In his latest offering, “The radical’s play book,” Mike “Rip Van Winkle” Masterson reveals that he has not paid attention to anything at all during in the past decade or so. In the column, Masterson writes about Saul Alinsky’s 1971 “Rules for Radicals” and - gasp! - comes to the inevitable (for Mike, anyway) conclusion that this is the very blueprint that liberals are using to deprive decent Americans of their freedoms.
One can only imagine poor Mike, sitting alone in the dark, sweating profusely,, typing madly away, afraid that at any moment the Thought :Police will take him away to the Ministry of Truth.
Oh, Mike, it’s time to open the windows and let the sunshine in! And really, dude, to take stock of what has been happening in the world over the past few years, especially given your newfound terror.
Because the stuff on your list that you think that Barrack Obama and his “cronies” are up to - that’s all the stuff the conservative movement has been up to in recent times. Quoting from Craig Miyamoto of Public Relations Strategies, who quotes from Alinsky’s “rules,” Mike goes down a litany of scare tactics that he accuses liberals of engaging in:
Whenever possible, go outside the enemy’s expertise. Find ways to increase his insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by the seemingly irrelevant arguments they are forced to address. In other words, create a crisis.
Make the enemy live up to his own rule book. “If their rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all their own rules.
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” The object is creating anger and fear.
Use tactics your people enjoy. “They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. Radical activists . . . are no different than any other human being. We all avoid ‘‘un-fun’’ activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.” “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. . . . Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.” Keep pressure on a target. “Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.” Attack repeatedly from all sides, “never give the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.” Reminds me of the inexplicable rush to pass stacks of unread, bad legislation
And he continues with:
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”
And the beauty of the whole thing is that Mike Masterson is totally oblivious to the fact that this is what the conservative movement has been up to for some time now. The Bush White House? Fox News? Rush Limbaugh?
Quote of the Day
Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual. - Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert (1982)
Sherlock Holmes: The Old Gods meet their match
Who would have thought that the pairing of Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes and the otherworldly horror of H.P. Lovecraft could make for such a perfect fit? But when you think about it, who more perfect than the heroes of Baker Street, Holmes and his friend, Doctor John Watson?
Shadows over Baker Street, edited by Michael Reaves and John Phelan, contain a host of stories that may well have been lifted from Watson's faithful old dispatch box, where so many previous unpublished adventures seem to shave sprung from.
Given the number of new Sherlock Holmes stories - in film, on television, novels, radio plays, comic books, etc. - I doubt it really is a dispatch box. I suspect Watson actually had a steamer trunk with all these stories hidden away somewhere.
In Shadows over Baker Street, Reaves and Phelan have gathered together some of the best horror and mystery short story writers around today, and let them take a crack at slipping the nightmarish creations of H.P. Lovecraft into Victorian England. For the most part, it works.
Here are a few instances where it doesn't quite work, and I didn't quite buy the story lines, but a few of the tales were quite thrilling. One of the stories in the collection, Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald," won the coveted Hugo award.
But my absolute favorite story has to be the final tale, "Nightmare in Wax," by Simon Clark. Not only does it feature that Napoleon of Crime, Doctor Moriarty, but the final line will stay with you long after you have finished the book.
Other characters from the adventures are included in this collection, including Irene Adler, as the adventures take the characters from London to New York to the Far East. And whether you imagine Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Nicol Williamson, or even Roger Moore - Sherlock Holmes in New York - you'll be transported along with them, to places the average human only has bad dreams about.
I discovered Sherlock Holmes in seventh grade, during visits to the library when I was supposed to be studying. Like so many others before me, I found large books with the original illustrations from The Strand Magazine. Since then I have followed - and abandoned - many other detectives, but have always stayed true to the master detective, no matter who "discovered" a particular story in the old dispatch box.
If you think you are too cool for Sherlock Holmes, think again. And Shadows over Baker Street is the perfect way to get reacquainted with the occupants of 221B Baker Street.
Read this book at night, when no one else is around. Take the phone off the hook, and ignore the tapping at the door - especially the tapping at the door.
Those interested in other tales in which Holmes and Watson take on inhabitants of worlds not quite our own might do well to check out the two Holmes novels by Loren D. Estleman , in which our heroes take on two famous denizens of the night - Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula; or, The Adventures of the Sanguinary Count (1978) and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes (1979).
Also, All-Consuming Fire, a 1994 entry in the Doctor Who range of novels written by the ever excellent Andy Lane, would make a wonderful companion piece for Shadows over Baker Street. A fantasy come true - the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes in one adventure . . .
The twenty tales in Shadows over Baker Street will leave you wanting more, especially after that last, haunting line.