The other day, a friend and professional colleague evaluated my writing thusly: “You write in two distinct styles, one red meat/broadcast style and the other more thoughtful/literary.” While he prefers the latter to the former, I appreciated the compliment nonetheless. Writers and pundits are not generally as catty as — say — fashion models (and not one of us has the figure to pull off this year’s Roberto Cavalli collection), but we can be a bit slow in offering praise for one another. Call it the spirit of competition.
But my pal actually nailed it; and following some reflection, I realized why. Great achievement greatly inspires me. Great injustice greatly outrages me. And everything in between is just plain funny. Hence, today’s view from outside the asylum.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82. I know I tend to get a bit effusive when I discuss astronauts, unapologetically. Knowing that he might end up a Neil-sickle on a parabolic orbit between the sun and the Kuiper Belt, riding in a vehicle which the best minds on the planet were fairly certain might work, Armstrong and his cohorts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins said: “Light her up!” A short while later, Armstrong became the first member of the human species to set foot on another world.
About 110 billion people have lived and died on this pale blue dot. Only 12 have trod the frozen wasteland that orbits our home. Armstrong was the first. Armstrong is often mentioned in the same breath with explorers like Columbus. But Columbus went somewhere where people already lived. And a shipwreck in the Bahamas is a hassle. A shipwreck in the Mare Tranquilium is a death sentence. Armstrong and his compatriots were the first human pioneers to visit a place which humanity is biologically engineered to avoid at all costs. That’s courage. That’s spirit. That’s greatness.
Sir Isaac Newton once remarked: “If I have been able to see farther than others, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” Someday, ages and ages hence, they’ll be saying that about you, Mr. Armstrong. You earned it.
On another note, as interesting as the GOP convention was, the Democrats’ reaction to it has been the show of the decade. I didn’t expect any civility from the left, but they have positively come unglued. Ann Romney is a “corporate wife?” Condi Rice is a “hood ornament?” Mia Long is a “house-n*gger?” I’ll admit: I’m impressed that they managed to work misogyny and racism into one sentence, but it makes the Democrats’ “Republican War on Women” meme seem sillier than Joe Biden attacking Neil Armstrong’s “space cred.”
Also: “Barbara Bush is the ugliest white man I’ve ever seen.” Really, Democrats? Your plan going “Forward.” is to secure the votes of senior citizens by insulting a senior citizen? Because nothing says “old people should vote for me” like suggesting the poster girl for kindly grandmothers looks like a dude.
And then, there are the lunatics at the Democrat Channel. The entire network deliberately refused to cover any speeches made by members of racial minorities. Chris Matthews even decreed that mentioning “Chicago” is racist. Sorry, Chrissie. It’s just that “Murderville, USA,” “The City of Big Body Counts” or “Barack’s Big House of Victims” are all too wordy.
Now that the Democrats have been caught lying about the infamous Janesville, Wis., plant that closed five months after Obama took office, I’d like to offer them some free advice. Stop talking about “fact-checking the Republicans.” Every time you do, you end up getting caught in another lie. Your minions know you’re liars; and they don’t care. Just promise them free stuff and someone to hate, and they’ll vote for you — twice.
In fact, virtually the entire Democratic response to the GOP Convention was marked by entirely predictable liberal slander. Granted, if my guy was half the inept buffoon Barack Obama is, I might consider doing the same. After all, it’s not like Obama can run on accomplishments. Actually, if my guy was half the buffoon Obama is, I’d find a new guy. But I’m not a Democrat. Thank God.
Great achievement greatly inspires me. Thus, I salute Neil Armstrong. Great injustice greatly outrages me; and everything in between is just plain funny. Thus, I give the Democrats the finger and then laugh. I’ll bet Republican convention speaker and all-around tough guy Clint Eastwood would agree.