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5 October 2001

Our current howler (part III): Churl in charge!

Synopsis: Little Rich Lowry puffed himself up and said a big brave word: "anti-American."

When the Ayes Have It, Is There Room for Naysayers?
Tim Rutton and Lynn Smith, The Los Angeles Times, 9/28/01

Amazing, isn’t it? At times like these, that reptilian cortex starts to broadcast its ancient signals. And some pundits fall in line with its diktats. For example, Tim Rutton was doing an article for the Los Angeles Times, concerning dissent at a time of war. Then he found Little Rich Lowry:

RUTTON: In fact, to Richard Lowry, editor of National Review, the conservative opinion magazine, "The debate about the war seems pretty robust and free. Many publications, from the New Yorker to the Nation, feel perfectly comfortable printing anti-American articles and that’s fine. That’s what the First Amendment is all about."

Rich was being very tribal, calling journals he doesn’t like "anti-American." And don’t you love the passive aggression; the mags are "anti-American…and that’s fine," the scribe said! Little Richie was sending signals to all his little scaled fellow travelers. To Rutton’s credit, he quickly asked the low-riding dude what he meant:

RUTTON (continuing directly): Why the epithet?

"If you think the country is a bastion only of nasty tendencies and racism and oppression, that is anti-American," Lowry said. By contrast, the articles his magazine prints are "universally going to be pro-American and pro-Western and pro-war," Lowry said. "It’s our business to make the case for that point of view."

Lowry’s inner reptile was thrashing about. If you don’t agree with the things he believes, that means you "think the country is a bastion only of nasty tendencies and racism and oppression." By contrast, his mag would be universally "pro-western and pro-war. It’s our business to make the case for that." Phew! It almost seemed like Little Rich was trying to pen a self-parody.

That’s right, folks. At times of stress, our littler guys start speaking from prehistoric places, looking for ways to silence those whose views they plain flat don’t like. And talk about "cowardly"—it’s truly amazing that guys like Lowry start shoveling that term: "anti-American." Bigmouth cowards like Little Rich Lowry have waved that shirt all through our years. This time, maybe we won’t lock up the "Japs," and President Bush has gone to the Islamic Center. But cretins like Lowry still know what to do. At times like this, they make their move. Cowards and creeps—reptilian to the core—they see their nation going to war, and they get a great idea: they can rule you.

It isn’t as if Lowry doesn’t have views that are perfectly well worth hearing. Once he finished sending his enemies off to the camps, Lowry said this to Rutton:

RUTTON: "American popular sentiment in circumstances like this is quite bloodthirsty, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily." It is a fundamental mistake, he said, "not to realize what a force for good the righteous anger of the American people and our war-fighting capability can be. It’s what ended slavery in the Civil War, what defeated Nazism in World War II, what defeated communism in the cold war. Social and political achievements like that would have been impossible without making war."

We don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily either. But then, we also don’t necessarily think that there’s anything wrong with what one anti-American said to Rutton. The Timesman spoke with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the thoroughly vile Nation:

RUTTON: "We are not pacifists," she said. "Military measures may be needed....I do worry there will be a willingness to stereotype those in the progressive community to find those who are most extreme and say that is the peace movement and the left. The political and media institutions are constructed in a certain way at this time in our history to do just that."

Indeed, that’s exactly what has been going on, among some big brave people like Lowry. Indeed, many demonizers—unable to find statements silly enough to suit them—have taken to penning excited rants about "evil" people unnamed and unquoted (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/3/01). For the record, Lowry—though big and brave in our view here—was recently called a "girly-man" by his former columnist, Ann Coulter. That may be enough to send Coulter to the labor camps too, although frightened Rutton didn’t ask Rich to comment.

It’s hard to believe that tiny tots like Lowry still want to throw the coward’s Number One Nah-Nah around. But the reptilian cortex is the Voice of Prehistory, and some of us simply can’t pass up its call. Our advice? Lowry’s general views are worth reviewing. But when he shows you his reptile, make him stuff it.

It makes his head hurt: Vanden Heuvel made another comment which we thought worth repeating:

RUTTON: The climate for left-wing dissent is bad, she said, because in her view the left’s response to Sept. 11 is complicated "and complexity is unsuited to the television medium," she said.

To judge from his stupid comments to Rutton, it’s "unsuited" to poor Lowry too.


Smile-a-while (10/5/01)

Still trying: Having called Lowry a "girly-man," Ann Coulter took her patented brand of semi-sanity to a safe harbor—Hannity & Colmes, this past Tuesday night. As Sean led her through her recent column, Coulter explained who we should "convert to Christianity." No, we’re not making this up:

HANNITY: You got into a battle, a bit of a controversy over a column you wrote…Let’s talk about where the controversy seems to be. I’m going to read it. "We should invade their countries." You meant the terrorists?

COULTER: Right...

HANNITY: Kill the leaders? Osama?



COULTER: So far we’re with the government policy as of today.

HANNITY: All right, but this next line’s what has been deemed the most controversial—"convert them to Christianity."


HANNITY: What did you mean by that?

COULTER: Well, first of all, I’d just like to say, I mean, if I proposed converting crazed fanatical Islamics who want to murder infidels and kill 7,000 people in a pop to stamp collecting, this would not have caused the sort of uproar that it apparently has. But I mean, I just think it’s kind of silly and it is part of the hysteria the country is going through and rejection of common sense, for people to be interpreting that as if it’s, you know, the Spanish Inquisition.

I was actually talking about, you know, something within the past 1,000 years, which is what this country did after the Korean War and after World War II, in both instances. We brought in, and specifically at General Douglas McArthur’s request, thousands of Christian missionaries, thousand of Bibles. And Korea, it was a fabulous success, as you can see. In Japan—

HANNITY: Just, I don’t want to be redundant, but "we should invade their countries," you’re talking about the terrorists; "kill their leaders," we’re talking about the terrorists; convert them to Christianity. In other words, not this militant form of extremism as it relates to Islam. And you’re talking still about the terrorists.

COULTER: About the fanatics that who to kill us. It seems rather common sensical to me.

It all seems "common sensical" to Coulter. As we’ve long noted, that’s the problem right there.