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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


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


Friday, July 19, 2002


Since times immemorial, far before silicon and electrons were squandered on "warblogs," reactionaries have had means of forcing their views on the populace. Sometimes they used Pinkerton guards. At other times they simply pumped out propaganda. Today "Legs" Coulter mistakes the latter as "scholarship" in an appreciation of the life, times, and works of Phyllis Schlafly.

Referenced in Coulter's piece is 2 million-selling masterwork co-authored by Schlafly and Rear Admiral [insert Pejman-Lileks joke here] Chester Ward titled The Gravediggers, which accused "the elite foreign-policy establishment of cheerfully selling out the nation's military superiority to the Soviet Union." It did a lot more than that!

I have on my office bookshelf at the Like Father Like Sun compound (Pawnee, Illinois) a copy of The Gravediggers, published by Pere Marquette Press in 1964 and offered for sale at the reasonable rate of 500 copies for $125. Why you can't even buy 500 Tech Central Station columns for that today! This little bargain goes a long way in answering Coulter's essential question: Why doesn't anyone give a flying fuck about Schlafly? After having taken The Gravediggers down off the shelf and re-read it, I'll modify Andrew Sullivan's favorite question and ask it of Coulter: How embarrassing is Phyllis Schlafly?

Schlafly begins her book with a discussion of "The Biggest Gyp in History," the contemporary government's refusal to spend sufficiently on weapons - including, as Schlafly notes on page 14, "Bacteriological and Chemical Weapons Systems." Revolting stuff, though this is a woman who, as Coulter affirms, is most notable for fighting nuclear disarmament and the Equal Rights Amendment.

A few chapters later, Schlafly lays blame for the "unilateral dismantling" [sic] of our armed forces largely on those urging the government to "Bring the boys home." Such sloganeering, in Schlafly's view, is somehow presumptuous, as if families have no right to request the recall of their members dragooned into service. Next Schlafly goes after Bertrand Russel, peacenik, "author of the arrogantly entitled Why I Am Not A Christian." If someone has no right to beg the safe return of their son, they certainly have no right to decide on theological matters.

Schlafly is at her most laughable when pursuing aesthetic inquiries. Nearly 40 years on, you can still smell the smoke generated by Schlafly's encounter with Stanley Kubrick, who was arrogant enough to loose Dr. Strangelove on the world, a film in which "our military leaders are made the butt of satire." Shocking! Such is the rage that has propelled this moron for her interminable and degraded life. Schlafly outlived the pertinence of her "thought," which has been in disrepute since the mustard gas blew across the battlefields surrounding Riga if not since medieval times.

• • • • •

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