Falafel, Phone Sex, and Whatever Other 'Hateful' Comment You Can Think Of and a Random Ten

"And why do they permit [people to exercise their free speech]? Why do they permit [people to exercise their free speech], then?"

-- Bill O'Reilly July 24, 2007

I've avoided blogging about Bill O'Reilly's recent comment comparing leftwing bloggers to the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, and David Duke for a while now, because let's face it-- it's too damn easy. Bill O'Reilly has quite clearly gone insane-- he was always dangerously unstable, but it's quite clear that the pressure has gotten to him. Yelling at children, cutting the mics of military experts, trying to claim that lesbian gangs are taking over the country and "indoctrinating children into homosexuality," and now, promoting his own hateful ideology even while dismissing all of his critics with the epithet of "hatemonger," without any sense of irony. He's a crazy person, and he's flirting with crupidity. Bill O'Reilly's rating are slipping; he's generally regarded as something of a joke (how else would Stephen Colbert even have his own show?). And he has no one but himself to blame. I'm not quite willing to call him crupid yet-- he still has far more influence than a crupid person generally has-- but he's about one serious outburst away from destroying his entire career.

Anyway... the above quote came from Wednesday's O'Reilly Factor, where O'Reilly was just beside himself at the very notion that valuing freedom of speech means sometimes you have to put up with hearing (or reading) unpleasant things. O'Reilly claims that this isn't a problem on his online forum. He's wrong-- as plenty of people have pointed out, there's all sorts of hateful rhetoric full of violent imagery in posts devoted to talking about Hillary Clinton. But that's neither here nor there. I'm willing to concede that O'Reilly's website probably doesn't have has much foul language or angry declarations as places like The Daily Kos, Shakesville, and that fortress of liberal wrong-headedness Incertus. And I can think of a few reasons for that.

1) Bill O'Reilly charges his forum users a membership fee, which means that only his devotees are likely to post. Even those of us who have unbridled, George Wallace-type hate for Bill O'Reilly find it difficult to justify paying a fee just for the "pleasure" of arguing with the guy.

2) Bill O'Reilly's forums are devoted to people who are happy with the status quo-- pro-war, anti-civil rights, anti-education people who like the direction our country's been going in for the past six years. What on earth do they have to be angry about?

3) The leftwing blogosphere is full of young, hip, sexy people who know how to dress and are phenomenal dancers. Because of our youth and vitality, we sometimes get excited and use profanity to express ourselves. But what you can vulgar, I call a more nuanced vocabulary. You dickhead.

Look, as many of you know, I sometimes get pissed off at liberal bloggers myself-- particularly when I feel like they prioritize the expression of their righteous anger over constructing a logical argument that might win over a reader who finds herself undecided regarding the issue at hand (also-- to be clear-- that's also a tendency that I hate about myself, too). But, on the whole, the communities at The Daily Kos, Shakesville, Pandagon, Feministing, and other leftwing sites are full of hard-working, intellectually honest people who want to have genuine conversations about how we might make this country better. The leftwing blogosphere represents the real America-- not just the smug, self-satisfied elitists who don't mind paying a fee to express their opinions, so long as that fee goes towards keeping out "undesireables."

(Except for Emily. She, I grant you, is kind of like Mussolini).

And by the way-- is anybody besides be delighted that, in the same week that Bill O'Reilly is targetting liberals for their expressions of "hate speech," Sean Hannity is reviving that tired, oft-disproven conspiracy theory that suggests the Clintons murdered Vince Foster? You wanna talk hateful... what kind of blame America first type slanders the former president of the nation by knowingly lying about something as serious as murder? Sean Hannity, why do you hate America and flags and baseball and the baby Jesus?

Anyhoo... here's D.J. Rad Brad's Random Ten for today. All y'all know the drill-- get your breakdancing board out, put on your grooviest leisure suit, and have yourself a love-in at the sock hop. Shuffle the songs. Record even the embarassing ones, like Meat Loaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," if it comes up.

1) Solomon Burke-- "Diamond In Your Mind"
2) Weezer-- "Why Bother?"
3) The Killers-- "Mr. Brightside"
4) The Velvet Underground"-- "European Son"
5) Eminem-- "Without Me"
6) Elvis Costello-- "45"
7) Electric Sic-- "Dance-A-Thon 2005"
8) Sam Cooke-- "Twistin' the Night Away"
9) Meat Loaf-- "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" (oooooohhhhh)
10) Spinal Tap-- "Gimme Some Money"

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