Opinion » Bill Cope

So Much To Mock

So little time


If your habit is to read a paper BW--as opposed to an Internet BW--you might not be aware there's a capacity at www.boiseweekly.com to comment on whatever I write. Or Ted Rall writes. Or anyone in the paper writes.

That's right, if you don't like what we say, you can log on, join up, or whatever it is you do to get your two-cents worth onto the Internet (like the Internet doesn't already have enough meaningless crud on it already) and tell the world. Same thing if you do like what we say. Nobody has to know your name or nuttin'. Just pick yourself some cute alias--something like "undiscoveredgenius" or "Studly-Hecreature," just off the top of my head--and you can go to firing off all those witty critiques and pithy observations that even your wife won't listen to anymore.

At the risk of sounding like I'm starved for attention, I admit I occasionally check out the comments on what I contribute to these pages. Hey, I enjoy compliments as much as the next guy, and I get a few ... now and then. I also get my share of criticism. And I get both from a number of people that could all fit, complimentors and criticizers alike, in the back of my pickup at once. What I'm trying to say is, it's the same few people, over and over and over. Particularly the criticizers. I suspect they feel they are doing their bit for victory in Iraq if they log into the comment feature and call me a traitorous, liberal nitwit. Or maybe they're just trying to justify that ugly blot on American history that goes by the name of "Bush."

One man (I'm guessing) in particular can hardly let a week go by without commenting what a whiny, misinformed, uninspired, leftist dunce I am. "Bikeboy" is his particular cute alias, since he prefers to trade insults from behind a veil of digital anonymity--in contrast to those who trade our insults under the names our parents gave us. You find a lot of that on the Internet--people who squat behind that alias of theirs and pretend to be real tough customers.

As a rule, I don't let what the critics say bother me much. I had a hunch not everyone in Idaho would agree with every thought I write down when I started doing this, and I was prepared for whatever level of scorn might be heaped my way. But I feel obliged to respond to something Bikeboy accuses me of on a regular basis. To quote from a comment he made about a recent column: "... the rant is totally predictable Cope. Democrats good, Republicans bad."

Dang it, Bikeboy! You've figured me out. You've uncovered what I do. The whole truth is, I'm not even concerned with making Democrats look good, as long as I can contribute to making Republicans look bad. Not all Republicans, mind you. I consider Abe Lincoln to have been a pretty fine Republican fellow, as well as Teddy Roosevelt, Ike Eisenhower, and ... uh, give me a minute and I'll think of another one. My general point is, I believe the Age of Good Republicans, if not already a thing of the past, is on its last bandy legs. And I'm certain those readers who weren't sure what I was getting at over the preceding 11 years will be ecstatic that Bikeboy has enlightened them.

Something else about my opinions that critics dislike is the manner in which I make my general point (that Republicans suck ... should you have already forgotten it). They complain I spend far too much time ridiculing Republicans. Lampooning Republicans. Snickering at what Republicans say. Sneering at what Republicans do. Saying dreadful things about Republicans and then laughing at them. "Hah hah hah, silly Republicans!"

Now, I prefer to think of it as calling attention to the obvious, but it's true. A large portion of what I write here is meant to portray our Republican leaders as incompetent buffoons. That's because 1) I'm convinced they are incompetent buffoons, and 2) I am increasingly convinced they are dangerous, incompetent buffoons--none of which would matter much, if only these dangerous, incompetent buffoons weren't running the most powerful nation ever on Earth.

Still, I suppose once in a while I should re-explain why I have chosen ridicule over evidence as my main method. I assumed everyone already knew why, but perhaps I have forgotten a basic rule of thumb: with Republicans as with small children, there are some things you can't repeat too often.

You see, there is plenty of evidence--more with every alarming revelation from within the administration--of both their incompetence and the danger they pose. But if we have learned nothing else in the past few years, we have learned evidence isn't something to which modern Republicans pay much attention. Think about it: From evidence of evolution to evidence that the Iraq war was waged on lies to evidence of global warming ... conservatives have evolved an enormous capacity to ignore it. There is no evidence that evidence plays any part in their decision making process--even among rank-and-file Republicans, the sheep who elect their own shearers to office.

On the other hand, ridicule does work. Possibly not on what's called the Republican base--those stunted Morlocks who have in their simple mythology cross-morphed George Bush with Jesus. But to the moderates, the independents, the alert, the thoughtful, the concerned, ridicule has proven itself to be the most effective solvent to the conservative grease clogging America's drain. Bill Maher, John Stewart, Steven Colbert, Arrianna Huffington, Molly Ivins, Maureen Dowd, hundreds of comedians, thousands of casual letters-to-the-editor writers and millions of Internet opinionators, they have done what Al Gore and John Kerry couldn't. They have exposed the essential Bush. The heat of their combined mockery has peeled away the veneer and allowed Americans to glimpse the gaping abyss that lies beneath. It's taken far too long, due mostly to the phony period of respect some tried to foist off on us after 9/11. But today, 60-percent-plus of Americans wouldn't trust this administration to run a petting zoo, let alone the free world. I am proud to have taken some small part in that illumination.

So keep that mockery coming, patriots. We have a country to rescue here and the Right's on the run. Let's keep it that way. Our critics will call us all sorts of things--stupid, clueless, la-la landers, treasonous, pathetic, gay, cowards ... and worse. Do what I do. Ignore 'em. Ignore 'em like you ignore barking dogs and noisy neighbors.

(Note to Bikeboy ... "What? Sorry. I wasn't listening.")