Diary Of A Mad Lad
I had similar thoughts in my angrier political youth. Once, while walking home at night after appearing on Barry Farber's WMCA right wing radio show (my first real exposure as a poli-chatter), I stopped at an intersection, waiting for the light to change. I noticed a small man to my right who seemed familiar. I turned, took a brief but full glance, and recognized A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times. This was when Rosenthal had been put out to op-ed pasture, his poorly-written columns rich embarrassments to read. But not long before, Rosenthal was managing editor of the Times, and made plain his support for Reagan's terrorism in Central America, Israel's pummeling of the Palestinians (and Arabs in general), as well as his queer-phobia, which affected how the Times covered the AIDS crisis in the early years.
To my young eyes, Rosenthal was utter scum. And there he stood, within arm's reach, alone on a Manhattan street. We happened to be walking the same way, so I let him get ahead of me, stopping to read fliers pasted on a wall. As Rosenthal toddled down the block, and no one else in sight, I considered rushing the fucker and beating him to the pavement. Not killing him, but giving him some long-overdue punishment for the horrors he helped to make respectable. I probably would've gotten away with it, smiling with satisfaction the next day when Rosenthal's "mugging" would be reported. But I couldn't and didn't. Even in my rage, something, perhaps prison, stayed my righteous fist.
Several years later, this violent desire grabbed me again, only in a crowded, public space. This time it was Charles Krauthammer, in Madison Square Garden during the 1992 Democratic convention. IOZ reminded me today of how detestable Krauthammer remains, a smug advocate for imperial slaughter who has the fucking nerve to question the morality of others. As you may or may not know, Krauthammer is confined to a wheelchair (due to a diving accident), and there he was at the Garden, above a steep flight of stairs, staring at the proceedings. I was with Hitchens, and I whispered to him about how I should push Krauthammer down those stairs for all of the misery he had helped cause, and would continue to cause. Hitch smiled, and suggested that this would be cruelty to the handicapped, though he did understand my desire.
"My uncle's in a wheelchair," I responded. "He's a great guy, and unlike Krauthammer, a veteran." The fact that Krauthammer couldn't walk was irrelevant, though in this scenario, handy. But I could never actually do it. Instead, Hitch and I went to the press bar and drank. So the afternoon wasn't a complete loss.
See what politics does to people? I should've stayed in comedy and gone more lucratively insane.