Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Savage apathy

I love The Stranger. The paper is everything an alternative paper should be. They have a blog, called The Slog, which I also find amusing. Like any blog it is filled with the thoughts of the staff on a variety of subjects. Some of the subjects are similar to what you can read here. There are thoughts on art, politics, oddities of the world, social commentary, etc. Dan Savage, editor of The Stranger, book author, and syndicated columnist contributes to The Slog.

Savage recently got himself involved in the Muslim cartoon idiocy. He contributed several postings to The Slog which raised a great deal of conversation about free speech and sensitivity to religion and the appropriate response. Dan came down on the free speech side of things - a point of view I share. Dan's responses were sometimes well-reasoned; sometimes snarky. Ultimately, The Stranger commissioned an article on the topic and re-printed many of the offending cartoons. The debate on The Slog was entertaining and occasionally thoughtful. Savage was forceful in defending the right to offend and I can appreciate that.

However, Dan Savage was also prone to ridiculous symbolism. My favorite was when he went out to buy Danish beer, cookies, and cheese for his Super Bowl party. Typical of American capitalist response, he would run out and buy products associated with the aggrieved party as if that was a show of solidarity for political beliefs with any meaning. It's as vacuous a response as Republicans banning French fries (but since they couldn't let go of that deep fried goodness, they renamed them instead in order to make themselves feel better about their lack of any convictions...oh, and ditto the Iranians when it comes to danishes). In fairness, this all happened before The Stranger printed a more thoughtful piece along with the cartoons. Other contributors to The Slog also had more thoughtful input.

This morning I logged in to read this post by Dan Savage in The Slog. The idea of going to the Danish consulate and having a vigil of some sorts in order to voice thanks and solidarity is a great idea (Christopher Hitchens deserves some - rare as of late - praise for coming up with this one). Savage thinks so to, that is, until he realizes that the Danish consulate in the Seattle area is, horror of horrors, 10 miles or less away on Mercer Island:
It would be nice to demonstrate but, Christ, how would we get there? Couldn’t the Danes put their consulate in a more convenient location?

OK, I appreciate the snarky, if provincialist comment there at the end. Seattlites are nothing if not provincialists despite their WTO props. They do tend to whine about why anyone would ever want to live outside of cities, especially their fair city. Hey, I lived there for a number of years and loved it, but it ultimately wasn't for me and I was never so stuck on myself, the righteousness of my opinion, or my city to claim superiority over those who make different choices, as Savage often does.

However, the more important part of the quote is that first statement. How apathetic does one really have to be to not find a way to get to Mercer frickin Island 10 miles or less away?!!? Bus? Bike? Walk? Car pool? How vacuous are your political "convictions" that you can't find a way to make it?!!? For godsakes, people go to Washington, D.C. to march in support of their convictions for feminism, gay rights, equal rights, abortion, etc and you guys cannot make the 10 mile trip to Mercer Island?!!? Give me a fucking break and boo fucking hoo to you. Cry me a goddamn river and let it run dry so that underneath it I can see how shallow your "convictions" really are, despite your almighty talk of free speech. Geez...asshats.



Scott said...

Please tell me you sent this as a letter to The Stranger!

B.D. said..., but I posted a milder version of it on the Slog. The more I thought about it, the angrier it made me. Hence the post and the need to get it off my chest.

Helpful information posted to The Slog: The Danish consulate in Seattle is an honorary post. It's provided to this elderly woman who runs it out of her home on Mercer Island. She doesn't have to do much for the job. Apparently, people on The Slog took this as an excuse not to travel to the far away land of Mercer Island. Geez, guys and gals, give the woman a call and ask her if it'd be alright to stop by and make an official statement of solidarity. Take her some cake while you're at it. I mean, fuck.