Saturday, October 02, 2010


Anne Lamott -- whom I never heard of until last week -- wrote a supremely ridiculous op-ed for the Los Angeles Times named "The Last Word In Politics," subtitled "We must take on today's radioactive politics for the sake of my 1-year-old grandson."

Lamott, who apparently thinks herself hilariously funny, opened with the good ol' passive aggressive narrative about how she didn't want to hear people sneer at John Boehner's tan, Mitch McConnell's chin, or the intellect of Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, or Christine O'Donnell, bashing them all the way through. Not original, not clever, not notable. Then it crossed into the dumber than dirt realm when she wrote this:

I was babysitting [my one-year-old grandson] on the night when Miss O'Donnell won the Republican nomination for senator in Delaware. The television was filled with footage of the incomparable O'Donnell and news of how she opposes masturbation and believes that scientists have successfully implanted human brains in lab rats. I could not have taken my eyes off the television for anyone else except my grandson, with his huge luminous black eyes and hair, his rosy brown skin, his toothy smile. But this toddler is so lovely, innocent and funny that he broke the spell.
Gazing at him, I realized how desperately important it is for there to be breathable air left when he comes of age, and perhaps the merest hint of an ozone layer.
She tries to turn her grandson's attempts at communication into a rallying cry:
Plus he can only say one word, besides "Mommy" and "Da-da." It is "abaht"... It's a good word, so I say now to all like-minded people, abaht! Get involved now in this election. Abaht for Molly Ivins and Teddy Kennedy. Abaht — register voters, or send sane candidates a donation, or volunteer to make phone calls or address envelopes. It will greatly affect the next 40-some days, for you and this country and even this world.
Read the entire thing at the above link, and remember that as lighthearted as it seems, it's supposed to be serious.

Ms. Lamott seems to be one of those who believes she knows everything there is to know about current events because she reads headlines, has the evening news on TV as background noise, trusts her favorite elected officials to tell her the truth, and disbelieves anything she hears that has Fox News Channel as its main source.  If she was as informed as she believes she is, she wouldn't have been so apathetic until now, nor would she have bought into most of the schtuff she cited as being factual.

Here are my two responses, posted on the Lamott piece's comment page on the Times website within hours of each other:
This essay is a buffet table of ignorance, misinformation and fearmongering. I'll need to be precise in trying to rebut even half of it. Here goes:
  • In March, Speaker Pelosi said of the 2000+ page ObamaCare bill: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it," turning America's lawmaking process on its head. Had Sarah Palin said such a thing, it would have been trumpeted as evidence of her unfitness.
  • Concerns about the ethics of creating human/animal hybrids go back to the early '00s. Google "Irving Weissman, M.D." Ms. O'Donnell's sole error in relating her stance was saying "human brains" rather than "human brain CELLS."
  • Ms. Lamott need not fear lack of "breathable air" for her grandson. The air in the USA today is cleaner than it was when Ms. L bore her daughter.
  • The ozone layer Ms. L worries about is actually restoring itself. Was that not in the Times this week?
  • I find it interesting Ms. L thinks her grandson's future dates bear the responsibility of contraception.
  • Does Ms. L believe if same-sex marriage becomes legal, it will mean the end of "institutionalized bigotry"? Wait until polygamists and incestuous couples demand THEIR rights to marry.  Oppose them when their turn comes, Ms. L, and The Bigot Finger will be pointed at YOU.
That's just for starters.
  The next morning, just in case people thought I was kidding, I added more to my bullet list:
I couldn't slap down all of Ms. Lamott's nonsense in one 1400-character comment. Here's more:
  • "TV was filled with footage of O'Donnell and news of how she opposes masturbation" by leftist partisans in mass media. They don't highlight that the video is a decade old and that her stance had nothing to do with lawmaking.
  • Ms. Lamott remarkably herself writes "My [half-Latino] grandson ... looks like an illegal alien." I guess that assumption would extend to her grandson's father and all Latino-looking people as well. In the next sentence she decries "racist weirdness" she sees in others. The irony is apparently lost on her.
  • Ms. L exhorts people to get involved in this election in the name of Teddy Kennedy, an alcoholic who abandoned a woman trapped in his car to drown in a [pond] , conceived a cockamamie story to cover his tracks, [] traded on his famous family's tragic legacy to survive expulsion from the Senate, and in his waning years frequently joked about the deadly incident.  (Kids, educate yourselves: Google "Chappaquiddick.") I guess Ms. L would prefer people of that character run in Delaware.
Ms. Lamott concludes: "Do it for your own incoherent paper-eating grandchildren..." She clearly meant "incoherent paper-writing grandmothers."
One thing I didn't include in my posts was a reply to her disclosure that her grandson had eaten part of the San Francisco Chronicle's "Sporting Green" section, anemically jesting that he was doing his part for the recycling cause.  The sports section of the Chron is not that bad, but the rest of the paper -- the editorial pages, specifically -- have long made as much sense as something that had been through a hungry one-year-old.

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