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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'll Be Watching Bill Moyers Tonight on PBS

(Welcome Althouse and Dr. Roy readers!)

And you know why?

Because in his first major interview since the now infamous remarks about America from the pulpit, Senator Barack Obama's ex-pastor for 20 years, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright will be on PBS' Bill Moyers Journal tonight.

Some excerpts of the interview have begun to trickle in:



Politicised pulpits and incendiary rhetoric are nothing new in this world. They've existed since the first person went on top of a rock, and harangued crowds about life.

What is striking to other Christians who listened to what he has had to say, saved in video tapes, is that other Christian denominations around the world would be hard-pressed to find similar sermons, full of bitterness, frustration, and just plain hate, at their Sunday services.

I am predicting that he will call his outlandish rhetoric a "wake up call" which he used to get his parishioners' attention.

Nothing gets sinners' attention quicker, he will say, than to point out their horrifying hypocritical sins, even if its by extension -- the sins of all Americans, which comprise America itself.

You can see he can frame this argument about the following sermon:

"Wright delivered his most notorious sermon the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001, when he suggested that the U.S. had brought on the attacks by committing its own acts of terrorism. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," he said in the Sept. 16 service."

...by quoting this injunction from the Bible:

1 Corinthians 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Even if he has assuredly forgotten this:

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Given that he is starting to go out and explain himself, in this show and on Monday 28 April at the National Press Club, I think there will be ample opportunity for him to clarify his statements below.



I can't wait.

UPDATE 9:55 PM EST

Just finished watching the segment, and I have just a few things to say.

First, this was a very controlled response by Rev. Wright. Gone were the preacherman flourishes, full of hellfire and damnation. Obviously that would've been the case, but in no small sense does one get the impression that he was coached very carefully not to reveal any of the hatred he holds very deep inside, as per his words above.

People speak of President Bush having a smirk when he speaks. It's been revealed by many Bush insiders that this is in part his derision of the hypocrisy of public discourse. He would much rather shoot from the hip, but in politics that's suicide, so he resents having to play the "game" of pretending to answer gotcha questions he knows are loaded against him, from the word go.

What few people criticise is that certain black "leaders" and "spokesmen" (in that ridiculous phrase, which doesn't exist anywhere else in the world) have that self-same sardonic smirk when in public.

Until now I thought the worst version of this smirk I had seen was Reverend Al Sharpton. Another example I can mention, which is less political and religious, is Whoopi Goldberg.

But today I add Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr. to the list of smirkers.

It was astoundingly condenscending, and very off-putting to see a man who feels he's been railroaded, when it is merely his own words which did him in.

Again and again he said that his words were taken out of context, but there is NO context where his words would make sense, and be something a Christian pastor would say during A SUNDAY SERMON.

No amount of "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand" retorts can wipe away the resentment he feels towards this nation, which he was given a chance to explain tonight.

Obviously Bill Moyers was not at pains to be a hard-hitting interviewer. Had it been a Bush operative or associate, the hardball questions would've come fast and furious.

But he played his usual midwifing role of asking amenable questions, the kind a person who truly wants to understand, rather than to judge would (the stark opposite of MSM when dealing with this administration).

I didn't know what to expect, but basically I got Wright Lite. Not even his words about Reverend Farrakhan, who he said is like EF Hutton (when he speaks, black Americans listen...they may not agree, but they listen) sought to pass judgement on what simply cannot stand in our public officials and community leaders.

It's almost as if someone argued that because Pablo Escobar built his Medellin neighbours hospitals and gave them food this would somehow exculpate everything else he did in his life.

No, Reverend. You're going to have to understand what you said is wrong, and moreover, you've caused a lot of damage to your acolyte, Senator Obama.

When minority leaders are caught with their pants down, they ask that the topic of race be "at last" explored.

This is their way of saying that what their words would be more fully understood if people (namely, the white "power structure") understood their struggle and tears better.

Sorry. Not only have we been exploring this topic in earnest for 40 years now, but this isn't going to be another time when all you do to justify your hateful words is to cry racism.

We're past the exploration phase as a nation, Reverend.

Moreover, should Senator Obama not distance himself further from you, a large swath of Americans FROM ALL backgrounds will rightly consider his judgement at fault.

I'll update this one last time, later on, with the PBS video of the interview.

UPDATE: 12:30 AM

Here's the full transcript of the interview. And apparently, the video in two parts, NOT on Youtube, at least not yet.

IN THE COMMENTS: JSU points out another wannabe Smirker-In-Chief.

"McCain's smirkiness is up there with anyone's. Watch every time he says "my friends"...".


Oh God, yes. It's sickening even if you understand where they are coming from. It suggests they have insider info to which you, poor little idiot, could never be fully deep enough to understand.

Whilst I'm being catty and observant, who does Senator John S. McCain III remind you of?




How about Nikita Khrushchev?




See, I could never do that about Senator Obama because Reverend Wright would accuse me of being a racist. "We all look alike, huh!?"

ADDED: In a seering, marvellous review, Ann Althouse uses her legal skills to analyse last night's segment. This passage filleted the interview to the bone.

"The fourth candidate for a hard question is implied by this statement: "That chapter [Psalm 137] ends up with some very brutal words. You used them in one of your sermons." Wright understands the question to call for an explanation of his post-9/11 speech. He speaks first of his pain over 9/11 and explains the thinking behind his sermon:

I had to preach. They came to church wanting to know where is God in this. And so, I had to show them using that Psalm 137, how the people who were carried away into slavery were very angry, very bitter, moved and in their anger from wanting revenge against the armies that had carried them away to slavery, to the babies. That Psalm ends up sayin' "Let's kill the baby-let's bash their heads against the stone." So, now you move from revolt and revulsion as to what has happened to you, to you want revenge. You move from anger with the military to taking it out on the innocents. You wanna kill babies. That's what's going on in Psalm 137. And that's exactly where we are. We want revenge. They wanted revenge. God doesn't wanna leave you there, however. God wants redemption. God wants wholeness. And that's the context, the biblical context I used to try to get people sitting again, in that sanctuary on that Sunday following 9/11, who wanted to know where is God in this? What is God saying? What is God saying? Because I want revenge.

I think he's saying that the Psalm — God speaking? — is saying that people who have suffered want revenge and feel motivated to do terrible things. But he's really held himself open to a terrible interpretation — and calling it my "hermeneutic" isn't going to help. "What is God saying? What is God saying? Because I want revenge." What is Wright saying? That's going to sound to a lot of people as though he's saying 9/11 was God's revenge on America. He quotes the Psalm: "Blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock." Well, now, it really sounds as though he's saying that God blesses the 9/11 hijackers! God damns America and God blesses the hijackers? Wright has not backed down. He's stepped up."


That's it, as clear as day.

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16 Comments:

  • Hi Victoria,

    It's great to see you posting again! If you are going to watch the Reverend Wrong's interview, make sure you have a barf bag handy!

    Un abrazo, Jose

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Fri Apr 25, 07:37:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hola mi queridissimo Jose!! I'm on Althouse regularly now, since Sunday, so in case you want to take a peek at me in action, go there too. ;)

    As for Reverend Wrong, way ahead of you. Dramamine and Ironbeer at the ready!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Apr 25, 07:50:00 pm GMT-4  

  • The more he explains, the more this story sinks in.

    Pass the popcorn!

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Apr 25, 07:52:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey JSU! La Boheme Friday night at the FGO. I thought of you when I had an invite!

    But I'd rather stay at home for a circus...

    We'll see. I'll be back to the blog after midnight, to update it with my thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Apr 25, 08:16:00 pm GMT-4  

  • And don't forget to catch Justice Scalia on 60 minutes sunday! Good TV weekend.

    By Blogger Simon, at Fri Apr 25, 09:56:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thanks for that reminder, Simon! I will set the mobile alarm.

    BTW, it would mark the first time I watch 60 Minutes for any length of time past a few seconds, since 2004.

    60 Minutes used to be the most wonderful consumer advocate/political and social commentary telly magazine programme anywhere. I loved it when I was growing up.

    Now...it hangs in tatters. Somewhere between the NYT bitter editorials and academia activist water cooler talking points.

    So sad.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Apr 25, 10:17:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Category = batshit craziness. I like that- very creative while slotting your topics cozily in the appropriate type of cage.

    Althouse should be as creative but then she'd have to be way more opinionated.

    I give you much credit for watching the Rev and 60 Minutes too! What are you doing some sort of Penance?

    By Blogger AJ Lynch, at Fri Apr 25, 10:33:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hmmm, maybe "batshit crazy" is related to thought-provoking? ;)
    Thanks for the links, Vic, I hadn't bothered to check out the Reverend before. Except for the Israel point, I found his thoughts to be quite truthy, if irreverent.
    Elko

    By Blogger El Kot, at Fri Apr 25, 11:46:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I've always thought 60 minutes was a hatchet job show; they don't like you, that's it! To me they often played to smirky populist resentments, wearing the Nesus shirt of journalism.

    This whole thing with Obama has a lot of sadness attached to don't you think? Ah well...

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Apr 26, 12:14:00 am GMT-4  

  • McCain's smirkiness is up there with anyone's. Watch every time he says "my friends"...

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Apr 26, 12:35:00 am GMT-4  

  • Category = batshit craziness.

    Heh. Yes, AJ, slightly bowdlerised because this is a family blog. Well, save for the Manson Family.

    I like that- very creative while slotting your topics cozily in the appropriate type of cage.

    Isn't wonderful how many topics this covers? From Tom Cruise to Reverend Wright to roving sperm banks.

    Althouse should be as creative but then she'd have to be way more opinionated.

    Prof. Althouse is WAY more opinionated than I! At least, I think she is. :)

    I give you much credit for watching the Rev and 60 Minutes too! What are you doing some sort of Penance?

    It's good for the soul.

    Not too sure about the bowels though... ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Apr 26, 01:08:00 am GMT-4  

  • Except for the Israel point, I found his thoughts to be quite truthy, if irreverent.

    Hey Elko! The problem is he's framing everything with the extreme leftist talking points about America.

    Since you veer closer to that, than I do, you and people who think like you do WILL see his irreverence as truthiness.

    Fortunately, I know a lot of lefties that were shocked beyond belief to know this kind of talk happens in black churches (at all moments, I even attended a black funeral for a woman I knew who died aged 51, and whose pastor escoriated the US for a health care system which failed blacks, he said).

    It's not the criticism, but the timing, and the absolute hatred in the eyes and tone of voice that is scary.

    Imagine sitting 20 years listening to sermons like this?

    I wouldn't stand it for 20 minutes.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Apr 26, 01:12:00 am GMT-4  

  • I've always thought 60 minutes was a hatchet job show; they don't like you, that's it! To me they often played to smirky populist resentments, wearing the Nesus shirt of journalism.

    True true.

    But even though they came from an anti-business perspective, at least Mike Wallace really did uncover a lot of shady characters, by showing up on their doorstep and grilling them. Remember those times?

    They were awesome.

    It may be populist, I agree, but just like Al Sunshine and Help Me Howard, two local consumer advocate gurus on local television here in South Florida, 60 Minutes had a very important niche in helping the little guy fight the crooks.

    This whole thing with Obama has a lot of sadness attached to don't you think? Ah well...

    How so?

    I think I know what you mean, but explain it to us. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Apr 26, 01:17:00 am GMT-4  

  • "See, I could never do that about Senator Obama"

    Well of course not! He looks nothing like Khrushchev!

    I've thought for years that McCain is really Colonel Tigh.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Apr 26, 02:40:00 am GMT-4  

  • Khrushchev! Ha hah! No, I don't think so.
    Looks more like this guy to me.
    :) :)

    By Blogger El Kot, at Sat Apr 26, 04:33:00 am GMT-4  

  • Don't you want to see McCain elected just to go to the UN and the shoe-banging thing like Nikita? "Ve Vill Bury You!"

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Apr 26, 01:20:00 pm GMT-4  

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