A Golf Game and a Massacre

It is an absurd conspiracy theory. I do not believe for a moment that any deal was made on a golf course between the Taoiseach and Sean Fitzpatrick of Anglo-Irish Bank. It’s ridiculous to hold up this chance encounter as the smoking gun that proves they were in cahoots.

You don’t need meetings to work out which side bread is buttered on. Cogs in a machine don’t have to talk to each other. Government had been working in the interests of Anglo-Irish in particular and reckless property speculation in general for years before that. That was where all the money was coming from. The money that was keeping them in power. Not to mention the percentage that was finding its way into their own personal lives, apparently by sheer osmosis. The reason we need to get Fianna Fáil out of government forever is not that Brian Cowen was a naughty boy. It’s because the whole FF political machine has become rotten to the core. There’s not much to add to that, so let us turn to the strange things going down in America.

Well I guess we’re not going to be using the phrase “grammar Nazi” so much in future.

When someone attempts to kill a Democrat Congresswoman, especially in this brittle political climate, the natural assumption is that they’re a gun-hugging Tea Party extremist. Confusingly however, Loughner appears to be just a plain nut. One must be careful not to blacken the name of the insane – he has not, it seems, ever been diagnosed with a mental illness – but his personal ravings have that familiar paranoid sound.

Which is sort of a disappointment really. When someone goes on a killing spree it would be nice to have an explanation. We want something bigger and more important than one young man’s distorted fantasies to share the blame. The weird upshot of this being that Loughner’s insanity actually seems to make him more personally responsible.

But as no one is obviously to blame, everyone is going to blame everyone. Loughner provided plenty material for this; his book collection covered the gamut from the Communist Manifesto to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, allowing any pundit of any stripe to construct the story of their choice. I have no doubt at all that someone is going to look straight into a TV camera and say that Loughner shot the Democratic Governor because he is a liberal. Probably on Fox.

Indeed if anyone other than the shooter himself can bear any of the blame here, it must be Fox News. Not because it’s the station that promotes right-wing demagoguery, but because it’s the station that promotes paranoia. Fox likes to claim it’s just responding to a liberal bias in the other television networks. (Funny how the didn’t seem liberal until Fox came along.) If they do have such a bias though, it is the one that most educated Americans have, invested in the progress and improvement of their own country. Rupert Murdoch’s investment is a financial one only. He came to the well of American public discourse and saw that he could make a buck out of poisoning it.

By the way, has it ever struck you how all of Fox’s main conservative hate-makers – Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity – have a Catholic or an Irish background? I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it disturbs me.

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