Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Simon Sez ... WHAT??

Conservative pundit Roger Simon has some funny ideas, most of which he appears to have gleaned from his Guide To American Stereotypes and late night TV.

First, we have this premise: Hippies were weak because they didn’t know about war.
The Fifties, as is generally acknowledged, were a natural era of calm conventionality – decompression after a period of extraordinary, almost incomprehensible violence. The generation coming home – the so-called Greatest Generation – wanted nothing more than peace and quiet, a return to normality. Why wouldn’t they have? But their children needed something else. They hadn’t participated in the war, weren’t direct victims of its horror but rather spectators at a storytelling. Nothing could be as bad for them as what their parents had seen with their own eyes and they knew it. In a sense the younger generation were weaklings, outsiders. They needed something of their own.

Hmmm. That’s odd ... I mean, there was the Korean War (1950-1953) and Vietnam (1959-1975) and Rosa Parks getting arrested in 1955 and the American civil rights movement that started in the 50s, etc. etc. I guess Roger Simon’s knowledge of the 1950s comes from reruns of “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.”

Then Simon chimes in with this nonsense:

Also worth noting is that many of the iconic figures of 1968 – Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Alan Ginsburg, Bob Dylan, even Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the May ’68 “events” in Paris – were Jewish. And if you look at their birth dates, these men were not “Boomers” as conventionally defined. They were born before or during, not after, World War II, but none of them suffered directly from the Holocaust (although in many cases their relatives did).

So through these men – and others obviously – the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll was born. What’s interesting about this ethos is that it denies evil – just love each other and we will all be fine. And yet how evil was the Holocaust.

Indeed, and how evil was what happened to Emmett Till? Or My Lai? Apparently Roger Simon was too busy smoking weed and getting laid to know what was happening in his wasted youth, and so he assumes everyone else was equally clueless. The 1960s can’t possibly have been about these issues because Roger Simon didn't know they existed.

So we now get to the truly priceless moment:

Even so, “Zimmy,” born while the ovens were in full operating mode, doesn’t sing about it. He preferred the “times they are a-changin’.”

Apparently Simon lacks the literary gene, you know, the one where you learn about metaphors and similes and stuff. To Simon, Bob Dylan isn't actually singing about the Holocaust, so he too is denying evil exists, sparking an entire movement of hippies who deny evil exists.

This is the strangest excuse for a reasoned argument I’ve ever seen.

Bob Dylan did sing about politics, and civil rights, and the war in Vietnam. But these things weren’t evil, remember, because Roger Simon has apparently forgotten they existed. No, according to Simon, Dylan should have sung about the Holocaust (which Roger Simon also apparently thinks only happened during WWII) because Bob Dylan was born Jewish!

If you liked that, you’ll love how he mangles John Lennon:

Nothing in human life could be as the extremes of World War II – people could not be that pathological (or evil, if you prefer). All they need is a little love. So let’s go out and have as much fun as possible, drop acid, get naked and boogie. (Also, unspoken, we may all die soon anyway. Look what happens – lots of people die young.) Meanwhile, underlying the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” a song which for decades brought tears to my eyes, is this almost willed denial of these forms of mass mental illness, these large-scale political pathologies, as if you could destroy a virus through a sing-along, rather than inoculation.

Poor Roger! He apparently thinks when John Lennon sang “Imagine there’s no countries, it’s easy if you try,” that all of the bell-bottomed, peace loving hippies actually sat cross legged on the floor, screwed their eyes shut, and imagined... thinking it would actually happen! Yes, we all really thought “Visualize World Peace” was more than just a bumper sticker.

Okay, maybe I'm being unfair. Let's break it down: I’m not sure but I think what Simon is saying is that because the “Baby Boomers” didn’t experience World War II directly, they had a rather easy time of it, and thus their peace-love-anti-war movement stems from some idea that evil doesn’t exist because they’d never seen it in WWII. And these beliefs that evil doesn’t exist are infecting our country today because people are against the war in Iraq, just like they were against Vietnam. Or somethin’.

Which only makes sense if you’re someone who doesn’t believe this is evil:

More on this at Sadly, No!