George Will Just Seems Extra-Insufferable Lately

I’ve commented on George Will before, but usually having to do with climate change—his denialism, for a supposedly smart person, is tiresome in its sheer repetitive belief that science somehow works like politics does. But to be pretty honest, on any forum he’s been on, he has a habit of talking down as if he’s a guy who knows things, so listen to his plausible bullshit, okay?

I think of it as “Willsplaining” for obvious reasons.

So I shrugged off his kind of “Hey, kid president, get off my White House lawn”  column of a few weeks back because—why yes, I did think it was pretty insulting to basically call the president childish, but on the other hand, I don’t yet know what it’s like to have a president who is younger than me, and I guess that might feel weird, huh? I mean, if Marco Rubio became president, he’d still be a whole year and a half older than me.  Maybe that is kind of a mindscrew. Who is this punk who uses the slang and has smoked the marijuana and thinks he is the boss of the country anyway, the whippersnapper? It’s a generation gap thing. Maybe Will can’t, like, relate.

But this thing here about putting down hashtag activism is pretty awkward in more than a few ways:

CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn back to the kidnapping, the terrible kidnapping of these Nigerian schoolgirls in the little bit of time we have left in this segment. Because this week Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai joined the Bring Back Our Girls movement. More than 2 million people have now tweeted the hash tag. And George, I’m just curious. Because I’m not saying I was that familiar with this phenomenon. It’s even got a name, #activism. And I’m curious what you make of it. Do you think that this is significant and helpful? And can make progress? Or do you think it’s really about helping the people who tweet the hash tag feel better about themselves?

GEORGE WILL: Exactly that. It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, bring back our girls. Are these barbarians in the wild of Nigeria are supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, oh, Michelle Obama is very crossed with us, we better change our behavior.

WALLACE: It’s trending on Twitter.

WILL: Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. And this is not intended to have any effect on the real world. It’s a little bit like environmentalism has become. But the incandescent light bulb becomes the enemy. It has no effect whatever on the planet, but it makes people feel good about themselves.

I’m just going to start with “barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria” if you don’t mind—WTF?  I get that he is calling Boko Haram barbarians and not the average Nigerian, but, I hate to break it to Will, over the last two decades, the cell phone has kind of become a thing. It’s internet-capable and people all over the world have used them to stage demonstrations and plan things. Yes, I think they are aware of Twitter. No, I don’t think hashtag activism necessarily influences what they will do, but it might inspire heads of state and legislators who do have power to act. Because in a functioning democracy, citizens petition their representatives with their concerns. It isn’t about “feeling good”—activism doesn’t always get one the desired goal and there are only so many things regular people can do. But is is better than nothing. And what does he think about “letters to the editor” or “writing one’s congressperson” or “signing a petition” (many of which are basically about mailing-list trolling anyway)? Could it be hashtag activism is such a waste of time in his estimation because he has no concept of the technology, and maybe it’s about “self-esteem” because (shaking fist) “these kids these days think they’re so hot”?

But comparing sympathizing and wanting to do something about these children who are in a terrifying situation and light bulbs is a special kind of assholery. Okay, we get it. Old Grumpy Grampy Wills doesn’t care for the tree-hugging hippies who are trying to take his old reliable Edison-era volt-hogs away. And there is probably some overlap between folks who love the new-fangled lower-energy devices and also think girls should not be stolen from their families and sold. But I would very much like to think the default setting on our morality should be that we do not like the idea of girls being kidnapped and sold and whether we care for new-fangled things like the Twitter-box or those swirly-bulbs is besides the point. Because pompously putting people down for giving a basic human shit about other people is kind of awful.

So I’m saying George Will is awful, and I do not know how one as an adult gets in front of a camera and compares kidnapped children to light bulbs.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 05/12/14 at 11:37 PM • Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsEditorialsOur Stupid Media

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Will is definitely past his “sell by” date.

He’s that very special type of old school plutocrat, educated at Oxford, Princeton then invited to teach the old boys’ entitled progeny at Harvard, who is now consigned to tsk tsk-ing on Fox News with the likes of Chris Wallace (whom, I am sure, Will considers a prole).

He’s in a state of permanent mourning over the passing of Saint Ronnie.  His mind became petrified but his learned tongue kept wagging.

He’s a boring, sanctimonious, arrogant old fart who hasn’t had an original thought since the ‘90s.

Thanks for the much needed catharsis, @Vix.

I encountered the young Will in the 1970s making some strange, apparently wistful analogy between the Chicago Cubs and the Carter Administration.  I think it was an Op-Ed in the WaPo.  Anyway,I immediately felt: here is someone who is capable of composing a good English sentence but who has absolutely nothing to say.  I disagree with those who regard Will as a Republican intellectual (an oxymoron generally anyways).  He has always been a pompous windbag with a bow tie who literally has nothing intellectually provocative to say at all.  (Which is why he is on Fox and the other non-watched Villager shows.)

It’s just that George Will is on Faux News now, He no longer has to maintain the veneer of compassion, humanity or reason and can loudly blame the black fella in the White House for wrecking the place.

I wonder how long it takes the make-up artists to shellac Will’s hair into place with that crease?

What all the Fox jerks fail to realize is that the #bringbackourgirls campaign was started by twitter activists in Nigeria to try to shame the out of touch government into actually doing something about this act of terror, and the First Lady, along with a lot of other westerners, have added their weight to it for the same reason.  And lookie here, it worked!

They also fail to recognize/learn/giveashitabouttheworld to know that cell phones are HUGE in Africa; cell tower infrastructure is so much easier to build and maintain than a landline network, so that is what is the best mode of communication in most places.  That most of Africa is heavy into cell phone usage is just the sort of fact that a plutocratic old fart like Will would be shocked to learn, if he ever bothered to look outside his own prejudices about those people and that continent.  Many places just plain skipped the landline phase and went straight to cell networks. 

AS far as incandescent bulbs go, the whole Fax-generated “this means nothing” meme is, as usual, far, far from the truth.  Even the American light bulb maker’s lobbying group was publically pissed when the congressional rethugs tried to get the conversion to CFL’s and LED’s eliminated/pushed back because they had already made the investments for that transition and didn’t want to see their manufacturing investments get whacked because the new markets were about to get steamrolled so congressional rethugs could pay homage to Limbaugh’s drooling fans. 

Jesus; these people.

George Will has always struck me as a contemptuous, snotty, dried up old prune who has nothing positive to say about anybody or anything.  I avoid reading anything he has written or said like the plague so I didn’t see this clip but I totally agree with you and trivializing the terrible abduction of these children to withdrawing incandescent light bulbs from the market is the mark of an awful, awful person.  The fact that he wasn’t struck down by an awful thunderclap is proof positive that there is no god.

George Will is at heart a deeply stupid man, who tries to hide his lack of understanding with the appearance of great knowledge, something I understand he pays a small staff to help him with.  He’s simultaneously amusing and extra-infuriating to people who actually know about history, since his tendency is to mangle historical incidents beyond recognition to try and prove his point.

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