NEW ELITE SPEAKS! Collins, Blow and Kristof spoke. Did they speak for a New Elite? // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2010
Sanity and Schultz: Sanity sounds like a very good thing. It sounds like something we all can agree on.
In the end, though, sanity is in the eye of the beholder. On Saturday, Jon Stewart even gave an award to Velma Hart, so sane did he think she had been. Here at THE HOWLER, we thought Hart had behaved like the perfect know-nothing complainer (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/23/10).
On TV, Stewart is very smart and very funnyremarkably so, in our view. (Were much less high on Stephen Colbert, although we thought he was superb in his earlier incarnation on the Daily Show.) But on Saturday, Stewart offered skits so simple-minded that they seemed to be torn from the pages of Sesame Street, with Colberts fear-pimping character cast as a version of Oscar the Grouch. Wikipedia: Through Oscar, children actually learn about respect and tolerance instead of disrespect and intolerance, and they discover that people with different views and lifestyles can still be great friends.
By the wayremember when those in our exalted tribe were disgusted by the politics of fear? In recent weeks, some liberals have been playing fear cards like nobodys business. In Kentucky, one foolish man did a foolish, unfortunate thing, and Ed Schultz saw the 1930s re-emerging (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/27/10). But then, Schultz made a fool of himself all last week, calling in his hysterical friend, Mike Papantonio, to screech even louder when he ran out of breath. On Wednesdays program, an exhausted Schultz crawled to the ropes and reached for his tag-team partner:
Like Digby, Papantonio moves with remarkable ease from some or one to all. How skilled is he at this ancient practice? According to Papantonio, this new emerging tea-bagger Republican Party is a movement of misfits that even had one of their people fly his airplane into an IRS building and kill innocent people! And they arent just misfit nutstheyre geriatric misfit nuts. Such race-and-age insults are now required when screeching nuts like Papantonio and Schultz complain about the way the other tribe has been stomp[ing] on intellect.
Schultz kept this up on Thursday and Friday, earning the scorn Stewart dumped on his head at the end of Saturdays rally.
Schultz has become a grotesque embarrassment; he makes Sean Hannity looks mega-sane by comparison. That said, we did learn one thing from Saturdays rallyStewart and his many fans are a gang of slobbering racists! Sure, they invited Kareem to attend, just to hide the larger picture. But all the blacks were up on the stage! In his news report in the Washington Post, Jason Horowitz sidled up the problem:
How overwhelming is overwhelmingly white? Horowitz offered no numbers. But a commenter at Steve Benens site had noticed something similar:
Most attendees were Caucasian? We have no idea why that would be surprising. As Messam noted in the Horowitz piece, most of America is white! But as Horowitz semi-noted, this obvious logic rarely obtained when our tribe assessed Glenn Becks plainly racist rally last August.
Remember when the fact that a crowd was disproportionately white meant that the people in the crowd were a gang of slobbering racists? Suddenly, that logic has disappearedwhich is of course a good thing.
Sanity actually is a good thing. Have you been watching Schultz lately?
INTERLUDENEW ELITES SPEAK (permalink): Is Gail Collins part of the New Elite described last week by Charles Murray? (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/26/10.) Possibly not, though shes part of a High Manhattan Elite, the kind of elite which tends to undermine progressive interests. Not unlike Leona Helmsley, Collins tends to roll her eyes at the little peopleand at the places where such people live. On Saturday, there she went again, delivering a political message.
The end of an election season is always thick with regrets, this high lady wrote at the start of her column. Then, she offered a pointless review of a high plains city, rolling her eyes as she did:
Darlings! Can you even imagine such a place? Do people really live in such places? Or do they just survive?
Collins frequently offers snarky asides about the nations dreary way-stationsthe utterly silly little places from which she herself has escaped. You see, Collins herself was born in GenevaDarlings! In Geneva, Ohio!and she went to college in Milwaukee. Darlings! The bratwurst place!
Today, Collins has risen above and beyond. Rather routinely, she chuckles at Americas hopeless locales. In the process, she delivers an unfortunate political messageone that is heard all over the land, except where we liberals gather.
In fact, Pancake Day is observed in many countries, including such places as Canada. (For the record, Shrove Tuesday is another name for Fat Tuesday, when the better class of American people get drunk and tell women to take their shirts off.) Out in Kansas, Liberal turns out to be so worldly that it celebrates the day in concert with Olney, its sister city in England. The pancake race started in Olney in 1445. The traditional prize is a kiss from the verger.
By rule of law, places like Liberal occasion smirking in Collins columns. The smirking allows Collins to kill some time as she struggles for something to sayand it sends a political message, one that doesnt work real well for liberals and progressives. For ourselves, wed recommend Liberals Pioneer Mother of Kansas statue (click here), which recalls a stronger class of people. But make no mistakeold and New Elites are all around, as Murray said and suggested.
This weekend, we groaned at Collins column. We marveled at Charles Blows companion piece, in which the gentleman conveyed strong views concerning religious schools.
Is Blow a part of that New Elite? In a sense, but perhaps not as such. That said, his feelings about religious schools seem to be quite strong. Citing a rather useless survey of students in three different types of schools, Blow lowered the boom on the bad attitudes spawned in religious schools. Headline: Private School Civility Gap:
Disgraceful! Boys who went to private religious schools were most likely to say that they had mistreated someone because he or she belonged to a different group. They were most likely to say they had used racial slurs.
Blow went on to rail against the way these ratty religious school kids lack this basic bit of civility. He forgot to give you the actual data on which he based his whole fraudulent column. For example, here are the data about the way these kids mistreat The Other:
No, we arent making that up; those are the actual data which inspired Blows column. Meanwhile, how large was the gap when it came to the use of racial slurs? In the survey, 51 percent of public school boys copped to such conduct in the past yearas compared to 54 percent of boys in private religious schools. On the basis of such distinctionsdistinctions built on self-reportingBlow penned an entire column about the ratty values developed in religious schools.
Please note the way this high elite acts. Blow knew he had to withhold those data, which make his column an obvious joke. And so, withhold the data he did, ranting ahead with his silly screed against religious schools. In comments, a few readers had actually checked the survey; they noted the fraudulence of the column. But many more commenters blathered away, thanking Blow for his brilliant good work in helping us ponder this outrage, which theyd known about all along.
In these columns, you see the work which comes from one of our highest, most famous elites. Much as Murray said in his piece, members of this high elite seem to develop specialized views, in which they look on large parts of the country with undisguised derision. They may even play you to sell you their point. Eventually, though, people noticeeven the kinds of hopeless rubes who live in Liberal, Kansas.
Tomorrow, on Election Day, well review a New York Times editorial; it concerned Sharron Angle and immigration. Did Murray possibly have some good points about the ways of our modern elites? Liberal elites rushed to mock his piece. Did they protest too much?
Liberal elites on the public schools: Blow was very upset about that civility gap. In religious schools, 27 percent of boys misbehave; in public schools, by way of contrast, its just 26! To this member of a Manhattan Elite, this seemed like a very large problem. But as he started his ludicrous column, he took an actual public school problem and tossed it under the back of the bus:
The achievement gap deserves a lot of attention, Blow said. But he wasnt going to dirty his hands trying to ponder this actual problem. He, a cog in a New Elite, had pure perfect crap on his mind.
As weve told you, liberal elites dont much dirty their hands worrying about low-income schools. When they do discuss this topic, they either move onas Blow quickly didor they hand you the Official Established Group Narrative. Thats what Nicholas Kristof did in his column this weekend, in Sundays New York Times. Kristof rattled every point youve heard many times before:
Its not that theres anything wrong with that. But this is the mainstream press elites Official Established Set of Views, offered by someone who doesnt know much more about public schools than what he hears from the New Elites experts. In Kristofs recitation, the teacher unions take a jab, as do bad teachers; education reform, narrowly defined, earns vague words of praise. Teaching standards, whatever they are, come in for additional praise. Kristof never considers the possibility that here may be bad superintendents, clueless experts or dumb educational reformers. He simply rattles familiar points from a familiar list.
In all honesty, Kristof doesnt much know what hes talking about. For the most part, he has memorized the points a gang of experts have crafted. But what if those educational experts are themselves part of a New Elite? What if they themselves work from a limited palette, as described in Murrays piece?
In our view, real progressives would worry about that; theyd leap at the chance to discuss this syndrome. But out in pseudo world, the Benens frolicked and played last about Murrays very bad piece, which was plainly very wrong since it came from The Other Tribe.