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[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Thursday, June 27, 2002


In addition to banging drums and blowing bugles on behalf of the unelected president and his nifty war effort, Andrew Sullivan, a/k/a Saul Newton, has enlisted in the color guard and assigned himself the task of waving the empire's flags. He recently registered an entry on the St. George's Cross, the preferred standard for loutish football fans across Sullivan's native England. We knew he'd eventually be diminished to his current station. He's been tending in that direction for years.

Sullivan's problem, endlessly deliberated and whined over in several media properties, is that he's a Brit in America. Never mind that hundreds of thousands relocate similarly each year, most doing so without the benefit of native comprehension of the language (here we are charitable to Sullivan) and a large bank account. Sullivan may well be the sole wastrel among them who has squandered a ponderable hectarage of newsprint in his incredibly novel project of documenting the experience. When work on the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is at last completed, Sullivan will likely still be banging away about how he feels, like, so oddly American after visiting the orthodontist.

Sullivan's career in self-absorption is one of vacillations. One year he tells his devoted Sullivanians that he made a studied effort "to lose [his] accent within months of arriving" in America. The next year he plays Quentin Crisp (though substituting a gym towel for the trademark scarf), bloviating endlessly on foxhunting and other pursuits of Britain's overclass. The year following he embraces America and its innumerable wonders, and endorses military action against anybody anywhere who upsets our sleep.

The endless waffling in self-conception demands an attendant modification in opinion with each change. Sullivan, however, seems to have grown disoriented in the to and fro. Confused as to how and where he should be coming down, he diverts attention from his own insecurity with omnidirectional belligerence. A pair of drunken yobs turning over a Pak curry house makes for an unpleasant sight, but that's just the lads doing what they've done since times immemorial, when the ancient Britons devised a recipe for special brew and acquired their taste for casual violence. So as to prevent himself from getting caught with his pants down - again - Sullivan regards the exercise of American imperial might with the same easiness, though he is unable to locate any ugliness in our real actions against Afghanistan and he sees no ugliness in possible actions against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Recall Sullivan's helpful addition of the former two countries to the Axis of Evil in May.

• • • • •

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