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Friday, July 30, 2004
 

I’m in Love with You, Crack Young Staff, or A Way with the Ladies


As the whole World-Wide Web must know by now, dear reader, one of the most popular features of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is surely its Official Advice Column. Over the past few months, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have helped manifold (i.e., three) readers of our humble “weblog” with a variety of quandaries that have vexed them.

Recently, however, we received a particularly appealing e-mail from a delightful female who gave herself the clever pseudonym A. Nother Distressed Lover. Normally, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” offer abbreviated versions of our readers’ queries, for the purposes of euphony. But there is something so, in a word, charming about this particular e-missive that we have decided to reprint it essentially in full.

Sure, it’s a bit long. But, man, is it ever great. It reads:

Dear Crack Young Staff,

I am not above attempting to flatter you by telling you that I have not written to any other advice columns, either in the lower 48 states, or even Canada. Why, you ask? Because you, Crack Young Staff, are the only ones who can help me.

I’m in love, Crack Young Staff. But, alas, it’s not a simple crush on the pimply teenager next door, the cute R.A. on my brother’s floor, the guitar player from some popular band, or even the start football player on my college campus. No, Crack Young Staff...I’m in love with you [!].

To be more precise, I’m in love with the roughly 53% of your Crack Young Staff that is male. Which of you in particular has stolen my heart, you ask? I’m not really sure; due to the joint nature of your posts on this “weblog,” it’s difficult to say. In any case, you’ve collectively won my undying affection.

Everytime I type the beautiful “URL” to your humble “weblog” into my browser, my breath catches in anticipation as I wait for the page to load. I can’t help but immerse myself daily in your witty lucubrations. When you don’t update, I read your archives. I embarrass myself by laughing aloud in my place of work when reading your “weblog” over lunch break.

You are clever, you are funny, and, what’s more, you are just plain right about things. Opinionated-ness qua opinionated-ness isn’t always attractive, dear Crack Young Staff. But opinionated-ness when you’re right—that’s very appealing.

In desperation brought on by True Love, I even thought of applying for your internship position this summer, but the fear of rejection held me back.

My imagination runs away with me, and I picture myself as the girlfriend of one of the (male) members of the Crack Young Staff [!]. You sit and type your daily entry in your humble “weblog,” and I sit beside you, unable to tear my adoring eyes from the movements of your fingers on the keyboard [!!]. As your forehead furrows in concentration, I tenderly offer you a glass of water and a white handkerchief to wipe your brow [!!!].

Just sitting beside you makes me the happiest women on earth. (Doing your laundry and washing your dishes both come in a close second.)

I have often dreamed about telling you of my undying affection, but the many obstacles lying between you and myself have always made me hesitate. You are no doubt older than I, and you live somewhere far from both my hometown and college. I know that I am not your equal in intelligence, wit, charm, vocabulary, age, or maturity, and probably not in anything else, either. In fact, I am your inferior in perhaps every way [!].

(There is another possible obstacle that I have not mentioned, as I can hardly bring myself to entertain the thought…but could it be possible that each of you is already in the midst of a relationship? It is too terrible; my heart breaks even to think about it.)

I know that I am condemned to suffer from unrequited love [!]. But too long I have suffered in silence…at last, I write you with a humble plea. Not a plea for this love to be returned, as I know that can never be, but a plea for help…for your advice. Help me, please, “Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” Whatever shall I do?

With utmost love and devotion,
A. Nother Distressed Lover


Great horny toads! We know that this e-mail was a tad lengthy, but, frankly, we could read that kind of stuff all day!

Before we furrow our collective brows and answer this gorgeous co-ed’s epistle, let us first make a couple of niggling points. We don’t, naturally, endeavor to upset this lovely young woman at all, but we can tell that she is a very careful reader of our humble “weblog,” and we want to set her straight on a couple of matters.

To begin with, Ms. Lover, around 47 percent of the crack young staff is male. Approximately 47 percent of the staff is female, and the remaining members are what the academic community calls “transgender,” and the rest of the world calls “freaks.” So, if you are only interested in the males on staff, you are talking about roughly 47 percent of us—give or take. Still, Ms. Lover, there’s a lot of us to go around! (Hint, hint.)

In addition, we were distressed to find that you did not mention our Clement Greenberg good looks. Frankly, they’ve never failed us before.

But enough of these trifles. You’ve sent us a beautifully composed love letter, and we, like a pack of boorish pedants, have merely attempted some nugatory corrections. Let us get to the heart of the matter, Ms. Lover.

Frankly, Ms. Lover, you sound heavenly. Although we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” got involved in this whole “weblog” enterprise for the big bucks, we also hoped it would serve as a social lubricant, if you will. And, given that our collection of Robert Rauschenberg yuks have drawn a creature such as yourself into our clutches, it is clear that our plans have come to fruition.

In fact, Ms. Lover, the male members of our staff have poured over your touching missive with such aplomb that the females at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” have become faintly jealous.

As we speak, Ms. Lover, a few staff members have dimmed the lights at our headquarters, put some Barry White on the office sound system, poured themselves some spirits, and eagerly await your arrival.

So, Ms. Lover, we suppose this answers your query. We sincerely hope that you will drop by our state-of-the-art facilities, in order to meet the swashbuckling stallions who work at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” Although they are the type of relentless aesthetes who normally eschew such quotidian concerns as women, they’ll make an exception in your fine case.

Well, dear reader, there you have it: Another query solved by the wily wiles of the lady-killing crack young staff. If you have a hankering for advice, or need to get some flattery off of your chest, feel free to click the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen, and drop us a line.

Tom Jones, eat your heart out.
 
Thursday, July 29, 2004
 

The New Morality


As the estimable members of the chattering classes no doubt recognize, old-fashioned morals are most assuredly passé. To be certain, most of the smart set will still inform you that murder is wrong (except, of course, when it is committed by the enemies of America and Israel), but the other prohibitions collected in the Ten Commandments—whatever they say—are hopelessly retardataire.

In fact, the mere mention of morality is likely to produce a belly laugh among those in the know. The very word “morals” ushers in thoughts of Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and other dubious characters.

To be certain, dear reader, William Bennett didn’t exactly help advance the cause of traditional moral values, as it turned out that one of his hallmark moral values is known as “gambling.” Still, talk of traditional values had become un-hip far before Dr. Bennett discussed the phenomenon.

Accordingly, dear reader, our friends on the political Right are undoubtedly enraged by society’s lack of regard for moral principles. How, such benighted rogues ask themselves, can Americans continue to inhabit an ethical vacuum? How can we live unmoored from traditional values?

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: Don’t be so square, man. You’re coming across as way preachy. Dude.

Besides, as any clever fellow certainly knows by now, the Old Morality, with its prohibitions against adultery and kindred trifles, has merely given way to the New Morality. This, dear reader, is a cause for celebration, as the fusty Old Morality was, to begin with, depressingly, well, moral.

But what, you may be asking yourself, makes up the New Morality? What has replaced the archaic concerns yore?

Well, dear reader, the Official Armchair Philosophy Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has been pondering these very questions for some time. And, after literally minutes of brainstorming, it has come upon what it deems the beacon of the New Morality: Recycling.

Oh, come on, you say. Recycling, though an important means of lessening the harm that human beings can inflict upon our Mother Earth, is hardly the linchpin of any moral system.

On the contrary. Virtually nothing upsets members of the smart set quite like a failure to recycle. These days, one can have children out of wedlock and receive nothing but praise from friends and neighbors. But throw out a handful of soda cans in the trash and all heck will break loose.

Accordingly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are content to conclude that the Old Morality has given way to recycling—which serves as one of the few cherished activities in which we must all take part. One need not attend a church or temple, but one simply has to recycle.

Now, dear reader, don’t get us wrong: We do not conisder ourselves in-line with the lunatic fringe that considers recycling counterproductive. The Official Headquarters of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” are decked out with manifold recycling bins, and our staff is content to use them.

May we humbly suggest, however, that recycling is not a fully satisfying replacement for the Old Morality? Call us a passel of reactionaries, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t think tossing newspapers into purple bins suffices.

Thank goodness the New Morality also frowns upon smoking. With this important prohibition in place, who can doubt the New Morality's concern for all potential ethical quandries?
 
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 

Those Repellent Computer Smiley-Faces


To many people, the history of mankind is a story of human progress. Today, for instance, the world boasts many more “haves” and fewer “have nots” than it did a century ago. (We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” consider ourselves members of the “have not” community, since we cannot afford a Subaru Outback, but this is another matter.)

To be sure, there is much to recommend this vision of human history: Formerly, the world was full of repressive regimes run by odious thugocracies, and today we have Saudi Arabia. Times sure are a-changin'.

But before you wholeheartedly embrace this “narrative of progress” (as our friends in comparative literature departments would say), we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like to argue that things are not so cut-and-dried. After all, one needn’t be a staunch reactionary to conclude that a few things were better in the past.

For example, once upon a time one could use the locution “mankind” in the first sentence of your publication without fear of reprisal from what jazz singer Gil Scott-Heron termed “hairy-armed liberationists.” Further, the 1800s knew not Billy Joel. So much for unfettered progress.

May we suggest, dear reader, that human history is both the story of progress and decline? That way, we can set up these counterpoised pictures of the world—human history as unending progress and human history as unending decline—as straw men. Or, as our feminist friends would have it, straw womyn.

Let us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” offer you a humble example. For many of us, the computer has been a great boon. These fancy machines can perform all kinds of tasks at speeds previously unknown. And, thanks to Al Gore’s beauteous Internet, the computer has brought convenience, joy, and pornography to us all.

Still, the computer has not only served as an asset to man. And this brings us—rather circuitously, to be sure—to the subject of today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”: Those repellent computer smiley-faces. For, before the age of the computer, such irksome things were unheard of.

You know what we are talking about, dear reader: Virtually everyone with an e-mail account has received a message from an acquaintance just brimming with these silly computerized scribbles. For those of you blissfully unaware of what we are discussing, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” shall fashion a fake e-mail chock-a-block with computer smiley-faces.

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Fake E-Mail Chock-a-Block with Computer Smiley-Faces:

Alison,

It was so great to see you last night! You are so much fun :) I totally had a great time ;) I really liked your boyfriend :--) He is really awesome :>)

Well, talk to you soon. Hugs and kisses <3

Jen


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what you are thinking: If we all had an acquaintance half as irritating as Jen, nary a soul would support gun control. Very true. But that’s not our point. Surely you can see how these wretched sideways smiley-faces and kindred examples of computerized foolishness are extremely distasteful? They’re kind of like keyboard versions of dotting one’s lower-case “I”s and “J”s with circles, in place of the more conventional dot. They’re like the IBM way of informing your friends that you should have been named Barbie.

To make matters worse, these computerized eyesores are so unimaginative. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can easily come up with a few such e-mail calamities that are far more interesting. In fact, we offer a choice sample below:

/:--) [A smiling fellow with a comb-over that isn’t fooling anyone]

O-) [A smiling Cyclops with a huge eye]

#:^) [A smiling fellow with train tracks on his head]

:^) ? [A smiling sideways version of Batman’s notorious enemy, the Riddler]

--- [An Ethiopian]

X;--) [A winking Spike Lee, complete with Malcolm X baseball cap]

Well, dear reader, we think that you get the picture. Although we have to admit that our additions to the computer smiley-face are fairly clever, they’re still irritating. So, the next time anyone sends you a missive replete with such exercises in e-juvenilia, remind him—or, more likely, her—that they are a disgraceful blight. If that doesn’t stop your pal Bambie from writing to you, nothing will.
 
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
 

The Catch Phrase Craze, Part the Second (This Time, It’s Personal)


In a recent post, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were waxing pathetic about the dilapidated state of our “weblog.” Although our “website” used to be, as the Valley Girls say, mondo cool, it has become markedly less popular over the course of our seven-week vacation.

As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” after a few minutes of what the self-help crowd calls soul-searching, decided that our “website” sorely lacked catchy slogans that would somehow draw in potential readers. Kind of like “Coke is it,” but catchy. That sort of thing.

Anyway, as our regular readers must know, we made a plea to those who peruse this humble “weblog” to come upon a catch phrase that is suitably, well, catchy.

Little did we know, dear reader, that our readership—although smaller than it was a few short months ago—is a collection of extremely clever gentlemen and gentlewomen (excuse us, fellow feminists: Gentlewomyn). Soon after our call for fetching slogans, we received a bevy of them via e-mail from an assortment of learned characters.

We have received so many fancy phrases, dear reader, that we don’t quite know what to do with them all. Sure, some of them can be saved as hip tag-lines for upcoming posts, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t want to seem as if we are taking credit for our readers’ work. After all, our Official Catch Phrase Department could only come up with impoverished slogans drawn from soft rock lyrics: “Precious and Few Are the Moments We Two Can Hate,” &c.

As a result, the Official Layout Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has decided to use today’s post as a means to highlight some of the more clever slogans we received. This does not imply, of course, that we won’t employ these fetching phrases in future posts. On the contrary. Still, we wanted to offer our readership a list of some of the catchy slogans that some precocious fellows and ladies sent to us. Perhaps we can even get other readers to vote on which catch phrases they most esteem.

First, however, we want to offer a kind sentiment to everyone who took the time to come upon a catch phrase for us. If there were only three thousand more of you, our humble “weblog” would be very popular indeed. Naturally, it goes without saying that pretty much every catch phrase we received was brilliant. Including the stupid ones.

Without further ado, then, here are some highlights from our First Official Call for Catch Phrases on the Part of a Flagging Young “Weblog”:

1. “Hate is everything it’s cracked up to be” –Jack Riley

This, naturally, is pure catch-phrase genius. The esteemed Mr. Riley has made a clever play-on-words, which even the casual reader of our “weblog” should pick up on. Currently, our Official Catch Phrase Department is in the midst of negotiations with Mr. Riley’s employer, in order to see if he can join the crack young staff. We shall update you on the progress of these discussions as soon as possible.

2. “Love the hate” –The Outer Life Guy

How simple! How Elegant! No wonder this Guy’s “weblog” is well worth perusing!

3. “Hate: Fun. Drawn. And Quartered” –Stephen Baldwin

Another gem from a master of the “weblog.” The clever reader will catch a clever pun thrown into the mix. If this catchy slogan isn’t reason enough to check out Mr. Baldwin’s “website,” which is a daily festival of coruscating genius, we don’t know what is.

4. “Rousing the rabble and castigating the deserved, all to a beat you can dance to” –Dallas Sipes

Wow! Clearly, Ms. Sipes has spent many decades as an advertising executive. We are simply aghast that she would deign to write to us with a free suggestion. Bravo!

5. “He hate me” –Harry Siegel

Now, dear reader, this fetching slogan has a number of things to recommend it. First, it comes from the mind of Mr. Siegel, author and editor par excellence of New Partisan, one of the greatest “websites” on the Internet, in our humble opinion. In addition, as Mr. Siegel noted in his missive to us, “he hate me” is a pathetic slogan culled from the jersey of an infamous member of the XFL. The XFL, as far as we are concerned, is the only exception to H.L. Menken’s brilliant quip: No one every went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. As a result, this slogan has, as Susan Sontag would say, camp appeal. Plus, it may draw in the three people who watched the XFL.

6. “All the hate that’s fit to monger” –The Misspent One

First, dear reader, we should note that this clever slogan comes from the keyboard of another master of the World Wide Web, the proprietor of A Misspent Life. In addition, Mr. Misspent has made a brilliant allusion to The Gray Lady. To be sure, The New York Times, the slogan of which, if we recall correctly, is “All the news that fits,” or “All the news that prints to fit,” is a rather sordid rag. Once Jayson Blair left, we let our subscription lapse. Still, Mr. Misspent is clearly having some fun at the expense of The Gray Lady, which we very much enjoy.

Well, dear reader, those were just a sampling of the manifold slogans of genius we have received. Do not be surprised if some of them appear in the posts to come. And, naturally, if you have your own ideas for “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” we, the crack young staff, would love to hear from you. Simply click on the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. With your help, we may reach a few readers yet.
 
Monday, July 26, 2004
 

Back to the Daily Grind


As you must know by now, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been passing the last seven weeks relishing our criminally long summer break. To be sure, we have posted thrice weekly during this span of time, but we have still found ample opportunities to stop and, as it were, smell the roses. Or, in the case of those staff members who found themselves in Rome (IT), stop and smell the steaming piles of refuse strewn about the streets.

No longer. The Official Criminally Long Break of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is now officially over. Our Official Transition Team is—as we write this very post—undertaking the unsavory task of setting up our lavish headquarters for the regular comings and goings of our staff. A whole array of thankless jobs awaits our Official Transition Team: The purchase of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Post-It notes; the purchase of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” stationary; the purchase of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” staff version of “Police Academy 3”; &c.

In fact, in a couple of days, the entire staff will enjoy its First Annual “Back to the Daily Grind” Party. Through such a fete, the crack young staff can celebrate its return to its former bone-crushing weekday publishing schedule, and revel in its reversion to life in lifeless cubicles. No more slouching on the couch, watching countless hours of the “Lifetime” network; duty calls. It actually ain’t that much to celebrate, now that we think about it.

Anyway, it is during this Official Transition Time that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” get back in touch with our munificent financial sponsors and make sure that our relationship with them is on the up-and-up. Naturally, our fiscal backers allow us complete and total editorial autonomy; they would not dream of sullying our fine “weblog” with orders to schlock their latest products. On a totally unrelated note, Coors Light is a really, really fine beer.

Frankly, dear reader, it is a bit tough to come back to our punishing publishing schedule. Over the past seven weeks, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have had about as much work to complete as the San Diego Blizzard Patrol. Or the French defense minister. And now we find ourselves toiling away in a dank (though state-of-the-art) office building. We are, in the memorable words of Tom Lehrer, sliding down the razorblade of life.

Wow. We’ve just depressed ourselves. But a job is a job, and “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is a labor of love and lust. And, incidentally, it pays our bills and offers a fairly decent health-care package.

So, dear reader, you have much to which you may look forward in the weeks to come. Whereas we have previously offered a limited number of animadversions per week, you may now revel in our mordant wit and dexterous writing on a Monday through Friday basis. As usual, no phenomenon is too complex, too off-putting to escape our satirical barbs. In fact, we plan on excoriating Phil Collins soon.

Accordingly, dear reader, we urge you to tune in daily for your quotidian fix of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” For others, hating merely serves as a pleasant way of passing the time; for us, it is a way of life.
 
Friday, July 23, 2004
 

I’m in Love, Crack Young Staff


As the regular readers of our humble “weblog” will no doubt remember, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” used to sport an Official Advice Column feature. In the past, numerous (i.e., two) readers have received much needed help regarding a capacious assortment of quandaries.

As a reader recently reminded us, however, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have not featured this Official Advice Column in some time. To many, this may seem the result of the recent structural and administrative changes taking place at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” that you have no doubt read about in such sordid rags as The New York Times.

In truth, however, there has been a far less grandiose reason behind the disappearance of the Official Advice Column: No one has written us asking for advice in some time. At first, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” took this very personally: After offering our readers delectable nuggets of deep-fried wisdom free of charge, we have received nary a query. How bloody ungrateful, as our Danish friends would say.

All of our anger, however, has been assuaged by a missive sent by a regular reader. He has chosen his own pseudonym: “A Distressed Lover.” Sounds awfully interesting, doesn’t it? Still, in order to turn this into a real pseudonym (if you will), we must alter it to “A. Distressed Lover.” That way, it seems as if his first name is “Adam,” or “Albert.” Kind of like H. Ross Perot and R. Buckminster Fuller. You get the idea.

Anyway, A. Distressed Lover’s epistle is very interesting, and thus we are more than happy to devote today’s edition of our humble “weblog” to answering it. His letter has been edited for the purposes of euphony. And, naturally, we have embedded, if you will, some commentary in between one of its paragraphs. In part it reads:

Dear Crack Young Staff,

Though I have written to all the advice columns in the lower 48 [states], they have cruelly rejected me. I have nowhere to turn; you, crack young staff, are my only hope.


Before we continue with the letter, dear reader, we want to mention the lackluster job that A. Distressed Lover has shown in his attempt to get some advice. The United States of America, last we checked, is the home of fifty states—fifty-one, if you count Canada. A. Distressed Lover didn’t even bother contacting, say, the Juneau Daily Fishmonger.

You see, it’s like this. There’s this girl, and she, let me say it, is beyond compare. Beautiful, you ask? Not really. They say love is blind. My love, it seems, is Helen Keller.

The hitch (there has to be one) is that she is already attached to another guy. Now this faulty specimen of manhood couldn’t hold a candle to me in any way. He is unworthy of her noble love, but she cannot see, as she is blinded by his kind words and gifts of gumballs.

What can I do? I have tried persuasion, veiled threats, public humiliation. I am filled with visions of grabbing the nearest glove and solving things in the civilized way: Duel, to the death, man to man, kitchen knife to kitchen knife.

What can I do, my hatemongering advisors?

Yours, &c.

A. Distressed Lover


Wow. This, dear reader, is one heck of an epistle. Naturally, the Official Advice Department spent a good deal of time on this query. And, frankly, as the Official Advice Department hasn’t received a letter in a while, it is nice to see it do a bit of hard work. The slackers.

Anyway, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” came up with a few ideas regarding A. Distressed Lover’s predicament. To be honest, he’s in a really tough—and all too common—spot: How many of us have not pined in vain for some horrendously ugly chick? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” spend so much time chasing gals who look strikingly like Chewbacca that we barely have any time to write this humble “weblog.”

But we digress. The Official Advice Column believes that it is officially a bad idea to get into a duel with this ugly chick’s boyfriend. Sure, it was a close vote, but the Official Staff of the Official Advice Column decided that years in jail for shooting a guy who gives his rancid girlfriend gumballs isn’t worth it at all. And, if you think the ladies in the real world are ugly, wait till you get to prison. So we’re told.

Well, then, what advice do we have? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that A. Distressed Lover should do the mature thing: He should spread gossip far and wide that this ugly chick’s current boyfriend is a homosexual. In addition, A. Distressed Lover should fabricate some sordid details of this boyfriend sleeping with other guys—particularly with fairly ugly guys, as this will seem even more demeaning to his girlfriend.

Before you know it, Mr. A. Distressed Lover, you will be basking in the glories of sweet, sweet love with a horrendously unappealing woman. We, of course, are terribly jealous.

Well, dear reader, there you have it. Another dilemma solved, thanks to the wily wiles of the crack young staff. If you have a hankering for some advice, 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. Our specialty may be hate, but we minored in advice in college.
 
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 

Rome and America, A Quick Comparison


As our regular readers must know by now, a few of our staff members of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call them “Chip”—are spending their lengthy vacations in far-flung Rome (IT), home of some of the world’s most unhygienic people. These intrepid explorers, after weeks of intrepid exploring, have complied a list of things that are better in Rome than they are in the United States, so that those readers who are unlucky enough to be stuck in North America can get some sense of the delights that await them in the Mediterranean area.

In order to fill out this survey, our men and women in Rome also decided to list the things that are far superior in America, so that those readers who are lucky enough to be stuck in North America can get some sense of the horrors that await them in the Mediterranean area.

Without further ado, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” proudly present our official lists. (And yes, this will be on the final exam.)

List the First: Things That Are Better in Rome Than They Are in America

1. Pizza
2. Ice-cream
3. Ancient Ruins

List the Second: Things That Are Better in America Than They Are in Rome

1. Everything else

Well, dear reader, there you have it: The official list. We know what some of you are thinking: The crack young staff, a passel of jingoes that it is, has insulted the beautiful city of Rome by concluding that America is far superior to the former capitol of the West in almost every way. After all, things ain’t exactly heavenly in Butner (NC). And don’t even get us started on Branson (MI).

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: That’s a bunch of arrant nonsense. First, the two things that are manifestly superior in Rome are hardly nugatory. Take, for example, ice-cream. In Rome, one need not feel barraged by Ben & Jerry and their noxious brand of “feel good capitalism” in order to enjoy a delicious desert. When one purchases a cone, there’s no promise that your $5.50 will be spent helping the Rain Forest. The flavors, moreover, are not named after irksome hippy-rock singers.

Rather, a pleasant fellow wearing a charming paper hat simply hands you what you want, without the whole pseudo-moral blather. In short, there’s no hard sell for your soft serve. Instead, you can enjoy some superior ice-cream, “Grateful Dead” be darned.

Although this might seem trifling to some, it isn’t. The gelato in Rome is simply magical. Now, if we could only teach these people what deodorant is…
 
Monday, July 19, 2004
 

The Brutes’ Roots


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been lucky enough to be the recipients of much wisdom regarding the current War on Terrorism from our friends on the Left. To be sure, many of these nuggets of knowledge have been fairly obvious: The best way to fight terrorism is to appease its proponents at every turn; Syria is a wonderful country that has been alienated by our unsavory tactics; &c.

Oftentimes, however, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hear the exact same solution from our left-leaning comrades: The United States must examine the “root causes” of terrorism.

Now, this whole “root causes” spiel appears a little odd to us, because it always seems as if our friends on the Left—though they exhort us to examine the “root causes”—already know exactly what they are. And, curiously, the “root causes” turn out to be—mirabile dictu—the political causes that the Left championed before the War on Terrorism began. Strangely, then, the political Left understood the solution to the problem before the problem existed.

Some of the more skeptical readers among you may be thinking that the Left doesn’t give a jot about the causes of terrorism—root or otherwise. In fact, the phrase “root causes” appears to be a pithy way of hiding what the Left really means: Placing the Trendy Theories of the Left on Whatever Problem That Occurs in the World, Regardless of How They Fit in Their Given Contexts.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can certainly appreciate why our leftist friends prefer the “root causes” locution: The other one is so much clunkier.

Still, we think that the latter phrase, whatever its demerits in the realm of catchiness, proves far more truthful.

For instance, our friends on the Left are always positing economic inequality as one of the mysterious “root causes.” This seems strange: Last we checked, Osama bin Laden and his mostly American-educated henchmen didn’t strike us as particularly impoverished. In fact, if bin Laden is a beacon of poverty, we’d like to sign up on the poor list.

Naturally, those who prattle on about “root causes” are not particularly interested in listening to the remarks of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists of his ilk. (Ooh, did we say “terrorists”? Pardon us, Reuters readers, we meant “militants.”) Indeed, Mr. bin Laden has many complaints to make, but he doesn’t appear particularly upset by economic inequality. That probably comes with the whole I’m-a-billionaire thing.

But why, we ask, should anyone on the political Left actually listen to the terrorists, when they have so much more fun attributing their own gripes to them? Why not make Osama bin Laden deeply upset about America’s bad record with recycling and insufficient regard for feminism? Or how about the ozone layer?: We haven’t read much on the subject, but we are pretty sure that this is what really gets Hamas’ dander up.
 
Friday, July 16, 2004
 

Tom Hanks


Just like any living creatures, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” particularly dislike various actors. Naturally, some of the thespians who prove most irksome to us are the usual bunch of buffoons: Kevin Costner, Mickey Rourke, Al Sharpton.

In such cases, there seems to be no reason to dilate on the hatred that, say, Keanu Reeves inspires: If it isn’t obvious to you, you are probably dead. Or a teeny-bopper, which is pretty much the same thing.

But there is one actor, dear reader, who is a figure of much fanfare among both critics and moviegoers who really gets our dander up. Although we can harp on the shortcomings of, say, Nicholas Cage without fear of reprisal, we can’t carp on the failings of this guy without a look of horror coming to the faces of our interlocutors.

Who, you are probably wondering to yourself, is this actor? Well, for those of you who couldn’t read the title of today’s installment of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” we are happy to inform you that we are talking about Tom Hanks.

We aren’t quite sure what so irks us about Mr. Hanks. He has all the things we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” like in most actors: Receding hairline; ho-hum looks; pleasant countenance.

We suppose, dear reader, that the only reason we particularly despise Mr. Hanks is the fact that so many have such hagiographical opinions of him. Sure, he’s a reasonably talented chap, and fairly likeable at that. But why do so many people discuss him as if he were God’s gift to the acting profession? Why does everyone appear to think that he is a mixture of Sir Laurence Olivier and George Washington?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are irritated by the fact that so many people have entirely forgotten the early years of Mr. Hanks' film career, and pretend that his life in the movies has been one grand film after the other.

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: Doesn’t anyone remember “The Man With One Red Shoe”? That movie was too lowly for Dabney Coleman, for crying out loud. It should have made Jim Belushi—that lodestone of talent—acquire a new agent.

And let’s not forget “Bachelor Party,” the un-thinking man’s “Porky’s.” Other than the preternaturally talented Adrian Zmed (what happened to his career?), we think that that film was a real stinker.

And don’t even mention “The Burbs.” It made “Joe Dirt” seem like “Citizen Kane.”

So, dear reader, we don’t want to gainsay Mr. Hanks’ accomplishments. But we would like to remind the general populace (most of which, naturally, reads “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” with relish—and mustard) that his career has not been one great film after the next.

As one of Mr. Hanks’ famous characters once opined, life is like a box of chocolates. Unfortunately for Mr. Hanks, some of the confections taste just like “Joe Vs. the Volcano.”
 
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 

Women (a.k.a. “Womyn,” a.k.a. “Wimmin”)


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what you are thinking to yourselves: Oh, dear; today’s installment of this fine “weblog” might go a bit too far. Sure, the crack young staff can excoriate such moronic outfits as Abercrombie & Fitch (pun intended), but women? That’s a whole different ball of wax, so to say.

And, to be sure, many of our loyal readers are probably a tad nervous that today’s posting will degenerate into a tiresome rant about the fairer sex. In reality, however, nothing could be farther from the truth.

In order to prove our point, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like to offer the standard Some Of My Best Friends Are ____ Defense. You know what we are talking about, dear reader: If one ever makes a remark that could be deemed as in poor taste about a group, one simply clamors “Some of my best friends are [insert name of potentially offended group.]”

In this spirit, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like you to know peremptorily that some of the staff’s best pals are women. To be honest, however, we need not stoop to such a lowly, half-hearted defense. For, as regular readers of our humble “weblog” may be aware, roughly 47 percent of the crack young staff is female. And, if we ever gave them jobs that would allow them to present their own opinions, we’re fairly sure that they would have no qualms with today’s posting.

In fact, when a few of the gals at the office finish cooking us manifold baked goods, we might just ask them their opinion. Well, probably not—but we could.

So, dear reader, rest assured that today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” would probably be deemed entirely inoffensive to the circa 47 percent of our staff that is female. Already that puts us far higher up on the gynophiliac totem pole than, say, Syria and Iran—two countries whose national sovereignty is of deep concern to our friends on the political Left.

But we digress. Let us get to the subject at hand. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” find some women—particularly those who harbor radical feminist views—particularly irksome. From our vantage point, modern America does not appear to be the quintessential example of what our friends on the political Left call “the patriarchy.”

In fact, if we may be so gauche, may we suggest that both American men and women must tolerate numerous injustices? And, no: We don’t only mean Michael Bolton.

This is all fine and good, you may be saying to yourself. But what does this dismissal of a cardinal element of feminist thought (savor that oxymoron, dear reader) have to do with more general complaints regarding women?

Well, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aver that many dubious feminist nostrums have seeped into the consciousness of sundry American women—whether they do or do not identify with feminism. As a result, dear reader, the average American male has to endure all manner of bleating regarding the dire injustices that purportedly oppress the weaker sex.

For instance, some women are always harping and harpying on the lack of female CEOs in the United States. Quizzically, however, these same dames don’t appear too bothered by the fact that the large majority of, say, garbage men are, well, men. Gloria Steinem and her minions aren’t likely to shout you down if you say “garbage man” instead of “garbage person.”

It turns out, then, that women tend to have a fairly stilted view of gender relations. Anything that is perceived to be a male prerogative is ipso facto repellent; anything that is perceived to be a female prerogative is ipso facto grand. So much for equality!

Take, for instance, the whole “equal pay for equal work” business. Let us dismiss, for a moment, the obvious complaint regarding “research” designed to prove that females earn far less money than males for similar jobs. Such “studies” are often conducted by such dubious pseudo-intellectuals as “Women’s Studies” professors, who should be treated with as much suspicion as the average member of Hamas.

Many women blather on about the appalling injustice of males’ purported higher salaries; yet these same women often desire husbands who make far more money than they do, so that they can live comfortably off their assets. So, “equal pay for equal work” really translates to “equal pay for equal work except for my husband, who must make far more than most gals, if he thinks he has a shot with me.”

Granted, the latter statement doesn’t make as nice a bumper sticker. But, if our female friends were honest with themselves, we have a hunch that they’d conclude that this is far closer to the truth.
 
Monday, July 12, 2004
 

The Top 100 Reasons to Hate VH-1


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are old enough to recall the early days of VH-1, the American cable television network that touted itself as the thirty- and forty-something’s answer to MTV. Back in these old times, VH-1 appears to have made a secret pact with the devil, through which it promised to play endless “music videos” by the likes of Starship and Billy Ocean.

It appears as if VH-1 was targeting viewers who were moronic enough to enjoy the visual and aural format of the more exuberant MTV, but who found certain brands of “rock music” a bit too hard-edged.

As loathsome as a gaggle of Heart videos may have proven to be, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” actually prefer VH-1’s olden days. Sure, this is much like saying that one prefers Franco to Mussolini: It ain’t that much of a complement to the former. Still, we feel as if VH-1 has miraculously deteriorated in quality, even though it was so horrendous to begin with.

In a way, then, VH-1’s history is akin to the cinematic masterpieces “Mannequin” and “Mannequin 2, On the Move”—although beginning at an almost uniquely low level of quality, they somehow managed to get worse.

Why, you may be asking yourselves, does the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” believe that the halcyon days of VH-1 are behind it? Well, for one thing, the network seems strangely intent on offering its viewers hideous programming built around the “Top 100” or “Top 50” theme.

This, we must declare, is one of the most tepid examples of running out of ideas in television history. And that, of course, counts “Night Court.”

For networks such as VH-1 appear to have no reasoning behind offering a some “Top 100” or “Top 50” list; pretty much any phenomenon will do, provided that it is given an order whose rationale is always left unexplained. Top 100 Songs of the Eighties; Top 50 R&B Singers; Top 100 Hideous Moments in Music History—these are the kinds of sordid topics that make up an average three-hour block of VH-1.

To be sure, dear reader, there are many other networks that dally in this brand of irksome garbage. The “E!” network—which makes “Lifetime” appear intellectually hefty—has put much stock in this cultural detritus.

And this leads us to wonder, dear reader: Why is it that people who care very little about any given “hideous moment in music history” will blithely flock to the tube the minute they find out that one hundred such moments have been set in order by a bunch of culturally illiterate television programmers?

Perhaps this question is best answered in “Top Five” format?

1. Most people are incredibly stupid.
2. Anyone watching VH-1 is probably about as clever as the average termite.
3. At least it beats “The Real World.”
4. Such lists allow D-List critics and comedians ample opportunity to ridicule C-List celebrities.
5. If VH-1 weren’t displaying such lists, it would certainly be playing more soft rock. So pick your Poison.
 
Friday, July 09, 2004
 

The "Death" of "Theory"


As many of our readers may know, it has become fashionable among a certain subset of academic radicals to proclaim the “death of theory.” This exclamation, naturally, is fully in line with Nietzsche’s mention of the supposed “death of God,” and Roland Barthes’ stentorian call for the “death of the author.”

Call us hopelessly retardataire, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can’t help but noticing that God and sundry authors appear to be alive and kicking, whereas Messrs. Nietzsche and Barthes are no longer with us. Perhaps this is a sign of the “birth of irony”?

But we digress. Although overwhelmed by the pontifications about the “death of theory”—especially on the part of such theory-hounds as Terry Eagleton and Henry Louis “Skip” Gates—we aren’t particularly sanguine that so-called “theory” is in its death throes.

Before we dilate on this situation, dear reader, let us offer a potted discussion of what our friends on the academic Left mean when they say “theory.” As anyone familiar with the current dilapidated state of the humanities in American universities, fashionable po-mo types never seem to say what kind of “theory” they are discussing. Theory of gravity? Game theory? No, sir.

Rather, our coteries of tenured radicals appear to be concerned only with a knot of chi-chi “critical theory” that carries with it a vertiginous assortment of Marxist politics, impenetrable jargon, and a systematic missing of the point. To some hotshots among the academic leftists—such as the abovementioned Messrs. Eagleton and Gates—such “theory” is dead.

Before you become terribly misty-eyed about the departing of this beloved cant, dear reader, let us offer a word of caution. The proclamation of the “death of theory” seems to us much like the mention of the death of Elvis. Sure, he may have died, but there has been lots of silly talk about him since he left this earth.

And, unlike “theory,” at least Elvis contributed to society. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t particularly big fans of Mr. Presley, but we are mightily impressed by his serving of our country in the military. “Theory,” on the other hand, has merely offered the wartime journalism of Paul de Man, who, before he became an academic superstar, was busy writing anti-Semitic agitprop in European newspapers. We don’t want to come across as too preachy, but we are inclined to shout “advantage Elvis.”

Much like a doyen of academic radicalism, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have digressed again. In short, we doubt that the academic barbarism known as “theory” has died, and that journals that were formerly chock-a-block with mentions of “hegemony,” “the Other,” and “the subaltern” will quickly become bereft of such linguistic legerdemain.

Call us pessimistic, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that proclaiming the “death of theory” is the new way to gain deep respect among those most enraptured by “theory” itself.

And this, dear reader, leads us to our final point. If those heralding the “death of theory” really want to be taken seriously, please inform us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” of where this “theory” is hiding out, and we would happily kill it.

Surely “theory” deserves the death sentence for its crimes against the English language?
 
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 

Men With Ponytails


Recently, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” received an e-mail from a woman who preferred to remain nameless. This gal—let’s just call her Jill Eastman of Rochester, NY—wondered why so many editions of our humble “weblog” seem to poke fun at the weaker sex. Why, in short, do we spend so much of our time aiming our satirical barbs at the ladies? Does this speak to any psychological issues on the part of the crack young staff?

To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: Hold up, there, Jill. As we have mentioned countless times before, almost 47 percent of our staff is female, and they deeply disprove of the notion that they—in the inimitable words of our friends on the Left—are “internalizing the oppressor.”

Truth be told, our desultory ruminations on sundry irritants are in no way specifically directed at women. Indeed, we find this insinuation irksome. So irksome, in fact, that we are happy to inform our manifold readers that Jill Eastman of Rochester, NY’s real name is Judith Hadrill of Dover, DE. How do you like them apples, Judy?

On second thought, maybe Judith is on to something. Whilst perusing last month’s posts, the Official Perusal Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” couldn’t help but notice that females—or, as they prefer to be called, broads—were often the targets of opprobrium.

Accordingly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have decided to rectify matters by turning our attention to the "fellahs." Today’s edition of our humble “weblog” doesn’t make fun of any women. Not even Serena Williams (if she counts). On the contrary: Those unhygienic disgraces known as “men” are the only people who will be disparaged. Without further ado, then, let the thrashing begin.

During a certain period of American history—let’s say from May 9, 1982 to October 23, 1984—a man sporting a ponytail was super-cool. To misquote Gordon Gecko, ponytails were, for lack of a better word, good.

Then Ronald Reagan began his second term, and any reasonable person should have concluded that the whole ponytail thing was about as hip as an 8-track machine. Once Caspar Weinberger left office, male ponytails became a tonsorial eyesore.

Alas, dear reader, apparently not every male has proved quick to catch up with this reality. Some fellows have blithely sported this menace for decades. It’s like wearing an acid-washed jean jacket—and not being in Europe.

As if the male ponytail weren’t troublesome enough, those who sport such hairdos normally wield their utopian political sentiments in about as subtle a manner as the average Howitzer. One simply can’t sit through a conversation with a ponytail clad imbecile without enduring his mindless prattling about the evils of capitalism, the horrors of the military-industrial complex, and the righteous pacifism of the Palestinian people.

To such ponytailed nitwits, what really rankles is the fact that so many Americans are thoughtless automatons. Why, think the ponytailed males, can’t these benighted folks think just like all of us?

Why, indeed?
 
Monday, July 05, 2004
 

The Catch Phrase Craze


As the regular reader of our humble “weblog” knows by now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are blithely enjoying our seven-week vacation. As such, we are posting a few times a week, and spending the remaining portion of our days delighting in such relaxing activities as grout removal.

Accordingly, dear reader, we musn’t expect that our humble “weblog,”—humble as it is—would prove as popular during this stretch of time as it had during the halcyon days of its pre-vacation life. Back then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” made numerous appearances on “Oprah”; nary a day passed without mention of us in The New York Post, or some other venerable institution of American journalism.

These days, however, we are lucky if we can garner the attention of the Lincoln (MA) Daily Woodchuck & Gazetteer.

To be honest, dear reader, we have found this a mite depressing. We are, as they say, fiddling whilst Rome—or, in this case, our “weblog”—burns.

As a result, we hoped to breathe new life into our “website.” Since our animadversions always prove inspired and hilarious, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured that we suffer from what non-experts might call an advertising problem.

In fact, we think that our humble “weblog” is dangerously bereft of fetching slogans. To be sure, the top right-hand corner of your computer screen offers the clever phrase “Heterodox Views for the Beleaguered Hatemonger” when one visits our site. That’s fairly catchy, if we must say so ourselves.

But we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured that we could come up with a few more choice slogans, and thus revitalize our sagging site.

Accordingly, the Official Catch Phrase Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has been working away on some appealing slogans. Thus far, however, it has merely generated an uninspired list of phrases, drawn mostly from rock-n-roll "music." For instance: “If You Can’t Be With the One You Hate, Baby, Hate the One You're With"; “I’ve Been Through the Desert on a Hate With No Name”; or “If Hating You is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right.” That sort of thing.

Rather tepid, aren’t they? And this is where you, dear reader, can help us out. If the muses strike you and you can come upon a glorious catch phrase for us to employ in our “weblog,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would be delighted to hear from you. All you must do is click on the “Contact Us” link at the top of your computer screen and send us an e-missive.

Naturally, if we use your slogan, we shall make mention of your coruscating genius. Which, of course, will give you all kinds of “street cred.” Or something.

So, dear reader, rack your brains, come upon a plum of a slogan, and drop us a line. Until then, we’ll be stuck ending our posts with such rancid phrases as “While My Guitar Gently Hates.”
 
Friday, July 02, 2004
 

We’re Outraged?


No doubt, dear reader, you are aware of The Nation, the trendy lefty rag edited by Katrina vanden Heuvel. Ever since Christopher Hitchens left this sordid forum, it has been an intellectual disaster: Poorly argued articles rant and rave about the latest political matters. Any magazine that makes Eric Alterman seem like a beacon of rationality is surely chock-a-block with idiotic ideologues.

Still, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” like to keep up with our friends at The Nation, to check in on their latest overwrought tantrums. Each day, in fact, we click on Matt Bivens’ portion of the on-line version of the journal, “The Daily Outrage.” According to Mr. Bivens, his daily installments prove to be “your last best hope to keep up with the blizzard of Bush-era bad news.”

Well, apparently our “last best hope”—nice turn of phrase, that—ran dry. For weeks now, Mr. Bivens has been strangely silent. His latest post from “The Daily Outrage” claims that the feature is “on hiatus.”

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t know what to make of Mr. Bivens’ sudden burst of inaction. Perhaps he is having trouble happening upon things that he finds, well, outrageous? After all, how many times can you blather on about the purported Police State established by the Bush Administration before it gets a little bit stale?

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Bivens is simply on vacation, and thus has taken a rest from the grueling job of composing a few paragraphs describing the Third Reich-esque country that America has become. Maybe he’s spending his time off building homes for the homeless. Or, more likely, he’s pontificating to other well-off lefties the views he would normally be describing in his column.

Whatever the reason, Mr. Bivens’ lack of productivity has left us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” simply outraged. In fact, if we think hard enough about it, we imagine that we could be outraged about it on a daily basis.

After all, as regular readers of our humble “weblog” know, we are on a summer hiatus ourselves. And though we don’t promote ourselves as the “last best” anything, we have found the time to put together a few posts a week.

Why has Mr. Bivens, whose erstwhile quotidian rants were clearly a national treasure, been slacking? As Bob Dole once asked: Where’s the outrage?
 

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