The Lileks Zone

Happy Fourth from the Left

Life is the bubble of smug: internet comedian Andy Borowitz tweeted  “If the GOP controlled barbeques, there’d be no food for kids and seniors and ten times more rockets.”

Boy, he nailed it, didn’t he? We just hate when the young and the elderly eat. He also points out  a fact that may have eluded you: political parties are responsible for the existence of food, and its subsequent distribution. I wonder if he think the GOP would have the foresight to choke off food supplies in advance so kids and old people starve, or send around the goons to take if off their plates. Details, details. Of course, one could suggest that if the liberals controlled barbeques, there wouldn’t be any, because they contribute to global warming. This New York Times article reminds us that this is a day for asking forgiveness for our climate sins:


The Fourth of July, the national celebration of combustion, presents an opportunity for atonement.

I’m not advising you to forsake grilling this holiday and join the ranks of raw-foodists. Nor do I believe that we can reverse  climate change by eating burgers rare instead of well done. But a little creative thinking can reduce this year’s Fourth of July carbon emissions without gustatory sacrifice. And maybe that awareness will carry into other days and other parts of our lives.

The author warns against the environmental impact of apple pie, and suggests some sort of grilled fruit – but use the dying embers to heat them; don’t light up the grill again. As for the GOP allowing more rockets, there’s an element of truth to that; the states where fireworks are most tightly constricted are the usual suspects – deep-blue states on the coast.

Another tweet, enthusiastically retweeted by lefties:

Happy 4th! Pig out on safe food, take good roads to city park, where fire / police protect your well-educated kids. Complain about govt.

Okay! Thanks! I will. Oh, wait – I get it. It’s super-cali-hypocrtical to raise a word against any excess or failing of the government if one has used one of its 1,034,205 manifestations. Try this the next time you’re arguing with one of those Teabagger types who insists on entitlement reform – hey, you drove your car on a road today, didn’t you? They won’t know what to say. Shuts ‘em right up.

And then there’s a cartoon in today’s paper: a quote from some 19th century notable deriding those who deride patriotism, but also deriding those who are more patriotic than they should be. (Determining the uppermost limit of acceptable patriotism is one of those calibrations the left properly reserves for itself, being keenly aware of all the national deficiencies that should always inform one’s decision to love one’s country.) The cartoon has a drawing of a middle-aged white guy with a flag and a USA T-shirt, clutching a Bible, with some “Freedom Fries” in front of him for a particularly timely reference.

A greater threat the Republic can hardly be imagined.


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July 2011