Category Archives: literature

Ann Coulter: Banned from NBC?

All day, Drudge blared a headline and a link to his site that stated that the lovely and talented Ann Coulter had been permanently banned from NBC. I can’t stand the woman, but should be banned for being an wretched right-wing ass? No. If that were their standard, they’d have to keep Pat Buchanan and countless GOP congresspeople off the air as well.

The truth of the matter is more like this:

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – NBC News denied Monday that conservative author Ann Coulter has been banned from the network after “Today” dropped her from Tuesday’s program because of breaking-news events.

The Coulter incident garnered huge headlines on the Drudge Report, which reported that network sources said NBC was not going to allow the frequent guest to appear any more.

That’s not true, NBC News said Monday. Coulter’s segment was dropped from the schedule because of news that the show was expecting to cover in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli military action there and in Washington with the Obama transition. “Today” had booked former British prime minister Tony Blair. Coulter was to promote her new book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America.”

“We’ve had Ann Coulter on ‘Today’ many times, but because of the news in Washington and the Middle East, we decided to cancel her appearance tomorrow,” NBC News said in a statement Monday. “Understanding the media as well as she does, we are sure she knows this happens from time to time. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future.”

Makes sense.

She has a book to plug and since she’s something of a celebrity and a media whore, she deserves the chance to talk to people about her book.

What kind of content is in her new book?

Well, beyond the attacks on Michelle Obama, it seems that Ann feels a need to go after special-needs children:

As I mentioned in chapter 13, Michael Savage had a good point when he said that autistic kids were just “brats.” But not as bratty as terminally ill children who use their sickness to get attention.

I have never seen children enjoying their incurable diseases so much. It seems to be all the rage for little whiners of want with so-called “terrible illnesses” to try and turn their maladies into some sort of cause-celeb begathon for medicines and research to cure their condition or relieve their pain. Okay, you have an irreversible disease. So did Al Capone. It doesn’t make you some kind of martyr. And liberals are so Guilty (re: the name of this book), fall for their con and the rest of us real Americans end up paying. What happened to the liberals cowardly Vietnam War mantra of “why keep spending good money after bad?”

First of all, we call these conditions “terminal” for a reason. Spending time and good money on a cure for something terminal seems be a rather wasteful use of good research that might be better used for curing something curable. Say, like Liberalism.

That passage leads me to believe that I have been right about Coulter for a long time: she’s a performance artist channeling Andy Kaufman.

One Last Inspiration: Langston Hughes – Let America Be America Again

Wow:

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

Let’s work to become a better nation, the country we were meant to be.

Let America be America again.

Let America Be America Again

On the day that Barack Obama became the nominee of the Democratic Party, this poem by Langston Hughes seems appropriate:

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

Go read the entire text of Hughes’ poem.

Awesome

I’ve never been much of a fan of the word awesome.

I know it’s in vogue right now, but it reminds me of a line from Adulterers Anonymous, a book of poetry by Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch in which they exhorted readers to “never call the ordinary divine.”  There  seems to be way too much hyperinflating the wonderfulness the most mundane subjects for no good reason.

That’s why I was glad to see this article on Salon about George W. Bush’s use of the word and how the word’s meaning has changed:

On Memorial Day, President Bush paid tribute to the troops and their families at Arlington National Cemetery. Of the men and women buried there, President Bush declared, “They’re an awesome bunch of people, and the United States is blessed to have such citizens.”

What else is awesome? Just about everything. “Thank you, Your Holiness,” the president publicly said to Pope Benedict XVI in mid-April when he became only the second pope in history to visit the White House. “Awesome speech.”

Snip

The word was once reserved for use by a younger generation. Now it seems as if everyone is in on this awesome action. The words “trendsetter” and “George W. Bush” may never have been uttered in the same breath, but our president’s verbal influence begs to be noted. If 2001 was the time of Shock and Awe, as the president decreed, then 2008 is the Year of Shock and Awesome.

Snip

“When Bush uses the word ‘awesome,’ I don’t think he’s trying to transmit anything other than approval. It’s appropriate to say, ‘That football game was awesome.’ But it’s obviously not appropriate to call dead soldiers an ‘awesome bunch.’ Bush does not realize or appreciate how colloquial the word is.”

Bush’s use of that word has been incredibly inappropriate for a president, but even without Bush, a switch to using that word in its original sense, “inspiring awe,” would be awesome.

Alice Walker Endorses Obama

In this campaign, especially in recent days, I’ve been struck by the hurt tone that I hear from many Clinton backers. I’m not sure I really understand it, but they seem to think that people are supporting Obama over Clinton purely for reasons of gender, so they feel especially frustrated by women who support Obama and younger people who were supposed to be beyond that kind of sexism.  It seems it has never occurred to them that Obama’s support has to do with who Obama is and his abilities as a candidate.

For that reason, I was especially heartened to read Alice Walker’s endorsement of Obama in The Root:

I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better.   It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him.  Cannot see what he carries in his being.  Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans –black,  white, yellow, red and brown – choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.

When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required.  Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.

Beautifully stated.

Let America Be America Again

Obama’s speech today made me think of Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again.”

Though I think the entire poem is relevant, here’s the snippet that seems most appropriate today:

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!