Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Situational Hitting

There are times and then there are times when one can safely, dismissively use the expression "that one." A primer:

When selecting your dinner, for example...

...or while ID'ing the perp...

...but during a presidential debate, in reference to your opponent sitting three feet away...? Never then.

(Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Past, Present, and Future Irrelevance

This was a moment I am embarrassed to admit as a presidential historian:

Today, while reflecting on conservative thinkers turning against McCain, I considered a list of other conservative leaders and thinkers who may go heretic, and I wondered "What would Gerald Ford do?" and for one split second I thought, "Wait a minute, is Gerald Ford alive?" Almost immediately I remembered he wasn't, but even more immediately I wondered "Would it matter if he was?" The point being my brain could access the fact "Gerald Ford is irrelevant" faster than it could access "Gerald Ford is Dead".

Monday, September 22, 2008

There is a plan

Do not worry about the financial crisis, they have a plan....

Problem solved, am I right?

Seriously though, I am sick and tired of the rail splitting fundamentalists foisting his legendary chores as somehow more epic or monumental than the time he fought escaped slave river pirates.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Was Lincoln a gay?

The A. Lincoln blog argues that, contra the hopes and wishes of queer studies historians everywhere, Lincoln was not gay. Not that he didn't have romantic and sexual relations with men, that may very well be. What he argues is that Lincoln, and Buchanan for that matter, weren't gay because they "would not for example have placed their sexual behavior at the core of their sense of themselves, arranging their lifestyles and values around their sexuality as if it was their center of gravity".

Look, feather boas did not exist in the antebellum South, how could someone be gay without feather boas? This was an era that had yet to coin the term fashionista, lacked the technology of velour, and may or may not have had professional hairstylists. Without those mainstays of homosexuality, what would it even mean to be gay?

I suppose one could misconstrue gay to mean homosexual. The A. Lincoln blog even admits that by that stretch of a definition, Lincoln may have been gay: "So did Lincoln and Buchanan have same-sex relations other men? Possibly. ...But be that as it may, neither man was "gay."

Because if one cannot strike a pose, "act a diva", and embrace the inevitable gay lifestyle that all gays put at the "center of their gravity", than can one really be gay?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Abe Lincoln: Dwarf, Lout

Abe Lincoln was a dwarf and a clod whose mythical reputation has been exaggerated by historians. That's what President John Tyler's son Lyon Tyler argued anyway.

In pamphlets, books, and, one assumes, the walls of bathroom stalls, he viciously attacked Lincoln's record. He compared John Brown to Sacco and Vanzetti, equated the Union army with 1920's anarchist violence, and blamed Lincoln for World War I. He called him a backwoods idiot in a pamphlet titled "Are Handkerchiefs Superfluous? Lincoln Thought So." To him Lincoln was a "word juggler" and the Gettysburg Address was "a gilded fraud" and "bad sophism".

As long as you're reinventing the past, why stop with trashing Lincoln? Lyon Tyler agreed, arguing that slaves were "the most spoiled domestics in the world....The Southerners took the negro as a barbarian and cannibal, civilized him, supported him, clothed him, and turned him out a better Christian than Abraham Lincoln, who was a free thinker, if not an atheist."

He might as well have argued that Lincoln was a dwarf... and in fact he did (metaphorically at least); the title of his anti-Lincoln pamphlet was "John Tyler and Abraham Lincoln: Who was the Dwarf? A Reply to a Challenge"

H.T. to Dan Monroe "Lincoln the Dwarf: Lyon Gardiner Tyler's War on the Mythical Lincoln"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wet Blanket Wolfson

Hillary Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson dashes our collective hopes of a vicious, clawing, cat fight between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin:

"The questions are fair, but what undergirds them is an obsession in our popular culture with the "cat fight," an offensive term that describes the spectacle of two well known women fighting with one another..... Don't hold your breath. It's not going to happen."

Actually, I'm in 100% agreement with Wolfson. A cat fight is a petty sexist spectacle that demeans the participants and onlookers alike; distracting the public narrative from what should be a serious and erudite discussion of the real issues that face our nation. Let's all say it togethor: we don't want a Hillary vs Palin cat fight.

What we want is a Hillary vs Palin duel. Broadswords. At dawn. If it was good enough for Lincoln, it's good enough for them... That is unless they think they're better than Lincoln. Are they suggesting they're better than Lincon? I smell a gaffe!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

McCain Acceptance Speech Response

While we here at the Washington Pugilist are editorially bipartisan with regard to the outcome of the upcoming election- having affirmed and reaffirmed our philosophical commitment to the clinical study, analysis, and reportage of imaginary fistfights- we do feel the need to offer an official response to candidate McCain following his decidedly minced words about what it means to fight.

McCain's acceptance speech this evening acted as much as a call to service for Americans as it did to elucidate core discrepancies between himself and candidate Obama. Making sweeping declamations culled from outstanding first-hand experience about the nature, necessity and effect that war and combat can have on an individual, he convincingly played the role of the war-hewn scholar.

In the end, though, what will be seen as a tactical failing amongst an underserved constituency- that being the national network of bullies, thugs, goons, muggers, and hired guns- was summed up by these few, short sentences:
I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.
To candidate McCain, we respond thusly: uhhh,, no, no, no. No.