UPPER-CLASS FAMILY VALUES! Nine days later, Elizabeth Gates explained a large change in the weather: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2009
A clarification regarding the Brothers O: We should have made it more clear yesterday: Keith Olbermann denies that he was part of any corporate truce, of the type described in that New York Times report (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/3/09). Times reporter Brian Stelter sourced his report to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal. Stelter quoted Olbermanns denialand still said the truce went down.
For ourselves, wed rather believe that Olbermann did accept the truce. In our view, that would be better than believing that hes really as dumb as he often seems when discussing OReilly. (Back on June 1, for example, when he explained why hed war with BillO no more.) Last night, refreshed by vacance, Olbermann returned to his pitiful wars, journeying back to 2007 to offer the most pleasing claim of them all: OReilly is a racist clown, our own sides sexist clown snarled.
We liberals lose points off our IQs every time we watch this man. Your country is sliding into the sea because of this culture of dumbness. Herelet Michelle Cottle prove it:
Here, let Cottle prove it: We let the analysts run around and laugh after watching Michelle Cottle this Sunday. On CNNs Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz mentioned Lou Dobbs name-call at Rachel Maddow. (Dobbs called Maddow a tea-bagging queen. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/30/09.) Like Maddow herself, Cottle played dumb. After that, she played dumber:
Too funny! Were just calling names at this point, Cottle said. But then, Cottle has always been like that.
Back in April, Maddow called a whole lot of people those names for an entire week. Dobbs returned the favor one time. But when Lou did it, it had to stop! Were just calling names at this point, a consummate clown quickly said.
Your country is sliding into the sea behind people like Cottle. (And Dobbs.) Go ahead. Take a good look around.
UPPER-CLASS FAMILY VALUES: On Day One of the Gates/Crowley affair, we suggested that you apply a lens of social class, not just race, to the proceedings.
We didnt suggest that so you could sneer at Officer Crowley, the working-class prole of the emerging tale. We did that after reading Professor Lawrence Bobos absurd op-ed piece in the Washington Post. In that piece, Professor Bobo told us, again and again, that Professor Gates (identified as Bobos best friend) was wealthy, influential and famousand that Crowley was working class. (Bobo didnt tell us that Professor Gates is a business associate of the Post.)
When such language is offered on Day One, there may a class framework driving a tale. And this is important: Wealth and fameand their frequent down-sidesare not just for whites any more! On the one hand, thats very good. On the other hand, it can be bad.
As we suggested to you that day: People who are wealthy, influential and famous have always tended to behave in certain ways. Today, wed suggest this: To see the way such people sometimes behave, consider this most current post by Elizabeth Gates, Professor Gates daughter.
This post appeared at The Daily Beast last Friday. (We just saw it yesterday.) Simple story: Children of American upper classes have always tended to behave as Elizabeth Gates does in this post.
In the post, Elizabeth Gates offers a new way of viewing the Gates/Crowley casea way which seems to collide rather grossly with her original Beast presentation. Does she feel obliged to explain her apparent flip? Keep watching to see her try. But just for the record, the wealthy and influential wont always feel obliged to offer such explanationsand their enablers in the mainstream press are rarely inclined to challenge them.
Over the past twenty years, this has constituted a gigantic problem within Americas public discourse.
Elizabeth Gates wrote her post in the wake of the famous beer summit. How does she see the Gates/Crowley matter now? She starts by complaining about the way the original incident had devolved into a bit of a circus. We live in a world in which the conversation on race has traditionally taken a back seat to both logic and reason, she says as she starts, seeming to misstate what she means:
Poor Gates! Though she certainly wasnt shocked, she lamented the fact that a misunderstanding between a couple of very decent men had turned into a circus. TMZ and CNN were named, and inferentially blamed; somehow, the meaning of the original misunderstanding had gotten lost in the process. But is it possible that this circus had perhaps developed, in some small part, because someone named Elizabeth Gates had engaged in the following exchange about that couple of very decent men (one of whom is now infamous, she clumsily says)? And by the way: How does this exchange, from The Beast of July 22, comport with her current claim that Officer Crowley is a very decent man who got caught in a misunderstanding? In short: Since we love logic and reason so much around here, how do Elizabeths Gates two presentations cohere?
On July 22, thats the way Elizabeth Gates and Professor Gates described the conduct of one of the very decent men caught up in this misunderstanding. Later in that same interview, this second man seemed little better:
Did the original misunderstanding turn into some sort of circus? That is a matter of judgment. But public reaction to this event was driven, in part, by this interview (and others like it)an interview in which Elizabeth Gates and Professor Gates seemed to make extremely serious charges about Officer Crowley. Nine days later, Elizabeth Gates story seemed quite differentand Elizabeth Gates seemed to be saying that entities like TMZ and CNN were responsible for all the hubbub and turmoil. But one question plainly remains: How did Officer Crowley turn into a very decent man? If those claims from July 22 were accurate, what explains the perspective we were handed nine days later, on July 31?
Sorry. Children of the wealthy/famous/influential may not always be required to explain such changes of story.
As she continued, Elizabeth Gates described the White House meeting between the families of the two very decent men. Nine days earlier, Crowley had committed a serious crime. Nine days later, we were asked to marvel about how similar the two families are:
What a shame that someone went out and sensationalized the original misunderstanding! Some in the Crowley family may wear untrained amounts of eyeliner, but they were otherwise just like us, Elizabeth Gates could now instantly see. This family wasnt raised on hate! Just look at how patient they are!
As she continues, Elizabeth Gates wonders what the four men at the beer summit could possibly say to heal this situation and what the press was actually waiting for. Soon, though, shes on an airplane heading north, taking in her fathers current view of Officer Crowley:
Professor Gates slips off his shoes and speaks with his daughter, saying that Obama and Biden are a pair of great men. He tells her that Crowley, while apparently less than great, isnt a bad guy like Joe the Plumber, another working-class prole who happens to pop into mind. Indeed, Crowley would be horrified to be considered a racist. Its hard not to think of Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon Vacation films, offering high-minded summaries of events to edify the kidssummaries which grossly contradict his earlier, frenzied behavior. And then, Elizabeth Gates offers her own summation. Finally, she explains how the Crowley described on July 22 has morphed into this New Very Decent Man:
Elizabeth Gates still believes that her father was arrested in his own home. Crowley has still arrested her father for no reasonand he has still fudged a police report. Yes, thats a big step down from the (sensationalized?) language of July 22but it still may describe a crime. How then has Officer Crowley become so very decent?
Finally, Elizabeth Gates pretends to explain, as children of the wealthy and famous have pretended to explain throughout history. Back in the day, Officer Crowley falsified a police reportsubmitted a work of pure fiction. In fact, his official report was such pure fabrication that her father was astonished at the audacity of the lies. One might think this was, in fact, a serious crimeand a gross offense against civic decency. But that was thenand this is now! People! Its nine days later! Nine days later, Crowley has only fudged a police report, as part of a misunderatanding. And finally, the wealthy young lady explains it away, allowing herself to tell her new story. Yes, Officer Crowley has still fudged a report; more strikingly, he has still arrested a black man in his own home for no reason! But so what? People, try to listen! When Officer Crowley produced that pure fiction and arrested that man in his home for no reason, he was simply a pawn in the rebirth of unfashionable intolerance in a world that likes to think our dashing brown-skinned 44th president has emerged to make nice with the past, present, and future.
Do you have the slightest idea what collection of verbiage means? We have no idea either. Crowley was a pawn of whom? In what way could that excuse his described behavior? Is it now OK to arrest people for no reasonas long as youre a pawn in some unexplained game? Is it OK to arrest someone for no reason and to falsify the report? Apparently! You can do that and, within a few weeks, be praised as a very decent man! At least youre not like Joe the Plumber!
As children of the wealthy have always done, Elizabeth Gates doesnt bother explaining this baffling gabble. And her editors, respecters of wealth and fame, dont require such logic and reason.
So two more cheers for Colbert King, who dared suggestvery tangentiallythat something may not make perfect sense about Professor Gates new stance toward his new friend (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/3/09). Why in the world is Professor Gates prepared to be friends with a man who behaved in the way he described? Professor Gates may have a good answer. But your mainstream journalists, respecters of upper-class fame, are very unlikely to ask him.
Your discourse has worked this way for decades, as weve described since 1998. When your press corps decides theyre on somebodys side, that persons claims will be subjected to amazingly little logic and reason. And when they decide theyre against some person, George Bush will end up in the White House! (Your army will go to Iraq.) High-minded liberals who pimped for this outcome will never be asked why they did sosometimes in outrageous ways. People! Theyre influential! We liberals dont challenge such gods!
How did Crowley become a very decent man? How did that ugly arrest in his own home for no reason turn into a misunderstanding? Children of the influential are rarely asked to explain such things. And very important: Wealth and fame and influence arent just for white people now!
Your country is sliding into the sea because of the tendencies displayed in this episode. (The deference is normally extended to whites.) And yesits sliding fast and hard. Go ahead! Use logic and reason! Go take a good look around.
By the way: What actually happened between Crowley and Gates? At THE HOWLER, we simply dont know.
For the record: Elizabeth Gates is a graduate of The New School University, where she cultivated her love for fashion and writing. A former intern at Vogue Magazine, her interest in image, art and fashion has driven her desire to contribute to the vast narrative of modern culture in America and abroad.
So wrote the Daily Beast. Not that theres anything wrong with it!