TAKE BACK THE TRIVIA! Maureen Dowd, debunking Bush, proved shes the worlds dumbest human: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2007
ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE: For three years now, weve made an obvious point—journalists shouldnt repeat John McCains slogans for him. But there was Wolf Blitzer, on CNN, playing the fool once again:
BLITZER (1/15/07): Coming up, Senator John McCain likes straight talk. But you can bet he won't like what a leading Christian conservative is saying about him.If you couldnt see them in the wild, you probably wouldnt believe the reports. People would claim they behaved this way. Youd assume that such claims were mistaken.
So no: Journalists shouldnt recite McCains slogans. Nor should they refer to Giuliani as Americas Mayor, as they simply luvv doing. But well also say this to Media Matters, which flagged this latest act of inanity: This is true even if a journalist thinks that McCain does pretty much tell it straight. Readers, journalists shouldnt recite a pols slogans. Unless we want to encourage such conduct, the discussion must begin and end there.
NOVELS AND BAFFLEMENT: The need to novelize the news is paramount for this particular life-form. At the top of page one in this mornings Times, Scott Shane provides the perfect example—this inane attempt to find a baffling paradox in the trial of Scooter Libby.
Shane constructs a pleasing novel, built around a baffling paradox he starts describing in paragraph 2. (Headline: CHENEYS EX-AIDE IS STILL A PUZZLE.) But theres nothing baffling or paradoxical about the situation he describes. A major pol has been accused of lying—and two of his friends say they think that hes innocent. Whatever the facts of this case may turn out to be, theres nothing baffling or paradoxical about any of that. Its the most ordinary thing in the world.
One thing is baffling about Shanes report—the need of these life-forms to shape news this way. In the future, scientists will dig them up, extract DNA, and try to explain their baffling conduct—the puzzling conduct which has shaped our discourse over these past many years.
SCHIEFFER (1/14/07): The debate up on the Hill has been not only really fierce, it's sometimes gotten very personal. There was one episode that got a lot of attention last week. I want to just show it to you. Senator Barbara Boxer talking to the Secretary of State.Good boy! Schieffer couldnt wait to go on TV and repeat what some say about Boxers remark. Even Fred Hiatt could see through the logic. But Schieffer was willing to serve.
But so it has gone for the past fifteen years as roving gangs of pseudo-con hacks have generated strings of fake/phony scandals, with willing man-servants—hacks like Schieffer—prepared to pretend that their outrage made sense. Most significantly, they played along with strings of fake outrage as Candidate Gore staged his run for the White House. Result? George Bush ended up in the White House—and the U. S. Army ended up in Iraq. And oh yes! The U.S. senate ended up holding hearings, with Boxer making a trivial comment, and pseudo-con spinners leaping to action, inventing their latest fake outrage.
Schieffer served well during Campaign 2000 (links below). And he still plays along with these games, even now! If liberals and centrists plan to take back the discourse, we have to find the ways to stop this gaggle of millionaire hacks from peddling these strings of fake, phony scandals. And that means that we have to find the way to take away their consummate trivia—to take away the silly trivia out of which they build their fake tales.
But doing that will be quite hard; this press corps simply luvs its trivia. Consider Maureen Dowds latest inanity, in Saturdays New York Times.
A Risky Game of Risk, said the headline. Dowd was pondering Bushs speech on Iraq—and she chose to drown in trivia, as she so commonly does:
DOWD (1/13/07): It's impossible to know what W. was really thinking as he stiffly delivered his fantasy scheme in the White House library. The whole capital was fraught, but the president may simply have been musing to himself: ''I'm hungry I wonder what time the game starts on ESPN? Has anybody read all these books?''You cant get dumber than Maureen Dowd—which helps explain why were in Iraq. As she continued, she continued to ponder the way Bush (allegedly) played Risk in college—and the way he played other games too:
DOWD (continuing directly): His gamesmanship extended to sports—he loved going into overtime and demanding that points be played over because he wasn't quite ready.No, you cant get dumber than Dowd and her crew—which helps explain why were in Iraq. After all, during Campaign 2000, this same gang constructed inane, stupid tales about what Gore was like when he was a lad. Picking and choosing among absurd, pointless evidence, they wrote pleasing tales about Gores deformed soul. George Bush ended up in the White House.
She wanted to evaluate Bush in Iraq. So she talked about the way he (allegedly) played basketball—in Houston, when he was 15 years old! No, you cant get dumber than that. But as the poet wrote: Yet, this is them.
For the record, Graydon Carters cadge from Sheehy is a wondrously dumb piece of work. Sheehys original passage about teenage Bush was baldly self-contradictory. (Dont make us waste our time explaining.) But so what? Seven years later, Carter was too dumb to notice, and Dowd didnt want to notice either. And neither of them chose to notice their sheer absurdity of their rumination—the notion that we can pick-and-choose teen-age recollections to critique the ongoing war in Iraq. After al;l, these teen-age tales helped them write the story they liked—helped them pen their latest fine novels. Carter and Dowd and dumb beyond repair—and they help drive our failed discourse.
No doubt, some liberals luvved Carters piece, because it makes Big Fun of Bush. But understand well: Carters press corps is an upper-class cohort, inclined to upper-class perspectives. If we let them have these tools, they will most often use them to serve upper-class interests. In 1999 and 2000, they invented silly tales about Gore .That is what they will most often do— except in situations when someone like Bush seems intent on destroying the world.
If liberals and centrists have any brains, well try to take away their trivia. In the long run, letting them build pleasing tales from sheer trivia will not serve progressive interests.
TOMORROW—PART 3: Take back the logic.
TAKE BACK THE TRIVIA: Schieffer, a long-time family friend of Bush, used to take in spring training with him. And he served him well during Campaign 2000. For one especially clownish example, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/13/03 (with links to a real-time report). Schieffer was in rare form this day. But then, so was Gloria Borger, his clueless compatriot. Neither one figure out why Bush had done what he did.
For more background on Schieffers ties to Bush, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/13/04. Behaving like the fraternal order it is, the rest of the press corps is generally careful to avoid discussing such matters.
Meanwhile, for a sample of Schieffers bizarre distaste for Gore, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/13/03. Try to believe that the genial anchor actually engaged in the nonsense described here. And note the field on which he fought—he fought, as always, on the field of sheer trivia. If liberals and centrists have any sense, well take their trivia back.