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The Teeth of the Tiger

And the jawbone of an ass

tom-clancyI’ve never really had a strong opinion of Tom Clancy in any particular direction. His politics are different than mine, and that’s fine. I have enjoyed some of the movies made from his books, yet found his books a bit boring.  That’s fine too.  I suppose what it comes down to is that there’s very little overlap in our Venn diagram. So normally, when I see his name attached to a news story it doesn’t grab my attention. However, when I saw it in conjunction with a story about James Von Brunn, the white supremacist alleged to have opened fire at the Holocaust Museum yesterday, I was interested.

It seems that Von Brunn had begun a correspondence with Clancy that Clancy kept up out of clinical curiosity, and at some point Von Brunn passed along the emails to John “Birdman” Bryant, a self-proclaimed pro-white Actonite Libertarian whose website will probably make your head explode multiple times. Bryant then began his own correspondence.

I  read what Bryant had to say.  I found it maddening, emotionally draining and more than a bit depressing.  Between reading Bryant’s site and events like yesterday’s shooting,  I began to feel that, even though we’ve made great strides, we’re up against an overwhelming amount of ignorance.

Then I read Clancy’s side of the correspondence, and it boosted my spirits and made me realize that, looked at another way, we’ve made great strides in spite of people like Von Brunn and Bryant.  Clancy is a conservative who has given a lot of money to the Republican party, and his reply serves as a reminder that we’ve made the progress we’ve made because there’s been a lot of enlightenment throughout the political spectrum (and human spectrum in general), and now we’re struggling against stragglers and the lunatic fringe. Granted, there’s a lot more progress to be made, but every bit of evidence that things are moving forward helps.   Here’s what Clancy had to say:

TomClancy@aol.com wrote:

I am and try to be civil to everyone, but not without limits. I saved all of the exchange with this character. People like him interest me in a clinical sense because I am indeed a writer, and I often write about abnormal personalities. The chief of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins is a friend of mine – a Jew, by the way – a brilliant physician, and a Nobel candidate. Where he goes to church is between him and God. I have many Jewish friends, and I am loyal to them because a man who is not loyal to his friends is valueless, and many of them are truly superior people. I utterly reject racism in all its forms. I’ve known Colin Powell for over 15 years. He’s is one hell of a fine man, and a truly great American, well respected by his peers – four-star officers – and, buddy, that’s one tough audience. But to this von Brunn character, Colin is just another “nigger.” You know, one of my close friends is a former FBI agent who worked the Goodman-Cheney-Schwirner case in Mississippi in 1963. Those three American citizens were working to get other American citizens the right to vote. This is a right guaranteed them by the Constitution, which is, by the way, the Supreme Law of the Land. Your friend would probably have wished to deny them that right. That desire is not consonant with the United States of America. I spit upon such people. My friend sent them all to federal prison. They’re all out now, I suppose, but they’ve calmed down quite a bit. My FBI friends despise them all. Why? They are criminals, murdering terrorists, one of whom shit his drawers when arrested. Quite a man, eh? Von Brunn also walked into a government building, by his own account, armed (he claims the gun was not loaded, but one cannot tell that from three feet away can one?), and demanded that his rather eccentric view of the law be accepted by others. Well, you know, that’s pretty damned dumb. He was sent to prison for stupidity, claiming to me that he was unfairly railroaded by Jews and others. No, buddy, he went to jail for being rather incredibly stupid, to the point of madness in my opinion. (I’ve never looked into his case. I could have done so – I have a lot of FBI friends – but why waste one’s time on an idiot?) Most offensive of all, after serving (so he said) his country in World War Two, he now says that he admires Adolf Hitler for his views and his actions. Hitler, in addition to being among the most evil men every [sic] born, was also a total fool, albeit a clever one in political terms, who though [sic] himself to be God’s own gift to the human race. I am a serious student of history. I know Sir John Keegan, for example, probably the best military historian alive today. Hitler had no strategic or operational sense at all. Like most mad politicians he saw things entirely through his own lens of aesthetics in which he was the arbiter of reality. Now, it’s been said that had his personal doctor known about the medicinal use of lithium, Hitler might have worked out as a mediocre painter, but absent proper medical treatment he was a madman responsible for millions of deaths, about ten million of them German, the people he was supposed to look after. Your friend denies all these facts, and further denies that the Holocaust happened. Hitler himself said that is [sic] did, and at the conclusion of the war, we got possession of voluminous German documents (they wrote everything down, you see) confirming the fact. Okay, sure, there are those who deny it. I put them in the same class as those who report Elvis sightings. Such a fact could not be hidden (the Germans tried to hide it – and why hide a falsity?), nor, if true, can it be denied. The British historian David Irving tried, and failed, to demonstrate not that it didn’t happen, but that Hitler himself did not know if [sic] it until it was too late to stop. Plausible, perhaps, that the satraps of a dictator might go off on their own and do such a thing, but in this case, not demonstrably true – and even if it were true, Hitler is still responsible for being the chief of government who allowed it to happen through poor supervision. Therefore, I conclude your friend is an ass. I tried to reason with him and failed. I add to his offensives the suggestion that the Catholic Church is peopled entirely with homosexuals (then also suggesting that they practiced their “perversion” on me) which was much more true of the German NDSAP than of the Church of Rome. In short, I have nothing for which to apologize, least of all to that ass von Brunn. TC

::Slow clap::  Thanks Tom. That was beautiful.


June 11, 2009 - Posted by | Culture Critic, Daily Whims | , , , , ,


  1. I want FBI friends.

    I mean, great job TC! Well done!

    But really…I want FBI friends.

    Comment by TheHobo | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. It’s mind-boggling to me that certain Republicans (whose names I don’t remember at the moment) would reject the DHS report from April which warned about the rise of right-wing extremism and terrorism. Do these people actually think that the DHS cooked up the warnings? Do they think that the DHS is writing about them or other conservatives who are law-abiding, decent people. No, they are writing about people on the fringe of or completely outside the realm of normalcy! Tom Clancy is demonstrating perfectly how they should have acted and responded.

    Comment by WhoMee | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  3. WM…some of those certain Republicans go by the names Hannity, O’Rielley, Gingrich, and Limbaugh.

    Comment by blah | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks blah.

    Comment by WhoMee | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  5. Mr. Clancy sounds like a reasonable and intelligent person. I wonder what he thinks about the current republican mouthpieces like limbaugh, glen beck, and michael steele and gingrinch? you know, people who don’t hold office yet can’t seem to keep their mouths shut. I find mr. Limbaugh particularly offensive only because he is out these the most “relevant”. Maybe the republican party will go the way of the Whig party, disappear only to be replaced by a watered-down version that didn’t want to be associated with it’s old leadership.

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 12, 2009 | Reply

  6. I can understand people’s desire for core republican principles; not the ones that we know today. I get the whole “keep the federal government out of my back pocket and out of my yard” type of mentality. I can understand wanting states to have the rights instead of the federal government. I don’t necesarily agree with this way of thinking in all aspects, but I can certainly see where someone is coming from and respect those views.

    What I don’t like is how the term “republican” has been hijacked by the far right as a platform to air thier bigoted grievences about “them gays” and “them baby killing pro-choice feminazi’s”. Moral ideology and political stance are and should remain two different pots of water.

    People like Limbaugh and O’Rielly don’t discuss issues. In fact, they don’t discuss anything. Discussion involves two people collaborating and discussing different points of view in a respectful manner. What those two men do are spew fear and loathing. Fear and loathing of change and something they are unable to control. Limbaugh himself said on his radio show that rather than having a listening tour that was suggested by GOP Leaders (shockingly) that the GOP needs to have a lecturing tour – a tour to tell people how to think. I am not a republican, but it irritates me to no end when people who claim to be Republican claim to be so merely on the ground of moral superiority.

    Comment by blah | June 12, 2009 | Reply

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