James Lileks took a break from writing Bleats for good portion of March and April in order to finish an upcoming book. ‘Twould appear as if the brief sojourn has done wonders for his pontificating side. Since his return, Lileks has eviscerated anti-Papists and “reform-minded” “Catholics”, delievered a crushing blow to the U.S. Senate, destroyed an idiotic pro-library campaign using Mao Tse-Tung as a figurehead, and mercilessly ridiculed an offensive new line of “Bratz” toys that encourage teenage pregnancy for all intents and purposes. Today’s entry takes severe umbrage with Entertainment Weekly’s review of the new film Palindromes without actually taking sides:
So the two camps are morally equally, inasmuch as both are imperfectly conceived and realized by the characters in the film. Rewind: the mom is pro-choice but doesnâ€™t grasp its â€œSpiritual toll.â€ The group-home mom doesnâ€™t prize the â€œideosyncraciesâ€ of the cast-off children she takes care of. â€œSo whoâ€™s really pro-life?â€ The question makes no sense, but we’re so used to the construction, the false premise, the setting up of disparate ideas as moral equals, that we nod and say “ah, yes. Indeed.” What’s he trying to say? One’s pro-life credentials are tarnished if you don’t allow life to be all stumpy and weird and freaky, and pro-choice people should consider that abortion can be as much of a bummer. Both you sides, hang your head in shame! You’re both cut rate. Now shake. See? That was easy.
Itâ€™s the sort of argument that marks the Modern Mind in its most facile and aggravating: the presence of hypocrisy on both sides renders both equally suspect; wisdom is best manifested by posing trick questions; people who believe stuff are all alike, in a way, inasmuch as they believe stuff, and whatâ€™s most dangerous is not what you believe, but how much you believe it. Conviction is good if the last word in your credo is â€œbut.â€ Otherwise youâ€™re a fundamentalist.
Let’s face it: the man is on rhetorical fire these days. I, for one, am glad to have his full virtual “voice” back, as my days hardly felt complete during the Bleat’s absence.