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Slacker Friday | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Slacker Friday

I’ve got a new “Think Again” called “Media to McCain: How Long Has This Been Going On?” and it is about the media’s collective broken heart and it’s here.

My Nation column is called “The Terrorists Win” and you can guess what it is about. It’s here.

My Daily Beast column this week is called “Obama's Silent Jewish Majority” and it is a reply to Charles M. Blow’s Times column and that’s here.

Charles Pierce
Newton, MA
"I pulled into Nazareth/I was feelin' 'bout half-past dead."
Weekly WWOZ Pick to Click: "Cold Bologna" (The Isley Brothers) -- As it happens, at the beginning of the week, I'm going to be able to tell New Orleans personally how much I love it. Who dat, anyway?

Part The First: Old Bidness

My apologies to Ms. Ring and to Don Cornelius's brother's band for mixing up their really terrible hit record with the howling bag of pus that was Hamilton, Joe, Frank, and Reynolds. Of course, as to the embattled Landlord, anyone who's willing to say what he did about "The Weight" is probably secure enough in his ineffable wrongness to admit that he enjoyed "Don't Pull Your Love Out." And let's not get on him too hard about his love for "Surrender" vis a vis "What'd I Say," to say nothing about "Tutti Frutti." The man obviously has a lot on his mind these days and is not thinking straight.

Part The Second: But, seriously now. "Hotel California"? I want to take the "steely knives" and ram them through my cochlea.

Part The Third: Seriously, people are surprised that Alan Simpson is a cranky old fool, and an ill-tempered jackass besides? Really. History is more than what came in on your BlackBerry 10 minutes ago, kids. Of course, he did make some friends back when he was senator.

Part The Fourth: Ken Mehlman is GAY?! Get right out of town! Anyone get a Jeff Gannon comment yet?

Part The Penultimate: Until Ross Douthat weighs in with the second part of  "How Burning A Convent Is Like Civics Class," this is going to have to do as the single most worthless piece of op-ed offal this year. Exactly how much aluminum siding does The Dean own, you figure?

Part The Ultimate: Let me explain what's going to happen next. It looks as though the shrieking harpies may win their big victory in Lower Manhattan, and the Not A Mosque And Not At Ground Zero Social Club will be built somewhere else, if it's built at all. (After all the effort they've gone to in phonying up a case that the presiding Imam is personally driving goats laden with plutonium around the American landscape, you don't think these meatheads are going to stop now, do you?) The next step will be to delegitimize Islam as a religion in the public eye. Already, we've had more than a few people propose the idea that Muslim Americans be deprived of the right to hold political office. And these are the same folks who, a while back, sought to establish the crackpot notion that "secular humanism" actually was a religion. Once you've decided you can define what is a religion, how hard can it be to decide that you can define what is not? Actually, not hard at all, if you scroll through this NYT piece far enough to read the hilarious theological stylings of Allen West, Republican candidate for Congress, veteran, and arguable war criminal. This, I assure you, is only the beginning.

What will happen is that the notion will bubble up from the depths that Islam is actually not a religion at all, but a political ideology masquerading as a religion. This would eliminate all those pesky First Amendment considerations that have proven so inconvenient during the current racist kabuki playing itself out in New York City. This will prompt various rightwing pundits to "discuss" this interesting theory. This will prompt the slightly less rabid to propose "further" discussions on the topic.  This will prompt the cowardly sheep of the elite pundit class to decide to "cover the controversy." Pretty soon, there will be the inevitable segment on Meet The Press, the inevitable prevarication and dithering on the part of, say, John McCain, the inevitable ass-covering by Harry Reid, the inevitable day-late-and-dollar-short pushback from the other side, and the calm, reasoned one-hour special on CNN about "Islam: Politics or Religion?" While all this is is going on, the personalities at Fox News will be running around in their underwear with their hair on fire -- except on Fox And Friends, where, against all conceivable odds, the firm of Doocy, Carlson, and Kilmeade will find something even dumber to say about the whole matter. Jesus wept.

Eric replies: I knew I would take a lot of shit for "Hotel California." But it’s a great, great song.  You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave.

Full name: Bill Dunlap
Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Message: The bad news about the new Darkness package is that now I have to buy Darkness on the Edge of Town a fourth time. First the LP, then the audiophile LP, then the CD, now this. When will it end? My other bad memory of Darkness, which remains a fave, is that my first Springsteen concert was during the Darkness tour at the Palladium with the woman I would later marry. I thought she'd be impressed when I got two scalped tickets for $50 each, but she was a grad of Hartford U. and had seen him a couple times during his early days on the college circuit. Oh well.

Eric replies: Dude, I bought all three previous versions too. And I took my ‘wife’ to-be and my ex-wife to be to those Palladium shows. And I introduced my ‘wife’ to her ex-husband (my ex-best friend) and their first date were those shows. Anyone who wants to make a TV movie of my life, gimme a call...

Full Name: Doug Wright
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Message: Please don't overlook Paul Anka's "Having my Baby."  It belongs high on anyone's list of godawful songs (except, presumably, a list compiled by deaf persons or Mr. Anka).

Eric replies, it is getting lots of nominations…. If you missed yesterday people, the new list was here…

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