Tuesday, December 27, 2005

[politics] No, not 'Jacobean'...

Okay, so there are a number of bloggers commenting on James Wolcott's piece about the bloodlust/warporn impulses expressed in so many of the writings of the right-wing blogosphere. (I think it was tbogg who I first read this morning, but I've seen a couple of others...) Here're my two cents... Maybe this comes of being not just secular but atheist; maybe this comes of being queer; maybe this comes of being married to a Jew - but the rhetoric that comes from so much of the right doesn't strike me so much as being Jacobean:
Sometimes the punishment they seek is more Jacobean, as when Michael Fumento greeted Cindy Sheehan's threat to tie herself to the fence in Crawford, Texas to protest the 2000th military death in Iraq with the sentiment, Good, let her lash herself to the fence: "Leave her there and maybe the crows will do the world a favor and eat her tongue out."
True, the turn of phrase 'Jacobean' does convey a sense of an era far less concerned with human rights than our own (and isn't that a phrase to give you goosebumps), but it fails to capture an essential element of much of this bile: the eliminationist element. Not merely violence, not merely bloodlust, not merely demands for punishment, but demands for elimination of all enemies, military and ideological, foreign and domestic. The latest expressions of this can be seen, for instance, in Ann Coulter's recent appearance on the Today show: not content to let Michelle Malkin grab all the concentration camp glory, Coulter praises illegal internment in the context of defending President Bush's policies. Unfortunately, I am unable to find a turn of phrase that fits quite as neatly as Wolcott's - I have, however, found a not-quite-contemporaneous era that seems much more fitting... We aren't looking at a crowd that envisions the excesses of the court of James I; rather, we're looking at a crowd that is looking for Huguenots. When is St. Bartholomew's Day again?


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