August 1998
s m u g
smoking jacket
by Steve Gilliard

Someone Has to Say It

Moral cowardice has become an American art form.

People have devised all kinds of ways to not say shit that needs to be said.

Take these kids who have started shooting up schools. In the news, you see these whimpering, cowed victims. They always talk about how nice the dead was and how the shooters were a little off. Just like the media wants to hear.

Not once is an alternate idea broached: school sucks. How many people felt, at one point, like going into their classroom and lighting up a few people? More than one? I bet so.

If that's not the case, Bill Gates would be a lawyer. Why else create Geek World? Not to get laid.

Microsoft is not about money, Gates was not poor to begin with. It was a gigantic fuck you to everyone who was mean to him in school. Gates wasn't a knife and gun club type, but if he was, he'd be bookkeeper for the Aryan Brotherhood in Walla Walla right now. Now, he runs the world. All those jocks work for him.

Not everyone is Bill Gates. Some of us are Kip Kinkel and we resolve our problems with a gun. The fact is that school doesn't work for a whole lot of people. Some drop out, some become billionaires, but some decide to cash in their chips and go postal.

You'll never hear that over the whining and bleating of the local news. What are they going to say, two assholes dead and a nice kid shot by accident?

In a recent Maureen Dowd column, she's whines about how no one likes investigative journalists and how they tolerate a "Louisiana-style" president.

Well, Mo, here's a news flash, the only people more hated than reporters are politicians. No child or adult thinks one is more honest than the other. Your average crack dealer gets more respect than your average Congressman, and pimps, hell, they're princes compared to your local newscaster.

The reason people don't hate Clinton, but wouldn't piss on Ken Starr if he was on fire, is simple. Bill Clinton is a politician and is expected to be less than honest. As long as they can't prove it, no one cares. Ken Starr is like having the KGB in your sex life. While everyone would like Clinton to be a faithful husband, the fact that he isn't, just like the guy in the next cubicle, is not much of a shock. It may be in the Beltway, but decent local government would be a shock there too.

Let's be candid, if someone was offering free blowjobs, how many people, married or not, would say no? When nailed for taking one too many noontime siestas with the office suckoff queen, who wouldn't lie? I, for one, would lie like a white trash jail bait hunter on Springer. I'd lie like a politician in a debate. I'd lie like...Bill Clinton.

Another amazing sight was watching troll extrodinare Matt Drudge expound on journalism, at the National Press Club. I know more about neurosurgery than Drudge knows about reporting. There is no solid reason for Drudge, a half wit with an e-mail address and a web page, speaking before the National Press Club. What he does is not Journalism, of any kind.

(editor's note: what we do is not really journalism of any kind either.)

He managed to embarrass himself, but that's not the point. No one there thought to throw him out on his very large ears. Matt Drudge at a meeting of journalists is like having a pimp run a seminar on abused runaway teens. The attendees, journalists who actually work as reporters, (you know with facts and whatnot) should have been offended at the little cretin's presence.

Imagine if someone had had the balls to walk up to Drudge and say, "John Peter Zenger? What the fuck are you talking about. Get the fuck out of here, you half-wit." And then dragged his sorry butt out of the building like an errant homeless man reeking of urine.


Readers pretend he's doing something useful, mainly because most of them are lazy time servers. Real journalists, like Ray Bonner and David Halberstam and Peter Arnett, people who have actually lost jobs for telling the truth, have less in common with Drudge than humans do with Madagascan sloths. In most cases, this is an irritant. Like a pebble in your shoe, or a pimple on your ass. We all ignore the crude and vulgar and pretend everyone is really a good guy until they prove otherwise. Just because his presence cheapens your profession and your work, that's no reason to shove him aside like garbage.

In a culture where argument is deemed bad and unpleasantries best left unsaid, our growing moral cowardice has consequences. People now don't know if the Holocaust bad. No one has taught them that murdering 11 million people is simply wrong. That is is evil beyond words or redemption.

I say fuck that. I say we need a bit of rudeness and a little honesty. If someone is a charlatan, like Drudge, or full of themselves, like Dowd, say so. Pretending that schools are fine and its just a few crazy kids means we'll read about some other school gone postal. Honesty may be overrated in many cases, but to keep spouting bullshit we all know isn't true is, well, moral cowardice.

Jesus, if the truth of America, 1998 is that bad, maybe we should all take to the hills and inbreed. Beats lying as our national pastime, even if the kids look a little funny.


Steve Gilliard is a Manhattan journalist who tries to tell the truth. He is even more surly than Jack, who returns next month.


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