Saturday, October 04, 2008



By Doug Holder

Writer Marty Beckerman is an extremist. He “extremely” hates “extremists” of any stripe, be they Left or Right. He writes in the introduction to his book: “Dumbocracy: Adventures with the Loony Left, The Rabid Right, and other American Idiots,” (Disinformation Press) that:

“…extremists are no fun. Hardcore right-wingers wish to shove God down our throats, but hate the freedom of guys who shove things down one another’s throats…Meanwhile left-wingers wish to regulate our behavior with taxes on anything unhealthy/enjoyable, prohibitions on tactless speech and regulations that determine how much time we spend in the shower.”

You might think that Beckerman, an East Coast writer in his 20’s, might seriously lean to the Left. You’d be wrong. This dude looks askance at both extremes.

Beckerman, who will appearing at The Somerville News Writers Festival Nov. 22, 2008 recounts his experience with abortion activists, feminists, Republicans, Democrats, in short all the stumblebums on the scene. He records, like some hip Boswell, the life and times of this febrile Milieu, with all their many warts. The book is peppered with absurd quotes from these zealots, and he works in a very funny and astute commentary. Beckerman obviously has done his homework, and there is no paucity of levity in this book.

Like H.L.Mencken, (the famous columnist for The Baltimore Sun), said of Puritanism, Beckerman feels these foaming –at-the-mouth hordes are fearful “that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

He writes:

“ Activists of the Left and Right, whose only pleasure is derived from depriving others of pleasure, have erected a Nanny State that forbids the enjoyment of anything. Our government spends zillions of dollars, and passes zillion of laws, to protect you from pornography, marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes and unhealthy food. Not only is the knee-jerk moral totalitarianism unnecessary, it often exacerbates the vice in question; forbidden fruit is far sweeter than mundane bullshit.”

To further illustrate his point of the absurdity of this maddening crowd, Beckerman gets a plum quote from feminist Sally Miller Gearhart in her essay: “ “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female”:

“To secure a world of female values and female freedom we must, I believe, add one more element to the structure of the future: the ratio of men to women must be radically reduced so that men approximate only ten percent of the population…One option is of course male infanticide.” Fortunately for us guys Gearhart later said that infanticide was “unworkable,” not immoral mind you!

And how about porno? Beckerman reminds us that Republican “Tricky” Dick Nixon believed that pornography had a direct link to crime. A task force he created opined:

“There is no warrant for continued government interference with the full freedom of adults to read, obtain or view whatever they wish.” In fact the commission determined that the majority of rapists for instance, viewed less pornography than the average American male, and lived in conservative Christian households.”

Beckerman has an interesting take on the sodomy question. It seems that the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws that criminalize private bedroom behavior are unconstitutional. He writes that Republican Rick Santorum suggested that the US government designate all sexual intercourse illegal. He quotes Santorum:

“ If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery…homosexuality…man on child…It all comes from, I would argue this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United Sates Constitution, this right that was created.”

Beckerman points out that the Senator is a devout Catholic, and doesn’t believe in in- vitro fertilization, so this implies, according to the author—he wants the extinction of humanity. Hmm…

Of course the Left has gone crazy in quite another way. Beckerman points out that Texas A&M “requires” faculty to celebrate and “promote” homosexuality. Carnegie Mellon University fired a staff member for refusing to wear a gay pride symbol during a sensitivity training. And the list goes on.

In this time of violent fundamentalist creeds, virulent free market capitalism, regulation, deregulation, blue and red states, and hate, we need someone like Beckerman to step back and throw a metaphorical pie in these jokers’ eyes.

--Doug Holder

* For more info. About The Somerville News Writers Festival go to:

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