UPDATE: Despite the beating he takes from the pundits and blogosphere, Ashcroft is apparently pretty popular to judge from the many emails I've gotten complaining about this post and defending Ashcroft. Uh, folks, follow the link, and I think you'll discover that your complaints are, um, premature.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Aaugh! One of my colleagues once said about teaching that you can never be too obvious. I thought I was obvious here, but this email convinces me that I wasn't:
As you suggested, I followed the link, and it not only did not mention Ashcroft, but had nothing to do with him, since it was at a STATE park. Which means it is controlled by the STATE of Vermont. This obviously has nothing to do with the Patriot Act, the DoJ, or anything remotely connected to John Ashcroft. If you can't look past your anti-Ashcroft agenda long enough to see that, you have lost any credibility I ascribed to you in the first place.
Um, see, the "I blame John Ashcroft" line was tongue-in-cheek, as was the notion that Jonah Goldberg was suffering from a police state (maybe a "Barney Fife state" but. . . .). Jeez. Maybe I should replace Frank J.'s endorsement with that quote from Andrea See about me having a dry sense of humor that some people don't pick up on. Because this post clearly didn't work. Oh, well.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Craig Myers emails:
am amazed that the people who complained about your hilarious reference "I blame John Ashcroft" (which you have used numerous times before), are able to actually figure out how to e-mail you in the first place.
I appreciate greatly your sense of humor, and don't you dare give it up.
Well, people who don't like it can get their subscription refunded. Oh, wait. . . .
Seriously, I've learned from blogging that there's nothing so clear that someone won't understand it in a way you haven't foreseen, and that people who disagree with you are often especially eager to misunderstand what you say. And -- even putting that aside -- it's very interesting to see the different interpretations people put on the same events, etc. One nice thing about the blogosphere is that it lets you see that sort of thing in real time.
So does my email, in ways that bring me varying degrees of pleasure.