Thursday, June 24, 2010

Joe Barton, Apologist At Large (Updated)

Update at the end of the post//Jim


Ever read Larry Niven’s Ringworld?

The novel opens with an apology.

The alien Nessus takes our hero Louis Wu to New York in order to recruit a Kzin for a dangerous mission. Now for those of you not familiar with Known Space, the Kzin are eight foot tall, militaristic tiger-like carnivorous Berserkers with razor sharp claws and uncontrollable tempers who literally eat their own young and anybody or anything else they can catch – they take particular delight in consuming the meat of intelligent creatures, while said creature is still warm and screaming. The Kzin are an angry, angry species and are perpetually offended and outraged by one thing or another and with a particular disgust for vegetarians (the phrase, “how much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a leaf?” is one of their stock insults). You might consider the Kzin as the Conservative ideal.

Nessus is a Pierson’s Puppeteer, an alien, a professed coward, a dedicated pacifist, highly intelligent, a three-legged deer-like herbivore – sort of the ultimate Liberal – and, as such, beneath contempt for such mighty warriors as the Kzin.

And yet, oddly, it is Nessus who deliberately delivers the ultimate challenge in the most insulting and offensive way possible to a table full of Kzin in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Louis is thrust into middle of the conflict - becuase the Kzin will not fight a plant eater like Nessus, that would be like challenging your salad to a duel, instead they go for the herbivore's human companion - knowing full well that by joining in he will end as shredded gobbets of bloodied flesh at the claws and teeth of those enraged Kzinti warriors.

Except that he isn’t. Turned into cat food, that is.

Instead of leaping to the attack at the herbivore's mortal insult, one of the Kzin apologies for any insult the Kzinti may have offered and the rest sit down and resume their meal.

Louis is left standing stunned in the middle of the diner, surrounded by frightened and appalled patrons.

It turns out that the apologetic carnivore is one Speaker-to-Animals, lowest of the low. Since the Kzin tend to scream and leap without thinking, they haven’t fared well against mankind. A series of disastrous wars have left their species decimated. So now, when conflict happens, it is Speaker-to-Animals’ job to apologize immediately. It is the single most degrading job imaginable for a Kzin, equivalent to “herbivorous shit eater” or “sodomizer of plants” – but according to Speaker himself, he is low-born and of substandard intellect and education, there is no other job available to him. Self respect and honor are not options.

And so he spends his days apologizing to humanity for his perpetually offended people.

You see where this is going right? You can see it already, can’t you?

By now you’re familiar with the Grovelling Abasement Heard ‘Round the World.

I am, of course, talking about Speaker-To-Big-Oil Joe Barton’s apology to British Petroleum.

I wasn’t going to write about this incident, really I wasn’t. It's like making fun of the Blago guy, talk about setting the bar on the bottom rung, comedy wise. I mean, honestly how in the hell do you expect me to top apologizing to British Petroleum. We’re so sorry our President yelled at you, BP, and demanded that you put your billions where your promises are, just because your poorly maintained well blew up and killed a bunch of American oil workers, destroyed the livelihoods of millions, polluted an entire fucking sea, and perpetuated the largest ecological disaster in American history. Could have happened to anybody. God, talk about embarrassing. Oh the humanity. I will now consume the fecal dropping of grass-eaters and fornicate with the house plants.


So I wasn’t going to jump on the Barton clown car. Because, you know, making fun of the mentally challenged is just crass – and even I have limits when it comes to assholery. (And besides, the Tonight Show was able to crank out a couple of fairly funny one-liners regarding Barton. Frankly if Leno can get a chuckle out of Barton, well it hardly seems worth the effort on my part, if you know what I mean. Really)

But, see, it turns out that there is no stupidity too far when it comes to conservative hatred of Barack Obama. There is no ultra rightwing position so astoundingly stupid that you can’t find a flock of conservatives following it. Turns out there are a whole bunch of people who agree with Barton’s comment and are repeating it enthusiastically far and wide – or at least I think they are, it’s hard to understand them, what with the petroleum flavored Cool-Aid gurgling in their throats. And this, right here, is proof positive of the irrational insanity of the Tea Party and the far right. These defective lunatics will grasp at any straw, no matter how utterly and obviously ridiculous, in order to stoke their hatred of Barack Obama.

These people are actually saying Go Barton! America should apologize to British Petroleum, that they are embarrassed and ashamed because the President of the United States asked an oil company to live up to its promise to take responsibility for its unparalleled negligence.

What the fuck?

You know how to make conservatives enthusiastically pro-abortion? …Tell ‘em Barack Obama is Pro-Life.

That’s right.

Seriously, if Obama announced today that he was slapping a moratorium on abortion in America, the RNC, the GOP, The Southern Baptist Convention, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, Orly Taitz, John Boehner, Joe Wilson, Dick Cheney, the angry little bearded goof down on the corner here in Palmer with the "LaRouche says Obama=Hitler" sign, the shambling reanimated corpse of zombie Charlton Heston, and every single ultra rightwing uber-patriot would suddenly stop snorting coke off Rentboy’s shaved ass and angrily shake their little NRA hats in the air and howl in outrage at the top of their lungs deploring the liberal Nazi communist socialist oppression that denies a good conservative girl’s right to choose and demanding unfettered access to truth, justice, and Planned Parenthood just like Jesus wanted when he penned the Constitution. It’s gotten to the point where if Obama says the sky is blue, conservatives will immediately deny that blue spectral wavelengths even exist and the whole thing is a myth perpetuated by Big Environment and Al Gore…and Glenn Beck will point out that blue was the color of the Muslim socialist Nazi Communist Liberal Progressives when they ruled Kenya! Yes, yes, Hitler, you know, was big on blue skies and look how that turned out! Weep for America! Weep! Weep!


Barton seems afflicted with an advanced case of reflexive verbal diarrhea. He apologized. He apologized for his apology, and then he apologized for the apology’s apology to the GOP in order to keep his real job with Big Oil, ur, the Energy and Commerce Committee. Then he apologized for the apology's apology's apology in order to tell his supporters, heh heh had my fingers crossed. The problem with Barton’s highly contagious feces-borne affliction is that there is always a certain percentage of the population who routinely play in shit and then put their hands in their mouths. I’d like to say that Barton is their king, but Glenn Beck already has that job. Barton is more like the Court Jester - or that little monkey thing that sat in Jabba the Hut's belly button.

It got me thinking. Maybe, like the Kzin, conservatives need a professional apologist.

Barton, being of low birth and poor intellect and generally willing to roll in his own excrement, would be perfect. He’s already apologized to BP, who else might we liberals have offended?

Exxon? Perhaps Barton could apologize to Joe Hazelwood. Sorry about that big fucking rock in the middle of Prince William Sound, Captain Happy Hour.

How about the Taliban? Sorry we blew up your country. It’s our fault for running our skyscrapers into your airplanes.

Maybe he could apologize to the Japanese for Pearl Harbor. Better late than never says I.

Say, here's an idea:

Maybe as the former Chairman and now ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - you know, the folks reponsible to the American people for energy policy and safe oil drilling regulations - Joe Barton could apologize to America for taking a shitload of money from the industry he's supposed to be keeping an eye on. See Joe Barton didn't just take campaign contributions from Big Oil, his biggest contributor ($146,000) is Anadarko Petroleum - who happens to own 25% of the Deep Water Horizon well. Can you say conflict of interest? Not in Joe's mind, his interests are clearly deliniated. Can you say Fuck Me? Sure you can. While he's at it, maybe Joe could apologize for being a climate change denier - while taking money from industries and commercial interests who are some of the planet's biggest polluters. And he could also apologize for trying to deny 40 million Americans affordable healthcare while taking over $2.2. million from the health insurance industry. That was $2.2 million, just in case you missed it. Yes, you may say Fuck Me again. Maybe Joe could apologize to autistic kids for blocking passage of a law designed to combat the disease - because it contained provisions to research possible environmental causes of autism. Joe is not real big on the enviroment, it's probably a good thing people can breath oil then, isn't it?

Man, Barton’s going to be a busy guy.

Hey, I know! Maybe Barton could apologize to our allies for calling them cowards, failing to heed their caution, lying outright on the floor of the UN, and then invading the wrong country on that same manufactured pretext?

He could start by apologizing to France.


Yeah, boy howdy, that would be embarrassing now, wouldn’t it? Barton would probably condemn anybody who did that.

But, yeah, let's apologize to an oil company because our president asked them to prove that their promises are more than just empty words. Remember, the oil industry made promises to us Alaskans - and then spent the next twenty years throwing lawyers at us instead of making good. Alaskans know exactly what a promise from an oil company is worth, a big fat fuckall. You should be damned grateful that you have a president who said, "Show me the money," I sure wish we'd had that here.

Somebody from Texas please explain to me why Joe Barton still has a Congressional ID that lets him into the capital building. This horse's ass has done nothing but line his own pockets with millions. Millions at your expense, Texas. President Obama got billions for you not from tax dollars, but from the people who destroyed your coast. Barton meanwhile denies that the oil spill even exists.

BP has to clean up their mess, Texas, howsabout you clean up yours?


That last line sounded pretty snappy to me when I wrote it, and it still does.

Then I suddenly remembered that I’m from Alaska. And we Alaskans unleashed Sarah “Drill me, Baby” Palin on the world, and I realize that I’ve got some mea culpa going on here.

And in the spirit of the post, allow me to offer my apologies, Texas.


  1. Somebody from Texas please explain to me why Joe Barton still has a Congressional ID that lets him into the capital building. This horse's ass has done nothing but line his own pockets with millions. Millions at your expense, Texas. President Obama got billions for you not from tax dollars, but from the people who destroyed your coast. Barton meanwhile denies that the oil spill even exists.

    Even Deep Thought couldn't explain that.

  2. Barton is more like the Court Jester - or that little monkey thing that sat in Jabba the Hut's belly button.

    Well played, sir. Very well played. You've won today's Internet.



    (Look, I couldn't help myself. It had to be said.)

    I really have nothing substantive to add.

  4. I, for one, would like to apologize to anyone who had to read this caustic diatribe! Especially to my brethren of the Jewish persuasion.

    Moses brought us out of bondage in Egypt and for Mr. Wright to attack our beloved 'fake Moses' as a "shambling reanimated corpse of zombie Charlton Heston" is utterly reprehensible.

    P.S. Please pass the salt. My dish of asparagus droppings are a little bland.

  5. You stay the hell away from the petunias, Nathan, I'm warning you.

  6. Um, he coughed apologetically, not to cast aspersions on a magnificent post, a quote from which I've already forwarded to my Planned-Parenthood-volunteering-wife, my copy of Ringworld is already packed, but I'm pretty sure that Speaker didn't apologize, but another Kzin named Hroth (?) who was old and weak and dumb did. Speaker was the translator in the scene, hence his name, not the apologist.

  7. Geez, Mensley, allow me to apologize for that mistake.

    I'm sorry.

    I'm sorry that Niven wrote his damned book wrong. Yes. That's it.

  8. Jim, much as the oil at the bottom of the Gulf Of Mexico wouldn't be bleeding out into the world but for the negligent and irresponsible behavior of BP, so, too, Sarah Palin would have remained contained in Alaska but for the negligent and irresponsible behavior of the McCain 2008 campaign.

    So it's sort of all Arizona's fault. Fuck them.

  9. Oh for crying out loud, now I have to apologize for that.

  10. Why?

    No, seriously. Why?

    On a related note, does anyone else here now think Arizonans are right to want an impenetrable border, the real problem is that they want it on the wrong side of the state?


  11. Joe Barton is sorry that you feel that way, Eric

    1. Joe Barton is a typical career corporate politician. He badgered Dr. Kessel (Head of FDA) out of office in the 90's, he accepted $2m from RJR Tobacco in 1996, he accepted $3.2m from the Koch brothers last year. The stupid people of Arlington, Tx keep electing this asshole. He will apologize again, but that one will be to God Himself; and the apology will NOT be accepted.

      He will get his. In this case, Karma really is HELL.

  12. Why am I suddenly reminded of:

    President Muffley: "I'm sorry, too, Dmitri....

    I'm very sorry....

    All right, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well....

    I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are....

    So we're both sorry, all right...?

    All right.

  13. Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!

  14. Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.

  15. We can not afford a mining shaft gap!

  16. Sharon Finnegan TerleskiJune 26, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    "Eric said... Why? No, seriously. Why? On a related note, does anyone else here now think Arizonans are right to want an impenetrable border, the real problem is that they want it on the wrong side of the state? What?"

    Yeah, we've been meaning to speak to them about that. (Signed, California)

    P.S. Also Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.

  17. BP has to clean up their mess, Texas, howsabout you clean up yours?"

    They're on it, in their own quaint little xenophobic homophobic pastorial way...

  18. Jesus Christ, Rens, thanks for making my head explode first thing in the morning.

    Texas, I take it back. Fuck you.

  19. Yes I've read Ringworld (the entire series).

    Thanks for the offer, I'll take you up on it, "Fuck me again!"

    If you haven't read Dragon's Egg you should. I found it to be an excellent book.


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