Friday, January 30, 2004


The conversation, if that’s the right word for it, continues on the plywood around Porter Square’s defunct Long Funeral Service.

Blue spray paint has joined the brown in efforts to cover the “Stop rape” vs. “Stop & Rape” graffiti, and only “top e” remains of those conflicting messages. Perhaps the redactor ran out of blue paint after the “S.”

Maybe not. On the plywood to the right, in the same blue, someone is telling passers-by that “Sexism leaves me hungry / but I won’t swallow my self-worth.” As aphorisms go, this is terrible. The metaphor doesn’t work; it suggests someone hungering for equality could achieve it by swallowing self-worth.

Awful. But at least it doesn’t rhyme.

This is the kind of stuff for which conservatives chide liberals, although conservatives fail to recognize that their own movement makes even less sense on an ideological basis than on a linguistic one. (Letting developers and other businesses destroy our national resources is “conservative” somehow, but our federal policy belittles conservation of energy, and it’s conservative to keep gay people from marrying, even though conservatives insist they want to keep government from interfering in people’s private lives. Mystifying.)

It’s sad and funny, then, to read the opening monologue of the first episode of a CNBC television show starring Dennis Miller -- once a liberal, now a conservative, once sharp-minded, now sycophantic and puzzling. Here’s how The New York Times transcribes part of his talk:

“In an increasingly polarized world, I believe you want someone to get incensed for you. As fringe groups on both sides tack further and further away from the mainstream, right versus left begins to look trivial. It’s a far more dangerous world than ever before, and the focus is fast becoming right versus wrong. Simply put, we will do the news as catharsis.”

Hunh? How does anything Miller said here apply to his culminating sentence? And if he believes what he says, why all the focus on him being a conservative?

There is definitely a wall between liberals and conservatives, and perhaps the world is becoming increasingly polarized. I see no help here.

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