Jackie at the crossroads

So you're sitting around with a group of friends talking, the conversation skipping cheerfully from one topic to another, turning eventually, somehow, to a discussion of the best and worst public restrooms you've each encountered. Your friend Jackie says that she is terrified of the bathrooms at the airport. Because of the spiders. Most of [Read More...]

Vincible GooFiness

So we're not quite done yet with the GooFi videos. These "exposés" of alleged Satanism in rock & roll are full of stupid, unbelievable assertions. This, sadly, makes them relevant for considering what has become one of the most urgent political issues of our time — the widespread embrace of stupid, unbelievable claims. The GooFi [Read More...]

The IndigNation

In an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post, Rick Perlstein cuts to the chase. His piece is titled, "In America, Crazy Is a Pre-existing Condition." After surveying "birthers, health care hecklers" and other contemporary manifestations of "right-wing rage," Perlstein reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun and takes us on a survey of [Read More...]

'Satan's strategy' (part 1)

"The pretensions of the self therefore can be maintained only by willful deception, for which Tertullian had the very accurate description of 'willing ignorance.' This deception does not require a conscious act of dishonesty in each individual instance. The deception of sin is rather a general state of confusion from which individual acts of deception [Read More...]

Those pearls won't clutch themselves

B: You realize what you've done, don't you? A: Drawn a link between the spreading of malicious falsehoods and the practice commonly referred to as "lying"? B: Well, yes, that. That's not allowed. A: "Allowed?" B: Right. You can say, "Sarah Palin's statement is false," because, you know, it is. And you can say, "Sarah [Read More...]

An argument

A: Sarah Palin is lying about health care reform. B: Whoa, hold on there. That’s quite the accusation. You want to use the L-word, you’re going to have to prove it. A: That’s not difficult. Here is the outrageous and demonstrably untrue lie in question, from her Facebook page: The America I know and love [Read More...]

The Ouija Board

Regarding denial (see below), a true story: Back in college, junior year, shortly after Halloween, the guys I worked with on the night shift in the dining hall came in all jumpy and agitated. Turns out they had been playing around with a Ouija board and had convinced themselves that some malicious spirit was haunting [Read More...]