Saturday, September 10, 2005


Week's Best Rant #4

The Week’s Best Rant has been decided by default judgment this week, due to the Rant Host's complete inability to comply with the self-imposed deadline, and the inescapable conclusion that Bill Whittle walked all over the competition this week with his outstanding long essay, Tribes, posted over at EjectEjectEject!.

I’ve posted this week several segments from the Tribes essay, but here are some Rantastic gems from the piece:
Sean Penn can take himself, an entourage and a personal photographer – that’s three or four people in a four-person boat – and show us all how incredibly big and down-home he is by sailing off a few feet to rescue people, before the boat sinks from the incompetence of failing to put in the drainage plug. He wore a very nice white flak vest, instead of the passé orange life preserver, because getting shot at is a lot more macho looking, if a million or so times less likely, than drowning because you went out into the water with a lead vest rather than a life vest. It’s a scene in the trailer that runs incessantly in their heads: In a world run by evil corporations, a rebel who plays by his own rules starts a deadly game of cat and mouse with an all-powerful conspiracy in this searing portrait of extraordinary courage in a life under siege, starring…me!

I was actually ready to publicly commend the guy, until I heard about the personal photographer. If he wanted to help people – and that’s all – he could have paid for that boat, and a few hundred others, manned them with reasonably competent recreational boaters, and sent out a flotilla. But no. It’s not about having people saved. It’s about something else entirely. It’s about having people saved by Sean Penn. That’s when I realized that whether it’s the Murderous Regime in Iraq, or the Murderous Regime in Iran, or the Murderous Storm in Louisiana…ultimately, it’s all about Sean Penn. Peace Be Upon Him.
Now it may come as a shock to those foreign luminaries who come to lecture us on how an American city leveled by forces roughly equivalent to a nuclear explosion reduce it to something "like a third world country."

This difference being lost on them seems to be this: in an American city there is garbage on the streets and people wander around looking for food and water, AFTER BEING LEVELED BY A CAT 5 HURRICANE, which is the storm swell of the Dec. 2004 tsunami, plus winds, extending inland not for two or three miles but for two or three HUNDRED MILES. In a third world country, people living in stacks of garbage, searching for food and water happens EVERY STINKING DAY. That is the NORM.
We limit the power of the federal government, as those of us fortunate enough to have spent time in Civics, rather than Self Esteem classes, are aware. This is so that we do not develop a central power so strong that eventually we end up with idiot inbred royals, or Presidentes for life, on the face of OUR money.
It's always such a pleasure to have Germans enlighten us on the best way to move large groups of sick, downtrodden people by rail. The only motivation I can ascribe to such behavior is that same one that propels young dim boys to tear the wings off flies.
Bill Whittle is as good at the long essay format as anyone writing on the web; but his ability to rant is one fine thing.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Now despite the fact that Bill won by default, I actually had a winner just about across the wire when that Whittle ringer stole in.

James Lileks, undisputed Best Writer on the Web, delivers a fine rant periodically presented on his Screedblog feature. This past week’s Screed was an absolute gem. An example:
I expect this from some – when the usual suspects that Bush was Criminally Negligent in dealing with the hurricane, you have to recall that the same people said he was Negligently Criminal for not crawling down his Crawford driveway on his belly and licking Mother Sheehan’s boots with his dry cracked tongue, and Criminally Negligent for not requiring Gitmo Korans to be sheathed in a urine-repellent plastic coating. (Remember Gitmo? The shame of America, before this other shame? The shame that came after that other shame?) I am somewhat surprised that RIGHTEOUS ANGER is now the default mode in situations like this – but not too surprised. If the biggest problem in the world is Bush, then everything is naturally his fault. Because he is a drooling moron who regrets that the demands of his office preclude a trip to N’Awlins to harpoon some floating Black people for grins ‘n’ titters. Right. Fine.
Notwithstanding his mention after Whittle’s Tribes, I think Lileks invented the Rant. I was about to suggest we enshrine him in a Lifetime Member section of the Rant Hall of Fame, thereby acknowledging he’s been creating fine rants longer and better than anyone else. (But I only started this feature 4 weeks ago.)

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