The History of Bad Attitudes
I began years ago to build a list of people, mostly strangers, who seemed as if they
might like to read the sort of things I wanted to write. My plan was to put out a bimonthly
pamphlet and mail it to my list, unsolicited and free. I would not
explain why they were receiving it, and I would make no effort to find out
whether it suited them or not. A few might get something from it; as for the rest,
no harm done.
I went so far as to assemble a dummy issue, and would have gone farther if it
hadnt been for mailing and printing costs. Back then freedom of the
press, as A.J. Liebling noted, was limited to the man who owned one. This being no
longer true, here is Bad Attitudes.
One section, called The Encyclopedia of the Absurd, consists of news that didnt
make it onto the major networks. To read these essential
factoids from the linear world, click here. Links to longer articles follow, below.
- Dubyas Creepy Death Wish
What if George Bush doesnt want either to avenge his father or outdo him?
What if he just wants to follow in dads footsteps -- exactly?
- Killing the Messenger:
The Pentagon rigs the biggest war games in history to predict victory in a
Persian Gulf War. The press obligingly buries the story.
- Harvey Pitts Tin Ear:
The Embattled Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman offers his own precious self
to his country. Badattitudes offers its own precious little poem to the Chairman.
- Ayatollahs of the World Unite:
Working for Change columnist Bill Berkowitz says its first things first
for fundamentalist Christians and Muslims alike. Never mind about all this Axis of
Evil stuff, any enemy of abstinence, abortion, womens rights and child
prostitution is a friend of mine.
- Real Bushmen Dont Cry: Jeb Bush
says the men in his family carry the crying gene. Maybe so, but it seems to be
a highly selective one.
- Who Loves Ya, Hugo? Off-again, on-again
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood at 35 percent in the polls when he was
deposed. Then how come the people of Venezuela undeposed him in 48 hours?
- The Lost Poems of Hugo Chavez: The briefly
deposed Venezuelan president started to write a poem during his captivity. Heres
what he eventually might have come up with.
- Scalia Sticks Up for the Overdog: Even
cuter than Clarence! Dont you just love it when Antonin talks tough?
- One Ashcroft is One Too Many: A brief
picture essay on the moral perils of cloning.
- God Is Our State Trooper: Bush counts
on employers to curb repetitive motion injuries. Why not try the same approach on
- Times Eats Yellow Snow: So what if
the Whitewater investigation came up with a goose-egg, The New York Times
still thinks it was doing the Lords work instead of Tom DeLays.
- Leave No Teacher Behind: You cant
blame the Army, but where is the Education President in all this? Wheres his
brother Jeb, for that matter? Fort Myers is in Florida.
- What the Major Meant to Say: Wars may come
and wars may go, but Pentagon flacks are forever.
- Kenny Boys Long Con: Nothing new under
the sun: Yellow Kid Weil was running the Enron scam before Kenneth Lay was born.
- Scalia vs. the Pope: Justice Scalia offers
moral guidance to fellow Catholic judges who think John Paul II is right to oppose the
death penalty. (See also A Petty Consistency, below.)
- The Union Busters: Ashcroft and Bush clear out
pockets of subversion that threaten the Justice Departments war on terrorism.
- Heil, Dubya! Dont blame me, Im
not the one calling them Bushs Fascist Tribunals. The John Birch Society
- A Petty Consistency: is not the hobgoblin
of Justice Scalias great mind: a conservative editor looks with dismay
at the means used to levitate Governor Bush up to the White House.
- What Would Haley Barbour Do? Mainly
an excerpt from Senator Jeffords farewell to the Republican Party, along with a
great-hearted reaction from party hack Haley Barbour.
- Scofflaw Scalia: Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, fresh from appointing George W. Bush president,
compounds a felony with a misdemeanor.
- Clueless in Casablanca: A long (7-page)
look at the absurd business of winning hearts and minds in Casablanca during the Cold War.
- The Crisco Kid: A disgruntled
bureaucrat gives credit where credit is due to an eminently gruntled one: John Ashcroft. Will
the attorney general be able to strangle the anti-tobacco litigation without leaving his
fingerprints on the corpse?
- Stumbletongue: This literary appreciation
of the First Sons native dialect has been making its way around the internet.
I find the article to be cruel and sophomoric, and am therefore passing it along. Thanks to
author Tom McNichol.
- The Road Untaken: What two real
politicians--Roosevelt and Nixon--thought of bipartisanship. Perhaps the
necessity of appealing to a majority of the voters rather than a majority
of the Supreme Court gave them a different perspective than Mr. Bush developed
in Texas.HTML version
- A Two-Party System Again? Can Bush really
be leading us back to bipartisan government, although not in quite the sense he
- Poor Clarence Thomas: Annotated excerpts
from a recent speech by Justice Thomas. Odd, disturbing stuff. Lava continues
to flow through the cracks in the psyche of one of George W. Bushs two
favorite Supremes. Long, but worth a careful read. HTML
- The Proper Use of Nicknames:
In the sensitive hands of oil field roustabouts, a nickname can be a lovely thing. At least it
could in the West Texas of George W. Bushs childhood.
- An Immodest Proposer for the Civil Rights
Division? The new attorney general is just so
darned cute I cant seem to keep my hands off him. So here you go again, Mr. Ashcroft!
- For Ashcroft is an Honorable Man. Well, Isnt He?
To find out for sure we must put him through the Pubic Hair Test, first forged in the fires
of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.
- Is Alan Greenspan Just Another Pretty Face?
With a deficit flip-flop and a tug of the forelock to young Master Bush, our Ayn Rand
hero is starting to look more like Uriah Heep.
- Ashcroft Lies for Jesus:
Somebodys being hustled by the new attorney general. Is he doublecrossing the
Law or the Lord? HTML version
- Little Billy Rehnquist:
The chief justice hasnt forgotten his old passion, which was for bullying minority
voters. What went around in 1962 came around in 2000; once a fixer,
always a fixer. HTML version
- Slow Driving with George Dubya:
George W. was a perfect gentleman that night when Officer Calvin Bridges pulled him
over, if in fact he pulled him over at all. What are we to believe when the
ex-president and the new president cant get their stories straight?
- Corrections of the Times: Bad Attitudes
presents a collection of actual corrections that have run in The New York Times
recently, along with one that did not. See if you can spot the impostor!
(Available only in PDF, due to the typographical limitations of HTML)
- Marketing to Assholes: Detroit knows
what SUV really stands for, and its got nothing to do with Sport or Utility. Its
got everything to do with Pathetic and Jerk, but of course you already knew that.
- Take It From Thorstein Veblen: Dead, white,
European-American describes an economic boom that sounds a lot like ours--except it was
a hundred years ago. Time to buy inflation bonds. HTML version
- The Vatican Can: The Vatican has
finally revealed the Third Secret of Fatima, thereby raising certain theological
questions. HTML version
- What Did You Do in the Cold
War, Daddy? Congress, God love it, has finally
recognized the services of Cold Warriors. Get your
official certificate, too! (A slightly different version of this
article ran in The Washington Post, June 25, 2000.)
- Making Your Bones:
What we really mean when we ask whether so and so is
tough enough to be President. HTML version
- Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Sonnys Hung You in the
Closet and Im Feelin So Sad: Steve Forbes soils self in
New Hampshire. HTML version
- Thieves Fail to Catch a Thief:
Two of Starrs prosecutors successfully obstruct justice as an outraged
nation fails to notice. HTML version
- Brother Bush Branded? An
eye-witness account of the sort of thing Governor Bush was up
to at Yale while the other kids were out protesting the Vietnam war or
getting killed in it. HTML version
- The Member from Johnson City: A revisionist view
of LBJs organ at the crossroads of history. HTML version
- The No-Snow Story: How to recognize a no-snow
story; the first in Bad Attitudes Explaining the Media series.
- If Youre So Smart, Why Aint You Dumb?
Why Henry Kissinger got most of the questions wrong on the only SAT that really
counts. HTML version
- Governor Pataki is Shocked,
shocked, to learn that madmen are running loose in his establishment.
Copyright © 2004 by Jerome Doolittle