Saturday, May 21, 2005

Death To [Your Name Here]!

Unlike a lot of lib/left bloggers, I don't spend much time on the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, simply because I don't closely follow what they say. Once you've seen their shtick, you've seen it. The rest is repetition and show biz.

Still, like many people, I enjoy the occasional batshit outburst, for comedy's sake if nothing else; and thanks to sites like Crooks & Liars and Media Matters, I can browse the shelves for lunatic opinions, thus avoiding watching an evening of Fox fare.

While browsing the other day, I encoutered two audio clips that stopped me in mid-smirk. The first was O'Reilly (of course), and the second came from Glenn Beck, another radio yahoo yelling to the sticks. Both dealt with murder fantasies. Now, I've seen plenty of lib hawks and battle boys screeching for blood in the sand, but usually these are general cries, a series of basement shouts. O'Reilly and Beck, on the other hand, drew very explicit pictures. These weren't random noises. Each clearly thought things through.

O'Reilly was angered by the LA Times' editorial suggestion that detainees at Gitmo and elsewhere be afforded legal representation. "Does that make any sense to you?" he screamed. "Do you think Osama [bin Laden] is gonna be more favorably disposed to the U.S. if we give the Guantànamo people lawyers?" Par for the course. If people are languishing in Gitmo, then they must be guilty of something, so fuck them, let 'em rot. Typical O'Reilly fascism. Fine. But he couldn't stop there. Turning to LA Times editor Michael Kinsley, O'Reilly hit the pedal:

"I mean, but this is what they're saying. It is just -- you just sit there, you go, 'They'll never get it until they grab Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut his head off.' And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, 'Perhaps O'Reilly was right.'"

Now, apart from O'Reilly's maniacal egotism (I'm sure that in Kinsley's final moments, he'd focus solely on Crazy Bill's superior wisdom), consider the logic: Letting prisoners see lawyers emboldens terrorists. That's essentially what O'Reilly is suggesting. Make sense? Well, no, but that's beside the point. In order to fight the war O'Reilly thinks is being fought, we need to trash what supposedly makes us more civilized, i.e. the rule of law. Because if we live according to our professed democratic standards, standards we're ostensibly defending, that's it, the beheaders rule.

At least O'Reilly is upfront about this. Some war whores like to pretend that they don't share his position. And part of this mentality is the desire to kill domestic critics of the war, even if said critics believe there's a real "War on Terror" but differ when it comes to tactics. The image of Kinsley being beheaded, heightened with the "blade sinks in" rhetoric, doesn't sadden O'Reilly, it vindicates him. As an American liberal gags while his windpipe and arteries are severed, blood spraying everywhere, there's O'Reilly smiling, telling the dying fool "I told you so!"

Glenn Beck isn't as graphic as O'Reilly, but he comes close. And he too has clearly considered the merits of killing an American he disagrees with, in Beck's case, a reliable target:

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now."

So Beck wouldn't kill in Jesus's name. That's comforting. And I bet that if confronted with this, Beck would do the Limbaugh Dodge -- it's a joke! You liberals have no sense of humor! Then again, maybe not. It's become so easy for the swivelchair crowd to criminalize those who don't share or honor their imperial lust that openly fantasizing about killing political opponents comes naturally to them.

And I won't bother to imagine what the reaction would be if Al Franken or Janeane Garofalo talked about slitting O'Reilly's throat or beating Beck to death with a shovel ("I just keep hitting him, y'know, till his skull becomes a crimson mush. Is that sick of me?"), though doing so might make for an interesting sociological experiment.

This degrading, barbarous war degrades us at home and brutalizes political differences. O'Reilly and Beck aren't alone, nor unique. I wonder what the excuse will be should one of their fantasy murders actually occur. If they spin hard enough, they can blame the left for making them so angry that they had no choice but to kill. Call it "Preventive Homicide."