Sunday, December 19, 2004

Can't See The Beam In His Own Eye

Local columnist, Nick Coleman is up to his old tricks again. Today's column is another classic example of Nickiosity. Saint Nick (don't get too excited kids - not THAT Saint Nick) is once again bravely standing against a tide of evil Republicanism threatening to ban education for poor minorities. He's a lonely visionary, and everyone else is part of the problem.

But today he takes special - some might even say desperately defensive - notice of rival columnist (and excellent blogger) Craig Westover.

He's right to feel defensive. Westover writes better, and is actually able to state his case rationally, rather than resorting to embarrassing hyperbole about the opponents of his position, such as:

"...pirates who want to plunder education funds and use the money for schools that will teach young men how to tie a proper bow tie."


Argh, Matey! It's not even "Talk Like a Pirate Day," and already I'm in the mood.

The bow-tie reference kind of baffles me though. Neither George Will nor Tucker Carlson are terribly relevant to this discussion. Pining for former Illinois Senator Paul Simon perhaps? No matter. I'll look past it as I adjust my eye-patch.

Obviously most people will focus on Coleman's continuing attempt to portray his previous columns about the Maxfield Elementary School in St. Paul as something other than the misleading hucksterism they actually were. I'll leave the straightening of that issue to people like Craig Westover, Swiftee, and Coleman-mocker supreme, Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas; all of whom are far better equipped than I to comment on the specifics of Nick's educational bufoonery.

However, this being Sunday, I'd like to focus on our holier-than-thou columnist's subtle reference to the Holy Gospel. Though I may disagree with Nick on matters of education (therefore, I be a pirate, me hearties!) , I surely cannot disagree with the real-life parable Nick was kind enough to offer as perhaps a kind of olive branch to his (swashbuckling) opponents.

Open your Bibles to Luke, Chapter six. The Reverend Coleman is about to offer us a real life parable based on verses 41 and 42:

From the KJV:

41

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

42

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.


Nick's illustration of the importance of this lesson comes in an unexpected form. One could easily miss it, if not for the realization that Nick is a deeply religious man.

Here is the lesson for the day, fellow sinners:

"I will say, however, that [Craig Westover's] blog on the Internet shows a picture of an ancient mariner in yellow slickers, standing at the helm of a storm-tossed yacht. He looks like the guy on a box of frozen fish sticks.

After distorting the Maxfield story, Captain Fishsticks was reproved in print by Maxfield Principal Zelma Wiley. Since then, Fishsticks has gone back to his boat and confined his tirades to the first refuge of scoundrels, his personal Internet blog, where he is toasted by other rum-swigging hearties daily."


(Get the obligatory "Arrgh, Matey!" out of your system. We're studying the Bible here!)

The point I would like to make is the extraordinary example of humility Rev. Coleman offers by intructing us to pay attention to the pictures of the columnists, rather than what they have to say. Surely Mr. Coleman means for us to examine his own picture (i.e. the beam in his own eye) ....


... and notice that he resembles an especially smug mime who has not quite succeeded in removing his makeup.

If on the basis of a pretty cool picture of Westover steering a tiny craft in a storm on Lake Superior Coleman sees fit to mock him as "Captain Fishsticks," he is clearly inviting others to
come up with some suitable nickname for himself. Fi-fi le Mime perhaps. Or Jean-Clod. These are just off the top of my head, but surely the blogosphere can satisfy Rev. Coleman's desire for humility in this case.

UPDATE:

Fraters Libertas contributor Saint Paul has indeed commented in the latest Coleman missive.

UPDATE 2:

Noodles also enjoyed Nick getting piratey. And Jo believes Nick looks more like "Mrs. Doubtfire" than a mime. Tough call.

UPDATE 3:

Captain Fishsticks himself weighs in (Yes, Craig. Coleman is a doofus, but that name is going to stick)!!

As does Swiftee, who deserves some sort of lieutenant position over hush-puppies or something.

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