I hate to focus on the negative. I really do. But, there's something totally unnerving about the tendency of public officials to turn the recent tragic and unforeseen events at Virginia Tech into a point towards their own arguments. So far, these are the worst responses I've found to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, listed by order of sheer lousiness.
Barack Obama’s comparison of the violence at Virginia Tech to the ‘verbal violence’ of Don Imus wasn’t sinister; just stupid. It made him seem unserious at a time when seriousness was sorely required. What’s next? The ‘dental violence’ of tooth decay? It was especially troubling since Obama has long battled the impression that he’s inconsequential in his thinking. Will it hurt him? It should make us pause. But, just wait- Hillary will say something stupider any day now.
Camille Paglia: Hook up culture? Britney Spears? Paglia's description of suburban high schools is dead on here, but then she goes off on an even stranger tangent than any of the tangents in the shooter's rambling video. Paglia is great fun at times, but she's not the best person to interview on this subject.
Dinesh D'Souza: Definitely not as offensive as some commentators, but D'Souza used the opportunity (and what else can we call it but an opportunity for these people?) to bash atheists, who weren't invited to speak publicly about the tragedy. According to D'Souza, atheism isn't prepared to deal with tragedies and meaningless deaths. On the other hand, atheism isn't exactly disproved by tragedies and meaningless deaths in the way that theism is. Does anyone remember when Dinesh D'Souza wrote things that were worth reading?
Rich Lowry: Basically a variation on that tiresome screed about how 'liberals, when confronted by pure evil, don't stand up to it, but instead capitulate to it'. You'd think having our ass handed to us in Iraq for five years might put the kibosh on some of the theatrics, no? Nope. Hell, why even wait for the dead to be buried before rushing in to blame them for having read something other than the National Review while they were alive? In this case, the academics who had a mentally unbalanced student in their class didn't have him committed, like a macho conservative would, because, according to Lowry, they read too much Foucault and are fascinated with the insane instead of ''honoring wholesome normality''. Yes, another idiot who hasn't been on a university campus in years is telling us that it was the fault of 'postmodernism', not bullets. They pretty much just phone these things in, don't they? (Thanks to Hiromi for that one.)
Fred Phelps: You pretty much expected this one, huh? Old Phelpsy's going to protest the funerals with a bunch of signs about 'fags'. Sort of lost the shock-value at this point since most of us saw it coming. Don't know if it's the right time to start up the Fred Phelps drinking game either.
Various Macho Men: John Derbyshire has never been in harm's way in his life. He writes ''I hope, however, that if I thought I was going to die anyway, I'd at least take a run at the guy.'' Mark Steyn, a Canadian who dropped out of High School to become a disk jockey, and who has also never been in any danger in his life, doesn't let an utter lack of information about what happened in the classrooms stop him from musing that the dead male students didn't recognize the obligation to act. Meanwhile, the keyboard commandos at the Free Republic lose their ever-loving minds about the ''wussification of America'' as demonstrated by the young men who wimpily got shot dead. Glad to know that these men have the guts to live their own way and the savvy to make it work; they have shown great courage in regards to completely hypothetical scenarios. Seriously, at what point can we add ''American conservatism'' to the DSM-IV-TR?
The American Family Radio Productions posited a fake letter to God. Hey God, why did you let all of those kids die in school shootings? God: "Dear concerned student. I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God." So, apparently God is a passive-aggressive little bitch. Well, that or omniscience is no match for a hall monitor. It's a bit strange to think of myself as being stronger than God. But, there you go. Lest ye think that the American Family Radio Productions has some sort of empathy for actual American families, the screed goes on to let us know that we have greatly angered God through everything that usually pisses these people off- abortion, lack of school prayer, video games, music videos, homosexuals... basically, God killed these kids for listening to the Pussycat Dolls. Never mind the fact that the shooter was seemingly a lot more into that vengeful God shit than rap music.
So far the responses seem to be breaking down by party affiliation, with the Democrats saying things that are retarded and Republicans saying things that are psychotic. But, it's still too soon to tell. That might change. A radical might step forward to say that ''this is what happens when we forget the lessons of Mother Earth'' and take the grand prize. It might well say something, though, that the conservatives are so far well in the lead as far as bat-shit craziness goes. Incidentally, please feel free to send me these things and I will add them. I'm sure there's somebody missing.
One last thing- I know this post is a bit snarky, but the undertone is anguished. There's something very troubling to me about our utter need to talk at all times, and our utter inability to focus on the matter at hand without going off on these bizarre predetermined tangents. A young man, who was deeply disturbed, shot and killed 32 people and then took his own life. What else do we really need to say after that?