Our Stupid Media
Friday, September 19, 2014
One Rather Expected More—Or Not
Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:
You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.
So what’s a boy to do?
It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?
He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Comments (9) •
Monday, September 01, 2014
ISIS: They’re Coming To Take You Away
Well, here we are on the Labor Day weekend with another 9/11 anniversary sneaking up on us, so it is no surprise to find the Wingnut-o-sphere lighting up with madly creative xenophobic expressions. This year’s program includes a particularly timely two-fer that bundles Islamaphobia with Crisis On The Border-itis into an apocalyptic package par excellence.
According to this year’s narrative, America’s new arch-enemy, IS or ISIL or ISIS as you prefer, have recently discovered the tactical value of our famously porous south-west border. They have most likely culled that information from online forums and hashtags frequented by Central American children urging their friends and neighbors to join them in America: Land of Opportunity. Apparently, though, this intel has inspired ISIS’ leaders to open yet another front in the battle for the Worldwide Caliphate by invading Texas via Juarez. Fortunately for America’s intelligence gatherers, ISIS is so new at World Conquest that they haven’t yet learned that “loose lips sink ships” and they are tweeting away 24/7 about their imminent plan to invade Texas.
Word of this troubling development comes to us compliments of Judicial Watch, Fox News and Breitbart.com, to name a few, which seem to be the only media outlets that “anonymous government sources” are willing to speak with, at the moment.
So far, Judicial Watch‘s Investigative Bulletin: Imminent Terrorist Attack Warning By Feds on US Border wins, hands down, in the Official-Sounding Fear Factor category but I have to give Fox News first place for Creative Sourcing.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/01/14 at 10:19 AM
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Doocy High Fives The Taliban
Update: edited this post to remove false equivalency relating Doocy’s words with treason. H/T to commenters @Funkula and @Stentor for helping me find my way back to a more rational position.
Fox and Friends achieved a record-setting industry low, recently, for overall execrable bad taste and gross politicization in the cable news category, with a totally awesome combined score of -500.
Steve Doocy, wearing his full-metal consternation look, ruled the death of Major General Harold Greene a “huge touchdown for the Taliban.”
I’m sure that the Taliban was very happy to receive that unsolicited endorsement on American national television.
See, what the Taliban doesn’t quite get about the Republican party and its minions is that this is a zero-sum game to them. If something, even something tragic, occurs that can conceivably be spun to reflect negatively on President Obama, all sense of propriety, civility or intellectual integrity fly out the window, and the tragic event is transformed into an occasion for glee. Think Roman Colosseum . . .
And that’s right where Fox and Friends took it:
Co-host Peter Johnson, Jr. connected the general’s death to an NBC poll that found 54 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Obama was doing his job.
Doocy added that the poll also found that 71 percent of Americans felt that the nation was on the wrong track.
“And does this terrible tragedy yesterday prove that?” co-host Anna Kooiman suggested.
So Taliban, do a little end-zone dance and thank Allah for treasonous Americans who are more than happy to advance your cause and give you a big American pat on the back for helping them hate on their president.
In closing, I’d just like to say to Steve Doocy, I happen to be one of the 71 percent of Americans who feel that the nation is on the wrong track. But that has nothing to do with Obama, you blockhead.
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/07/14 at 06:34 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Hack-tacular Dick Morris Makes A Prediction
Dick Morris, for those of you who are blissfully unaware of his existence, is a chronic scab on the scrofulous rump of the American body politic.
Morris got his start in politics, back in the ‘70s working for Bill Clinton’s Arkansas gubernatorial campaign. He continued to work with the Clintons, in various capacities—campaign consultant, political strategist—and, finally, as campaign manager during Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign.
That job came to an abrupt end in August, 1996 when the Washington Post reported that Morris was involved with a DC prostitute, Sherry Rowlands. Seriously?? So what? But tabloids went further, alleging that Morris was in the habit of impressing Ms Rowlands by allowing her to “listen in” on his conversations with the President. That news hit during the Democratic Convention and Dick Morris resigned forthwith delivering a grandiose resignation speech during which he credited himself with helping Clinton “come back from being buried in a landslide” and ended with Morris comparing himself to Robert Kennedy.
Almost simultaneously, Morris launched his revenge-fueled Clinton-bashing cottage industry. Aided by his publisher wife, Eileen McGann of Harper Collins, Morris has been churning out a steady stream of anti-Clinton yellow journalism for close to 20 years now. He supplements that enterprise by acting as a political consultant to aspiring leaders of banana republics and theatrically delivering political prognostications so absurdly off the mark that his name has become a punchline among the pundit class. Indeed, blogger Andrew Sullivan has named an annual award after Morris, given for “stunningly wrong political, social and cultural predictions.”
Here is just a sampling of his greatest hits:
Romney Will Win By A Very Large Margin—A Landslide If You Will.
Republicans Will Win 10 Seats In The Senate In 2012
It’s Very Possible That Obama Won’t Run For Re-Election Because His Numbers Are So Bad.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/20/14 at 11:10 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Ron Fournier Surveys Disenchanted Democrats
Ron Fournier knows more disenchanted Democrats than anyone I know. He trips over them in airports, and finds them in malls, ice cream shops and dumpsters, wherever he wanders. He’s like a sniffer dog for Democratic disenchantment. Not to mention that, uncanny as it seems, the ones that he finds? always happen to fluff-up Mr Fournier’s own arguments most eloquently.
His most recent sighting is, of course, no exception. Fournier happened to be vacationing in Michigan where he had the opportunity to observe the Disenchanted Democrat, in it’s natural habitat, just outside Detroit. Fournier came away from that encounter with the profound insight that President Obama is much too self-centered.
An insight that Mr Fournier has shared with the rest of us under the inspired title: Mr. ‘I, Me, My’: Obama Oughta Know He’s Not the Hero. Struggling Americans are the “real” heroes as we learn in the subtitle: A successful White House crafts its narrative around the struggles of Americans, not the president.
I’m not sure what Fournier considers the benchmark for successful White House narratives but, to hear him tell it, I have to assume that Mr Fournier, by his own secret gauge, does not feel that the White House measures up. He’s not alone in that assessment, of course, but I’m not convinced that semantics are at the heart of the matter.
Fournier seems to believe that Americans are pretty miserable in this fifth year of Obama and that they might feel a lot better if the White House sounded more “successful,” instead of:
What do these folks hear from the White House and the rest of Washington? Whining, mostly. Obama and his GOP rivals can’t seem to tell the story of America without casting themselves as the protagonists.
[Fournier is one of the media’s most obsessive and accomplished practitioners of “both sides do it,” usually dressed with a sly dollop of false equivalence. You’ll soon see what I mean . . .]
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/16/14 at 03:42 PM
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Scariest Animal Wears A Gold Cross
If you don’t already know something about Laura Ingraham, you’re on your own. I’m not going to do the dirty work of introducing you to her. The Google has more than enough material for you to familiarize yourself with Laura Ingraham’s overflowing fountain of hate.
Feel the hate . . .
Laura is a hater of such epic proportions that Bill O’Reilly was forced to describe her most recent flight of immigration policy fancy as—wait for it!—draconian. And if BillO thinks it’s draconian, I’d say that Laura’s skating dangerously close to Nazi-caliber social engineering.
But Laura’s hate is not reserved for uninvited guests from south of the border. Laura Ingraham is an equal opportunity hater—she hates gays-who-aren’t-her-brother, African-Americans, Muslims, “illegal aliens,” feminists, The Left, Hillary Clinton and, basically, anyone who isn’t a young, Aryan-American, Dartmouth-educated lawyer.
Besides, what would Laura Ingraham do for a living if she suddenly stopped hating everyone? How would she support her three adopted immigrant children? Oh, you didn’t know? Why yes, Laura adopted a Guatemalan girl, who, I’m assuming is far superior to the generic Guatemalan children streaming across our borders to flee extreme violence in their homeland,
Ingraham also adopted two Russian boys. I’m assuming that she will want all of her children to be classified as US citizens, however much she doesn’t want to allow any more birthright citizenship to take place. Which is an interesting perspective for someone whose maternal grandparents were newly-arrived Polish immigrants—and, later, naturalized Americans. Doing away with birthright citizenship would have left Laura’s mother and millions of other “American” offspring of immigrant parents in a bit of a pickle.
I’m also assuming that Ingraham was, for some reason, not interested in adopting American orphans despite the fact that she doesn’t hesitate to urge young American women to eschew abortion under any circumstance.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/03/14 at 02:25 PM
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
The Upstaging of Judge Gowdy
(h/t Democratic Underground)
I have to tell you, Roasters, that I am more than a little sad that Judge Gowdy’s Benghazi! BENGHAZI!! Select Committee is shaping up to be one of this season’s more spectacular entertainment duds.
Since early May, I have been looking forward to a summer of popcorn and microbrews by the pool and daily doses of Judge Gowdy on the YouTube; but now it looks like I’m going to be stuck with Speaker Boehner’s Impeachment Tort or reruns of the McCarthy Hearings.
So much has happened since those heady days in May—Speaker Boehner’s bold announcement that he was appointing a Select Committee to re-re-re-re-reinvestigate the tragedy at Benghazi; Nancy Pelosi’s tough decision to boycott the committee or not; the formation of the Benghazi Truth Pac . . .
That last item—The Benghazi Truth PAC—was just the kind of Republican sideshow that suckered me into believing that we were about to witness the Greatest Show on Earth with a ringside seat in Judge Gowdy’s Kangaroo Kourt.
The BT PAC was the brainchild of Buzz Jacobs, a Bush White House operative and 2008 McCain Campaign manager currently realizing the American Dream of small business ownership. Buzz’s biz, which is essentially raising-money-for-republicans, is something called Strategic Storytelling Company.
And Mr Jacobs has selflessly appointed himself to protect Judge Gowdy and his select committee colleagues from the inevitable smear campaigns that Liberals are bound to launch because . . . Libruls!
We are preparing to help defend them from unfair and untrue attacks.
There will be teams of people looking into their backgrounds and pulling things out of context and making major issues out of them and there needs to be some balance to that.
Jacobs said he fears Democrats loyal to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will try and “smear” the Republicans on the committee in order to protect Clinton.
He said he bases his concern on critical comments from Democrats after the special committee was created, and historically, how independent counsel Kenneth Starr was criticized during his investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Jacobs fears that:
When we find out how disconnected the government was . . . it will not reflect well on Hillary Clinton. The left will try to distract from it and attack the messenger.
Gowdy, the object of Jacobs “strategic storytelling” said:
This investigation isn’t about my political career or anyone else’s. I do not approve of this PAC’s involvement nor do I desire to have their help in defending against attacks.
Oh DC! it isn’t really pretty what a town without pity can do. Nevertheless, Jacobs, unbowed by adversity and politically resilient said he respects Gowdy’s view on the super PAC.
If I was in his position, I would approach my job in the same way.
However, as a private citizen with White House-level national security experience, I am interested in doing what I can, within the law, to educate people about the truth and to defend those seeking the truth.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 07/02/14 at 11:53 AM
Monday, June 23, 2014
Happy Chemtrails To You
Sometimes it’s just so hard to decide whether or not science is a friend or foe of mankind. For example, when science tells us that we are damaging our planet because we are greedy capitalists squandering resources like spoiled children? Totally Foe. But if science or pseudoscience can be tortured into supporting our weakness for magical-thinking and political chicanery, well then! better living through chemistry, yo!
So it is that when certain denizens of Arizona tired of puzzling over the mysteries of the Sedona Vortex, or searching the Superstition Mountains for the treasure of the Lost Dutchman Mine, they cast their eyes to the skies to scan for UFOs . . . and Chemtrails!
We are all used to seeing the condensation trails or “contrails” exhausted from jet airplane engines. Then, one fine day, someone with a lot of imagination and not enough to do made the startling discovery that contrails don’t disappear as fast as they used to back in the day. I suspect that, somewhere on theplanet, some specimen of Homo sapiens has dedicated him/herself to timing the vanishing point of contrails because . . . intellectual curiosity?
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/23/14 at 01:42 PM
Sunday, June 22, 2014
No Country For Grumpy Old Men
One of my favorite people, George Carlin, once said:
Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.
Which, I believe, aptly describes one of my least favorite people, George Will.
George Will and I are of the same generation so I have been around for every captivating moment of Will’s philosopher-newsman journalistic career and I’m afraid that I am in total agreement with Frank Moraes of Frankly Curious on the merits of George Will:
I have a visceral hatred for George Will, because he is so much just William Buckley: the Next Generation. Although just like with Star Trek, the next generation has none of the spark of the original.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/22/14 at 11:35 AM
Monday, June 09, 2014
George Will Declares Rape Culture A Figment of Progressive Imagination
Check it! all you loose coed sluts dreaming of attaining the “coveted status” of rape victim and all of its “attendant privileges,” all of you scantily clad temptresses just begging for “micro-aggressions” to spin into harrassment cases and you inebriated “hook-up culture” campus tarts—Old Grampa Georgie Will has your number, you little hussies.
That is not to say that he blames you entirely for your depraved ways. Gramps knows that President Obama and the 21st century curse of progressivism are largely to blame for despoiling your happy childhoods and consigning you to “today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.”
And it’s not just Obama, it’s your own colleges, as well:
It is salutary that academia, with its adversarial stance toward limited government and cultural common sense, is making itself ludicrous. Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates.
What government is inflicting on colleges and universities, and what they are inflicting on themselves, diminishes their autonomy, resources, prestige and comity. Which serves them right. They have asked for this by asking for progressivism.
Things were verrrrry different, back in the day, before subversive progressives made every one “hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations.” Back then, rape was rape, by gum—leaving stab wounds, bruises and ligature marks.
You want to scream rape every time someone grabs your precious boobies and gives ‘em an appreciative squeeze? That’s progressive. You won’t find Grandpa Will making a big to-do if someone grabs his junk—who could fight that urge?
Grampa Will understands “girls just want to have fun” but these days they want extra attention for it. And the reason the number of rapes on campus appears to be booming is because victims of rape get so much loving attention.
What coed wouldn’t want to go before a faculty review board, for hours, describing every sickening moment of the worst event of her young life, after which she will never be the same, to a panel of her professors? What fun! Bet those old dons won’t forget her name, again.
And there’s also all of the official police attention—the rape kit that renacts the invasion and then is put on a shelf in a back room in case some do-gooder decides to actually send it to a crime lab because we all know “boys will be boys” and campus rapes aren’t really “rape,” they’re “date rape.”
But most “coveted status” of all is the attention rape victims get from their peers—the accusations of lying or being a slut, a tease, a ‘ho; the shaming signs on the dorm walls, the hate posts on FaceBook, the threats of violence—to the victim.
Now I’m sort of understanding why any coed wouldn’t want to get herself a piece of that action.
As in most cases of conservative denial, George Will believes the rest of us are making way too much of this and that we’re far too gullible when it comes to CDC statistics and anecdotal evidence. We’re including way too many types of sexual aggression and making it just way too complicated for college men to figure out what they can and cannot do to young women.
And why would the world conspire to make up this whole rape culture business? Well, to make George Will, the Christian Right and conservatives uncomfortable, of course. It’s all Liberals think about, actually—ways to stick it to smug, uptight paranoiacs and force them to make asses of themselves denying reality.
Like George Will did.
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/09/14 at 12:12 PM
Friday, June 06, 2014
The Spy Who Smeared Me
Is there anything more pathetic than an 80 year old ex-CIA agent running his own home-based spy shop in San Diego? Maybe . . . maybe a professional journalist who takes the private spy seriously enough to write long pointless Exclusives! for Fox News based on the private spy’s “secret intel” alone.
The ex-spook, in this instance, is one Duane “Dewey” Clarridge who served in the CIA during the 1980s as a senior operations officer. Clarridge was indicted for lying to Congress during Iran-Contra hearings, but was pardoned by Poppy Bush during his trial.
Clarridge was forced to resign from the CIA but wasn’t quite ready to quit spying and contracted his expertise out. His story, needless to say, is interesting, in its own right, and anyone who wants to do a deep dive can find long form articles in The New York Times, here and here.
In my opinion, it is enough to say that Mark Mazzetti, of The Times, got it in one when he described Clarridge’s operation as “something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy.”
Clarridge communicates with his “field operatives” in Afghanistan and Pakistan—complete with code names like Willi and Waco—via email, then, poolside in San Diego, he compiles the info received into intelligence summaries that he peddles around to a network that includes such intelligence mavens as Oliver North, spy thriller novelist and frequent guest of Glenn Beck, Brad Thor, and, most recently, James Rosen of Fox News.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/06/14 at 03:40 PM
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Speaking Truth To Impotence
Suddenly, and none too soon, an interesting assortment of ordinary Americans have somewhat miraculously rediscovered their voices. Maybe it has something to do with the evolution of social media; or perhaps it’s a reaction to being completely ignored, for too long, by our governmental representatives; or maybe it has to do with witnessing our rights, freedoms and values being trampled, ignored and distorted into an ugly incomprehensible mess. Who knows? But a tipping point seems to have been reached and, I for one, find it very refreshing to see everyday citizens rearing up and letting loose.
In the short space of just a few weeks a number of powerful reactions to a diverse set of issues have rocked the American scene.
Here are some of the most notable . . .
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is a Republican. He is also the ranking minority member of the Senate Committee On Veterans Affairs and, ostensibly, quite dedicated to our veterans’ welfare. Indeed, Sen Burr and his fellow committee members worked diligently on crafting the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) were delighted by how comprehensively the bill would address some of the biggest problems facing all American veterans and offered full-throated endorsements of the bill.
Here’s what just one VSO, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, had to say, in their letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs endorsing the bill:
This legislation would accomplish many of the goals for which veterans and military service organizations have been advocating for years, including strengthening the Post-9/11 GI Bill, expanding advance appropriations for more of the VA’s budget, expanding dental care coverage for veterans, expanding benefits for surviving spouses, expanding care related to military sexual trauma, instituting new rules for VA’s claims processing reports, and much more.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 05/27/14 at 01:44 PM
Saturday, May 24, 2014
House Orders Pentagon To Forget All That Science Stuff And Buy The World Some Coke Instead
Think Progress reports:
Earlier this month with the release of the National Climate Assessment, 300 leading climate scientists and experts told Americans in no uncertain terms that time is running out to confront the dangerous impacts of climate change.
This week, 16 military experts agreed, telling Americans in a report that climate change is already threatening national security and the economy. The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board authored the report, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”
The House of Representatives met that news with a collective raspberry and ordered the Pentagon to fuhgeddabout using any of their funding to address climate change related national security risks, via a party-line passed amendment to this year’s Defense Department budget.
The amendment reads:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.
Take that Obama, you and your Marxist Executive Orders and Agenda 21 New World Order.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/24/14 at 08:51 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Cheney Suffering From Goldilocks Syndrome
Dick Cheney, Vice Chancellor of the ever-shrinking neo-con brand, is having a terribly hard time trying to sort out whether President Obama is weak or tyrannical or both while the rest of us puzzle over why any sane person is chasing his opinion.
It’s certainly not as if Cheney has a particularly illustrious background as a statesman and it certainly can’t be his dedication to the truth, governmental ideals or constitutional law that inform his perceptions of how everyone else is doing in office. Certainly he can’t think that his term in the White House could ever serve as any sort of standard for future administrations?
This is a man who told us: “I think Barack Obama is a one-term President;” and, in regard to the invasion of Iraq, “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”
So it can’t be his remarkable perspicacity that induces news outlets to continue to drink from this particular poisoned well. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that Dick Cheney is a living caricature and, in show biz, villains get as much of a rise out of audiences as heroes. Or maybe the GOP is trying to make a sentimental appeal to the “Do You Miss Me Yet” members of the Bush Brigade.
I know that Lynne Cheney is hyping her book but, really, Mrs. Cheney if you want those books to sell, dragging Dick out of hibernation doesn’t seem like a very savvy marketing plan.
Oh well, it doesn’t really matter why we’re still seeing Cheney’s face in the news. But, if I were, say, Reince Priebus, I wouldn’t be clicking my heels over it. One thing that has become clearer and clearer, as the Obama presidency goes on, is that hate and fear and cultural divisiveness make for pretty confusing assessments. And, since it is the Republican Party that is serving up this ridiculous hash they are the ones who are coming across as confused and disjointed.
The whole Goldilocks approach that Republicans have taken toward Obama—is he too weak? is he too dictatorial? does he try to do to much? or not enough? is he too aggressive? or not aggressive enough?—is a very weak political strategy. It doesn’t create a strong lasting image that voters can get sign on to. It’s vague and blurry and provides only negative energy but more importantly, it will mobilize only a small fraction of rabid anti-Obama base and they probably don’t require any mobilization.
Americans are results oriented and they don’t generally mistake obstruction for action. So. Who has accomplished anything over the last 6 years? The Do-Nothing Congress with a 9% approval rating? or the President who, despite having to fight relentless headwinds has: eliminated Osama bin Laden, ended two wars, lowered the deficit to record levels, reduced unemployment, reinvigorated the economy, while facing down idiots who believe that government shutdowns are a viable political strategy, to say nothing of saving the American auto industry, and substantially improving health care options for all Americans.
Come on, GOP, surely you can do better than the Goldilocks Stratergy.
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/20/14 at 09:38 AM
Monday, May 12, 2014
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