Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another Enword

There is, famously, a love that dare not speak its name. That phrase, uttered by Oscar Wilde upon the stand after he foolishly brought a liable charge against the Marquise of Queensberry -- who addressed his calling card to a delighted Wilde with the phrase "posing as a somdomite". The Marquise was in a state of mental distress when he scribbled the note, due to the incorrigible fact that his son was being somdomized by Wilde, or visa versa.

When charged with "homosexual acts not amounting to buggery", Wilde defended himself with a well-crafted hortatory toward Victorian tolerance: there is "that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. ... It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it." After this, the gallery burst into applause.

Speaking as a middle-aged man, all I can say is, that is so hot.

There are many things that dare not speak themselves. A belief in Intelligent Design on college campuses. A suggestion that Affirmative Action is racist. The enword. And Barack H. Obama's middle name. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. There, I said it. But isn't it odd that such a fuss should have been made over some radio guy who introduced McCain at some rally, stirring up a controversy because he used Obama's H-name? Jack is my middle name. Jack. So many dirty, dirty bad things start with jack. I'm a dirty boy, so unashamed of speaking that name. Is Obama ashamed? I should think not. His appendages and instruments, then? No. It's a tactic of course, this rush to presume and pretend offense.

Shall we succumb to it?

Implication is not the same as obscenity, any more than satire is copyright infringement. Hussein, meaning "beautiful", is as common a name in the Middle East as John is in the West. But it is off limits. How demeaning to every American with such a name. For shame. It's like the ignorant racist puppets in NY who were offended by a bureaucrat's use of the word "niggardly", and demanded and got a resignation. (Pardon my insensitive use of the word "resignation", which has an "n", an "i", and a "g" in it. I, a Niger snot! Ignore stain! Ignite arson! Neat origins! Sane rioting! Reasoning it! Nosier giant! Noiser gnat! Orient gains! Soaring nite! Atoning sire! A rising tone! Raining toes! Ironing seat!) It's like the little schoolyard boys who tease some child for being named Osama. We do not cure intolerance by hiding it in the closet. Hasn't the Gay Pride movement taught us anything? When we are supposed to teach five year olds about condoms in public schools, might we also be allowed to utter a prominent politician's middle name?

So what if the radio guy was being sarcastic. Such sarcasm is not, after all, very tearing. If that was his point, it speaks to his character. If not, then what's the issue? In either case, no apology was due. Why then did McCain hasten to offer one? Was all his courage used up on some long ago occasion? It remains a mystery.

There are, it seems, fatwas against words. Apartheid against ideas is a leftist orthodoxy. How shall we confront such anti-First Amendment tactics? Well, not by ignoring them.

Precisely this same ploy was used in the 2006 Senate race, where James Henry Webb erected himself and his manliness by habitually referring to his rival as George Felix Allen. Allen lost, because he was a girliman who remained silent about his faggy name Felix. Haw haw.

A Fantasy Political Scenario

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen of the press. Some of you have been reporting on my opponent's emphasis of my middle name, Felix. It's a name given to me in honor of a respected family friend, and the fact that I have never used it in no way reflects shame, as my Democrat opponent James Webb seeks to imply through his tone. Why he should call me by a name I do not call myself is no profound mystery. He is employing an underhanded and rather cowardly tactic. He is implying that because of my middle name I am unmanly. I will face his implications directly. Perhaps Mr. Webb is better at ball sports than I am. I cannot speak to his interest in balls. But I hereby challenge Mr. Webb to a fight. His choice of rules. If he declines this offer, I will select a name for Mr. Webb, a new middle name. Say, Charlotte. I will be phoning Mr. Webb with this offer. Thank you for your interest in these important matters.

The End

Obama's campaign thanked John McCain for his apology. Both men were diminished by the affair. We should have expected more from them. Could it be that Barack "Pretty Boy" Osama and John "Never Back Down" McCain are just silly politicians, quibbling over words? This, when there is a so much greater issue before a world so filled with enemies whose names we dare not speak?

Ah well. Same old same old. If only there were a candidate of change.


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