When it comes to grotesque eulogies of former first lady Barbara Bush, Roger Stone's has received little attention compared to one other's. "[She] was a nasty drunk," wrote Stone of "#blottoBabs" on Instagram. "Barbara Bush drank so much booze, if they cremated her … her body would burn for three days."
What would possess someone to write something like that in the immediate wake of another's death, I have no idea. Neither, for that matter, does the American Council on Science and Health. As to the Roger Stones of this world, they're at a loss. "[T]here is plenty of research on racism, sexism, and other '-isms' or '-phobias,' but this hatred is directed at entire groups of people. But there is little on the psychology of personal hatred." As the Council would write of that other eulogizer — the one receiving so much attention — Stone "is in need of some serious self-reflection and soul-searching, as improbable as that seems."
That "other eulogizer" was, of course, the instantly ignominious Randa Jarrar, of California State University's Fresno campus. Mrs. Bush, wrote Prof. Jarrar on Twitter, was an "amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal"; “I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee." Later, "LOL … What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech." The diseased Prof. Jarrar would seem to be little more than Mr. Stone in drag.
The Washington Post reports that public reactions to Jarrar's rhetorical sewage came fundamentally in two forms. "Some were upset at what they viewed as her incivility about a woman widely regarded as genteel"; to others "the sin was more basic: She had spoken ill of the dead." So soon, that is. My own rule is to allow at least 24 hours to pass before writing anything harshly derogatory of delightfully dead blackguards, although I'll make exceptions in the overdue cases of Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump.
My chief objection to Jarrar's slime falls into neither above category, however. What I find so repugnant is that the comments came from a professor of creative writing. "byyyeeeeeee." "the witch is dead." "LOL." I repeat, a professor of creative writing. Even on Twitter, that is clichéd, lazy drivel — and any professorial witch who writes it should be shot at sunrise by a committee of the literately offended. (And yes, I appreciate the perfidious irony of Jarrar's infectiousness: "shot at sunrise." I assume she has this viral effect on her students, as well.)
Nearly as lazily notorious was that Jarrar attributed objections to her ugly tripe as racist and, inevitably, sexist. To her, online pushbacks showed merely "what it’s like to be an Arab American Muslim American woman with some clout online expressing an opinion"; "Look at the racists going crazy in my mentions right now." Racists and some sexists there were, I'm sure. But they weren't the problem. The problem was the infantile, Trumplike slop originally penned by Jarrar.
If you're new to this site, don't mistake. I love polemics, I enjoy invective, I adore the sweet bile that has flowed from the dark minds of America's H.L. Menckens, Westbrook Peglers and Christopher Hitchenses. But the bile must be smartly written to be enjoyable. I needn't agree with it at all; I merely ask that its disemboweling style be worth my time. Randa Jarrar's isn't. Worse, she has no business teaching creative writing to youthful audiences that may not yet know what first-rate, creatively written polemics look like.