Daily Archives: August 9, 2010

Video of the Day/Quote of the Day: “Malice and stupidity usually go together”


I follow Sarah Palin closely because she is a pathological liar and a dangerously ignorant and self-serving demagogue who also happens to be virtual leader of the Republican party.  (Thank you, John McCain. Whatever became of that guy anyway?)  Every once in awhile you get a glimpse of the snarky, mean-spirited bully she is; as in this video taken yesterday in Homer, Alaska (where the divine Sarah claims to be commercial fishing, but as she hasn’t been issued any of the necessary licences, she may be lying about that too).

In any event, this clip speaks for itself.  Homer resident Kathleen Gustafson has put up a banner reading “Worst Governor Ever.”  Instead of letting it slide, Palin confronts her.  Gustafson is dignified and direct in her responses while Palin is sarcastic throughout (“Oh, you want me as your governor?  I am honored!)”  The two burly dudes trying to block the filming, causing the cameraman to engage in a tango of evasion between them, are husband Todd and a private bodyguard.  Note that they are doing so on private property, and it’s not their private property they’re on.  (Not that it makes any difference: Palin thinks the First Amendment is to protect her from the press, and not the other way around.)  Pay special attention to the exchange at 1.10 where Palin asks Gustafson what she does.  She replies, “I’m a teacher.”  Palin’s mama grizzly response is caught in all its unmistakable grisliness: a knowing groan, an eye-roll, a smirk to her daughter Bristol, and — through that unrelentingly nasty grin — a dismissive grimace.

After the filming stopped a Palin supporter pulled down the banner.  Again, on private property.  But when you’re messing with Palin, you forgo your rights.  Because only those who qualify as “mavericks” or “patriots” or “real Americans” as determined by Palin and her crew are protected by the Constitution.

Frye on teachers in “The Beginning of the Word”:

At his trial Socrates compared himself to a midwife, using what for that male-oriented society was a deliberately vulgar metaphor.  Perhaps the teacher of literature today might be called a kind of drug pusher.  He hovers furtively on the outskirts of social organization, dodging possessive parents, evading drill-sergeant educators and snoopy politicians, passing over the squares, disguising himself from anyone who might get at the source of his income.  If society really understood, there would be many who would make things as uncomfortable as they could for him, though luckily malice and stupidity usually go together.  When no one is looking, he distributes products that are guaranteed to expand the mind, and are quite capable of blowing it as well.  But if Canada ever becomes as famous in cultural history as the Athens of Socrates, it will be largely because, in spite of indifference or philistinism or even contempt, he has persisted in the immortal task granted only to teachers, the task of corrupting its youth.  (On Education, 20-21)

Mohandis Ghandi


Gandhi in London, 1931: “There is an undefinable mysterious power that pervades everything, I feel it though I do not see it.”

On this date in 1942 the British arrested Ghandi (1869-1948), sparking the Quit India Movement.

Frye’s closing words in The Educated Imagination:

What the myth tells us is that the Tower of Babel is a work of human imagination, that its main elements are words, and that what will make it collapse is a confusion of tongues.  All had originally one language, the myth says.  That language is not English or Russian or Chinese or any common ancestor, if there was one.  It is the language of human nature, the language that makes both Shakespeare and Pushkin authentic poets, that gives a social vision to both Lincoln and Gandhi.  It never speaks unless we take the time to listen in leisure, and it speaks only in a voice too quiet for panic to hear.  And then all it has to tell us, when we look over the edge of our leaning tower, is that we are not getting any nearer heaven, and that it is time for us to return to the earth. (CW 21, 494)

This Week in Climate Change Denial: Heat Wave Edition, Part 1


Highly trained climate scientists like Rush Limbaugh and Sen. James Inhofe (Republican, of course), despite all evidence to the contrary, claim we are in a nine year period of climate cooling. The truth about that lie here.  The fact is that 2010 is on pace to be the hottest year on record.

Check out RealClimate (“Climate science from climate scientists”) here.  Yesterday’s post takes on the denier/charlatan Lord Christopher Monckton.  A previous video post featuring His Lordship here.  Wilde’s quote is worth citing again.