Very sorry for the Sparkman family – not so much for my post on Sparkman’s death
Yesterday, investigators in Kentucky indicated that the death of Bill Sparkman was the result of a suicide designed to look like a murder. If correct, Sparkman did this knowing that the insurance policies he took out would not have paid off on a suicide.
I’ve watched in the hours since this news broke as right-wing websites and writers have attacked, with great pleasure, those of us who had something to say about Bill Sparkman’s death at the time when it appeared that his death was the result of murder.
In an effort to ‘rig’ the playing field so that nobody who wrote a piece deemed undesirable could possibly come out looking sincere, the right-wing media has demanded not only apologies from publications such as Think Progress and Huffington Post, along with writers such as Andrew Sullivan and myself , but have been quick to point out that any ‘qualified’ apology wherein a writer may acknowledge having been wrong about some aspects while standing by remaining points expressed, simply would not count .
Apparently, nothing short of a confession of total, abject failure in these pieces will satisfy them.
I’ve watched as Sullivan and others have responded by apologizing where they believed it to be appropriate while defending the points of their arguments that remain, in their opinions, completely valid. Not surprisingly, because these writers didn’t writhe in pain to the satisfaction of their accusers, none of the right-wing writers have been satisfied with their responses.
Now, it’s my turn.
Despite my admittedly incendiary title, “Send the Body to Glenn Beck,” I can find absolutely nothing in my piece that requires an apology.
Sorry, right-wing writers – in point of fact, I went out of my way to caution against a rush to judgment on the cause or Mr. Sparkman’s death. Here is exactly what I wrote:
While it would be inappropriate to pre-judge the motive behind the murder before the FBI finishes its work, it stretches the imagination to interpret the inscription on the dead man’s chest so as to suggest that the killer(s) fed Mr. Sparkman a good meal before ending his life.
Is there anything untrue in that statement? It does, indeed, stretch the imagination to conceive of Mr. Sparkman doing this to his body and then killing himself – even if it has turned out to be the case.
I’ve re-read my piece a dozen times this morning in the desire to do the right thing. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. Believe me, I get lots of practice.
But I cannot find anything that I wouldn’t write again – with the exception of the title. And any regret I feel towards the title is based on it not making any sense in light of what we now know.
If the title offended Mr. Beck, then he shall remain offended.
To say that I feel any remorse or have so much as an iota of concern for the feelings of the man who went on national television and called the President of the United States a racist would simply be a lie. The truth is that I don’t give a rat’s posterior about Glenn Beck’s feelings and I’m quite sure he would feel the same about mine. If he was offended by my title – and he is the only one who would have standing to be so offended- so be it. If that’s ungentlemanly or in bad form, even the most fervent conservative would have to see the irony of concerning myself with gentlemanly behavior when addressing the subject of Mr. Beck.
To those so gleefully criticizing because they found what they think is an opportunity to jump down the throats of writers and publications of whom they do not approve , I propose that they might actually want to read what I wrote, in its entirety. I know this requires intellectually honest intent – quite a push for people who have spent better than a year twisting reality into the most negative interpretation humanly possible – but why not give it a shot? You may not like or agree with what I wrote, but there is nothing in the piece that I wouldn’t write this very day – leaving out the name Sparkman and replacing it with the endless stream of hate-crime victims that have been harmed or worse by the very things and people discussed in that article.
So, trash away gang, but no apology will be forthcoming from this page.