Thoughts on Massacre and Mr. Kerrey

First Thought: if you came of age in the late nineteen sixties, the assertions about Mr. Kerrey’s participation in a massacre in Vietnam trigger very powerful moral reflexes–and it is the nature of a reflex to come into play faster than thought. Reflex condemnations of Kerrey–and reflex exonerations of him–may turn out to be right or wrong; what they cannot be are cautious and reflective.

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Horowitz’ List

David Horowitz, still here, has lately fashioned himself into a martyr for Free Speech. He composed an ad in opposition to the idea of reparation payments for the United States’ part in the trans-Atlantic African slave trade; tried, with mixed success, to place the ad in various college newspapers; and then spun that mixed success out into a series of live appearances around the country, the No Reparations Tour (accompanied, of course, by lots of self-flackery, on-line and off). The almost inescapable Horowitz swears that he is a victim of censorship.

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To Observe and Project

“When Marge first told me she was going to the police academy, I thought it was going to be fun and exciting. You know, like that movie Spaceballs. Instead, it’s been painful and disturbing. You know, like that movie Police Academy.”
-Homer Simpson

There has never been a popular American movie about why someone becomes a cop – that is, about the egotism and politics that influence such a decision. Yet even after the killings of Patrick Doresmonds, Amadou Diallo and the rape of Abner Louima, police-worship in movies and in the general media persists. It’s a special American cultural fetish.

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A Tale of Two Cities

A hooker was in trouble,
She twisted on her bed
And when she could, she whispered,
And this is what she said:

‘Go out and find my true love,
the one who did me dirt.
I’m sure he’s with another –
don’t give the lady hurt.

But tell him what transpired,
He ought to know the score,
And tell him that I’m dying –
O Jesus, I’m dying for more.’

While in another city
Inside an I.C.U.
The fellow of her fancy
Was in extremis too.

He cried ‘go find my baby,
The one who gave me this.
Be wary of her welcome,
Be careful of her kiss.

I’m sure she’s with a sailor
(Don’t make the sailor sore)
But tell her that I’m dying –
O Jesus, I’m dying for more.’

The outcome of this story
Is anybody’s guess –
Some say they both recovered,
Some say it was a mess.

They both have loaded lugers
Whatever else they’ve got –
The rule is not to use them,
The trick’s not getting shot.

For when affection falters
And down the tubes goes trust,
We’re right back where we’ve started
With self-destructive lust.

And now that I’m a bastard
And now that you’re a whore,
Our love’s a kind of death, dear –
Though Jesus, I’m dying for more.