Wednesday, June 3, 2009

George Tiller and American Paranoia (+ Eminem gets face-raped...)

In a weird way, the whole story of George Tiller's murder almost sounds like something out of some old folk tune or blues rocker: a Wichita, Kansas doctor saves the lives of women while, with each passing year, threats on his life grow more and more extreme - from getting shot in both arms to having his clinic vandalized, blockaded and bombed, leading to the presence of armed guards outside his clinic - until, at long last, he meets his match in nowhere else but his local Lutheran church on a Sunday morning, innocently ushering. Now flowers instead of picket signs form a ring around his clinic.

There are very few who claim to be happy that Tiller is dead - Wiley Drake, for example, believes Tiller's murder is "an answer to a prayer" - but in general voices from the anti-abortion movement have risen to condemn the murderer, who is as-of-yet-unconfirmed as 51-year-old Scott Roeder. One of these voices belongs to Bill O'Reilly, who simultaneously condemns the violence against Tiller - refering to it as "anarchy" - while unabashedly standing by his well-known past criticisms of Tiller, saying that the far-left is taking advantage of this situation to blame the caring folks like him at Fox and downplay the "seriousness" of Tiller's crimes. This is hardly surprising to me because at this point accusations are beginning to form against O'Reilly for his history of decrying Tiller on his show and thus allegedly "contributed" to "fostering an environment" for a home-grown terrorist to strike out in violence - but, of course, I don't know if O'Reilly ever really surprises me anymore.

Elsewhere, others have voiced opinions all over the Internet and in print; the NY Times Letters To The Editor has several responses, and one from Marquette University professor Daniel C. Maguire seemed especially poignant to me:

"The killing of Dr. George R. Tiller is not dissonant to the broader American culture. It was a very American murder, very reflective of national policy where torture is seen as a strategic necessity and the bullet as the final arbiter."

It's not to dissimilar from a sentiment I had earlier today while walking home, the concept of a contemporary genealogy of extremism in America and the ensuing effects of every group playing the blame game. Nobody wants to claim a homicidal lunatic, so everyone debates about who started the fire and, in the end, nothing much happens to change the situation - in this case, with abortion. It's an interesting comment on these increasingly cynical times for the land of the free, home of the brave.

In happier news...This, I think, is the funniest and most awesome thing to happen on primetime television so far this year. The best part about it isn't even Eminem; since the stunt was scripted, Zac Efron was the only one who doesn't have a clue what the hell was going on. The look on his face is priceless - pure "WTF"-ness.

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