Friday, February 25, 2011

Buzz Bissinger's ugly lynch-mob advocacy column for the Daily News

Last week's Buzz Bissinger column—made up entirely of his Tweets—was hysterically banal, if such thing is possible. His first real column in today's Daily News is horrifying, and raises the question of whether he deserves the space Larry Platt is giving him.

Bissinger, like most of us, is horrified by the allegations against West Philly abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who stands accused of killing patients and live-born babies. Bissinger's solution? Let's kill Gosnell right now.

I believe that Gosnell deserves to be executed right now.

There is no need for months of delay. Nor is there any more need for why-did-this-happen stories. The culprits are always the same and always will be—state incompetence, local incompetence, the abortion politics of Harrisburg, regulations that are written up only to convince the public that the bureaucracy is actually doing something besides sending threatening letters that your tax payment is off by a dollar. It has happened before. It will happen again. Pure evil always overcomes its obstacles anyway.

I am against the death penalty. I think it is barbaric, an American stain. But I would pay to watch.

Bissinger gives a head-nod to the idea that Gosnell deserves a day in court, the but his overall approach here is something closer to a lynch mob. And it gets worse when he fantasizes about how, precisely, Gosnell should die.

I hope they hold him down on a bloody blanket and stuff his mouth with a cloth soaked with act piss. I hope they ask him if he wants painkillers and when he pleads that he does but has no money, they say he is out of luck because he has to pay for them. I hope they produce a weapon honed into a makeshift pair of scissors. I hope they plunge it into his neck and sever his spinal cord.

Granted, these are the same acts Gosnell is accused of perpetrating. They really are unspeakably horrifiying. But Bissinger's masturbatory fetishism here is nearly as disturbing.

I think newspaper columns should enlighten, entertain, and even provoke. I guess Bissinger's column does the latter, but to me it crosses a line into ugly and lurid Charles Bronson machismo that does little but inflame readers—and to what end? New editor Larry Platt wants people to buzz about the Daily News (and, here I am, writing about it) and I realize that tabloid standards are different from my own. But today's Buzz Bissinger column is starting to make me wonder if any standards of judgement, taste, and community-mindedness remain at the Daily News.


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