In my personal life, I’m a bit of a comedian. It’s the persona I’ve constructed; the odd sense of humor, the refusal to take almost anything seriously, the lightning quip, the puns, and so on pretty much define most of my casual social interactions. While it’s a great social lubricant, it sometimes causes problems when I’m trying to be serious.
So it is with great sympathy that I see two giants of the blogosphere posting something very serious, very thoughtful, very profound, and wonder if their efforts will be for nothing.
Not if I have anything to say about it.
Scott Ott, the lunatic behind Scrappleface, watched President Bush’s speech last week, as so many did. And while listening, he thought about the principles and ideals Bush had so strongly espoused in the past, and sadly ticked them of as each was tossed on to the scrap heap. So Scott sat down and wrote what he (and I, for that matter) would have much preferred hearing President Bush say. He preceded it with a bit of the sort of satire that his readers have come to expect, but it’s pretty obvious that it was simple garnish for the real steak.
And then there’s Laurence Simon. Lair is the archetypal “angry man,” but one who tempers his rage with cat stuff, oddball humor, cat stuff, work stories, cat stuff, sports commentary, cat stuff, absurd games, cat stuff, food and gardening, cat stuff, commuter horror stories, and cat stuff.
And on top of all that, he also writes about cats every now and then. Did I mention that?
Lair also has the amazing gift of saying and doing the most offensive, vile, disgusting, repulsive, tasteless things and getting away with them. He races headlong right up to the edge of the cliff, then comes to a crashing halt worthy of the Roadrunner.
Lair has a special interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It doesn’t take a great deal of thought to figure out just what someone who’s proud of being both a Texan and a Jew thinks of the whole thing. But if you have the slightest doubt, he’ll let you know damned fast, in no uncertain terms.
Today, Lair saw his local paper discussing the history of the Gaza Strip. It was a pretty detailed analysis, from the creation of Israel right up through the recent Israeli pullout. It was filled with sadness and pathos, detailing the long history of oppression and exploitation the Gazans have suffered over the years.
But they must’ve hit the fast-forward on their TiVo, because in their account of the almost 60 years of unrelenting oppression and occupation of Gaza, they overlooked mentioning the 20 years when it was the Egyptians who were doing the oppressing, not the Israelis. Nor did they mention that Israel had tried to give Gaza back to them numerous times, and was always rebuffed.
That prompted Lair to set aside his normal biting wit and brutal style, and wrote a calm, reasoned, thoughtful letter to the Houston Chronicle about their grievous sin of omission. It must’ve been painful for him, but he gritted his teeth and did it. The letter could serve as a template for all letters of complaint to a newspaper — there’s no profanity, no invective, no overarching complaints, no charges of “bias” or “slant.” Only a simple quoting of the newspaper’s words, with detailed refutation of their error.
Sometimes it’s hard to see a clown be serious. It took years for Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and Tom Hanks to be seen as more than stand-up comics, and be respected as solid, dramatic actors. But these two guys have written profoundly insightful pieces, and deserve to be heard.
(Editor’s note: if there’s any doubt whatsoever that Lair Simon is, indeed, the King Of All Things Cat Online, let me dispel it now. I was halfway through my second sentence about his posting, typing the word “tempered,” when my own cat leaped into my lap and demanded five full minutes of petting. I was annoyed at first, but then bowed to the inevitable. One simply does not snub a cat when one is discussing the King Of All Things Cat Online — very bad karmic things can happen, and I really don’t need cat barf in my shoes.)