Friday, September 30, 2005

A history of virtue

If you are not familiar with Mr. Bill Bennett, here's a photo:


Bennett was once the Secretary of Education under Reagan, and then served as U.S. Drug Czar. He is most famous as a right-wing commentator, and author of The Book of Virtues. His big thing is promoting morality and good virtues (narrowly-defined), and he of course knows what is best for everyone.

So, if you haven't heard already, Mr. Bennett is in the news lately. On a recent talk show, here is what Mr. Virtues said:

"If you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Charming. Now, of course he went on to say that he was not advocating this line of action, as it would be "an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

Again, charming.

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Today I saw the stunning movie A History of Violence, a masterful tale about the impact of a life of violence. The film contained some of the most shocking and disturbing images of violence I have ever seen, but none of it was gratuitous -- the images don't let the audience escape from the result of violence. (It also contained some of the most graphic and uncomfortable sex scenes I have seen in a while.) But all of this is praise. It is a powerful and shocking, ultimately brilliant movie. I suspect that Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello (who is amazing) will both be nominated for Oscars, and both Ed Harris and William Hurt also give great performances.

So far, my take on the best films of the year: Crash, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, but as I have already posted, many upcoming releases are on my to-see list.

14 Comments:

At 7:18 PM, Blogger Johnny V posited...

Technically, very technically, speaking, he is right because, logically, less people results in less crime. That, of course, is not what he had in mind of course. Typical Republican remark. Take that, Tom.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

I have no reason to defend this guy. i mean, youd have to be slightly stupid to say anything like this on national television, but, for the sake of debate, i will. First of all, its a proven fact that crime is higher among black communities, why this is true is certainly debatable, but it is. Being a republican, he is obviously against abortion, which makes his statement almost certainly very sarcastic and definately very ironic. So, in light of this "new" information, one should definately be able to see that this guy was making a statement about the absurdity of abortion, although he did it in a manner that gave away his rascism.
I guess my point is, i highly doubt that the intent of his comment was to simply denounce black people as criminals. Unfortunately, he brought the focus away from what he meant it to be with a TERRIBLE Freudian-slip, analogy style.

Man, I should SO be GW's spokesman... I can see it now... "No, no, no, what the President MEANT to say is..."

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

OH MAN, I JUST SAW A STORY ON CNN ABOUT THIS BENNET THING, AND THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT HE THINKS THAT IT WAS INNAPROPRIATE, THEREFORE, OF COURSE, SO DO I. I TAKE BACK ALL OF MY DEFENSE OF HIM.

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

ooh, but i also just found out that he WAS trying to say that abortion was bad, kudos for me....

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger Johnny V posited...

Yahtzee.

 
At 1:20 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

A very good, rell-reasoned thought process, Tom. But having watched Bill Bennett's career for a long time, here is my take:
He's against abortion.
He's a racist bastard.
How will he balance the two? Alas, the fetus loses out.
If he had to put them on a scale, his racism would win. Better have a bunch of aborted black people than live ones. "But abortion is wrong, (in most cases.)"

Tom, you are also misusing the word sarcasm here. It is fun to think he was being ironic, but everyone knows he wasn't. And your use of the phrase "Freudian slip" is more telling than you meant it to be.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Tom posited...

how so?

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Tom posited...

whatever. im too tired to explain why youre wrong. maybe tomorrow.

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

To which part is your "how so" in reference?


But, on a lighter note, wouldn't being GW's spokesman be too draining? Of course you would be good at it, since you are a smart person, but it seems like it would be SOOOOO non-stop.

I have never thought that Scott McClellan was very good at it. He seems so . . . non-spokesman-like.

 
At 3:48 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

Dub, an inquiry.

Do you believe that what Bennett said, taken at face value only, is true?

Because, however ill-advised and crude his statement was/is, I would wonder as to the actual statistical validity of the statment itself. Now, I don't know one way or the other. And I suspect neither does Bennett, at least in a definitive manner, but honestly, c'mon. Proportionally, it is a simple truth that crime among blacks is much higher than any other racial demographic in the US.

Extrapolate that, which Bennett obviously did to well past the nth degree, and you get what he said.

Anyway, point is, do you think what he said is true, with reference to merely the statistical probability of committing crimes?

I'm just curious. Having lived in Chicago for a few years, I'm sure you could make an accurate assessment.

---

And, no, I should be the spokesperson. Because when GWB goes Spanish style, I'm right there along for the ride.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Johnny V posited...

Parker, you do look decidedly Mexicano.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Parker, my next post will answer your question, I hope...

 
At 11:20 PM, Blogger markymark posited...

i realize i'm coming into this comment page rather late, and that my comment has nothing to do with the main theme of the comments, but i saw History of Violence tonight, and while it definitely had some good acting and a few redeeming themes, I just wasn't a fan. there was just something about it that made me pissed that i had spent a saturday night (a guys night no less) watching that movie.

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Mark -- I can understand your reaction. And while I said that the violence was not gratuitous, I am not sure I can say the same for the nudity and sex. (Which is not to say that nudity and sex are necessarily bad) I suppose it has to do with realism, and the sex was definitely not "stylized," but was instead sloppy and such. As if to say, "Violence is hard to stomach, so here are some very graphic images of people with holes in their faces, and oh yeah, sex is kind of savage too."
But I still quite liked the film. Sorry if my enthuiastic review led to a wasted evening!

 

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