Monday, July 24, 2006

Hyman's Bogeyman

Finally, Mark Hyman has admitted that “The Angry Left” doesn’t actually exist, but is a mythological entity, like unicorns, gremlins, or Iraqi WMDs.

In his recent editorial in which he defines “The Angry Left,” he describes this group as having attributes that apply to absolutely no one. It turns out that “The Angry Left” is just a made-up, cartoonish, bogeyman that Mark imagines is hiding under his bed.

Let’s look at his attributes one by one, and you tell me if you know a single person who fits any of these descriptions:

They argue that a 12-year old girl is grown-up enough to get an abortion without
parental notification, but they categorize all teenagers, including 19-year
olds, who commit violent crimes as "children."

Anyone? No, didn’t think so.

They don't want to be seen as unpatriotic but so many hope that only tragedy
befalls our service men and women.

Okay, all of you who cheer when a soldier dies, raise your hand. Hmmmmm….no takers?

They argue that nutty academics proselytizing hateful and repugnant remarks in
college classrooms are practicing academic freedom, but students who explore
politically incorrect viewpoints in term papers should be expelled.

I’ve known a lot of academics in my time, but I’ve yet to come across one that’s suggested a student should be expelled for picking a “politically incorrect” viewpoint. We’re generally tickled if they have a coherent viewpoint at all.

They call displays of the Cuban, North Korean or Iranian flags as examples of
tolerance, but displays of the American flag is narrow-minded jingoism and

Ooops! I’ll be back in just a sec . . . I need to run outside and take my Axis of Evil flags down before it gets dark. Maybe I’ll burn the Stars and Stripes to get some light.

They think the taxpayers who earned their money are not entitled to it, but that
it belongs to politicians and bureaucrats.

Yes, I just forward all my paychecks to Dennis Hastert.

They believe the Iraqi people never experienced hardship, tragedy or suffering
until after American troops arrived.

That’s right. I believe Iraq was a wonderland of tolerance. Of course, I didn’t quite go so far as the guy pictured below, who helped pave the way for full diplomatic relations with Iraq and sales of U.S. weapons to the Hussein regime, despite its use of chemical weapons and systematic abuse of his own people.

They want to suspend every first grader from school who draws a stick figure
holding a gun, but they claim a 17-year old convicted of a gun crime has a right
to be in a public classroom.

Damn straight! No child left behind!

They worship Ted Kennedy who left a young woman to drown in his car in 1969, but
they claim it was George Bush who killed every soldier who died in combat.

Ah, what would a Hyman editorial be without turning a personal tragedy into a political attack. And no, I don’t believe George Bush killed any soldier who died in combat, since he never served in combat.

Cartoonish, sophomoric nonsense from beginning to end. Of course, we can see what Hyman is doing with his blathering; he’s not attempting to describe those who disagree with him, but rather project these outlandish views onto them. Even he doesn’t believe his own dopiness. But, true to his habit of insulting the very people he wants to influence, he assumes his audience is dumb enough that they’ll actually believe that anyone who takes issue with him holds these positions.

The problem is that some people in his audience probably are that dumb.

It speaks volumes about the quality of Hyman’s thought and rhetoric that he must trade in such carnivalesque hoo-ha to attack those he disagrees with. With the number of people who share his beliefs (a number that’s always been less than half the population) dwindling daily, Hyman lashes out by trying to turn the tables, painting his adversaries as the out-of-touch extremists rather than himself. In the hands of a skilled orator, this might even be effective. But with Hyman, it’s just laughable.

Let’s turn the tables ourselves. Here is a brief list of some of the actual characteristics of The Angry Right, and in this case, all of them can be documented to apply to a number of prominent right-wing public figures, including Mr. Hyman.

They think it is an impeachable offense if a president isn’t forthcoming about a private sexual relationship, but a president who “fixes the intelligence” around a desire to go to war is admirable.

They don’t want to be called racists, but they compare undocumented immigrants to terrorists and call them lazy freeloaders, despite the fact that they have a miniscule rate of unemployment.

They accuse people who are against the war of hating the troops, but they champion an administration that has sent thousands to be killed and maimed in a war of choice.

They claim the war is “liberating” the Iraqi people, but they are mute when it comes to the utter failure of the administration to actually rebuild Iraq and the horrific number of civilian deaths directly and indirectly caused by the invasion.

They say they support the troops, but they personally vilify the mother of a fallen soldier simply because she had the temerity to voice her objection to the war that took her son’s life.

They say they are protecting “the homeland,” but they have no problem with administration officials outing a CIA agent because her husband didn’t say what they wanted him to.

They constantly invoke the attacks of 9/11 to support their policies, but when the widows of many who died on that day push for an investigation into what happened, they personally attack the women and question their love for their husbands.

They claim to be in favor of “traditional values,” including the Ten Commandments, but they routinely break the command to not bear false witness.

They claim to be proud of America, but they condone actions that embarrass and humiliate America (e.g., torture, unilateral invasion, etc.).

They accuse those who disagree with their economic philosophy of engaging in “class warfare,” even as they support regressive tax policies that shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class and saddle future generations with mountains of debt.

They call liberals “tax and spenders,” but they sing the praises of a president who has taken the country from record surplus to record deficit in a few short years.

They claim to be supporters of the military and veterans, but if any politician who they disagree with is a veteran, they slander and demean their service (e.g., John Kerry, Max Cleland, John McCain).

They claim it’s the left that’s angry, but they publish books and make public statements that equate liberalism with treason, godlessness, terrorism, despotism, and hating America.

Let’s be clear: this list doesn’t describe Republicans or conservatives as a whole. Many conservatives resent the way the Angry Right have hijacked a movement that, while I often disagree with, was at least a coherent philosophy, and replaced it with authoritarian blowhardism. (What are we to make of the fact that one of the most vocal critics of the current radical right is
John Dean, a guy who was Richard Nixon’s right-hand man, and that his antipathy was shared by the late Barry Goldwater, the founder of modern conservatism?)

However, the list does describe a highly visible and highly powerful (even if numerically underwhelming) group of public voices, including Mark Hyman. And unlike Hyman’s list, I didn’t have to make mine up. Just turn on Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh, pick up the latest screed from Ann Coulter, surf over to Newsmax, or flip to your local Sinclair station, and you’ll have all the evidence you need.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 5.39


At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for that service of showing how utterly inane, unreasoned, mean-spirited, and just plain dumb Mr. Hyman can be.

We've got serious problems to work on in this country and this is the sort of garbage we get: divisive hoo-hah.

Your presentation would be a good segment on The Daily Show, humorous, that is, if it weren't for the sad fact that Hyman propagandizes on our airwaves every day.

Thanks, Ted, Enjoyed your prose.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Thanks for the kind words, Anon. They're much appreciated!


At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

caption for your embedded photo:

I actually voted for Iraq's dictatorship before I voted for killing him!


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