Monday, January 03, 2005

Perils of Ironic Understatement

by Tom Bozzo

When there's only one Whole Foods in town, it's sometimes hard to decide how roughly to work over the questionable reasoning of more prominent local bloggers, even (particularly?) when you don't know them personally. If nothing else, the cause of civility dictates the use of minimum effective force, and Saturday I opted for what I aimed to be the bloggerly equivalent of gentle needling for Prof. Althouse's efforts to put a reasonable sheen on the "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution."

Since then, a chapter of Cornel West's Democracy Matters, the article (facing the year-end review piece in Saturday's hardcopy NYT national edition) further describing what are called with excessive gentility "harsh methods" used on Guantanamo prisoners, the story in this morning's Washington Post about the government's "plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries," and even this morning's NYT Arts section piece on the feckless post-9/11 "Saturday Night Live" (just to name a few) all move me to clarify my position on the resolution a bit.

The only thing good I can say about the "Reaffirming American Independence Resolution" is that its name doesn't make a catchy acronym for a short title, though it's bad enough that it falsely suggests that American independence is somehow in need of reaffirmation. Given the nature of the controversies that brought it into existence, you can take your pick of whether it's saying, "F*** you, world, we'll execute our teenaged and/or not provably guilty criminals and apply thumbscrews to whom we wish no matter what you think," or "F*** you, selected Americans, you don't rate selected enumerated and/or unenumerated rights regardless of what the rest of the small-'L' liberal world thinks." This sort of nationalism is abominable.
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