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A Token of Gratitude December 22, 2010

Posted by monty in comedy, politics, pop culture.
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As if I didn’t already have enough reason to love Larry David (co-creator of Seinfeld and the man responsible for the brilliant Curb Your Enthusiasm), he’s now written a hilarious op-ed for The New York Times thanking Republicans for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

The satire will probably be lost on most Republicans, but it perfectly encapsulates the absolute absurdity of the argument that those in this tax bracket would be in any way financially disadvantaged if the tax cuts had been allowed to expire.  It’s just another example of how the GOP has manipulated the dialogue to make the average middle-class American think it’s their patriotic duty to support an upper class that couldn’t give a shit about them.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

It’s also going to be a boon for my health. After years of coveting them, I’ll finally be able to afford blueberries. Did you know they have a lot of antioxidants, which prevent cancer? Cancer! This tax cut just might save my life. Who said Republicans don’t support health care? I’m going to have the blueberries with my cereal, and I’m not talking Special K. Those days are over. It’s nothing but real granola from now on. The kind you get in the plastic bins in health food stores. Did someone say “organic”?

Larry David: Thanks for the Tax Cut! (The New York Times; 12/20/10)

*****

Current listening:

Balthazar – Applause

Last movie seen:

From Within (2008; Phedon Papamichael, dir.)


Stupid Republican Thing of the Day (12/20/10) December 20, 2010

Posted by monty in politics.
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In what is sure (and unfortunately) to become a regular feature, here’s the first in an open-ended series documenting how ridiculous and irrelevant the modern Republican party has become.  On a side note, anyone want to wager how many of these in an average week will involve Sarah Palin?

*****

Sarah Palin: “Michelle Obama Wants the Government to Take Away Our Dessert!”

Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.  From CNN:

Sarah Palin is again taking aim at Michelle Obama over her anti-obesity campaign, taking the opportunity in Sunday’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to land a diss against the first lady’s efforts to improve nutrition.

While making s’mores at one point during Sunday’s episode, the former Alaska governor proclaims the marshmallow and chocolate treat is “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.”

It’s not the first time Palin has taken a job at Mrs. Obama over her campaign to discourage fattening foods, especially from public schools. The former vice presidential nominee told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham last month that “the first lady cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.”

This is how bizarre the GOP’s anti-government rhetoric has gotten, where an observation that our country – and, increasingly, our children – has become dangerously obese can only be seen as an attempt by the government to control your life.  They may not be bright, but Sarah Palin has helped the Republicans corner the market on petty and mean-spirited.  Will someone please make this woman go away?

*****

Current listening:

Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence (2010)

Last movie seen:

Ghostbusters II (1989; Ivan Reitman, dir.)

Me, I Disconnect from You December 7, 2010

Posted by monty in Uncategorized.
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I just don’t know what to think about Obama anymore.

I’ve been a political cynic as long as I can remember.  When my high school had a mock trial for the 1990 midterm elections, I wrote a lengthy diatribe on the ballot about how any election was simply a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils and it didn’t really matter what person was in office.  Apparently my handwriting was more recognizable than I thought, because later that day a history teacher accosted me in the hall, screaming about how I was “dead wrong.”  So much for the secret ballot.

My general indifference continued through the 1992 election and ’96 elections (I was pro-Clinton, but was I really going to be pro-Bush or -Dole?), and I didn’t really get my dander up until the Bush debacle in 2000.  Even then, it wasn’t so much an endorsement of the Democratic party on my part as much as it was disgust at the nimrod who had been swept into office on the back of the Supreme Court.

It took Obama to get me excited.  He was going to fight for universal health care, closing Guantanamo, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  He was smart and funny, he was young, and he seemed willing to go to the mat in defense of those things in which he believed.  I threw my weight behind him whole-heartedly, and, like many in this country in 2008, I believed.

But now?  Not so much.

It started with the administration’s handling of the health care bill – drawing out that debate torturously month after month; finally, after all that consternation, passing a candy-ass simulacrum of a real health care bill; and then, in a final insult, not campaigning hard behind it, weak as it was, to let the public know that there actually was some good stuff in it.  So now we have a health care bill that hardly anyone knows anything about and which the administration doesn’t seem interested in touting.  The perception seems to be that it’s a bill wreathed in shame, even though it’s at least a step in the right direction.  But the mishandling of the process and the shortcomings of the final product have to be laid at the feet of Obama and his party, who were unequivocally in control of Washington during the debate.

My disillusion got up a full head of steam as soon as I learned about Obama’s education policies.  I’ve discussed this issue in more detail elsewhere on this blog, so I won’t rehash the past now.  One thing I will say, though, is that the intervening months between that post and this one have only made me sadder and more frustrated.  Obama has doubled down (through Education Secretary Arne Duncan) on the idea that more testing is the key to a better education.  I’m reminded of the quote by the late, great James Moffett, which went something like this: “Frequently measuring your height doesn’t make you taller.”  As usual, teachers have been left almost entirely out of this conversation, so now we have the new Common Core Standards (developed by the very testing companies that stand to profit from them), a push to evaluate teachers based on the test scores of their students, and a misguided belief that if we just throw enough money at charter schools, everything will get better overnight.

(And, as a side note, you should all be glad I wasn’t blogging a couple months ago when NBC aired its propaganda hack job, “Education Nation,” which practically gave Davis Guggenheim’s anti-teacher, anti-public school puff piece Waiting for “Superman” a blow job on national television.  I was not a happy fella that week.)

And now there’s this deal with the taxes, adding more to the deficit and lining the pockets of the people who got us into this fiduciary mess in the first place, all in the name of playing nice with a political party that’s going to tar and feather Obama no matter what he does.  What – did he really think that he was going to wipe the slate clean with Boehner and crew by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich?  If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that trying to “compromise” with the GOP is a zero-sum game.  If Obama cured cancer, they’d lambaste him as a Socialist for using tax dollars to do so.  Extending the tax cuts for the rich was a craven thing to do – and he can deny this all he wants – all in the name of political expedience.

I’m mad at the Republicans too, don’t get me wrong.  But in a way I’m less angry with them because I’ve come to expect them to obstruct and, as the party of old rich white dudes, I can’t fault them for playing to their base.  I only wish Obama had the courage to do the same.  Because, see, right now he doesn’t need the Republicans to defeat him.  The Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, are the most self-defeating bunch of ninnies I’ve ever seen.  Instead of taking the fight to the Republicans and drawing a line in the sand about their beliefs, they bow and scrape and kowtow as though it’s going to make any difference.  The result is twofold, with neither half being any good.  They give the Republicans more or less exactly what they want, and in the process, the very people who trusted Obama, who believed in him, who voted for him, are being told that their faith was misplaced.

I know – and so, likely, does Obama – that I don’t have a real choice here.  It’s not as though I’m going to vote for the Republicans in 2012.  And it’s not as though a vote for a third party candidate amounts to anything except a feeling of smug superiority as I exit the voting booth.  So it’s either not vote at all, or vote for the guy who’s not as bad as the crazy bitch from Alaska, the rich Mormon, the fat Bible thumper, or the disgraced lunatic.  It’s not a choice at all, but it’s what we’re going to be faced with in a couple years, and it’s unbelievably disheartening to see how quickly I’ve become cynical again.

Thanks, Obama.  Bang-up job you’re doing.

*****

Current listening:

Rjd2 – Since We Last Spoke (2004)

Early Christmas Present April 21, 2010

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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My friend Adam reminded me of something else I was going to mention in yesterday’s post about the Tea Party movement.  In that post, I discussed three recent articles that essentially prove that the Tea Party – for all its blathering about being a vital third party that stands in opposition to all government – is really just a bunch of typical Republicans who will protest anything Obama does for no reason other than they’re sore losers.  The details are here.

But one of the things rattling around in the back of my head yesterday that Adam reminded me of this morning is Monday’s armed protest in Virginia. A group of “patriots” held an anti-government rally on the shores of the Potomac River, ostensibly in opposition to health care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, and Obama’s insistence on “totalitarian socialism.”  So, in other words, it’s the same tired old bullshit.  The difference this time?  Well, here, from the article:

[Daniel] Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder.

This anti-Obama rally (because, really, let’s stop pretending it’s anything different) holds the dubious distinction of being the first whose attendees carried loaded weapons in a national park.  It’s tempting to digress and discuss the truly frightening aspect of this rally, which is that so many on the right (including some in attendance at the rally) have threatened violence against the president and the Democrats in Congress.  The appearance of guns is just one more step on the path marked “armed insurrection.”

But what I briefly want to do is tie the rally to yesterday’s post by simply reminding you of a couple things.

1) At no time has Obama uttered even the slightest hint of a breath about repealing or limiting the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.  So this protest can’t be about the simple exercising of a Constitutional right.  What, then, is the purpose of bringing guns to a rally in opposition to Obama?  It’s a threat, clear and simple.  A promise of violence.  Guns exist for one reason: to kill.  And I don’t care how you want to gussy it up, bringing guns to a rally that’s supposedly about health care reform is nothing more than a reminder to Democrats that those in opposition to you have the power to take you out.

2) The beautifully ludicrous aspect of this rally is that Obama defended the rule (originally proposed by Bush) allowing loaded weapons in national parks, and the law was passed during Obama’s presidency by a Democratic Congress.  So the protesters – because they’re such clearly intelligent, informed people – are protesting the policies of the President who allowed them to carry their guns in a national park in the first place.  Once again we see that those who stand in opposition to Obama will stand in opposition to him even when he does things that are in their interest.  It’s the good ol’ Republican way of doing business: obstruct, obstruct, obstruct, even when it makes absolutely no sense.

*****

Current listening:

Kate Nash – My Best Friend Is You (2010)

Failed Suicide Club April 20, 2010

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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Sometime in the last couple weeks I made a conscious decision to stop getting so aggravated by the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement. For much of 2009 and the first few months of this year I feared for my sanity whenever I turned on the news.  I’ve never been one to talk to myself – or to inanimate objects – but recently all it would take would be an appearance by Sarah Palin or Eric Cantor or Michele Bachmann (or the unholy triumvirate of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter) to get me frothing and barking at the TV screen like … well, like a member of the Tea Party.

But at some point I realized it was a waste of energy and emotion to get so worked up over a party whose only purpose is to obstruct the Democrats’ agenda, and whose anger exists without any recourse to reality.  I could work up a self-righteous head of steam in an honest debate with someone who is genuinely informed on the issues and who holds an opinion that’s grounded in facts.  But all you have to do is listen to Mitch McConnell or Mike Pence or any of the wingnuts in attendance at a tea party rally to realize that you’re not dealing with sane people who genuinely want to constructively solve America’s problems.  It’s all about getting angry and fucking shit up – physically or legislatively, it doesn’t matter.

So even though my reaction now is to laugh whenever I hear or see virtually anyone representing the GOP or the Tea Party, there have been a few things coming across the wires in the last several days worth mentioning.  So bear with me as I try to pull them together.  I might be able to connect the dots, but I make no promises.

1) There’s a solid piece at Daily Kos comparing the current Tea Party to this country’s last viable third party movement: those who supported Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election.  The gist of the article is that the two movements are nothing alike.  The third partiers in ’92 sprang up in support of Perot, instead of in support of a nebulous cause like “Give me back my country!,” which is really just anti-Democrat sentiment disguised as patriotism.  Perot’s supporters were truly bipartisan in nature, rejecting Republicans and Democrats alike.  For instance, over a third of those who voted for Perot voted for either Walter Mondale in 1984 or Michael Dukakis in 1988 (or both).  Today?  Only 5% of those in the Tea Party self-identify as Democrats.  Similarly, roughly 57% in the Tea Party view George W. Bush favorably (with only 27% viewing him unfavorably), but in ’92, Perot’s supporters viewed both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton unfavorably.

The point?  It’s time to put an end to this myth that the Tea Party is a multi-hued, technicolor, rainbow coalition of concerned Americans who are peeved at government in general.  It’s not.  It’s a bunch of Republicans who are pissed that Obama’s in the White House, and are trying to brand their version of far-right craziness as ultra-patriotism.  Period.  Most of these people don’t give two shits about the Constitution, not in any real way.  They live in a fantasy world where the Constitution grants rich white dudes the inalienable right to do whatever they want, and the rest of us just have to deal with it.  That’s patriotism, Tea Party-style.

2) On a related note, the GOP is now clearly aware of some of the more virulent, violent protest signs at the Tea Party rallies, and are busy trying to point out that some left-wing protestors used similar rhetoric against Bush. Okay, first off, they’re absolutely right.  There were definitely some nutcases comparing Bush to Hitler and Satan, and calling for either his death or his incarceration.  You’ll get no dispute from me there.

The Democrats, as should be expected by now, are handling this all wrong. In the article linked above, the Dems’ response is to question the veracity of the signs.  This is profoundly stupid, and is akin to the Republicans’ current strategy, which is to claim any signs espousing violent or racist rhetoric against Obama is being done by liberal infiltrators who just want to make the Tea Party look bad.  In other words, rather than denounce the violent racists in their midst, the GOP would just rather blame the Democrats.  Again.

What the Democrats should be saying instead is this: “Look, we get that there were some idiots who said Bush was like Hitler.  And we know that Code Pink consists of a bunch of transsexual drama queens whose protests are annoying even to the people who agree with the issues in principle.  But the fundamental difference between those groups and the Tea Party is that these liberals protestors were the fringe of our party.  They’re the half-dozen lunatics and twerps that give all of us a bad name.  But the Tea Party is your base. These are, almost to a person, stalwart conservatives, who worship at the altar of Bush and Reagan, who festoon their bodies with American flag regalia, and who believe there’s nothing sexier than a firearm clasped by a blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan in an Uncle Sam hat.  18% of Americans identify with the Tea Party.  Toward the end of his presidency, only 25% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Bush.  The margin of difference there is razor-thin.  The Tea Party is the Republican Party is the Tea Party.  They’re indistinguishable from one another.  Which means – guess what? – the Republican party is littered with violent racists who are primarily angry that there’s a black man in the White House.  We have our crazies, too, but our crazies are the disorganized fringe.  Your crazies make up the foundation of your party.  Job well done, Republicans.”

3) Much was made of the recent poll demonstrating that Tea Party members are wealthy older white males.  No shit.  Really?  Perhaps more surprising was the finding that, grammatically incoherent and rhetorically obtuse protest signs notwithstanding, they’re also educated.  One thing I’d like to point out, though, is that there’s a difference between being educated and being intelligent or informed.  I have a high level of education, but I’m not too swift when it comes to certain things outside my purview.  You don’t, for instance, often hear me spouting off about quantum physics.  If I don’t know much about something, I tend to keep my mouth shut.  I’m a good listener.  But the Tea Party, despite whatever level of education its individual members possess, don’t seem to know much about the government or taxes or Obama’s citizenship or, you know, any of the issues they’re supposedly protesting.  To wit:

  • Only 41% believe Obama was born in the United States (Hawaii: not a state, apparently).
  • 64% of them believe their taxes have been raised (despite the fact that the economic stimulus package contained the largest middle class tax cut in history).
  • Two-thirds are climate change deniers (because it snowed in the New England in February!).
  • 40% believe there should be no recognition of gay couples at all (depressing, but expected).
  • 92% believe Obama is moving the country toward Socialism (obvious, what with the Dow being way up and the tax cuts and people finally finding jobs and all).
  • A staggering 73% believe that government aid encourages people to stay poor (because being poor is fun!)
  • And, of course, 59% love Glenn Beck; %66 love Sarah Palin (also: 100% of these believe the sun revolves around the Earth).

The Tea Party may be educated, but does this really sound like the views of an intelligent movement?  What it sounds like to me is the standard GOP party line, and the perfectly understandable opinions of a bunch of people who use Fox News as their primary source of information.

At the top I said I’d try to connect the dots between these three articles, and the obvious picture that develops when they’re combined is this: the Tea Party is indistinguishable from the present-day GOP.  There’s been talk for months about the Tea Party becoming a third party, or wondering to what degree the Republicans should extend an olive branch to the Tea Party, melding the two in the sort of genetic experiment that should be illegal.  This kind of speculation is pointless.  To try and separate the GOP from the Tea Party, or to pretend the Tea Party would be a viable third party, is ludicrous.  The members of the Tea Party are Republicans.  They believe in the things Republicans believe in, support all the usual Republican politicians and pundits, hate all the usual Democratic causes and beliefs, and, when push comes to shove, will vote Republican straight down the ballot, no matter how much they swear up and down they won’t.

But it’ll be interesting to see how this conflict continues to play out.  The GOP surely realizes that the Tea Party isn’t exactly a model of civility and decorum, and will continue to be wary of embracing them whole-heartedly.  And the Tea Partiers, who’ve sworn until they’re blue in their jowly, porcine faces that they hate all government, will be slow to align themselves with the GOP, lest they reveal themselves as the hypocrites the rest of us know that they are.  So yeah, I used to get mad at all of this, but now I’m sort of grateful for this wonderfully hysterical gift that just keeps on giving.

*****

Current listening:

The National – High Violet (2010)

Last movie seen:

Kick-Ass (2010; Matthew Vaughn, dir.)

I Don’t Know if This Is Ignorance or Transcendence April 16, 2010

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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Bob Cesca is one of my favorite writers, and for my money he’s doing the best job of anyone at unveiling the drooling, gibbering, psycho ward lunacy and racist dumbfuckery of the contemporary Republican party.

Cesca’s currently busy tilting, Don Quixote-style, at the Glenn Beck windmill, hell-bent on revealing him for the huckster and charlatan that he is.  I’ve long believed that Beck is engaged in a bit of quasi-Andy Kaufman performance art, and the only thing that keeps me from being completely in awe of him is the fact that so many of the people who watch him take him absolutely fucking seriously.  And that is, in a word, frightening.  Given a second word, it’s also irresponsible.  It’s one thing to spew lies with a nod and a wink, when your listeners know you’re not serious and are in on the joke. But it’s another thing entirely to do what Beck does, which is purposely deceive his fans, who choose to remain willfully ignorant, and who tune in to Beck because he gleefully pours gasoline on even their most unintelligible conspiracy theories.  Because, you know, fomenting anti-government violence and bigotry is fun.

Anyway, Cesca’s been writing some exceptional stuff about Beck recently.  Here’s a link to his most recent piece for the Huffington Post, which is, as usual, spot-on.

Bob Cesca (Huffington, Post, 4/14/10): Exposing Glenn Beck as a Dangerous Fraud, Part 2

And, for those who haven’t clicked the link on the right, here’s Cesca’s blog, which is full of goodies.

*****

Current listening:

Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (2010)

And This Is What We Call Progress April 11, 2010

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t been easy being an Obama supporter.  While I’m ultimately glad that some kind of health care reform passed, I’m one of the few that disapproves of its current incarnation not because I’m frightened of death panels and government takeovers and squads of roving IRS agents and whatever other bogeymen the comically conspiracy-minded GOP can fabricate, but because the bill didn’t go far enough. Also, as I’ve written elsewhere on 3SODA, Obama’s current education policy is catastrophically simplistic and wrong-headed.

And that’s before you factor in the relentless GOP crybaby machine. Amazingly, all the right-wing vituperation during the 2008 presidential campaign has only gotten worse in the last year.  Newt Gingrich ( Obama’s is the “most radical” administration ever), Rush Limbaugh (Obama is “inflicting untold damage” on the U.S.), and good ol’ Sarah Palin (Obama’s recent agreement with Russia to reduce the number of nukes in each country is like a kid who says “punch me in the face”) have been launching their attacks on a nearly daily basis, and this doesn’t even begin to take into account the not-at-all-racist (nudge nudge, wink wink) Tea Party Movement, as well as the rank and file Republicans who swear that Obama has raised taxes and ruined the economy.

Long story short, it’s sometimes difficult to defend him when there are certainly aspects of his presidency with which I’m dissatisfied myself.

But it shouldn’t be difficult.  In the first year of Obama’s presidency:

  • The Dow is up from 7,000 to 11,000
  • The job situation has gone from 700,000 losses a month to 160,000 jobs created
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has added 1.8 million jobs
  • The GDP (a measure of economic growth) has moved from -6% to +6%
  • Housing prices are up 20%

A pox on that radical Socialist for doing such horrific things to our country!

More unbelievable still is the fact that Republicans are actually angry about the fact that roughly 47% of American households in 2009 paid no taxes – not due to some sneaky dodge, but because they either didn’t make enough money, or because they benefited from tax credits that were part of the stimulus package.

You see the contradiction, right?

The GOP, so recently busy trying to position itself as the grass-roots party of the common man (remember Joe the Plumber?), is furious because A) people who are too poor to afford taxes aren’t being made to turn over their last $2 to the government, and B) the government is actually helping the middle class save money.  So the official GOP position on taxes is this: we hate taxes … except for when a Democrat’s in office, and then you’d better pay up or else you’re a no-good welfare case.

(And, come to think of it, isn’t that an interesting position for the GOP to take?  If they’re so concerned with appealing to the working class, why take this position on taxes, and why frame universal health care as an entitlement program?  What we’ve learned from the Republicans in the first year of Obama’s presidency is that people who need financial help are parasitic lowlifes mooching off the system.  You’re either self-sufficient, or you’re a liability.  There’s no middle ground.  And more puzzling still, why do the low- and middle-classes persist in allowing themselves to be tricked into believing that the Republicans actually care about them?)

Something else the last year (and especially the last few months) should have taught us is that, contrary to what the Republican powers that be would have us believe, there is no liberal media.  It’s inconvenient for the GOP, I know, but there’s simply no cabal of broadcasters whose sole interest is getting us to eat granola, wear clothes made from hemp, and read The Communist Manifesto. In many ways, it’s been entertaining to watch the Republicans cry about the “liberal media” because one of their most reliable talking points is that the Democrats are always pretending to be the victim.  Yet when it comes to the media, the Republicans make like a two-year-old who just got his binky swiped.  We’re supposed to believe that the “mainstream media” (translation: anything that’s not Fox News) has its jackbooted foot on the neck of the Republican Party, effectively silencing anything critical of the Obama administration.  But the important thing to remember is that the contemporary Republican party depends on its followers feeling like they’re being persecuted.  Just look at the way they approach some of their favorite issues:

  • The mainstream media wants to silence conservative voices.
  • Healthcare reform will make it harder for you to see your doctor and send IRS agents to your door.
  • The Tea Party Movement consistently uses “Take our country back!” as a rallying cry.
  • Obama wants to steal your money and “redistribute” it to people who don’t deserve it.

To the GOP, any ideas that are even remotely progressive exist only to persecute you and take what’s rightfully yours.  And that’s the stance they’ve taken with the media: it’s state-run, and serves a Democratic agenda.  But no one but the most blinkered, tunnel-visioned Republican really believes that, do they?  I mean, why, in this liberal media Utopia, am I subjected to the thoughts of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the Tea Party?  Why aren’t the statistics I cited above common knowledge?  Why haven’t the myriad Republican hypocrisies detailed in this letter been playing in an uninterrupted loop on NBC, CBS, and ABC?  Why haven’t Newt Gingrich’s infidelities gotten as much play as John Edwards’?  Because the media is so liberal.  Right.  I keep forgetting.

One of the problems, of course, is that we’ve turned into a society that believes that just because there happens to be two sides to an issue, both sides are equally worth hearing.  This is why we’re so lucky to find out what Sarah Palin thinks about Obama’s qualifications to sign a non-proliferation agreement with Russia.

Make no mistake: when one of the sides debating an issue consists of Palin, Gingrich, and Limbaugh (not to mention court jester extraordinaire Glenn Beck and perpetual victim Andrew Breitbart), that viewpoint isn’t worth hearing, because that viewpoint doesn’t exist in the same reality as the rest of us.  It’s like someone arguing against gravity.  Sure, it’s polite to give the opposing perspective a chance to talk, but why bother? There’s a world of difference between making a principled objection against something, and just being a dick.  Too often, it seems like the GOP just wants to do the latter (see especially, Gingrich’s recent claim that, in a Republican-controlled Congress, the first order of business will be to defund and repeal all of Obama’s policies – again, despite all the evidence that they’ve worked.)

It’s all very confusing.  We have a president who has done some remarkably positive things for the country, and yet the opposition is unequivocally controlling the dialogue – to the point where some of his supporters are even reluctant to defend him.  Somehow, despite Obama’s successes, the GOP has managed to frame his presidency as the machinations of a radical leftist hell-bent on destroying the country.  But the truth, if one ignores all the Socialist fairy tales the Republicans are spinning about health care reform and the stimulus and arms reduction and green jobs, is that there’s mounting evidence that Obama has actually been quite good for the country.  How odd that we don’t hear about that from the leftist media that’s supposedly suckling at Obama’s Marxist teat.

And that means that Obama’s supporters have their work cut out for them. In order to garner votes in November, the GOP is going to continue to pretend to be a supporter of the working class (despite all evidence to the contrary), and, at the same time, paint Obama and the Democratic incumbents as Socialist Marxist fascist homosexuals who want nothing more than to see a Soviet flag flying over the White House.  It’s important for us to understand that an Obama presidency that doesn’t go quite as far as we’d like is still miles better than turning over Washington to Gingrich and Palin and Michele Bachmann and professional saddlebag John Boehner.  The more seats the Republicans take in November, the uglier it’s going to get for all of us.  And that means whatever reservations we have about Obama’s individual policies have to be squelched, and the not insignificant accomplishments of his administration have to be amplified, and amplified in a way that illustrates how they actually help the middle-class. The long-running (and entirely true) joke about the Democrats is that they always know how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Not this time.  There’s just too much at stake.

*****

Current listening:

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)

Intermission December 3, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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Andrew Sullivan – Brit expatriate, homosexual, all-around smart guy, and staunch conservative – leaves the GOP.

I’m sure this will prompt hordes of Republicans to engage in deep and thoughtful self-evaluation about the direction of their party.

Right.

Wagers on which right-wing nutjob is the first to call Sullivan a traitor?

The Atlantic (12/01/09): Leaving the Right

hhhhhhhh

*****

Current listening:

The Hold Steady –A Positive Rage (2009)

The Neighbors Can’t Breathe November 23, 2009

Posted by monty in politics.
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1 comment so far

Okay, I know.  When someone shoots video of a politician’s fans at a rally or a speech or a book signing, it’s invariably slanted.  They chop it up and edit it so that only the most moronic or inflammatory or entertaining people make the final cut.  And I know that this is probably true of any politician.  I’m sure you could get a sample of stupidity at any political event … and yes, I’m including Barack Obama’s events in there, too.  Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on stupidity – they just seem to own more shares.

But, man.  A video taken during one of Palin’s book signings illustrates exactly why Sarah Palin’s fans are – yes, I’ll say it – dangerous.  Last week, Jon Stewart brilliantly and accurately called her a “conservative boilerplate mad lib,” her every speech peppered with  … oh, hell, just watch it for yourself:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Before I get to the video I actually wanted to show, it’s always interesting to see the GOP attempt to dissect exactly why the liberals don’t like Palin, and it’s always funny to see how wrong they get it.  They think it has something to do with her attractiveness or her religion or her outspokenness, when, as I’ve said here before, it has nothing to do with any of that, and everything to do with her being a vacuous, empty-headed twit.  Oh, I won’t deny that she’s a master of controlling her image, and in that respect she’s a savvy and brilliant entertainer.  But we should never mistake that for actual gravitas or intelligence.

Sarah Palin parrots exactly what her followers want to hear, and they parrot it right back to anyone who asks them about her.  As in this video.  It pains me that it was taken in my home state, but my consolation is that her fans would sound like this anywhere in the country.  Stupid knows no geographical boundaries.

One thing I believed following the 2004 election – and which I believe even more now – is that the red/blue divide in this country comes down to an ability to think critically.  Personally, it’s tiring to hear the all or nothing/love it or leave it/black and white rhetoric that consistently comes out of the GOP.  There’s never (or rarely, at least) an acknowledgment of the gray areas in an issue, or that ideology is often nuanced, or that it’s possible to support a politician without agreeing with his every issue.  You hear it in the responses in that video.  No knowledge of Palin’s specific policies or beliefs, no idea about what Obama or the incumbent Congress has actually done to steal their country from them – it’s just God and guns and drill, baby, drill.

And, I’m sorry to say it again, but that’s dangerous.  To so blindly support someone about whose beliefs you know nothing outside the empty platitudes she spews in her media appearances is irresponsible.  The Republicans harp consistently about not knowing Obama’s background.  Even if that were true – which it’s not, let’s go ahead and establish that right away – at least we know specifically what he believes in, and what kinds of policies he’d like to enact.  With Palin, we know everything about her past, but that still tells us nothing about the specifics of her ideology.

People are so enamored with Palin’s story (and I’ll admit, it’s a good one) that they completely ignore the crucial problem: she completely lacks substance.  And maybe that’s been the biggest failing of our schools: we haven’t properly taught people how to think critically.  We haven’t taught them how to look for substance, to dissect an argument, to look out for propaganda.  And I’m not going to deny that there isn’t an element of this same problem to Obama’s success.  He was a great speaker with a catchy message and a barrier-busting heritage – there were absolutely people who voted as blindly for him as there are those who would vote blindly for Palin.  Neither is right.  But Obama, at the very least, talked specifically about his beliefs and his policies, unlike the vice-presidential debate, where Palin simply ignored the moderator’s questions to mouth her talking points like the Stepford GOP automaton she is.  And it does seem, at least to this humble citizen, that, after eight years of Bush’s smirky arrogance, and with this current fascination with Palin, an inability to think critically often seems to be the province of the right wing.

But back on point: we need to better equip our students to think intelligently and critically.  Doing so goes some way toward ensuring that they won’t behave like the people in the video, who are apparently acting without any conscious thought whatsoever – like some bizarre Pavlovian GOP experiment, they begin salivating when Palin derisively utters the phrase “mainstream media.”  The final irony, of course, is that Obama’s current education policy – with its emphasis on standards and testing – will only breed more people who are unable to look beyond the rhetoric to the empty promises beneath.

*****

Current listening:

Burning Airlines – Mission: Control! (1999)

That’s What You Always Say November 16, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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2 comments

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Sarah Palin’s upcoming memoir, Going Rogue, contains numerous factual “inaccuracies.”  In a fact-check conducted by the Associated Press (I mean, “the liberal media elite”), Palin apparently distorts her own record, and either misunderstands or outright lies about events in Obama’s presidency (confusing Obama’s stimulus package, for instance, with George W. Bush’s federal bank bailout).  The AP is kind in saying that Palin’s book occasionally “goes adrift,” when what they really should be saying is that it’s just more of the same kind of paranoid, lunatic babbling that gave us death panels and Drill, baby, drill!

But just as unsurprising as Palin’s drift is the fact that she’s now accusing the AP of doing “opposition research” in fact-checking her memoir.

We’ve heard 11 writers are engaged in this opposition research, er, ‘fact checking’ research!  Imagine that – 11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to ‘fact check’ what’s going on with Sheik Mohammed’s trial, Pelosi’s health care takeover costs, Hassan’s associations, etc.

So this is what it’s come to.  Checking the veracity of claims made by a public figure – one of the most important tenets of modern journalism – is now spun by the GOP as just another attack by the opposition.  Apparently, in Palin’s perfect world, she could just run her mouth about any old thing and have it be taken as gospel by the universe as a whole.

It is, I have to say, a clever ploy aimed squarely at appeasing her base.  When you make your reputation as a small-town rube with the intellect of a mosquito and a mistrust of anyone who uses polysyllabic words, it’s just the next logical step to further adopt the role of victim and scream that you’re being raped by the big, bad liberal media.  The portion of the American population who actually thinks Palin’s got something to say – you can recognize them because they’re wearing aluminum foil hats and screaming about black helicopters – will fall right in line.

I really wish I had a gauge to figure out how seriously the rest of the country takes anything she says.  My first inclination whenever I see or hear anything on the news about Palin or Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or any of these right-wing asshats is to laugh hysterically.  But then I remember that a lot of people take them at their word, and that’s a sobering thought.

Palin wants to spin the AP’s reporting as equivalent to the death of free speech.  The truth, however, is that it’s Palin – who claims that the media has no right or responsibility to verify her claims – who’s the real enemy of the 1st Amendment.  It goes back to the same point I made about Carrie Prejean last week.  The right to free speech means that, yes, you can generally say what you like.  What it doesn’t do is guarantee you the right to say what you like and have it remained unchallenged. That’s the beauty of free speech.  It cuts both ways.  You have the right to say what you want, and I have the right to challenge you.  In this case, Palin had the freedom to write a book that’s apparently as boneheaded as the interviews and speeches for which she’s already known, and now she’s angry that responsible journalists have an equal amount of freedom to make sure she’s not completely full of shit.

Sarah, just a word of advice: It’s not free speech if the only people allowed to talk are the ones who agree with you.

*****

Current listening:

Saturnine – American Kestrel (1999)

Last movie seen:

Body of Lies (2008; Ridley Scott, dir.)

Ballerina Out of Control November 10, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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2 comments

invisibleaffairs2I promise – absolutely, positively 100% promise – that this will be the last thing I say about this yammering doofus, but Carrie Prejean’s interview with Meredith Vieira on The Today Show this morning was just too priceless to pass up.

Let’s recap who she is first.  She wins Miss USA after saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.  She goes on to become a darling of Fox News and other conservative media types.  She’s eventually removed from her position, allegedly because she failed to meet the commitments of the “office.”  Prejean sues.  Later we find out her boob job paid was paid for by pageant officials, and she’d taken some racy photos for a men’s magazine. Most recently, she dropped her lawsuit after the emergence of a tape wherein the GOP’s sweetheart was filmed practicing safe sex on herself.  In short, we have yet another example of a person of no consequence being elevated to a position of importance, essentially because she aired her bigoted views publicly, and then turned out to be a grade-A hypocrite.

The interview didn’t reflect any of this.  It was, in short,  a masterpiece of megalomanical delusion.  She’s convinced that her firing – and now this sex tape – is all part of grand liberal campaign to “silence” her.  Apparently she’s been diligently copying the notes she was given during her appearances on Fox News, because her talking points read like the How to Be a Young Republican Handbook. A few of the more exciting tidbits:

  • There’s a plot in this country to silence conservative women.
  • We have a liberal media.
  • Because she came under fire for her comments about gay marriage, free speech doesn’t exist.
  • “I’ve been Palinized.”
  • Sean Hannity would be off the air if he said the same things about Michelle Obama that Keith Olbermann has said about her.

I don’t even really know where to start. The easiest place, I guess, is the last point.  To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in the 1988 Vice-Presidential debates: Carrie, you’re no Michelle Obama.  You’re not even Sarah Palin.  You’re a talentless dingbat whose fifteen minutes of fame are just about up.  And if Hannity did criticize Michelle Obama, he wouldn’t be off the air.  Why?  Because he’s on Fox News.  If anything, he’d get a raise.

As for her first point, I’d argue that it’s not a plot to silence conservative women.  It’s a plot to silence stupid people.  Period.  Prejean, Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Ann Coulter – what other conservative women could she be talking about?  Olympia Snowe?  Meghan McCain?  As far as I can tell, Snowe is enjoying increased prestige precisely because she’s a conservative woman who’s not a Stepford-esque twit.  She’s smart and principled, and that flies in the face of most current conservative rhetoric.  And Meghan McCain may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but people are willing to listen to her because she doesn’t stick to the accepted GOP talking points. If Prejean doesn’t want people to criticize what she says, she should stop spewing bigoted, hateful nonsense.

And that brings me to her point about the death of free speech.  It’s funny to hear her say this, because my response is the one I frequently hear conservatives give liberals.  Just because we have freedom of speech in this country doesn’t mean you can go around babbling whatever the hell you like without consequence.  You get to say it without being locked up in jail. That’s free speech.  If other entities want to criticize or sanction you because of what you said, well, that’s their prerogative.  Just ask the Dixie Chicks.  I think it’s great they had the courage to speak out against George W. Bush to their largely redneck, Bush-supporting fan base, but the ensuing backlash wasn’t censorship.  The fact that fans destroyed their records, and country music stations stopped playing their songs, struck me as a totally predictable, wholly reasonable response from that demographic.  If you’re going to have the balls to say something unpopular, then you’d also better have the balls to deal with the aftermath.

And that’s really the problem I have with Prejean.  She can’t own up to the fact that it’s not a plot to silence her.  It’s so much more convenient to turn herself into a victim – “I know I’m a homophobe, but look how mean everyone’s being to meeeeeeeee!”  She wants to live under this delusion that some huge lefty conclave gets together for coffee cake and decide who’s going to be blacklisted this month, rather than realize that if you say something bigoted and prejudicial on a national platform, there’s going to be a backlash.

Because, Carrie, some of us actually believe in gay marriage.  Some of us actually believe that whom you choose to marry isn’t going to unravel the fabric of the country.  Some of us believe in, you know, equal rights.  If you’re going to out yourself as an enemy of equality, Carrie, then the least you can do is have the self-awareness to realize what you represent.

*****

Current listening:

drummer feel

Drummer – Feel Good Together (2009)

Current reading:

yiddish

Michael Chabon – The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

Waiting for the End of the World November 6, 2009

Posted by monty in politics.
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3 comments

health-care-protest1

When did white people in this country get so angry?  Maybe it’s always been this way and I’m just now noticing it, but it strikes me as increasingly bizarre that the demographic that has been in control in this country since, well, ever, now seems to think they’ve lost their country, all because the Democrats want to make sure everyone has access to affordable health care.  How dare they?

I know I’m not the first one to point this out, but I think a lot of it has to do with – to put it politely – the darkening skin tone in this country.  I first became aware of this undercurrent of rage while living in Southern California.  The state’s reputation as being progressive, accepting, and forward-thinking is due primarily to the influence of San Francisco and Hollywood.  Venture outside those areas, though – to, say, Orange County or the desert communities in the central part of the state – and you’ll encounter racist rednecks that would have some Southerners smiling in admiration.  And they’re mad.  Boy, are they mad! They cover their cars with Confederate flags and iron crosses and bitch about Mexicans stealing their good jobs – because, you know, lots of white Californians are lining up to do yard work in Palm Springs.  But, again, it’s based in this weird notion that they’ve lost their country, despite the fact that white people overwhelmingly run the government, the insurance industry, the banks, and just about any other large-scale entity you’d care to name.

obamagrannyAnd now white folks are angry about health care.  The problem, of course, is that they’re not really angry about health care.  If health care was the problem, they’d trouble themselves to actually learn about the bill, do some research, figure out which specifics are most objectionable to them, and then launch a reasoned, intelligent campaign to effect change.  But no.  They repeat the same tired old lis that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and, sadly, Michelle Bachmann and other members of the Republican leadership have been spoon-feeding the more reality-challenged of the right-wing.  You know what I mean: death panels, Obama wants to kill your grandma, the government gets to choose your doctor, and the biggest bugaboo of all: SOCIALISM. Empty, meaningless catch-phrases all, and specifically designed by the right-wing to scare its followers into hating the Democrats more than they already do.

health-care-protest So now we get these hordes of angry white people descending on Washington every few weeks to protest something they don’t really understand.  It makes for good entertainment, and I guess it makes them feel better.  Chez, over at Deus ex Malcontent, does a nice job comparing the lunatic ravings of this week’s health care protest with the comparatively calm and rational protest last week against the meeting of the National Bankers Association.  But therein lies the problem.  How many of you actually knew there was a banking protest last week?  I didn’t.  Say what you will about the Republicans – both the sane and the insane among their ranks – they know how to get press and how to get things done.  While the left-wing splinters into the far-left, the moderates, and the Blue Dogs (who seem to just want to be Republicans but are afraid to come out of the closet), Bush, Cheney, and the GOP-controlled Congress at the early part of this decade would just ram any old thing they liked down the throats of the American voter.  Similarly, leftist protests are either veddy, veddy proper, like the banking one in Chicago, or they’re conducted by unabashed nut-jobs like Code Pink that no one can take seriously.  The Republicans, on the other hand, mobilize their supporters, get ex-politicians to craft strategies for disrupting town hall meetings and find billionaires to bus protesters to rallies. In politics – unlike athletics – the team that wins is the one that wants it more.  And the Republicans, simply put, don’t like feeling powerless.

I don’t know where that leaves us as a nation.  The irrational anger troubles me.  The fact that the number of threats against the president has increased 400 percent since Obama took office troubles me.  The fact that we don’t seem able to have a calm discussion about anything anymore troubles me.  I try – and try much harder than I’m used to – to be optimistic, but what this continually reveals about a large percentage of the American people is that they’re an ignorant, fearful, reactionary, easily influenced bunch.  I think things are only going to get uglier as we gear up for the 2010 midterm elections, and all hell is going to break loose in 2012.  I hope I’m wrong, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already planning an exit strategy of my own.

*****

And then there’s this.  I didn’t want to devote a whole post to it, but since we’re on the subject of angry white people, I thought I’d share this little bit of spooky anti-Semitic mail I received yesterday.  A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Sarah Silverman, and in the process of researching her I found a really scary WordPress site essentially devoted to anti-Semitic ramblings about the Jewish conspiracy, Jewish inferiority, blah blah blah.  I posted a few condemnatory words about it, and then didn’t want to give it any more attention than it deserved.  Yesterday, on that post, I received this comment, from someone going by the name Jackumup:

Wow you kikesters are true Americans. Free speech by kikester definition means the ability to produce porn for profit with out fear of retribution from the catholic church as they did to your parasitic fore schemers in the 30’s, free speech means to write any accusations against Christians then scream ant-semitism when you are prosecuted, using christian laws against the Christians to silence them by funding your Marxist groups such as the ADL, ACLU, JDL, NAACP
And you wish you didn’t have to hear us tell the truth well, very soon you and yours won’ t have to, The day of the kikester is coming to an end

So, yeah.  It’s good to know I’m part of the kikester conspiracy to take over the world.  At least I’m in good company.

*****

Current listening:

Johnny grace

Johnny Foreigner – Grace and the Bigger Picture

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

George Saunders – “Bohemians” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

Last movie seen:

observe_and_report

Observe and Report (Jody Hill, dir.)

Call the Ceasefire October 29, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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public option

I promise I’m not being a dickish liberal when I say to the Republicans, it’s time you either show us your health care reform plan, or you concede that you really have no interest in fixing the system.

I’ve long suspected that the only reason the GOP is even paying lip service to the idea of reform is because A) a majority of the American people wants it, and B) they know Obama’s pushing for it, and they can’t reasonably oppose the Dems’ plan without at least pretending to have an alternative.  Unfortunately for the Republicans, it’s getting close to put-up-or-shut-up time.  Now that the House Democrats have unveiled their bill, the onus is on the Republicans to demonstrate that all this resistance they’ve been showing is because they have a far superior plan in their arsenal.

Of course, they don’t.  Der.

Today, Republican tool extraordinaire John Boehner finally admits the GOP doesn’t have a plan:

QUESTION: Is it your plan to have one Republican alternative that you all would get behind and endorse?

BOHNER: We have a number of ideas that we would like to proffer in this process, and we’re not quite sure how the majority intends to proceed. And so until we understand how they intend to proceed, it’s pretty difficult for us to have a solid plan.

So, in other words, the Republicans have no ideas.  None.  Zero.  Because if they had a great plan – a plan that was so much better than the Democratic one they’ve been lambasting for freaking months – surely they would have put it together by now, right?  I mean, can you imagine a better time to unveil their bulletproof plan than the very same day the Democrats unveil theirs?

What a coupe de grace that would be for Boehner!  Nancy Pelosi wheels her rickety old bones up the Capitol steps, delivers her little speech presenting her party’s dopey plan, and then, moments later, Boehner springs into action in a cloud of spray tan and Brylcreem, upstaging her with the Republican plan that fixes everything!  All that talk of Kanye upstaging Taylor Swift would be forgotten in an instant because this – this! – would become the archetype generations would call on when they heard the word upstage.

But did the GOP do this?  Nope.  Not even close.  The preface to that empty-headed little quote just above was a reporter asking Boehner if the Republicans would post their plan online for 72 hours, especially since they had excoriated the Democrats for months about their “secret meetings.”  Here’s the exchange (and please note Boehner’s eloquence and specificity):

QUESTION: Will the Republicans put their alternative online for 72 hours as well?

BOEHNER: Uh, we’ll uh, we’ll have our ideas ready. Don’t worry.

So, to sum up the Republicans’ current position on health care:

  • We hate the Democrats’ plan.
  • All those people who currently can’t afford health care will now have to wait in long lines for health care, and lines are unAmerican!
  • It’s evil incarnate.
  • It will kill grandmothers throughout this great country, robbing them of their ability to enjoy baseball and apple pie.
  • It’s socialism the likes of which we haven’t seen Hitler’s Germany.
  • (Psst!  It will kill your grandmother!)
  • Spending money for health care = bad; spending money to kill brown people = good.
  • We don’t have a bill of our own.
  • But we still hate the Democrats’ plan.

Look, I don’t even think the Democrats’ plan (at least what I’ve read so far) is all that great.  It looks to me like a neutered, ineffectual wisp of a plan that accurately reflects all the bullshit compromises the Dems have made every step of the way.  I don’t for a second begrudge the Republicans their right to oppose the Democrats’ plan.  It would be foolish and naive to expect them to agree with it.

My problem, though, is that you can’t say you support health care reform and then do nothing to back up that statement.  We hear all this blah blah blah about tort reform and cutting overhead and whatever other ideas they have that supposedly help the consumer but which actually help the insurance companies, and I’d probably hate that plan more than the Democrats’, but at least it would be something concrete.  It strikes me that it’s hard to craft a bipartisan plan when one of the parties won’t even bring any ideas to the table.  And, in a way, it’s foolish of the Republicans not to strike when the iron is so clearly hot.  The Democrats now supersede the amoeba in lack of backbone, so for the Republicans not to approach the issue with a solid plan chock full o’ specifics seems to be silliness of the highest order.  The Democrats have proven themselves willing to roll over for just about anything in recent months, so why aren’t these supposedly opportunistic Republicans taking advantage?

The point I’m making here is that substantial health care reform in this country is doomed.  Neither side takes it seriously enough to actually do anything about it.  The Democrats will waste their 60 seats, the Republicans will bitch and whine their way to a significant number of 2010 election wins, and three years from now we’ll be back where we started.  And we’ll have no one to blame for it but ourselves.  A selfish, ignorant populace begets a selfish, ignorant Congress.

The old adage that every country gets the government it deserves has rarely been truer than it is today.

*****

Current listening:

Bruce greetings

Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

Stephanie Dickinson – “A Lynching in Stereoscope” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

Back Before We Were Brittle October 21, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics, TV.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

20030410-foxnews-lies

Whenever someone says he watches Fox News – and says it without a veneer of irony – you know exactly what you’re getting.  It’s actually one of the most revealing things someone can say.  After all, you can admit to liking a crappy movie and still have pretty good taste in cinema, on the whole.  Similarly, you can have affection for a band that you know all the hip kids would ridicule you for, and still feel safe in the knowledge that you’re not a total square.  I have a soft spot for Hugh Grant movies and Elton John, but I also know how much I love the movies of Jim Jarmusch and the music of Radiohead.

But you can pretty much only watch Fox News in one of two ways.  You watch it because you believe it to be true, or you watch it because you just have to see what batshit-crazy things they’re saying today.  Before I go any farther, let me say that I also think this is true, although to a lesser degree, of MSNBC.  I think it’s a bad idea that the news has gotten so politicized that people can safely exist in their own little echo chamber, watching the stories of the day filtered through their own little ideological prism.  Even though I’m much more hip to MSNBC’s vibe, I don’t watch that channel – ever, really – simply because I know I’m going to agree with everything that say.  And while I think that Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann have slightly more journalistic integrity than Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, I personally think it’s boring to hear my own beliefs parroted back at me.  Some people – Fox viewers, for instance – like that kind of thing.  I don’t.

And that’s why, funnily enough, I’m more qualified to critique Fox than I am MSNBC.  I don’t watch the latter, but I went through a period of just about a year where I watched an awful lot of the former.  Much of this has to do with the fact, and I’ve known this for years, that I’m really only happy when I’m angry about something.  I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I’d watch Fox News every evening, through the headlines, through O’Reilly, through Hannity & Colmes, precisely because I liked to feel that anger smoldering away in my chest.  Even though I don’t turn on the channel anymore, I still watch clips of O’Reilly and Hannity and Fox’s gift to comedy, Glenn Beck, when I hear they did or said something worth getting my ire up over.

The purpose of this post isn’t really for me to carp about Fox.  It’s old news, pardon the pun, and nothing I have to say about it will be a revelation to anyone.  But I do want to share a link from the Huffington Post, titled “The Ten Most Egregious Fox News Distortions” (and yes, of course I see the hypocrisy inherent in sharing a link critical of Fox that first appeared on a lefty site like Huffington).  The Right can argue until it’s blue in the face about the “liberal media” or the “left-wing media” or “the commie pinko faggot media,” but it would take a truly brazen neocon to claim with a straight face that the network news channels do anything even remotely close to what Fox has done in these ten examples.

Save this link and share it with your misguided friends when they tell you that they watch Fox News to get “the truth.”  Bullshit.  They watch it to get the truth they want to hear.  And there’s a big difference between the two.

The Huffington Post (10/20/09): The Ten Most Egregious Fox News Distortions

*****

Current listening:

Gemma hayes hollow of morning

Gemma Hayes – The Hollow of Morning

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

Daniel Alarcón – “Florida” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

Secrets at the Prom October 8, 2009

Posted by monty in politics.
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levi-johnston He does realize women don’t read Playgirl, doesn’t he?

MSNBC (10/7/09): Father of Palin’s grandson to pose for Playgirl

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*****

Current listening:

Husker zen

Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade