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Yeah, What They Said. UPDATE

See, it's a Pointer. You know, pointer post? Pointer?

Why bother writing it myself when Dyre Portents and Keith Olbermann have already done it so perfectly?
You know I don't say "must read," but still, you ought to.

UPDATE: The comment below was too good not to promote to the front page. After reading Reader I_AM's blistering response to the Keith Olbermann portion of the post I linked to, I think she's largely right. I think I did a lazy read after hearing half of it live on MSNBC last night and was too generous. I like Olbermann -- I like anyone on TV who can actually write a coherent sentence -- so I didn't have my critical radar up. I need to watch that tendency to give a pass to writers I like. It's intellectual death to start endorsing whatever is said or written by those on "your side" of a political debate.

I think there's a difference between Olbermann's statement and the one by Dyre: Olbermann does try to lay the non-memorial directly at Bush's feet. Dyre includes it in a list of things that make him angry about our response to 9/11. I suspect Dyre would agree with R-IAM that this particular item on the list is not Mr. Bush's fault, but I don't want to speak for him. If Dyre wishes to respond to R-IAM I will be happy to include that here as well.

Reader I_AM:

I've read it a couple of times before I got here--which, why bother? I saw Olbermann deliver the damn thing.

I'm sorry, but this speech just doesn't wash with me. Oh, I get the anger and how it represents the anger of others. I get how much of that anger is valid, and share it on more points than not.

But the empty acres of the Ground Zero site are a lousy, lousy metaphor for anger at Bush and the failures of this administration. The use of that site--the default graveyard of so many--in this fashion is specifically and particularly partisanly political in part for this very reason.

What, now we're mad at Bush--on top of everything else--because he's not chief zoning officer and planning commissioner? Memorial designer? Because he didn't exceed the job description and authority of his role to wrest local control of locally and/or privately owned property and declare it federal land and federal responsibility? (Do you think that would have met the standards of the Federal Takings law, or whatever that provision is--I'm not a lawyer.)

Ground Zero is an excellent metaphor for a number of things. Such as the evil of terrorism, for example, the terrible aspects of human nature, or even a clash of worldviews or civilizations. Etc.

It even--though I viscerally recoil from its use in this way--works as a metaphor for the inability of people with competing viewpoints, interests and turfs to finally look at the broader picture and work together to solve a problem, clean up a mess or even seek a path to healing, regardless of who's currently Big Daddy; in short, as a metaphor for the toxic disunity of this country. And for buck-passing.

Olbermann's finale was cheap. Cheap and self-serving. He engaged in the very thing that he, and many others, have been so appalled at when people he doesn't agree with do it. And he did it against the backdrop of that terrible scar that has yet to start being literally bandaged because of the actions or inactions of groups of local/regional citizens and local/regional officials who apparently don't have any more ability to rise above the differences and effectively compromise than this administration or, for that matter, this Congress.

Metaphor, schmetaphor. People need to stop pontificating--even whining--and get busy. There's a long list of things to do. Including--if they're part of the relevant local/regional constituencies and planning groups--building that memorial.

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“Yeah, What They Said. UPDATE”

  1. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    I've read it a couple of times before I got here--which, why bother? I saw Olbermann deliver the damn thing.

    I'm sorry, but this speech just doesn't wash with me. Oh, I get the anger and how it represents the anger of others. I get how much of that anger is valid, and share it on more points than not.

    But the empty acres of the Ground Zero site are a lousy, lousy metaphor for anger at Bush and the failures of this administration. The use of that site--the default graveyard of so many--in this fashion is specifically and particularly partisanly political in part for this very reason.

    What, now we're mad at Bush--on top of everything else--because he's not chief zoning officer and planning commissioner? Memorial designer? Because he didn't exceed the job description and authority of his role to wrest local control of locally and/or privately owned property and declare it federal land and federal responsibility? (Do you think that would have met the standards of the Federal Takings law, or whatever that provision is--I'm not a lawyer.)

    Ground Zero is an excellent metaphor for a number of things. Such as the evil of terrorism, for example, the terrible aspects of human nature, or even a clash of worldviews or civilizations. Etc.

    It even--though I viscerally recoil from its use in this way--works as a metaphor for the inability of people with competing viewpoints, interests and turfs to finally look at the broader picture and work together to solve a problem, clean up a mess or even seek a path to healing, regardless of who's currently Big Daddy; in short, as a metaphor for the toxic disunity of this country. And for buck-passing.

    Olbermann's finale was cheap. Cheap and self-serving. He engaged in the very thing that he, and many others, have been so appalled at when people he doesn't agree with do it. And he did it against the backdrop of that terrible scar that has yet to start being literally bandaged because of the actions or inactions of groups of local/regional citizens and local/regional officials who apparently don't have any more ability to rise above the differences and effectively compromise than this administration or, for that matter, this Congress.

    Metaphor, schmetaphor. People need to stop pontificating--even whining--and get busy. There's a long list of things to do. Including--if they're part of the relevant local/regional constituencies and planning groups--building that memorial.

    And Tak? You're really, really wrong about one thing:

    Why bother writing it myself[?]"

    I wish to God you had. You're a much, much better writer than Olbermann with a far better grasp of the realities and subleties of what has faced us, what is facing us, and the obtacles that are undercutting our ability to do much about either. I think you'd have focused more on the points that make sense and that are of overriding importance, in O's rant, and eschewed the self-serving bullshit. I think you would have encouraged the productive emotions and instincts in people, not the destructive and distracting.

    Anger is good and useful--as you have pointed out, rather recently--as a motivator, but only if it's controlled and targeted properly and avoids crossing into the territory of self-indulgence and self-righteousness. Otherwise, it's a just a tantrum, a meltdown, and no more useful at focusing energy or getting something done than those things are when staged by young children.

    Olbermann's "speech" was a tantrum--self-indulgent and self-righteous, both, encouraging the worst instincts, not best, in the body politic.

    And a crappy, cynical, partisan use of "metaphor," to boot.

  2. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    Wow. Didn't expect that.

    You're absolutely correct that I was responding specifically to Olbermann's speech. I may not agree with Dyre on all aspects of the items on his list, at least in degree, but then again I quite emphatically do agree with him on a number of them. I emphatically do NOT consider him unpatriotic, etc. I'm not taking issue with him, here, and read the inclusion of Ground Zero in his list the way I'm gathering you do.

    (By the way, I wouldn't call Olbermann that, either. I reserve that for very, very, very specific contexts and circumstances, and even then, I mostly keep my thoughts and judgments on that score to myself.)

    Thanks for letting me clarify--and for the pullout. (I think.) (Heh.) (We'll see.)

  3. Blogger Dyre42 Says:

    I can't blame W for the state of the 9/11 site. The worst that can be said of him in this regard is he hasn't been much of an advocate for the memorial/rebuilding effort.

    But there has been a general failure on local, state, and federal levels to deliver what they promised in the name of those that died that died that day.

    It could also be argued that there has been a failure on the part of the public to hold it's elected leaders feet in the fire until they delivered what they promised.

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