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June 14, 2006

Distinctions

Dear Mickey,

What's different about Kos's mercenaries comment and Coulter's smear against the 9/11 widows is that Kos's comment was a snap reaction thrown up in a blog post while Coulter's came within a considered, edited work. The two are wildly different mediums, and comparisons are apples-to-oranges. This really isn't that hard.

Love,
Ezra

June 14, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Why, oh why does that F***ing idiot still have a job?

Posted by: Bruce from Missouri | Jun 14, 2006 12:27:23 AM

There's also the fact that Markos apologized (albeit grudgingly) and Coulter didn't.

Posted by: Steve | Jun 14, 2006 1:55:05 AM

Since the rest of the world seems to be going along with the facade that Kaus is a legitimate journalist, shouldn't he do his part and at least pretend to be a professional and disclose his (eye-gougingly creepy) relationship with Coulter when he writes about her in his column? Just about every other Slate writer errs pretty wildly on the side of caution here, and it's a mite conspicuous that Mickey Kaus is heavily plugging a book by a pseudofascist harpy without noting that he "sees her socially."

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Jun 14, 2006 1:56:43 AM

Whaaaa...... ? Seriously?

Posted by: DJA | Jun 14, 2006 2:09:03 AM

I can handle - with some gastric distress - a twisted-whitey righty like Bryan York dissing the Dems. It's what they do and all that they know.

But my blood boils when someone supposedly flying the progressive flag, like Kaus or Lieberman, attacks us from the flank or rear. I guess I'm old fashioned, but wearing the other side's uniform, and carrying their flag is not acceptable behavior. But neither is it acceptable to pretend to be with the Blues while carrying ammo for the Reds - in fact it is far worse. While I find it hard to hate anyone, Kaus overcomes my scruples and makes takes me where I really don't want to go. Kaus is scum in a stagnant pool of human waste.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 14, 2006 2:32:36 AM

I don't think this is a necessary point, strong point, or good point to make. To put it bluntly, it is lame, and everyone knows it.

Defending Kos this way won't work except as part of another, larger defense, like that Kos was military and loathes mercenaries, as does most of the left. Seeing all that lionization of the Fallujah Four made me a little sick to my stomach when I learned they were contractors, myself.

The righties make a goddamn joke out of that woman who get killed by a bulldozer and of injured and killed journalists but they jism at the revenge fantasies the Fallujah incident brought to mind. Feh.

Posted by: Sandals | Jun 14, 2006 2:40:16 AM

Yes, I don't find the comments at all similar. By definition we've been told over and over again *by the right* that we must identify with, and sympathize with, and avenge the deaths of these women's husbands. To smear them and strip them of their humanity/identification with us is an attack on things Coulter herself claims to hold dear. And it is clearly done with a complete absence of respect for who and what these women actually are.

I'd have had no problem with coulter if what she said had any basis in truth. That, for example, if the jersey girls in fact were "selling" their grief for monetary gain. But if there are people who are doing that they are notably not on the left but on the right. It is the malkins, hugh hewitt's, and rush limbaugh's who peddle fake suffering/linkage to 9/11 to put across their own patently mercenary political leanings. They actually *make their living* from doing so and did so before 9/11. The jersey girls current situation is straight up: previously unpolitical people become political when they realize the common good is affected, they leave their ordinary lives and they work hard to affect things. Absent a real showing of falsity, of greed, of sexual abberration (the playboy crack) these women are simply factually distinct from the mercenary contractors kos was talking about. they are also apparently from a different species than coulter herself, of whom the terms "falsity, greed, and sexual aberration" could be used daily.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Jun 14, 2006 4:47:52 AM

What Sandals said

Look I agreed with Kos in live time. These were mercenaries who of their own free will signed up to go into a war zone, they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well tens of thousands of Iraqis ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time and the collective reaction of most war supporters was "screw em".

Burning bodies by dropping boms is just war, while burning bodies after they are dead is evidence of depravity? What gives? At the same time war supporters were dismissing me screaming about dead GIs because after all they volunteered and in Sullivan's memorable words were "servants of civil masters", and then turning around and expecting me to get weepy that four Blackwater "contractors" had been killed?

What we do know is that the rules of engagement allow American contractors to simply kill anyone who they think is a threat. We have video of British contractors driving down the road simply shooting up traffic as they go, and laughing. Collectively we cowboyed up and went in shooting. Well maybe somebody should have thought about the implications of that before sending a car with four mercs right through Fallujah that day.

War is bad for little girls and other living things. Including Mercs collecting six digit paychecks with licenses to kill. Sorry my sympathies are with the little girls.

Posted by: Bruce Webb | Jun 14, 2006 4:53:29 AM

Kaus has one arguably-distasteful quote from Kos and compares it to Coulter's. But that's the only one he's got from Kos, whereas Coulter talks trash for a living and has hundreds of similar mots.

It's bullshit; no doubt Kaus is trolling for Kossack hate mail, which he'll triumphantly blog if he gets any.

Posted by: kth | Jun 14, 2006 9:46:12 AM

Whaaaa...... ? Seriously?

Yes, seriously. If you want more information, there's a series of about four consecutive Bloggingheads.tv episodes in which he and Bob Wright argue over whether or not it's morally justified to associate with someone like Coulter, which leads to some astonishingly shameless yet characteristically Kaussian intellectual contortions (e.g., Coulter isn't a racist because "towelhead" isn't a "racial" epithet). To watch him attempt to justify her existence as a serious political thinker (on the basis that she has "interesting things" to say on ethnic profiling) isn't just pathetic, it's grotesque.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Jun 14, 2006 10:14:18 AM

What's different about Kos's mercenaries comment and Coulter's smear against the 9/11 widows is that Kos's comment was a snap reaction...

Things that are calculated and edited are said for a reason....perhaps selling books?

Things that are said in a 'snap reaction' are not calculated and are closer to his real feelings. Defending Kos simply because you think he is "one of ours" is pointless.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 14, 2006 10:26:07 AM

I don't know about FJ, but I've said some pretty stupid things on the spur of the moment that don't reflect what I feel at all.

Posted by: Sandals | Jun 14, 2006 10:46:26 AM

I love Mickey's dismissal of Kos's "childhood-blaming non-apology apology." When I read that, I thought it was going to be some whiny complaints along the lines of my parents didn't love me enough or the bullies at school picked on me. Instead, this was what I found:

"Unlike the vast majority of people in this country, I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market."

Egad. I must agree with Kos. If that was descriptive of my childhood, I would have the same anger for people who willingly help to create such situations for profit. Yes, they are people. Yes, all deaths are tragic. But it is absurd to insist that Kos's "Screw them" sentiment is even in the same league as "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Kos's anger is based on personal experience and is a deeply engrained emotional reaction. Coulter's statement is a calculated, deliberate ad hominem attack.

But, of course, here is Mickey's brilliant response: "And only someone who doesn't want the U.S. to succeed in Iraq would say what Moulitsas said. Still, it's less odious than I'd thought. ... P.S.: But it's still worse than Coulter!"

Idiot.

Posted by: Michael | Jun 14, 2006 10:50:09 AM

I'm honestly puzzeled at the deference and apologetics thrown around by the progressives at Kos. On the one hand, he strives to be taken seriously as a political commentator and supposed kingmaker, on the other hand if he says something objectionable, well it's just a snap reaction in a blog post. You can't have it both ways--either what you blog about is serious or it isn't; if it isn't then stop pretending you are some great progressive savior; if it is serious then you are accountable for what you post.

On the larger issue, there is a big difference between the actual power of Kos and Coulter and their proclaimed importance. No republican presidential hopefuls are rushing to attend the yearly coulter convention and her influence, such as it is, is simply as a bombastic commentator. Kos and his followers claim to be "crashing the gates" and to have actual influence, in which case his writings should be more scrutinized then those of Coulter.

Finally, I admit to being a right wing kinda guy, think Coulter is a buffoon and guess it is none of my business who you progressive folk want as a leader, but don't you think Kos is not exactly who you want running the show if you are trying to persude people to come to your side? The man is an obvious megalomaniac and his idea of argument is to call people a chickenshit or various other ad hominem attacks. Who in the world does he bring to your side other than the converted?

I just find it very interesting.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 14, 2006 11:02:20 AM

I don't know about FJ, but I've said some pretty stupid things on the spur of the moment that don't reflect what I feel at all.

First reactions are pretty indicative of how you actually feel because you don't have time to intellectually filter your actions. That's what feelings are all about.


Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 14, 2006 11:03:27 AM

"Screw 'em" wasn't an attempt to entertain or be funny and there was no obvious hyperbole/exxageration for those purposes, so I think that there is a difference between the two, but your point is still well taken. Everyone is going to say something they regret in the more conversational medium of the internet.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Jun 14, 2006 11:25:57 AM

So, in Fred's world, we are more morally culpable for things done in the heat of passion than things that are premeditated. Inform the legal system that their entire conception of how to determine relative levels of culpability are wrong.

Posted by: Constantine | Jun 14, 2006 12:16:36 PM

see, here's where I differ from Scott and the other rightwinger military fantasists:
"on the other hand if he (Kos) says something objectionable,"

but I don't see that saying "screw 'em" about mercenaries is objectionable.. they are adults getting paid extremely well to risk their lives. They get killed, well, them's the breaks. They don't need, expect, or deserve our sympathy. I've worked with mercenaries in the military, so I'm not merely vapouring here.

When you are widowed because the President considers his vacations more important than attending to terrorist threats, now that's objectionable. Attacking those widows for objecting is beyond contemptible.

But really, who can take any adult calling himself 'Mickey Kaus', seriously ?

Posted by: Doug K | Jun 14, 2006 12:51:55 PM

but don't you think Kos is not exactly who you want running the show if you are trying to persude people to come to your side?

Funny, I thought it was politicians and other official Democrat persons that "ran the show," not some group like-minded supporters. Its entirely possible to separate the man from the movement. If Kos wants to say something ridiculous (which in my mind, he did,) and columnists want to defend him, there is nothing wrong with that. I don't see how such defenses are anything to do with persuading anyone to come to a side. This is Exhibit A of the differences between left and right. We don't silence the opinions of those who might not stick strictly with the party line.

Posted by: Adrock | Jun 14, 2006 1:21:10 PM

So, in Fred's world, we are more morally culpable for things done in the heat of passion than things that are premeditated.

Great strawman, Dean-O. 'morally culpable' was not the issue. Feelings were.

Tell us all now how passion is not actually ruled by feelings but by intellect.

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 14, 2006 6:19:02 PM

..Way to engage our arguments, Scott. Megalomaniac? LOL.

FJ: Your evasions have destroyed your point. The 'argument' was over whose point was more 'odious', ie morally culpable. I don't think Kos' statement was odious at all, but clearly a premeditated statement is more odious if that's your thing. Someone who grew up in the deep south might say 'Nigger' when impassioned without really meaning it. Someone saying that in a prepared speech means exactly what they said.

Posted by: Sandals | Jun 14, 2006 7:56:16 PM

"Finally, I admit to being a right wing kinda guy, think Coulter is a buffoon and guess it is none of my business who you progressive folk want as a leader, but don't you think Kos is not exactly who you want running the show if you are trying to persude people to come to your side? The man is an obvious megalomaniac and his idea of argument is to call people a chickenshit or various other ad hominem attacks. Who in the world does he bring to your side other than the converted?"

Most lefties with a functioning brain would love to have Markos crawl back into whatever hole he came out of. He's obviously not a constructive influence for the Democratic Party. He's all about increasing his influence over a small tent party, not about building a big tent party that could govern America.

But no one with a name to defend can afford to call him out - unless they thrive on received hatred.

Markos has an army of dittoheads that he happily sends out after his personal enemies. Most folks don't want the grief. And the dude is vindictive to boot. He's been systematically going after anyone who crossed him in the '04 campaign for the past two years.

I'd guess few on the right would want to call out Rush Limbaugh due to the size of his megaphone. Markos is in a similar position.

Posted by: Petey | Jun 15, 2006 8:21:10 AM

"Most lefties with a functioning brain would love to have Markos crawl back into whatever hole he came out of."

Markos is not my favourite because I think him too moderate and measured in his discourse, and far too willing to become part of the establishment. I admire the heck out of Stoller and the MyDD crowd, but Jerome Armstrong going to work for Mark Warner? Good grief.

But my brain stopped functioning in the late 70s, and noe can only repond to the loudest of noises and brightest of lights.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 15, 2006 10:17:08 AM

"Markos is not my favourite because I think him too moderate and measured in his discourse"

Hmmm...

I'm guessing you're referring to his politician-like lack of ideology. Otherwise I'm having trouble figuring out how you can think the lack of civility and the wild character assassinations in his discourse are moderate and measured.

"and far too willing to become part of the establishment"

He's our side's Ralph Reed.

"I admire the heck out of Stoller and the MyDD crowd"

Stoller is OK. Bowers is as dumb as a suitcase full of rocks, but his heart is in the right place.

I learn more by reading Mickey Kaus.

Posted by: Petey | Jun 15, 2006 11:03:01 AM

"I learn more by reading Mickey Kaus."

Jesus fucking Christ.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Jun 16, 2006 5:02:29 AM

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