Tags: Reservations | About | Clinton

Reservations About Clinton

Wednesday, 27 September 2006 12:00 AM

Enough of the ranting and raving; it's time for a few delectations.

Every once in a while it's a worthwhile thing to take a few steps back from the madding crowd, take a deep breath and try to find a few hints that might help define the times in which we live.

Often when I do this, in the quiet of the night, it depresses, astonishes and angers me; for truly we live in what the Chinese curse calls "interesting times." So interesting that the first thing that comes to mind is the old adage that "those who the Gods would destroy they first drive mad."

I don't think they've quite succeeded yet; all the signs indicate that we're still at the unhinged level, but steadily working our way toward the loony bin (oops, I mean "mental health facility").

One indication that we are slowly approaching that eventuality is the fact that people don't think much anymore.

We are more attuned to reacting from the depths of our ignorance, emotions and prejudices rather than from the center of our intellect. As a result, the intellect withers and rational thought becomes nigh unto impossible.

We babble in lieu of sane discourse.

I call one end result of this the "shoot from the lip" response. A recent example of this phenomenon was a comment made by a local TV newscaster concerning a planned exhibit of cadavers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Reporting on this gruesome event, the lady assured her viewers that the cadavers were not just plain old reproductions of corpses, but "real live cadavers."

Not to be outdone, the TV station's traffic reporter told us that there were no "issues" involved in the rush-hour traffic. Unless she meant that there was nothing to argue about out there on I-95, which I doubt, what she was endeavoring to say was that there were no "problems" on the roads at that moment.

I don't know exactly when it was that problems — that is, difficulties — became points of argument, which is what issues are. This symptom of the degradation of our language is now widespread across the length and breadth of the land, and I can only surmise that it is the result of the out-of-control plague of political correctness that would classify the word "problem" as somehow offensive to those who prefer to avoid even the least hint of unpleasantness.

Another linguistic fad that has swept across the land like a barbarian horde (please be assured I mean no offense to the members of any barbarian horde who happen to be out there) is the sudden emergence of the word "robust." Everybody's using it — of late even President Bush has shown a robust fondness for the term.

We can't seem to find a handy substitute for the word — we could just as easily describe something as powerful, strong, muscular — and I surmise that we don't because using any of those words, especially "muscular," would be offensive to feminists, who think the word is a sexist expression because it denotes maleness, and God (or "Goddess," if you must) knows we can't have that.

If all this sounds like the quibbling of a crusty superannuated observer of the passing parade — after all, what earthly effect can the mere misuse of short, simple words have on the national psyche — be assured it is more than that. (W. Churchill: "Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.")

Words are meant to communicate facts, thoughts, suggestions or solutions, and when we start misusing or distorting their meanings we cease to communicate effectively. If I tell you that I am having issues in connection with something, am I saying I'm having difficulties, or simply mulling over the points I want to argue?

Small thing, but great things are composed of a lot of small things and if a nail is missing, the horse may go shoeless and the battle will be lost. Or something.

America is being submerged in a sea of delicacy. We must exert every effort to avoid offending anybody, at any time; and nowadays, there are a lot of groups, or people pretending to speak for them, who seem to take offense at the drop of a hat.

Much has been made of the use of words long associated with American Indians (oops, I mean "indigenous peoples" or "native Americans"). Having a robust warrior culture, something to which the few survivors of the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn could have testified, they are nowadays portrayed as having the tender sensitivities of an 18th century English matron who swooned at the mere mention of anything remotely controversial or impolite.

Athletic teams which have for ages used symbols such as tomahawks or war bonnets are under assault for having somehow offended native Americans. I am, by the way, a native American.

I was born here, as was my father and his father and his father before that — do you have to be descended from some ancestor who arrived on our shores from some Godforsaken tundra in Asia a few thousand years ago to be considered a native American?

It is common wisdom among the chattering class that anything,

In one of the older episodes of "Seinfeld," Jerry Seinfeld is dating a woman of Indian ancestry who is offended by any mention of her background — to the point where he is afraid to say that he had made "reservations" at a restaurant. Fiction, yes, but damned close to the truth.

The fact is that the political correctness Gestapo has to search far and wide to find people with American Indian backgrounds who are offended because a Florida university calls its football team the Seminoles and uses a chopping motion denoting a tomahawk as part of its crowd cheer.

Yet you'd have to search far and wide to find a member of any of the Florida tribes (oops, there I go again) who cares a rap about the university's use of their symbols. They are all too busy running casinos and relieving palefaces of their wampum at the gaming tables to care about such trivia.

Finally, as evidence of the tendency for modern Americans to react robustly to what they consider offensive, I give you the example of one William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, who became unhinged on Fox TV as the result of a perfectly legitimate question concerning his failure over eight years to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Clinton went bonkers. He was offended.

That's a no-no.

He wagged his finger in his famous "I did not have sex with that woman" mode. Chris Wallace should have considered Mr. Clinton's robust sensitivity and avoided raising an issue best left untouched. It caused problems — real live ones.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.


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Enough of the ranting and raving; it's time for a few delectations. Every once in a while it's a worthwhile thing to take a few steps back from the madding crowd, take a deep breath and try to find a few hints that might help define the times in which we live. Often when...
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 12:00 AM
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