Sunday, April 17, 2005

No Spin Zone


Via Rob MacDougall, we learn about the misfortunes of the UConn College Republicans, who invited Jim Hellwig — wrestling's erstwhile "Ultimate Warrior" — to speak in Storrs on April 5. Much to the surprise(?) of the assembled Republicans, Hellwig departed from his carefully-prepared, philosophical disquisition on the contours of liberty and wandered off into a homophobic and racist soliloquy. The Harford Advocate, describing a videotape of the performance, observed that
the first 44 minutes of Warrior's presentation were uneventful. He talked of rights and responsibilities, and his definition of conservatism: "preserving traditions that have worked throughout time, beginning with the simple idea that people need to think and provide for themselves."

Yes, things were fairly calm until Warrior described how liberal thinking has created an "abyss of moral relativity where everything is as legitimate as everything else.

"The broadest and most despicable illustration of this most destructive consequence of moral relativity," Warrior said, "is that barbarism, today, is as legitimate as civilization."

Warrior [went] on to provide specific examples that...illustrate[d] his point. He lament[ed] that that "the bum is as legitimate as the businessman ... , that queers are as legitimate as heterosexuals..., that Kwanzaa is just as legitimate as Santa Claus and Christmas."
Things only slid downhill after that. After explaining to the audience that "queering doesn't make the world work," Hellwig (who has apparently changed his name legally to "Warrior") continued to berate several members of the audience who questioned his supple views on life and politics. Although it seemed that the event might turn into a chair-throwing, turnbuckle-smashing, pile-driving catastrophe, police did not have to follow through on their threats to shut everything down early. To make a much longer story short, the College Republicans apologized, Warrior issued a press release ridiculing their cowardice, and in a completely unrelated story, two entomologists named three new species of slime mold after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.

As for the Warrior, though, we really should expect nothing less from a man who greeted his fans on October 13 with the following message:
Hello warriors. The 13th of October, 13 is my favorite number (not an unfavorable one as many hold) -- who can tell me why? Happy Columbus Day. This White European DID not savage the Indian Savages as revisionist history books tell. Power to Christopher Columbus and his courageous journey.
Then again, what can you expect from a conservative political mood that froths madly about "activist judges" and declares holy war on Democrats who use the filibuster to block Bush's lunatic federal court appointees? Although the UConn College Republicans apologized for the event and pledged to continue "righting this wrong," their efforts to marginalize the Warrior may seem a little over-anxious given some of the events of the past few weeks.

Quick quiz for you. See if you can guess which of the following are lines from the Warrior and which are from elected Republican officials or their staff members:

(1) "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"
(2) "We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew and look at all the facts ... The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today."
(3) "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. . . . And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence."
(4) "Cause you see, the way the rules are now -- built on the basis that there is a right and a wrong, that there is a true and a false and that there is a good and an evil, that there is civil and uncivil, that there is decent and indecent, that there is reverent and irreverent and all the other alternatives on and on -- society is absent TOTAL anarchy. But if thinking, correct conclusions, and positive outcomes are not part of the equation anymore, at all, those getting away with ignorance and all the other feel-good-isms, today, will not even have a voice, except a quivering one, when all hell breaks loose."