August 22, 2005

The Absolute Moral Degeneracy of Cindy Sheehan

IT ALL BEGAN AS IT TOO OFTEN DOES, WITH THE BARREN MAUREEN DOWD searching out still more ideological children who were not cats. In her usual frantic keyboarding, where she constantly demonstrates the ability to type faster than she can think, Dowd pushed out, at some effort, the phrase "absolute moral authority" in describing this ruined woman's quest to get the Celebrity Spotlight on "Me-Me-Me."

This simple, ham-handed cliche launched a thousand cameras and, Shazam!, we've had the Cindy Show, live and not-so-very live, pulsed up from the drainage ditches of Crawford, Texas for the last fortnight. And as always with such media inspired circuses, the usual rag-tag assembly of carping Americans kept dragging in like the rusty, dusty and doomed cast of Carnevale. Crosses were planted. Signs were scrawled

or printed and then waved. Banner farms proliferated. Video pundits opined and Oprahettes actually visited to book some compassionate face time with Cindy and the cameras. Hosannas were raised. Editorials scribbled. "Sensitive" interviews performed.

Slowly, a shimmering media glow emerged from Cindy Sheehan as her ability to cry on cue and on camera was being honed. It was like watching a strange simulacra of Bill Clinton and John Kerry emerge from the Mothership in "Close Encounters."

In the end, we had a lovingly sculpted statue of noble suffering lifting her lamp of perfect peace outside the golden door of a better, finer, brighter America that was just, as always, over the far horizon. We had before us a single woman, one of the millions of mothers who have lost sons in all of America's wars, as "Saint Cindy," a Barbara Fritchie in Birkenstocks.

The Cindy Show, Click to Enlarge by Steel @ The Steel Deal

Once this new, improved Cindy was unveiled, we began to see more and more pictures taken from the side and slightly below so that her noble visage etched with suffering might loom larger, might seem to tower into the sky above as she waited, holding her breath and stamping her feet on the mud below. Somewhere in the shadowed background of her Grand Guignol more crosses were being hammered together and having names scribbled on them to be planted, like odious toadstools, in a weedy lot just down the road. It was all just another shabby Leftist set-piece from their inventory of dull exhibits similar to the stuffed mammoths seen behind glass at the Museum of Natural History. Except the whole scene had become the Left's stale revision of the Terry Schiavo scene earlier this year, complete with the full flock of media vultures. To complete the farce, Joan Baez walked on stage and began strumming. Kum ba yah, baby, Kum ba yah.

It wasn't hard to see the Schiavo Circus Redux in this spectacle. It was, absent the slant of the True Believers, pretty much the same in every regard. The only difference was that here we had a woman on moral life support kept upright only by the continual infusion of attention to her own personal suffering that she had chosen to make into a national political spectacle. As such all those who chose to pay attention to it (and there was little way of escaping it short of retiring to a monastery), were hit again and again with the endless damp acknowledgments of her "suffering." It didn't matter if you were for or against the war, it was mandatory that you state your sympathy for "this woman's terrible loss" and affirm that you could not possibly understand her grief without a similar loss. That these assertions were patently false did not diminish the iron-clad requirement for stating them. They became, quickly, the easiest thing in the stories to just glide right over since, right or left, they were such obvious blather. Cindy and her ilk enjoyed them. They were insincere but they were tasty just the same.

But, just as the media glow given to Cindy was at its brightest, the inevitable started to happen. Emerging in the background and, as usual, on the blogs, we learned some rather unsavory details about Cindy Sheehan's long love affair with a politics that would have revolted her dead son. We began to see she was not really honoring her son's memory, but using it.

We began to learn details about her less than noble ideals concerning the fate of Israel, and all politically incorrect others that the Left would gladly send packing from the face of the Earth, if they could only get someone else to make the bombs and pull the triggers. And we began to understand, just a little at first, but with ever growing clarity that what we were seeing was not a mother lost in grief, but a woman who had fallen deeply in love with her son's death and all the wonderful things it could do for her ego. Her son had become just a tool for the advancement of her own poisonous politics. His heroic death had allowed her, as nothing else in her life would have allowed her, to rise from obscurity and be launched into that brief and burning sub-orbit of "Today's media darling" according to, well, the Today Show itself.

Her son had died for a country that, we discovered, she had long despised and which now, in the main, despised her. Her family had denounced her. Her husband had walked away from her ever-expanding bad craziness. For all that is known, the stress of having a daughter glorified and vilified contributed to the stroke of her mother.

All this had happened and, if it were not for the media and the minions of moveon, Cindy would have been a broken and lonely woman. Only by pimping her son's death endlessly to any camera that would focus on her, to any show that would have her on, did Cindy find and keep her precious self-validation whole. And it was "My Precious" to Cindy because, at last, she had become 'real.'

Cindy was real because she had been on television telling her tale of grief, over and over, weeping, over and over, and all the time swearing the one thing that all scoundrels swear when they are working night and day for themselves -- "It's not about Me, it is about My son, My child, My baby." I'm sure we'll see that, in some variation, as Chapter 1, Sentence 1 in the forthcoming Cindy book and made for TV Cindy movie. They will be along in good time. They always are.

I've seen reports from many that as soon as summer is over it will be the end of The Cindy Show as the vultures rise up from the trees above the Crawford circus camp and glide away to the next 24/7 News miracle; that soon it will be "Cindy Who?" That's not true. Cindy has risen beyond our mortal plane, and, by injecting her personal tragedy and metastasizing mania into the cerebral cortex of the country, we'll always remember "The Summer of Cindy." Our shame is that we'll remember it as a nation long after we've forgotten the name of her heroic son and the brave and selfless manner in which he gave "the last full measure of devotion." He was the man known as "Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004."

So spare me the pleas for sympathy and the nickel-and-dime condemnations from barren and arid souls who can no longer comprehend the meaning of Duty, Honor, and Country because they have none of them. Ask me not for a feigned compassion for this disturbed female narcissist. I have reached the outer realms of compassion fatigue with this latest ghoul raised up out of the Sixties cemetery.

I'm saving my compassion and praise and prayers for the soul of the man known as "Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004." Died for his country, died for his ideals, and died trying to rescue his friends and brothers-in-arms. Died, indeed, to defend the right of his mother to use him as a tool to advance political ideas he never would have agreed with. At the start of "The Cindy Show," I was amused. Now I'm just disgusted. It disgusts me that Army Spc. Casey Sheehan also died so that his own mother, Cindy Sheehan, could use him as a stepping stone to her own proto-celebrity; as a way for her to drink deep at the fountain of perpetual funding.

It is not unusual in this culture for people to use friends, family and others as stepping stones in search of celebrity. Becoming a celebrity, even for an instant, is a common hunger in this besotted era, and with the right words and the right angle, the media is always ready to oblige. And oblige. And oblige. Especially if you use a whole new stepping stone to climb on wagon of celebrity, your dead son.

And spare me the self-righteous moans that Cindy was only doing what she believed in and had no inkling that there could be a cornucopia of cash and publicity in it for her. This, as they say, was not Cindy's first rodeo. Cindy Sheehan and her handlers have played the media like a flatulent tuba, and they have achieved their dream. In doing so they believe, in their clouded minds, that they have also achieved "absolute moral authority." In the deepest pit of his utter degeneration, the Marquis de Sade believed the same thing. He too was fundamentally insane. He too got his books published and his "Passion Plays" performed.

Posted by Vanderleun at August 22, 2005 2:01 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

wow. Just wow.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 22, 2005 3:34 PM

My three Feline Americans wish to protest your species-ist comparison of their fellow cats to (spit up hairball on cue) the ideological offspring of Maureen Dowd. Kidding aside, another fine essay.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at August 22, 2005 3:59 PM

"Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004." Died for his country, died for his ideals, and died trying to rescue his friends and brothers-in-arms.

I thought that he died for water

Control of Iraq is not about the oil, it's about the water.

Posted by: torcik at August 22, 2005 4:24 PM

This is an end of the day required reading. Thanks.

Posted by: outfoxed at August 22, 2005 4:40 PM

"Then up jumped Barbara Frietchie..."(who was Whittier-than-thou. Not so bad as holier-and more-worthy-of-fabulously-attentive-sympathy-than-thou).

Posted by: DeborahAdams at August 22, 2005 5:05 PM

'a woman who had fallen deeply in love with her son's death and all the wonderful things it could do for her ego'

Best commentary on this fiasco ever. Thank you for not commiserating with this narcissistic loon.

Posted by: Mary at August 22, 2005 5:26 PM

Boy, you can write! Terrific! I've bookmarked your blog. Most enjoyable. Thanks.

Posted by: Patrick Joubert Conlon at August 22, 2005 8:02 PM

I recently, on FoxNews no less, saw an amateur video clip of Ms. Sheehan's remark that "this country is not worth dying for". I was only able to see it that one time, but was left with the impression that she was not referring to the U.S.

I thought it odd that if she were disparaging our country she would remark immediately afterward that she would be willing to fight in the streets with a rolling pin if necessary, should we be attacked. Her final remark was that "we were not attacked".

Where is a clip of the complete, unedited video?

Posted by: SemiPundit at August 22, 2005 8:34 PM

You start an unnecessary, counter productive, unwinnable, open-ended war, and this is what you'll get. You'll get Joan Baez and every reasonable facsimile of an anti-war persona showing up in the media. And know what? The longer it drags on, the more you're going to get. Welcome to Vietnam redux. You asked for it. You got it.

Posted by: libby at August 22, 2005 8:54 PM

Has Joan Baez ever know, DONE ANYTHING? Is she one of those Lefty icons that is famous only for being famous?

Have the South Park guys done anything on this yet? They are usually pretty quick to skewer this kind of thing.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at August 23, 2005 12:34 AM

You tell it just like I would tell it! Amen!

Posted by: Jennifer at August 23, 2005 5:31 AM

Remember when Bushie's brain trust said of Iraq, "you break it, you bought it"? Well, Cindy and more like her coming down the pike are what you get in the bargain.

Slamming Cindy will not put the genie back in the bottle. Too many other Americans have been affected by a loss like Cindy's. And for what? Even Bush has no idea.

Clearly, neither do you.

Posted by: Jim at August 23, 2005 10:54 AM

A little quick math for you:

Since the revolutionary war over 1,700,000 soldiers have died for their country. I assume they also had mothers. I can just envision 1.7 million women standing in a line saying to Ms. Sheehan ..."the line starts back there, Sweetie."

Perspective: In one day at the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War almost 17,000 were killed. Not wounded or captured but killed. Iraq isn't a war. The freeways are more deadly.

Posted by: BP at August 23, 2005 11:54 AM

Actually Libby, I didn't ask for it, it was handed to me on 9/11.

Posted by: Moneyrunner at August 23, 2005 5:49 PM

Excellent. Pointed and so well written.
But one little aside from me. I do live in a monastery and you can't even escape the Sheehan
antics here. The networks love this stuff. However, here, I'm proud prayers for our soldiers are one of our priorities. Most people see through Sheehan, I'm convinced of it.

Posted by: tmt at August 23, 2005 6:47 PM

>Has Joan Baez ever know, DONE ANYTHING? Is she one of
>those Lefty icons that is famous only for being famous?
>Have the South Park guys done anything on this yet? They are usually
>pretty quick to skewer this kind of thing.

Joan Baez is a musician. For those who like sixties folk-protest music and the singer-songwriter material which that morphed into, she made several fine albums. I still enjoy listening to them. My favorites are "Joan" and "Any Day Now."

Trey and Matt of South Park are welcome to take their shot at Baez, but Al Capp's "Joanie Phoanie" and National Lampoon's "Radio Dinner" already got there. The Lampoon's lampoon ("Pull the Trigger, Nigger") is an absolutely hilarious and prescient take on Western self-hatred.

I still have affection for Baez and the anti-war movement which were an important part of my life for decades. I'm sad to see that they have both become jokes.

Posted by: hg wells at August 23, 2005 10:15 PM

"Welcome to Vietnam redux. You asked for it. You got it."

Are you a waitress, libby? Because you sound like the kind that would confuse an order of steak with chicken nuggets.

In response to a question about what will happen if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, Baez said,

“...there will be chaos, but it will be our chaos. Yes, there will be massive chaos, but nothing is going to stop the massive chaos. That’s my answer.”

There it is -- the passivity that escapes responsibility by pleading helplessness. Last time it gave us Jimmy Carter and all the evil that followed. "We won't be fooled again."

Posted by: Salt Lick at August 24, 2005 8:44 AM

SaltLick: I'm afraid when you gave GWB a blank check to wage this unnecessary war, you got fooled again. Only this time the long term consequences will be much worse.

Posted by: libby at August 24, 2005 9:02 AM

I'll go with the "long term consequences" brought by our invasion and reconstruction of Iraq anytime. America is now aligned with the freedom of the Arab street, and that change is not only a miracle, it spells the beginning of the end for jihadists. We are winning and will continue to win.

Posted by: Salt Lick at August 24, 2005 9:16 AM

"I'm sad to see that they have both become jokes."

Actually, they were jokes from the beginning. We were just too blind to see it. (But then, sad to say, many of our generation made that mistake.)

Posted by: pst314 at August 24, 2005 11:49 AM

Salt Lick,
Don't you think it is still early to put forth claims of success? Meshing democracy as we know it with Sharia law is akin to sorting wildcats, isn't it?

I am especially concerned about Mr. Gerecht's remark that a democracy resembling ours in the 1900's would be a good thing.

Posted by: SemiPundit at August 24, 2005 1:52 PM

SemiPundit -- I'm not putting forth a claim of final success. I said "we are winning" and that's accurate when you look at all that's been accomplished. The change in how the Muslim world views the U.S. is itself amazing. Remember when 9/11 occurred and we thought it might be us against all of Islam?

I can't figure out why everyone thinks this is a short-term project. It's going to take 20 or more years. There is no short-cut. The cries to pull out of Iraq are like the protests of putting those short-range missles in Germany back in Reagan's time.

Posted by: Salt Lick at August 24, 2005 5:21 PM

It's worth remembering that when it turned out to the surprise of no one who was paying attention that the North Vietnamese were not merely poets and agrarian reformers, Joan Baez did speak out.

Her idea about what would happen if we left Iraq and why that would be preferrable to the current situation are sad to read. But, fine singer though she is--I have her records dating back to, well, when they were records and she sang actual folk music--she's a chucklehead politically.

But she's a decent one, by and large, and that's more than you can say for a lot of the people she hangs with.

By the way, I did a quick Google search, found the names of half a dozen parents who have lost sons in Iraq who support our efforts, and e-mailed them to Maureen Dowed. I asked her why these people lacked the absolute moral authority she conferred on Cindy Sheehan.

I'll let you know as soon as she answers.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at August 24, 2005 6:46 PM

Sick post.

Posted by: David Sucher at August 24, 2005 9:03 PM

Thanks for putting the Cindy Sheehan spectacle in proper spective. The woman is a performance artist gone amok. The people joining her have been waiting for years to bring their protest posters and hippie garments out of mothball. Joan Baez has come from deserved obscurity to talk show favorite in just a matter of days.
Can Jane Fonda wearing her Vietnam fatigues be far behind? I wouldn't be surprised. Thanks again.

Posted by: J. Robert Leonard at August 25, 2005 10:21 AM

Hey America! Don't fret a cunt like Cindy Sheehan; her type has been with us since the Torries in 1776, and unfortunately, always (seemingly) will. Look upon them as not being able to live without having to shit now and then.

Posted by: Ralph DeMattia-2 tour VietNam Vet at December 1, 2005 6:52 PM