Saturday, May 16, 2009

Simon Says as Simon Does

This morning Scott Simon - one of America’s most admired writers and broadcasters [hee, hee] - retreads a valid point made four days ago by HuffPo' Phil Bronstein: homophobe Carrie Prejean and Barack Obama have made similar statements about gay marriage. Ah, but Simon is wanting to be extra-clever and so hired actors to recite Prejan's jumbled anti-gay marriage statements with a "sophisticated" British accent, followed by Obama's anti-gay marriage statement read with a middle-American plain accent.

After each statement he challenged us to guess "Who said that?"

Well, let's play Simon's game with Simon's [and a different President's] own words. We'll go back to October of 2001.

For the first speaker, imagine a well meaning, gentle, oh-so sincere, sensitive man-voice reading:
"Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground....We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror....We defend not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live and raise their children free from fear....Today, those sacrifices are being made by members of our armed forces who now defend us so far from home."
For the second, imagine a clipped, faux-Texas, folksy, tough guy macho voice saying,
"In confronting the forces that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, American pacifists have no sane alternative now but to support war....People who try to hold certain American policies or culture responsible are trying to decorate the crimes of psychotics with synthetic political significance....But those...who have been pacifists must admit that it has been [their] blessing to live in a nation in which other citizens have been willing to risk their lives to defend [their] dissent....Only American (and British) power can stop more killing..."
So, who do you think was the speaker of the first? Your choices are either Scott Simon or George W. Bush. And what about the second speech - Bush or Simon? It's hard to tell, isn't it? The first is Bush announcing the US assault on Afghanistan in October of 2001 and the second is Scott Simon justifying that same war in the Wall Street Journal.

Simon ends this morning's piece with the usual smug, self-congratulatory bit of moralizing:
"It makes it a bit harder, but more important, to do real journalism and sometimes tell an audience, 'We know what you think you know. But listen to this.'" Real journalism...yeah, listen to this...


Unknown said...

Why is it that I get the feeling that at the NPR dysfunctional family reunion the girl cousins are warned not to find themselves alone with Uncle Scott? Much as Auntie Lianne loves to hang out with the young people and embarrasses them horribly when she tries to establish her "cool" bona fides by quoting Lil Wayne.

gopol said...

Stuff likes this puts me in mind of the huge number of graduates from Top American Universities with PhDs in psychology who had no really valuable skills aside from shilling for Madison Avenue or the CIA (et al). What, you're going to have a child of privilege who graduated suma cum loud from Yale - with that pigskin - and expect he'll be happy with counseling snot-nosed brain-damaged veterans in wheelchairs when they could be pumping up the machine to create same for two k the salary?

Then these wordsmiths get to snorkel in their hankies when they hear Scottie intone with sincerity. Yes, sirree, Scottie, sirree. And they think we're too dumb to tell. Well, maybe We are.

Anonymous said...

"Many of the peace activists I have seen trying to rouse opposition to today's war against terrorism remind me of a Halloween parade.They put on old, familiar-looking protest masks--against American imperialism, oppression and violence--that bear no resemblance to the real demons haunting us now." -- Scott Simon

As has been pointed out by others, "terrorism" is a tactic, not a person or thing (eg, country) against which you can declare war. So the "war against terrorism" is actually a vacuous phrase.

And Simon's second sentence is actually quite ironic.

Today's "war against terrorism" [sic] is rather like a Halloween parade, but not for the reason Simon gives.

We are essentially running around killing masked marchers in a Halloween parade, not knowing beforehand which are the terrorists and which the innocents.

That is actually what makes the "war against terrorism" an impossibility: the fact there is no readily identifiable enemy.

I have a question for Scott: "Who are the real demons haunting us now?" What do they look like?

I would suggest that if we really want to know, we should look in the mirror to find out.

Anonymous said...

That darn leftist NPR! No wonder he never has people from the peace movement on his show. Oh lord help us all. Thanks for the post and link.

Anonymous said...

Howard Zinn took Simon to task on his WSJ op-ed:

Anonymous said...

Simon is clearly using his "Quaker credentials" to essentially say: " "hey, you should listen to me. I know how bad war is. I'm a Quaker who opposes war... but the "war against terrorism" [sic] is so different that it requires a completely different set of standards and ethics".

All Scott is really telling us, of course, is that he's not a REAL Quaker because if he were, his morals would not bend with the winds of war.

Anonymous said...

Howard Zinn also just took Obama to task for his militarism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Personally, I think Zinn goes way too easy on Obama.

There is simply no excuse for the kinds of stuff Obama has been doing: terrorizing the civilian populations in Pakistan and Afghanistan with drones and jets.

What Obama is doing is no better than the kinds of stuff Bush did.

And Obama has basically stabbed the people who supported him in the back.

I voted for him, but personally, after all the crap that he has pulled (clearly favoring banks and the rich over ordinary workers, taking "single payer healthcare" off the table at the getgo, refusing to release 9ie, covering up) the torture photos, refusing to prosecute Bush officials (aiding abetting war criminals), increasing US military presence and activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan with drone attacks on civilian populations in Pakistan(terrorizing civilians), I've simply had all I can stomach of Obama.

He's simply not the person he claimed to be. not even close. he;'s a fake. A con man. A refined and very smooth one, but a con man just the same.

I'm ready to campaign for whoever opposes him in 2012 (except Hillary, that is)

At this point, I actually hope his Presidency is a dismal failure. It will serve him right. There is nothing to be gained by supporting the kind of policies Obama is implementing.

Howard Zinn: Changing Obama's Military MindsetBy Howard Zinn, The Progressive. Posted May 15, 2009.

Obama once said, 'It's not enough to get out of Iraq; we have to get out of the mindset that led us into Iraq.' What happened to that Obama?

Anonymous said...

Obama does not even listen to his own advisers because despite senior advice to discontinue drone attacks, Obama continues them.(see below)

What do you call someone who ignores the advice of people who actually know what they are talking about?

A fool. That's what.

Obama is not only pursing a policy that is immoral in this case (because it is almost certainly killing civilians and terrorizing close to a million people), but he is also pursuing a policy that is simply stupid from the standpoint of US security.

Obama is actually UNDERMINING the security of this country, creating more terrorists and further damaging the image of the US around the world.
Advisor: ‘US Needs to Call off Drone Strikes in Pakistan’

Lahore - The top adviser to the US army chief in Afghanistan, David Kilcullen, has observed that the US drone strikes in Pakistan are creating more enemies than eliminating them, and hence, needed to be "called off."
US Drone Attack Kills 29 in North Waziristan
MIRAMSHAH, Pakistan - Twenty-nine people were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at a residential compound in the Mirali tehsil of North Waziristan tribal region here on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

No offense meant to0 anyone here. I heard Obama speak once early, early on and I thought this guy might be worth supporting/working for/voting for. I went to his web site and from that moment i opposed his election. This was hard because all my friends were Obama supporters. A lot of "public" people I like/admire worked and supported him.

He fooled people that wanted to be fooled (and that's where the offensiveness might lie for others, sorry).


Anonymous said...


He fooled people that wanted to be fooled (and that's where the offensiveness might lie for others, sorry)."

I think that is probably accurate.

People like myself gave him more benefit of the doubt than he deserved.

The sooner people acknowledge that fact, the sooner we will be able to effectively oppose Obama's continuation of business as usual.

In one regard, Obama is actually more dangerous than Bush because he is very smooth and manages to couch his bank bailouts and the rest in language that assures people that he is not actually doing what he in fact is.

Also, people are reluctant to criticize him because they want to believe he is honest and actually meant what he said during his campaign -- and means what he says now.

But not everyone who voted for him is giving him a blank check by any means.

It's still very early and people in his own party are already starting to question what he is doing.

So there is hope.

Even with Bush, it took much longer for people in his own party to question him (many never did!)

Anonymous said...

I sort of understand the vote for Obama because, after Bush anybody but McCain/Palin looked good.


dguzman said...

I can't even listen to him anymore.