Zhaba Zhournal
Thursday, September 16, 2004 
I've got this down pat 
Warning: Contains wanton throwing-around of political opinions and personal characterizations that probably won't withstand journalistic scrutiny (except maybe by CBS News), but I don't care.
I feel the need to explain the phrase "my 'f!ck, I hate Pat Buchanan' reflex" from yesterday's end of the workday post—I actually hate him less than some other right-wing Christ-is-on-my-side people (Fred "God hates fags" Phelps is on the top of that list), and I admit I've never sat down and compared Pat Buchanan's political/personal beliefs/convictions with those of any other right-wing conservative whackjobs who might turn out to be more or less hateworthy (because I know I'm not voting for any of them; as long as you know all rattlesnakes are poisonous, do you really want to sit down and compare the chemical properties of their venom?); but P.B. does hold a certain special place in my mind, my memory, and my gut—it is, indeed, a reflex—and here's why:

In my entire life, I have only seen two things on TV that literally made me throw up. One was Pat Buchanan's "Judeo-Christian heritage" speech at the Republican National Convention in 1992;* and the other was a CNN report on child prostitution in Romania this past spring. The result being, I have the same relationship to Pat Buchanan as other people do to, say, the alcoholic beverage that gave them their worst hangover. Or, to use another metaphor, if you're allergic to shellfish, and you find this out by getting terribly sick after eating deviled crab, in the future you are, of course, going to avoid eating all shellfish; but you're not even going to want to look at deviled crab.

I am, however, happy to report that the Daily Show interview didn't make me throw up—hardly even made me queasy—because the book he's promoting is called "How the Right Went Wrong," and although he did take every chance he got to go after Kerry and the Democrats who supported the war, he was mainly interested in going after the "neocons" who—can I say "started"?—started the war. I don't think he ever even used the words "Christian" or "God" or "family values" or "I want to strangle homosexuals with the entrails of gutted abortionists." I wouldn't call it a kinder, gentler Pat Buchanan—I get the feeling his problem with the right isn't that it's gotten too extreme, but that it's not extreme enough—it's like a great white shark saying the sand sharks are too busy chasing schools of fish out at sea when they ought to be near the beach biting chunks out of surfers. But at least he wasn't actually biting chunks out of surfers; so a half-bottle of white wine and I got through the entire show just fine. (And, of course, there's the Jon Stewart factor. Oh me, oh my, oh Jon Stewart. I'd watch him interview a six-foot-tall pile of horse manure§ and be perfectly happy.)

*I considered linking directly to a transcript of the speech, but the only ones I can find are on Buchanan's own Web site and other pro-Buchanan sites, which I'm not linking to; however, if you do this Google search, the buchanan.org transcript will be the top result, and you can click at your own risk.

†Why was I watching such an unpleasant thing? J.'s been doing a lot of research on Romania for a book he's working on; he reads an English-language Romanian newspaper every day and watches the Romanian news hour on the International Channel every week, and he's especially interested in corruption and crime in the post-Communist culture. So I alerted him to this CNN report; he watched all of it, I watched about fifteen minutes before I said "Excuse me, I'm going to go throw up and then think about something else till this show is over."

‡Any significance of the word "deviled" in the comparison of Pat Buchanan to deviled crab is entirely coincidental; I actually like shellfish, but I find deviled crab extremely nasty—it already looks a lot like something that's been thrown up—so it came naturally to my metaphor. (I can't say I mind having the word "devil" in there, though.)

§Any comparison of Pat Buchanan to a six-foot-tall pile of horse manure is left entirely up to the reader.

[ at 1:03 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

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