I've never boycotted anything. Not a store, not an entertainer, not a certain food product. I figure if people have a problem with some entity, be it a corporation or a rock star, they can choose whether or not to consume any goods put out by that corporation or person. And I can see where that might be seen as standing behind your convictions, and where my lack of boycotting might be seen as not standing by my convictions.
I try to separate the parts from the whole. I like Johnny Depp, the actor. I can't see throwing away all my favorite Tim Burton DVDs just because Johnny stars in most of them and Johnny doesn't like the U.S. of A. I still call my fries french
fries and I eat croissants and drink French wine.At least half of my CDs are produced by bands or artists that have been know to participate in anti-war activities; some are even on tour right now, promoting some kind of anti-Bush, America is Evil agenda. But I like the music. I enjoy the music very much. And I am not going to pull all of those CDs off of my playlist because the lead singer is an anti-American jerk. When the music plays, he's just a singer, or a guitarist and I dance/sing away. I still treasure all my copies of Too Much Coffee Man even though the author of those comics is a Friend of Rall. I am not going to deny myself the laughs that Shannon Wheeler provides me just because in his spare time he parades against the war in Iraq. Separate the politics from the person is my motto. Unless, of course, the politics is
the person. Then you can't separate them.
So I've struggled with myself last night over the issue of boycotting the papers and websites that pay Ted Rall to print his crap.
The struggle lasted about ten minutes. There is nothing redeeming about Ted Rall, I reasoned. His art sucks, his humor is devoid of cleverness, his rants border on treason (see his rant on encouraging the troops to abandon Iraq) and he's just a cruel, callous man. There is no message in his comics except vile hatred for America and most of its citizens. Do I want to engage in this boycott? Do I want to follow Andrew Sullivan's lead
and protest Universal Press Syndicate?
Yes, I do.
Mike says this:
bq. The time for merely railing in places like this against Rallís childishly treasonous outbursts is past. Itís now time to do something more concrete and tangible about him. Let him scream ďstifling of dissentĒ all the way to the pauperís grave he so richly merits; let him peddle his filth from somewhere other than the protective bosom of the country he so obviously despises. Let him lie down with the terrorist dogs his nihilistic ivory-tower Leftism breeds, weans, and coddles and see if heís more comfortable in their embrace than our own. Let him reap what heís sown. There is no reason in the world that any nation, any society, any civilization, should have to tolerate such trifling, intellectually dishonest, and despicable attacks. The fact that he lacks the self-discipline to muzzle his own baser impulses is no reason to continue letting him shit on a rug he didnít pay for in the first place.
I'm inclined to agree with him. Wholeheartedly.
Let's call this proverbial straw on the camel's back. I've been running after Ted Rall for two years now
It's just one panel, not even the whole strip. In just one, tiny sentence, Ted Rall changes from just another bitter anti-America screech owl into a hatemongerer. Sure, you can say that some of Rall's past works have been hateful. But not like this. He paints Pat Tillman and, in essence, every soldier who enlisted after 9/11, as racist thugs who want nothing more than to murder Arabs.
That's disdainful. It's arrogant, it's obnoxious, it's vile and it's contemptible. No newspaper or syndicate in their right mind should be letting this hateful attempt at humor grace their pages.
Rall is a disgrace to America. Here is a man who, as a New York City resident, saw the charred rubble of the World Trade Center up close. He saw first hand the devastation of 9/11. And yet he thinks going into Afghanistan is evil and wrong. I don't understand his mind set.
After we began the war on terror in Afghanistan, Rall took a trip over there (risking his life
as a visiting cartoonist, mind you). Apparently, he made nice with some residents who told him that this was no war on terror and Bush was just bombing them to protect an oil pipeline. Ted smacked his head and said, DOH!
What I would like to ask Ted is this: What about the Taliban, who had large bases in that country? What about bin Laden, who was hiding out in Afghanistan? No, scratch that. I want to ask this not just of Rall, but of all people who think that the war taking place in Afghanistan is evil, wrong and immoral: What should our reaction to 9/11 have been? Please, enlighten me.
Back to the matter at hand, that being whether or not to ask Universal Press Syndicates to get rid of Rall's comic.
Yes, I am going to write emails today. I don't think Rall's brand of humor and/or political rants belong in anything but some underground paper distributed to raging anarchists in the basement of some decrepit apartment building. And while I will stop short of asking them to no longer print Rall's work, I will be telling them that I will do everything in my power to make it known that Universal Press Syndicate advocates hate speech and the degradation of our soldiers during wartime.
Rall hatred is no longer a source of amusement for me. It's disturbing. Will I be provoking censorship by emailing UPS? No, because I am not going to ask them to stop using Rall's work. But I'm going to be damn sure to spread the word that UPS is syndicating a columnist that wishes ill will upon our troops (yes, he has stated this in so many words) and thinks they are all racist, wannabe murderers.
The fact that he thinks we had no right to a)defend ourselves and b)attack Afghanistan to prevent more terrorism is another rant for another day.
I'll be doing what Sullivan asks today:
bq. The hate-monger is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate. It's not censorship or "McCarthyism" for people to complain about any syndicate that peddles the poison that Rall lives off. Today's disgusting diatribe against Pat Tillman is so vile, so utterly devoid of any motive or argument but personal malice and hatred, some form of protest is surely merited. Email the vice-president for print syndication, Lee Salem, and tell him what you think of Rall's cartoon. Please, please, be civil. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He needs to hear from you.
I reiterate what Sullivan said: Civil. Flies with honey.
[For a further look into the mind of Ted Rall, go here
Related: The Ted Rall Unemployment Project
If anyone has a screeshot of the Kerry ad appearing on Rall's site, please email me. I got that information from someone else and I would like to make sure it's accurate.
Update: I just received an email from a reader that read, in part:
bq. I'm forwarding an email to you that I sent this morning to the national sports talk show host Jim Rome. Rome had a personal relationship with Pat Tillman and actually gave the eulogy at Pat's funeral yesterday. If you've ever heard one of Rome's rants on the radio you know he's capable of beating a subject to death and he does have a national audience that rivals Rush Limbaugh. I wanted you to know what I'd done in case you'd care to rally YOUR troops to email Rome about taking the fight to Rall.
He includes a copy of the email he sent:
Iím sending you this email because youíve demonstrated in so many ways the high regard you held for Pat Tillman.
Ted Rall, a political columnist and cartoonist has recently published a cartoon that defamed Pat in a manner that was particularly despicable. Rather than try to describe the garbage this jackhole produced Iíll provide an internet link:
This particular cartoon was/is published in a wide array of places on the internet including MSNBC, which has since removed it from their website.
Today, Mr. Rall is vigorously defending his work, saying, amongst other things:
"At best, Tillman was foolish and misguided." And
"Mr. Tillman served an evil president and an evil cause" as justification for his defamation.
As you can imagine, this lunatic has infuriated a large segment of the online community who, like you, revere the memory of Pat Tillman.
Jim, this moonbat deserves to be publicly excoriated for his actions and as the songs says "nobody does it better" than you my man.
Do with that what you will.
[*ed note: This may be edited later for clarity, as I'm writing it on the fly]