Attack of the Gangliacons


By:  Rachel Marsden



  1. Anatomy. A group of nerve cells forming a nerve center, especially one located outside the brain or spinal cord.
  2. A center of power, activity, or energy.
  3. Pathology. A benign cystic lesion resembling a tumor, occurring in a tendon sheath or joint capsule.


I have a new name for the members of the extreme-right who have been bombarding me with hate mail as a result of my Schiavo column:  Gangliacons.  All nerve, no brain.


These are the folks who went so far off the deep end in the Schiavo case that they came up on the other side of the ideological pool and found themselves splashing around next to Jessuh “uh-uh” Jackson.  Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called it a sign of the Apocalypse; I call it a reality check on both one’s sanity and level of employment.  Here I thought that conservatives, unlike trust fund liberals, had jobs to go to during the day.


Terripalooza was a modern-day Woodstock, with right-to-lifers camped out in front of a Florida hospice, swayin’, prayin’, hyperventilatin’, and droppin’ to their knees at the sight of a CNN camera faster than you can say “Lewinsky”.  And sending a 10-year old child into the hospice to get arrested on behalf of the ‘cause’!  Even envirowackos don’t toss their kids down to act as human speed bumps on logging roads.


In last week’s column, I predicted that within a few weeks, most conservatives would come to their senses.  I was wrong.  It only took a few days.


US Senate majority leader, Dr. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), told Reuters that he believes the courts “acted in a fair and independent way” in the Schiavo case, and disagrees with Rep. Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) vow of retribution against judges in the case.  Likewise, Vice-President Dick Cheney condemned the idea of revenge on judges in an interview with the New York Post.


Most conservatives have simmered down, no doubt realizing how much they have mimicked liberals in this case:  demanding an activist judiciary, encouraging anarchy, playing media circus clown on a hospice lawn for days instead of going to work, disrespecting the constitution, advocating payback against judges who disagree with their viewpoint.


But there’s no reasoning with the Gangliacon set, with all those neurons firing off like it’s the Fourth of July.  Picture Jack Nicholson from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, in a permanent state of electroshock.


One reader tried to make excuses for why my latest column wasn’t in sync with his views, as though perhaps I stubbed my toe and out popped a 1,500 word commentary.  The reader then went on to warn me that my “mulligan is used up”, suggesting that I’d better damn well be back on board with his take on the world in my next column.


Look, if you want a columnist to regurgitate talking points for a particular agenda, then you’re going to be repeatedly disappointed.  No matter who you are, if you’re right, I’ll defend you and your logic.  If you’re wrong, then get ready to duck.  Anyone who makes up his or her mind on an issue based strictly on ideology, before considering all the facts openly and independently, is a sycophantic monkey.  There are plenty commentators out there will gladly put on your red hat and vest, and crank out the tune you want to hear on the music box; I’m not one of them.


Remember the grade school teacher who used to give you a happy face sticker and an “A+”, even when you turned in ‘splatter art’ that a sneeze was partly responsible for?  Well, that’s not me.  Anyone who turns in the political equivalent of finger painting -- as conservatives have done in the Schiavo case -- gets an 'F' from this pundit.  At least you’ll know, when you get that ‘A’, that you’ll have actually earned it.  If you’re not down with this, then go find a pundit who will gladly flunk you upwards until reality and common sense get around to paying you a visit.


Several readers wished a “painful death” on me, similar to the “murder” that Schiavo experienced.  According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, hospice nurses were asked to rate death by starvation on a scale of one to nine, with one being a “very bad death”, and nine being a “very good death”.  The average rating for a death like Terri Schiavo experienced was an eight.  I hope that, when it's my time to check out, I'm graced with something similar.


Another Christian Gangliacon called me a “facile bitch”, then proceeded with rhetoric and invective more typical of your garden variety hard core, trash-mouthed lib than the Church Lady.  At the end of her rant, she included a link, which brought me to an article she wrote entitled, “Why Scott Peterson Deserves to Frey”.  Sure, why not try the Schiavo case over and over again until her parents get the result they want, even if it’s not what Terri wanted, while sending newly-convicted murderer, Scott Peterson, straight to his death, without any due process or appeals whatsoever?


Permit this “facile bitch” to enlighten the Gangliaconnerie on a few facts to temper their rants.


According to a December 2003 report by Schiavo’s independent Guardian Ad Litem (Dr. Jay Wolfson) to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the 6th Circuit, Terri’s parents -- like the right-to-lifers -- would have kept her alive at all costs, even if they knew that it wasn’t her wish:  “Within the testimony, as part of the hypotheticals presented, Schindler family members stated that even if Theresa had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it.  Throughout this painful and difficult trial, the family acknowledged that Theresa was in a diagnosed persistent vegetative state.”


Of course, CAT scans and EEG tests confirmed that her brain was principally liquid, even though many of my hate mail authors choose to deny that any tests even took place.


The fact that Gangliacons figure that you can still be considered ‘alive’, sans brain, says far more about them than anything else.  Non cogito, ergo Gangliacon?


As for Gangliacon “Villian of the Year” contender, Michael Schiavo, the independent report states:  “It took Michael a long time to consider the prospect of getting on with his life – something he was actively encouraged to do by the Schindlers, long before enmity tore them apart.  He was even encouraged by the Schindlers to date, and introduced his in-law family to women he was dating.”


Readers told me that Michael Schiavo, “can’t have it both ways” with respect to being married to, and caring for, his brain-dead wife, all while moving on with his life.  Apparently, according to Terri’s parents -- and any other rational human being who isn’t expecting him to run against Pope John Paul as the next candidate for sainthood -- he can indeed. 


When all else fails, Gangliacons resort to conspiracy theories, much like their extreme-left counterparts.  Free Congress Foundation Chairman, Paul Weyrich -- a founder of the “Moral Majority” along with Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the ultimate litmus boy for the hard-right -- writes that, not surprisingly, the Schiavo case has his gangliaself all balled up in knots.  He says that “judges are out of control” for not having acted like activists in this case.  This being the same man who flips his puritan wig when he spots a liberal ideologue on the bench.


Weyrich and his minions also suggest that Michael Schiavo has been motivated from the get-go by a book or movie deal, despite the fact that the case didn’t even register on the media radar at the outset:  “With the almost unprecedented around-the-clock coverage this case has generated a book is bound to be a best seller.  In addition to movie rights, watch out for how much is paid to him as a consultant to the studio producing the film.”


Sure, why not.  When all the facts go against your agenda, conjure up a good conspiracy theory to appease the lemmings.


And here I thought these things were the domain of the nutty left.  It just goes to show that the two ideological extremes do indeed wrap around and meet up eventually.


Memo to Gangliacons:  Pool party next week at your new pal Jesse Jackson’s house.  Diving contest off the deep end.  Bring purple Kool Aid.