Monday, June 27, 2005

Why Scrapple Face isn't worth reading

Of course, a line like that asks for explanation.

ScrappleFace had potential. It has a following. That's why I'm not linking to it. Why bother? Type scrapple into google and hit I'm Feeling Lucky. Unless something has changed, you're already there.

Scrapple (for short, I'll call it) still has some edge. I liked one article they did, not two months ago.

But willingness to say horrible things is not enough; humor takes more than that. The Onion has tried to learn this, but years and years and years of repetition have made it hard for the Onion to do best what it used to do: being absolutely, horrifyingly, gut-wrenchingly funny.

Scrapple's problem is simple: bias is funny to a point, and then it stops being funny.

Scrapple was hard-hitting and honest when it took a moment out to mourn Terri Schiavo. Misplaced, I think, because real live people with fully functioning cortexes are being killed all the time, sometimes even by our government, sometimes even unjustly. Terri has been dead for a long, long time. Her body finally shut down, when her long-suffering husband got final permission from the micromanaging state of Florida and his dead wife's meddling (but perhaps well-intentioned and loving) family ... sort of... in that they declined, after years of litigation and multiple repeated denials from the courts, to take the law into their own hands and kidnap the corpse of Terri Schiavo....

But Scrapple's not funny when it's just wailing on liberals, for no reason. Why? Because they contradict themselves.

Check this out.

LEAK: Durbin apology draft differs from final version. Link's here. Now, certain conservatives bemoaned Sen. Durbin's scathing critique of American torture, which likened the practices that FBI observers wrote about to Nazi concentration camps and Stalin's gulags. Sort of. I mean, he actually quoted the observers' reports, and then said, essentially, "Wouldn't you believe it, if I told you that this had come out of those other repositories of horror, those sources of inhumanity and murder and torture?" This was bad stuff, folks. Not frat pranks, not light stuff. This is when people go into cells and never come out again, when they die because of stress positions that constrict their bodies and allow blood clots to travel to their hearts, when they are permanently damaged forever if the interrogator doesn't like them. This is very, very bad stuff, in case you aren't aware of what's been reported.

Now, Dick Durbin talked about all this stuff out loud, and said it was bad. Conservatives, and again I stress only some of them, interpreted this talking and criticism as bad. It put our troops at risk, they said. Why, read Scrapple:

Durbin: "I'm also sorry if anything I said in any way cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military."First Draft: "I might as well be on staff at Al Jazeera. What a windfall I produced for the recruiting department at Al Qaeda. At least an improvised explosive device can only harm in one place at a time. My words endangered our troops everywhere, all at once. My apology may mend political fences, but it can't heal lacerations and burns."

Now, a less cynical person might point out that it wasn't Dicky boy's words that endangered the troops, it was the torturer's. But, let's take Scrapple at their words. Durbin endangered the troops, by talking about the torture our folks committed.

Just a little further back in the archives, we find this:

Clinton: Gitmo Horror Could Spark Muslim Brutality
by Scott Ott
(2005-06-20) -- Former President Bill Clinton today said that if the scandal-plagued terrorist detention facility at Guantánamo Bay isn't "cleaned up or closed down" then insurgents in Iraq may resort to killing Iraqis, and could even begin attacking U.S. troops.

Now, call me a fish if I'm wrong, but isn't this Scott Ott, famed proprieter and writer for Scrapple, mocking Bill Clinton for his comments about the repercussions from the torture at Guantanamo? This little piece, available at this link, takes the former President to task for arguing that our troops might be endangered by our little torture operation.

"If the United States gets a reputation in the Muslim world of mistreating terrorist prisoners," said Mr. Clinton, "It could unleash what sociologists call 'the righteous brutality of the oppressed' among the normally-peaceful followers of Islam."

Now, call me hypocritical, but I think Scrapple's wrong. I think that our legal and political and military leaders have made a dreadful error in condoning and permitting and encouraging and directing torture. I think they have cost us, not in credibility or prestige, but in American lives. Who would you be more willing to kidnap and murder: the Swiss, or the Nazis? Well, look at us: we're not the Swiss anymore. We are not all of us Nazis, but we no longer are the country that doesn't torture. Heck, we can't even be the country that admits to torture. We're the country that gets caught doing torture, tries to hush it up, lies about it, smears the people who talk about it, and then waxes nationalist about the whole problem. God save us.

But, contrariwise, I also think Scrapple is wrong. We should be talking about torture, and we should be condemning it, because publicizing the details cannot be as bad as not publicizing the details to condemn them.

Slacktivist, as usual, has some excellent points on this whole theme (Image is Everything, Jun. 22, 2005, and the inspiration for my post as well).


Post a Comment

<< Home