Patinkin Back to His Comfort Zone
Having chided Mark Patinkin for his colum lampooning Republicans (poorly), I think it only fair to note that he’s offered an attempt at some fair-play turnabout. It would be fascinating, I think, for a literature class to devote some discussion time to the differences in sentence structure and related attributes as a means of discerning Patinkin’s actual position behind the authorial screen.
Note the general presentation of the Republican piece:
I wondered why we’re trying 9/11 terrorists in federal court instead of a military court.
And why my state doesn’t have capital punishment.
I decided next time someone asks me for a handout, I’ll tell them to get a job. Which is actually compassionate conservatism. It helps no one to promote a culture of dependency. …
Though I care about the environment, I decided I’m now against mandatory carbon emissions controls. Let the free market work it out.
I got cranky about activist judges banning the Pledge of Allegiance.
And so on. There’s clearly an element of “wondering” about policies, an element of hyperbole, and assertions of principle, rather than argument. Contrast the Democrat piece; he does some character lampooning (which, unsurprisingly for multiple reasons, I find to be more accurately done), but then goes on to the socio-political opinions:
I wrote my congressman urging more money for social programs, since I believe it’s government’s obligation to help the needy.
As for those who say this leads to a culture of dependency among the poor — no, that’s society’s fault.
I’m a die-hard union supporter, and as for those who say organized labor makes America uncompetitive, let’s not forget the sweatshops of the 1920s and ’30s, and thanks to unions, we don’t have those anymore.
I felt good about myself for supporting health care for all, whatever the cost, as well as gay marriage, gun control and abortion. And affirmative action, too, because America is still a racist society.
The statements are significantly more demonstrative, are less hyperbolic, and, especially with the union point, begin to take up actual argumentation. That last is quite differently presented than this, from the Republican parody:
As for getting God out of education the last decade or so — how’s that working out for us?
Note the lack of a concrete example of the writer’s argument; he offers, instead, an open-ended question indicative of an assumed prejudice, rather than considered conclusion. It’s reasonable to explain the difference by his own sympathies, which is why I suggested, with the Republican column, that Patinkin suffered from a lack of familiarity with his subject.