Monday, April 24, 2006

Crazy Talk

It's nice to see that Time's Joe Klein has lost none of the pomposity he proudly displayed back in the day, when our public buffoons were a little less gaudy in their idiocy (the pre-Fox News period). Klein's smugness and occasionally wild remarks (recall that he predicted that blacks would riot after seeing Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing") earned him a seat at elite media roundtables. And the revelation that he was the Anonymous who typed "Primary Colors," his novelistic account of the first Clinton campaign, sealed his political insider status for keeps. The beauty of this arrangement is that you can say pretty much anything you like, so long as media gatekeepers consider it "reasonable" or "insightful."

So what's passing for insightful reason this month? How about nuking Iran? Or, better still, saying that you think nuking Iran is a viable option, or maybe not, given that you are crazy and incapable of rational assessment? As Klein himself put it recently, responding to a caller on Jim Bohannon's radio show:

"And I do believe that [nuking Iran] should be an option. But let me tell you what I actually believe about this. First of all, it should be an option and I think it doesn’t do us any harm for the Iranians, if they are going to go around saying crazy things, to think that we might act crazily as well."

Think that'll get Klein barred from future talk shows and media panels? Are you crazy?!

Klein describes himself as a "raging moderate," whatever the hell that means. But assuming that, as a moderate, raging or not, Klein cares about the Earth's environment (which has become, at least rhetorically, a moderate concern), then advocating a nuclear assault on Iran, even as an "option," is simply irresponsible if we are to build a better, greener world. Nukes are environmentally unsound, for obvious, radioactive reasons. So if you're gonna suggest slaughtering tens/hundreds of thousands of people, then why not consider the old German model of mass extermination? Yes, there's that sticky Nazi legacy thing which still upsets a lot of people. But remember, 9/11 changed everything, and we simply must push past old emotions in order to confront new dangerous realities. If there is some way to march Iranian citizens into human abattoirs operating 24/7, then we achieve the mass murder we desire while sparing the planet further contamination. And as an added bonus, the remains of those dead Iranians can be reduced to powder, bagged, and sold as organic compost. So not only do we eliminate the Iranian threat, we strengthen the environment as well.

But that scenario might be a bit too rational for Joe Klein. As a highly-paid pundit, it's his job to say the things crazy people would love to say, if only they were given access to the corporate media. But you have to know how to talk crazily, how to keep your crazy ideas within the mainstream fold. Otherwise, anybody could go on TV and radio and say anything they wanted. And for a free society, that would be positively unhinged.