Pap Finn in the 21st century

Whenever his liquor begun to work he most always went for the govment.
— Huckleberry Finn

Ron Perlman as Pap Finn in a 1993 movie
Mark Twain’s character “Pap” Finn, the father of Huckleberry Finn, is an angry man. He’s angry at his son for giving him “sass” and disobeying him. He’s angry at the whole town for looking down on him, instead of respecting and fearing him as he knows they should. He’s angry at the meddling Widow Douglas for giving his good-for-nothing son a home and an education. And he’s angry at the law for withholding money he didn’t earn but feels entitled to.

Pap works out his anger by drinking and running riot whenever he can afford to. Or he takes it out on his son, lashing him without mercy as often as he can catch him. And when these fail him, he puts his anger into words. His rants are worthy of a comments thread on a 21st-century blog — and no less topical. He hated everyone he knew, but in his rants “he most always went for the govment.”

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The decline and fall of radio

So no sooner do I write about Rush Limbaugh than I find Nate Silver fencing with another conservative motormouth, John Ziegler, whose pet project is a documentary-style film called How Obama Got Elected. (You can see an overlong clip here on YouTube.) Ziegler actually sought out Silver, the pollster behind, in a bid to […]

Doing something about Rush Limbaugh

One of my near-and-dear sent me an email about the “diabolical and destructive” acts of Rush Limbaugh, who is “a threat to our nations’ future.” It concluded, “We should all send letters of condemnation to every station which gives him a voice” and demand equal time. I wrote back: Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. I […]