Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Torture nation


I don't recall stumbling across the First Thoughts blog at the neoconserative Christian theocratic journals First Things' Web site until a few days ago, when I read that rant against hippies I posted about. First Things pitches itself as an intellectual journal. But their blog has not only a juvenile tone, but a pretty disturbing one, as well.

And Joseph Bottum writes In Defense of Trial by Ordeal 02/01/10, i.e., the type of systematic torture used in Europe in the Middle Ages, whining that it's not considered socially acceptable to make that case today. A strange thing to say, since the Republican Party endorses torture enthusiastically, the Obama administration is giving torture perpetrators a pass, and the Republicans are currently blasting Obama for not torturing the suspect in the Christmas Bombing attempt over Detroit.

Bottum's post is creepy enough. But he references it to an article by a University of Chicago visiting professor in the Boston Globe Justice, medieval style 01/31/10, defending the trial-by-ordeal brand of torture. This is pseudohistory worthy of Jonah Goldberg of Liberal Fascism infamy. And a credulous, authoritarian defense of sadistic cruelty and superstition. And this is the kind of thing our "quality" press is publishing these days.


Bottum then went on to post "Peter Lorre, For No Reason" 02/01/10, in which he recalls what a great job Peter Lorre did in playing a child murderer in the Fritz Lang movie M, quoting a passage in which the Lorre character raves about his compulsion to kill children. That post is also really weird and creepy. Yuck! (I decided not to link it because it's just disturbing, though obviously you can find it easily.)

Greg Sargent catches Joe Lieberman joking about the drowning torture, aka, waterboarding: Lieberman Jokes About Waterboarding The Plum Line 02/01/10. That inspired Glenn Greenwald to tweet: "Joe Lieberman is the single most repulsive human being in politics - and has been for quite some time."

Torture is becoming increasingly acceptable among conservatives, something to brag and snicker and snark about in public.

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