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Jul. 18 2010 - 4:49 pm | 308 views | 0 recommendations | 15 comments

The Weekly Standard, Ethan Epstein, and Jesus

The Weekly Standard has long served as a showcase for our republic’s more interesting commentators, not the least of which is the magazine’s own founder and editor William Kristol, who is superbly interesting insomuch as that his notorious track record of failure has left him rewarded with columns in both Time and The New York Times, which is itself a very interesting thing insomuch as that it provides us with evidence that our nation is in the habit of blinding itself at the very time when clarity is most needed, and of course there is nothing more interesting than the prospect of a republic destroying itself from within.

Ethan Epstein does not, to my knowledge, have any such track record of predictive failure, and so has a long way to go before he himself is given a column in some major national publication – which he likely will, given time, time having lately become the foremost enemy of our republic. Still, he has already demonstrated other talents common to the nation’s most celebrated and prominent pundits, such as an inability to remember whether sentiments he has expressed just a few weeks ago might demonstrate his latest expressed sentiments to be put forth in service to something other than what he would like us to believe.

Yesterday, or today, depending on what day today is, Mr. Epstein wrote a piece on the matter of Mel Gibson and certain failures of etiquette that this purveyor of Papism may have displayed in the midst of helpfully warning an estranged lover that she is running the risk of being “raped by a pack of niggers” by virtue of being an attractive white woman with a penchant for skimpy outfits. Now, this is certainly a touching and legitimate concern; I myself have spent an oddly large amount of time living among blacks, both in this country and Africa, and on such occasions as I would attempt to set up a date with a white girl, she would always arrive an hour late, her dress torn and her forehead inscribed with a bloody “B” in commemoration of our black president. Eventually I just gave up and started exclusively dating black women, who are more punctual and have been so for some hundred and fifty years, no longer being subject to the gentlemanly advances of white slave owners, who conducted their rapes in a more civilized and singular fashion. Seriously, though, I date Asians and Jews and Mexicans, too. I am a notorious race traitor in my sexual inclinations, like the late Strom Thurmond.

But enough about me and my sexual inclinations. I was making a point about the virtues of Mexican girls, or rather that’s what I wish I had been doing rather than analyzing the output of some Weekly Standard contributor to which I am only slightly attracted sexually. In his defense of Mel Gibson – which, as we shall see, is really a defense of something larger and more significant – our handsome correspondent asserts:

Nobody deserves to have their private anguish broadcast publicly – least of all, private citizens.

Although only vaguely peripheral to the point I intend to make as soon as I remember what it was, I will note that this single assertion constitutes two bits of nonsense, almost as nonsensical as the nonsense I have just finished writing myself. Perhaps people do indeed deserve to have their private anguish broadcast publicly. I, for instance, am a jackass, and this anguishes me quite a bit, or at least it would if I were not so fond of being a jackass, which has long been a hobby of mine. Do I not deserve to be mocked for this, and publicly at that? Frankly, I don’t know, and neither does Epstein, who has simply thrown out some broad assertion regarding the subject of justice without bothering to back it up, like some sort of anti-Socrates. Meanwhile, he provides it as a given that Mel Gibson is a private citizen. Certainly he is not a member of Congress or anything of that nature, and in fairness to Epstein, the term “private citizen” is indeed often used to denote someone who holds no public office. In fairness to fairness, though, Epstein is only concerned about the broadcasted anguish of private citizens when the private citizen in question happens to be someone of whose socio-political stance he approves, which is why he himself recently commemorated the extraordinarily important “one-year anniversary of the The Daily Dish’s Andrew Sullivan’s arrest in Massachusetts on a marijuana charge.” Sullivan, though a prominent fellow, holds no public office and is less well-known than Gibson, having never been in any awesome movies or proclaimed to his own arresting officer that Jews are responsible for all of the world’s wars. Why, then, must his private anguish at having been arrested for possession of marijuana in fucking Massachusetts, of all places, be not only “broadcast,” but turned into some sort of nascent holiday by Epstein (who, incidentally, is one of those fellows who portrays himself as a defender of liberty while at the same time making bizarre and poorly-written arguments in favor of our nation’s fascist “War on Drugs,” which has made criminals of tens of millions of those private citizens whose “anguish” must never be broadcasted but whose liberty must apparently be constrained). The answer, of course, is that Epstein has used up all of his compassion on Mel Gibson, who coincidentally is more in line with Epstein’s own disorganized views.

The Gibson tapes present the image of a man in profound emotional anguish. Disregard the profanity and the few (and indefensible) racial slurs, and you find a man who is genuinely suffering.

Very well; let us disregard Gibson’s contention that his girlfriend will inevitably be “be raped by a pack of niggers” and instead concern ourselves with the suffering of Mel Gibson, who is haunted by visions of savage negroes raping his ex-girlfriend. A moment of silence, please. And now, let us see if Epstein is generally in the habit of excusing racism on the part of those with whom he is not allied politically; to find such telling hypocrisy, we are required to thoroughly examine all of Epstein’s past work, unless of course we simply go back to a post he wrote just last month on the subject of soccer and find it there:

I was in South Korea during the last World Cup, a country famous for its jingoistic outbursts, and was genuinely taken aback by the proud racism and xenophobia expressed during the tournament.

Now, if Epstein is a consistent thinker rather than a mediocre shill for his allies, we may expect this line to be followed by some explanation for such racism; we would perhaps fine something to the effect that many South Koreans know their extended family members to be living under the world’s most terrible and murderous regime, or that the country was brutally occupied by the Japanese in the memory of many still living and torn asunder by war almost immediately thereafter, or that its own march towards liberty has been slow and difficult. Let us see what he writes next, then:

But there is also something inherent to the game of soccer that leads to such astounding levels of violence. There is a reason that the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic, and the Rugby World Cup do not lead to the kind of violence that is typical of soccer competitions.

It has to do with how utterly boring soccer is.

Oh, well.

There is a great more to mock in Epstein’s incompetent attempt to portray Gibson as being “crucified” by the director’s dastardly opponents, but I’ve got to go see Inception, which I hear is very good.


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  1. collapse expand

    Thanks for taking the time Barrett. I was going to respond … but the opposite of love is indifference. Since Epstein already said my, I think, deeply incisive commentary on the subject was a “incredibly wrong-headed reading of the situation” and Justin had summarized the situation accurately, I decided indifference was the way to go. Hope you enjoyed Inception.

  2. collapse expand

    Keith Olbermann would have accomplished this with far fewer words and infinitely more style. Keep working at it.

    And… think of the time you’d save if you had intellectual-dishonesty software at your disposal. You could have IH techs on hand to run IH checks on the cyber-oeuvre of a given enemy, with results available within the minute. Then you’d have an IH rating to go with your dreaded charge of intellectual dishonesty. Epstein, for instance, might have an IH rating of 5 (just making up a number).

    Anyway, we get it–you’re more together intellectually, and in other regards, than Epstein. Congrats.

  3. collapse expand

    Mr. Brown,

    I fear that you have misunderstood Mr. Epstein’s posts on this, and indeed any imaginable subject. He does not actually believe any of the things he posts, he is just jerking the chains of his readers. He likes to create blogs that are absolutely preposterous and highly provocative (in the bad sense of that word) and then giggles are people respond with earnest words. Part of his gag is that he rarely actually comes out says what anything clearly but is full of implications and innuendos. Last year when the sign at the gates of Auschwitz was stolen, Mr. Epstein wrote a blog titled “Should Auschwitz Be Preserved?”. This blog was total non-sense on a variety of levels. First, since Auschwitz is already preserved, the title suggests that Mr. Epstein is in favor of “un-preserving” the camps there, whatever that might mean. Of course he does not come out and any this exactly. He goes on to state:”But Auschwitz is not a symbol of suffering, like Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial. It is the actual site of it.” and therefor should not be memorialized because the actual site of suffering cannot also be a symbol of suffering (?!?). People commented, myself included, with serious answers but since he is not serious about this, or any other topic, he of course do not reply. This is a writer who puts on some sort weird conservative pretense but lives in the most liberal of cities, Santa Cruz California. He has some Andy Kauffman gag going on here.

    Not that I do not respect his obvious talent in coming up with ridiculous blogs that incite and annoy people to the degree that he does, it takes a certain rare ability. I am waiting for him to post how motherhood and apple are destroying American and how we should return the Statue of Liberty to the French. Nonetheless, I am surprised that more people have not figured him out yet.

  4. collapse expand

    Barrett! “Insomuch” twice in one sentence? I’m still smarting from being upbraided for using “curmudgeonly” twice in one short story.

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    I'm the author of Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny; my second book, Hot, Fat & Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class (Being a Partial Record of the Incompetence of Our Republic's Mainstream Pundits, Most of Whom Deserve to be Exiled or at Least Have Their Cars Vandalized), will be released in 2010. I'm a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Skeptic, and The Onion, and my work has appeared in dozens of other publications and outlets. I also serve as director of communications for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee dedicated to the advancement of the Establishment Clause.

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