Bad Attitudes, a magazine of culture, politics, art, literature, 
religion & foreign affairs

The History of Bad Attitudes

I began years ago to build a list of people, mostly strangers, who seemed as if they might like to read the sort of things I wanted to write. My plan was to put out a bimonthly pamphlet and mail it to my list, unsolicited and free. I would not explain why they were receiving it, and I would make no effort to find out whether it suited them or not. A few might get something from it; as for the rest, no harm done.

I went so far as to assemble a dummy issue, and would have gone farther if it hadn’t been for mailing and printing costs. Back then freedom of the press, as A.J. Liebling noted, was limited to the man who owned one. This being no longer true, here is Bad Attitudes.

One section, called The Encyclopedia of the Absurd, consists of news that didn’t make it onto the major networks. To read these essential factoids from the linear world, click here. Links to longer articles follow, below.

  •  Dubya’s Creepy Death Wish  What if George Bush doesn’t want either to avenge his father or outdo him? What if he just wants to follow in dad’s footsteps -- exactly?

  •  Killing the Messenger:  The Pentagon rigs the biggest war games in history to predict victory in a Persian Gulf War. The press obligingly buries the story.

  •  Harvey Pitt’s Tin Ear:  The Embattled Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman offers his own precious self to his country. Badattitudes offers its own precious little poem to the Chairman.

  •  Ayatollahs of the World Unite:  Working for Change columnist Bill Berkowitz says it’s first things first for fundamentalist Christians and Muslims alike. Never mind about all this Axis of Evil stuff, any enemy of abstinence, abortion, women’s rights and child prostitution is a friend of mine.

  •  Real Bushmen Don’t Cry:  Jeb Bush says the men in his family carry the crying gene. Maybe so, but it seems to be a highly selective one.

  •  Who Loves Ya, Hugo?  Off-again, on-again Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood at 35 percent in the polls when he was deposed. Then how come the people of Venezuela undeposed him in 48 hours?

  •  The Lost Poems of Hugo Chavez:  The briefly deposed Venezuelan president started to write a poem during his captivity. Here’s what he eventually might have come up with.

  •  Scalia Sticks Up for the Overdog:  Even cuter than Clarence! Dont you just love it when Antonin talks tough?

  •  One Ashcroft is One Too Many:  A brief picture essay on the moral perils of cloning.

  •  God Is Our State Trooper:  Bush counts on employers to curb repetitive motion injuries. Why not try the same approach on our highways?

  •  Times Eats Yellow Snow:  So what if the Whitewater investigation came up with a goose-egg, The New York Times still thinks it was doing the Lord’s work instead of Tom DeLay’s.

  •  Leave No Teacher Behind:  You can’t blame the Army, but where is the Education President in all this? Where’s his brother Jeb, for that matter? Fort Myers is in Florida.

  •  What the Major Meant to Say:  Wars may come and wars may go, but Pentagon flacks are forever.

  •  Kenny Boy’s Long Con:  Nothing new under the sun: Yellow Kid Weil was running the Enron scam before Kenneth Lay was born.

  •  Scalia vs. the Pope:  Justice Scalia offers moral guidance to fellow Catholic judges who think John Paul II is right to oppose the death penalty. (See also “A Petty Consistency,” below.)

  •  The Union Busters:  Ashcroft and Bush clear out pockets of subversion that threaten the Justice Department’s war on terrorism.

  •  Heil, Dubya!  Don’t blame me, I’m not the one calling them “Bush’s Fascist Tribunals.” The John Birch Society is.

  •  A Petty Consistency:  is not the hobgoblin of Justice Scalia’s great mind: a conservative editor looks with dismay at the means used to levitate Governor Bush up to the White House.

  •  What Would Haley Barbour Do?  Mainly an excerpt from Senator Jeffords’ farewell to the Republican Party, along with a great-hearted reaction from party hack Haley Barbour.

  •  Scofflaw Scalia:  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, fresh from appointing George W. Bush president, compounds a felony with a misdemeanor.

  •  Clueless in Casablanca:  A long (7-page) look at the absurd business of winning hearts and minds in Casablanca during the Cold War. HTML version

  •  The Crisco Kid:  A disgruntled bureaucrat gives credit where credit is due to an eminently gruntled one: John Ashcroft. Will the attorney general be able to strangle the anti-tobacco litigation without leaving his fingerprints on the corpse?

  •  Stumbletongue:  This literary appreciation of the First Son’s native dialect has been making its way around the internet. I find the article to be cruel and sophomoric, and am therefore passing it along. Thanks to author Tom McNichol.

  •  The Road Untaken:  What two real politicians--Roosevelt and Nixon--thought of bipartisanship. Perhaps the necessity of appealing to a majority of the voters rather than a majority of the Supreme Court gave them a different perspective than Mr. Bush developed in Texas.HTML version

  •  A Two-Party System Again?  Can Bush really be leading us back to bipartisan government, although not in quite the sense he intends? HTML version

  •  Poor Clarence Thomas:  Annotated excerpts from a recent speech by Justice Thomas. Odd, disturbing stuff. Lava continues to flow through the cracks in the psyche of one of George W. Bush’s two favorite Supremes. Long, but worth a careful read. HTML version

  •  The Proper Use of Nicknames:    In the sensitive hands of oil field roustabouts, a nickname can be a lovely thing. At least it could in the West Texas of George W. Bush’s childhood.

  •  An Immodest Proposer for the Civil Rights Division?   The new attorney general is just so darned cute I can’t seem to keep my hands off him. So here you go again, Mr. Ashcroft!

  •  For Ashcroft is an Honorable Man. Well, Isn’t He?    To find out for sure we must put him through the Pubic Hair Test, first forged in the fires of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

  •  Is Alan Greenspan Just Another Pretty Face?    With a deficit flip-flop and a tug of the forelock to young Master Bush, our Ayn Rand hero is starting to look more like Uriah Heep.

  •  Ashcroft Lies for Jesus:   Somebody’s being hustled by the new attorney general. Is he doublecrossing the Law or the Lord? HTML version

  •  Little Billy Rehnquist:   The chief justice hasn’t forgotten his old passion, which was for bullying minority voters. What went around in 1962 came around in 2000; once a fixer, always a fixer. HTML version

  •  Slow Driving with George Dubya:   George W. was a perfect gentleman that night when Officer Calvin Bridges pulled him over, if in fact he pulled him over at all. What are we to believe when the ex-president and the new president can’t get their stories straight? HTML version

  •  Corrections of the Times:   Bad Attitudes presents a collection of actual corrections that have run in The New York Times recently, along with one that did not. See if you can spot the impostor! (Available only in PDF, due to the typographical limitations of HTML)

  •  Marketing to Assholes:   Detroit knows what SUV really stands for, and it’s got nothing to do with Sport or Utility. It’s got everything to do with Pathetic and Jerk, but of course you already knew that. Didn’t you?

  •  Take It From Thorstein Veblen:   Dead, white, European-American describes an economic boom that sounds a lot like ours--except it was a hundred years ago. Time to buy inflation bonds. HTML version

  •  The Vatican Can:   The Vatican has finally revealed the Third Secret of Fatima, thereby raising certain theological questions. HTML version

  •  What Did You Do in the Cold War, Daddy?   Congress, God love it, has finally recognized the services of Cold Warriors. Get your official certificate, too! (A slightly different version of this article ran in The Washington Post, June 25, 2000.) HTML version

  •  Making Your Bones:   What we really mean when we ask whether so and so is tough enough to be President. HTML version

  •  Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Sonny’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad: Steve Forbes soils self in New Hampshire. HTML version

  •  Thieves Fail to Catch a Thief:  Two of Starr’s prosecutors successfully obstruct justice as an outraged nation fails to notice. HTML version

  •  Brother Bush Branded?  An eye-witness account of the sort of thing Governor Bush was up to at Yale while the other kids were out protesting the Vietnam war or getting killed in it. HTML version

  •  The Member from Johnson City:  A revisionist view of LBJ’s organ at the crossroads of history. HTML version

  •  The No-Snow Story:  How to recognize a no-snow story; the first in Bad Attitudes’ Explaining the Media series. HTML version

  •  If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Dumb?   Why Henry Kissinger got most of the questions wrong on the only SAT that really counts. HTML version

  •  Governor Pataki is Shocked,  shocked, to learn that madmen are running loose in his establishment. HTML version

Copyright © 2004 by Jerome Doolittle