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Daily Howler: They say Somalia is a failed state. Then too, there's progressive cable
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BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD—AND SHUSTER! They say Somalia is a failed state. Then too, there’s progressive cable: // link // print // previous // next //

BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD—AND SHUSTER: They say Somalia is a failed state. Then too, there’s “progressive” cable.

Perhaps we’re all Somalians now! The dystopic thought popped into our heads as we watched “progressive” cable last night—as we watched Beavis and Butt-head simper and play, topped by inane David Shuster.

Beavis and Butt-head are, of course, Rachel Maddow and Ana Marie Cox (real name!), staging a third consecutive night of Maddow Show dirty-word hijinks. As noted last week, “tea-bagging” is a slang term for a dirty thing some people do having sex. Last night, Maddow and Cox played Beavis and Butt-head about this dirty word once again. For this show, it was the third night.

This time, Maddow pre-explained the agenda. “Coming up next, Air America’s Ana Marie Cox will join us for a double entendre palooza,” this program’s immature host announced, midway through the evening. (To watch the full segment, click this.) And sure enough! The girls burned through another segment with endless, hilarious word-play. (“Double entendre” is French.) Special highlights: Once again, Maddow pretended to be embarrassed by the embarrassing word-play. (Is anyone more disingenuous?) And a special new twist was supplied: Throughout the evening, Maddow and Cox pretended that their embarrassing chatter was the fault of the clueless conservatives who mailed those tea bags to members of Congress. They should have checked “tea-bagging” in a slang dictionary before they did so, the ladies kept clucking. Example from Maddow, early on: “Ana Marie Cox is here to discuss tea-bagging tax protesters—and why it is they didn’t consult when coming up with their slogans.” (For the record, Maddow was playing you again: Very few of these conservatives have actually used the term “tea-bagging.”) But then, the “Urban Dictionary” theme was cited throughout. One point of minor curiosity: The ladies didn’t seem to see that the funny name has the word “dick”right in it!

You’d think that Cox would be especially sensitive to a double entendre like that!

It’s hard to believe that American news has descended to this level. (In comparison, Hannity’s program seemed like the Encyclopedia Britannica last night.) But amazingly, it was David Shuster, guest-hosting on Countdown, who took the tea-bagging fandango to its next inane level. This makes it clear that this serial clowning is really a corporate decision—that General Electric’s sniveling suits have seized upon this juvenile game as a way to grab low-IQ eyeballs.

Good God, how Shyster double entendred! Indeed, the guest host was a dirty lad right from his opening promo! Here’s how he teased the tea-bagging topic right at the start of the program:

SHUSTER (4/13/09): Tea with two lumps of hypocrisy: The truth behind the angry conservative tea-bagging parties unfurling around the country. Details of who is stimulating the movement and where the money is blowing in from.

Admittedly, it was clever stuff. “Two lumps” was a reference to what’s found in that “bag.” “Stimulating” has seemed amusing to these defectives for several months now; “blowing” referred to a type of job—the kind of job the mainstream press corps simpered about for years. But if you want to know the level to which “progressive” media has now descended, you had to watch this corporate tool as he introduced the program’s full segment on this naughty topic. (To watch the full segment, click here.) Please understand: Under Countdown’s numbering system, this was, in the view of Shuster’s owners, his second most important report:

SHUSTER: For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day. But in our fourth story tonight: It’s going to be tea-bagging day for the right-wing and they’re going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the tea-baggers are full-throated about their goals.

They want to give President Obama a strong tongue-lashing and lick government spending—spending they did not oppose when they were under presidents Bush and Reagan. They oppose Mr. Obama’s tax rates—which will be lower for most of them—and they oppose the tax increases Obama is imposing on the rich, whose taxes will sky-rocket to a rate about 10 percent less than it was under Reagan. That’s tea-bagging in a nut shell.

In one minor failure, Shuster’s owners were forced to use plays on a gentleman’s “nuts” two separate times. And they failed to say that President Obama was “going down” with most of his tax rates. But they included exceptionally clever play about other dirty ideas: They way a gentleman “whips it out;” the way dirty people may lick others’ bodies; the dirty way tongues can be used by such people; and of course, the use of the throat, especially by those lacking teeth. (You’d like to have seen a prison reference at this point in the analysis.) And Shuster continued along in this vein, offering hilarious double entendres about “firm support” and being “tight-lipped.” Concerning Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, the corporate fellow took this from prompter: “Both are looking forward to an up close and personal taste of tea-bagging themselves!” We even felt sorry for Lawrence O’Donnell when Shuster wittily introduced him. Yes, the guest host even descended to the old play: “Dick Armey” versus “dick army!” By the way: If you think that isn’t what Shuster meant, we’ll suggest that you watch the tape:

SHUSTER: We can only speculate why widespread tea-bagging made Cavuto think of the Million Man March, unless he got them confused with Dick Armey. And in Cavuto’s defense, if you are planning simultaneous tea-bagging all around the country, you’re going to need a dick army.

Joining us to our amazement is MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, also contributor at And Lawrence, thanks for joining us tonight.

O’DONNELL: Good to be with you, David.

Get it? Cavuto must be gay! (Heh heh heh heh heh!) At any rate, we briefly felt sorry for poor O’Donnell, plopped straight into this brainless stew (and sounding a bit regretful at first). But when we watched his inane “analysis” of tomorrow’s events, our sympathy quickly faded away. Truly, the work displayed on progressive media is reaching failed-state levels.

Of course, Shuster has always been a dope—a dumb, and deeply unimpressive, corporate news career climber. But when the simpering spread from Maddow to Countdown last night, it became clear: This is an entertainment strategy hatched by GE’s suits. (We’ll speculate about names next week.) As we’ve told you: Advertisers love getting access to the eyeballs of those who are young—and especially, of those who are young and dumb. It’s easy to get them to buy more dumb products. And let’s be frank: If you’re dumb enough to buy “news” like this, you will buy just about anything.

And you’re headed for life in Somalia.

The sheer stupidity of last night’s Countdown was truly a thing to behold. The program’s topics were extra-inane, from its start right to its finish. Second topic? Tea-bagging jokes. Third topic? Why is Palin giving a speech? Fourth topic? A woman jumped into the polar bear cage at the Berlin Zoo. Fifth topic: Obama’s puppy! This is “cable news” for the deeply stupid, thrown at them by the deeply cynical. But then, MSNBC has peddled such product for a very long time. Maddow and Shuster are just overpaid peddlers of an exotic new variant.

Welcome to life in Somalia! Modern societies can’t run on dumb. But the progressive world is now honoring dumb—as long as the dumb comes from those on our side. Imagine the pride! The pride we progressives felt last night, as we gazed upon the brilliance of Our Own Rhodes Scholar:

MADDOW: [Ron] Paul himself is going to be appearing at one of the tea-bagging events. He told the Star Telegram, he said, “These things are popping up spontaneously around the country."

[Cox grimaces (actual name)]

I noticed even during the presidential campaign— I know...

[Cox laughs]

Yes, that’s why she read that quote about “things popping up”—and yes, that’s why she said “I know.” (If you doubt it, watch the tape.) Her staff had spent their overpaid corporate-news day searching for double entendres.

Somalia is a broken, failed state. So is “progressive” cable.

A phone call from Spicoli: All kidding aside, “Cox” really is her actual name! Indeed, we got a call from Jeff Spicoli last night. He said he chuckles every time it comes out of Maddow’s mouth.

We listened sadly to his remarks. We were struck by how easily even the dumbest people can play these life-killing games.

For the record, we’ve been told that she got the “Cox” from her father! That was before the Nebraska days. Cornhusker? No, but we tried.

Funniest sentence ever written in English: “Ana Marie Cox (born September 23, 1972) is an American author...” Too much! Just click here. No really—there’s cleavage!

More from Wikipedia: “Cox is the former executive editor of Before joining the Suck team, she was an editor of the progressive online magazine, Bad Subjects.”

“Progressive”—you really have to love it! By the way, welcome to your thrilling new life—your new life in Somalia.

TOMORROW—Try telling the truth: Yes, we’ve already typed the piece. But we thought last night’s Somalian clowning deserved a day to itself.