One Dumb Honky

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Memo to Tim Russert: YOU'RE SHITTING ME.

For years, I've thought the single saddest post-9/11 reaction expressed by humanity was the dedications in a bunch of video game guides, as expounded upon in this oldie but goodie. In fact, until this week, my entire list of horribly inappropriate 9/11 reactions was the FAQs at #1, the bit of furry art I saw with weeping anthropomorphic animals at #2, and invading Iraq at #3.

Enter Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet The Press, and generally regarded by people outside the blogosphere as a respected journalist and news host. He's the guy Cheney would always go to when he wanted to get his message out without any pesky or awkward questions being asked. I'd always assumed he was kind of a dick - not a really egregious dick, just your generic media D.C. establishment dick. Now I know better.

For some reason, the Washington Post's online section has a bit called "On Faith". And for some reason, they let Russert write a guest column thing for "On Faith". And within that column, in one of those horribly maudlin paeans to September 11 that were all in vogue from September 12, 2001 through around mid-January, 2002, Russert reveals this little turd nugget. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"The bravery of the first responders who went up the stairs of burning buildings. The heroic selfless souls on United flight #93. The patience of tens of thousands of drivers who left the devastated areas in an orderly way. I have not honked my car horn since September 11 as a gesture of respect to all of them."

Even after all this time writing this column, the human race's capacity to come up with types of stupidity I'd previously been completely unable to conceive of is proving infinite. WHO DOES THAT? Who gets weepy about the first responders, chokes up over Flight 93, and decides, in a moment of clarity, that what they're going to do is give up honking their FUCKING CAR HORN?

I mean, if you're just some regular schlub feeling powerless in the grip of great events, and you decided not to honk your horn, and five and a half years later, you're still proud of having kept that meaningless vow, you're STILL A MORON. But if you're Tim Russert, with power and fame and a national media spotlight where you talk to the people who (albeit incompetently) lead the most powerful nation on the planet for a few hours every single week, and you decide your big gesture is not honking your horn? Even the words I've made up before when there weren't words to describe how stupid something was seem inadequate.

As retarded as the FAQ was, at least it was a something. A something we could point at and laugh, yes, but it was something. A sad nerd felt the need to express himself and did so in the only medium in which he worked - tips on how to get through Zelda games. Tim Russert, with no shortage of media in which to work, chooses as his means of expression the lack of a means of expression which, even when one chooses to employ it, does one thing really loudly. I'm sure there's a metaphor there, but I'm way too tardboggled to figure out what it is.

It's so singularly insipid a revelation that it makes the rest of his article, which is apparently about how writing a book about his dad means he's doing God's work. Yeah, I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either. But when I compare it to not honking your horn for 68 consecutive months to honor the sacrifices of 9/11, I want to cling to it like a floating hunk of sanity adrift in the Sea of Crazy.

And this is from a guy who controls a not insignificant fraction of the discourse in this country. No wonder we're so goddamned hosed.