Using Sarah Palin’s defense of Rush Limbaugh against her, last night Stephen Colbert proudly pronounced that “Sarah Palin is a f–king retard.”
After mocking Palin’s speech at the Tea Party Convention (taking the obligatory jabs at the notes on her hand) Colbert moved on to Palin’s reaction to Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word “retard.” Palin not only called for his Emanuel’s firing, but also defended Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word, deeming it acceptable because it was satire.
After playing the clip of Limbaugh’s “subtle” satire, Colbert jumped on the opportunity that his own satirical show presented. An opportunity to call Palin a “f–king retard.” Colbert added that her reasoning also explained the note on her other hand: “Retard = sometimes funny.”
I only recently started watching Lost, and yesterday night saw episode 8 of the first season, “Confidence Man”. In it, one protagonist, the amiable evil character Sawyer, gets tortured by two good characters, these being the doctor and Said, because they suspect him with good reason of hiding asthma inhalers from a suffocating girl. Although I kinda like Sawyer, I was emotionally involved enough to want him te be tortured to make him give up the inhalers. After all, he is bullshitting the rest of the survivors the whole time, acts like a complete dick, seemingly without any reason other than being a dick, and now this girl was on the verge of dying of asphyxia thanks to him. Thus I thought “give it to him”. I was very relieved when Said stopped ramming bamboo sticks under Sawyer’s fingernails, as he breaks. In the end, though, it is revealed that he did not have the inhalers, but nevertheless deliberately conveyed the impression that he had.
And then I read another Matt Yglesias post on torture, find myself in agreement about how bad torture is and how it should always be avoided, and remember how I agreed yesterday night with the “good” characters’ decision to torture someone and how I probably would support that decision were I in that situation. The Sawyer situation is really the same as the “ticking time bomb scenario” that conservatives always come up with to defend torture: there is a very good reason to assume that the torture subject has a crucial piece of missing information, and someone else’s life depends on it. The usual reply to this scenario is that it is fiction: in real life, you never know whether, for example, this one terrorist knows when a dirty bomb is going to explode in a city (even then it remains a moral question whether you should torture him). In the Lost episode, however, they do know it (although it turns out to be false in the end), and I supported it. Makes you wonder about, well, the discrepancy between reasoning in situations at a distance, and personal situations. For one.