Ted at it Again, Again, Again
For some reason I appear to be the guy online who gets to be Ted Rall’s Keeper, since any time he writes something outrageously controversial I get e-mail going “See what your friend has done now? What do you think about that? Huh? huh? huh?” This time around it’s the cartoon about Pat Tillman that’s got everyone worked up, and people want to know what I think about it and about Ted doing it. Fine.
Cartoon first: It’s not my thing. I differ from Ted on my opinion of the morality and the goals of the war in Afghanistan, so this is not terribly surprising. However, even if I did agree with Ted about the morals of that particular war, I’d suggest that even those who fight in a war of dubious morality can fight well and with honor — and indeed be heroes. This is why, for example, that even though I continually note how evil the Confederacy was, I can also note that many of those who fought for the Confederacy did so honorably. I don’t equate the recent occupation of Afghanistan with the Confederacy, and Pat Tillman, from what I understand, died trying to save his squadmates under attack, for which he received a posthumous Silver Star. For that action alone, “hero” is not a bad description of Tillman. So for my money Ted’s wrong here.
Ted next: People, look. I don’t know why any of you are surprised at this point that Ted’s going to take a whack at sensitive areas. He’s been doing it for well over a decade now; he’s going to keep on doing it until he keels over at his desk, pen in hand. He’s a superlefty who is not shy in his opinions and certainly doesn’t mind antagonizing people. This isn’t a defense of Ted; I’m merely noting a fact. This is his business, and he’s good at it. By all means, rail against him and support boycotts of outlets that syndicate his work if you believe it is going to have some sort of effect. If I were you, however, I wouldn’t labor under the illusion that you’re going to shame him into silence, directly or indirectly. It’s a big country. There are too many media outlets, even if you just count the ones on the left. And on either side of the political spectrum there’s no lack of opportunity for those with extreme views. I mean, hell. Ann Coulter keeps managing to scrape up enough dough to eat and hang clothes on her frame. You think Ted’s not going to be able to do the same?
Also, I’d note that before he was a cartoonist, Ted worked in investment banking. So conservatives may want to ask whether it’s worth it to drive him out of cartooning. He just might end up handling your investments.
I do have a couple of comments to make to all the people who call Ted a coward and declare that they’d fight him if they saw him. On the latter, Ted’s not a small fellow, nor does he run from things in my experience. And he’s extraordinarily litigious. If you’re thinking of throwing a punch, don’t expect Ted to fold like a liberal sissy man; he’s likely to fight back. And after he does, he’ll be happy to sue your ass for damages and keep the suit going until the very heat death of the universe. So if you’re going to make that punch, make sure you can take the hit.
On the former, unlike most of the rest of us, Ted’s actually been to Afghanistan, both before this recent war and during it. He didn’t have to go to Afghanistan, and not a few of us who knew him told him that he was insane to go. But he felt that he needed to go and be a witness to what was happening there. At one point in his most recent stay he came one doorknob turn from being shot and likely killed. There are many things Ted may be, negative and positive, but I guarantee you that “coward” is not one of them.