Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Aug. 29
- Community Blog
Every time I open the Imperial Beach Eagle and Times, I have to remind myself that there is in fact a comic page in it: it's the weekly editorial of JF Kelly, Jr.
Mr. Kelly doesn't brook dissent; and so he doesn't publish letters that argue against the right-wing encomia he spews each week; propaganda so beyond the pale when stacked against such small things as reasoning and truth, that, like the comic page, I'm left laughing, holding my gut, slapping my knee, upon the conclusion of his latest piece.
(What it's a piece of, I shant elaborate.)
Mr. Kelly doesn't tolerate dissent; and so the Eagle and Times is not a newspaper per se, but a shill, a rag, kept alive only by the advertising dollars made through its cozy relationship with the shady and corrupt local real estate industry. The paper boasts a readership of six thousand; but in truth those who actually read it cannot be more than a tenth that, and is far more likely to be a twentieth. Stacks of the paper sit unread at every location they're placed, only to be replaced each Thursday morning with new, soon to be unread stacks.
I have decided to take it upon myself to challenge Mr. Kelly's baloney, to publish my dissent to it, and to do it here when I feel the need. Note the "feel the need" clause: I offer it because the mountain of bullcrap this man spews beggars belief; and it would be a waste of time to attempt to dig through all of it. Rather, I will only go after his more vile pieces (pieces of what I leave to you to deduce once again), and leave it at that.
Take his latest: "The China Express." (http://www.coronadonewsca.com/articles/2008/11/28/opinion/news03.txt)
Where to begin?
Kelly blithely informs his readers on his recent trip to the Middle Kingdom, and on its economy, which is, according to him, "phenomenal." He trumpets China's urbanization which he claims has lifted "millions out of poverty in recent years." He waves off the fact that, because of pollution, birds were "a rarity" save the construction crane, a cute little pun that I'm sure the majority of the slobbering twentieth in Imperial Beach smiled warmly at. He lauds China's public transportation, the lack of gangs or street crime, the Maglev train that bulleted him through a "heavily populated area" at 240 miles per hour, saying, "It's amazing what can be done when the government wants it done, when environmental impact studies are not a factor and nobody really gives a damn about snail darters, fairy shrimp or vernal pools."
He goes on to laud the efficiency of the tour, that his access "wasn't limited," that he was "free to wander." He matter-of-factly, almost enviously mentions China's intrusiveness and its heavy-handedness in suppressing dissent (China's your soul brother, JF!); that one does not mention Tibet or Taiwan in mixed company.
Kelly finishes this piece by hefting (of course) the capitalist megaphone and yelling its praises through it, telling us all how the Chinese have embraced capitalism, how their kids are being trained up to be "scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, not social workers or professional athletes," inferring, of course, that social work and professional athletics are not worthy career options, especially when you've got capitalism to defend. We must watch out, he warns: that "Chinese express" is "gaining on us fast."
Mr. Kelly, I'm sure, probably feels smug in his essay, feeling that he covered all his bases, and from an "objective," "balanced" viewpoint. And I'm sure that most of his readers don't bother looking deeper at that viewpoint, or the utter hypocrisy inherent within it.
It's okay, for example, for China to be communist and totalitarian and repressive--as long as it embraces capitalism. In fact, you get the strong notion from Mr. Kelly that anything China does is ultimately okay--as long as it embraces capitalism. It's okee-dokee to ignore the environment, wipe out Tibetans, gear up for an invasion against Taiwan--as long as those cheap, American-bound consumables are produced; as long as China embraces (and get ready: here comes one of Kelly's Holy Terms) "the free market."
That Kelly infers, vis-a-vis his "freedom to wander" during his tour, that China is opening up in any way, is laughably ignorant, and would be laughable, period, were it not that so many in this nation refuse to see just how iron-fisted China is with its own, and how it would love to extend that iron fist everywhere, not just within its own borders. But Mr. Kelly loves totalitarianism; in editorials from years past he has very proudly defended the Patriot Act and the efforts of our own government to stifle dissent, torture dissenters, try and imprison those ("traitors," I believe he called them) who dare stand against an imperial and evil government (ours) and against the illegal plunder of an oil-rich and sovereign nation (Iraq) by that government (again, ours).
Democracy is, for Mr. Kelly, an inconvenience best left to those who rule, not for those ruled.
China is a wasteland--both spiritually and environmentally. It offers, and profers, the very lowest, the very basest, of human vices: endless greed, wanton consumption, willful ignorance, Randian selfishness, and a complete and utter disregard for stewardship or for authentic social responsibility, which necessarily requires dissent. It is a country wholly and completely devoted to crushing the human spirit, not uplifting it, ennobling it, empowering it. Its government is envied by ones such as Bush, Cheney, and JF Kelly, because its governance does not allow for dissent (the highest form of patriotism), for truly free thinkers, for authentic, free, and fair markets. (Please note that that last condition, fair, is necessary for any market to even begin considering itself "free.") It does what it wants--and human rights, breathing privileges for the dissenters, as well as snail darters, fairy shrimp, and vernal pools, be damned.