May 25, 2004

That’s “Newstatesperson” to You, Buster

That’s “Newstatesperson” to You, Buster

You may not, dear reader, be acquainted with the delightful periodical entitled “Newstatesman.” It’s an English serial that serves as the UK’s answer to the far-Left “Mother Jones.” (Frankly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that the only answer to “Mother Jones” should be: “No, thanks.” In fact, we wish Father Jones had whipped “Mother Jones” into shape; perhaps then the latter would not be chock-a-block with blustery rants.)

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can this journal, if it really is so right-thinking (read: Left-leaning), get away with the unabashedly patriarchal title “Newstatesman”? Frankly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” haven’t a clue. But we urge all our friends on the political Left to write to their staff and complain vehemently. A few Lefter-Than-Thou e-mails ought to rankle them, eh?

We mention “Newstatesman,” which counts Marxist Terry Eagleton among its contributors, not to dilate on its stridently sexist title, however. Rather, one of our junior editors—let’s just call him “Chip”—was perusing the May, 24 number of this fine magazine when he came upon something quite remarkable. On page 30 of said edition (which, naturally, is the 24 May issue to our British friends), the results of a curious poll on “Newstatesman”’s website were announced.

According to this venerable publication, last week’s poll question was “Can Bush be compared to Stalin?” A rather quizzical query, that. “Newstatesman” reported that 43 percent replied Yes, and 57 percent (for those of you without much in the way of math skills) said No.

The magazine also informs its readers that this week’s querstion is far more tepid: “Would Gordon Brown make a better PM?”

We could say much about these polls of “Newstatesman” readers. First, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have determined that 57 percent of “Newstatesman” advocates—and possibly the editors of the publication—is stupid. Of course Bush (the current American President, we assume, and not a shrub) can be compared to Stalin (Joseph, we presume). Anyone can. Anything can.

Let us offer a few examples. The following represents our intrepid attempt to compare desultory people and items to the late Soviet dictator in an effort to prove the possibility of such collations to the dimwitted 57 percent of “Newstatesman” readers polled.

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Comparisons of Joseph Stalin with Desultory People and Items:

1. Joseph Stalin and Gary Shandling

Although both men have surnames that begin with “S” and strikingly similar hair, we are inclined to believe there isn’t much in common between the two. Mr. Shandling has made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian and starred in a few hit television programs, and Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people. We don’t want to come across as too preachy, but we’re inclined to shout “Advantage Shandling.” After all, we don’t think that even as repellent a “comedienne” as Janeane Garofalo has actually killed anyone—unless you count her performance in “Reality Bites.” Also, Mr. Stalin sported a mustache, whereas Mr. Shandling does not.

2. Joseph Stalin and an Egg

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are inclined to see more resemblance between Mr. Stalin and an egg. For eggs are full of cholesterol, and thus can be real health hazards; Mr. Stalin, as mentioned above, killed ca. 20 million people. The people who seem to be stalwart fans of Mr. Stalin, moreover, are often called “eggheads.” Except Harry Belafonte, who is recurrently given the sobriquet “idiot.” Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are going to go out on a limb and suggest that the egg has greater moral acumen than Mr. Stalin.

3. Joseph Stalin and Ron Popiel

For those of you blessed enough to be unacquainted with Mr. Popiel, let us inform you that he is a king of the dubious television format known as the “infomercial.” From spray-on hair to food dehydrators, Mr. Popiel has hawked more products on-air than just about anyone. Clearly, this man is a nuisance. Still, we don’t think that Mr. Popiel—even if you include his foray into selling “turkey jerky”—comes off as quite as nasty as Mr. Stalin. After all, as noted above, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people.

4. Joseph Stalin and Broken Shards of Glass

Okay, now things are getting a bit more interesting. Broken shards of glass can be quite dangerous, especially for those who have a penchant for perambulating barefooted. In addition, there are potentially many shards of glass in a given area, whereas there was only one Joseph Stalin. Though we don’t doubt that broken glass can serve as a real peril, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are again tilting toward Mr. Stalin as the more evil of the two. Indeed, as everyone but the faculty members of the Latin American History Departments at every American university can tell you, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people.

5. Joseph Stalin and “Rap” Music

Oooh, here’s a tough one. As noted above, Mr. Stalin killed ca. 20 million people. “Rap” hasn’t been in power as long, but we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have the sneaking suspicion that, when all is said and done, “rap” will be responsible for a similar number of deaths. And “rap” music is more repetitive than Mr. Stalin, who at least mastered a variety of ways of killing people: Execution, starvation, &c. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” believe that “rap” music, though far from an exact match, is closer than eggs, and even broken glass.

Well, dear reader, there you have it. We humbly suggest that you spend a few moments of your day pondering your own comparisons. (E.g., Mike Tyson, lawn bowling, Graydon Carter, tsunamis, Carl Sagan, quiche.)

In the meantime, perhaps the stately lads and lasses in charge of “Newstatesman” can come up with less insipid queries. After all, even this week’s poll is pretty dumb: “Would Gordon Brown make a better PM?” Than who: Tony Blair, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy, Gary Shandling, broken shards of glass?

Posted at May 25, 2004 12:01 PM | TrackBack