February 28, 2006

Harry Connick Jr.: America’s Answer to the Danish Muhammad Cartoons

As some of you may know, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” moonlight as Sunday essayists for a fancy-pants “website” called Wizbang. We guess that means we “daylight,” not “moonlight.” Anyway, this offers us the opportunity to take a break from the moronic commentary we offer on our “website,” and offer moronic commentary on someone else’s.

No big deal, eh? Well, our latest Wizbang column appears to have caused a minor tizzy. In said piece, we announced the founding of a “Keep Harry Connick Jr. Acting Foundation”—a non-profit organization dedicated to landing this ersatz crooner on film and stage in order to stop him from recording his teeth-grindingly horrid music.

If memory serves, we referred to Mr. Connick as a “retarded Frank Sinatra.” Not to be outdone, we ridiculed his thespianic talents as well, claiming that we’ve seen better acting from Joran van der Sloot.

Pretty typical fare, we figured. Well, no: Soon sundry deeply offended readers offered a number of angry responses. In these here United States, it seems, you can make fun of the president, you can ridicule the Congress, but you better keep your darn hands off Saint Connick. People love crappy lowbrow music, and they’re willing to fight you over it. So there, punk.

Surely our favorite response, penned by a fellow who goes by the disquieting sobriquet “Moon Monkey,” was the following:

I have been following some of your posts lately. I wouldn’t attempt to read all of what your “crack young staff” offers because your opinions are mostly the collective thoughts of mindless twits.

More than anything else, your commentary lacks any depth of knowledge, class or experience. Consequently, what you guys think of as insignificant writing is exactly why there is a generation gap. If left to expound or rant, it would be abundantly clear to all why the young garner little respect when it comes to intellectual capacity.

Why Kevin accepts your vapid commentary and continues to invite your writings is a mystery. And in conclusion, I suggest you submit copy to the folks at Clearasil because you certainly have nothing to say…and you sure can’t write.

Priceless, isn’t it? It almost makes us wish we accepted “comments” on our own humble “weblog.” Wouldn’t it be lovely if all our feedback came from enraged Harry Connick devotees?

Ah, yes: Moon Monkey sure has stung us. As far as we’re concerned, he’s proven one of the great questions of the age: “why the young garner little respect when it comes to intellectual capacity.” And so well written!

We wish that Mr. Monkey would teach us a thing or two about great prose. After all, his missive demonstrates that he is a keen literary stylist—that “Clearasil” line is a real winner. We’re so sorry that we had to upset such a genius by ridiculing his favorite pussy pseudo-jazz singer.

Naturally, given the angry lowbrows who frequent Wizbang, you can bet that our next column will steer clear of these kinds of delicate topics.

Perhaps we’ll rip on Phantom of the Opera next time. That ought to go well.

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February 27, 2006

The Olympics

Clever readers of this humble “weblog” may have noted that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have yet to discuss one of the most famous sporting events in the world—the Winter Olympics. Whilst other “webloggers” are nattering on about inebriated American skiers and Italians who drop their figure skating partners, we haven’t said a word about the whole kit and caboodle.

Perhaps you are wondering why. Perhaps not, but we’ll assume that you are, since it will help us make our segue. The answer is simple: We don’t really care for the Winter Olympics. In fact, we haven’t had any interest in watching the stuff at all.

Now, we must say that this has nothing to do with Bryant Gumbel’s infamous distaste for the Winter Games. Although it is Black History Month (or is that Black Herstory Month?), we can’t pretend that the supposed absence of black athletes makes the Winter Games a farce.

If you ask us, Bryant Gumbel—the whitest black man this side of Wayne Brady—ripping on the Games for being insufficiently black is a farce. You’re not exactly Shaft, Bryant.

Rather, we just don’t give a darn about the Winter Games. They’re hopelessly dull. We’d prefer to take in hours of 7-11 security tapes. At least they might offer some fleeting moments of action.

Whence comes our distaste from the Winter Games? First, every time we attempt to tune in, they’re featuring curling. And, dear Lord, curling is so stupid that we feel bad for Canada whenever we lay eyes upon it. Even a nation that produced Loverboy doesn’t need the flack for inventing curling. It’s shuffleboard for people with mullets, for crying out loud.

And then there’s the biathalon. Cross-country skiing and shooting? Are they making this stuff up? That’s about as sensible as a vegetarian restaurant-cum-taxidermist.

Let’s not get us started on figure skating. Sure, Olympic figure skating happily forces its competitors to use instrumental music to accompany their routines, and thus the world is spared listening to Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind” and other feculent soft-rock ditties of which the figure skating world is so enamored.

Yet, if you ask us, this “sport” hasn’t been even mildly interesting since that white trash broad had a fellow competitor’s knee whacked. Now that’s entertainment, for cyring out loud.

So let the Austrians glory in their brightest moment of nationalism since the Anschluss. Allow the Finnish to pretend that their country is remarkable. And let Switzerland take in a brief moment of glory.

But for God’s sake don’t watch this garbage.

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February 24, 2006

Intellectual Conformity at Harvard

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are fond of saying that The New York Times gets everything wrong. If the Paper of Record is covering it, you can presume it’s screwed something up.

Now, to be fair, that may be a bit overstated. Surely some reporters do good work at the Gray Lady. And we must admit that the weather forecast is often dead-on. Still, we think you get the point.

A recent Times piece that broke the news about Larry Summers' announcement of his upcoming departure as the president of Harvard University is a perfect case-in-point. Titled “President of Harvard Resigns, Ending Stormy 5-Year Tenure,” the article offers the following jaw-droppling obtuse sentence:

The announcement by Dr. Summers, an economist and a former Secretary of the Treasury, disappointed many students on the campus and raised questions about future leaders’ ability to govern Harvard with its vocal and independent-minded faculty.

Oh, dear. Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are fully prepared to admit that Harvard’s faculty is “vocal.” Sure, it may not be as “vocal” since the departure of rap impresario-cum-academic-fraud Cornel West, but it’s pretty vocal all the same.

But “independent-minded”? Puh-lease!

Need we remind the Gray Lady of the brouhaha that landed President Summers in such hot water in Cambridge? He ventured to guess that biological factors contribute to the lack of a strong female presence among the faculty in some math and science departments at Harvard.

That’s it. That’s all. He didn’t praise Mussolini. He didn’t praise Idi Amin. He didn’t praise Bush (perish the thought).

And how did Harvard’s “independent-minded” faculty respond to such an un-orthodox supposition? Like a bunch of sickening crybabies, that’s how. The Faculty of Arts & Sciences even offered a formal “No Confidence” vote, thereby demonstrating that such suggestions were beyond the pale. At Harvard, you may feel free to love Mao, warmly embrace Palestinian terrorism, and get misty-eyed about the Cambodian killing fields, but half-hearted discussions of innate differences between the sexes are simply verboten.

If we must say so ourselves—and even if we must not—this strikes us as a premium example of intellectual conformity. Provided the next Harvard president mouths every leftist shibboleth, he should do just fine.

Harvard, it seems, is as encouraging of independent thought as North Korea.

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February 23, 2006

The End of Francis Fukuyama (and, No, We Don’t Mean His Posterior)

The February 19 number of The New York Times Magazine sports an essay by the famed intellectual Francis Fukuyama entitled “After Neoconservatism.” We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would offer a “link” to said piece, but the folks at the Gray Lady—who are constantly carping about the evils of right-wing greed—are insufficiently magnanimous to allow non-subscribers to access such articles. After all, how could these selfless egalitarians make a buck off of you then?

Mr. Fukuyama, you undoubtedly recall, caused a big stir in the intellectual world with his 1992 tome The End of History and the Last Man, which, David Brooks usefully noted, sounds implausible even to those who have only read the title. In essence, Mr. Fukuyama—conjuring the spirit of Hegel—argued that liberal democracy had defeated totalitarianism in the world, and thus history was over.

Sounds about right, eh? Well, it turned out that a little thing called 9/11 happened, and perhaps that showed that Mr. Fukuyama was a bit off when he argued that liberal democracy was becoming a universal aspiration. Ever heard of Islam, Francis?

Naturally, this didn’t stop Mr. Fukuyama from landing a fancy gig at Johns Hopkins University. But it did prove him more wrong than Neville Chamberlain and Robert Mugabe combined. And you can throw in Jimmy Carter, too: That guy is so consistently incorrect that you can set your watch by him.

Mr. Fukuyama’s new piece in the Times Magazine, which is really an excerpt from a forthcoming book, explains that its author no longer counts himself among the neoconservatives. Distraught by his perceptions of the Bush Doctrine’s failures, he has broken ranks.

Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” could offer a number of reasons why Mr. Fukuyama’s assessments of George Bush’s foreign policy are incorrect. For instance, he appears to believe that establishing democratic governments in the Middle East would be a quick panacea, as if the Palestinians were likely immediately to elect Al Haig or Henry Kissinger. These things take time, for crying out loud. As Tom Cruise says to his gal-cum-beard: Baby steps.

But we don’t want to get bogged down with such an argument. Instead, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” simply aim at fussing over the fact that the fellow who wrote about “the end of history” is now conjuring “the end of neoconservatism.”

We mean, come on, Francis: You don’t really have a great track record on this whole “end of” thing, now do you? Will neoconservatism end twelve minutes after history, or perhaps a few months later? We have the feeling that even the nutters at The Nation won’t care that much, under the circumstances.

In fact, we would like to assert one official rule of public intellectualdom: Once you predict the end of history, you should no longer have the right to predict the end of anything else.

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February 22, 2006

Larry King

It is with a certain amount of remorse, dear reader, that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” rip into today’s object of contumely. For although, as you shall see anon, there are many reasons to contemn the talk show host Larry King, we must admit that we have a little bit of respect for him.

After all, this gangly, dilapidated 104-year-old has somehow managed to marry a 30-something lass. To be sure, we have never laid eyes on Mr. King’s newest woman; she may look just like Medusa. Or, even worse, Madeline Albright. Even so, we can’t help but feel a bit of pride that this old timer has managed to grab himself such a comparatively youngish lady.

But let’s not kid ourselves too much: Larry King is certainly an irritant. He may be the least irksome presence on CNN, but, with a cast of characters as fiendish as Wolf Blitzer, Paula Zahn, and Lou Dobbs, that isn’t much of a compliment. If you ask us, CNN would get a big ratings boost if they replaced all their anchors with ferrets. Sure, laugh at us, but a ferret is far more interesting and intelligent than Dan Brown.

So what, you may be asking yourself, makes Larry King so upsetting? Frankly, dear reader, we don’t really watch his show much, so we’re not really experts. But that has never stopped us from blathering on in the past, and it sure as heck ain’t going to stop us now.

First, we suppose we should mention the fact that Mr. King is the king of the softball interview. He’d go easy on Hitler, for crying out loud. You can bet that, if someone is on “Larry King Live,” he’s either killed a man or recently been caught with a prostitute. Or is one of the Golden Girls. And we don’t know which one’s worse.

In fact, if Larry King were nearly as easygoing in his love life as he is on his TV show, he might not have been married 68 times.

But when Mr. King isn’t offering camera time to the likes of O.J. Simpson and James Frey, he’s busy interviewing a room full of such has-beens that Buddy Hackett doesn’t know who the heck they are. His show is sufficinetly hip and challenging to earn him his dedicated nonagenarian audience.

And is there any real excuse for such pabulum as a “Growing Pains” reunion show? We mean, come on: How bad is your program when the folks at VH-1 wouldn’t stoop so low?

But hey: At least Larry King isn’t nearly as odious as Charlie Rose. If you ask us, that chucklehead’s success is the greatest sign we’ve ever seen of an impending apocalypse.

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February 21, 2006

Like, Take That!

Like any reasonable people on God’s green earth, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” despise teenagers. And we do not, we hasten to add, despise teenagers with the typical laxity and good cheer of the average citizen. Rather, we loathe these 13- to 19-year-old irritants with an undying passion.

Perhaps you are wondering why this is so. Frankly, if you aren’t entirely sure, we’re willing to bet that you’re either preternaturally forgiving or brain dead. And we’re betting on the latter.

We suppose we ought to note how irksome teenage conversations ineluctably prove. They seem to go a little something like this:

Teenager A: And I was like, that is, like, so none of your business.
Teenager B: That is, like, so, like, awesome.
Teenager A: And he was like, you have got to be, like, kidding.
Teenager B: That is, like, so like him.
Teenager A: And I was like, that is so not the point.

If you ask us, anyone who does not want to kill those who utter such inanities has serious problems.

As if such an argot were not sufficiently upsetting, there’s the matter of teenage pertinacity. Pretty much every teenager believes that he is the fountain of Great Truths. Ah, yes, world-weary 17-year-old: You understand life’s great questions in a way other human beings do not. Now go do your math homework. You chucklehead.

It is with great excitement, then, that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” took in the news of a new anti-teenager device. The Times of London reports:

Screams used to win peace

High-frequency noise is being used in an experiment designed to curb antisocial behaviour in young people (Russell Jenkins writes). A black box, or “mosquito unit”, was hidden by the safer communities partnership at Rochdale at a place where rowdy teenagers gather. The unit emits a scream teenagers can hear that is virtually inaudible to anyone else.

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can we get one of these “mosquito units” for our “weblog”?

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February 17, 2006

Very Un-Topical Humor

Recently, the Official Trend-Noticing Department here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” has noticed a particular trend. Which, to be downright honest, is its job. It appears as if the “posts” we compose regarding current events are among the most esteemed and beloved of our e-output. Sundry readers of this humble “weblog” particularly enjoy taking in our discussions of the latest headlines and stories.

To this end, our expatiations on, say, the heftiness of Kelley LeBrock or, say, the lunatic ravings of Pat Robertson have proved extremely popular. Kids just can’t get enough of our musings on such topics, and this has led to myriad “hits” and all manner of “links.”

Under the circumstances, you would probably expect that we’d discuss current events all the time. And, to be sure, there’s no dearth of humorous topics of late. For instance, just take Samuel Alito. Ain’t he a card? He’s like the personification of balsa wood. Well, if balsa wood were far more rigid.

But this is precisely where we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” fool you. You’d expect us to “go with what works.” You’d assume that we’d attempt to bask in our popularity. You’d suppose that we’d see a good thing and run with it. Heck, no: Just like a very mannish looking gal, we’re tough to figure out.

Instead of taking such obvious steps on the way to coruscating e-popularity, we aim on heading in another direction altogether. We don’t want to be labeled guilty of merely preaching to the converted. If the peoples want topical humor, then we’ll give the peoples very un-topical humor. Serves the peoples right, if you ask us. We’ve suffered for our art, and now it’s your turn.

The more remote the gags, the happier we’ll be to offer them. If you think Mary Lou Retton is too much of a has-been for us to harp on, you haven’t caught wind of our magnificent “Double-Double-Cheese-Cheese-Burger-Burger-Please” gags. They’re funnier than selected episodes of “Cop Rock.” And, dear reader, if you haven’t a clue what the heck we’re talking about, get used to it: If for only a couple of days, we hope to make “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” a veritable feast of obscurity.

In fact, we think gold medal-winning Mary Lou is too au courant for our tastes. We’re more into yuks at Myles Standish’s expense: Man, that guy’s nose looked just like a musket! God, that’s good material.

So, dear reader, sit back, relax, and enjoy our jokes at the expense of Ed “Too Tall” Jones, John Anderson, and Marco Polo. In the meantime, we’ll be busy watching our popularity tank faster than Hootie’s minus the Blowfish.

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February 16, 2006

We’re on Our Way, We’re Making It

For some reason or other, the much-maligned mainstream media have failed to report on a recent occurrence of great import in the world of highbrow culture. Perhaps the folks at Time were a bit too busy composing hagiographies about Snoop Diggity Doggy.

To what key cultural matter are we referring? Naturally, to the fact that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are getting all Peter Gabriel on you. That is to say, in the words of that shlocky crooner and Phil Collins booster, we’re making it big time. Pretty soon, we’ll forget all the little people. Like Robert Reich. (Man, we wish we could forget about him now.)

No doubt you are wondering exactly how we have become movers and shakers. Are we replacing Maureen Dowd as columnists for The Gray Lady? Unfortunately for New York Times readers, the answer to that question is a resounding No. You’ll have to suffer through her articles until the Paper of Record finds a more intelligent replacement. Like a mildly retarded squirrel.

Did a few of us capture a silver medal in the four-man bobsled? Nope: Despite our airtight costumes, we only got a bronze.

It’s far better than all of that. For the past few Sundays, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have contributed an e-essay over at Wizbang, one of the big boys of Al Gore’s World-Wide Web. (For some reason, only readers of the inimitable Llamabutchers have been kept informed of this happenstance.) Whilst you, dear reader, have been lying on your couch watching the repugnant Oliver North’s repugnant “War Stories” program, we’ve been enlightening the masses. Now, don’t you feel a bit guilty?

And the weekend goodies will keep on coming: We are sufficiently fortunate to be the regular Sunday essayists at Wizbang. We’re kind of like Charles Kuralt, only not dead. (Other than that, the similarities are eery.)

Naturally, this means that you—the enlightened fans of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—can pop over to Wizbang on Sundays and delight in our luminous animadversions. So far, we’ve contributed two delightful pieces, which you can read here and here. As if this weren’t wondrous enough, you can also add “comments” to our “posts” at Wizbang, in order to demonstrate your own obtuse pseudo-witticisms.

All of this means, however, that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are now compelled to compose six dazzling essays per week. To be downright honest, this may stretch us thinner than the Mary Kate and Ashley on Slim-Fast. And, as a result, our humor may begin to degenerate to the point where we find gags about Mary Kate and Ashley dieting deeply humorous.

Ah, but don’t worry, dear reader. There are many examples of stars working on lots of projects and remaining a success at all of them.

Why, think of Bob Saget.

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February 15, 2006

Meet The Guardian’s Political Wet Dream

For some odd reason, one of the senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chiip”—found himself perusing an old number of The Guardian Weekly. As its rather labored title makes clear, this is merely an assemblage of stories from the UK’s Guardian, the newspaper of choice for the sorts of left-leaning folks who love “the people” but detest people.

In the midst of his reading, “Chip” happened upon an interesting piece—an article called “Meet the West’s worst nightmare” by Jason Burke. Said article discusses Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran. What seemed particularly intriguing to “Chip” was that Mr. Burke appears quite fond of this Iranian nutter.

Sure, Mr. Burke called President Ahmadinejad “the West’s worst nightmare.” But, in Guardian land, that’s actually something of a compliment. After all, anything that makes George Bush and Tony Blair cringe is good in their book—even if it’s repressive fundamentalism, violent rhetoric, and vicious anti-Semitism. If W. and his bitch Tony don’t care for it, it simply has to be good. Q.E.D.

And indeed, the strangely fawning profile of President Ahmadinejad gloried in the man’s complete inability to act diplomatically. The piece commences with an example of Ahmadinejad’s disastrous obstinacy at the UN. As the caption under an accompanying photograph of Mr. Ahmadinejad puts it: “The West may not like it but Ahmadinejad says publicly what millions of people in Iran think privately.”

Now, let’s put to one side the fact that there is reason to doubt Mr. Burke knows of the private thoughts of millions of Iranians. We’ll presume for now that The Guardian has undertaken an expensive, exhaustive survey of Iranians’ innermost reflections, and thus Mr. Burke isn’t engaging in unfounded speculation.

Instead, let’s focus on what Don Henley would call the heart of the matter: Mr. Burke’s account of President Ahmadinejad clearly delights in the squirming of European foreign ministers who don’t know how to handle this brusque Iranian. Clearly, Mr. Burke perceives that Iran’s tough talk is admirable.

Interesting, isn’t it? For we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” seem to recall that another world leader is known for his tough talk and his administration is famous for its bluntness in dealing with the UN. Yet The Guardian, so enamored of the brusque Mr. Ahmadinejad, doesn’t seem to care for the brusque George Bush very much. And John Bolton? Forget about it.

How very odd. We suppose it isn’t really the bluntness The Guardian enjoys; it’s the message. And what card-carrying progressive wouldn’t love President Ahmadinejad’s brand of reactionary fascism?

Yet by far “Chip’s” favorite lines from the article were the following:

But one difficulty is that Ahmadinejad is not some “mad mullah.” He is a thoroughly modern man, married to a university lecturer.

Wow, there’s some proof for you: He’s married to a professor; he can’t be crazy.

Someone tell that to Noam Chomsky’s wife.

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February 14, 2006

Yet Another Female Admirer

As you might well imagine, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have sundry fans. Nary a day goes by, it seems, in which some enthusiastic teenager or mildly confused sexagenarian doesn’t send us some sort of fan mail. “We love your warmhearted animadversions,” they scribble. Or words to that effect.

Interestingly, however, it is less common for us to receive an unadulterated love letter. Frankly, dear reader, we’re as miffed about that as you are.

We must stress, however, that it has occurred once before: A charming college gal sent us a delightful e-missive declaring her love for the entire crack young staff. Accordingly, we were a bit dismayed to discover from her “weblog” that this fetching vixen was actually dating. Talk about mixed messages, eh?

Well, dear reader, it has happened again: Another lass has written what can reasonably be taken as a love e-letter. Incidentally, the female members of the crack young staff—who account for nearly 47 percent of us—have been dismayed that no men have written of their undying affection for them. This may be related to the fact that the female staffers are all graduate students, and therefore ugly. Q.E.D.

Anyway, you are undoubtedly wondering who has penned an epistle detailing her crush on the crack young staff. The woman’s nom de guerre is bobgirrl, which, we feel, could either be very good or very bad. If you catch our meanings. And we think you do.

Ms. bobgirrl is the proprietor of a “weblog” entitled “1 Girl, 4 Martinis.” We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are inclined to think this is close to the correct ratio, although we must admit we’ve been partial to 3 Girls and 17 Martinis in the past. We suppose it depends on how much food the girls in question have had, and how much they weigh.

What follows, dear reader, is the text of the love letter, which Ms. bobgirrl has “posted” on her “website.” We have edited it ever so slightly for the purposes of cacophony:

Dear CYS of THMQ,

Is “Chip” single? I believe him to be my soul mate. I just know that he is handsome, intelligent, articulate, funny, hates cats, and can hold his liquor. These are all qualities I look for in a man. I know that “Chip” does not belong in any of the buckets.

I spent 2 hours this afternoon sending him subliminal messages with my phone number (867-5309), but all I've received in response are bounce-back messages.

Yours eternally,


P.S. - I've hired an attorney, Susan Winsalot, to fight the restraining order.

We know what you’re thinking, dear reader: Should we be scared? But there’s nothing to fear. Or, well, not that much.

To be honest, we’re not sure which one of us she’s fallen for. A senior editor? A junior editor? An intern? Nah, probably not an intern, unless she’s kind of Clintonian.

We’re sorry to disappoint the fetching Ms. bobgirrl, but we must admit that none of the male crack young staffers can hold his liquor. We always get a chick to do it for us; they’re like human coasters, if you ask us. (And you kind of did.)

We also found it a bit odd that our suitor hasn’t gotten her ‘phone number correct. She appears to have mixed it up with our old pal Tommy Tutone. Man, that happens all the time.

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February 13, 2006

The Danish Cartoon Flap and the Press: Savor the Ridiculousness

Like nearly everyone else on God’s green earth, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have followed the Danish cartoon brouhaha with great interest. After all, it seldom happens that cartoons lead to violence—unless of course you count Andy Capp. That crazy wife-beater.

Perhaps even more intriguing has been the response to this fiasco of the Western press. Whilst some newspapers and magazines have demonstrated admirable courage—notably the editorial staff at the New York Press—others have been strikingly pusillanimous and/or obtuse.

For instance, the chaps at The Economist offered the following headline to their cover story on the flap: “Mutual incomprehension, mutual outrage.” Are we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” the only ones who think that this is a ridiculous way to characterize what’s going on?

First off, we firmly believe that anyone who can’t comprehend the fact that Islamists would react with wild, irrational violence to a slight hasn’t been paying attention to the news since around 1948. We mean, come on: Who the heck didn’t know that Islamists hate the West, blame everything on the Jews, and are a bunch of thugs? Hence the Islamofascists are eager to excoriate Denmark’s Jewish population—all three of them. Frankly, if you can’t comprehend that this would happen, we can’t comprehend you. So there.

And then there’s the bit about “mutual outrage” in The Economist’s title. Um, we hate to quibble, but we don’t think “mutual” is the mot juste. One side is torching embassies, murdering priests, and chanting violent slogans, and the other is…reprinting the cartoons? If you ask us, that’s about as mutual as the love between Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Cruise. And everyone knows he’s into guys.

For the apex of sanctimonious idiocy, however, readers should turn to The Nation, which has presented its own rebarbative view in the form of a staff editorial. Said piece, of course, offers an entirely false characterization of the brouhaha, according to which there are “extremists” on both sides. This allows the Communist dolts at The Nation to position themselves as the voice of reason coming from the center.

Ah, yes: Insufficiently sensitive cartoonists and murderous, anti-Semitic, anti-American thugs. Sounds like two groups of extremists to us. Too bad the Nationistas only have sympathy for the latter.

Now, don’t get us wrong, dear reader; we believe that the cartoons were tasteless and offensive. But we seem to recall the folks at The Nation praising tasteless and offensive art—provided its target is Christianity. In order to score cheap—and easy—political points, purportedly avant-garde artists love to dump crucifixes in urine and defame the Virgin Mary, all to choruses of applause from the left-leaning press.

Somehow, however, when cartoonists turn to offering cheap—and easy—political points at the expense of Islam, the leftists react quite differently.

Smell that, dear reader? That’s inconsistency.

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February 10, 2006

Her Hypocritical Authority Is Absolute

Perhaps, dear reader, you heard that the “website” E-Bay currently features an auction for the opportunity to host an oration given by none other than Cindy Sheehan. The highest bidder in said auction receives a gorgeous stump speech, which ineluctably blames America and an insidious Jewish cabal for 9/11. Delightful, isn’t it?

Yes, this is the same Cindy Sheehan whom David Letterman, when not throwing pencils at cameras for yuks, deemed an unfair target for any criticism. That’s kind of like saying Paul Schaffer’s wardrobe is beyond criticism. The cranially challenged Maureen Dowd, in a typical demonstration of obtuseness, deemed Ms. Sheehan a woman whose moral authority is absolute.

Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must explain that we unquestionably laud Cindy Sheehan’s son for making the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America. He is a true hero. And we can certainly understand Ms. Sheehan’s anger.

All the same, is it really beyond the pale to suggest that a woman who waxes Palestinian about bizarre Zionist conspiracies is unhinged? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think not.

We mention all this, dear reader, because we found a particular portion of the E-Bay announcement of her deranged-lecture-for-sale a bit odd. Toward the bottom of said advertisement, the reader sees the following:

Note: Because of the obvious potential for right-wing shenanigans, Cindy retains the right to refuse to speak to groups antithetical to her cause or offensive to her beliefs. If no group can be agreed upon, the winning bidder will receive a full refund.

Frankly, dear reader, we found this alarming. If Alanis Morrissette knew what irony is, she might even label it ironic.

Perhaps it is just us, but does anyone else recall one of the purported prime messages of Cindy Sheehan’s Camp Out at W.’s Ranch Campaign? We thought that she and her allies on the isolationist Left delighted in concluding that President Bush, by failing to talk to Ms. Sheehan, demonstrated his inability to speak to those with whom he disagrees. Remember all that talk about “Bush in a Bubble”?

And yet now it appears as if Ms. Sheehan refuses to speak to those with whom she disagrees. Funny, that. Who would have guessed that leftists would prove so close-minded? Surely no one in academia would.

In fact, we think that Ms. Sheehan’s brazen declaration of her intellectual isolationism is one of the most hypocritical moves in recent history. It’s right up there with that odious outfit called The Body Shop bleating about the horrors of animal testing—and then getting caught animal testing.

It’s kind of like Michael Moore calling you fat; it’s kind of like Carl Levin calling you elfin; it’s kind of like Eric Alterman labeling you unhinged.

And until Lou Dobbs get caught hiring an illegal immigrant for his housecleaner, it’s the best dose of hypocrisy we’re likely to get in some time.

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February 09, 2006

Taking on an Insignificant Loser

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know that many respected journalistic outfits refuse to offer commentary regarding their more truculent and wrong-headed detractors. After all, such commentary merely highlights the original criticisms, which are usually beneath contempt.

Unfortunately for a certain pathetic dolt, however, we at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” don’t play by those rules. As far as we’re concerned, any nincompoop who takes aim at us—no matter how sniveling, how moronic—deserves a shot back. This may serve unwittingly to advertise for said ignoramus’s point of view, but it has the benefit of allowing us to rip into the buffoon. And, quite frankly, we’re more than willing to make that trade-off.

Okay, so enough with the throat-clearing. Bring on the polemic.

Well, a certain “weblogger” named Scott, who is a student at Hamilton College, chose to make a negative reference to this humble “website” in the course of his rambling, unfocused discussion of the recent Danish Muhammad cartoons fiasco. Scott, who goes by the odd tag “squid314,” certainly has plenty of time to offer the world his rebarbative views, since, as you can tell from his picture, he clearly isn’t a chick magnet.

In fact, Scott appears to be something of a nerd’s nerd: At the beginning of his expatiation, he explains that he decided to reflect on this topic because its his “way of dealing with my D&D group rescheduling and then deserting me once again” (the emphasis is the nerd’s).

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: Wow, that’s uncommonly lame. This chucklehead is practically an über-loser. If your Dungeons & Dragons group is leaving you out of the loop, you are essentially the collegiate equivalent of a leper among the untouchables.

And, again, his photo seems to bear this out: He looks as if he’s been repeatedly hit with a flail that does about three to six points of damage. His is a face, apparently, that even a Dungeon Master can’t love.

So what, you may be asking yourself, did Scottie say that so upset members of the crack young staff? Well, here’s what the “webloggers” would call the “money quote”:

Amusingly, if you look at humor that really IS racist or at least anti-minority, it's almost always on the surface a condemnation of white people to mock the politically correct view that white imperialism is the source of many problems. The aptly named Hatemongers' Quarterly [sic], which is not REALLY racist but certainly not overly friendly to minority causes, is one among many examples (the emphasis is the loser’s).

Okay, so, according to this chucklehead, the crack young staff isn’t exactly a passel of racists, but we’re “certainly not overly friendly to minority causes.” And, apparently, we deny that “white imperialism is the source of many problems.”

Well, gee, where do we begin? We suppose we ought to mention that there is a tiny difference between being racist and not being “overly friendly to minority causes.” Perhaps a college education will help clear up this trifling distinction. But we doubt it: Scottie doesn’t appear overly-friendly with logic.

As loath as we are to clear our good names for the benefit of Scott the Left-Out Dungeon Master, we think we should inform him that we favor a society in which people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. If this makes us not “overly friendly to minority causes,” so be it.

Second, we must say that we’ve never offered any comments on the nature of “white imperialism,” and the problems it has wrought. Perhaps we’ve been too busy making fun of more weighty topics, like karaoke and Billy Joel. Or, for that matter, D&D dweebs whose heads are swimming with poorly digested palaver about “white imperialism.”

We think, however, that we should thank Scottie for his suggestion that our “website” is aptly named. Just because he seems not to have read it—and thus “links” to our old “Blogspot” address—there’s little reason to suppose his opinion is incorrect.

May we suggest, however, that “squid314” isn’t a particularly suitable tag-line? We think “mal-educated, witless, chuckleheaded, D&D-playing dork” would be far superior.

It isn’t particularly catchy, but it has the benefit of being true.

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February 08, 2006

Another Moron Reads the Gray Lady

Regular readers of this humble “weblog” know that we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have oft criticized letters to the editor that appear in The New York Times. In fact, our routine perusals of the missives in the Paper of Record have led us to believe that most of its readers are complete nincompoops.

Allow us to offer an example. By now, dear reader, you have undoubtedly heard about the Danish Muhammad cartoon fiasco, a story that brilliantly exposes journalists’ unequal concern over Muslim and Christian complaints regarding anti-religious sentiments. When Christians politely offer their feelings of distaste over some nasty depiction of Jesus, they are deemed knuckle-dragging hicks. Somehow, this is not the case when Muslims threaten far worse in regard to unkind images of their prophet. Perhaps this is because the “knuckle-dragging” Christians, for all their troglodytic ire, wouldn’t actually kill anyone. Would that this could be said about their enlightened and oppressed Islamic counterparts!

So what, you may be wondering, does a Times reader think about this brouhaha? Thankfully, all but one of the missives in the “Muhammad Cartoon Furor” section of Saturday’s Gray Lady were generally reasonable. But one epistle is so obtuse we simply had to offer a portion of it.

Penned by someone called Hala Innab, a resident of that tony city of Amman, Jordan, the letter in question ends with the following two paragraphs:

The function of newspapers is to inform, not to inflame. At a time when the relationship between Islamic and Western countries is strained, one would expect more from reputable newspapers.

How would Americans feel if The New York Times decided to print jokes about the Jewish Holocaust or African slavery, just to test our reaction?

An interesting question, that. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” feel like answering it.

Now, never mind the fact that Arab dailies routinely offer anti-Semitic cartoons to their readers. We’re pretty sure that they’ve printed their share of distasteful references to the Holocaust, but perhaps Halal Innab doesn’t consider such newspapers “reputable.” And we’re inclined to agree, insofar as such countries don’t tend to have papers free from government control.

But, in order to humor—though not incite—Hala Innab, let’s pretend that The New York Times published a cartoon that offered a joke about the Holocaust, “just to test our reaction.”

We have the sneaking suspicion that Americans would not burn American flags, call for the murder of the Times’ editors and the amputation of the cartoonists’ hands. Further, we posit that non-Jewish Americans would not be beaten up in Israel, as a few Danish workers were in Saudi Arabia.

In short, we feel as if Americans would not act like a bunch of barbarians. So why, exactly, is the chuckleheaded Hala Innab defending these savages?

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February 07, 2006

The Right to Freshman Composition

As you may well imagine, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are huge fans of The Nation, America’s magazine for supporters of the unelectable wing of the Green Party. We don’t know what’s better about this inimitable rag: The quality of its articles or the quality of its paper. Right now, signs point to “paper.”

It should come as no surprise to learn, then, that one of the junior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—was recently perusing the February 6 number of said publication. This particular issue—for those of you benighted enough not to have read it—features a section loftily entitled “An America Restored: An Alternative State of the Union.”

It offers a number of typically unrealistic solutions for our country, as proposed by such beacons of pragmatism as Dennis Kucinich. Accordingly, its title comes across as a bit odd, for by “America Restored” they seem to mean an America that caves in to Al Qaeda, eschews the War on Terrorism, and implements socialism. Not much of a “restoration,” that.

One particular segment of this feature struck “Chip” as especially interesting, albeit in a way unintended by its author. It has been penned by Jesse Jackson Jr., the congressman son of that paragon of rectitude and integrity, Jesse Jackson, and an unknown mother to whom Rev. Jackson offers payola with American taxpayer funds.

It begins as follows:

”The vote” is a human right. It is seen as an American right. In a democracy there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote.

Uh, we have one rather obvious question: Did Jesse Jackson Jr. attend college? Did he ever take a freshman composition class? This opening paragraph simply reeks of the late-night ramblings of a seriously inebriated 18-year-old.

We mean, come on: It’s got all the tell-tale signs. It goes absolutely nowhere, vaguely repeats itself, and is about as stylish as acid-wash knickers. In fact, we half expected to see the following sentence directly following it: “Being the fact that voting is American, it’s a right in democracy.” Ah, now that’s some Grade-A illiteracy!

Naturally, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s piece ends with a bang:

It’s time to stand up and insure every American’s right to vote to have that vote fully protected and to have it fairly counted.

Oh, for crying out loud! Are there any editors who work at The Nation? Is their union on strike?

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” firmly believe that Congressman Jackson, rather than nattering on about voting rights, ought to insist on a constitutional amendment regarding basic writing skills. It may not be as politically charged, but we think it will prove more helpful.

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February 06, 2006

Come on, Chris Ofili!

Remember a few years ago, when progressives were all aghast over Rudy Giuliani’s scorn for an artistic representation of the Virgin Mary replete with pornographic cut-outs and elephant dung? It seems like an awful long time ago, doesn’t it? Still, it was artist Chris Ofili’s shining moment in the mainstream media.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” distinctly recall all the sanctimonious finger-wagging of the smart set in regard to the mayor’s ire. How dare he attempt to cut off the funding for such art! That simpleton! That barbarian! Doesn’t he recognize the value of free expression?

Now, dear reader, we have mentioned all of this for a specific reason—and it isn’t to compel you to relive the heady days of the late 1990s culture war. Rather, an interesting story related to this issue has crossed our desks (and everyone else's), and it made us ponder the Chris Ofili Affair anew.

In the January 31 number of The New York Times, one can find Hassan M. Fattah’s piece “Caricature of Muhammad Leads to Boycott of Danish Goods.” (Anyone who doesn't know about this story already is likely deceased.) It commences as follows:

A long-running controversy over the publication of caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper boiled over in the past few days as a boycott brought sales of some Danish products to a halt in Arab countries across the Middle East, while Danish interests came under attack.

In addition to an almost total boycott of Danish goods in a number of Muslim countries, the Paper of Record (and 8-Tracks) informs us that two employees of the Danish Arla Foods manufacturer “were beaten by angry customers” in Saudi Arabia. Not very pleasant, is it?

And this leads us to a question: Where has all the progressive support for the cardinal import of free expression gone? Granted, caricatures are a rather lowly form of art, but we figured that the avant-garde would consider that attractive. Even so, we haven’t seen much in the way of outrage from the formerly outraged chattering classes. What gives?

If you ask us, people have the right to boycott if they so choose, even if we (rightly) consider their boycott ridiculous. All the same, people have a right to question the products of artists who are recipients of public funding. But our progressive pals argued neither of these things. For some reason, however, they bray loudly when the object of artists’ scorn is Christianity, but are strangely silent when the object is Islam.

This leads us to put even more stock in a theory we have developed long ago about our progressive friends. Insult Catholic sensibilities and the lefties cheer; insult Islam, and they head for the hills. Is this merely a coincidence, or is our theory correct? Namely: Are progressives a bunch of wimps?

Admittedly, it’s not a very sophisticated theory, but it has the benefit of potentially being true.

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February 03, 2006

Canada, Haven for Degenerate Libertines?

A little while ago, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” discussed the recent election of Stephen Harper to the semi-prestigious post of Canadian prime minister. In the course of our expatiation, we mentioned that, regardless of this encouraging sign, we still didn’t trust Canadians farther than we could throw them. In fact, if memory serves, we offered various taunts aimed at our neighbors to the North, including mention of the rock group Loverboy.

Recently, we received a hearty response to our salvo from a fellow called Ben Yoskovitz. Mr. Yoskovitz, who is the proprietor of a “weblog” entitled I Got News For You, appears to have taken offense at our remarks, most likely because he’s sufficiently unfortunate to be a Canuck himself.

His letter, which we have delicately edited for the purposes of euphony, reads as follows:

Dear Young Staff of Crackers,

I just read your most recent essay on Canada. While I appreciate the enthusiasm you are showing for Canadian politics and in our country overall, I would like to point out a few things to you:

Beer + Cold Weather + Women Under the Covers = Happy Canadians

While Americans are off chasing terrorists, fighting wars, and getting themselves knee deep in piles of Middle Eastern excrement, we Canadians quite enjoy the cold weather and the opportunities it affords us.

The formula above says it clearly:

Beer = Our drinking age in most places is 19, but in Quebec it is in fact 18 (kudos to the French on this one). Americans are able to die at war before they can even have a sip of tasty ale (and I would recommend Canadian ale first and foremost over the watered down variety pushed on poor American drinkers).

Cold Weather = Certainly, the cold weather is frustrating at times, but it does help keep people inside, which brings me to the 3rd and 4th components of the formula.

Hockey = Simply put, the greatest game there is. Speed, skill, and toughness. While Canadians enjoy the odd NFL game, there are so many stoppages in play, it’s no wonder Americans are fraught with an obesity problem: Sit, watch football, wait in between each and every play, eat, eat some more, and so forth.

Women Under the Covers = Possibly the most important of all elements, the cold keeps the ladies under the covers. And the men are rarely far behind.

Best of luck, my friends to the South, with your wars, massive deficit, and general chaos. Your friends to the North will be drinking, watching sports, and fornicating to our hearts’ content!

Ben Yoskovitz

We know what you’re thinking, dear reader: That’s an awfully convincing letter. In fact, we’d wager that the “Beer + Cold Weather + Hockey + Women Under the Covers = Happy Canadians” formula amounts to the apex of Canadian science. Move over, Einstein, the Nooks in the North are bellyin’ up to the bar!

In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” firmly believe that Mr. Yoskovitz’s missive dwarfs the greatest achievement in Canadian history. We refer, of course, to the television program “Degrassi Junior High,” a quintessntial example of Canadian genius.

Even so, we hope Mr. Yoskovitz doesn’t mind if we quibble with his epistle a bit. Far be it for us to find fault with his eminently reasonable arguments. But we think we have a couple of interesting things to point out.

First, we believe that Mr. Yoskovitz leaves us with the unfortunate impression that Canadians are nothing but a passel of degenerate libertines. Hand these hosers a Molson, allow them to plug in their cars, and turn on the Maple Leafs game, and our Canadian friends will be ultra-content. They won’t worry at all about their ludicrous tax rate, the major problems with their socialized medicine, or, for that matter, Loverboy.

May we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” suggest that Mr. Yoskovitz offers a rather ghastly picture of his fellow countrymen? Whilst Americans are off saving civilization, Canadians are watching a sport sufficiently ludicrous to have a team named the “Tampa Bay Lightning”? We don’t want to seem uppity, but we think there’s a bit of a moral chasm between a country of dimwitted dipsomaniacs and one that attempts to save the world from Islamofascism.

Somehow, it appears as if Mr. Yoskovitz doesn’t see it this way. In fact, he seems not to believe in the necessity of America’s “excrement”-laden foreign policy. Perhaps we can clear this up in the form of a formula:

Islamofascists Plotting in Canada + Degenerate Hedonist Canucks = Dead Canadians.

In fact, Mr. Yoskovitz, we’ll let you borrow that formula, if you like. Perhaps you can ponder it before the Winnipeg Jets game hits the air. Oh, that’s right: Canada—the country of hockey fanatics—doesn’t have enough of an economic engine to keep all its erstwhile hockey teams. Well, there’s still the Quebec Nordiques.

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February 02, 2006

People Vote with Their (Dirty) Hands

Anyone who stays even cursorily informed about current events knows that sundry Americans are supposedly in a tizzy about the Bush administration’s sordid insistence on forcing Google to fork over search lists that pertain to Internet pornography. Although this matter actually specifically regards child porn, numerous liberals are certain that this proves that America has quickly degenerated into a police state.

If you ask us, it is slightly unfounded to argue that the United States has turned into Big Brother’s wet dream. Believe us: We live in American, and we just don’t see it.

In fact, this has left us with a hunch: We reckon (as the hicks say) that American progressives demonstrate delusions of grandeur when they natter on about the government spying on them. We mean, come on: Who the heck needs to monitor the inane life of a food co-op employee from Madison? We’re pretty certain that America will survive without the FBI rifling through his myriad receipts for tofu products.

Actually, dear reader, we have some proof that our progressive friends are a bit off-base. Like numerous hi-tech “webloggers,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can monitor the search words e-travelers use to head to our “website.”

We know, we know: You are upset that we have such invasive power over you. But don’t worry: We’ve already sold all of your information to the lovable folks at Jews for Jesus, and they should be over your house any minute with some informational brochures.

Anyway, we mention this merely because these impressive powers allow us to track whether Americans feel that they inhabit a totalitarian state. That is to say, we can track—albeit unscientifically—whether progressives have convinced people that Brother Bush is Watching You, or if, as we contend, they’re off they’re rockers.

Although our Official Internet Monitoring Team has only been watching the data roll in for a few short days, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must inform you that signs point to “they’re off their rockers.”

For, dear reader, the most popular words used by those finding our humble “weblog” are “naked midgets.” Yeah, that’s right: Naked midgets. We’re not particularly proud of that. Naked midgets even beat out “fat Kelly LeBrock.” Sad but true.

Now, we suppose there’s a chance that the government is currently rounding up all of these folks, and they will soon spend the rest of their cotton-pickin’ lives rotting away in a dank cell next to other American political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal. But, quite frankly, we collectively doubt it.

So, the next time a progressive pal blathers on about the authoritarian nightmare that is the United States, just tell him you like to live dangerously, and Google the words “naked midgets.” That will allow you to head to our humble “website,” where he can find out that—surprise, surprise—he’s a moron.

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February 01, 2006

How Can We Not Hate Garrison Keillor?

As you may well imagine from the very title of this humble “weblog,” we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” loathe a great number of people, places, and things. We’re not just talking about your obvious targets of obloquy: Mussolini, Detroit, women. Rather, we mean the sorts of things that most people don’t even have the time to scorn.

Every once in a blue moon, however, a figure we completely detest does something so uncharacteristic that he makes us begrudgingly rethink our contumely. It’s a painful experience to undergo, dear reader, and, quite frankly, it rarely happens. But this doesn’t make it any easier when it occurs.

For example, dear reader, like any God-fearing human beings with ears, we despise Billy Joel. That saccharine tunesmith makes us wretch uncontrollably upon taking in the sounds of his dismal warbling.

And yet, a recent interview Mr. Joel had with feculent Newsweek magazine was actually—surprisingly—endearing. In said piece, Mr. Joel makes clear that his new box set is an unnecessary waste, a means for his record company to reap even more profits. Mr. Joel admits that he has a contractual obligation with his record company, and, if they want to offer this piffle, then he must go along.

Asked specifically if the world requires four versions of his horrid ditty “I Go to Extremes,” Mr. Joel reasonably replies: “I don’t think so.” That, we must admit, is a darn good answer. We just wish he would admit that the world doesn’t need any version of “I Go to Extremes.” In fact, we’re willing to bet that the planet would be far better off without that piece of crap.

Regardless, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” couldn’t help but feel a bit of respect for Mr. Joel. This didn’t oblige us to like “Piano Man” and kindred examples of classic Joel tripe, but it forced us to reconsider our position on him all the same.

This is also true of Garrison Keillor. Naturally, we simply detest this self-important moron, whose NPR shenanigans are pretty much the best argument against public funding for radio. We have long harbored the suspicion that “A Prairie Home Companion,” his noxiously soporific program, was so dull that it caused more vehicular deaths each year than drunk driving.

That said, we were naturally surprised to find that Mr. Keillor penned a delicious hatchet job in the latest number of The New York Times Book Review. The target of Mr. Keillor’s wit is none other than Bernard-Henri Levy, the dimwit whose unbuttoned shirt makes very clear that he didn’t get the You’re Not Sexy memo.

Mr. Keillor lays into this self-impressed nincompoop’s new book, American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville. It’s a heck of a demolition, offering such gems as “Bernard-Henry Levy is a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore.”

Okay, so we’re prepared to admit that Garrison Keillor isn’t all bad. Anyone who rips on pompous frogs has something to recommend him.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll be blithely clutching “Prairie Home Companion” tote bags. After all, unlike all those NPR chuckleheads, we didn’t vote for Dukakis.

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