Seeing [Pat] Robertson in that commercial with Bono - and Bono's hair - is a little like listening to Paul Anka's new recording of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." At first, it's jarring to hear the guy who wrote "Puppy Love" for Donny Osmond sing Kurt Cobain's lyrics: "a mosquito, my libido." But listen hard and you can hear what Anka hears. He doesn't hear the ranting of weirdos. He hears the poetry, the architecture of a justifiably standard song like "Autumn in New York," like "Fly Me to the Moon."See how there's something to see in every phrase? I love that!
Anyway, tucked away in this piece that's mostly about aid to Africa, she has this on topic of replacing Sandra Day O'Connor:
On Monday, anticipating an epic dust-up regarding his new nominee for the Supreme Court, President Bush said he hoped that special-interest groups on both sides would "tone down the heated rhetoric." They shouldn't, though.Here's the front-page NYT story about the request to tone down the rhetoric on the Supreme Court appointment. I disapprove of exaggerated rhetoric myself, much as I enjoy selecting the juiciest nuggets of it for blogging purposes. But I do think it's right to argue about who belongs on the Court. It's terribly good for us to engage with this, especially to learn to detect when we are being played and to grasp what matters and what really doesn't. Vowell is correct to flag flag-burning as one of the unimportant issues that are used to manipulate ordinary people while the powerful jockey to get the things they really care about.
This is about the lifetime appointment of a person who will be making life and death decisions for millions of people for decades to come, not about some petty time waster like - come on, again? - flag burning. It's so important that we should agree to melt together on the slopes of a Kilauea of issue-ad spew.
This is an excellent time for everybody to pay attention. The President would like you to calm down, sit back, and believe that he's carefully studying all the credentials and will decide whom to nominate based on the highest of principles, at which point you're supposed to boo anyone would would obstruct the slick path to confirmation. But you shouldn't do that.
UPDATE: I note that the Times let Vowell make a huge gaffe. Paul Anka did not write "Puppy Love" for Donny Osmond. Paul Anka was himself a teen idol, circa 1959, and "Puppy Love" was one of his many hits. Donny Osmond simply did a cover version, years later.