After Friday’s excoriation of the poor shlub who wrote the Daniel Holtzclaw piece, I feel the need for some balance. Check out the first couple grafs of this Jeffrey Toobin piece on Antonin Scalia:
Antonin Scalia, who died this month, after nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed. Belligerent with his colleagues, dismissive of his critics, nostalgic for a world where outsiders knew their place and stayed there, Scalia represents a perfect model for everything that President Obama should avoid in a successor. The great Justices of the Supreme Court have always looked forward; their words both anticipated and helped shape the nation that the United States was becoming. Chief Justice John Marshall read the new Constitution to allow for a vibrant and progressive federal government. Louis Brandeis understood the need for that government to regulate an industrializing economy. Earl Warren saw that segregation was poison in the modern world. Scalia, in contrast, looked backward.
His revulsion toward homosexuality, a touchstone of his world view, appeared straight out of his sheltered, nineteen-forties boyhood. When, in 2003, the Court ruled that gay people could no longer be thrown in prison for having consensual sex, Scalia dissented, and wrote, “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.” He went on, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a life style that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
You know what I like about that? There’s not a whiff of equivocation in any part of it, just simple declarative sentences, dropping like truth bombs, ending with a long passage written by the deceased himself, and not that long ago, underlining just how retrograde his opinions were. Were. He’s dead. Let’s move forward. So many writers are afraid, of blowback, of Twitter, of whatever, that they can’t even express a clear opinion anymore. It’s not that I think this, but that I really think this — you can find that sentence in a dozen columns published today. If you’re good, no one would get confused in the first place.
The essay doesn’t lose steam — and isn’t that long, I should add — but if I may quote one more paragraph, or portion of it:
Not long ago, Scalia told an interviewer that he had cancelled his subscription to the Washington Post and received his news from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times (owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church), and conservative talk radio. In this, as in his jurisprudence, he showed that he lived within the sealed bubble of contemporary conservative thought.
And this man, I remind you, is considered a towering intellectual. He got his news from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al. Good luck with that level of intellectualism, guys.
Whew, that felt good to read.
So, we had ourselves a lovely weekend at my latitude, two days back-to-back with temperatures in the 60s. I ran errands on my bike, smelled the breeze, did some recreational reading, attended a dinner party and otherwise, we enjoyed ourselves. Of course, because I am a homeowner, I looked at the considerably colder forecast for the coming week and thought, “Good thing I got most of the dog poop picked up, because the snow’s going to cover it all back up again.” Lord Grantham never had this problem.
I hope I can be one of those people who looks forward as I get older. Endless nostalgia is a truly destructive attitude to carry into life. As anyone who reads Bob Greene could tell you.
The rest of the weekend was not so great in Michigan, as current events will demonstrate. My friend and former student Ryan had to roll out for K’zoo Sunday morning. As he was leaving, his girlfriend informed him he would be missing her breakfast tacos, “which only makes me hate this fucking loser even more,” he said.
But he filed a good story. Best detail:
Michael Arney, a local radio reporter, said he attended Comstock high school in Kalamazoo with Dalton, who was now, he said, the third murder suspect from his 1989 graduating class.
The delamination of the less-well-educated white American male? Or coincidence? You tell me.
Have a good weekend, all.