We were contacted by August J. Pollak, a leftist of some notoriety, inquiring very politely whether we’d participate in a survey of his.
His Mishaness’ initial reaction was “scuze us?”, combined with a finger hovering over the delete key but, frankly, the way the email was worded and the question of the survey being as ludicrously bizarre as it is, we just couldn’t help ourself.
Not to mention that the whole idea of yours truly, of all people, being asked to what extremes he’d go in his support of Dubya, no matter what, was more than just a little bit amusing. Heaven knows that His Darthiness is among the most unquestioningly uncritical supporters of President Bush alive in the world today.
Or not, as the case may be. Mheh.
Anyway, you ask a silly question, you get a silly answer. And His Rottieness gets something to make fun of. It’s all good.
But enough of our babbling, let’s give the word to Mr. Pollak so’s to make sure that we’re not leaving anything out or putting words in his mouth. And our sincere thanks to him for going to the trouble of mailing us in the first place.
[UPDATED AT BOTTOM]
Dear conservative writer/blogger/pundit-
As I’m sure you are aware, there is a growing view from those on the left, myself included, that President Bush has abused Presidential power and could very well be breaking the law in his actions, and defense, of such things as torture, detention, and surveillance of American citizens. You have been sent this letter because it was indicated that you support the President and his position on some, if not all, of these matters.
Well, as far as those issues are concerned, you’re unlikely to find us not in support of his actions. Except for the fact that we’re a bit miffed in that he doesn’t seem to be willing to go far enough, but that’s just an example of how lovable we are and how little patience we have with terrorists intent on doing harm to us, our family and our fellow citizens. We’re funny that way.
So far, however, we have yet to see anything that would count as “abuse”, much less as an “illegal” act, which would make your question all the more relevant. So, just to make this crystal clear: When we say that we support his actions so far with regards to interrogation, detention and intelligence gathering pursuant to the Patriot Act and the powers vested in the Presidency, we say this categorically denying that any “illegalities” or “abuse” has occurred.
So don’t come crying that we’re supportive of crime or abuse. If you have proof of either, we can discuss that on a case-by-case basis. But so far you have zilch, nada, bupkes.
To emphasize my frustration at the seemingly-limitless extent many conservatives have supported Mr. Bush,
…the one to whom His Limitlessness likes to refer as “Vicente Fox’s cabana boy”, “Pres. Linguini-spine”, “Pres. Shrimpya” etc. etc.
I recently drew a political cartoon humorously questioning the reaction people would have if the President performed an act that was seemingly inexcusable: specifically, killing a kitten with a hammer.
Well, if you can’t find an actual inexcusable act, you can always make one up, right?
However, while the cartoon was satirical in nature, I realized that in all honesty, I have no idea if this would be true.
We’re certainly glad that you’ve at least come to that realization. Baby steps.
In fact, I and most others have no idea just how truly the average conservative thinker supports the President. If there is to be legitimate debate in this country, should the question not honestly be asked- would you, a conservative who supports the President and all his actions, still support him if he went as far as to kill a kitten with a hammer for no apparent reason? What if he killed several?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, it’s about time that the national discourse is taken to a more somber and serious level by asking that most pressing of questions: “Is it OK for the President to hammer kittens for no good reason at all?”
For months, nay years we’ve lain awake at night, wondering why on Earth nobody had yet had the guts to quit dicking around with less important issues of the day such as national security and focus like a laser beam upon that Question to End All Questions.
Therefore, I felt that this premise could be used as a template for an actual, concrete representation of the limit to which all Americans would oppose the unchecked actions of the Executive. Hence my humble request for your participation in the 2006 George W. Bush Dead Kitten Survey.
The survey will take a mere moment of your time, and consists of the following scenario:
Do go on. We’re all a-twitter with anticipation.
I would like for you to imagine the President of the United States, George W. Bush, killing kittens one-by-one with a hammer. When doing so, please keep in mind the following conditions of this hypothetical scenario:
Only one at a time? OK, it’s your hypothetical scenario after all. Go ahead.
1. The kitten will be killed by President George W. Bush. It will not be ordered killed, nor terminated in any way by a subordinate. You are to assume for the whole of this scenario that the reference to the killing implies a scenario in which President Bush will sit at his desk in the Oval Office, place a small kitten on the desk, and kill it by beating it with a hammer until it is dead, and possibly for a short time afterwards. No other means or individuals will be employed in the death of the kitten.
No acid? Not even a wood chipper? Awww… Come on. And what about the desk? Do you have any idea how expensive those are?
2. The hammer will be a standard carpenter’s hammer, of steel construction with a rubber handle grip. It is not a sledgehammer or any form of giant hammer that will guarantee the death of the kitten in a single blow.
We wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, after all. How about a jeweler’s hammer?
3. You are to assume that for every kitten death you accept, you will be willing to watch the actual act performed by the President.
“Assume?” I insist! And it’d better be taped as well in case I missed one.
It will not be done privately or in any intimate conditions to which the act may be deemed “more humane” or “less graphic.” Assume you will watch the full act of the President terminating the life of the kitten by one or possibly a series of blows with a hammer. You may determine the distance at which you are watching depending on your estimate of how messy the act may be and how much you may enjoy kitten parts being sprayed on you, if at all.
Can I sit on the desk? Or hold the kitten? Provided that you can guarantee that the President doesn’t hit my fingers with that nasty hammer, of course.
4. You are not to assume the kitten needs to die, is already dying, or has a reason to require being killed with a hammer by the President. In fact, assume that the kitten is perfectly healthy and of normal temperament, and would be perfectly suitable living a full life in any normal American household had it not been selected by the President to die.
Just like all of the innocent, perfectly harmless, tortured inmates of Gitmo, I assume? Or all of those perfectly normally tempered, healthy, wholesome Americans who’ve been on the phone with known terrorist organizations abroad? Look, I’m willing to stretch quite a bit and I’m not at all averse to suspending my disbelief, I wouldn’t love “24″ so much if that were the case (I mean, there’s no WAY that Jack Bauer’s hand could be cut by a mere knife like the one Habib Marwan had), but I thought you were looking to establish some sort of parallel here.
Alright then. Perfectly harmless, innocent kitten about to be brained on the Oval Office desk with a carpenter’s hammer. Got it.
Furthermore, no acknowledged benefit shall be suggested by death of the kitten nor any practical use be made of its remains. When the President has declared his satisfaction with his repeated blows to the kitten and a medical advisor concurs it is without question dead, an aide shall squeegee the remains of the kitten off the desk into a bag which shall then be incinerated.
No acknowledged benefit? Does my heartless amusement count as an acknowledged benefit?
6. At no point will you be given a reason for the President doing all of this.
He’s the President. He’s got a hammer. There’s a kitten sitting on his desk. What more reason does a man need?
The only statement that will be offered by the White House regarding the killing of kitten will be that the President was well within his authority. While you may personally surmise a legitimate reason, the President himself will give no reason for killing a kitten with a hammer other than his desire to do so.
Which is good enough for me. I have NO TIME to listen to his reasons anyway. Just do it. Do it NOW.
7. For the sake of this experiment, assume the President is not insane, nor of any unsound mind or condition suggesting a rationale for his actions above.
Bored doesn’t count, right?
Assume the President has decided that it is not only within his authority, but a necessity in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief, that he begin to murder kittens one by one with a hammer on the top of his desk.
I still say that it’d be a better way to utilize his time if we were to bundle them together and use a bigger hammer. There are one heck of a lot of kittens out there and we only have one President.
Given the terms of the scenario described above, this Survey presents the following three questions:
1. Were the event detailed above to occur, would you still support the Presidency of George W. Bush?
Given the complete and utter lack of relevance to anything the President has ever actually done or is likely to do, should I even bother answering? Of course I wouldn’t. Not because of the kitties, but if I said “yes”, the Imperial Rebbe would track me down like a rabid dog, chop me to pieces, turn me into shish-kebob and feed Frisky, Piper and Nardo with me. Unless he got really angry. If it wasn’t for that…
2. If the answer to Question #1 is yes, is there a number of kittens President Bush would kill with a hammer that would change your mind?
3. If the answer to Question #2 is yes, what would that number be?
I guess I won’t have to answer those two then.
I would venture at this point you’re assuming I’m mocking you. I assure you I am not.
If only I could say the same.
This is a legitimate survey using a hypothetical situation that, albeit gruesome and bizarre, is no less hypothetical than other surveys asking one’s opinions of a politician selling you a used car, or enjoying a drink with you at a bar- both actual survey questions used during the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. I am not asking all this rhetorically, and I am honestly accumulating all responses in the hope that all of you whom I have written will legitimately respond.
That in mind, please understand that like any other legitimate survey, responses that violate the accepted guidelines of a response must be invalidated. While I expect some responses that violate these guidelines- likely in the form of verbal abuse- they may not be incorporated in the final statistical results, although they may be posted in a full account of all received data.
Feel free to invalidate them. Just don’t use “verbal abuse” as an excuse. Trust me, you haven’t the ability to even imagine what verbal abuse from yours truly would look like. Not to mention that I find it hard to see any reason for verbal abuse here.
I’ve merely responded with a level of seriousness equal to the seriousness of the question.
Again, I thank you for your participation in this survey. In a time when the political climate is as divided as ever, I am hopeful that a honest consensus can be reached among the most left-leaning of Bush opponents and the most right-leaning of Bush supporters: that regardless of our stances on torture, wiretapping, and the extend of Executive power, maybe, just maybe, we draw the line at killing kittens with hammers.
Well, it’s been fun.
Don’t be a stranger, y’hear?
Darth Misha I
UPDATE: Wow, that was quick. I had originally intended to just cut ‘n paste my post here and send it back via email, but apparently Mr. Pollak is really serious about wanting replies, because he picked up on this post before I could get my lazy butt around to sending it. Of course, should he desire to post my reply in its entirety at his own site, I hereby give him permission to do so and thank him for his copyright considerations in his reply. On the other hand, this post isn’t going anywhere, so if he’d rather save the bandwidth and keep current with any updates here… It’s up to you, Mr. Pollak, you have my permission if you want it.
Now, as to your doubts regarding the sincerity of my reply: First off, I think I made it pretty clear what I thought about the seriousness of your question and that I replied accordingly. Your hypothesis is so far off the wall as to defy description and, furthermore and more importantly, it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to events past, present or even, I dare say, future.
As his full post suggests, Mr. Misha does not approve of the survey and apparently addresses the criteria of the kitten-killing scenario with sarcasm:
You seem to know sarcasm when you see it, yet you then go on to say:
throughout his response it appears he was going to approve of the President’s actions (ex. “He’s the President. He’s got a hammer. There’s a kitten sitting on his desk. What more reason does a man need?”)
So which is it going to be? Am I being sarcastic or am I not? Really, it can’t be all that hard to see. Or maybe it is:
While the sincerity of the response is questionable, as Mr. Misha’s post repeatedly noted his overwhelming support for President Bush’s torture and wiretapping stances, as well as expressed an almost excitedly-high interest in the act of Mr. Bush killing a kitten with a hammer,
Alright. You’re having me on, right? OK, I fell for it. Nice job. Surely you’re not that dense.
Though maybe you are, or maybe you just need to calm down and take your meds (no offense. Lots of people need their meds on a regular basis, no shame in that). I’m referring, of course, to your hyper-ventilating response here:
Also, one of his commentors threatened to kill me.
Dued, you need to chill. Really. What Mr. Pollak is referring to in case you’re too lazy to follow the link, is a reply to a comment written by LC Motaki in which she brilliantly demonstrates the absurdity of Mr. Pollak’s hypothesis by simple word substitution, a remarkably effective method that I’ve used many a time. LC Motaki’s comment is, and I quote:
How about a “Dead Liberal Survey?”
1. The liberal will be killed by [insert name]. It will not be ordered killed, nor terminated in any way by a subordinate. You are to assume for the whole of this scenario that the reference to the killing implies a scenario in which [insert name] will sit at his desk, place a small or large liberal on the desk, and kill it by beating it with a hammer until it is dead, and possibly for a short time afterwards. No other means or individuals will be employed in the death of the liberal.
…to which Lord Spatula, in his inimitable manner, replied:
Me!!! Meeeee!!! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Note the hysterically laughing smiley at the end.
Mr. Pollak: Your response not only illustrates LC Motaki’s point exceedingly well. Your reaction is, to say the very least, exactly what one would expect to an absurd “survey question” like that, should one ever see the light of day. Outrage. Now, my reaction was more one of amusement than one of outrage, but that’s because I simply could not for the life of me imagine that anybody could write something as silly as that and be serious about it. Also, you’d do well to note that LC Motaki, though obviously not exactly in awe of your person, was referring to a “generic liberal” and not you personally. Either you misunderstood her or you have an opinion of yourself even more inflated than my own opinion of my not-so-humble self, which is saying quite a bit.
Finally, I don’t much think that you have anything to fear from Lord Spatula. He wasn’t referring to you, he was referring to the generic liberal in LC Motaki’s example and, more importantly: “Hyperbole.” Look it up.
Would I consider President Bush fit for office if he suddenly and out of the blue developed a strange fascination with hammering kittens to death for no reason whatsoever? No, I wouldn’t. At the very least I’d insist that he undergo a full psychiatric evaluation and treatment as deemed necessary before I’d even consider letting him walk around with the nuclear football again.
Is such a scenario ever going to play out?
So what’s your point?
Provided that you have one, that is.