Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I'm traveling again this week and may not be in front of a computer for a while. So we're taking another trip back into the archives. This one goes back about two years ago, when ol' Donald Rumsfeld got himself in a bit of a pickle over some silly ol' torture photos. This one was written while I was still a student at Cal State, Northridge. It was written for a newspaper so that explains why I used the word "column" instead of "post" or "blog." Things were much different back in 2004. You kinda had to be there...

May 17, 2004

I should start off by saying that I take full responsibility for this column. I take full responsibility for any slander or misinformation contained on this page. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and take full responsibility for everything Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker for the past two weeks. I’d take responsibility for recent atrocities in Iraq, but somebody already beat me to it.

Taking full responsibility for things is all the rage these days. When I say “taking full responsibility,” I mean, of course, “not taking full responsibility.”

Take the case of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. For the past several weeks, horrific photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq have appeared in newspapers and on TV. Stories of beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy slowly leaked out as well. Americans were appalled with the photos and the stories. They wanted to know just who was responsible for these atrocities. After several days, they had their answer. Rumsfeld went before a congressional committee and said he was fully responsible for what happened.

The news was stunning. The Secretary of Defense just said he was responsible for torture (well, he called it “abuse”), sex crimes, and perhaps even a pair of murders. The repercussions were potentially serious. If a person is behind something like this, that person can expect to lose his job and perhaps even face criminal prosecution. Days later, President Bush went to the Pentagon to deliver his verdict: “You are doing a superb job.”

At that moment, all of American entered a new era of love and forgiveness. America isn’t about punishing people for their past, it’s about taking responsibility. Soon, all systems will work on this theory. I imagine one day in the near future the following exchange will take place:

Police Officer: Mr. Workman, my radar says you were going 90 miles per hour, and the back of your car appears to be filled with stolen electronics and dead bodies.

Me: I take full responsibility for this.

Police Officer: Well, off you go then. That was very brave of you to take responsibility for this.

When the history of this era is written, we may discover that we are now living in the Golden Age of Responsibility. This is a good thing to know as finals week approaches. CSUN officials say that cheating on tests has doubled in the last year. Students are using text messaging and camera-phones to send questions and answers back and forth. The cheating system must not be all that good because people keep getting caught. But if they do get caught, they now know what to do to avoid getting expelled from school. “I take full responsibility for my cheating.”

If the past is any lesson, this Golden Age won’t last all that long. Golden Ages hardly ever do. So I’ve decided to get in while the getting is good. I’ll be hitting the job market soon, and I’d think it would be great recommendation to have the president say I was doing a superb job at something. With that in mind, please allow me to take full responsibility for a few things:

The rising price of gas.


The California budget, energy, and water crises.


The Watergate scandal.

Pepsi Blue.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (the song, and the wreck).

The San Andres Fault.

The Edsel.

Lex Luthor.

Static Cling.

The strife in Venezuela.

Hurricane Andrew.

That paper cut you got last week.

Donald Rumsfeld.

It feels great to get that off my back. I feel I will now be able to start my professional life with a clean slate. Sorry I had to use this space to clear the air like that. If, for some reason, you didn’t find any of this funny, don’t worry. I take full responsibility for that.


At 8:33 am, Anonymous Susan said...

This is a classic, we enjoy it over and over...
thanks Matt...


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