The Internet

April 15, 2007

The Internet: a never-ending nightmare where the same tortured poem of talking points is read endlessly by a mob of brain-dead zombies, each reciting their favorite line before going in search of fresh flesh to rend, and ultimately signifying nothing, without even any sound or fury.

Andrew Leonard

Or not. Some days I’m not sure.

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Starvation

April 9, 2007

People are spiritually starved, and feel, just below the surface, that their culture is strangling them.

-Tom the Butcher (via Gene Weingarten)


A Noxious Fusion

March 26, 2007

…of every awful, content-less faux-centrist narrative, applied here in a lengthy, fawning Washington Post “will he run?” article on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

“He’d be a candidate almost in the progressive tradition,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York political consultant. “He could make the argument: ‘A pox on both their houses.’ He’s a celebrity by definition because he’s a billionaire.”

But why should he be president? Because it’s remotely possible?

He’s a party-switching, uncharismatic billionaire. His running for president sure sounds exciting to Washington media – who adore nothing more than slagging off Democrats, but are finding it increasingly difficult to apologize for incompetent and corrupt Republicans – but that’s about it. The truth of the matter is that most Americans do prefer one party over the other – there’s no great silent consensus out there for people like Michael Bloomberg.

Ech…there’s more, now not just in quotations:

…if he ran as a Democrat, he might sacrifice his reputation as an independent-minded businessman who is above politics.

Save us from politicians who are “above” politics, and from those writers who would imagine such a thing possible.

The above passage follows an observation on the impossibility of Bloomberg’s  securing the GOP nomination. So I ask again – just where is this great silent majority that exists in neither party but would be able to elect a man like Michael Bloomberg president?

Bloomberg himself is quoted towards the end, and supplies the answer:

“How can a 5-foot-7, divorced billionaire Jew running as an independent from New York possibly have a chance?” he has asked.

He can’t. And that’s fine. Politics is the business of disagreeing about what to do. If Bloomberg can’t find constructive ways to disagree, then there’s really no reason for him to think twice about running for president.


Some Comfort

March 25, 2007

Amanda Marcotte:

If anything comforts me in the face of the increasingly agitated fundamentalism in America, it’s that they have no clue how to compete with the pleasures of living available to most of us, pleasures that help assist us in telling them all to fuck off.

Quite.  This is an interesting thing about the culture wars in the United States – conservatives, those same people who are always going on about “free markets” and extending market metaphors and, indeed, markets into places they simply don’t belong (e.g., basic health care) simply cannot cope with the idea of a free market for culture. Which is mostly what we have, now, and is pretty much why they’re losing the culture wars, generation after generation: there’s a market for culture, and “conservative” culture is mostly crap. At some level, they’re aware of this, and so rather than trying to produce culture that is appealing to others (which is difficult for a variety of reasons), they just agitate against…pretty much all popular cultural products. Or sometimes, unpopular or marginal cultural products (e.g., “Piss Christ”) as an avenue for seeking to undermine the idea of culture.

It’s annoying, of course, but as Marcotte notes – in this arena, anyways, they really don’t know how to compete. So that’s nice for us heathens.


On Discourse

March 6, 2007

Digby:

I think that one of the reasons the conservatives are mostly hanging tough with Coulter is at least partially due to what she specifically said. She used the word “faggot” to describe a Democrat. This is the premise that forms the entire basis of the Republican claim to leadership and lies at the bottom of the media’s continuing ridiculous assumption that the Republicans are more natural leaders than Democrats. For forty years the Republicans have been winning elections by calling liberals “faggots” (and “dykes”) in one way or another. It’s what they do. To look too closely at what she said is to allow light on their very successful reliance on gender stereotypes to get elected.

Al Gore needed to be taught how to be an “alpha male.” He doesn’t “know who he is.”
John Kerry “flip-flops” like a flaccid penis.
John Edwards is “the Breck girl.”
Howard Dean was “hysterical.”
Barack Obama is “Obambi.”
Bill Clinton was “a pervert.”
Hillary Clinton is a lesbian.

The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation. Coulter says it out loud. Dowd hints at it broadly. And the entire press corps giggles and swoons at this shallow, sophomoric concept like a bunch of junior high pom pom girls.

Tim Grieve:

Appearing on Fox News Monday — she bailed out on CNN — Ann Coulter said that nobody should have been offended when she called John Edwards a “faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “‘Faggot’ isn’t offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays,” Coulter said. “It’s a schoolyard taunt meaning ‘wuss,’ and unless you’re telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person.”

 Glenn Greenwald:

That is just the basic dynamic of garden-variety authoritarianism, and it is what the right-wing, pro-Bush political movement is at its core — far, far more than it is a set of political beliefs or geopolitical objectives or moral agendas. All of it — the obsessions with glorious “Victory” in an endless string of wars, vesting more and more power in an all-dominant centralized Leader, the forced submission of any country or leader which does not submit to the Leader’s Will, the unquestioning Manichean certainties, and especially the endless stigmatization of the whole array of Enemies as decadent, depraved and weak — it’s just base cultural tribalism geared towards making the followers feel powerful and strong and safe.

…Ann Coulter comes in and plays such a vital — really indispensible — role. As a woman who purposely exudes the most exaggerated American feminine stereotypes (the long blond hair, the make-up, the emaciated body), her obsession with emasculating Democratic males — which, at bottom, is really what she does more than anything else — energizes and stimulates the right-wing “base” like nothing else can. …

Observe in the superb CPAC video produced by Max Blumenthal how Coulter immediately mocks his physical appearance as soon as she realizes that he is a liberal. And the crowd finds it hilarious. That is what she does. She takes liberal males, emasculates them, depicts them as “faggots” and weak losers, and thereby makes the throngs of weak and insecure followers who revere her feel masculine and strong. There is no way that the right-wing movement can shun her because what she does is indispensible to the entire spectacle. What she does is merely a more explicit re-inforcement of every central theme which the right-wing movement embraces.


Quote of the Day

February 25, 2007

Frank Luntz, from an Op-Ed in the WaPo:

It is unfortunate that the Republican Party is currently dominated by hyperpartisan, gut-punching professional politicians and expert technicians whom I wouldn’t want to face at the dark end of the electoral alley. They specialize in the flawless execution of “wedge” politics.

Geez, Frank, how do you think that might’ve happened?


Giuliani 2008

February 19, 2007

In the past, now-near-Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said the following:

“We don’t care about the root causes of terrorism. When you act in a way that kills innocent civilians, you have just excluded yourself from civilized countries.”

Amadou Diallou.

Of course, what Giuliani means when he says “you” is “non-white people” and when he says “innocent civilians” he means, mostly, “white people.”

Giuliani is a dangerous authoritarian. In addition to excusing the murder of an innocent man, he also excused the torture – and later led character smears of –  Abner Louima. His statements on terrorism show that this is all of a piece: that to his mind there are good people and bad, and that the bad deserve whatsoever the good decide to do to them. A funny kind of morality, but there you are.

Digby is right (as per usual) that Giuliani would be a perhaps uniquely dangerous successor to George W. Bush:

All that “unitary executive” power in the hands of a wingnut prosecutor with little respect for the bill of rights is a truly dangerous propect…

George W. Bush knew almost nothing of the world when he became President, and has managed to get the United States into two destabilizing wars (so far). Giuliani knows little about the world other than the fact that it is a place full of people who deserve to be punished – that it is made of “civilized” peoples and then those who are not “civilized” and who must be “excluded.”

This isn’t a man who should be President – especially not now.