The Weather Channel
If you’re anything like us, dear reader, you are chronically on the brink of tardiness. In the mornings, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” quickly consume a bowl of Grape Nuts
, hop into the shower, grab our clothes, and hustle out the door.
There’s only one irritant that is stopping this quotidian ritual from Henry-Ford-like efficiency. And that, dear reader, is the Weather Channel.
We can’t speak for anyone else (with the potential exception of the mute), but we find the Weather Channel—and television weather forecasts in general—exasperating. After five decades of weather broadcasting on the tube, you’d think that the powers-that-be would have streamlined things—taken out the chaff, as it were. But no: Watching the Weather Channel when you’re in a hurry is like composing a dissertation on a Commodore Vic-20
. And the Vic-20, at least, has a pretty good version of “Pong.”
Every time we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” tune in to the Weather Channel, we have just missed the local forecast. As a result, we must first endure a series of commercials pitched at the stay-at-home mom: Ads for feminine hygiene products, anal itching cream, divorce lawyers, &c. Inevitably, before returning to its regular programming, the Weather Channel touts its impressive prime-time smash-hit “Storm Stories.”
Now, we don’t want to cast any aspersions, but we can’t fathom the chucklehead so moronic who would actually watch such a program. In fact, we’ve only seen the same preview umpteen times, and we can already tell you what happens in every
episode: An unexpected tempest strikes some trailer-park; hail larger than Ralph Nader’s ego descends from the sky; a tornado rips apart the community; and the slack-jawed yokels narrowly escape. And everything is caught on a hand-held camcorder, which offers the viewer as much vertiginous footage as a marathon of “Cops
” episodes. In short, “Storm Stories” presents everything the discriminating viewer requires for an evening’s entertainment: Tormented townies; blistering winds; and copious amounts of nausea-cam.
But let us return to the regular programming of the Weather Channel. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly submit that almost everyone watching for the local forecast wants to glean only two things
: The temperature and whether it’s going to rain. That’s it. Everything else is just filler.
Somehow, the Weather Channel ineluctably manages to forestall this crucial information until the very end of its broadcast. As a result, its viewers are offered a constant stream of unnecessary blather: The weather in Tahiti; the latest updates on potential hurricanes; “This Day in High-Pressure History”; &c.
Even when you are lucky enough to reach the portion of the Weather Channel’s programming most key to the local layman—the stylishly titled “Local on the 8’s”—you are still forced to endure a congeries of worthless data. Oh, high-tide today occurred at 6:13am, you say? Why, that’s just fascinating! Too bad we aren’t fishermen, or that helpful tidbit would have come in handy. Oh, the record high temperature on this date took place in 1913? Well, we’ll ‘phone up Calvin Coolidge
and let him know.
And don’t think, dear reader, that we would reserve comment on the noxious “snooze-ak” the Weather Channel plays during its forecasts. This stuff is so bad even Yanni
would be offended. As if it isn’t annoying enough that you are forced to endure all that blather about “moon phases,” you are compelled to listen to a lazy instrumental version of “Everybody Plays the Fool
” that was rejected by the local department store.
The meteorologists—excuse us: Weather girls—who present the day’s forecast prove to be no less vexing. They appear to be under the delusion that the general public cares deeply about “Low-Pressure Systems” and the “Jet Stream”—whatever the heck that is. Just tell us how hot it’s going to be!
When watching the local sports reporter, one doesn’t have to tolerate an in-depth explanation of the rules of baseball. The fellow, dripping with caked on make-up, simply tells you the scores. So why must we go through endless expatiations on the intricacies of Mother Nature? Just let us know if we need to bring our umbrellas: We can create our own “High-Pressure Systems.” That, after all, is what work is for.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition: And the Winner is…
Well, dear reader, today’s the big day. Having received oodles of submissions to our First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition (the announcement of which you can read here
), we are finally ready to announce the big winner.
At first it seemed as if we were never going to able to declare our victor. The official judge of the competition, as you know, is that great poet of the ages, Anonymous. Whilst he and his official helper, Unknown, were poring over the mammoth piles of poesy, a horrible fight broke out: It seems as if a recent poetry anthology listed one of Anonymous’ poems under the authorship of Unknown. This drove our official judge into a fit of rage, as he threw heaps of John Ashbery
books at his assistant, shouting “You’re a Stephen Ambrose
! You’re a Stephen Ambrose!
” Thankfully, John Ashbery’s books tend to be rather slight.
It was only the result of some quick thinking on the part of our crack young staff (and a hint of Jim Beam
) that the brouhaha was eventually calmed, and Anonymous and Unknown set to work once again.
And what did they find? Some really heart-wrenching, stomach-curdling verse, that’s what! In fact, dear reader, if you entered a poem into the competition and do not find yourself among those receiving lauds today, you needn’t worry at all: Your poem was probably only horrendous, not catastrophically abysmal. Now, don’t you feel better?
Indeed, when hunting for the most ghastly exempla
of college-student-esque verse, our judge quickly realized that there was some tough competition. Among our manifold entries, all of the irritating quirks one associates with collegiate balladry could be found: Lackluster grammar; freshman-year solipsism; naïve political generalizations; &c. In short, our entries were a veritable cornucopia of disastrous doggerel. Kind of like the “poetry” composed by fleeting music sensation Jewel
, but with better dental work. As a result, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” invented a brilliant slogan for next year’s Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition: “These poems are sic [sic].”
Every once in a while, however, our judge came upon a submission that was almost—for lack of a better word—good. Such was the case with the haiku entries sent in by a student at Oxford
appropriately named William English. One of his haikus reads as follows:
“Haiku Number 2”
by William English
Cag-ed bird, why do
You not teach? Err of “tenure,”
Is our good fortune.
Okay, so it ain’t Walt Whitman, but, in comparison with the steaming pile of dung we received, it’s at least as good as Tom Paulin
. And, unlike the distinguished Mr. Paulin, William English at least had the good sense to forgo references to “Zionist Nazis,” or some other dubious political grousing.
Still, something wasn’t quite right with Mr. English’s entry. Perhaps it is a plum example of the miserable verse to be found in the tony purlieus of Oxford, but it’s much too erudite and polished for the American college student. Where are the pathetic grammatical missteps? Where are the pitiable misspellings? And why did Mr. English count the syllables correctly?
After all, to most collegians in the United States, haiku is some kind of Turkish beer.
But fear not, dear reader. We ingested far worse verse than this. A splendid example comes from one Alex Preston, who hails from a cosmopolitan town called Chester, SC
. Mr. Preston’s submission, which has received Second-Runner-Up status, is oddly entitled “you, @merica.” All of the mistakes and hackneyed phrases in the ditty, we hope, are intended:
by Alex Preston
yeah, you get your wealth,
the impoverished peoples of the world.
Aha! Now that
is truly atrocious. And, what’s more, it’s atrocious in a believably collegiate way. Notice, for instance, the mordantly pathetic title of the poem; you can almost envision a dim bulb appearing over the cranium of a college junior as he cleverly turns the “A” from “America” into an “@.” And the careless absence of a comma after “deceiving” is spot-on.
Clearly, though, the highlight of the piece is its insufferably monochromatic quality: It’s as if our poetic tyro has just learned what a participle is.
How, you ask, can it get any worse than this? Well, take a gander at an entry from the mysteriously named Dr. Firebrand, from Keep Running, MI. His piece is called “The fish can keep their secret.” Once again, we trust that all of its errors are intended.
“The fish can keep their secret”
by the mysteriously named Dr. Firebrand
His old blue river runs red.
The black rocks grow thick and slick and green.
Mighty trees bow and wither in the air that does not move.
Grassy banks are withdrawn with the water that takes our Mother’s toll.
His eyes are round like the world we are killing.
His gills are red like the blood we’ve been spiling.
His belly bulges with poisin like the land that we’ve been filling.
His fins are thin and ragged like the poor kid that we’re pilling.
We know what you are thinking, dear reader: That’s perfectly abominable. And you’re right. We particularly enjoyed the uproariously clunky line “The black rocks grow thick and slick and green.” And ending the poem with the word “pilling” is simply heavenly. As such, Dr. Firebrand’s stridently sub-standard verse wins First-Runner-Up status.
Clearly, only a lyrical calamity of truly cataclysmic proportions could defeat this miserable ballad. Indeed, it would need to be the poetic equivalent of the XFL
, or of Walter Mondale
’s Presidential campaign.
And we got just the thing in the form of a last-minute entry by one Michael E. Lopez. Accordingly, Anonymous, Unknown, and the entire crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” wish to congratulate Mr. Lopez for winning “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Compeition. Mr. Lopez has surely taken the cake with his excruciatingly atrocious “believing the me i’m told.”
“believing the me i’m told”
by Michael E. Lopez
THEY say who
brown and poor and
in their mercedeses and bmwes
they drive away from my lost
dream to a hair appointment
heritage and culture
like rotting raccoon on the
i want to cover
with crest or chalk
and not believe
that i’m the me
Wow. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are in awe of the impressively sub-standard balladry Mr. Lopez has mustered. It’s as if he somehow distilled the typical college experience into six unrelentingly awful verses. All of the tell-tale signs of American academia are present to behold: Inept writing; myopic focus on self-esteem; cookie-cutter politics; &c.
In fact, on the “strength” of “believing the me i’m told” alone, we’re pretty sure that Mr. Lopez can obtain a distinguished sinecure at some fancy university. But we’re absolutely positive that he’ll soon receive a poorly manufactured “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” T-shirt, which features the catchy slogan “We get more hits than Tina Turner” on its back. He might not own one of those “mercedeses” or “bmwes,” but he’ll be the envy of every kid on the block.
A “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Two-for-One Special: PDA
As you must be aware by now, dear reader, “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is a real comedic bargain: Even if it’s as funny as an episode of “Full House” (season eight), the price is still right. But today’s edition of our “weblog” is, as they say on the infomercials, a real steal—two for the price of one.
That’s right, dear reader: We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are dedicating this installment of our publication to the vilification of two noxious targets that bear the same acronym: PDA. In fact, we at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” are tempted to argue that PDA is the most foreboding acronym that has ever existed. Well, with the obvious exceptions of SS, USSR, and NOW
. Without further ado, then, let’s start today’s drubbing.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” PDA Two-for-One Special: (Part the First) Public Displays of Affection
Do you remember, dear reader, the enchanting time when PDA only referred to one pernicious phenomenon? Indeed, it was a more innocent juncture: Children laughed and played; picket fences abounded; Michael Jackson had only been charged with pedophilia on eight separate occasions. Ah, yes: We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are getting teary-eyed just pondering those salad days.
But, still, all was not well in the world: The situation in Bosnia was troubling, and, to make matters worse, humanity was plagued with the seemingly omnipresent blight known as “Public Displays of Affection,” or PDA for short.
In general, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are as forgiving as the average member of the Baader-Meinhof Gang
, but Public Displays of Affection are where we collectively draw the line. Every time we see two star-crossed lovers fondling one another on the subway, it acts as an automatic emetic. In fact, if the Atkins Diet proves to be a flash in the pan, we suggest that people switch to the Public Displays of Affection Diet: A few quotidian sightings of PDA should have you thin faster than you can say “Stop the Insanity.”
In recent years, Public Displays of Affection have grown so tawdry that we have collectively yearned for a society in which everyone was sealed in his own private bubble. A kind of real-life John Travolta
movie, if you will.
It is, we think, precisely on the subject of Public Displays of Affection that the movement that Alan Keyes
delightfully dubbed “the radical homosexual agenda” has gone astray. To many gays (or, as Gore Vidal prefers, homosexualists), a distasteful reaction to same-sex couples showing their affection in public is tantamount to heterosexism, homophobia, and kindred intellectual misdemeanors.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You’re here, you’re queer, and, as the saying goes, we have grown accustomed to it. In reality, Public Displays of Affection are offensive on a strictly equal opportunity basis: We don’t care if it’s a man kissing a woman, a man hugging a man, or Gene Simmons biting a rottweiler; we just don’t want to see it. If we ran the government, we’d make sure that special task forces, armed with fire hoses (the kinds that have enough water pressure to strip the bark off of trees), were unleashed upon the public with strict orders to put a stop to the frightening menace known as PDA.
Sure, it may sound harsh to some. But believe us: When you see two fiftysomethings sloppily caressing in a public park, you’ll be hankering for the fire-hose squad.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Two-for-One Special (Part the Second): Personal Digital Assistants
Just when you thought that PDA was a fearsome enough menace, our friends in Japan have added to the offense. In the last few years, Personal Digital Assistants have been all the rage: They’re the electronic equivalent of a frappuccino
. Indeed, it seems that almost everyone—no matter how low he may be on the occupational and social food-chain—possesses one of these useless gizmos.
Don’t get us wrong: We can certainly understand why someone might need a Personal Digital Assistant—provided he’s Secretary of State. But what collectively irks us so thoroughly is the fulsome praise of these contraptions from people who require them about as much as Steven Hawking needs an exercise outfit.
“What would I ever do without my PDA?” coo sundry suburban soccer moms. Um, perhaps you’d miss a couple of aerobics classes? Other than that, the course of Western history should be roughly the same.
Naturally, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” receive all kinds of laudatory e-mails from epistlers world-wide. Every once in a while, however, we encounter a slightly less praiseworthy missive.
We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can anyone find fault with the luminous animadversions of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”? Quite frankly, we can’t figure it out ourselves. Even so, we have collected enough hate mail that our “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Complaints Department has begun to complain. Which, if you think really hard about it, is ironic.
One correspondent was so peeved by our petulant dismissal of the word “moist” (which you can read here
) that he informed us that he was going to name his first-born son “Moist.”
We know what you are thinking, dear reader: If he is going to name his son “Moist,” what the heck is he going to name his daughter? To be honest, we don’t want to know.
More typically, we receive an angry e-mail penned by a direct target of our opprobrium. For instance, a chucklehead from the marketing department of the University of Chicago Press composed a hate-filled epistle to our staff, because we had the gall to ridicule the chuckleheads from the marketing department of the University of Chicago Press. The fact that the greeting of this angry letter read “Dear Hatemonger” didn’t seem to be foolish enough to stop him from continuing.
Thanks to all this obloquy, the Official Complaints Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has decided to streamline matters, by offering our readers a “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Complaint Form. From now on, irate members of Gillette
’s middle-management and other assorted ne’er-do-wells can simply follow our paint-by-the-numbers Complaint Form.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Complaint Form:
Dear Crack Young Staff of “The Hatemonger’s Qurarterly,”
I am a regular reader of your “weblog” who loves your wholesome, Family-Circus-esque humor. As a result, I was deeply dismayed by your recent discussion of _________.
In this discussion, you unfairly castigated _________. This is particularly unfortunate, because ______ is actually ________. Accordingly, your tasteless yuks at _______’s expense were not only misinformed, but deeply troubling.
In the future, perhaps you could confine yourselves to silly gags about _______.
PS: Go ______ yourselves.
Well, dear reader, that’s the Official Form. Just in case there is some confusion regarding the proper manner of filling out the Official Form, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” will offer you a sample version. The following is an example of the Official Form if Peter Frampton (whom we excoriated here
) had stumbled out of his decades-long musical hibernation and troubled himself enough to complain:
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Complaint Form as Hypothetically Filled Out by Erstwhile Music Sensation Peter Frampton:
Dear Crack Young Staff of “The Hatemonger’s Qurarterly,”
I am a regular reader of your “weblog” who loves your wholesome, Family-Circus-esque humor. As a result, I was deeply dismayed by your recent discussion of “Baby I Love Your Way.”
In this discussion, you unfairly castigated my flowing locks and impressive musical gifts. This is particularly unfortunate, because “Baby I Love Your Way” is actually a landmark work of Western culture. Accordingly, your tasteless yuks at “Baby I Love Your Way”’s expense were not only misinformed, but deeply troubling.
In the future, perhaps you could confine yourselves to silly gags about Uriah Heep.
PS: Go Phil-Collins yourselves.
That should clear things up. And, just to show our readership that we care deeply about the little people, the new head of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Complaints Department will be former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
So, dear reader, you can send your wrathful Official Complaint Forms to Mr. Reich care of: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Reich or some other Clinton lackey should respond to your grousing in a few short weeks. Maybe even Sidney Blumenthal will deign to write you.
Functional Illiteracy, on the Offense, Five Yards; Repeat First Down
The pondering of many a famous oxymoron often produces a chuckle: Jumbo shrimp, classic rock, feminist thought, &c. But we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t understand why the NCAA
’s designation “scholar-athlete” isn’t equally uproarious. In fact, we have a hard time believing that sundry sports reporters don’t sport a grin every time they hear the appellation.
Don’t get us wrong, dear reader: We are fully prepared to acknowledge that any college student who participates in NCAA-level sport is himself an athlete. Even female shot-putters—though some are inclined to view them as hefty gals with anger issues.
Naturally, what really perturbs us is the “scholar” portion of the designation. Let’s forget for a moment the ridiculous notion that the basketball team at Texas Tech University
is a passel of budding literati
. Instead, we want to highlight the sheer lunacy of labeling any undergraduate a “scholar.” The idea of calling a college sophomore a “scholar” conjures in us notions of a young Cotton Mather
on the campus of Harvard University
feverishly composing a treatise entitled: “Cicero’s De re publica
: Being an Examination of the Latin Prosody of a Famous Gentleman from Roman Antiquity.”
But today’s undergraduates? Forget about it! The only subjects on which current college students are experts are keg stands and acquaintance rape. Well, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
But surely the NCAA’s “scholar-athletes” don’t even reach these lofty heights of academic achievement. Haven’t you noticed, dear reader, that many of the intellectual firebrands who play college sports major in such suspicious subject matters as “Coaching,” “Hotel Management,” or, even worse, “Sociology”? At least some of them are pragmatists who major in “Criminal Justice,” knowledge of which will certainly be of use in years to come.
Then there’s the laughable matter of television play-by-play men commenting on the intellectual prowess of a given college athlete. So one
member of the University of Nevada at Los Vegas
’ basketball squad is focusing his studies on “Casino Gambling,” minoring in “Mail Fraud,” and has a 3.5 GPA. Stop the presses: We’ve found one of the few precocious “scholar-athletes” who can actually sign his name! And he is clever enough to employ a comparatively bright fellow to compose his papers for him. How crafty!
Now, don’t get us wrong, dear reader: We enjoy a good sports event as much as the next beer-swilling Cro-Magnon. And we fully realize that the large majority of “scholar-athletes” don’t play big-time sports such as football.
But is it too much to ask that the storied NCAA promote a little truth in advertising? To this end, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” suggest it replaces the rib-tickling term “scholar-athlete” with a more sincere appellative. How about “pituitary cases who make oodles of money for their university, receive no education, but score lots of chicks as compensation”? We admit it’s not particularly catchy, but what on campuses these days is catchy, with the exception of herpes?
Atrocious Verse from “Queer Aztlan”
Once again, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are breaking our official rule regarding our publishing schedule by posting on a Saturday. And, once again, we are doing so in order to drum up even more enthusiasm about our First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition (the announcement of which you can find here
As the whole World-Wide Web must know, there are only a few short days until the contest deadline. And though we have received a fair number of hideously abominable verses, the entries aren’t arriving like they were before.
In order to reverse this retardation, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have decided to present you, dear reader, with yet another example of vomit-inducing balladry. This time, in fact, we are letting loose a heavy-hitter: A “professional” Chicana author and self-described “politica” named Cherríe Moraga
. A strident feminist and fervent lesbian, Ms. Moraga has parlayed her rancor into an enviable academic career—even though the only university she attended seems to have been UCLA (the University of Chelmsford at Logan Airport).
We have culled one verse from a poem Ms. Moraga has fashioned entitled “Passage”:
there is a very old wound in me
between my legs
where I have bled, not to birth
pueblos or revolutionary
concepts or simple
but a memory
of some ancient betrayal.
Fantastic! Clearly, Ms. Moraga is the inspiration for many a college bard’s wretched doggerel. We particularly enjoyed the mention of “pueblos”—Ms. Moraga offers just enough Spanish to make it clear to her reader that she is a bona fide Chicana, a label that she clearly bandies about much as one might “Harvard Professor.”
Actually, this stridently miserable verse inspired one of our junior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—to compose his own example of execrable poetry. For “Chip,” you see, nicked his finger yesterday whilst attempting to inflate one of those trendy Pontius Pilates exercise balls. As a result of Ms. Moraga’s gleaming poesy, “Chip” has composed the following poem, which he calls “Pueblo, Colorado”:
by “Chip,” a member of the Crack Young Staff of THMQ
there is a very new wound in me
on my ring finger
where I have bled, not to punch
Cherríe Moraga or Gloria
Anzaldua or Alexander
but a memory
of some plastic exercise ball.
Pretty fancy, n’est pas
? But we think that you, dear reader, can do even better. And remember: You don’t need to be a college student to write Horrible College-Student Poetry, as Ms. Moraga and “Chip” amply demonstrate. Though the official prize for the winning poem will be full publication on our Web-site and an attractive “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” T-shirt with the catchy slogan “We get more hits than Tina Turner,” it’s possible that larger prizes loom on the horizon. If Cherríe Moraga can exploit her excruciating non-talent into a fancy university gig, perhaps you could be Amiri Baraka
’s replacement as New Jersey’s Official Jew-Hater Laureate. Like a massage therapist, we all have to start somewhere.
Are You Ready to Kick Wolf Blitzer’s Arse?
[Heartwarming Disclaimer: The crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” doesn’t take too many moral stands, but, unlike Huey Newton, we are totally opposed to violence in all of its forms. Even against Carson Daly.]
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have a question for you: What are you doing on Wednesday, May 12? Don’t worry: Our staff is not asking you out on a date; you can put the mace away. Seriously. Put it down.
We inquire because this is the date of the first annual “National Fight Big Media Meetup [sic] Day
.” Indeed, it appears as if citizens nationwide are going to converge in various locales to beat the absolute tar out of “Big Media.” And we, for one, don’t want to miss out.
Imagine the scene: Four irate old-timers kicking the snot out of Cokie Roberts. George Will strangling a few spineless hippies with his Brooks Brothers tie. And Sam Donaldson choking a ten-year-old with his hairpiece.
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t have much in common with the grungy utopians who organize this kind of thing. In fact, we don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but we’ve always found Dennis Kucinich faintly ridiculous. And we don’t just mean his elfin mortician good looks.
But finally the tofu-and-homeopathy crowd has drummed up an event that we can fully support. In fact, part of our staff is currently designing makeshift nightsticks for use against Peter Jennings. After his ABC
special on Ecstasy entitled “C’mon, Little Kid, Swallow the Pill—It’s Good for You,” we’ve had a collective hankering to pummel him senseless—if that’s still possible.
Unfortunately, the website does not make clear which representatives of “Big Media” will be present for fisticuffs in which American city. It would be a real downer to show up at the Detroit “Meetup,” intent to batter Paul Krugman, only to find that crotchety Robert Novak is the only ambassador from “Big Media” scheduled to appear. Bob’s never met a tax cut he doesn’t like; we wonder if he’d feel the same way about paper cuts.
All of this has led us to fantasize about our version of a “National Fight Big Media Meetup [sic] Day” Valhalla. We, dear reader, propose the following fantastic scenario:
: Show up early to the event, carrying a homemade sign that offers CNN
as an acrostic, standing for C
oogies. Chat with some of the louche “Meetup” folks, and determine whether they are going to vote for Ralph Nader or the New and Improved Black Panther Party. (It’s a tough choice: After all, whom are you going to blame—the evil international corporations that are destroying all that is wholesome, or whitey?)
: George Stephanopoulos arrives, as a kind of gladiatorial hors d’oeuvre—nothing really challenging, but gets everybody’s blood flowing.
: Bigger fish appear: The entire cast of “The McLaughlin Group.” Frankly, we’ve been thirsting to thrash Mr. McLaughlin ever since his mug—and obnoxious blue-collar vociferations—made it to television. We’d love to put him in a full nelson until he couldn’t shout “Issue Four!” anymore.
: After polishing off Eleanor Clift, we move on to give Jayson Blair the drubbing of his life. Let’s see if he can fabricate his way out of our figure-four leg-lock!
: We take a breather by the “Feel Good Capitalism” booths—The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s, the United Colors of Benneton. The adolescent clerks at Benneton start to rethink their company’s policy on the death penalty after we lash them unmercifully. We snack on a couple of delectable “Meetup” meat-replacement pops.
: Bill O’Reilly appears, and becomes so punch drunk in the ensuing melee that he officially declares the first annual “National Fight Big Media Day” a “spin-zone.”
: The entire crew of NPR
(National Palestinian Radio) arrives and a battle royal ensues. Candy Crowley body slams Matt Lauer.
: Having knocked the wind out of Carl Castle, we join Tucker Carlson and gang up on Paul Begala. Tucker punches the top of Begala’s monstrous forehead, while we beat on its lower half.
: One word—Geraldo.
: We take another break, signing various petitions: “We Must Stop John Ashcroft—and the 98 Senators Who Voted for the Patriot Act”; “North Korea Ought To Be the Only Country with Nuclear Weapons”; “The United States Should Be Run by Dolphins”; &c. While listening to a rousing rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind” played on steel guitar and kazoo, we ponder the top five ways to thump Keith Oberman.
: The day ends with a grudge match against Al Jazeera
. Oddly, though the folks at Al Jazeera are foaming at the mouth with hatred of the United States, all of their weapons are imported from America. Al Jazeera claims it will air the merciless beating on its network, but then balks when a woman present mistakenly displays one of her ankles for the camera.
: We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” after a full day’s worth of what Tone Loc
used to call “wilding,” strut home, reliving the day’s conquests.
Well, dear reader, there you have it: Our “Fight Big Media” dream-drubbing. Unfortunately, of course, the real world never turns out like that: If we showed up to the first annual “National Fight Big Media Meetup [sic] Day,” it’d probably be a tedious meet-n-greet of fetid radicals waxing ignorant on the “fascists at CBS.” In fact, knowing our luck, only Wolf Blitzer would show up. And we’re scared of anyone
named Wolf Blitzer.
A few days ago, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” received a touching missive from a correspondent who preferred to remain nameless. This eager epistler—let’s just call him Charles Plesser of Rockford, Illinois—informed us that our rapier wit has often lightened up his otherwise joyless days as a motivational speaker. But, he asked, is there any way that we could tone down the highbrow references in our “weblog”? After all, those Gayatri Spivak gags aren’t exactly killing in Rockford.
Reluctantly—for we take criticism about as well as well as the average Islamic fundamentalist—we agreed to offer an installment of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” that is more, as the common folk say, lumpenproletariat. A column for the people, of the people, and by…us.
So, you relentless aesthetes who are frothing at the mouth for a couple of Ralph Vaughan Williams yuks are going to have to hold your proverbial horses until tomorrow. Today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is dutifully down-home and perfectly plebian. Why, the only prerequisite necessary for today’s addition to “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—other than basic literacy, of course—is a GED, which one can easily obtain from Sally Struthers or the University of Phoenix On-Line
. All right, all you uncouth rustics, this one’s for you.
Not a single member of our crack young staff can cook worth a darn. I know what you are thinking, fellow feminists: What about the broads? Alas, though almost 47 percent of our staff is female, it still takes us an hour to make Minute Rice.
As a result, we do a lot of fine dining: Red Lobster, Applebee’s, Whitecastle—you know, the good stuff. But there is one establishment that we absolutely can’t stomach: The poisonous peddlers of so-called submarine sandwiches known as “Quizno’s
Quizno’s, which is a kind of déclassé Blimpie
, is a sandwich shop built on one brilliant idea: Toasting. Yes, that’s right, dear reader: Toasting. Quizno’s, unlike the relentlessly up-scale Subway
, has put all of its eggs—and mustard, and mayonnaise—in one basket. The ingenious board members of Quizno’s have decided that the miracle of toasted bread will separate their outfit from the competition. In fact, Quizno’s was going to take out a patent on toasting, before it discovered that Prometheus had already brought the invention of fire to mankind years before even McDonald’s
was up and running.
Thanks to the magic of toasting, every branch of the Quizno’s franchise smells suspiciously like Jeffrey Dahmer’s basement. But the mephitic ambiance of your local Quizno’s is a small price to pay for the delectable creations found therein.
But before we expatiate on the savory victuals Quizno’s fires up, let us mention the franchise’s helpful personnel. The last time that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” made a collective trek to a Quizno’s, we noticed that one of its dutiful employees was dutifully choking the other dutiful employee with a telephone cord. Nothing gets the appetite up quite like a little teenage violence! After translating our order from English into Ne’er-do-Well, the accomplished young team of culinary creators had our hoagies ready in no time. If, by no time, you mean forty-five minutes.
But it was all well worth the wait. Unlike McDonald’s, which only offers one “special sauce,” our local Quizno’s has a variety of special sauces—some of them not even provided by the employees. The tempting blend of burnt bread, copious onions, drippy sauces, and mystery meat made for a meal to remember. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” still can’t forget it. And we’ve swallowed a whole cartload of Tums
The regular reader of our “weblog” will surely become aware in the months to come that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” absolutely despise so-called “rock music.” Or, we should say, “rock” so-called “music.”
We know, we know: This is bound to make us as popular as Corbin Berenson. But we can’t help it; no matter what label you paste on it—grunge, indie, pop, trip hop, petrogenesis, fyke—it still sounds like aesthetic water-torture to us.
What particularly burns our collective britches, though, is the appellation “classic” that some schlocky radio stations add to the word “rock.” Every town in America, from Abbington to Zilchville, has one of these FM irritants, which is usually given garish signal names like “WROK,” or “KLSX,” or “WSUX.”
Naturally, though, what really gets us steamed about “classic rock” is the audacity behind the connection of the adjective “classic” with the substantive “rock.” Whoever came up with this phrase must have been pondering the great classics of the Western world: Plato, Ovid, Grand Funk Railroad
—you know, the crème de la crème
As if it isn’t bad enough that sundry English departments in colleges all across the United States are home to “scholars” who wrote their Ph.D. theses on “Interrogating Feminism(s) in the Oeuvre of Blue Oyster Cult,” we now find the Greco-Roman world somehow a synonym for Strawberry Alarm Clock
. O tempora, o mores!
Or, to quote David Bowie
: “This isn’t rock-n-roll, this is genocide.”
Sorry, David, but you’re only partly right: This is rock-and-roll and
genocide. And the guy who wrote the song “Fashion” should realize that.
We know what you are thinking, dear reader: The crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is just a passel of snobs—the kind of people who use grandiloquent verbiage when more elementary terminology would suffice.
To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: That’s a congeries of rebarbative palaver. Doesn’t it bother anyone else that the word “elitist” used to describe someone who wouldn’t deign to talk to his servants, but now refers to someone with an insufficient appreciation of Golden Earring’s "Radar Love
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” realize that our battle against “classic rock” is a losing cause. Half of us, in fact, couldn’t even take Eric Burdon
in a fight—and that guy’s teeny. But we don’t care. It’ll be the proverbial monkey on our back: Some people suffer from narcolepsy; others have limbs that have gone gangrene. We have Peter Frampton
We know which one we’d pick, if we had a choice.
“Becoming a Famous Public Intellectual: A Test,” or “Richard Posner: A Study in Decline”
By now, dear reader, you are probably wondering whether we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” want to waste our halcyon days penning feckless barbs and tasteless yuks. Of course not: We have dreams too. And, just like everyone else who’s ever read a book or two, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” long to become famous public intellectuals. Or, barring that, Naomi Wolf
In fact, we have decided to use today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” as a stepping-stone to the glitzy world of the public intellectual. For some time, we have had a collective theory about public intellectuals: We harbor a suspicion that many of them spend at least half of their days looking up their own names in Google
, glorying in the manifold mentions of their coruscating genius. Except Richard Posner: He’s too busy writing a book every three minutes.
As a result, we figured that we’d simply offer a list of names of fancy public intellectuals, and match these names up with a bevy of compliments. If our supposition about public intellectuals holds true, our “weblog” should become a lodestone for such impressive characters. In fact, dear reader, pretty soon you’ll be the only peruser of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” who isn’t Martha Nussbaum
The next thing you know, we’ll get all kinds of queries from these flattered intellectual pundits, who will shower us with fawning e-mails. We’ll make the kind of connections only heard about in Legoland
. If all this holds true, it should only be a few short months before the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” becomes a regular contributor to The New Yorker
. And Vanity Fair
—if we need the money.
What follows, then, is merely a list of famous journalists, op-eders, television pundits, and assorted superannuated academics, accompanied by the most fawning, sycophantic remarks we could muster. The names of these intellectual beacons were mostly culled from Richard Posner’s Public Intellectuals: A Study in Decline
, and thus our conclusions are only as valuable as his. Which is to say, they’re totally worthless.
Without further ado, here is the official “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Case Study in Public Intellectualdom:
: We don’t think you’ve made nearly enough television appearances. When you have your Aaron-Copland-meets-a-prune good looks, you deserve to be on MSNBC 24 hours a day.
: Your disquisition on conservative
bias in the American media may have proved counterfactual to some, but it really convinced us. Perhaps your next book could tackle some other silly theory that the moronic general public foolishly esteems. Like gravity.
: Your thinking is, if anything, far too subtle for us. Surely everyone but you and Dinesh D’Souza is somehow guilty of treason? If your ideas were as provocative as your skirts, we might actually listen to you.
: Nice Lower-Case Name! You are certainly the e. e. cummings of race-baiting pseudo-intellectual demagogues.
: With the exception of politics, Communism, and history, you’ve been right about everything you’ve ever written. And we, for one, are glad you are an unrepentant Stalinist: If the dream comes true, it’ll be worth the 200 million slaughtered!
: You’re the non-thinking-man’s Oliver Stone.
: Could you add a few more “ums” and “ahs” to your manifold speeches? We are almost getting the sense that you are preparing for your lectures.
: Other folks might think you are a bit batty, but we agree with you—you have been totally neglected by the Jew-run publishing industry. If it weren’t for those rabid Zionists, you’d have two
palatial mansions in Italy.
: We’d love to go bowling with you—provided you don’t doctor the scorecard as much as you do your studies.
: We could listen to your mellifluous voice all day.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
: [Insert plagiarized compliment here].
: Buckwheat told us he thinks your haircut is “otay.” And your rap album is much better than Irving Kristol’s.
: We are totally convinced by your swashbuckling brand of Marxism. But we have one question: From which one of your three fancy homes did you pen your latest book?
: You have all the intellectual cautiousness of Norman Mailer. Thanks for turning the United States into a sexual police state.
: Your championing of Hitler’s organizational skills wasn’t creepy enough for us. And tell us again why the United States should never have fought in World War II! And to think, some have had the audacity to tar and feather you as an anti-Semite.
Well, that should do it. Atlantic Monthly
, here we come!
Intermediate Herbalists Wanted
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can’t stand it when we get wind of an event we would like to attend, only to discover that the occurrence in question has already taken place. Accordingly, we were going to forgo mention of today’s topic, under the pretense that its time, this past Saturday afternoon, has sadly already come and gone.
But then it collectively struck us: No one in his or her right mind would want to show up to this affair in the first place.
And what, you ask, is the gathering to which we are referring? Well, a correspondent from our Boston (M.A.) office recently sent us a flyer from the dubiously titled “ Boston School of Herbal Studies
.” Apparently, this veritable Vegetable University sponsored a fete called “ Shamanic Plant Journeying
,” which was under the careful tutelage of one Tommy Priester, professional herbalist.
We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can you tell that this Tommy Priester fellow is actually a professional
herbalist, and not just some garden-variety dabbler? How can you tell that this man has dedicated his entire life—nay, his entire essence—to oregano and kindred plants, perhaps of more suspect applications?
Well, because the exorbitant cost of the event—$35 American—made it crystal clear that we are dealing with a connoisseur of cumin, a master of mace. It must have been with perfervid anticipation (and a dab of parsley), then, that the greater New England area awaited this Professor of Paprika’s party. And the event was advertised thus:
This is an afternoon of drumming and guided meditation to deepen our connections to a particular medicinal plant and to earth energies. Participants will experience how the physical and spiritual energies of a plant affect all levels of being. We will meet the actual physical plant, experience the tincture and open to the energies of the flower essence. Though [sic] this process, we will make contact with plant wisdom for our own personal healing and the healing of the earth. This is a workshop for beginning and intermediate herbalists as well as for those who want to learn more about shamanic journeying.
Oh, dear. Where do we begin? First, we suppose we should note that, for a seminar so focused on the earth, this advertisement isn’t particularly grounded.
But, in his own way, the Good Doctor Priester (or the marketing division of the “Boston School of Herbal Studies”) has come up with an ingenious flyer. Notice that our clever Captain Herbalist has deftly omitted the name of the “particular medicinal plant” to which his pupils will be so diligently attending! Really pulls you in, doesn’t it? And we’re glad to find out that students will “experience” this mysterious herb on “all levels of being.” The last time we went to a $35 shamanic journey, we only experienced our plant on two or three levels of being, and it was, as they say, a real drag. And thank God Dr. Priester’s fellow journeyers will “meet the actual physical plant”! Showing up to the event and never even being introduced can be, as they say, a major downer.
A careful reader of the flyer can also note that our sage of sage, if you will, presented some grandiose claims for his seminar on shrubbery. It will, after all, make headway toward “the healing of the earth.” And to think, our country is fighting a benighted War on Terrorism, when it could be doing bushels more for the earth by being “open to the energies of the flower essence.” Talk about stopping to smell the roses!
But the flyer did leave us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” confused about one element of Professor Priester’s time with thyme. What, we collectively asked ourselves, do you have to snort to become an “intermediate herbalist”? We suppose this is a question best left to the experts.
Finding Your Voice
As you must know by now, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” do not publish on the weekends. So you might now be asking yourself: “Why is the crack young staff of ‘The Hatemonger’s Quarterly’ posting on a Saturday?” Or words to that effect.
Well, we’ll tell you. Although we have received a goodly number of entries to our First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition (the announcement of which you can find below), we want to exhort more of our dear readership to dig deep, find its inner poetaster, and submit a piece of stridently awful poetry.
And we think we have a way to inspire you to do so. A correspondent from our Durham (N.C.) office recently sent us a copy of the Spring 2004 issue of “ Voices
,” which bills itself as “an opinion magazine published by the Duke University Women’s Center
” that “provides a community forum for discussing women, feminism and the intersection of gender with ethnicity, class and sexuality.” Sounds like a winner, eh?
And, indeed, “Voices,” a rather lavishly produced periodical (for which the students of Duke University
, no doubt, are flipped the bill), proves to be a locus classicus
of the wretched student verse we want our readership to submit for our contest.
Before we offer a sample of the poesy in “Voices,” we should note that “Voices” is a cornucopia of execrable poetry and
prose. An example of the latter can be found on page 19, where the reader discovers a curious piece entitled “Finding my Vagina,” by a student called Yaolin Zhou. The article starts, as they say, with a bang: “It took me twenty minutes the other day to find my vagina.”
Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know exactly what you are thinking: This girl must be really, really heavy. But it turns out that the young Ms. Zhou is simply confused about anatomy. Or something. Frankly, that’s all we could glean from the piece. To be sure, it won’t take us twenty minutes to place “Voices” magazine in the trash bin; luckily, we know exactly
where that is. (The editors of “Voices” aren’t really helping out Ms. Zhou by placing a poem called “What Goes in After the Carrots?” directly below her article. And, no, we’re not
making this up.)
But we digress. What we really wanted to offer in this Special Weekend Edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is an example of sufficiently disastrous collegiate balladry. And we found just the thing on page three—a poem entitled “Hyphenated Identity” offered by one Tamaron Houston, whose first verse reads:
Black—Middle class—Methodist, that’s me.
Not baptized—owner of a Lexus—colored, that’s me.
White friends—Jewish roommate—listens to pop music, that’s me.
Ah, that’s the stuff! Ancient lore has it that the master poet Virgil would only compose three lines a day. We don’t know anything about Tamaron Houston’s modus scribendi
(and we would hate to de-elevate her), but we have a feeling that she has the same methodical style: After all, how else could she deftly incorporate such delicate phrases as “owner of a Lexus” and “Jewish roommate” into her verse? Eat your heart out, Czeslaw Milosz!
But we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that you, dear reader, can do an even better job. Remember, full publication of your poem on our website and the possibility of a “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” T-shirt are at stake. The competition, like Delta Burke, is hot and heavy. So send your poem in today!
A “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Marketing Special: The Academic Superstars Calendar
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what you are thinking, dear reader: All your petulant “weblog” does is demean, contemn, and spite. Why, you are just a bunch of vituperative stuffed shirts with access to a thesaurus. Can’t you stop maligning things for a minute, and try to look on the bright side? You are coming across as a group of angry weasels.
To which we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: Whoa, take it down a notch, fellow. And you say that we
are hate-filled? This site isn’t called “The Lovemonger’s Quarterly.” Why, well-nigh three-quarters of the Internet is devoted to such titillations. So we’re told.
But we know where you are coming from. After all, our “weblog” hasn’t exactly accentuated the positive—let alone eliminated the negative—thus far. And we haven’t even mentioned the proverbial in-between.
As such, today’s addition to “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” shall not contain a delicious excoriation of an easy target. Instead, we are going to let you in on an idea that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been pondering for some time. If we ever collect the funds to bankroll this product, we’re sure we’ll be billionaires. But, as we can’t even afford the prandial delicacy known as "ramen noodles," we are content to share our idea with some swashbuckling entrepreneur. Nota bene
, ye of much money!
But first, some background. Almost everyone in these here United States owns a calendar. Most of these horrid things present their purchasers with saccharine pictures of flowers, cats, or babies—the kind of stuff that Florence, the lady sitting in the next cubicle, likes to look at as she listens to “soft-rock” and pretends to be working. The more adventuresome of you own calendars with a purpose: To learn a word-of-the-month, for example. It doesn’t seem to dawn on anyone that being able to recognize the term “tantivy” isn’t exactly the world’s most useful skill. Unless you’re Roger Scruton
, of course.
So, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” say that you should ditch your tepid calendars in favor of a far more daring choice. We call it:
The Academic Superstars Calendar!
Dear reader, are you tired of calendars that present a meta-narrative? Do you, unlike the great unwashed, realize that time is merely a linguistic construct? If so, The Academic Superstars Calendar is the product for you!
Unlike the hegemonic calendars to which you are accustomed, The Academic Superstars Calendar is an al-woman-ac that declines to bow down to the tyranny of the Enlightenment project. Why, it’s the first calendar that refuses to place the months in a linear discourse: Who’s to say that July shouldn’t be the first month? And it’s the first calendar that is utterly contemptuous of the transcendental signifier. In fact, the calendar even doubts that such a thing could exist.
What, you ask, could be better than that? Well, The Academic Superstars Calendar offers a fetching portrait of a bona fide academic superstar along with each month! You can savor Stanley Fish’s nihilistic November. Or watch Derrida deconstruct December. Fredric Jameson ushers in the October revolution. Cornel West tells us that “March Matters.” And all can delight in amnesiac April, when postmodernists attempt to forget what Paul de Man was up to in 1942!
Just think: Everyone else’s calendar displays kitschy landscapes by Thomas Kincaid
. How pseudo-bourgeois! But you can sport one that resists the incessant demonization of “The Other” and is hip to “the phallicism that follows the mirror phase,” as E. Ann Kaplan delightfully reminds us.
But wait, as they say on the television, there’s more. Instead of those noxious Western holidays featured in other calendars, The Academic Superstars Calendar highlights holidays that allow the subaltern to speak. Finally!
Yes, The Academic Superstars Calendar is the only exercise in (anti)chronology that marks Althusser Week, which culminates, of course, in a festival at which fellow bacchants can break out of their structural limitations, and exercise their agency by choking their wives. And it also heralds the celebration of Judith Butler’s Feast of Opacity Day. Instead of that infernal “Columbus Day,” The Academic Superstars Calendar proudly touts Kill Whitey, a day of fasting and reflection in honor of Frantz Fanon. And who could forget Salman Rushdie Day, which, for security reasons, occurs at a date not previously announced?
Why, we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that this calendar presents a heterogeneous, multivalent challenge to the dominant culture. But you don’t have to take our word for it, dear reader. Here’s what academic superstar Gayatri Spivak
has to say about our product:
“This utopia-from-realization of capitalism is not morphologically
(‘theoretically’) dissimilar from the euphoria-in-derealization (which of course is the paradoxical realization
of the spirit of ‘multinational capital’) that we are offered later in the essay as the whole new untheorized thing about postmodernism (see note 33).”
We guess that’s good.
Attack of the Busch-League Blurbs
A senior editor at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—was perusing the April 12 & 19 number of The New Republic
, as is his wont. This issue of that fine magazine, semi-cleverly entitled “God Bless Atheism,” contains a full-page advertisement from the University of Chicago Press
This advertisement, hawking the latest tomes from that venerable press, bears the heading “Power Reading.” Yes, “Power Reading
”: That’s the best that the marketing whizzes at the University of Chicago Press could muster. This led us to wonder what titles actually lost out to that genius appellative: The dignified yet catchy "Books-n-Stuff"? The more academically inclined "Hegemony Reading"? The sassier "Books"? The more frank "Books Written by Tenure-Track Professors Desperately Hoping to Coast Through their 50s"? Ah, but the cunning marketing department at the University of Chicago Press rightfully realized that “Power Reading” was surely the most fetching exhortation.
But never mind the silly title. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have bigger fish to fry. One of the books publicized by the advertisement is Invent Radium or I’ll Pull Your Hair
, a memoir by one Doris Drucker. Now, we here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” haven’t read this fine tome, and we don’t intend to. But clearly the book deserves a more spirited blurb than the one offered by Jack Beatty, senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly
: “Doris Drucker’s memoir is as original and entertaining as its title.” Oh, come on, Jack: We realize you are a fancy-pants editor at The Atlantic
—the place where Christopher Hitchens undoes yet another
button on his shirt and really lets loose—but we think you’re ‘phoning it in. The book’s as entertaining as its title?!? The start of your blurb is as is as pathetic as it is uninspired.
And this leads us to the more general topic of blurbs. These days, it seems as if just about every book contains an overwrought blurb from either William Kristol or Susan Sontag. In fact, we’re inclined to believe that William Kristol has read every
book Susan Sontag hasn’t. And vice-versa. And, between the two of them, they’ve liked every one. There’s not a clunker in the bunch.
Oftentimes, the blurb is so general, it remains unclear whether the blurbist has actually read the volume he is so earnestly recommending. Take Jack Beatty’s: Couldn’t he offer a first sentence that makes it clear that he at least slogged through the acknowledgments page? It’s like one of those longwinded Gore Vidal criticisms in The New York Review of Books
: Full of pomp and circumstance, but doesn’t leave the audience with the impression that the book in question was actually worth the good reviewer’s time.
Why don’t William Kristol, Susan Sontag, and the other bigwigs of blurbalia simply concoct a formulaic quotation, thus freeing him or her from going to the trouble of reading the work in question? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly offer this as a sample blurb-by-the-numbers:
“[Insert title of the book] was great! It’s the best work in its genre since The Closing of the American Mind
/The Greening of America
. Everyone is going to be talking about [insert author’s name] for a long time to come. Simply indispensable.”
Well, Bill and Susan, there you have it. We’ve just increased your productivity ten-fold. Perhaps you can send us a portion of your royalties?
Introducing the First Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition:
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” get endless amounts of joy from extremely opinionated college students. You know the type, dear reader: At the tender age of 18, our intrepid, hemp-clad pupil is trouncing the purported ridiculousness of Christianity. “It’s, like, so
un-progressive,” he blathers. Apparently, our fearless collegian believes that he—not Augustine, not Thomas Aquinas—has unlocked the secrets of this millennia-old faith. And all as a freshman! Bravo!
All across the country, college newspapers allow these pertinacious youngsters to pontificate. Somehow, these students believe that they have amazing insights to offer on the war in Iraq, gay marriage, globalization, &c. Sure, we all
want to read the learned musings on world affairs penned by a junior from Indiana University of Pennsylvania
. It’s like poring over the latest Maureen Dowd
column—without all that irritating depth.
What, you may ask, can be better than (literally) sophomoric op-eds penned by college students? Why, putrid college-student poetry, of course. G.K. Chesterton famously quipped that calling free-verse poetry was akin to calling a ditch free-architecture. A few lines of tin-eared collegiate verse will have one clamoring to spend the rest of one’s life in a ditch—provided it is bereft of such poesy.
Does it sound, dear reader, as if we are overstating matters a bit? Clearly, you have not read much university poetry. Often crafted by females enraptured by their local Womyn’s Studies department, these exercises in juvenilia all seem to have the same deadly flaws: Poor grammar; hackneyed phraseology; utopian political sentiments; ghastly clichés.
In fact, the stuff almost writes itself. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can offer you an example: We call this charming ditty “We Are All Saddam”:
“We Are All Saddam”
by The Crack Staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly"
Bombs bursting; children crying; blood running…
But we are all Saddam.
Cheney, Rice, Powell, Bush,
All the Jews who run Amerika…
But we are all Sadam [sic].
Who [sic] are we fighting? Who [sic] do we hate?
For we are all Saddam.
Pretty moving, isn’t it? Well, now that you have an idea of what brand of sludge we are discussing, we can formally announce:
The First Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition!
We, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are calling for submissions of the most foul, most pathetic college-esque free-verse that our readers can muster. The grand prize shall be publication of the winning entry on “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” website, and possibly a free T-shirt with a logo of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” on the front, and a hastily scrawled message on the back that reads: “We Get More Hits Than Tina Turner.” As William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, and e.e. cummings are all dead—and because Maya Angelou is alive—the official judge of the First Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition shall be our favorite poet, Anonymous. For centuries, Anonymous has crafted some of the most vibrant poetry in Western culture. And he’s written some darn good hymns, too, if you ask us.
So what do you have to lose, dear reader? Wait for the muses to inspire you, and then send your submission to email@example.com. Remember: Points will be deducted for proper spelling; poetry that demonstrates any sense of rhythm, assonance, and internal rhyme shall immediately be disqualified. All entries are due by 5pm, Eastern Standard Time on April 26th. Sponsored by “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”: Your Source for the World’s Worst Verse.
“The People” vs. People
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been paying plenty of attention to the sundry brouhahas sprouting on college campuses nation-wide in response to the so-called “intellectual diversity” movement. As anyone who has spent a few short seconds on an American college campus knows, “diversity” is a word of talismanic power to manifold academics and administrators. Nary a moment goes by when some Dean of Diversity isn’t waxing diverse on the cardinal virtues of “diversity.”
It seems, however, that our professors and administrators mean something very specific by the term “diversity”: A whole array of students and faculty members of various skin-tones, all of whom tout the same left-wing shibboleths on political issues. Colleges want to promote black Naderites, Latino Naderites, white Naderites, Native-American Naderites, et al
. You get the picture. If the “diversity” apparatchiks could ever get their hands on the work of Matthew Arnold, they would reshape his famous quotation on the goal of Liberal Arts education to read: “The best that has been thought and said by a sufficiently diverse array of underrepresented minorities, all of whom have the same ideological blinkers.” Never mind sweetness and light; pass the Afrocentric essays and radical feminist poetry, please!
Naturally, the academic Left is loath to inform students’ parents that this is what they have in mind by the word “diversity.” After all, $30,000 a year for the educational equivalent of a Howard Dean
rally doesn’t exactly seem worth the price of admission, now does it? As such, the academic Left esteems the very vagueness of the word “diversity”; much as is the case with the euphemistic phrase “Affirmative Action,” the less concrete the appellation, the better.
Accordingly, the powers-that-be in American higher education don’t much care for the “intellectual diversity” movement, which promotes tolerance for all points of view on college campuses. University administrators enjoy a requisite number of dark faces at their schools to help assuage their fears of being closet racists, but they obviously don’t want anyone to think for himself. Why, all heck might break loose!
Naturally, the academic Left has allies in its intrepid fight against intellectual openness and tolerance. One such ally, dear reader, is The Independent Weekly
. The Independent
, a Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill based rag, is a freebee publication that presents its readers with various ‘phone sex advertisements, rock-concert listings, and cartoons. And it even offers the occasional article.
Like most broadsheets of this type, The Independent
's politics is just slightly to the Left of Pol Pot: Sure, Mao made some mistakes, but they pale in comparison to those of the evil corporate hegemons who rule the USA. If it weren’t for capitalism, this country might finally blah, blah, blah.
Given its political tilt, it is not surprising that The Independent
's March 31-April 6, 2004 number contained a shoddy article
penned by a fifth-rate hack named Barbara Solow. In said piece, the indefatigable Ms. Solow went to extraordinary lengths to misconstrue the “intellectual diversity” movement as a vicious reactionary plot to destroy all that is right (that is, left) in the world. She somehow casts the rag-tag bunch of Duke
students who dislike their classes degenerating into Democratic Party brainstorms as a well-funded hate-machine. Ah, yes: The students have a few hundred dollars from the student council, and Duke University has…six squillion dollars? Sounds like dear ole’ Duke is outgunned to us.
Our favorite part of Ms. Solow’s hackwork, however, was surely the quotation she included by one Catherine Lutz, a former professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Queried about the supporters of intellectual diversity on campus, Ms. Lutz opined:
“What they’re trying to do is take back the last institution in this country that doesn’t have a complete right-wing agenda because it’s founded on the notion of free inquiry, knowledge and research—and has protections in place for those reasons.”
We at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” don’t know whether to laugh or cry: Academia is the only
place in the entire United States of America that isn’t militantly reactionary? Oh, dear!
We can imagine Ms. Lutz making a mental check-list of various American institutions: The Brookings Institute, the ACLU, Taco Bell, the Beacon Press, "The Muppet Show," CNN—you know, that right-wing stuff.
Instead of persuading the reader that the American academy is the lone fortress against the machinations of the Evil Forces of the Right, Ms. Lutz appears to demonstrate that she has never set foot on non-academic soil. How else could one come to such a jejune conclusion?
But what particularly strikes us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” about Ms. Lutz’s comments is the supreme disdain they show for the average American. To her, college professors are the enlightened few, feverishly attempting to show the troglodytic American public the collective error of its ways. This seems an odd perspective for someone so far on the political Left. Why does it appear that such types love “The People,” but hate people
? As we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are mere journalists, we guess we’ll never know.
Introducing “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Summer Internship Program!
As the whole World-Wide Web must know by now, dear reader, the First Annual Week of Loathing (April 4th-10th, 2004) has ended, and was a splendid success. The Wall Street Journal
reported on Friday that Gillette
stock was down slightly—a downturn that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like to attribute to our scabrous attack on its feculent “The Best a Man Can Get” campaign (Week of Loathing, Day the Fourth).
While things were returning to normal around the office—the “Week of Loathing” balloons were taken down, we returned the “Week of Loathing” blimp back to our friends at Goodyear
, &c.—and we reverted to our regular weekday publishing schedule, something occurred to us. A few senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” were answering our voluminous emails, and a thought came to us: We are the big-wigs at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”; what the heck are we doing responding to fan-mail? We haven’t toiled away in the Internet publishing racket for well-nigh over a fortnight to be caught wasting our time on such trivialities! But how, we thought to ourselves, can we foist all the quotidian work on some starry-eyed, acne-faced dilettante, while we enjoy our well-earned sinecures? Then it collectively hit us: A “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Summer Internship Program!
You know the type, dear reader. A fancy ideological rag asks for applications (complete with CVs and recommendations) for a supposedly prestigious summer internship at their magazine. By means of some slick, mendacious advertising, the applicants are under the incorrect impression that they will be spending the summer chatting about the evils of George W. Bush with Katrina vanden Heuvel while drinking mint juleps and working on a lengthy lucubration to appear in the journal. In reality, of course, Ms. vanden Heuvel will never even set foot in her office, only spending time away from her fancy digs in the Hamptons in order to make sundry television appearances on “Scarborough Country.” The interns, of course, will spend most of their time taking out the trash, answering ‘phone calls, and…running the magazine. All for free: What a great summer!
It is in this spirit, dear reader (especially dear younger reader), that we offer this, our First Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Summer Internship Program. Unlike the staffs of those more dubious intellectual publications, we here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” shall present the prospective applicant both our sleazy official call for applications and the truth about the “program.” The latter, in fact, shall appear in italics underneath each section of the official advertisement, so that our eager young interns-to-be will know exactly what to expect before they arrive. Without further ado, we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are pleased to announce:
The First Annual “Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Summer Internship Program:
Hey, kids, have you ever wanted to have an exciting summer, learning the ins-and-outs of the highfalutin publishing world? We too! On an entirely unrelated note, we are accepting applications for summer interns at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”! The summer internship program should be a great way for eager young journalists to spend a rewarding summer working on a world-renowned intellectual publication!
If you consider spending all day in a dank office, answering obnoxious ‘phone calls, and waiting until 6:30 pm for the stupid UPS guy to show up your idea of a good time, this summer internship scam is the “job” for you.
The successful applicants will spend quality time with the Nobel-Prize-winning staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” learning the ropes of the publishing world.
As summer interns, you probably won’t ever see the staff, as it shall be out enjoying the warm summer months on your dime. Perhaps once or twice a summer we’ll ask you to fax something to us, or we’ll tell you to take out our dry-cleaning. We also like those fruit bars with the real fruit in them; you’ll probably have to hit the bricks and get a few for us over the course of the summer. And, oh, by the way, we made up the part about the “Nobel-Prize winning staff”; not only has no one who works for “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” ever won a Nobel Prize, we have been handed a collective restraining order by the Swedish police to stay clear of the Nobel Prize Committee.
Our top-quality staff will guide you on your way to a thrilling career in the scintillating world of publishing.
”The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has about as much clout in the publishing business as Lyondon LaRouche’s in-house magazine. If you really want to impress people with your resumé, you might as well work for
The David Duke Report,
The Afro-centric Guide to Finland, or some other publication of greater standing.
Our summer interns will also have the opportunity to meet other up-and-coming journalists, and make useful, productive contacts in the publishing world.
As far as our mendacious advertising is concerned, this claim isn’t so phony: You might have a chance to meet a few summer interns—provided anyone else applies for the position. Trapped in an over-heated office building with such prospective contacts, however, you are more likely to want to throttle your fellow interns than befriend them.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” provides a pleasant atmosphere for aspiring literati
"The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is a
locus classicus of a hostile work environment. And don’t get any ideas about rising through the ranks by dating some of the regular staff members: All the men are short, fat, bald, ugly, and fetid; all the women are grad students.
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is an Affirmative Action, equal opportunity employer.
Unlike pretty much every university and business in the Western hemisphere, we at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” realize that you can’t be BOTH an Affirmative Action AND an equal opportunity employer. So we shall be neither.
Send a statement of purpose, two recommendations, three suggestive Polaroids, copious stool stamples, and a curriculum vitae
to firstname.lastname@example.org. Allow two to eight months for the staff to reply to you. Applicants will have to supply their own rubber gloves.
On behalf of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” we hope that you can join us for the summer; without you, we might have to show up to work.
Week of Loathing (Day the Seventh): Sanitation Grade Inflation
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are sick and tired of whiny students and whinier journalists prattling on about grade inflation. It seems as if one spends even a few minutes on a college campus, or peruses The Chronicle of Higher Education
, one simply can’t eschew caustic remarks on this purportedly pernicious phenomenon.
“Everyone gets ‘A’s at Harvard,” spouts one student (who, coincidentally, did not get accepted to Harvard
). “It’s so
easier there,” she continues, ungrammatically. Naturally, our fevered student is not deeply concerned about the lax education that Fair Harvard offers its pupils; rather, she thinks its deleterious grade inflation is going to make it harder for her to get into the law school of her choice. Oh, the horror!
Professors seem no more levelheaded about grade inflation. “Back in my day,” exclaims one Good Doctor, “you had to earn a grade. Now, all you have to do is fog a mirror and you get at least a ‘B.’” Oh, dear. Society really has reached its nadir, hasn’t it?
Yet, amongst so much feckless complaining, a far more important type of grade inflation is sweeping the nation: “Sanitation grade inflation.”
What’s sanitation grade inflation? Well, dear reader, let us answer with an example. Have you ever—and we mean ever
—gone into a restaurant that did not bravely sport a plaque that boasted of its "A" grade for its supposed sanitational excellence? We, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” sure haven’t. And we’ve been to some seedy eateries, to be sure.
We know what you’re thinking: Sanitation grade inflation is so much less important than the old-fashioned pedagogical kind. We beg to differ.
For grade inflation, in fact, is a fairly harmless—though irksome—phenomenon. Imagine the following scenario: A white-hatted chucklehead leaves Dyspepsia State University with a 3.5 GPA and is a functional illiterate. Not hard to imagine, is it? Surely, this erstwhile frat-boy is the personification of collegiate grade inflation; had grade inflation not existed, he would probably still be stuck in third grade.
Yet what effects do such academic hijinks have on us? Answer: Probably none. Our knuckle-dragging college grad lands himself steady work as a white-collar pencil-pusher at some investment firm, and all is well with the world. Sure, this guy may be an irritant to stand next to on the subway—especially when he is expatiating on the intricacies of Roger Clemens’ ERA with his buddies—but we can be safe in assuming that almost no harm has been done.
In regard to sanitation grade inflation, this is simply not the case. Imagine, if you will, dear reader, that an establishment—let’s say Denny’s
—with an obviously sub-par hygienic record lands an “A” grade on its sanitation inspection. And it receives this grade even though the government inspector must overlook a bevy of infractions: A dog licking the meat in the kitchen; waitresses using french-fries as hair "scrunchies"; &c. You get the picture. What effects do such exercises in uncleanliness have on us? Answer: Food poisoning, hepatitis, vomiting.
We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” far prefer the effects of grade inflation to the dangers of sanitation grade inflation. So, the next time you hear someone maundering on about the indignities of grade inflation, tell him to get a meal at Waffle House
. That ought to fix him.
Week of Loathing (Day the Sixth): B. Dalton Bookstore
Already we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have spent part of our First Annual Week of Loathing (April 4th-10th, 2004) pillorying one mighty American company: Gillette
. As such, we were hesitant to excoriate yet another business; after all, we don’t want systematically to alienate every potential advertiser for our “weblog.” Who will pay the bills? We, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have a hefty rent-check due in a few weeks, and those tepid “blogspot.com” ads aren’t exactly making us the Internet version of Warren Buffet.
Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hold such intense collective antipathy for one retail establishment that we simply must rebuke it in the strongest language we can muster. That store? B. Dalton
We don’t know what B. Dalton’s catch-phrase is, but we’ll be happy to suggest one (free of charge, no less): “B. Dalton, The Bookstore for People Who Are Suspicious of Reading.” After all, even the most casual perusal of your local branch of the chain immediately demonstrates that B. Dalton is a bookstore markedly bereft of, well, books.
In fact, B. Dalton makes Waldenbooks
seem like Widener Library
. It makes the book section of Tower Records
seem like the Library of Congress
. And it makes Barnes & Noble
seem like the long lost library of Alexandria. In short, it’s an establishment that should
be a cover for some kind of drug operation, but miraculously somehow isn’t.
We know what you are thinking, dear reader. You can pick up plenty of tomes at B. Dalton. To be sure, B. Dalton carries all the classics of the Western canon: Tuesdays and Alternate Wednesdays with Morrie
, The Idiot’s Guide to Dating
, the complete oeuvre
of Judy Bloom.
But have you, dear reader, ever noticed how many of the landmark works of literature for sale at B. Dalton come joined with some sort of marketing gizmo, as if the book itself were not worth the price of admission? For instance, there’s the intellectually luminous Klutz’s Guide to Juggling
, which offers a couple of square bean-bag balls, in order to start that klutz a-jugglin’. (Thankfully, the bean-bag balls are conveniently well padded, so as not to harm the sundry limited-edition Susan Lucci dolls and porcelain unicorns that usefully take up so much floor space. Or the enchanting display case of Elvis memorabilia: We wouldn’t want to harm that!) Then there’s Frisbee Fun with Your Dog
, which comes complete, naturally, with a dog. Yorkshire terrier, we believe. It’s as if B. Dalton is telling its potential “readership”: “Come on, man, if the book gives you too much eye strain (or brain strain), you can always use it as a drink cozy. And who doesn’t want these sweet square bean-bag balls? This purchase is a no-brainer. Which is why we know you’ll buy it.”
And then there’s the B. Dalton magazine rack: Intriguingly stuffed with choices, it immediately proves disappointing to those who aren’t hankering to pick up the latest issue of Black Hair-Care
, or Highlights for Children
. The only place where we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have seen a more pathetic array of journals is the waiting-room of our parsimonious dentist: Ever shuffle through a copy of Newsweek
magazine whose cover-story is “Spanish Armada Sunk: Somehow England Prevails”?
The remainder bin of B. Dalton, naturally, is no better. Who the heck wants a soiled copy of a ghost-written “autobiography” of Jesse “The Body” Ventura? Before
he was governor! We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” say a collective No Thanks: We prefer our tomes to contain more than three words per page.
There is one section of your local B. Dalton Bookstore that is, however, revealingly full. That’s the “Self-Help” section. And this is no surprise: Anyone caught in B. Dalton has somehow gone astray.
Week of Loathing (Day the Fifth): The Word "Moist"
Ever have a word just stick in your craw? For some reason, no matter what you do, the term simply won’t sit right with you? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” certainly know of such a word: “Moist.”
And yes, we recognize that “moist” need not refer to sexual matters: It can just as easily describe, say, brownies as it can, say, Marv Albert. Still, for no apparent reason, the appellation rubs us the wrong way.
This is all particularly inexplicable, given the fact that “hoist”—surely a phonetically similar example of verbiage—doesn’t rankle us at all. Even “boisterous,” which roughly starts out the same, leaves us feeling flat. But go so far as to say the word “moist,” and at least 47 percent of the crack young staff at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” will purse their lips as if they have just swallowed a lemon—or seen Journey
We know, dear reader, what you are thinking: The crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” although purporting to be bold, is merely a rag-tag bunch of tyros, incapable of stomaching a painful turn of phrase; why, back in my day, I had to tolerate such linguistic indignities as “higgledy-piggledy,” “sassafras,” and “cuckold.”
To which we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” reply: Hey, man, ease off a bit; words can sting. Moreover, you’re totally off base, dear reader, as we can put up with a goodly number of locutions that would irk the average Tom, Dick, or Harry.
To wit, we are entirely untroubled by “blotchy.” We collectively scoff at the crotchety sod who shivers at the word “pilsner.” And “crapulous” only slightly perturbs us—and for obvious reasons.
We can even handle most of those infuriating neologisms that the postmodern crowd coins with regularity: “problematize” and feckless use of the plural in such words as “feminisms” don’t burn our britches more than, say, “hybridity,” although the last term inspires multiple feelings in us.
And we can even stomach what must be the most fearsome phrase in the history of the English language: “Andrew Lloyd Webber.”
But, for whatever reason, “moist” makes us shudder. It’s the linguistic equivalent of Mickey Rourke. It’s Webster’s Dictionary
meets Tipper Gore. It’s just disgusting, and we’d really appreciate it if you didn’t use the term at all. Unfortunately, a quick check of the staff copy of the revised edition of The New Roget’s Thesaurus
has left us with a panoply of replacements that bother us almost as much as “moist” itself: “damp,” “humid,” “drizzly,” “drippy.” And what the heck is “irriguous”?
Let’s just hope it never rains.
“Hatemonger’s Quarterly” News Special: Duke’s History Department Down to 31 Dems
As is now well known throughout the “blogosphere,” the Duke Conservative Union
(DCU) caused a national brouhaha by printing an advertisement in The Chronicle
, Duke University’s student newspaper, demonstrating a massive discrepancy in registered Democrats and Republicans in eight departments at Duke, along with the Deans of the University. As The Weekly Standard
rightly noted, this massive disparity—of an 18 to 1 order—“right away created quite a lot of ‘Oh, dear, how gauche!’ tongue-clucking down in Durham.” Among other findings, the DCU reported that Duke’s History Department contained 32 Democrats, 4 unaffiliated, and 0 Republican faculty members.
That is, it seems, until now. A local television report offers this recent news story
, that John French
, associate professor of History at Duke, has been arrested along with his wife for masterminding an out-of-home drug-selling operation. It appears as if Dr. French, when not writing on the evil role of the United States in Latin American history, was doing his best to help out the Latin American economy the “Manuel Noriega way.”
Need we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” now suggest that the DCU offer a formal retraction of its advertisement? After all, there shall probably soon be only 31 Democrats in Duke’s History Department. That is, of course, unless Duke would like to offer Dr. French the “Peter Tosh Chair of History,” or some such impressive endowed professorship.
Need we suggest, moreover, that a Republican professor of History at Duke—if such a creature existed—would be far less likely to moonlight as a drug dealer? Perhaps, given the brand of vitriolic, left-wing partisanship emanating from much of Duke’s History Department, it is hard to tell who actually isn’t
under the influence.
Week of Loathing (Day the Fourth): Gillette, Self-Championed as “The Best a Man Can Get”
A few superannuated members of our crack young staff here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” remember the tumult that surrounded the original publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique
. Appearing in 1963, this book, by the Den Mother of so-called Second-Wave Feminism, argued, among other things, that American culture was quashing the constructive impulses of females. Friedan disparaged male-run operations like Ladies' Home Journal
, which spent much of its editorial acumen on such trivialities as cake recipes and vacuuming tips.
As Hal Colebatch discussed in the Autumn 2000 number of The Salisbury Review
, however, women’s more prominent role in the promotion of American culture has hardly raised standards. On the contrary: It appears as if women were not, contra Friedan, frothing at the mouth to peruse magazines containing lengthy disquisitions by the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Kate Millet. Rather, with women long ensconced at the editorships of such lofty publications as Ladies' Home Journal
, it seems as if these magazines still confine themselves mostly to, well, cake recipes and vacuuming tips. So much for the intellectual firepower of the weaker sex!
But we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must admit that Friedan’s complaints regarding the deleterious effects of aspects of American society have some intrinsic merit. And this brings us to Gillette
, the American company hawking a line of shaving accessories that bills its products in myriad television commercials as “The Best a Man Can Get.”
You’ve seen the advertisements before: A strapping, thirtysomething hunk wearing nothing but a towel and a smile stares into his bathroom mirror with smug satisfaction, marveling at the high quality of his tonsorial tools. His wife and (presumably) his little daughter look on with sheer (or is that shear?) bliss: Daddy sure is a handsome fellow, isn’t he? The charming familial scene closes with a dime-store jingle: A handful of C-List singers croon blithely about “Gillette, The Best a Man Can Get.”
We, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have no quibble with Gillette products. Almost 47 percent of our staff is male, and informal polling around the office water-cooler has found that many of us use Gillette products. In fact, 3 out of 5 male employees of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” believe that 5 out of 6 doctors recommend Gillette products over the other leading brand. Which, we suppose, is Bic
—a beacon of hygienic mediocrity, if you ask us.
We take umbrage, however, with the lofty catch-phrase Gillette offers the American public; after all, it touts itself as “The Best a Man Can Get.” Although countless Americans have endured the formulaic chanting of this advertising hook time and time again, we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t believe that the phrase has received an adequate parsing.
This, dear reader, is where the intrepid staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” steps in. As we see it, the jingle “Gillette, The Best a Man Can Get” could mean approximately two things, which may or may not be mutually compatible:
1) Gillette offers males the highest quality shaving products.
2) The use of Gillette products shall amount to the apex of any and every man’s life.
We don’t have any problems with claim number 1; sure, it may be a bit of an immodest—even faintly incredible—statement, but television advertising has long been known for its blatant braggadocio. We, however, have colossal problems with claim number 2.
And this leads us back to Betty Friedan and her feminist caterwauling. How dare Gillette champion itself as the pinnacle of male achievement! Yes, Gillette offers a razor that has three blades; but certainly some
aspects of the male experience make this seem niggling. Why, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can easily name an assortment of people and items that mean far more to the quality of our lives. To pick a few at random: Henry Winkler, Formica, and suppositories. Okay, our selections weren’t totally chosen at random. Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” utterly detest the vile—nay, misandrist—claims of the Gillette company. Without today’s addition to the First Annual Week of Loathing (April 4th-10th, 2004) miring in the depths of a male self-help session, let us suggest that, in sooth, men can do far, far better than Gillette.
In fact, if this weren’t the case, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what we
would do with our razors.