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July 10, 2012

12:03
P.M.

Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Total Responses: 7

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

About the topic

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

- Submit questions now to Gene's next chat.

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Important, secret note to readers: The management of The Washington Post apparently does not know this chat exists, or it would have been shut down long ago. Please do not tell them. Thank you.

Weingarten is also the author of "The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death," co-author of "I'm with Stupid," with feminist scholar Gina Barreca and "Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs," with photographer Michael S. Williamson.

New to Chatological Humor? Read the FAQ.

Ed's Note: If composing your questions in Microsoft Word please turn off the Smart Quotes functionality or use WordPad. I haven't the time to edit them.
Q.

Gene Weingarten :

Greetings update readers.  Very political today:

Q.

Corporations are People Too

I'm trying to think of what we do now that the Supreme Court has shown itself unwilling to allow any restrictions on spending money in political campaigns. You can say that it is "free speech," but still there are only an extreme minority (say, 1 percent) who can afford to engage in this speech. Is the first step encouraging legislation specifying that corporations are NOT people, despite Mitt Rmoney's assertions to the contrary?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I was talking to David Simon about this the other day, lamenting the fact that on some level I understand the first amendment argument here.   He metaphorically whacked me upside the head.    "Money isn't speech," he said. "Speech is speech.  Money is money." 

He's right.   It got me thinking more clearly about this.  Dylan wrote: "Money doesn't talk, it swears," which is sort of the point.  (It is always a scary thing when I start quoting Dylan.)  In a sense, money is the antithesis of speech speech, which is theoretically an airing of competing ideas in an open marketplace. 

Money distorts the marketplace.   It gives the fat guy in the corner the only amp in the room, just because he's richer than everyone else.  

Today we woke up to the news that Mitt Romney has outraised President Obama for the second month in a row.   When the figures come in, we'll see that Romney's getting vastly more money from vastly fewer people.    We are, as a nation, supposed to feel GOOD about this, as though, somehow free speech has prevailed?

Money has prevailed.  The fat guys have prevailed. 

Here's a troubling thing: If you watch Romney on the stump, he seems to get genuinely animated when he is talking about the fundamental unfairness of the American system resulting in the triumph of the rich.   The system he has so ably gamed. 

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

Problem with Obama's coolness

I am a big Obama supporter, but I am so surprised by my relatives and acquaintances who absolutely hate him. I was no fan of W, but I would never have said some of the things about him that I hear about Obama. I honestly feel that a lot of vitriol against Obama has got to be based on some sort of racism (I come from a red state but now live in a blue state). As some of his coolness may be perceived to come from his blackness, I'm not so sure the coolness factor in this one will be determinative.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I have always felt that the DEPTH of the dislike of Obama was based on racism ... but not the numbers. He was elected in a darn-near landslide, meaning a whole lot of white people voted for him. Based on the poll numbers, he has disappointed a whole lot of white people who voted for him, meaning that this is a political/economic change of mind, not a racial rejection.

But the visceral hatred of him by so many who didn't vote for him last time, the willingness to throw vile labels at him, etc.  I see racism there.

Just found this fascinating column by Gene Robinson from three years ago, right on this subject: LINK

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

Not sure where I saw this one

Two writers having lunch. Writer 1: I'm just finishing my [book/play/screenplay]. Writer 2: Me neither.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Thank you. 

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

Anti-Abortion

"I think most Americans, including anti-abortion people, would draw a line at circumstances where the life of the mother is in jeopardy." Incorrect. To the anti-abortion folks - the activists, the ones who write the laws and wave the signs - *all* abortions are sin and murder. Their agenda has nothing to do with life an everything to do with control of sexuality: who can do whom, when, and how. And what *consequences* shall follow from said doing.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Okay, now, your logic is flawed.   

The only anti-abortion people of whom this CANNOT be said (that it's about control of sexuality) are the absolutists.  They are not about "fault."   I am appalled by their stance, but their stance is at least consistent: If abortion is murder, pure and simple, then murder doesn't become any more justifiable if the mother was raped, or if her life is in jeopardy.   It's no excuse to assassinate a child.

I'm with you on the other anti-abortion people, the moralists ones with exceptions.   The reason it is okay to abort the product of rape is that the women wasn't "promiscuous" -- the pregnancy wasn't her "fault"  so she shouldn't be penalized for it.    

Penalized is a bad word to use in this context, but there it is. 

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

ROMNEY IS AMAZINGLY UNLIKEABLE. I HAVEN'T QUITE PUT MY FINGER ON WHY, EXCEPT THAT HE SEEMS LIKE A TOTAL PHONY.

It's because he's charming. Charming men are trouble, as I have been telling my single girlfriends for years. Avoid them like the plague.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

He isn't charming, though.   Obama is charming.   I thinkthe word you are looking for is "smooth" or "slick," but he isn't those things either.   He seems uncomfortable in his own skin.  

Okay, here it is:  Have you ever been in a meeting with some people, a business meeting, and things seem awkward somehow --strained, vaguely hostile --  until one person leaves?   And suddenly things relax?

He's that guy. 

--

Okay, another poster just nailed it, describing Romney's mien in psychological terms as "a bizarre affect."   That's it.  He makes the people around him uncomfortable.   He's a little, just a little ... creepy.

This explains why he's got big problems with the female electorate.   Women are really uncomfortable with any hint of creepery.  

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

Woodrow Wilson as bigot

I didn't know about his racial prejudice really until I read that he had Birth of a Nation screened at the White House and actually blurbed it for DW Griffith, saying it was "history writ by lightning." I guess growing up in post Reconstruction Virginia trumps being President of Princeton.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

He re-segrated the armed forces, setting integration back at least half a century. He'd put on gloves before shaking hands with a black person. He wrote this, which Griffith used in his movie: "The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self preservation until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country."

– July 10, 2012 8:57 AM
Q.

Anti-abortion, pro-choice

those are not opposite choices. I am anti-abortion in most cases but still pro-choice for those cases where it is a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the child or other extreme conditions, but not as a means of birth control. My wife had an abortion for that reason. I think better language would have been pro or anti reproductive choice.

A.
Gene Weingarten :

Do you not find it a bit of a slippery slope, Big Brother style, to start interrogating people about WHY they want to do something? A temporal gauge makes sense -- after a certain degree of gestation -- but I'm not sure I want government making subjective decisions about someone's motives. Sounds very totalitarian to me.

Okay, we're done. See you next week.

– July 10, 2012 9:39 AM
Q.

 

A.
Host: