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Monday, May 31, 2004
 

Our Job? Saving Lives


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” presumed that our new Official Advice Column would merely serve as an occasional feature on our “weblog.” Naturally, we do not want to become the Internet version of “Dear Abby”: We’ve got far better things to do than tell some acne-faced teenager to dump his philandering hussy of a girlfriend, thank you very much.

Accordingly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” originally intended to spend today’s edition of our publication carping on the shortcomings of some noxious irritant or other. We even hoped to make a couple of inspired Michael-Moore-is-a-fat-hypocrite jokes.

But then we received an e-mail from a woman who desperately required our succor. Accordingly, we decided to postpone our typical mirth in favor of answering her clarion call for help. After all, what are the chances that Michael Moore will be a thin hypocrite on Tuesday? Barring that nasty Al Roker stomach surgery, not bloody likely, we’d say.

So, dear reader, we shall inaugurate this week of posting with another addition to our Official Advice Column series. For all our self-touted misanthropy, it turns out that we are a passel of closet Rockefellers—without all that money, of course. (Lucky us.)

A few days ago, a woman from that huge slice of Wonder Bread known as the Midwest sent us an urgent missive. We can’t tell you if we’ve provided her with a pseudonym or not, but her name, Mrs. Bertha Doolittle, should allow our readership to decide for itself.

Her pressing epistle, which we have edited for the purposes of cacophony, begins as follows:

Dear Crack Young Staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,”

I need some advice urgently before I reach the end of my tether and the leather snaps! I am hoping that you will be able to provide a few pearls of wisdom.

My problem? How kind of you to ask. I keep running into people who seem sensible enough upon most encounters, but when one digs a bit deeper…egads! How should I have responded, for example, when I recently encountered someone who contends that cigarette smoking does not cause cancer? Now, it is important to note that the person in question is a non-smoker. I am struck dumb at how to proceed.


A trifle vexing, n’est pas? But wait: It gets worse. At the conclusion of her letter, Mrs. Doolittle makes clear that the “someone” in question is her husband. Our friend Bertha has married the non-smoking, non-cartoon equivalent of Joe Camel.

In fact, if her last name weren’t Doolittle, we’d suspect that she’d married Philip Morris. And, if this were the case, we’d recommend that she quit squawking and spend more time in one of her eight private jets. That ought to take the sting out of her I’m Married To A Lunatic business. After all, nothing says sanity quite like four squillion dollars. And a pack of Winstons.

For hours upon hours, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” could not come up with a solution for Mrs. Doolittle’s inquiry. All we could do was ponder other priceless lunacies in which Mr. Doolittle may put stock:

-The United States of America is run by Danny DeVito, Aretha Franklin, and other Jews.
-Although purported to be healthful, orange juice is actually an insidious Martian plot, which will enable the little green men to take over our planet by the year 2015.
-Kevin Costner is a good actor.

The list went on and on. Frankly, we got a bit sidetracked. We collectively envisioned Mr. Doolittle, parked in a Lazy-Boy next to a bust of Oliver Stone, reading a book entitled “Water-skiing, Vasectomies, and Other Aztec Inventions.”

Naturally, none of this enabled us to ameliorate the problem at hand. Then one of our senior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—came upon a solution: Force Mr. Doolittle to take up chain-smoking for the next forty-odd years. By the end of this period of time, it is possible that Mr. Doolittle will have contracted the Big C, and thus might be disposed to think more kindly about Mrs. Doolittle’s original supposition.

Naturally, though, there are problems with this resolution. Mr. Doolitttle could always blame the ozone layer, C.P. Snow, or old episodes of “The Facts of Life” for his predicament. Further, even if Mr. Doolittle did come to his senses, it would take roughly forty years for Bertha to prove her point. Sure, that wouldn’t be so bad if she were a chronic stutterer, but we have the sneaking suspicion that such a drawn-out argument would prove exasperating.

Accordingly, one of our junior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—fashioned another solution: Hit Mr. Doolittle with a brick.

Sure, it’s not particularly subtle, and it probably won’t change Mr. Doolittle’s mind. Even so, it would be hard to admit that it wouldn’t be the slightest bit satisfying, and, when Mr. Doolittle recovers from his injury, his lovely wife could argue that he could not actually prove that the brick caused his bruises.

Well, dear reader, there you have it: Another dire calamity avoided thanks to the quick wit of the crack young staff. Accordingly, we are quite certain that there is no need to remind you that, if you have a problem that requires a resolution, feel free to click on the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” supply the answers; you supply the brick.
 
Friday, May 28, 2004
 

Help Me, Crack Young Staff!


As the regular readers of our “weblog” must know, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” inaugurated our Official Advice Column yesterday. Almost instantaneously, we have been deluged with queries from an inquisitive and needy public. As a result, we are going to put off our typical hilarious musings on all and sundry in order to focus today’s post on the nitty-gritty of problem solving.

What kind of questions have we received, you ask? Well, they run the full gamut of human experience. Everything from the Hegelian dialectic to Japanese toiletries. In fact, even as reputable a character as former Vice President Al Gore deigned to write us with an inquiry. Mr. Gore asked us if we thought his recent public addresses regarding the purported failings of the Bush Administration were too forceful and vituperative. In response, we told him that he should wear more “earth tones.” Problem solved.

Some queries, however, proved more consequential, and thus demanded our immediate attention. Such was certainly the case with a letter-writer who signed his e-mail “Moe.” Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” mentioned that we would blithely provide a pseudonym for epistlers seeking advice who did not want to use their own names. But we have no idea, frankly, whether “Moe” is actually this fellow’s appellation, or whether it is, instead, itself a nom de guerre. It might even be short for “Moses.”

Anyway, since “Moe” did not specify whether he desired a pseudonym or not, we have decided to provide one. With an obvious tip of the cap to our multiculturalist friends, we are calling “Moe” “Mr. Paddy Rosenberg, Esq.” (Eat your heart out, Tiger Woods.)

Mr. Rosenberg’s missive, which we have edited for the purposes of euphony, reads as follows:

Dear Crack Young Staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,”

Please answer all my questions using big words like “trepidation,” “perambulation,” and “dog.”

1) I like science. Am I a tool of the phallo-Euro-Confederateo-centric capitalist society?

2) Today is my wife’s birthday. Can you wish her a belated birthday tomorrow?

Looking forward to your pearls of wisdom.

Faithfully, &c.,

Mr. Paddy Rosenberg, Esq.


As you can see, dear reader, Mr. Rosenberg has certainly come up with some compelling questions. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were chock-a-block with trepidation, pondering how we could offer adequate responses, whilst pacing our offices in nervous fits of perambulation. By dog.

Well, now that we got that out of the way, we can move on to the questions at hand. The Official Advice Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has decided to treat these two queries in alphabetical order, for tax-filing purposes. Conveniently, this allows us to field the first question first, and the second question (you guessed it) second.

For those of you who have extremely short attention spans and/or prove particularly poor at reading comprehension, we shall repeat the first question in full:

I like science. Am I a tool of the phallo-Euro-Confederateo-centric capitalist society?

Well, Paddy (if we may address you by your Christian name), there is a short and a long answer to your important inquiry. The long answer is: Yes.

The short answer is far more subtle, and may require recourse to a slide-rule. Science is much like a woman: Both should be handled with great caution, preferably by someone clad in both a lab coat and goggles. And brandishing a Bunsen burner. Accordingly, we respond to your question with the condign care and solemnity that it necessitates.

As anyone familiar with modern American academia can tell you, the world’s leading experts on science can all be found in departments of English and comparative literature. (Funny, that.) These enlightened professors, who are the champions of so-called “science studies,” have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that science is far from objective. As a result, science—just like anything else—is incapable of proving anything beyond a shadow of a doubt.

In short, Mr. Rosenberg, science is an instrument wielded by the oppressors to keep the masses in check. As such, anyone who professes a love for it is most assuredly “a tool of the phallo-Euro-Confederateo-centric capitalist” society in which we live, as you memorably put it.

With that in mind, we can move on to your second query. It reads:

Today is my wife’s birthday. Can you wish her a happy belated birthday tomorrow?

Naturally, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are pleased as peaches to offer warm wishes to Paddy’s wife on the glorious occasion of the day after her birthday. Mr. Rosenberg, however, has not told us his lovely wife’s name. As a result, we are compelled to fashion a pseudonym for her: Mrs. Florence Rosenberg-Mortensen.

Instead of proffering a few quick and spiritless remarks, we have decided to write her the kind of epistle that every woman wants to receive from her significant other. (Or, as they say in academe, significant “Other.”) As we know scarcely little about Mrs. Rosenberg-Mortensen, however, we are going to have to improvise a bit.

Dearest Florence,

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” want to let you know, on this greatest of days, how much you mean to us. It seems like only yesterday that we didn’t even know who you were. How time passes! For now, we can scarcely imagine a day bereft of your luminous presence.

We distinctly recall the first time we met: You were wearing that beautiful mauve tracksuit, which seemed to glisten in the radiant October moon. How fetching you were! We felt like R. Kelly at a daycare center.

So, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” want to wish you the happiest of days-after-your-birthday. At the risk of sounding trite, we shall inform you that you are the veritable wind beneath our veritable pinions.

Warmest, Warmest Regards,

The Crack Young Staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”


Well, dear reader, there you have it: Unadulterated pearls of wisdom. If you have any desire for counsel, please feel free to send us an e-mail by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. You never know: We could unlock the inner child in you, freeing you to live a life of sheer bliss. We doubt it, but it’s possible.
 
Thursday, May 27, 2004
 

Introducing “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Advice Column


A few weeks ago, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” announced our new “Things that Are Pretty Good” series, which aimed at highlighting some of the little pleasantries that make life as we know it an incessant joy. Our more diligent readers, however, should note that this “series” has thus far only amounted to one item; quite frankly, our staff could only come up with a single phenomenon that was an obvious delight.

Accordingly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been reduced to our usual caterwauling and maligning. We fear, in fact, that we have become exactly the sorts of folk Spiro Agnew had in mind when he inveighed against the “nattering nabobs of negativism.” Except Vice President Agnew probably didn’t think skeptical commentary on urine therapy was a grave problem. And, come to think of it, we aren’t really nabobs.

Nabobs or not, however, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are determined to use our Internet soapbox for more than petty caviling. Accordingly, for the past few days the official Ideas Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has been pondering a way to grant our humble “weblog” a rosier outlook.

Unfortunately, after literally minutes of virtually uninterrupted meditation, our Ideas Department came up empty. Actually, it was only capable of offering a list of future targets of obloquy (talk about a one trick pony!).

Seemingly unable to hatch an idea that would make “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” a tad more chipper, we did what anyone else would do: We hit up the janitor for some suggestions. “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Janitor, in fact. And, boy, did he have a good idea.

Without further ado, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” cordially announce:

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Advice Column (as devised by our Official Janitor)

We all, dear reader, have our share of problems from time to time. Some of us routinely commit peccadilloes. Others are short-tempered. If advertisements on television are accurate, pretty much every American male is impotent. In addition, some of us like Phil Collins.

As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” want to provide the general public with the sagely advice of our sage team of experts. It’ll be just like those “Dear Mary” columns found at the back of The (London) Spectator—except our correspondents will address their missives “Dear Crack Young Staff.”

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can someone as completely insignificant as I obtain the precious guidance of the crack young staff? Before we answer that, may we suggest that you suffer from low self-esteem? See: We are helping already.

To ask for counsel, all you must do is click on the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen and send us a query. We’ll even disguise your name if you prefer. In fact, we’ll concoct an elaborate nom de plume for you, with which you might start a second career as a dime-store novelist. You know, a name like “Forrester Grantwich,” or “Heath Ridgeway,” or “Tip O’Neill.”

In future posts, we’ll highlight a few of these queries and offer our advice to our readership, so that we can all steer our ships through the turbulent seas of life with greater ease. We must request, however, that you don’t ask niggling etiquette questions: Our staff has no idea which one is the salad fork, and we don’t care if you call your mother-in-law “an old coot.”

All other topics are welcome, however, and will receive the careful attention of our newly formed official Advice Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” And, unlike the old coots at “The New York Times,” we shall make sure to get back to each and every member of our readership who seeks our consultation. No matter is too trivial, no subject is too intricate.

In fact, we’ll even offer some sample questions:

Dear Crack Young Staff…

1) My school chums consistently shove me into lockers and taunt me with epithets such as “fruity-cake” and “Terry McAullife.” How can I restore my dignity?

2) I have a great fear of my neighbor’s pet llama. How can I get good credit?

3) How can Barry Manilow survive without copious amounts of government funding? And what kind of cruel world do we inhabit—a world in which Mr. Manilow can rake in squillions but serious artists must live in penury?


Well, dear reader, there you have it: The official Advice Column of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” We earnestly hope you’ll send us a query, because we intend to use our Internet powers for good. Just like Whitney Houston, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that “children are the future.” Or whatever.
 
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
 

Vernon Coleman…Oddball


Recently one of the senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—came across an advertisement for what appears to be an unusual new book. Entitled Rogue Nation, this tome is the work of a Brit called Vernon Coleman.

Immediately we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured that Dr. Coleman composed a learned disquisition on North Korea or Iran. But, alas, the subtitle of his work gives away the Good Doctor’s prejudices: “The Scary Truth about America.” Apparently, the esteemed Dr. Coleman considers the United States of America a far more dire threat to human happiness than, say, China or Zimbabwe.

This led us to wonder: What kind of credentials does the Good Doctor Coleman have on matters of foreign policy? Well, Dr. Coleman’s web-site makes clear that he has a degree in medicine, and has penned such upstanding articles as “Modern Medicine is Not a Science.” We know what you must be thinking, dear reader: At least this Coleman character is not some sort of kook.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were further soothed by Dr. Coleman’s web-site when we read that he has penned over 90 medical and fiction books, including the novel We Love Cats, which must surely be a page-turner. (We hope, incidentally, that the Good Doctor’s tome refers to our feline friends, and not that wretched Andrew Lloyd Webber musical; if he earnestly admires the latter, we might begin to doubt his capacity for judgment—if not his very sanity.)

Dr. Coleman’s web-site helpfully contains a picture of this Grand Old Man of British letters, which makes him seem like a bow-tie clad Jim Varney impersonator. In addition, the site informs us that he “is balding and widely disliked by members of the Establishment.”

Naturally, all of the above details led us to conclude that Dr. Coleman’s Rogue Nation will prove a masterful example of political analysis. Indeed, his advertisement boasts that the book shall spell out to its reader(s) “How and why the USA threatens your home, family, health, freedom and future.”

Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t want to get too Establishment for Dr. Coleman’s liking, but we are compelled to note a problem with this assessment. Surely, if the United States constitutes a grave danger to our “home, family, health” and “freedom,” it naturally will pose some sort of peril to our “future.” It would have been far more interesting, we think, if Dr. Coleman had claimed that his book exposes “How and why the USA threatens your home, family, health, freedom and past.” Or, better yet, “your home, family, health, freedom and last Tuesday.” Now that’sinteresting.

The advertisement also touts a quotation claiming that “Vernon Coleman’s startling new book contains everything you should know about America.” Given that the quotation in question bears no attribution, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that Dr. Coleman penned it himself.

But no matter. What really intrigued us is the claim that this work, which is all of 224 pages, constitutes everything the modern reader must learn about this horrid rogue nation. We wonder how much space the Good Doctor gives to, say, the Louisiana Purchase and Thurgood Marshall, let alone Calvin Coolidge and the hula-hoop. And we hope he doesn’t skim over the Revolutionary War out of envy. Or American dental care, for that matter.

By this time, dear reader, you must be itching to purchase Dr. Coleman’s lucubration on “the world’s most dangerous nation.” Still, we feel the need to mention a curious blurb that is affixed to the Good Doctor’s advertisement. Attributed to “The Independent on Sunday,” it reads: “Vernon Coleman…superstar.”

Now, we don’t want to make too fine a point about this, especially given the fact that “The Independent on Sunday” is certainly a luminous beacon of England’s journalistic Establishment, but we found this quotation rather curious. To the benighted rogues known as Americans, Dr. Coleman has provided what appears to be a prime example of Dowdification: The mangling of a quotation to fit the author’s prejudices.

After all, “The Independent on Sunday”’s quotation, as printed in Dr. Coleman’s advertisement, doesn’t provide the reader much in the way of context. Couldn’t the full quotation read something like: “Vernon Coleman is not at all a superstar”? Or how about: “Vernon Coleman makes Neville Chamberlain seem like an astute observer of political realities and a military superstar”?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were so dismayed by this miserable blurb that we decided to forgo purchasing a staff copy of Rogue Nation. Even so, we’re going to pool our resources and pick up a copy of We Love Cats at the local bookstore. We hope we are not exposing our readers to too wretched a pun by suggesting that this topic is more up Dr. Coleman’s alley.
 
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
 

That’s “Newstatesperson” to You, Buster


You may not, dear reader, be acquainted with the delightful periodical entitled “Newstatesman.” It’s an English serial that serves as the UK’s answer to the far-Left “Mother Jones.” (Frankly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that the only answer to “Mother Jones” should be: “No, thanks.” In fact, we wish Father Jones had whipped “Mother Jones” into shape; perhaps then the latter would not be chock-a-block with blustery rants.)

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can this journal, if it really is so right-thinking (read: Left-leaning), get away with the unabashedly patriarchal title “Newstatesman”? Frankly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” haven’t a clue. But we urge all our friends on the political Left to write to their staff and complain vehemently. A few Lefter-Than-Thou e-mails ought to rankle them, eh?

We mention “Newstatesman,” which counts Marxist Terry Eagleton among its contributors, not to dilate on its stridently sexist title, however. Rather, one of our junior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—was perusing the May, 24 number of this fine magazine when he came upon something quite remarkable. On page 30 of said edition (which, naturally, is the 24 May issue to our British friends), the results of a curious poll on “Newstatesman”’s website were announced.

According to this venerable publication, last week’s poll question was “Can Bush be compared to Stalin?” A rather quizzical query, that. “Newstatesman” reported that 43 percent replied Yes, and 57 percent (for those of you without much in the way of math skills) said No.

The magazine also informs its readers that this week’s querstion is far more tepid: “Would Gordon Brown make a better PM?”

We could say much about these polls of “Newstatesman” readers. First, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have determined that 57 percent of “Newstatesman” advocates—and possibly the editors of the publication—is stupid. Of course Bush (the current American President, we assume, and not a shrub) can be compared to Stalin (Joseph, we presume). Anyone can. Anything can.

Let us offer a few examples. The following represents our intrepid attempt to compare desultory people and items to the late Soviet dictator in an effort to prove the possibility of such collations to the dimwitted 57 percent of “Newstatesman” readers polled.

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Comparisons of Joseph Stalin with Desultory People and Items:

1. Joseph Stalin and Gary Shandling

Although both men have surnames that begin with “S” and strikingly similar hair, we are inclined to believe there isn’t much in common between the two. Mr. Shandling has made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian and starred in a few hit television programs, and Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people. We don’t want to come across as too preachy, but we’re inclined to shout “Advantage Shandling.” After all, we don’t think that even as repellent a “comedienne” as Janeane Garofalo has actually killed anyone—unless you count her performance in “Reality Bites.” Also, Mr. Stalin sported a mustache, whereas Mr. Shandling does not.

2. Joseph Stalin and an Egg

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are inclined to see more resemblance between Mr. Stalin and an egg. For eggs are full of cholesterol, and thus can be real health hazards; Mr. Stalin, as mentioned above, killed ca. 20 million people. The people who seem to be stalwart fans of Mr. Stalin, moreover, are often called “eggheads.” Except Harry Belafonte, who is recurrently given the sobriquet “idiot.” Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are going to go out on a limb and suggest that the egg has greater moral acumen than Mr. Stalin.

3. Joseph Stalin and Ron Popiel

For those of you blessed enough to be unacquainted with Mr. Popiel, let us inform you that he is a king of the dubious television format known as the “infomercial.” From spray-on hair to food dehydrators, Mr. Popiel has hawked more products on-air than just about anyone. Clearly, this man is a nuisance. Still, we don’t think that Mr. Popiel—even if you include his foray into selling “turkey jerky”—comes off as quite as nasty as Mr. Stalin. After all, as noted above, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people.

4. Joseph Stalin and Broken Shards of Glass

Okay, now things are getting a bit more interesting. Broken shards of glass can be quite dangerous, especially for those who have a penchant for perambulating barefooted. In addition, there are potentially many shards of glass in a given area, whereas there was only one Joseph Stalin. Though we don’t doubt that broken glass can serve as a real peril, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are again tilting toward Mr. Stalin as the more evil of the two. Indeed, as everyone but the faculty members of the Latin American History Departments at every American university can tell you, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people.

5. Joseph Stalin and “Rap” Music

Oooh, here’s a tough one. As noted above, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people. “Rap” hasn’t been in power as long, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that, when all is said and done, “rap” will be responsible for a similar number of deaths. And “rap” music is more repetitive than Mr. Stalin, who at least mastered a variety of ways of killing people: Execution, starvation, &c. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that “rap” music, though far from an exact match, is closer than eggs, and even broken glass.

Well, dear reader, there you have it. We humbly suggest that you spend a few moments of your day pondering your own comparisons. (E.g., Mike Tyson, lawn bowling, Graydon Carter, tsunamis, Carl Sagan, quiche.)

In the meantime, perhaps the stately lads and lasses in charge of “Newstatesman” can come up with less insipid queries. After all, even this week’s poll is pretty dumb: “Would Gordon Brown make a better PM?” Than who: Tony Blair, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy, Gary Shandling, broken shards of glass?
 
Monday, May 24, 2004
 

We Don’t ? Bumper Stickers


A few days ago, one of our senior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—was driving his car to work, and came upon a most peculiar bumper sticker. It read: “I Walk the Path of the Ancient Ones.” Immediately, “Chip” thought to himself: You walk the path of the ancient ones? Come on, buddy, you drive a Chevy Malibu.

When “Chip” informed the rest of the staff of this odd bumper sticker, it got us to thinking: We have never—and we mean never—seen a bumper sticker that wasn’t trite and irritating. And, among the lot of us, we’ve had a gander at plenty of “My Child is an Honor-Roll Student at Benedict Arnold Middle School” stickers.

In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” will go so far as to suggest that bumper stickers are nothing but vehicular eyesores. They’re about as funny as Bob Saget on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (season eight).

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: Sure, lots of bumper stickers are awful, but mine is great. We’re not so sure. What follows is merely a list of common bumper sticker bromides we’ve collectively encountered, and our collective, snarky response to them. If your car is emblazoned with any of the slogans listed below, we suggest you destroy your automobile’s back end. Or, better yet, buy another one.

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official List of Stupid Bumper Stickers and Our Staff’s Snarky Responses to Them:

1. “Peace is Patriotic”

Not if your country is currently being attacked, you stupid hippy.

2. “Jesus is My Co-Pilot”

Your fat wife is your co-pilot.

3. “My Other Car is a Ferrari”

Your other bumper sticker is funny.

4. “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm”

Okay, technically there is nothing funny about this apothegm. It’s just stupid.

5. "Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty”

Or, kill someone whose car boasts a pathetic maxim. But wait: Would this count as a “senseless act of beauty”?

6. “It Would Be a Great Day When Our Schools Have All the Money They Want, and the Defense Department Needs to Hold a Bake Sale to Buy a Bomber”

Yeah, that would be a great day—for the government of North Korea. Too bad it would probably be the last day that the United States of America existed. Also, could you purchase a bumper sticker that’s less catchy? Inevitably, the person sporting this bromide on his automobile sends his kids to private school. Do we smell hypocrisy?

Well, dear reader, there you have it—the official list. This does not mean that these are the only bumper stickers that are terrible; they're merely a few that came to mind. To turn Roger Kimball’s phrase, we feel about bumper stickers the way Orwell thought about saints: Guilty until proven innocent.
 
Friday, May 21, 2004
 

“Glamour” Asks, “Hatemonger’s” Vomits


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have long had a hunch: So-called “women’s magazines” are part of a gigantic conspiracy of the Male Chauvinist Pigs Society. We know, we know: It’s a little far-fetched. But hear us out.

For these “women’s magazines”—“Glamour,” “Cosmopolitan,” &c.—all appear to be devoted to reinforcing each and every stereotype harbored by the typical misogynist. Think women are shallow? Simply turn the pages of “Jane”’s fashion section, and see your prejudices confirmed. Think women have the attention span of gnats? Check out “Marie Claire”’s sundry three-word articles, and bask in your correctness. Think women are stupid? Geez, do we even need to offer an example?

In fact, women’s fashion magazines are so miserable, they almost compel us to check out “Ms.” Almost: A woman needs a copy of “Ms.” like a fish needs a bicycle.

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: So-called “men’s magazines,” of the “FHM” and “Maxim” variety, don’t exactly offer the impression that the stronger sex is a collection of budding Albert Einsteins. And, to be sure, you’re right. But let us save our ire regarding these sordid rags for another day. Tonight, as they say, is ladies’ night.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were reminded of the train-wreck called “women’s magazines” when a correspondent from our New York (NY) office sent us a copy of the May 2004 number of “Glamour” magazine.

You, dear reader, must be familiar with “Glamour”: It’s the women’s magazine chock-a-block with advertisements sure to make the average 16-year-old a hard-core bulimic. Well, perhaps we should be more specific: “Glamour” is the women’s magazine chock-a-block with advertisements sure to make the average 16-year-old a hard-core bulimic that bears the title “Glamour.” Ah, yes, you must be saying to yourself: That one.

This year’s May installment of the journal is no exception: It is replete with photos that make Kate Moss look like Nell Carter. Sure, all women look like this—when they’ve died of starvation.

But what most bothered us about this edition of “Glamour” was its “glamour asks, men answer” page. This month’s question—which was apparently the result of the collective brainstorming of the entire staff of “Glamour”—reads: “What’s the one thing you wish women knew about your body?”

What follows is a series of moronic answers offered by various moronic youngish men. The editors at “Glamour” offer nothing in the way of methodology for their mini-study; in fact, one is left with the distinct impression that they published the responses of the few guys who actually took the time to answer their query, instead of pushing them away forcefully, as any sensible character would.

So, what kinds of responses did the investigative team of “Glamour” come upon? Well, one Ryan Jackson opines: “I’ll pick out a pair of jeans because they make my butt look really good, not because they’re comfortable.” Thanks, Ryan. Somehow you’ve made us uncomfortable.

In a similarly intellectual vein, one Jeremy Demuth informs us that “My nipples are not a point of pleasure. In fact, I would prefer that they not be touched at all.” You can count on us, Jeremy: We’ll curb our overwhelming urge to fondle your teats.

But perhaps the most vertiginous answer was offered by one Leo White. The young Mr. Leo White avers: “We have to be happy with what we’ve got. It all comes down to genetics—I can’t change my body, just like women can’t change theirs. I try to accept who I am, to be a better person, not necessarily a better looking person.”

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” reply: Oh, puh-lease. That commentary is so foul, we’re going to reach for our collective sick bag every time we hear the words “Leo Smith.” To make matters worse, we are entirely sure that this imbecile doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. He’s just playing the I’m Pretending to Care About Your Inner Beauty So I Can Get a Better Look at Your Outer Beauty angle. Anyone who doesn’t realize this doesn’t know the first thing about young lads.

Well, dear reader, there you have it: “Glamour” asks, and we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” answer.
 
Thursday, May 20, 2004
 

“I Don’t Know Anything, But I Feel Great”


Now that the twentieth century has come and gone, we who have been fortunate enough to outlast it can compile a list of its most wretched villains. You know: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Kenny G. But there is one miscreant who probably won’t make many lists—but deserves to.

This is the philosopher-cum-educator John Dewey, father of so-called Progressive Education. It is largely thanks to the machinations of Mr. Dewey that American schoolrooms headed down the path of so-called “student-centered learning,” and kindred forays into pseudo-intellectual dubiousness.

Alas, thanks to the spiritual heirs of Mr. Dewey, American educators are obsessed about students’ self-esteem. Sure, our kids might think 3 + 3 = 8, but, provided they feel they are good at mathematics, there’s nothing to fret. No wonder so many cashiers these days flip out when you give them $20.25 for a meal that costs $15.25. How the heck does that make sense?

Naturally, it is partly due to the success of so-called Progressive Education that “Afrocentrism” found a voice in the American schoolroom. How many people would feel comfortable knowing that their kids are being tutored by Dr. Leonard Jeffries, the firebrand of African-American Studies who, when he is not expatiating on the barbarism of Jews, is blathering about blacks as “sun people” and whites as “ice people”?

For those of you blessedly unacquainted with the dubious tenets of “Afrocentrism,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” will explain them to you.

1) Everything of any import to civilization as we know it was invented in Africa and stolen by the Greeks and other white interlopers.
2) There has been a massive conspiracy to deny this fact to American schoolchildren, in a bid to make sure that black students under-perform at all levels of educational endeavor.
3) White people suck.

Well, there you have it, dear reader: “Afrocentrism” at a glance. You can even write out these tenets on a note-card, and carry them around in your wallet. In case some “Afrocentrist” emergency takes place, we suppose. (Make sure it isn’t a white note-card, though.)

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what you are thinking, dear reader: You have done a lot of grousing about the intellectual patrimony of John Dewey, who was not merely an educational hack, but an important American philosopher; before you blame him for the excesses of a movement that had both positive and negative aspects, you ought to become more informed about Mr. Dewey’s thought. If not, you are simply penning a silly polemic. You dolts.

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” reply: Wow, our readers are even smarter than we supposed. Still, we hate John Dewey. We can’t help it. As far as we’re concerned, the only part of American education that should be “student-centered” is our old friend the Dunce Cap. That’ll learn ‘em.
 
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
 

We’re Scared to Fly, and It Blows


Perhaps, dear reader, you have had the ill fortune to take a commercial flight since September 11. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” sure have, and it is hard to imagine a more irksome experience.

Naturally, there is much about which we could complain regarding air travel. For instance, somehow airplanes offer their patrons the world’s most stagnant air. Airline ventilation is so poor, in fact, we are certain that, if you look closely, you can see actual molecules dangling in your midst. The situation is so bad that we almost want the airlines to allow smoking on flights again: At least a pack of Benson & Hedges doesn’t reek as badly as mephitic airline pseudo-oxygen.

We also have a bone to pick with flight attendants (or, as they prefer to be called, stewardesses). Have you ever noticed, dear reader, that pretty much every one of these women falls into the category People Who Used To Be Pretty But Now Cake On Make-Up in an Ill-Advised Attempt To Relive Their Glory Days? As even the female staff members of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” will inform you, passing by one of these ladies is akin to diving into a pool of Mary Kay products. And they’re so stingy with the pretzels.

But fetid air and superannuated flight attendants aren’t what we have in mind. Rather, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aim to discuss the common-sensless approach that American airlines have taken toward security.

No doubt, this is the result of our friends at the ACLU, who are endeavoring to make the United States free enough for all of its citizenry to go down in a flaming morass. Thanks, guys. Can’t you bug the Boy Scouts again? At least no one is liable to be killed if Billy doesn’t get his merit badge in crocheting.

To be sure, airport security was pretty paltry before September 11. It seems as if the job was one rung lower on the occupational totem pole than crack whore. As such, you could rest assured that anyone in charge of monitoring the scanners at the airport had failed to land a job at Wendy’s. If that doesn’t make you feel safe, nothing will.

But clearly, the greatest absurdity related to airport security is the desultory nature of its enforcement. Thanks to the vicissitudes of the blight known as political correctness, the geniuses at airport security don’t bother to check out a young Islamonutter named Muhammed, bedecked in a fashionable “Those Pesky Jews” T-shirt, who just happens to have brought a rocket-launcher with him as a carry-on; rather, it hassles some nonagenarian spinster named Millie.

Sure, she—and not Muhammed—is likely to be in cahoots with Al Quaeda. She’s undoubtedly hiding a few grenades in the wheelchair you provided her. As a result, you should rifle through her sundry shawls and pristinely white tennis sneakers: Even though you’re more likely to find a coupon for “Sam’s Club,” you could stumble upon an AK-47.

We can already hear the clamor of manifold civil libertarians: You, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” support racial profiling! Well, we are honored that our comrades at the ACLU know how to refer to us properly (clearly, they’ve been reading our “weblog”), but we hasten to disagree. It makes darn good sense to take account of the age, sex, and country of origin of potential airline patrons, among manifold other criteria. We haven’t examined the data in a while, but we humbly submit that potential terrorists are a heck of a lot more likely to come from Saudi Arabia than, say, Denmark. Call it a hunch.

And this brings us to an important point: It appears as if contemporary American liberalism often concerns itself with what those in the world of theater call the willful suspension of disbelief. It certainly is unfortunate that citizens from Muslim countries currently have a monopoly on anti-American terrorism. As a result, our friends on the Left simply wish the problem away. Safety be darned.

In the end, then, modern airport security is surely one of the most horrifying irritants in contemporary America. In fact, we’ll be so bold as to label it a recipe for disaster: Take three underpaid dolts with wands, proverbially tie their hands behind their backs by means of the diktats of political correctness, and then mix thoroughly. Presto!: It’s the ACLU version of Baked Alaska. And it’s a real killer; unfortunately, it’s we who are liable to be cooked.
 
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
 

Marxists of the World, Cheer Up!


Recently, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” mentioned that our financial backers only allow a certain amount of funding for journals and magazines. As a result, we are often left with some difficult choices: Do we cancel our subscription to “Cat Fancy,” or take a pass on “Lesbian Feminist Herstory”?

Sometimes, our small budget for publications causes a veritable in-house brouhaha. Such was the case with the lively journal “Radical Society.” To some of our staff, the magazine was the quintessential example of an intriguing blend of Marxist activism and anti-capitalist grumbling. To others, it was inane.

Thankfully, the former group won out, and thus we, dear reader, can discuss a particularly special article in the first issue of the thirtieth volume of “Radical Society.”

But first, a word on “Radcial Society” itself. Published by our friends at Routledge Press, “Radical Society” is primarily notable for sporting a backward “R” on its cover. It’s as if the journal is advertising to its reader(s) that it’s a blend of Lillian Hellman and Toys ‘R’ Us.

With this in mind, we can move on to a discussion of the article in question: “The Poverty of Theory: Anti-Intellectualism and the Value of Action,” which was penned by one Stephen Duncombe. Upon reading the author’s name, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were almost certain we had heard of this fellow before. On page 16 of his article, Mr. Duncombe relates why his name was so familiar to us: He is a member in good standing of the “direct action group” “Reclaim the Streets.” We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are part of a splinter group of “Reclaim the Streets,” an indirect action group named “Reclaim the Sidewalks.”

Whereas Reclaim the Streets “throws street parties to protest, among other things, the privatization of public space,” Reclaim the Sidewalks throws eggs to protest, among other things, the ludicrous pieties of contemporary Marxists.

Realizing that we had stumbled upon an article by a man whom we have previously met, we eagerly pored over the piece. It starts, as is Mr. Duncombe’s wont, with a gnomic utterance: “Another world is possible.” Okay. Thanks for the tip. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” feel as if we should respond with our own nugget of wisdom: “Salmon can swim upstream.” How’s that?

Mr. Duncombe continues: “Before 9/11 and before the shift from demonstrating against global capitalism to protesting U.S. imperial nationalism, the globalization movement’s slogan was a curious, conscious creation of positive optimism.” Well, we’ll give you “curious.”

In his next paragraph, Mr. Duncombe avers “For a movement seemingly so a-intellectual, a surprising number of intellectuals are part of it.” Funny, that. Perhaps this has something to do with that great George Orwell quip: Some ideas are so stupid you have to be an intellectual to believe them?

Well, you’re probably asking yourself, what is the point of Mr. Duncombe’s disquisition? The article poses the pressing question: Why is “theory” seemingly antithetical to the activism against global capitalism? In essence, the piece serves as a kind of pep talk for downtrodden Marxists.

Now, we submit, Marxists deserve a good pep talk as much as any other political group. After all, the twentieth century didn’t exactly prove a swimming time for devotees of Mr. Marx and Mr. Engels. Unless, of course, you enjoy the slaughter of 200 million people.

As such, we can fully understand—if not sympathize with—Mr. Duncombe’s penchant for castigating Americans as dimwitted and for lamenting the “death of a communist alternative” to the noxious United States. And we can fathom why Mr. Duncombe attempts to offer an optimistic reading of the disorganized state of Marxist activism—whether it is or is not tied at the hip with so-called “theory.”

Still, we found his article a little too rosy. If we were betting men and girls, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would offer a hefty wager against Marxism as the twenty-first century’s panacea.

Moreover, we found Mr. Duncombe’s stylistic tics a bit irritating. As we noted above, he enjoys cryptic utterances: “Within this world there is no path”; “Mass actions, quite simply, teach you how to act within a mass.” Thanks, Guru Duncombe. If a tree falls in a forest, is Stalin responsible for the death of 20 million people?

But what bothers us the most about Mr. Duncombe’s cheery assessment of the current vicissitudes of anti-capitalist protesting is the fact that it doesn’t even mention the most obvious reason for the dilapidated condition of the movement: Perhaps anti-globalization protests prove so intellectually wanting because their practitioners are, in a word, stupid? Or is that too simple an answer?
 
Monday, May 17, 2004
 

College Gets Personal


Almost everyone these days has perused a newspaper or magazine that presents its readership with what are delicately entitled “Personal Ads.” The New York Observer, for example, appears to offer little more than “Personal Ads.” And a Rex Reed column. (Frankly, we find the “Personal Ads” more enlightening.)You probably know the kind of advertisement we are discussing, dear reader. Some are more presentable: “DWF seeks DWM for great conversations, sex.” Others are a bit more sordid: “5’1,” 350 lb. SWF seeks a SWM who loves to be whipped like the bad little dog he is.” Um, count us out.

Even the casual reader of these “Personal Ads” can note some of their peculiarities. Each female advertising for a mate—no matter how repulsive she sounds—casts herself as gorgeous. If you were informed about American women by “Personal Ads” alone, you’d think that the USA is one grand collection of Cindy Crawfords. Naturally, Cyndi Lauper is a lot more like it—provided she gains at least fourty pounds.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that some of these delightful ladies are fibbing about their appearance. Who could read “Attractive, octogenarian female, 400 lbs., with leprosy” without a touch of disbelief? Moreover, if this appealing eightysomething is so drop-dead gorgeous, why does she need to publish a “Personal Ad” in the first place?

All of this got us to thinking about the only post-latency portion of our population that doesn’t seem to require the use of “Personal Ads”: College kids. After all, if you can’t find a mate in college, you must have all kinds of problems. Or, perhaps, you are a teetotaler.

For today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” we figured that we would offer some hypothetical “Personal Ads” from college students. This way, we could get a sense of what such advertisements might look like. If we do a poor job at mimicking the style of “Personal Ads,” rest assured that this is because the females on our staff are far too beautiful to require their services, and the men have too much money.

Without further ado, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” proudly present:

Hypothetical “Personal Ads” from American Undergraduates:

Men Seeking Womyn

SWMFB [single, white, male frat-boy] seeks hot young female for good times in the bedroom. My hobbies include: binge drinking, falling asleep in class, date rape. Prospective females must be super-hot. Breathing a plus.

Are you sick and tired of relationships that last a full week? Me too! If so, check out this hunky SWMFB. I assure you that I will engage you on no other levels than the purely physical. None of that irritating thinking and emoting. Just feeling—lots of feeling.

Sensitive, artistic type seeks entirely like-minded female to complain about the disgraceful conformity among college students. Unlike the guys who wear dirty white caps, I (and my entire circle of friends) dress in hemp and clunky shoes. Come grouse with me before you drop out and wind up working at Hardee’s.

SBM [single, black male] seeks SWF [single, white female] for long conversations about the indignities of the oppression of blacks in the USA [United States of America]. Join me for vitriolic championing of Marcus Garvey, sexual intercourse.

Womyn Seeking Men

SWFSS [single, white, female sorority sister] seeks a vacuous frat-boy for suitably dramatic relationship. Me: Gorgeous, high maintenance, shallower than a wading pool. You: Bedecked in Abercrombie & Fitch, mindless.

SWFSS [single, white, female sorority sister] seeks a feeble-minded frat-boy for suitably dramatic relationship. Me: Gorgeous, high maintenance, shallower than a wading pool. You: Bedecked in Abercrombie & Fitch, mindless.

Come on, guys! I’m a SWFSS like totally into the Dave Matthews Band and white rappers. If you, like, are, like, like-minded, let’s hang out.

ASWF [angry, single, white feminist] seeks suitably emasculated oppressor to discuss the horrors of the patriarchy. You must love Andrea Dworkin, Mary Daly, and ritual self-flagellation. You also won’t get any, you scumbag. And I’ll probably leave you for a womyn in the midst of the relationship. Serves you right.
 
Saturday, May 15, 2004
 

Giving Back to the Community


The entire Western World must know by now that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t publish on the weekends. So, dear reader, undoubtedly the appearance of this post on a Saturday has resulted in massive confusion and widespread disarray. In fact, we heard that a riot broke out in Buffalo (NY) as the result of this posting. But, we suppose, the unruly mob may simply be protesting the fact that it inhabits Buffalo (NY). We know we would.

Still, the question beckons: Why is the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” publishing on one of its glorious days off?

If we were more concerned with self-puffery, we’d tell you that we are posting in order to inform our massive readership of the various lauds we have received from fancy-pants figures world-wide. You know, real heavy-hitters. The kinds of people who hold down jobs.

For instance, we have already pocketed praise from such notables as: James Taranto of opinionjournal.com; Stefan Beck of The New Criterion; Harry Siegel of New Partisan; and our mothers. In addition, we even received an e-mail from Fox News’ Brit Hume. Granted, Mr. Hume corrected our grammar. Still, he seemed to enjoy the site. All we need is acclaim from Mark Steyn, Christopher Hitchens, and Rod Liddle and we have effectively stormed the proverbial castle of the proverbial chattering classes. Hint, hint, fellows!

But, no: We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are far too humble to spend a Saturday basking in the luminous acclamations we have taken in. Rather, we are publishing on a Saturday for a reason that is more, well, humble.

As even the careless reader of our humble “weblog” must know by now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” post one article per weekday. This leaves very little room for us to mention other “weblogs” that we enjoy. And, naturally, this is particularly unfortunate because it does not allow us to give kudos back to the “web” community that has been so kind to us.

No longer. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” want to spend some time proffering a bit of praise. Naturally, we want to thank all of the “weblogs” that were nice enough to discuss our site—whether we paid them or not. As a token of our esteem, we’ve highlighted these “weblogs” on the right side of our site, under the clever title “weblogs.”

We particularly would like to thank Joanne Jacobs, the undisputed queen of the education “weblogs,” for helping to publicize our First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition. We also offer kudos to the clever chinpokomon.com for the same reason.

We feel the need to give some commendation to vodkapundit.com, which linked to our Do-It-Yourself Patriotism Quiz. As anyone familiar with the Internet must know, however, vodkapundit.com gets more hits than Jerry Cooney (before his retirement). As a result, we’re not particularly sanguine that our mention of the Absolut Pundit will have a demonstrable effect on his popularity.

Anyone who fails to read the aforementioned “weblogs” is pretty darn foolish. There is one site, however, with which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” feel a certain eerie kinship. This, dear reader, is the “weblog” delicately titled The Llama Butchers. We’re not quite sure what draws us in to their site each day: The mordant wit; the sassy shout-outs; the groovy pictures. We must say, however, that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are utterly jealous of their abilities with Photoshop. Whereas their site comes adorned with sundry exempla of attractive and hysterical pictures, our “weblog” looks like the desiccated work of Luddites. Which, come to think, it is.

So, not only do we urge you to peruse the Llama Butchers’ site, we offer a curse for those who don’t: May your only daughters win a Gerard Depardieu look-alike contest. (That ought to send some traffic their way.)

As to the other “weblogs” who have mentioned us, don’t worry—your day will come. After all, we can’t give back to the community all in one day. Even Martha Stewart probably won’t be allowed to manage that.
 
Friday, May 14, 2004
 

W(h)ither “Social Text”?


If you’re anything like us, dear reader, you lost interest in the chi-chi neo-Marxist journal “Social Text” years ago. After all, this was the brilliant rag that unwittingly published physicist Alan Sokal’s vicious parody of postmodernist pseudo-science. In this infamous piece, Mr. Sokal opined, among other idiocies, that physical reality was a social construct. Somehow, this didn’t compel the “editorial collective” at “Social Text” to dismiss the article; rather, they blithely published the piece and were horrified to discover that Mr. Sokal had duped them.

As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured that the game was up for the academic superstars who edited “Social Text”; previously a widely read magazine with great influence over international public discourse, “Social Text” would now become less popular than a “Noam Chomsky Sings the Blues” LP. We posited that the White House, which formerly had a direct line to Stanley Aronowitz and the other professorial eminences associated with “Social Text,” didn’t even bother sending the “collective” a holiday greeting card.

As far as we were concerned, “Social Text” had become the Jim Bakker of American higher education. The only reason anyone would grab a copy of the rag would be for kindling.

Recently, however, a correspondent from our Hackensack (NJ) office sent us an article from the Autumn 2002 number of “Social Text.” Immediately, we were aghast: Duke University Press still publishes this magazine? This must amount to the most expensive manufacturing of future toilet paper in the history of academic publishing. But, it is postmodern toilet paper, which means that it’s multi-ply.

The article in question deals with the American response to September 11, and bears the unsavory title “Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots.” The piece is the handiwork of Ms. Jasbir K. Puar, an assistant professor of women’s studies and geography at Rutgers University, and Mr. Amit S. Rai, who teaches so-called “cultural studies” and so-called “literary theory” at the Eugene Lang New School for Social Research.

Right off the bat, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were willing to admit that Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai came up with a catchy title—especially for an academic paper. It almost sounds like the beginning of a rib-tickling joke: “A monster, a terrorist, and a fag walk into a bar….”

But, alas, the article proved disappointing. Its first sentence asks: “How are gender and sexuality central to the current ‘war on terrorism’?” Gee, we don’t know; this query really grabs our attention. Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai continue:

This question opens on to [sic] others: How are the technologies that are being developed to combat “terrorism” departures from or transformations of older technologies of heteronormativity, white supremacy and nationalism? In what way do contemporary counterterrorism practices deploy these technologies, and how do these practices and technologies become the quotidian framework through which we are obliged to struggle, survive, and resist?

Hold on a second: Those are the queries that Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai believe that their original question, as they delicately put it, “opens on to”? Whilst we were perusing the first paragraph, a few other questions came to mind: What kind of strings did Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai have to pull to get this pseudo-academic drivel published? And how does their scholarly lucubration reflect on the prestigious universities these two charlatans represent? We guess those questions are too, in a word, quotidian.

Also, dear reader, note the obligatory use of scare-quotes around the word terrorism. This is an example of poststructuralist moral vacuity at its finest: After all, Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai undoubtedly opine, who’s to say that the killing of three thousand civilians is “terrorism”? How, in fact, does the destruction of the World Trade Center differ, from, say, an episode of “Cheers”? Touché, touché!

We know what you are asking yourself, dear reader: What do Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai aim to prove in their article? Well, they inform us that "indeed, as we hope to show, gender and sexuality produce both hypervisible icons and the ghosts that haunt the machines of war.” Oh. Okay. One Question: Do gender and sexuality also haunt the machines of wretched prose? From our cursory reading of this example of scholarship, we’d suppose so.

Essentially, Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai attempt to demonstrate that the American media after September 11 have helped to form “an aggressive heterosexual patriotism” that turns the unfortunate Osama bin Laden into a monster, a terrorist, and (you guessed it) a fag.

Personally, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can understand Ms. Puar’s and Mr. Rai’s grievances. After all, we prefer our patriotism to be dainty and sexually ambiguous. “Aggressive heterosexual patriotism” is so 1980s.

As reasonable as all this is, the article still left us with a lingering sense of dissatisfaction. For one, it’s so sloppy. One sentence begins “For the past thirty years, since 1968, the Western academy….” Um, guys, you wrote this article in 2002. We hope you can realize that your math leaves a little bit to be desired. But mathematics is, we suppose, patriarchal and heteronormative anyway.

Then there’s their mention of “the lauding of national 'gay heros' [sic].” Do you mean as opposed to gay hoagies? Come on, Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai: You guys are coasting. If you want to offer an example of postmodern derring-do in this sentence, you should refer to “gay hero(e)s.” That way, you refer both to Superman and submarine sandwiches. Haven’t years of poring over the work of Fredric Jameson taught you anything?

Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai even inform their reader(s) that “LGBTQ” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer.” Geez: Everyone who’s spent a nanosecond on a college campus knows this! Why don’t Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai solve the hidden mysteries of TV (“television”) and TBA (“to be announced”)?

We also savored this phrase from the piece: “the very notion of the normal psyche, which is in fact part of the West’s own heterosexual family romance.” NB (“nota bene”) the use of “in fact”; Ms. Puar and Mr. Rai employ it as a synonym for “abracadabra.”

As if these inanities weren’t enough to rankle us, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag” ends “by offering readings from the terror episode of The West Wing.” Boy, they sure did put a lot of work into this piece. From the looks of the TV (“television”) program alone, it appears as if this article required at least a half-hour of painstaking research. Or is an installment of “The West Wing” a full hour? If so, you’re probably thinking what we’re thinking: Somebody deserves tenure.
 
Thursday, May 13, 2004
 

Uropathy, or Should We Drink Yellow Snow?


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have had occasion in this space to touch upon the dubiousness of New Age medicine. Recently, however, a correspondent from our Calcutta (India) office sent us word about a few websites devoted to so-called “urine therapy” (a.k.a. “uropathy,” a.k.a. “drinking pee”).

That’s right, dear reader: Urine therapy. And, alas, it’s as foreboding as it sounds. A website delightfully entitled “Shirley’s Wellness Cafe [sic]: Holistic Health Care for People & Animals” turned out to be a treasure trove of information on urine therapy for, well, people and animals. We guess that covers Fabio.

This suspicious site proudly touts urine therapy as “A cure for all diseases.” We know what you are thinking, dear reader: Even jaundice? Well, though Shirley doesn’t specify, we’re pretty sure that she’d vouch for urine’s medicinal properties in this case. After all, our friend Shirley claims that a swift swig of the original golden oldie can cure AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Mononucleosis (or what some people in the medical community refer to as “going to college”), sinus infections, &c.

With this impressive record, we’re sure that urine is making the pharmaceutical companies yellow with envy.

Nor is our friend Shirley the only webmisstress hawking this rather unsavory cure for whatever ails you. Rather, a website with the more professional sounding title of “Biomedx.com” offers a disquisition on the topic. The site, in fact, informs us that “Urine is not, as many believe, the excess water from food and liquids that goes through the intestines and is ejected from the body as ‘waste.’” No? No: “It is much different and much more.” Well, we’ll agree that it’s much more—especially when you have to clean it off the floor.

The folks at “Biomedx” helpfully offer a few recipes for imbibing the water we all make. Thankfully, this cleared up a question we had about the process: Can we at least put the urine in a cup before we drink it? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t sufficiently flexible to swill the stuff without, as they say, a middle-man. Especially the female members of the staff.

According to the geniuses behind “Biomedx,” urine therapy can remedy, among other horrid diseases, the blight known as “hyperactivity.” Okay: We drink a steaming cup of wee-wee, and finally cure ourselves of our “hyperactivity.” That seems totally worth it.

The competent staff at “Biomedx” also points its readers to a treatise by one Dr. A. H. Free, entitled Urinalysis in Clinical Laboratory Practice. Dr. Free—who is, coincidentally, the stepson of the famous I. P. Freely, author of The Yellow River—offers a list of urine constituents that the folks at “Biomedx” claim “will knock your socks off.” Knock our socks off? It should at least knock our boxer shorts off: At least that would take care of one step in the process.

The goodies found in your urine, according to Dr. Free, include: Alanine, Amino acids, Biotin, Iodine, Lysine, and Tyrosine. And, we hasten to add, piss. The Good Doctor Free tells us that urine also contains Riboflavin, which is good news: Finally, we can get our daily dose of the stuff without having to ingest anything as disgusting as “Chex Mix.”

Our friend Shirley proffers even more intriguing information about uropathy. “In India,” she informs us, “urine therapy is called ‘shivambu.’” How very interesting. In most of America, it’s called “crazy.” In Berkeley, CA and Cambridge, MA, it’s called “breakfast.” (Talk about “instant breakfast”!)

If you would like to learn more about urine therapy—and, honestly, who among us would not?—we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly suggest you purchase Coen van der Kroon’s learned tome, entitled “The Golden Fountain.” According to our friend Shirley, “Native North Americans, gypsies and Eskimoes are among those cited in his book.” Oh, well, we’re no longer suspicious, then. After all, who would be foolish enough not to take medical advice from the Dutch?

Call us a bunch of truculent homicidal subversives, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t entirely convinced by the advocates of urine therapy. We suppose, however, that it couldn’t hurt: After all, it probably tastes better than Diet Fresca.
 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
 

MTV’s “Cribs”


As even the casual reader of our “weblog” should know, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are highly unlikely to savor MTV, the network whose abbreviation, ironically enough, stands for “Music Television.” Indeed, given our collective antipathy for “rock-n-roll” music, we generally consider MTV about as dastardly as the Tamil Tigers. (And, no, the Tamil Tigers are not a team in the Canadian Football League.)

To be sure, there is much to despise about MTV. This is the channel, after all, that launched the “reality television” craze, which appears to be based on the notion that we are all eager to see a suitably multicultural collection of randy adolescents intermittently brawl and nuzzle. Pardon us if we tune into something with a bit more intellectual heft—like the Home Shopping Network.

In fact, the programming of MTV marks one of the paltry instances when we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” actually agree with our feminist friends: This network is about as wholesome as the Marquis de Sade. We would prefer our children watch a passel of so-called “snuff” films to the noxious garbage displayed on MTV.

We might even go so far as to claim that we would prefer our children watch the movie “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.” But, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that such a statement may simply be an example of rhetorical bravado. After all, viewing that movie is possibly the only thing more uncomfortable than one’s own high school reunion.

There is one show on MTV, however, that seems to be just a bit more appalling than the typical palaver the network displays. This, dear reader, is MTV’s “Cribs,” which is the subject of today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.”

MTV’s “Cribs”—for those of you blessed enough to be unfamiliar with it—is a program in which various B- and C+ List celebrities take the viewer on a whirlwind tour of their domiciles. And their private jets. And their man-made volcanoes. And their slaves’ quarters. You get the picture. It’s kind of like the late, unlamented “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” yet with more cornrows.

For instance, on one episode of “Cribs,” runty “rap” sensation Lil’ Bow Wow shows off his colossal sneaker collection, demonstrating that a more appropriate appellation for him would be Big Conspicuous Consumption. On sundry other shows, vaguely familiar television actors reveal their mammoth fleets of Ford Mustangs. And so on, and so forth.

Naturally, MTV’s “Cribs” never offers its viewers what they really want to see: Where are David Hasselhoff’s girdles? Where’s the string on Keanu Reeves’ back that makes him talk? Who is unfortunate enough to have landed the job as Sally Struthers’ chef? Does this person receive overtime pay? And when did Tim Robbins auction off his brain?

Instead of these valuable tidbits, MTV’s “Cribs” offers an assortment of ne’er-do-wells ostentatiously exhibiting the private movie theaters and lap pools they have purchased by means of their coruscating non-talent. Invariably, moreover, these stars have such horrid taste that they make the Beverly Hillbillies seem like Boston Brahmin.

What, you may be asking yourselves, makes MTV’s “Cribs” any more offensive than the network’s regular fare? Well, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly assert that “Cribs” peddles a far more malignant view of America to children. Sure, MTV’s videos offer incessant reminders of how pathologically inarticulate various “musicians” can be. But “Cribs” exhibits the rewards these lummoxes reap as the result of their production of atrociously unentertaining detritus.

At least the athletes featured on the show appear to offer the world some tangible property that resulted in squillions of dollars. If you’re 7’8” tall, perhaps you merit a private golf course. But what did Kid Rock do to deserve untold riches? And, no, appearing in the movie “Joe Dirt” doesn’t count. He deserves thumbscrews for that.
 
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 

“The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel”: A Do-It-Yourself Quiz


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” couldn’t help but notice that our friends on the political Left are often bleating about the purported questioning of their patriotism. Indeed, it appears as if asking the average Howard Dean voter directions to the nearest Post Office is tantamount to charging him with lese majesty.

It seems to us, in fact, that the number of complaints about charges of insufficient patriotic fervor far outnumber the actual charges of insufficient patriotic fervor. But, to be fair, we don’t read the oeuvre of Ann Coulter, so our friends on the Left may be pointing their fingers at her. Last we checked, she thought everyone but John Wayne was guilty of treason.

Still, if we were betting men and girls, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would wager that the fear of being tarred and feathered as unpatriotic is, at very least, highly exaggerated.

As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have devised a helpful do-it-yourself quiz, which is designed to inform the American reader whether he is sufficiently jingoistic. If he isn’t, we suggest he get the heck out of our great nation. The pinko commie. If you have a few moments to spare, dear reader, take the following examination by circling your answers on your computer screen by means of the extremely scarce number three pencil.

“The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel”: A Do-It-Yourself Quiz Devised by the Testing Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”:

1. A Frenchman approaches you, and tells you that America has become an imperialistic hyper-power. In response, you:

[A]: Politely inform him that you heartily agree, and suggest that America follow the great French tradition of anti-imperialism (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, Napoleon, French Indo-China, &c.).
[B]: Politely inform him that any country enraptured by Jerry Lewis and Mickey Rourke would do best to keep its opinions to itself.
[C]: Politely inform him that your favorite Frenchman in history was Robespierre.

2. A Canadian approaches you, and tells you that American popular culture is a pernicious influence on the world. In response, you:

[A]: Hastily inform him that you heartily agree, and suggest that the world would be a far better place if more Rick Moranis movies were in international circulation.
[B]: Hastily inform him that Canadians are responsible for such blights as Loverboy and Bryan Adams. As such, until they produce a few more Oscar Petersons, they ought to keep their opinions to themselves.
[C]: Hastily inform him that Canada’s opinion on world affairs is about as important as Heather Locklear’s on the poetry of Ezra Pound.

3. A German fellow approaches you, and tells you that America needs to curb its overweening attempts at world-wide hegemony. In response, you:

[A]: Blithely inform him that you heartily agree, and suggest that America follow the great German tradition of contempt for power.
[B]: Blithely inform him that German tips on foreign policy should have as much clout as dating tips from John Bobbit.
[C]: Blithely inform him that he is German.

Now that you’ve taken the quiz, dear reader, you can see how you’ve done:

If you’ve answered [C] for every question, then you are as American as apple pie, hamburgers, and pornography. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hope that God-fearing patriots such as you continue to live long, prosper, and keep reading The American Conservative. After all, it’s hard to top the nationalistic passion of such ardent American patriots as Taki Theodoracopoulos.

If you’ve answered [B] for every question, then you are provisionally accepted as a resident of the United States of America. The Feds, however, will be watching you, you dirty hippy.

If you’ve answered [A] for every question, get the heck out of our country! We don’t need the likes of you around. And take your subscriptions to The Nation and The New Left Review with you! We humbly suggest you take up residence in a country of which you are fonder, like North Korea. Your vigorous displays of dissent will surely be welcome there.

If you’ve answered a combination of [C], [B], and [A], you are really making things hard for us. Look, man, we weren’t math majors, okay? So figure out what you want to do on your own. May we recommend, however, that you wipe that smarmy smile off your face? And go clean up your room. And stop tracking mud across our clean kitchen floors.
 
Monday, May 10, 2004
 

Things That Are Pretty Good: Being the First in an Intermittent Series Discussing Some of the Pleasant Phenomena We Associate with Life as We Know It


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” receive all kinds of missives from devoted fans. Oftentimes, such epistles touch upon the good-natured quality of our rib-tickling humor; our “weblog” is, as one eager reader reminds us, “a beacon of classy whimsy that serves as a sterling example of all that is good in Western culture.” Sure, that reader was a staff member’s uncle, but we hasten to agree with his unbiased sentiment.

Every once in a great while, however, the Fan Mail Department at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” comes upon a more cautious e-mail. To be sure, the letter in question praises the staff fulsomely; still, it makes clear that our humble “weblog” leaves something to be desired.

In short, a number of devotees of our site have begun to suspect that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” seldom offer commentary that is, for lack of a better word, positive. In fact, it is fair to say that a few of our readers find our outlook on life a wee bit pessimistic, if not downright futilitarian.

These opinions, coming as they do from the keyboards of some of our most loyal followers, shook us to the core. Indeed, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” spent our collective weekends in pensive self-examination. Is it really true, we collectively asked ourselves, that we come across, as one fan put it, “like a dyspeptic group of jaundiced nay-sayers”? We certainly hope not.

In order to remedy this potential flaw in our “weblog,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have taken two steps toward a cure. First, we have hired a team of motivational speakers to fill our lives with happiness, joy, and kindred delights. (Already, we have grown irritated by the nauseating bromides that dribble out of the mouths of these dime-store Deepak Chopras. And we can’t tolerate so-called New Age music.)

In addition, we have taken to providing you, dear reader, a new intermittent series devoted to discussing some of life’s pleasures. This way, our humble “weblog” will not only proffer condemnations of such irksome phenomena as the word “moist.” On the contrary: On occasion, we shall expatiate on a few of the things that make us glad we’re alive. Other than the fear of death, of course.

Accordingly, we are proud to announce that today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” will be the first installment of this rosier view of human existence. Our Marketing Department has bestowed this new series with the catchy moniker “Things That Are Pretty Good: Being the First in an Intermittent Series Discussing Some of the Pleasant Phenomena We Associate with Life as We Know It.”

With all this in mind, allow us to inaugurate this novel introduction to our “weblog” by focusing in on one of life’s greatest pleasures. We refer, of course, to road rage.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t particularly good drivers ourselves. In fact, a few weeks ago we received honorary memberships to the Asian Women’s Driving Association for our vehicular dexterity.

Even so, there isn’t anything we like better than a good spot of road rage. It seems, in fact, that almost anything can trigger this uncontrollable wrath in us—provided we are in a car. Let us touch upon a small number.

First, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” always seem to get stuck in more lights than a moth. What’s worse, we can’t stand it when we are caught at a light behind a driver who is unresponsive to the substitution of a red light for a green one.

Without fail, we seem to be directly at the heels of a chucklehead who is so busy investigating his hairline in the rear-view mirror, he hasn’t noticed the fact that he is, as they say, holding up the works. And, again without fail, this narcissistic goon recognizes the verdant color of the light just before we have the opportunity to honk our horn at him. Instead, we are left hurling various nasty epithets, such as “imbecile,” “moron,” and “Jessica Simpson.”

We also loathe drivers who appear to believe that taking a right-hand turn is the world’s most daring and sophisticated vehicular maneuver. As such, whist we are trapped behind their Dodge Darts, these addlebrains are heading rightward in about as much time as the performance of the average Wagner opera.

Well, dear reader, there you have it. In a life beset with tragedies, disappointments, and Charlie Rose, road rage is a great delight. If the world has got you down, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly suggest that you hop into your Honda Civic, buckle up, and scream your head off at the dimwits with whom you share the road. As DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson noted years ago, “The Best Things in Life Are Free.” Given the price of gas these days, however, the best things in life are about $4.50 a gallon.
 
Friday, May 07, 2004
 

An Exercise in Meta-Blogging


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t want to break our collective arms patting ourselves on our collective backs, but we have noticed that we have become rather popular in the Land of Blog. After all, we have only been in business for a bit more than a month and we have found something of a niche. We know this because our “weblog” receives more than three hits per day and we, the entire crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” only have three friends among us all. (Funny, that.)

So it seems as if we have successfully tapped into the people-who-despise-popular-culture-but-somehow-understand-references-to-Ray-Parker-Jr. demographic. And, man, what a lucrative demographic it is!

But before we indulge in a festival of amour propre, we should at least note that, in many respects, our competition isn’t that fierce. And this brings us to the topic of today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”: Terrible “weblogs.”

Now, don’t get us wrong, dear reader: There are plenty of excellent items on the menu of Café Blog. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” particularly enjoy any “weblog” that makes positive mention of us, or posts a link to our site. Such “weblogs” are, as kids these days say, nifty-keen.

Yet there are countless subsidiaries of what Al Gore refers to as “my Internet,” and many of these stops on the Tour de Blog are strikingly wretched. In fact, it seems as if a web address is about as valuable these days as an apartment in downtown Detroit. You know the kind of “weblog” we mean: The type with scintillating titles such as “Jen’s Blog.”

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: The crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is going to eat up the rest of this post grousing about sub-par “weblogs”—intermittent postings, bad grammar, no editing, tepid commentary, &c.

But this, dear reader, is where we go one better. Instead of offering a list of complaints, we are going to present you with hypothetical examples of atrocious “bloggery,” so that you can glean an impression of what rankles us without enduring our typical bleating. Without further ado, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” proudly offer our first examples of meta-blogging.

Example the First:
“Re-Re’s Bling-Bling Blog”


November 24, 2003
Word up!!! I went to the chillest, the illest concert last nizight. R. Kelly waz in tha’ house, you know what I’m sayin’? It was the chillest. And the illest.

November 22, 2003
I’m so psyched!! I got tickets to the chillest, the illest concert last nizight. R. Kelly is gonna’ be in tha’ house, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s gonna’ be off da’ hook. It’s gonna’ be the chillest, and possibly the illest.

November 20, 2003
Yo, yo, yo!! You know who I’m talkin’ ‘bout! Oh, yeah—that’s right! Re-Re’s back in the blizogosophere. She’s all up in your eye-hole. N’stuff.

November 18, 2003
Wassup!! I gotta’ give a shout out to my man Dr. Pathology. He’s the chillest, you know what I’m sayin’, bro?

Example the Second:
“Carl’s Blog Jam”


December 5, 2003
I want to apologize to all my fans out there. I can’t believe it’s been almost ten months since I last posted. Where has all the time gone? Don’t worry, though: in the meantime, I found this sweet article on turkey basting.

March 6, 2003
Wow, what a horrible day I had at work today!

January 3, 2003
Ted said the funniest thing last night.

April 12, 2002
I’m sorry it’s like been forever since I posted last. Still, I got word of an article on recent matters: the Falklands War is over. Read about it all here.

Example the Third:
“tina’s blog”


April 24, 2004
i am like soooo pissed at my boyfriend. we went to play put-put last night, and i was all like: that is so not my fault. and he was like: yeah right. anywho, i am major upset with him. i culd care lesss. not even my anni defranco albums are chearing me up right now. total bummer :(

April 23, 2004
i am like totally and i mean totally in love with my boyfriend. we are like so in luv. its awesome. he’s totally liek that guy in “romeo & julliet”. can things ever go wrong? when he was looking at me and the television last night, its like we so connected. ;-)

April 22, 2004
okay. this message is a total shout out to kristina. you know who you are babe <3. i was thinking: we are like totally the same person. we both like billy joel and we both are pschyology majors. its like were totally the same woman, you know. you go girl.
 
Thursday, May 06, 2004
 

“Feminist Media Studies,” or What’s All the Buzz About?


Perhaps, dear reader, like us, you haven’t been keeping up with the journal “Feminist Media Studies.” Frankly, we let our subscription lapse a few years ago; it was a tough decision, but the financial backers of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” only allow a certain amount of money to be spent on periodicals, and thus we were begrudgingly forced to choose between “Feminist Media Studies” and “Radical Islamist Karate Weekly.” For a while, we didn’t know which one to pick, but then the latter’s feature on Jew-Jitsu sealed the deal.

Recently, however, a correspondent from our Dallas (TX) office sent us an article from the March 2003 number of “Feminist Media Studies.” This self-proclaimed “major new peer-reviewed journal” is published under the auspices of Routledge Press, which seems to be in a contest with Duke University Press to offer the public the most ridiculous pseudo-academic dross.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t entirely sure who’s winning this dogfight, but, if one throws the rag “Feminist Media Studies” into the mix, we are tilting toward shouting “Advantage Routledge.”

And what, you may ask, makes “Feminist Media Studies” so preposterous? Well, for starters, the March 2003 issue begins with an editors’ introduction entitled “Locating Gender.” Now that a year has passed since the publication of this installment of “FMS” (if you will), we earnestly hope that they have found it. After all, if these academic experts on feminism can’t track down “gender,” what luck will the average schmoe have?

In addition to this page-turning introduction, “Feminist Media Studies” presents its reader(s) such “peer-reviewed” wonders as Linda K. Fuller’s “Teledildonic ‘Safe Sex’ with the Penultimate Pet: Virtual Valerie, Cybersexual Sensation.” This leads us to wonder: What articles were so insipid that they failed to make it through the obviously rigorous “peer-review” process of the good-ole “FMS”?

Alas, however, our correspondent from the Dallas (TX) office didn’t include this scholarly lucubration along with the snippets of “Feminist Media Studies” she posted, and thus we suppose we shall be forever condemned to having unsafe “teledildonic sex.” Them’s the breaks.

Our Dallas (TX) office did send, however, an article by one Lynn Comella, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts (at Amherst, we’d wager). This short piece, entitled “(Safe) Sex and the City: On Vibrators, Masturbation, and the Myth of ‘Real’ Sex,” is only one of two articles in the self-same issue of “FMS” devoted to Sarah Jessica Parker’s HBO sit-com. Apparently, the editorial board of “Feminist Media Studies” has something of a “Sex in the City” fetish.

Right about now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” should admit that we have never actually seen an episode of the aforementioned program: We prefer to get our titillations the old-fashioned way—through Dr. Ruth.

Even so, we thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Comella’s piece. The second paragraph of it begins with two sentences that can only be termed humdingers:

I first learned of Sex and the City’s “vibrator episode” during the course of conducting field research for a dissertation I am completing on the history and cultural significance of women-owned and –operated sex toy stores in the US. As part of my research I was working on the sales floor at a women-owned sex toy store in New York City called Toys in Babeland.

Boy, Ms. Comella has really been hard at work on her dissertation! Just think: While some PhD candidates are wasting their time in libraries, Ms. Comella is diddling in the serious world of “field research.” This led us to wonder what else this aspiring academician did by way of investigation. We hope that the Massachusetts tax-payer flipped the bill for this work: After all, we’re sure that the citizens of, say, Fall River, MA would delight in Ms. Comella’s final project. You might even say they’d get off on it. And, given the cost of batteries these days, we guess you could say that Ms. Comella got off on us.

In the course of the article, the diligent Ms. Comella informs us that “Masturbation has a long and venerable history in the world of feminist pleasure activism.” “Feminist pleasure activism”? All this time we’ve associated the Women’s Movement with forebodingly misandrist rallies featuring signs with catchy slogans such as “Men Suck.” We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can’t believe we’ve missed out on this “feminist pleasure activism.” In fact, right after we finish posting this column, we’re going to call up our local NOW representative and find out how we can ride the “feminist pleasure activism” gravy train, if you will.

We know what you are asking yourself, dear reader: What conclusion does Ms. Comella draw in her scholarly addition to “Feminist Media Studies”? Well, it appears as if the soon-to-be Dr. Comella discovered that “Sex and the City’s discussion of vibrator use and female masturbation hardly reflects a progressive sexual politic, feminist or otherwise.” Ain’t that a bitch?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly suggest that you, dear reader, compose a letter to the powers-that-be at HBO and inform them that Ms. Comella’s thoughtful article made you realize the politically reactionary nature of “Sex and the City.” If we don’t get the word out, dear reader, some may falsely charge Ms. Comella with intellectual masturbation.
 

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