Brooks Smith | Thursday, November 12, 2009
In my tradition of callous sensationalist grandstanding in the Viewpoint, I’ve made a minor name for myself. But gradually I’ve started to run short of things to make fun of. This is bad because the predatory masses, always hungry for the next big thing, won’t let me have a slow day. They’re out for blood. They want me to pick an issue and absolutely carpet-bomb the living daylights out of my opponents with rhetoric that will make Joe McCarthy sound like William Blake, and they don’t think it’s too much to ask that I do so every two weeks, like clockwork.
Now I try to remind my readers that I am an artistic genius, and my genius isn’t like public transportation, to be the slave of an ironclad schedule. No, my genius is more like public transportation — erratic, but heralded with great joy whenever it finally arrives.
But the vampires that call themselves my readers have no compunction about sucking me dry at the very moment when my tired shtick is running out of steam. So, desperate to reanimate the dead horse I’ve flogged so successfully with some artificial new life, I’ve decided to write a column which will be my most controversial yet. There’s only one subject here at Notre Dame that can have that effect. You guessed it: Abortion.
The convenient thing about abortion, from a polemical point of view, is that it poses a moral question which nobody has any trouble answering. Everybody sees the answer, it’s perfectly obvious, and there can be no room for discussion. Of course, everybody sees different perfectly obvious answers. But I don’t think that’s a good reason for suggesting, as some weak-willed moderates do, that the abortion issue is a “nuanced” one or that it “deserves rational, and not emotional, discussion” which “transcends the usual clichés.” In my opinion, it’s much better to contribute my own screed to the already lengthy list.
Indeed, the abortion debate lends itself peculiarly well to the kind of moral grandstanding I am just itching to perform in this column. A black-and-white issue, its essentials can be captured in the shortest of sound bites and thought-terminating clichés. It is clear that there is only one right answer, and the people who don’t see it are stupid and morally bankrupt. Part of the reason I was so eager to write this column was because I really wouldn’t have to write it, just cut and paste talking points from all the people who have already discussed it.
Man, I can’t wait to write this editorial. The people on the other side are going to have a lot of egg on their face once I’m done. People are going to pat me so hard on the back for how witty and hilarious I was in my column, and we’ll laugh together about how stupid my opponents are. “And just think, they’re as convinced they’re right as we are!” What morons.
Now to decide for myself who’s right. To abort or not to abort, that is the question. It’s all about killing babies, obviously. Or, wait, maybe it’s all about women’s rights. Drat! I know there’s only one right answer at all times, because everyone seems so certain that it’s universally right or universally wrong. But somehow I just can’t seem to see which universally right answer I should assert.
On the other hand, though, I can’t rush some wishy-washy, namby-pamby, morally relativist crap onto the pages of the Viewpoint. How boring that would be! “Reasoned arguments” and “thoughtful debate” are for politically correct pansies who are too afraid to take a stand. Plus that’s a total snoozefest!
Besides, it takes a really long time to think about an issue and write something reasonable about it. It’s better if I just slam some Monsters and type like a maniac till it’s finished. Even if it’s completely unfair and illogical, you can count on it being entertaining as h-e-double-hockey-sticks!
Let’s see which morons I should make fun of. Should I taunt Rush Limbaugh’s dittoheads? Or should I stand in the way of the bloody-handed liberals with Bill O’Reilly’s famous slogan, “We’ll do it live?” Decisions, decisions.
In the end, though, I can’t see that it matters which side actually wins. I’ll get the same amount of the attention I so desperately crave whether I uphold the status quo here at Notre Dame or attempt to “buck the trend.” And like all good pundits, that’s all I really care about. (Whoops! I forgot to write a column.)
Brooks Smith is a junior math and English major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer