March 5, 2010

"A North Korean factory worker has been executed by firing squad for sneaking news out of the country on his illicit mobile phone..."

"The armaments factory worker was accused of divulging the price of rice and other information on living conditions to a friend who had defected to South Korea years ago.... The man, surnamed Chong, made calls to the defector using an illegal Chinese mobile phone...."

Via Roger Ebert, who tweets it as a joke: "And we complain about our mobile phones." I try to understand the motivation toward comedy. Is it our great distance and alienation from North Korea? Or should I be charitable and say that was never meant to seem amusing?

118 comments:

XWL said...

Despite the awesomeness of writing a script for a porn film entirely in rhyming couplets (Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens, which I can't believe wikipedia doesn't mention that virtually all the dialogue in the picture, not only rhymes, but is in iambic pentameter), and despite the sympathy he gets for his health tribulations, Ebert was an ass, he is an ass, and he always will be an ass.

traditionalguy said...

Wow! When a communist says no free speech, he means no free speech. Let's hurry up that next Second Amendment decisison while communists are so far only controlling the Presidency and the House.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Please! Understand that Roger meant that the executed chap was a Capitalist Dupe, who was fooled by his Rightwing partner in deceit.

The Crack Emcee said...

What XWL said, but only because what I want to say is much, much worse.

NewHam said...

"Ebert was an ass, he is an ass, and he always will be an ass."

The good news is that God is getting a head start on Roger Ebert and slowly dismantling the man one piece at a time while he's still alive and in mostly excruciating pain.

So, we know of the two, at least God has a sense of humor.

William T Sherman said...

Imagine it's 25 years ago, and Ebert making a similar joke about a victim of Apartheid in South Africa.

Cancer or no cancer, he's always been a dick.

Rialby said...

Communist atrocities are not atrocities. They're setups for unfunny jokes.

Methadras said...

Just another lefty who completely and willfully ignores the utter wretchedness of being a citizen of the DPRK. Just another lefty you should have my fist travel through his empty skull. You hear that AlphaLiberal?

Michael said...

That's almost as funny as losing half your face to cancer.

Scott said...

Atrocities committed by leftist "strong men" elicit glib comments from their apologists here. Ebert probably thinks it makes him look urbane or witty; someone who appreciates "irony".

In Reason, Michael Weiss wrote a great piece, "The Five Varieties of Bad Political Thinking". Of Weiss' five types -- Tragic Manicheanism, Hysterical Conspiracism, Moral Equivalence, Triumphal Manicheanism, and Charismatic Authoritarianism -- Ebert embraces the last type, as one who is obviously dazzled by Kim Jong Il's authoritarian charisma. What a putz.

ElcubanitoKC said...

The left never gets it. The antics of bloody communist regimes are just amusing colorful "rarities" and "idiocincracies" to most of them.

On a similar note:

http://babalublog.com/2010/03/a-cuban-holocaust/#comments

http://babalublog.com/2010/02/seven-steps-to-kill-orlanod-zapata-tamayo/#comments

I'm sure they'll find that amusing as well.

wv: besse (really?)

Beth said...

Ridiculous. He's not joking. We complain about our luxuries, while these people are starving.

Anyone who doesn't get that spends all day looking for something to blame on liberals.

Freeman Hunt said...

Free people should be ashamed of the way people in North Korea are made to live.

Oh right, but "no blood for freedom" or something...

rhhardin said...

The enemy is listening. Do not discuss bus schedules or the price of rice.

It seems like the material of jokes to me, and I'm not a leftist.

Control freaks come in several wings.

Scott said...

I would like to think that was true, but I spent a few years listening to the old WABC 770 morning show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby. Ron, who is a self-identified Communist, would never ever ever say anything bad about Kim Jong Il, no matter how Sliwa tried to bait him.

Leftists have some pretty creepy sentiments when you scratch below the surface.

rhhardin said...

The North Koreans are responsible for their own government.

And we for ours, remember.

ElcubanitoKC said...

And why are they starving, Beth?

It' very easy to do what all liberals do: see the effect and ignore the cause. They are starving because they are the prisoners of a communist dictatorship. But to acknowledge that would be to acknowledge that left-wing ideas have produce such monsters, and that is inadmissible.

Please, spare me.

Thanks.

wv: chogre (a sneezing "progressive")

rhhardin said...

Kafka was comedy as well.

He wrote about hierarchy.

rhhardin said...

You might take the lesson as: all systems operate in failure mode most of the time.

The plan never turns out.

Jason (the commenter) said...

So what's the plan; are we going to have one post after another focusing on horrible things Ebert tweets?

I will give Althouse this: she picked a theme she'll be able to come back to again and again. Seems a little lazy to me though.

Cassie said...

Now, Michael, that, was funny!

Kensington said...

Whether or not Ebert was making a joke, the larger body of evidence is quite clear: he's a jerk.

Triangle Man said...

Gosh Althouse, the man even wrote a favorable review of My Dinner with Andre. Doesn't that count for anything?

ElcubanitoKC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.E. said...

I have to agree with Beth; I didn't think he was cracking a joke. I thought he was making a rather sobering comment about how we complain about the most trivial things ("I can't believe I've only got three bars on this stupid cell phone!!") in this great, rich, and free country (still, in spite of the Unbloody Coup of 2008), while people in Communist countries are killed for using cell phones.

North and South Korea are a naturally occurring experiment on the effects of government on human existence. In the North, people starve, are brutalized, shot, and kept in what's basically a huge prison, with no hope of parole.

In the South, they are free, prosperous, and healthy.

The difference? Not genes, environment, climate... just government. In a contest of communism vs. capitalism, communism is always a loser.

I hope we can rid ourselves of the wanna-be communists in this government come November.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Correction: have produced*

Typo, misspelling, etc...

Triangle Man said...

Is Ebert a target because of the Sarah Palin and Tea Party tweets, or is there something else?

former law student said...

Irony is not always funny. Read it as "if you're tempted to complain about your life here, consider that the NK government would execute you for using a cell phone."

paul a'barge said...

Ebert is a stinky, angry petty little man.

Rialby said...

ME - Ebert is not making a joke

Ah, but that's the paradox that's so confounding. Ebert is being a scold - not about a lack of freedom, which is at the crux of the problem for the dead man, but at some dreamt-up issue of cell phone availability.

The appropriate joke would have been - "And you thought our government was authoritarian" - but this would only draw attention to the issue at hand FOR THE PEOPLE EBERT OPPOSES IN THIS COUNTRY. So, instead he makes a joke about the complainers in the West and their need for the material comforts in life.

paul a'barge said...

Jason (the commenter): So what's the plan; are we going to have one post after another focusing on horrible things

Ummm, Jason (may I call you Jason)?

This is someone else's blog.

Did you not know that?

Methadras said...

Beth said...

Ridiculous. He's not joking. We complain about our luxuries, while these people are starving.

Anyone who doesn't get that spends all day looking for something to blame on liberals.


It doesn't matter if he was joking or not. It's what he said that was important. Instead of denouncing the DPRK for what they have done, he opened the door by making commentary on the alleged irony of complaints as a function of western apathy and complacency. Directness would have been called for, not obtuseness to ferret out some deeper meaning. You're an idiot, just shut up.

Cedarford said...

M.E. - "North and South Korea are a naturally occurring experiment on the effects of government on human existence. In the North, people starve, are brutalized, shot, and kept in what's basically a huge prison, with no hope of parole.
In the South, they are free, prosperous, and healthy.

The difference? Not genes, environment, climate... just government. In a contest of communism vs. capitalism, communism is always a loser."

-----------------

Simplistic and not always true.

Korea practices a hybrid capitalism (chaebol) of state command, close alignment of political parties with interlocking ownership across a variety of industries for each "group".
Like the Japanese Keiretsu and the Chinese "interlocking communist gov't cadres aligned to the success of specific vertically and horizontally integrated groups" - they are quite successful but closer to "state industries" than what Americans think of as classic private enterprise.

As for freedom, Korea was a feudal agrarian society, then under Japanese occupation, then a collection of Chaebols flourishing under dictatorship. And only recently "democratic".

What is clear is that communist or democrat or dictator "Command Capitalism" System - beats the heck out of either Stalinistic central command economies or Western "laissaez faire, with free markets for freedom lovers".

The NORKs - a dismal state. And though not worth it to anyone to pay the price to "free the noble NORKs" - one day, it will fall like many other failed closed societies. And like Cambodia, we will find it was worse there than we even suspected.

At least when an open capitalist society like Weimar Germany, Argentina, Iceland's melt down, Greece's plunge into socialist-capitalist corrupt abyss - or maybe one day America goes belly up - we at least know how bad&mad it was during and shortly after it fails.

peter hoh said...

Whether or not this was intended as a joke could be debated, but to assert that Ebert's tweet constitutes proof that he's an apologist for the NK regime is a step too far.

Peter V. Bella said...

Just wait until Ebert starts reporting anyone who complains about the Health Care Atrocity.

Trooper York said...

I always thought it was Cheech who was the dick.

Who knew that Chong was the one that was gonna give him up?

M.E. said...

Cedarford: What the h3ll are you talking about? Did you ever see the famous satellite photo of North Korea at night? It's pitch black, while South Korea is lit up like a Christmas tree.

I've been to South Korea. They're free. They're prosperous. They're not living in hell like their family members to the North.

So, tell me what isn't true about what I said? It's completely true, and just because it's a simple fact doesn't mean it's simplistic.

Rialby: Good point. Still, we do gripe about little things.

Penny said...

This is a very sad story, and a shame that anyone needs to process it through their "bipolar spectacles".

Maguro said...

Ebert may not be an "apologist" for North Korea, but his tweet places no small amount of ironic distance between himself and the subject. It may not be a joke, but it's not straightforward condemnation of the atrocity, either. It's something in between.

He probably wouldn't be as cavalier if the victim had been a Palestinian or a member of some other victim group carrying the liberal seal of approval.

rcocean said...

Jason's comment about Ebert, reminds me of the old Liberal attitude toward communism. No doubt Ebert still has it. They'd never defend communism per se, Lefties would just attack anyone who was anti-communist.

The left regarded any criticism of the commies as "scary" or "boring" or "rabid" or "Red baiting*." Reagan was crucified by the MSM for calling the USSR an "Evil Empire."

Ebert still has that same mindset, never criticize the Reds, and always minimize the evil they do.

* Whatever the hell that meant.

edutcher said...

Of course, he was joking.

Don't you know, North Korea is a Socialist workers paradise?

David said...

Well, he should have learned from Tiger Woods. Those cell phones can bite you.

When did it become politically incorrect to make jokes (even bad ones) about misery and disaster?

I spent a whole weekend with Roger Ebert over 30 years ago. At the Indy 500 no less. He was sort of a putz but not a bad guy. Give him a break.

Jason (the commenter) said...

paul a'barge: This is someone else's blog.

Did you not know that?

Yes, just like you know you're commenting on someone else's comment.

And I have a question for you: If some hateful old man wants to post hateful things on the internet, does it make any sense to try and examine his statements thoughtfully?

I understand that he was chosen because he is semi-famous and will generate page views, especially if he takes the bait and responds. Also, that there is a high probability that if he does respond he will do so in a way that will "enrage" Althouse and at the same time be easy for her to refute.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is like watching a trailer for a movie I already know the ending to. The kind that has a "twist" in it, but is really about cheaply manipulating the audience to suck a few dollars out of their pockets.

Perhaps I should just sit back and talk about Althouse's "production values".

What a nice choice of font!

Jason (the commenter) said...

Oops, there should have been a *Spoiler Warning* in that last comment. Sorry, and hope I didn't ruin the ending of this blog series for anyone.

Brian Hancock said...

Jason (the commenter)

Glad to see Andrew Sullivan isn't the only one obsessed with what Ann blogs.

You are in elite company.

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Is Jason drunk?

Ann Althouse said...

Let's focus on what really matters here. A man was executed for making a phone call about the price of rice.

Trooper York said...

Gee, I hate it when someone says you are drunk when they post something you don't agree with.

Or at least I heard that somewhere...I forget where though.

Trooper York said...

He is just being Toto pulling back the curtain.

(Gratuitous Judy Garland referance for Jason (the commenter))

Hee.

Methadras said...

Trooper York said...

He is just being Toto pulling back the curtain.

(Gratuitous Judy Garland referance for Jason (the commenter))

Hee.


Ah, another friend of Judy's.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

Let's focus on what really matters here. A man was executed for making a phone call about the price of rice.


More accurately it was Ebert's painfully glib comment about a man being executed for A) even having a phone and then using the phone to talk about B) life in the DPRK and C) the price of rice.

RLB_IV said...

Get ready to rumble...another blog fight tonight?
It is time for another drink, yes.

Penny said...

While I don't always stick to the headlines, this might be a good time to do just that.

One dead in North Korea for utilizing an illegal cell phone.

Trooper York said...

At least we know why that Korean kid got kicked off American Idol.

Freakin' Ebert wouldn't vote for him.

If Kim Jong-il were awake he would say it was racist.

Penny said...

And then there's always the secondary notes:

- Ebert is a jerk
- Jason may be drunk
- Althouse is a hypocrit

It's America. Gotta love her for this free speech alone.

former law student said...

Let's focus on what really matters here.

Given a choice of two ruthless dictators who tortured their own people, terrified their neighbors, while developing weapons of mass destruction, we decided to overthrow the one sittng over an ocean of oil.

What does this say about us, that we could have prevented this execution by overthrowing Kim Jong-Il, but didn't?

Rialby said...

Uhh, FLS, let me lay some nuance on you. In 2003, we were involved in a low-grade, hot war with Saddam Hussein which was being carried out under the auspices of United Nations mandates. The same cannot be said of North Korea. In addition to that fact, throw in the realities of realpolitik... Seoul is 40km from the North Korean border.

But this probably too much of an argument since you've already intimated that this is ALLLLLL ABOUT OILLLLLL.

Beth said...

And why are they starving, Beth?

Because they're under the yoke of an insane communist dictator, you idiot. Did you think that was a trick question? Jesus, what a nitwit.

Beth said...

Instead of denouncing the DPRK for what they have done...

Ah yes, I forgot. Liberals are supposed to deliver daily denouncements of the various awful things done by various despots of various flavors around the world. Because all despots are products of American liberalism.

What a load of shit.

Beth said...

Jeez, Ebert might as well have executed himself!

Pogo said...

Beth, from my point of view, it's the yoke American liberalism must bear, having supported and lied for and spied for communism for 100 years.

Will Duranty, Alger Hiss, Lillian Hellman, Bill Ayers, Oliver Stone, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Dan Rather, Sean Penn, and Jimmy Carter, to name a few.

I say the hell with it. Now is the time to punch back twice as hard, every goddamned time.

I have no forgiveness left in me for people like Ebert.

Pogo said...

OTOH, I can always see the humor in the comparison between my Verizon account and some starving commie killed for using his illegal Nokia.

ROFL!

Beth said...

Pogo, I don't even understand what you mean by "people like Ebert." I think you just need someone to direct fury at. It's just not something I get. It's as if you can't simply have political differences with other Americans; you have to have some titanic clash of good and evil. I reject that.

Beth said...

ROFL! Sure, indeed.

Depending on one's motivation, it's either stupid or dishonest to call Ebert's tweet a joke. It's not. Now Althouse wants to get back to "what really matters here" after deliberately misrepresenting the comment in order to throw red meat to the more unhinged contingent of her "there's a commie under the bed!" commenters.

More performance art.

Eric said...

Let's focus on what really matters here. A man was executed for making a phone call about the price of rice.

It's not legal for him to have a phone, and in any case people are executed for less all the time in that benighted land. This really isn't newsworthy aside from Ebert's tweet.

Pogo said...

"It's as if you can't simply have political differences with other Americans; you have to have some titanic clash of good and evil. I reject that."

That's how I viewed Ebert's "teabagging" comment.

I am tired of it. Today I had two elderly couples ask me about Medicare and whether they'll be able to come back next year. And since the new health care bill cuts Medicare 20%, I know they're screwed.

I don't find this shit funny anymore I guess.

Beth said...

Oh my god, he used the word "teabagger"! He's evil.

Again, what a load of shit.

I've read people of all sorts of political views use the most vile, degrading terms for everyone of all the other political stripes here, for years on end, and all over the frigging internet as well. But oh my god, someone says "teabagger" and that's just beyond the pale. Pffffft.

Seven Machos said...

Pogo -- Is it really fair to lump Ted Kennedy in with Alger Hiss and Jimmy Carter?

Brandon said...

So let me get this straight: it's ok for Rush Limbaugh to say offensive things as long as they're funny but not Roger Ebert. Hypocrites.

Seven Machos said...

Let me get this straight. It's okay for Roger Ebert to say stuff that is is stupid but he thinks is funny, but not Rush Limbaugh. Ass clown.

Jim said...

I'd say Pogo has it about right.

Given that every act by anyone who might possibly be perceived as right of center as obviously AN ACT OF UNGODLY EVILNESS by the Leftist crowd - both here and elsewhere, it's laughable to hear the bleating protests by those same people when the tables are turned even slightly.

"Racists," "Nazis," "Teabaggers," the list goes on. And that's from the LEADERSHIP of these same Leftists. Let's not even go into the deplorable depths plumbs by many of the denizens such as dKos, DU, etc.

Sorry. You're going to have to go play the "pity me" game somewhere else because the time for you to hurl your epithets without having them splattered all over your own face has passed.

The day you decided that you should put people like Harry "Evilmongers" Reid, Nancy "Racists and Nazis" Pelosi and Barack "Punch Back Twice As Hard" Obama as your spokesmen and leaders you gave up any claim at civility you might have imagined that you had.

You want political pugilists to represent you? Fine. This is your game, and you set the rules. All of a sudden you're not ahead on the score any more and you want to change the rules mid-game?

Sorry. Too late. You should have thought of that before you started down this road.

magpie said...

Have to agree with Beth, Professor Althouse. If you wanted a discussion about the poor man executed for talking about the price of rice, you shouldn't have ended the post with questions about Ebert's motivation. You reap what you sow.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Trooper York: Gee, I hate it when someone says you are drunk when they post something you don't agree with

It's a perfectly legitimate question, it got a laugh out of me too. Of course, I've moved onto more sophisticated methods of interpretation than that now. The only redeeming thing about watching bad movies is talking about why they are bad.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Trooper York: (Gratuitous Judy Garland referance for Jason (the commenter))

I like her daughter, not her really. And as a fan of the book series I'm not a big fan of the movie, The Wizard of Oz. Granted, it's a movie based on a musical based on a book; but when they made the movie they could have added back in some of the violence and wit of the book.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Cedarford: As for freedom, Korea was a feudal agrarian society, then under Japanese occupation, then a collection of Chaebols flourishing under dictatorship. And only recently "democratic".

Perhaps the focus should be on the problems created by trying to be isolationist, self-sufficient, and modern all at the same time; with Bhutan being the counter-example to North Korea.

Also, I wouldn't expect a pure command economy to become a huge problem until a society tries being "modern".

Pete said...

There's no point in telling Althouse that Ebert's a mean, hateful man and that this tweet will only be one of many that she'll find questionable. She's already declared him worth following and Althouse is never, ever wrong.

BTW, Althouse, cheap shot about Jason. You know him far better than that to suggest what you did. Oh. Right. You were joking.

Issob Morocco said...

Ebert seems hell bent to become the 'voice' of left wing comedic acts. Recently he twitted, wondering if anyone could help him answer "has a rich person ever been against a Republican policy".

This latest attempt at such juvenile schtick, making light of mobile service based on a story where someone was killed for talking to the outside world, to share the daily misery of a communist/socialist/militarist regime, only reinforces the the meme, that Libs never let the facts get in the way of their beliefs. See Obama for a more massive illustration.

Cheers!

Jason (the commenter) said...

Before everyone piles on Althouse, I often wonder if she's drunk-blogging. Her comment was an in-joke. Come to think of it, I sometimes wonder if she's pot-blogging. But what else can you think when she starts posting pictures of grass?

You know, she does have a laptop. I wonder if she's ever blogged from the toilet.

Donald Sensing said...

I don't get your criticism. I'm no fan of Ebert, but I read his comment as along the lines of, "And we think we've got problems?" It does not seem to me he was making a joke, but was putting a little perspective on the willingness of Americans to complain about trivial inconveniences that in some countries, like the DPRK, would be celebrated because they would mean a great deal more freedom than they have now. We gripe about a dropped call; Mr. Chong was shot for making a call. That's what I glean from Ebert's Twitter.

Pogo said...

"Pogo -- Is it really fair to lump Ted Kennedy in with Alger Hiss and Jimmy Carter?"

Treason:
""On 9-10 May of this year [1983]," the May 14 memorandum explained, "Sen. Edward Kennedy's close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow." (Tunney was Kennedy's law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) "The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.

Kennedy's message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.

First he offered to visit Moscow. "The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA." Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.

Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. "A direct appeal ... to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. ... If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews.

"Tunney remarked that the senator wants to run for president in 1988," the memorandum continued. "Kennedy does not discount that during the 1984 campaign, the Democratic Party may officially turn to him to lead the fight against the Republicans and elect their candidate president.
"

Pogo said...

Beth. My post was weak, admittedly. I am not pissed at Ebert because he used the teabag word, but only that it solidifies his bona fides as a leftist.

And I will no longer give leftists the benefit of the doubt on their comments. Their tactics will now be used on them.

I do in fact view socialism as evil. It killed 100 million people in the 20th century, and yet it stands, now about to become the law of the land in the US.

What would you do if you knew something terrible was about to occur?

Should I stand by and do nothing? The Jews in Germany, the Kulaks in Russia, the educated in Cambodia, the capitalists in North Korea all met the ultimate aim of socialism: power and negation.

Maybe I'm not worthy of the fight, but I have 3 kids and hoped better for them than this leftist disaster.

Lee J. Cockrell said...

Maybe he made the call on the subway and was talking really loudly.

pettyfog said...

I dont read that tweet as a joke. I read it as I think he meant it. A criticism of both NK and our petty gripes.

But there is the message. As much as liberals CLAIM to be for the little man world-wide they never miss a chance to disparage 'Joe Blow'. You see this with the rank smears of the Tea Party as a Walmart crowd. You see it as sympathy toward barbarians 'because it's their culture'.

Common theme: If only they were educated and informed they wouldnt be in this mess; thus they NEED authoritarian minders, because they are too stupid to use democracy.

Pogo said...

" We gripe about a dropped call; Mr. Chong was shot for making a call. That's what I glean from Ebert's Twitter."

It could also be read as Althouse read it, a comic turn based on the capitalism-communism tension, made by someone who favors the latter.

I don't give leftists like Ebert the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore.

Milwaukee said...

Forget the cell phone already. The execution was for revealing to outsiders the horrendous state of affairs in North Korea. That man would have been executed had he used semaphore or carrier pigeons. A dictatorship like North Korea can not tolerate dissent. (It's not patriotic.) Much as leftist are so incredibly intolerant of criticisms of their agendas.

What is with violent student protests over tuition? (An example of left protest.) Tea partiers haven't felt the need to throw things at police or start fires. The left, since many of their arguments are unreasonable and irrational, will turn to violence.

kcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hucbald said...

What does this have to do with the price of rice?... Oh wait.

~rimshot~

I'm not sorry about finding it funny that someone was executed by firing squad for reporting on the NORK's price of rice. It doesn't make me a bad person. I feel for the guy, I hate commies, and it's a shame, but it is still funny.

rhhardin said...

It's a deterrent, not justice, to keep the population in line, in particular to keep them from finding stuff out from the outside.

The individual doesn't matter compared to the state.

It's like our new death panels.

Fred4Pres said...

Oh for a second I thought you were talking about the person in the White House who leaked the Rahm Emanuel story to the WaPo.

ErnieG said...

Ebert's comment reminded me of something James Wolcott wrote in 2004:

"I root for hurricanes. When, courtesy of the Weather Channel, I see one forming in the ocean off the coast of Africa, I find myself longing for it to become big and strong—Mother Nature’s fist of fury, Gaia’s stern rebuke."

Both comments illustrate a mindset that says,"Look at how urbane and sophisticated I am! I can make jokes about any Goddam thing. If you don't get it, or if you wince or cringe, that just proves that you're not hip. You probably didn't get The Aristocrats either."

Ann Althouse said...

Beth wrote: "Depending on one's motivation, it's either stupid or dishonest to call Ebert's tweet a joke. It's not. Now Althouse wants to get back to "what really matters here" after deliberately misrepresenting the comment in order to throw red meat to the more unhinged contingent of her "there's a commie under the bed!" commenters."

Beth, you really do owe me an apology for writing that. My post seriously engages with the issue of whether Ebert meant his remark to sound like a joke and it ends with the charitable interpretation that he did not. The deliberate misrepresentation is yours -- unless you just never read this post with understanding. So "stupid or dishonest"? — your words, not mine.

Ann Althouse said...

Brandon said..."So let me get this straight: it's ok for Rush Limbaugh to say offensive things as long as they're funny but not Roger Ebert. Hypocrites."

You're confusing saying RL wasn't racist with saying it's "okay" to be offensive. I never gave him the okay, and I have criticized the way he throws race around. I just defended him against the racism charge and criticized one of his critics who presented a remark of his out of context in a way that took the joke out of it.

See the difference? If you think something that sounds offensive isn't even a joke when it was, then it's important to show the context so that the intended humor is understood. The joke may still be offensive, and my defense of RL didn't say that it wasn't.

Ann Althouse said...

And the only reason I put Ebert in this post at all was to give him credit for pointing me to the article. It's basically a hat tip type link, but then once I did it, I had to register my distaste for the way he wrote his tweet. It seemed wrong, and as Donald Sensing and DPRK have already pointed out, the bad feeling about it survives even if it wasn't meant to be funny.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: Beth, you really do owe me an apology for writing that.

I have to agree with Althouse on this one Beth. If reading Althouse has taught me anything, it's that if someone doesn't say, outright, the awful things you would like them to, the only thing to do is insinuate they meant to say them anyway. Also, that no picture is ever posted on the internet without having some hidden meaning.

So anyway Beth, try being a little more insinuating, okay?

Pogo said...

"no picture is ever posted on the internet without having some hidden meaning."

Then are your glasses insulting me? =P

Jason said...

Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. But dying comedically? Now that... that... is an accomplishment.

Bob said...

Next up: a Detroit factory worker for sneaking news out of a GM plant...

Jason (the commenter) said...

Pogo: Then are your glasses insulting me? =P

You finally noticed!

algie said...

Two Thumbs Down

Well Roger's just one of the gang
Pushing liberal sturm and drang
Progressive and dumb
A brain made of chum
Blind to the acts in Pyongyang

....uuuu..'o^o'..nn!n....algie
Illegitimi nOn carborundum

Methadras said...

Beth said...

Instead of denouncing the DPRK for what they have done...

Ah yes, I forgot. Liberals are supposed to deliver daily denouncements of the various awful things done by various despots of various flavors around the world. Because all despots are products of American liberalism.

What a load of shit.


So hey Beth, are you in essence an apologist for not wanting to blame this particular despot on American Liberalism, since it's American Liberalism that allows him to remain a despot or is it American Liberalism that kindly looks away from his brand of evil? It isn't about the cell phone. It's about the fact that a man was executed in a country that is nothing more than a giant prison and the world, ah, namely leftists and liberals like you tolerate it.

Most of the despots on earth in existence today are radical leftists. American liberalism is the offspring of that leftism. Liberalism in general is used to apologize for leftists despots or otherwise. What are you doing? Liberals sure as hell do deliver daily denouncements against conservatives and conservatism. Like I said, you're an idiot. Just shut your hole.

Methadras said...

Beth said...

Jeez, Ebert might as well have executed himself!


It's a start, but it looks like that is happening more slowly for him.

Methadras said...

Beth said...

More performance art.


I'm sure if you wrote to the great leader about attended some of his 'Performance Art' he will gladly fly you out to his Utopian paradise to watch it and then proclaim to the leftist press how much you liked it, all the while you would be giving the photographers your 'O' face. Yup, it's all Kabuki.

Beth said...

I don't owe you an apology, Althouse. You began the reference to Ebert with "who tweets it as a joke" - that's a direct, descriptive statement. You end with a question - should I be charitable? (i.e., you would have to offer him leeway in interpreting the tweet) - you don't say "I will be charitable." You never back away from calling it a joke.

So, dishonest? Yes. You enjoy seeing the entirely predictable snarling and chest-thumping of your commenters and quite carefully shaped your post to push their buttons.

Stupid? I can't apologize for that because you know very well that wasn't directed at you.

Why be offended by my comment? You often offer up a disingenuous - "should I be charitable?" or dishonest - "who tweets it as a joke" - spin on something someone has said or done, and then enjoy the vortex or minor tempest that ensues. It's not your main schtick, but it is one of the acts on your program of performance art. Am I not supposed to break the fourth wall and point that out every once in awhile?

Beth said...

Next up: a Detroit factory worker for sneaking news out of a GM plant...

And we complain about our gas mileage!

Brian said...

It appears that Roger was trying to make a tongue in cheek comment, which failed for obvious reasons.

Trooper York said...

Nice.

I wish I had come up with that one.

Welcome to the NFL.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why be offended by my comment?"

Because I can feel the hostility and because I'm really offended the failure, by Ebert and by you and others, to feel the depth of feeling the executed man deserves. Turning this post into an occasion to go after me feels *really* off. I don't understand why you want to do that here.

Jason said...

Paging Crying Wife!! Paging Crying Wife!!!

WV: hypsy. A hippie gypsy.

harkin said...

Roger Ebert is a disingenuous Obama-loving tool (he once answered one of my posts at his blog with lies regarding Canadian health care. When I pointed out the falsehood with sources, he simply refused to run it).....

But praising his slow, painful illness is sick.

Beth said...

Althouse, my main response was to take offense at the commenters - who I did frankly label as stupid - to "turn this into an occasion to go after" other Americans, liberals, as if North Korea is just Hollywood very very East. I perceive your usage of Ebert's comment as a very intentional bit of bait - vortex bait - in their direction. So I responded both to them, and to you, for stirring that pot.

Did that come across to you as hostility? Then I'll apologize for that. I have been feeling hostile, going back a week or more. I have a love/hate (both of those words are too strong, really, but for the sake of using an easy metaphor, I'll go with it) with this blog. I so admire the breadth of your interests and curiousity, your intelligence, your persistence, your humor (usually), but I don't take very well to your ego, your flair for the vortex, and what I see as an occasional mean streak. I hope you appreciate that by being here, in this comment world, for years upon years now, that I offer applause and approval day in and out simply by giving you my attention. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't also boo and hiss when I think it's called for.

You were right, though. I built up some hostility after a recent thread - let's leave it alone, it's in the past. I'll own that, and put it away. I wouldn't return here if I felt nothing more than that.

Apologies for hostile energy offered, I stand by my evaluation of this post.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

I am unapologetically hostile to blogger's lousy word verification process.

Trooper York said...

Jeez that Superbowl high didn't last very long.

Did I tell you that the New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl?

Yeah I don't believe it either.

Ann Althouse said...

Thank you, Beth. I do very much appreciate your participation in the comments community here for so many years.

Beth said...

Althouse, good to know, good of you to say. Why don't we continue, then? Perhaps we'll butt heads again, but I don't think that's the worst thing in the world.

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