Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



Humorless scolds on the march

J'accuse Ass is an irregular department. It recognizes a public accusation, complaint, insinuation, alarm, or whining notable for its arrogance, irrelevance, spite, stridency, obtuseness, or mendacity.
The humorless scolds are on the march, braying as they come.

Affordable-housing consultants and other true believers of all ages and “an encyclopedia of causes are expected to descend on Washington, lining the parade route, marching in streets, rallying in parks, staging acts of civil disobedience, and even partying at counter-inaugural balls.”

So, too, the chattering classes, in their own way. Objections echo over the cost of Bush's second inaugural reports the AP. It’s always something. Their prune juice glass has a sliding scale on it, so no matter how much purgative is poured in, it is always too full or too empty.

Actually, the echo is mostly from the media megaphone wielded by an AP reporter digging in the news room slop box so he can meet a fast-approaching quota deadline. He manages to cite all of three objections. One is from the deliciously named Congressman Weiner, a New York City Democrat, who suggests that “inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth inauguration during World War II”.

Along with Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, Weinie seems to be the Dems’ point man in their continuing campaign to deny the legitimacy of George Bush’s Presidency. If they can’t keep George from a second term, they can at least keep the Republicans from feeling good about it.

"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake", they wrote in a joint letter. And "during World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."

Well, in 1945, the country was on a full war footing and nearly 200,000 Americans had just been killed at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and in the Pacific. Anyway, by 1945 Roosevelt inaugurals were so been-there-done-that we would have been relieved to limit the party to popcorn (unbuttered) and soda pop, even without a war. As for Wilson, what can I say, except that Dubya is a Texan trail-biker and not some costive, Puritanical, Ivy-League academic in a semi-coma* whose wife is running the country.

Second, in the the Inquirer’s short list, is an unspecified bunch of D.C. area Congressmen. They don’t get much ink, because they aren’t really proposing that the inaugural festivities be scaled down. They just think the District isn’t getting enough Federal funds out of it. When did they ever think otherwise?

Third—or second, really—is Mark Cuban, the well-known avatar of Mother Teresa, who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. "As a country, we face huge deficits," he wrote on his Web log . ". . . declining economy . . . service people dying. . . responsibilities to help . . . devastation of the tsunamis." Cuban apparently sees himself as a Savonarola for our time. He wants Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities." That was back when the initial US aid commitment to the Indian Ocean nations was $35 million vs. an estimated private expense for the inauguration of $40 million. He’s gone on and on about it in subsequent posts.

But just on your Web log, Mark? If you were serious, you’d be schlepping a sandwich board back and forth in Lafayette Park, with Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas on one side and “Repent” on the other.

Cuban and others don’t seem to realize that the human spirit needs the nourishment of celebration as well as the sack cloth and ashes of discipline and chastisement. As Bush commented at a press conference last week, "the inauguration is a great festival of democracy”. Cuban is smart about money, but he’s a sucker on the spiritual side for liberal pious bilge. He’s a “political independent” who voted for Bush, but he’s gone to his dark side and downed a few beakers of the liberal, guilt-trip Kool-Aid.

The carping about the inauguration is the standard liberal sermon: non sequiturs, getting things out of proportion, ignoring facts in favor of pious shibboleths, and treating moral issues as matters of etiquette and matters of taste as moral affronts. And underneath it all thumps and groans the low, grim burden: If things aren’t perfect, then all must be gloom, destruction, and despair in this eternal vale of tears. O Woe! O tempora! O mores!, etc., etc., etc. I prefer Thomas Tallis for inducing the emotions of religious exaltation, but that’s just me.

The Anchoress makes this point elegantly, not to mention giving Cuban some salutary chastisement, serving up some bubble-busting with a scolding garni.
Really? You're still flogging the "declining economy" horse? We have men at war, so there should be no celebrations, anywhere? We are helping people rebuild their lives after a horrific tsunami, and so we should not have anything joyful of our own? . . . etc.
Oh, yeah!

Corrections: The article "Objections echo over the cost of Bush's second inaugural" was published in the Phila. Inquirer, but it was taken from the AP wire.

*An alert reader has pointed out something that I chose to ignore, namely that Wilson had a stroke much later in his second term...so far as anyone knows.



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