So I was thinking of Brad DeLong's and Matt Yglesias' defense of Bill Bennett, and I have to admit there's a certain logic to it. As long as what I'm pointing out is unambiguously true, and I properly disclaim that I am horrified by the prospect of what I'm describing, it's perfectly OK for me to say any awful thing that I can think of.
It is unambiguously true that if Brad DeLong and Matt Yglesias were beaten to death by a gang of bikers, it would be a horrific crime as well as a great loss to their families.
This got me thinking about what other things are unambiguously true.
Extremely graphic vulgarity below the fold. It is unambiguously true that you have been warned.
It's like the joke in the movie The Aristocrats
. If you haven't seen it, the movie is about a joke that comedians tell other comedians, which starts with a guy walking into a talent agent's office to describe his act. The punchline of the joke is that the act is called "The Aristocrats". What's in the middle of the joke is a description of the act, which involves as many abhorrent sexual and violent acts as the comedian can think of.
In this case, as long as you start with "It is unambiguously true..." and end with a proper declaration of remorse and unambiguously true factuality, you are at liberty to describe any goddamn thing you want. The more horrific the act, and the more trite the "truth", the better.
It is unambiguously true that if Matt Yglesias had been tied up in the New York Yankees locker room after their season-ending loss to the Red Sox last year, and as the losing Yankees filed out of the stadium they decided to take their frustrations out by proceeding to, one after another, pissing all over his face, filling Matt's open mouth with gallon after gallon of hot steaming Yankee pee, it would have been nauseating and a display of extremely poor sportsmanship.
It's not hard to see how nice this construct is. Right wing pundits can flog their deeply-hidden racist, eliminationist, bat-shit crazy fantasies for all to see, and when someone tries to call them on their bullshit, they can shrug it off with crocodile tears of "but it's TRUE!"
It is unambiguously true that if I were to put a funnel in Brad DeLong's mouth, and then drop my pants and take an enormous diarrheic dump in the funnel, it would be disgusting and Brad would very much want to brush his teeth.
In fact, if liberals like DeLong and Yglesias are going to leap to Bennett's defense, I can already see conservative commentators placing bets in a one-upsmanship contest, to see who can come up with a statement that is still unambiguously true yet is so horrible, so vile that at long last no liberal will stand up to defend their right to state unambiguous, if horrible and contrived, truths.
It is unambiguously true that if Brad DeLong came home only to find Matt Yglesias violently sodomizing his cat, hips thrusting away with abandon while kitty howled and yowled in protest, it would be a horrible instance of bestiality and Brad would wonder what Matt was doing in his house.
But I suppose that these "center left liberals" are so level-headed and intellectually detached that they can't bring themselves to criticize true things that should be criticized, just because they're true. This means it's going to be just about impossible for me to upset them with any unambiguous truth I can come up with, right?
It is unambiguously true that if Brad DeLong and Matt Yglesias were tied up side by side and naked in the back room of a San Francisco leather bar, with their pale pink asses pointed skyward, and then that Indonesian military officer who caned that diplomat's son for stealing stop signs were to come in, and start thrashing them both with a cricket bat, thwack thwack thwack, and after a short while the ringing blows of the bat were nearly drowned out by Matt and Brad's shrieks of agony, with their tear-streaked cheeks as red as their bruised and battered buttocks, and then the one and only Popeye were to walk in wearing nothing but a pair of leather chaps and a jockstrap, and then he were to proceed to fist-fuck them both at the same time, with his enormous cartoon forearms pistoning in and out of their rectums, so deep that with each thrust his anchor tattoos would completely disappear under their stretched-out sphincters, and then when he finally was up to his elbows in both of them he were to pause there, wearing the two of them like an enormous pair of center-left liberal oven mitts, and if Gary Coleman were to walk in with an up a can of spinach for Popeye to slurp through his pipe, and as the bass-heavy techno music in the bar gives way to the clarinet "Dah dut-duh-dut-duh-duh-dah!" blasts of Popeye's theme song, and as the wave of vegetable-induced muscular enhancement were travelling up his arms and passed into the two pundits plugged patooties caused such a large stretch that you could actually hear their pelvises squeaking under the strain, it would be extremely raunchy and the two of them would be at grave risk for perforated colons.
I suppose we could actually get courageous principled stands from our pundits, against things like advocating genocide... but it is unambiguously true that with DLC-loving mushy-middle wimps like DeLong and Yglesias, we won't get them.