Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Booboisie!

My 25-year-old niece Meghan lives in Manhattan and travels the world for Google. She's not a kid but I think of her that way because I've known her since she was a baby. I'm her godfather, too, a title that's meaningful to Catholics, even those (like me) who've strayed far from the confessional and the cathecism.

Meghan received an e-mail from her aunt, her father's sister. It's that scurrilous e-mail that blasts Sen. Obama for the photo where (horrors!) he allegedly doesn't put his hand on his heart and recite the pledge of allegiance. As most bloggers know, the photo was taken at a ceremony where the national anthem was playing. You do not have to place your hand on your heart during those occasions. Still, the Republican Slime Machine is spreading this photo accompanied by the lie that Sen. Obama doesn't believe in the pledge and, besides he's a Muslim, don't you know. The e-mail keeps spreading, which makes you fear for the future of the Republic. H.L. Mencken used to refer to these type of people as the "booboisie." Bill Maher calls them morons.

Anyway, Meghan got steamed by the e-mail and fired back a reply that set the facts straight. Her mother -- my sister in north Florida -- e-mailed me a copy. She's proud of her firey daughter, even though her politics are a bit less liberal. My sister's an Obama supporter, but she's also voted Republican on occasion, something I've never done. We'd all be better served if we fired off responses as Meghan did. There would be fewer scurrilous e-mails. And the booboisie might learn a thing or two.

Lest I get all highfalutin', it's helpful to note that we liberals (even prog-bloggers) have fallen for outrageous claims about those we despise. We can be ridiculous grand-standers too. I believe it was George Carlin who said that the world is a circus and that the great thing about being an American is that we have front-row seats. Mencken might agree. Here's one of his quotes from 1926:

I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating.


mpage225 said...

Mike, how about a copy of your niece's response? And which sister is her mom? And damn, this makes me feel old because I remember all your sisters as kids.


Michael Shay said...

Bob: I'll send you my niece's response. Her mom is Molly, the oldest of the Shay girls. Time flies, eh?