Shortcuts Ampersand Delusions: Don, Donald & Dummy Anti-War Virtue Signaling Libertarians
On April 6, Donald Jay “Don” Rickles passed away from kidney failure, at the age of 90. That same day, to distract mourning Americans and keep us from further succumbing to depression and despair over the loss of the legendary comedian, President Donald John “Hockey Puck” Trump ordered missile strikes against the Shayrat Airbase, the origin point for fighter jets that carried out the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack ordered by Bashar al-Assad, the dummy President of Syria (Assad has a beautiful wife; to get her in heat, Assad covers himself in camel fur and spits at her. I’m kidding, I’m kidding…it’s Alpaca and llama polyester).
To President Trump, I say: On behalf of a grateful nation, in all seriousness, from the bottom of my heart…I never liked you.
With the passing of Mr. Warmth, I now have two comedy Mt. Rushmores, evenly divided between the dead and the living: Don Rickles, Groucho Marx, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, ampersand Woody Allen, Paul F. Tompkins, Louie C.K., Norm MacDonald (though, Norm is a heart attack waiting to happen). One of my favorite Don Rickles moments is his cameo in Norm’s movie Dirty Work, when he rips Artie Lange for being fat.
OK, sorry for the clip show. Anyway, I cringe every time I hear people describe Don Rickles as an “insult comic.” That label is such a superficial and precursory analysis of his comedy, it is in itself an insult, and shows that whoever is evaluating Rickles as an insult comic has missed the effect of Rickles’ act and persona.
There are those who’ve heard a few jokes told by Rickles and judged him to be a bigot because he would target people based on their ethnicity, religion, and/or sex, but these bent-out-of-shape dummies fail to recognize that the basis of his jokes about a particular person were ridiculous, fabricated stereotypes. By using these absurd stereotypes to mock his audience members, Don Rickles showed how absurd prejudice is. I’ll let the great funnyman speak for himself. Below is the closing to his album, Hello, Dummy!:
To all of you, my friends: in the words of a great man from the South, one of the greatest guys I know, I mean that sincerely, and a guy you love, General Robert E. Lee, who said at Gettysburg, ‘I think we blew it!’ And to you people by the door, may I say publicly: YOU’RE CHEAP! You bunch of cheapies, what the hell are you staring at?! Didn’t you ever see Moses without the tablets? Look at that, the two Gentiles went, “I told you that was him!” Moses is not here, he’s at Mt. Sinai building a hospital. I say to all of you my friends, show business is my life. My humor, ladies and gentlemen, is directed in a way to laugh at ourselves. If you accept it in that spirit, I am deeply grateful. If there be doubt, I hope you will see us another night. Because, whether you be the great talents of a Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, whoever, every performer, big or small, needs an audience. I am no Rabbi, Priest, or reverend, you know this. I stand here and speak of all faiths, creeds, and colors, and why not? Really, why not? Because in my experience in the Navy, when things were rough, nobody bothered or cared to ask: color, church, or synagogue? Who cared? Frightened to death together on the bow of the ship and said please, and that is the truth, please, when our time is up we will all be on one team. So why do we need bigotry and nonsense? Let’s enjoy while Almighty God gives us time. Will Rogers once said, ‘I never picked on a little guy, only big people.’ May I say to this entire audience: on a hectic night, you are pretty big, and I do thank each and every one of you.
S&D is designed to be a political satire column and not meant to be maudlin, and considering the most overtly political Rickles got were his jabs at Reagan during the latter’s reelection inauguration ball, I really should be taking shots at what is the bigger news story. But, goddamnit, so much has been written about Trump, Assad, America, Syria, missiles, chemical weapons, and any and all combinations, permutations, and variations thereof, that anything I write about America’s “intervention” into Syria will be met with snores, collective indifference, and from some of my more lonely ampersand loyal readers, furious masturbation.
But I have to say something about the Trump/Syria horseshit; I would be remiss if I didn’t mention I’m mostly irritated with my own Chosen People, my fellow libertarians. Look, I get it, you’re anti-war. So am I, but is this something that needs to be said? To paraphrase another comedian, Eugene Mirman, I never once thought any of you were pro-war until you all insisted you were anti-war. The vast majority of people on the planet are anti-war. Even hawks like John McCain are anti-war, it’s just that he, for all his faults, does not always automatically take that option off the table whenever there is a world event in which a militaristic response could be justified, unlike almost every libertarian I’ve ever come into contact with. I know libertarians who say we shouldn’t have gotten involved in World War 2; I’d need to dedicate another column to show how ridiculous this assertion is. It causes me to wonder when, if ever, there is a justifiable reason for war, according to libertarians. I’m not saying war is something that should be rushed into; all I’m saying is give war a chance. There are times when it’s necessary.
Libertarians who immediately rush into their abstract safe space and press their laminated copy of the NAP to their face for comfort whenever war is discussed and denounce the concept of war are doing little more than virtue signaling. Want to know why many people don’t like libertarians? Because when there’s a serious discussion going on, most libertarians go looking for their high horse and get into theory mode when there’s a real world issue that requires practical discussions that involve functionality and process. Like whenever a state votes on if it will allow gay marriage, libertarians will talk about how the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all. OK, but guess what, dummies? It is involved in marriage, and is not about to divorce itself from making decisions regarding the commitments two adults make to each other. IOW, stop ignoring reality and don’t rhetorically flee from the current issue being discussed.
I don’t think, logically, that it makes sense for the US to respond either now, or in this fashion. Why is the use of chemical weapons such a taboo? Why is dying from a chemical weapon so much worse, conceptually, than dying from a bullet, mortar or any other more “acceptable” weapon more commonly used? Does a soldier or civilian taking his last agonizing gasps of air while he hemorrhages blood from bullet holes think, “Well, at least I’m not dying from Sarin gas?”
If American/U.N./NATO policy is to deter Assad or any other bastard from ordering chemical weapons attacks, then missile strikes is a complete waste of time. If you truly want to send a message that using chemical weapons is a no-no, then it’s time for [TRIGGER WARNING] boots on the ground and regime change. My criticism of Trump’s response to the chemical weapons isn’t that he’s a hypocrite for ordering a missile attack, but that he didn’t do enough.
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.