If you write often enough it will happen to you. The eminent personage you have so faithfully profiled is arrested for window peeping the morning your opus is due on the editor's desk. You rewrite like crazy but there is no time to undo the thrust of the panegyric you spent weeks constructing. Yes, your subject is a window peeper, you concede in a parenthetical note, but other than that, a man for all seasons!
The phenomenon happened to a writer for that unselfconsciously uber-Leftist publication, The Nation magazine.
After reporting on Occupy Oakland's large and overwhelming peaceful protest yesterday, I woke up this morning to read about arrests, tear gas and vandalism. Yes, some property was destroyed.
Yes, "some property" was destroyed. Mistakes were made, the passive voice was used and backward reels the mind. The piece's headline captures the hasty editorial Bondo job: Media Fixes on Vandalism; Occupy Oakland Focuses on the Economy.
Damn that Faux News!
It's obvious the thrust of The Nation article was written before the wilding Wednesday night in Oakland. The piece celebrates the "extreme message discipline" of Occupy Oakland, "in which thousands of people shut down banks and the fifth-largest port in the country."
(Where are Johnny Friendly's longshoremen when you need them?)
I guess "message discipline" trumps actual, you know, discipline. (Although the vandals might argue that they were disciplined enough to hit what they aimed at.) What that message might be, the Nation has not divulged. But at least, it's a disciplined message -- whatever it may be.
The Nation is betting the farm that the Occupy movement is its desperately needed Tea Party. Less invested observers have remarked that Occupy This or That has been notoriously not so much "off" message as without same. That, some apologists plead, is its virtue.
(Even the Nation asked "What do these wan, angry young people want, anyway?" -- Occupy Wall Street: Why So Many Demands for Demands?)
Destroying, not creating
Indeed, OWS is probably as content-free as "Hope and Change." At least, Obama had a slogan. This "movement" doesn't even have a bumper sticker. America is losing patience with this tantrum.
Support for the Occupy Wall Street movement is plummeting, with 39 percent of voters now saying they have an unfavorable view of the movement, compared to just 30 percent who have a favorable one, according to a Quinnipiac U. survey conducted before the Oakland riots. (I guess the other 31% are just plained stumped.)
The Nation, vaguely aware of something called "middle America," is taking pains to portray "those advocating property destruction [as] an incredibly small minority, whose actions alienated many of their fellow members of the proletariat."
No, they could not resist using the P word, suggesting that the collectivists have their program. They will attach that program to the message-free Movement much as Dr. Frankenstein inserted a brain into the monster.
But why celebrate shutting down Citibank and Wells Fargo, why rejoice over closing the nation's fifth-largest port, and then cry over a few broken windows -- including the Whole Foods store -- that enemy of the people! Why apologize for a few torched buildings?
(Meanwhile, "the scene back at Frank Ogawa Plaza was festive, with non-stop musical acts ..." Nero was not the only one who danced while Oakland burned. Maybe that is the message: non-stop music. When do we want it? Now!)
Really, my prog-lib you-know-whats, isn't shutting down commerce just the next-door neighbor to smash and burn on the same continuum? Business is still shut down -- only a little more so. It's a matter of degree; both cause economic damage.
Arson, as Metternich might have said, is just "focusing on the economy" by other means.
Done in by its own race card
This is truly hilarious. A state rep offers a bill to remove race as a determinate for a college grant program. Democrats denounces the amendment as unfair to minorities. Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee) demands that the one Democrat supporting the measure (indeed, its sponsor) depart the Dem caucus in disgrace.
"Standing up for minorities is a core value of the Democratic Party, and Representative Krusick's amendment is counterproductive to our objectives," Rep. Young thunders, accd: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Fly in the oinkment: race already had been removed from the criteria in the late, unlamented Jim E. Doyle administration. Not that Doyle chanced to guess right. No, the change was forced by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights, which noted that the program discriminated against non-minorities.
One could conclude that the Leon Young doctrine dictates that the Democratic party stands foursquare in favor of racial discrimination.