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An Apology
…and other stuff.


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Jonah Goldberg

Yesterday’s column was a mistake. I used the occasion of the earthquake in India to vent about a personal theory of mine I’ve had for years. I was too eager to get to the arguments, and the jokes, that I ended up being too flip and glib about the very real tragedy there. There was no outpouring from readers about it, just a few sober e-mails from people I respect who made what is, in retrospect, an obvious point. I don’t retract a single point on substance — though I will have to discuss the Richter scale a bit in the next corrections column — but in light of the very real horror there, there’s no excusing the tone and thrust of the column. I know it was a mistake. I regret it. And, I apologize.

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Okay, with that out of the way, I do have a few minutes and some free pixels…

I know I don’t normally write an NRO column on Tuesdays.

I know that by putting “an” instead of “a” before “NRO” I will get lots of e-mails from really cool people saying I should have used an “a” because “NRO” begins with a consonant. I know that if I did it their way, I would get an equal number of e-mails saying “n” begins with the “enn” sound and so it should have an “an.”

I know I spend most of my time with 6-inch toenails, wearing Kleenex boxes as shoes because I am scared to death I might sit next to these people on the subway.

I know the reason I don’t write columns on Tuesdays is because I have to write my syndicated column.

I know you people aren’t reading that enough.

I know this because I am not writing my columns from my Italian villa and I do find myself explaining to the little lady that paper towels can be used more than once.

I know that Sidney Blumenthal has signed a book deal for $650,000 to write about his time in the White House.

I know that his publishers are hoping to cash in on the huge interest in coprophilia.

I know many liberals are “gravely concerned” with the “Separation of Church and State” issues around President Bush’s “faith-based” proposals.

I know this is odd because the Constitution does not talk about separation of church and state.

I know the phrase “Separation of Church and State” appears only in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a friend.

I know that if we start using what Jefferson wrote in letters as concrete constitutional rules, slave owning, Jacobin revolutions, and public universities with self-important students will become federally mandated.

I know that it’s especially odd for liberals to be so concerned about the strict need to follow a “constitutional” principle that is not written down, since they think it’s even more important that we ignore most of the principles that are.

I know that the Founders were more concerned by the “Separation of the Federal Government and the State Governments” than they were about Separation of Church and State, but nobody’s complaining about federal poverty programs eroding that “High Wall.”

I know that I used too many quotation marks and capital letters in the previous paragraph.

I know my dog is brimming with Pure Doggie Goodness.

(I know…more capital letters.)

I know my dog seems to have a serious problem with Bulgarian nationalism because he keeps barking at a bust of their nationalist hero Vassil Levski.

I know that if you love me you must love my dog. But, I’m not sure I have to love the Ottoman Empire’s centuries of dominion over Bulgaria.

I know I do like the idea of a whole empire made up of footrests.

I know I am speaking — twice — at the C-PAC annual Prison Rodeo and Cavalcade of Khakis.

I know someone will ask me what I meant by that.

I know that Jesse Jackson only issued his statement saying it’s not the time for alibis and excuses only after he had fabricated alibis and made excuses for two years.

I know Rod Dreher of the New York Post has reported that Jackson’s office originally issued a press release saying his child had a different father.

I know that’s not that different from “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”

I know that I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.

I know that if Pat Robertson had been caught channeling money he’d shaken down from, say, the United Way, to his illegitimate child, the New York Times would run a twelve-week series on the Corrupt Christian Right and Jackson’s current defenders would tighten their panties like a hydraulic vice.

I know I wrote in NRO’s Predictions for 2001 Symposium that Jesse Jackson would face a major financial scandal.

I know that can only happen if the gang over at NBC News, the Times, et al., lay aside their important work exposing soup kitchens that say grace, supermarkets that over charge for adult diapers, and conservative politicians who actually believe what they say.

I know that at some point in the next ten years we will be at war with somebody and lots of people will say “give peace a chance!”

I know they won’t remember that that’s what we’re doing right now.



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