It's a guilty pleasure, like watching COPS or NBC Nightly News -- every once in a while I read Slate.
I know, I know, it's a rudderless online rag that employs such luminaries as Eliot Spitzer, but once in a while . . . well, hell, I check in.
But guilty pleasure or not, lately I'm wondering if Slate writers aren't a bunch of boot-licking, lock-step conformists whose bowels turn to water at the merest whiff of social or political engagement by the rabble.
There was Timothy Noah in October, with a nonsensical article about why John Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's rallies to Restore Sanity/Keep Fear Alive were a waste of time: Stay Home! The case against the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
Obviously never having read Voltaire or Swift or Twain, Noah wants comedians to make him laugh and politicians to politic.
The idea of anyone in Noah's sphere being more than one thing unnerves him; makes him dyspeptic and goads him into writing foolish articles.
Or, as comedians, Stewart and Colbert have abdicated being citizens, as well.
Noah's got it all wrong -- it's politicians who cease to be mere citizens once they get the job.
Now there is William Saletan and his article The idiocy of airport-scanner "Opt-Out Day."
Opt-Out Day won't have any effect?
From the article: "Ignore these imbeciles. Their plan would clog security lines and ruin your holiday for no good reason. They don't understand the importance of the electronic scans. They're wrong about the scanners' safety. And from the standpoint of dignity, their advice is insane. If you opt out of the scan, you'll get a pat-down instead. You'll trade a fast, invisible, intangible, privacy-protected machine inspection for an unpleasant, extended grope. In effect, you'll be telling TSA to touch your junk."
Does it get any more OBEY, Fall in Line, Do Not Question Your Leaders! than that? I don't think so.
The Transportation Security Administration says the scanners are safe. Government agencies have a terrible track record with being correct when making such statements.
Right after 911, the EPA said it was A-OK for residents around Ground Zero to head home, for buniesses in the area to open and for life to get back to normal.
All proven, bald-faced, egregious lies. Rescuers who worked at Ground Zero after the attacks are almost all sick. Countless residents have become sick over the years.
Why would the TSA behave any differently?
In some parallel universe, I'm sure it's laudable that Slate urinalists have such faith in their fearless leaders. In this world it's laughable.
Also from Saletan's article: "It's hard to know where to start with this idiocy. The body scanners aren't dangerous. Their safety has been certified by the Food and Drug Administration, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and other scientific reviewers."
Oh, well, if the EPA says so.
Despite what the Slate braintrust believes, society needs its satirists and needs its dissenters.
Eight years of George W. Bush's unchecked madness makes the case for Opt-Out Day and rallies to restore reason and keep fear alive.
These things will make a few Slate urinalists uneasy, but really, those OBEY-conformists wringing their hands and hoping everyone would just be nice and staay home, can all go fuck themselves.