Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sheila Mullowney Punishes Her Readers, Part 3

For those just tuning in, this is the final part of a 3-part series (the first two parts are here and here) fisking Cap'n Mike Caldwell's plaintive wingnut lament "Are we losing our nation's soul?", as seen in the July 29, 2008 edition of the Newport Daily News. (John McDaid calls it deconstruction, but I prefer the traditional internet term, since I am aware of all internet traditions.) Cap'n Mike has chosen to put his career as a corporate jet pilot on hold and go into business as America's newest and wingnuttiest soul doctor. His diagnosis? America is losing its soul, and it's ALL THE LIBERALS' FAULT! Yeah, it's all the fault of those America-bashing, soul-destroying liberals! And to prove his point, Cap'n Mike has dredged up, from deep within his encyclopedic (or, at any rate, conservapedic) knowledge base, six examples of soul-destroying, America-bashing liberalness. And not just any soul-destroying liberalism, either; Cap'n Mike has chosen to focus on cultural soul-destruction this time. Next month, in the second half of his loopy tirade, he'll regale us with examples of political soul-destructiveness.

We join Cap'n Mike now as he brings us cultural-soul-destroying America-basher #5. Come in, Cap'n Mike!

Increasingly, we bear witness

Or witness bears, as the case may be.

to a generation who may be proficient with their iPods, laptops and Blackberries, know which young celebrity has the latest "baby bump," but couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted them the "c" and the "a," form a cogent sentence or identify in what war the Battle of Gettysburg occurred.

It'd sure help to make Cap'n Mike's case if he could quote some, y'know, facts to support his assertions, but that is not the wingnut way. As Saint Ronald of Santa Barbara reminds us, facts are stupid things. As a matter of, erm, fact, the College Board's last report on national SAT scores, released last August, showed that "the long-term trend for critical reading scores has been essentially flat", while the "long-term trend in mathematics scores is up, rising from 501, 20 years ago to 511, 10 years ago to 515 this year."

I can understand, though, how Cap'n Mike might get the idea that "the kids" can't form a cogent sentence, since he doubtless spends a lot of time listening to our current president and visiting conservative blogs like RedState and Free Republic. Cap'n Mike might have a better opinion of the intellectual capabilities of the Modern Generation if he spent some time visiting places like Hullabaloo and the Daily Kos. Incidentally, it might be interesting to ask Cap'n Mike himself what war the Battle of Gettysburg occurred in, since so many of his fellow right-wingers insist that it took place in something called the War Between the States, which would of course be the wrong answer, since it occurred in the American Civil War.

Anyway, Cap'n Mike's going to tell us what those soul-destroying liberals want to do about his imaginary stupidifying youngsters. The floor is yours, Cap'n Mike.

The liberal government solution: throw money at public schools and the National Education Association.

And the conservative solution? Abolish the public school system, let wealthy parents send their children to private schools, and allow everyone else to remain uneducated. Because conservatives know that the less education someone has, the more likely he is to vote Republican. (And needless to say, it wouldn't be a proper wingnut rant without at least one swipe at organized labor.)

Oh, and make sure the youngsters know how to put condoms on bananas.

Oh, Cap'n Mike, you slay me! You positively SLAY me!

What Cap'n Mike is referring to here is a story from way back in 2003 about a Florida high school teacher who was fired for showing his 9th-grade students how to use condoms. With a banana. This story has become a legend in wingnut circles, and is always trotted out whenever someone like Cap'n Mike wants to show us all How Awful Public Education Is.

And finally,


Cap'n Mike presents cultural-soul-destroying America-basher #6. May I have a drumroll please?

[sfx drumroll]

And our final contestant is . . . future First Lady Michelle Obama!

[sfx cymbal crash]

And here to explain Mrs. Obama's cultural-soul-destruction-related program activities is our own Cap'n Mike Caldwell! Let her have it, Cap'n Mike!

the wife of senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama stated that our nation's history and traditions must be "rewritten" and that America is a "mean country."

What's this? No whitey tape? No terrorist fist-jab? All right, you imposter, who are you, and what have you done with Cap'n Mike?

Aherm, yes. Anyway, regarding Cap'n Mike's actual outrage-items, they come from two different venues. First, during a visit to Puerto Rico on May 14, Mrs. Obama gave a speech in which she said,

"What motivates him today, and what will motivate him for the rest of his presidency, if he is blessed enough to receive that honor, will be the future, the world that we can build for the next generation. Our children, these beautiful little faces, they come here open and ready and unburdened by all of our hurts and pains from the past; they come fresh to this world, and we owe them the best that we can provide them as a country. And Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices, we are going to have to change our conversation, we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history, we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation to provide the kind of future that we all want desperately for our children. And he is the man to do it."

So, no, Michelle Obama didn't say that American history and traditions would have to be rewritten. The word "rewritten" is in fact an invention of Cap'n Mike's fevered wingnut paranoia.

Second, The New Yorker ran a piece by Lauren Collins in its March 10 issue which includes the following paragraphs:

The four times I heard her give the speech—in a ballroom at the University of South Carolina, from the pulpit of Pee Dee Union, at an art gallery in Charleston, and in the auditorium of St. Norbert College, in De Pere, Wisconsin—its content was admirably consistent, with few of the politician’s customary tweaks and nods to the demographic predilections, or prejudices, of a particular audience.

Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we’re a divided country, we’re a country that is “just downright mean,” we are “guided by fear,” we’re a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day,” she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. “Folks are just jammed up, and it’s gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I’m young. Forty-four!”

Cap'n Mike probably hasn't noticed, since he views the world through his wingnut blinders, but life in America is just downright mean. We're faced every day with mean, petty, nasty people like a certain corporate jet pilot I could name. Of course, if Cap'n Mike were capable of noticing just how downright mean things are in this country, he wouldn't be a wingnut.

You mean the America that saved Eureope and the free world -- twice -- during wars in which literally millions of our countrymen served and hundreds upon hundreds of thousands made the ultimate sacrifice to bring those victorious outcomes about?

No, Cap'n Mike, that's not the America that Michelle Obama means. After all, you and your fellow wingnuts have spent the last forty years trying to kill that America and replace it with one where the government spies on its citizens and launches pointless invasions of other countries and tortures prisoners and drives down wages and eliminates old age pensions. And you've done such a good job that the America that fought fascism has been replaced by an America that is duplicating fascism's worst features.

The Founding Fathers, with divine guidance, provided not just a political roadmap, but a moral compass and cultural soul that has served as the bedrock of American exceptionalism for 232 years.

I think you mean 224 years, Cap'n Mike. After all, your fellow conservatives have spent the last eight years demagnetizing that moral compass so it points in the direction of greed, cruelty, and barbarism, while tarnishing that cultural soul until it's as black as Dick Cheney's heart.

It's long past time we reassert among ourselves as individuals, communities, states and country a return to more fundamentally traditional American social, moral and cultural values.

Well, duh! Of course it is! Why do you think we're working so hard to remove the Republicans from power?

Those values reflect qualities of family, faith, pride in country, rugged individualism, toughness, self-reliance and respect for others -- to mention but a few -- all of which have served America's past generations so well.

Well, duh! Of course they have! That's why it's so disappointing to so many of us that you and your fellow wingnuts have chosen to embrace cheating, lying, slander, theft, corruption, dishonesty, and divisiveness -- to mention but a few -- and have devoted so much misdirected effort to trying to remake this country in your own twisted image.

In that regard, I emphatically reject those who advocate that America needs to be "more like the rest of the world," and in doing so not only sacrifice her essense,

"We must preserve the purity of essense of our precious bodily fluids."

but douse the flame of the last remaining beacon of hope for mankind.

Why, you may wonder, does Cap'n Mike regard America as the last remaining beacon of hope? Aren't there plenty of other freedom-loving nations in the world? Isn't Western Europe packed with 'em?

Sadly, no. Wingnut doctrine holds that Europe will soon be overrun by islamofascist hordes, leaving America as the only remaining Christian nation in the world. Only America is free of the taint of socialized medicine, decriminalized marijuana, and enthusiastic soccer fans. That's what makes America the last shining beacon of true white civilization in a world seething with brown-skinned heathens and infidels.

Don't take my word for it. Just ask Cap'n Mike.

(this post has been cross-posted to The Spirit of 75)
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