Not-so-Slacker Friday

Not-so-Slacker Friday


My response to the review of Barbara Ehrenreich's new collection, This Land is Their Land, in this Sunday's New York Times by Eve Fairbanks, which was so egregious, in ways both trivial and significant, that I felt compelled to write a column about it, is my new Think Again column. It's called "Money for Nothing," and it is here. I also have a new Nation column here, called "Obama and the Politics of 'Presumptuousness'."

The Note in the tank, continued: The crazy Jewish Neocon's BFF, Rick Klein, writes of the Obama/McCain summit:

It's going to get personal: "I'm going to ask them questions about character, competence, about values, vision, virtue, about their convictions in leadership, about their experience. And I'm going to deal with their personal life -- because character matters. Their personal life does matter as a leader. God says so," [Pastor Rick] Warren tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.

Should Obama be pleased with the event regardless?

Excuse me? "Regardless" of what, exactly? John McCain committed adultery, left his wife in a wheelchair for a much wealthier woman who launched his political career and continues to fund his private jet, talks with supporters about that "bitch" Hillary Clinton and joked that then-18-year-old Chelsea Clinton was the "ugly" child of Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno? And it's Barack Obama who needs to worry about "character?" Gee, I wouldn't be surprised if the person hired to do PR for The Note did not, just before that, have the same job for John McCain ...

Mr. Klein does get around to asking, "How did McCain's first marriage end again?" but only in the context of John Edwards. (Plus, two mentions of Barack's vacation photos... now there's an issue.)

Speaking of crazy Jewish neocons: Hard as it may be to believe, Marty Peretz is still whining that a Palestinian has died and that the rest of the world is not sharing in his pathetic, hysterical, hateful racism against all things Arab. Perhaps if Mr. Darwish had been Jewish, and had married and divorced two wealthy women who gave him the money to buy magazines and spread his racist paranoia around more efficiently before being forced to sell them rather than being, you know, a world-renowned poet, Marty would not feel the need to pollute the pages of The New Republic with his never-ending neuroses.

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"Goodbye, Mr. Bluebird, I'm just walkin' down the road/Early mornin' sunshine, tell me all I need to know."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: You Got To Change (The Meters) -- Once again, I have neglected to fly to Hawaii to thumb my nose at Cokie (Come To My Cabin On Honorarium Mountain!) Roberts and write across the golden sands how much I love New Orleans.

Short Takes:

Part The First: I think the country needs a moratorium on this crap. Your life is not interesting, not at all, not to any sentient primate to whom you are not related. (Nor, I venture to guess, to several of them to whom you are.) Your life is not the prism through which the rest of us have to look at the world. In fact, given the evidence you've presented, your life has been such a staggering vista of unexplored banality that the plants in your family garden probably learned how to yawn. Some guy labors away at a book -- I'm doing it now. Cough. Wheeze.-- and somehow manages to fall across the finish line, only to have his work hijacked and crammed into your Yogi Bear lunchbox. Yeesh.

Part The Second: If there was a Political Controversies Futures Book, I'd bet this horse heavily across the board.

Part The Third: With all due respect to brother Boehlert, given what we saw during the primary season, the fact that Fox News got locked out of the Debate Moderator Club doesn't exactly fill me with optimism. They all, sort of, you know, suck pondwater at this.

Part The Fourth: Bob Costas's interview with C-Plus Augustus was deft and smart. The interview, that is, not the subject, whose leaky bag of sawdust banality was on display for all to see, although it's nice to know that America has no problems. Considering that he spent August of 2001 chopping brush and blowing off PDB's, and that he spent the period in which New Orleans was drowning at John McCain's Birthday Party, I can't imagine what part of his job he might be ignoring at the Olympics. Wait, maybe I can.

Part The Fifth: As an aging epee hack my own self, I'd like to thank Slate for this, and point out that: a) I've always been an "et la" man myself, and b) that the 1-2-3 by our saber gals is likely to be the only USA sweep of these Games, since the Jamaican sprinters are likely to, as the Baron de Coubertin would put it, f**k our s**t up on the track.

Part The Sixth: This Space has obtained a copy of the latest television ad from the McCain campaign. Breaking!

Part The Seventh: Oh, good god. If this doesn't get these guys out of retirement, nothing will. Personally, I'm waiting for the sequel, in which Stephen (Hollywood) Hayes is visited by the Ghost Of Forgeries Past.

Part The Eighth: The night watchman at Salon falls asleep and, once again, a crazy person gets in through a window. I mean, holy Jeebus Christmas:

And Obama's tire gauge mini-crusade was a mortifying misfire with those same voters -- a shiny little gadget specializing in the literally lightweight issue of air versus the greasy, brawny push for massive, phallic drilling into the seabed of mother earth. Symbols matter!

So does a butterfly net.

Part The Last: I guess I'm the last one to jump in on this blazing row, but I have to agree with almost everything said by The Landlord, and by Sal & Tony, as regards to Sir Paul's post-Beatles landfill -- except for measuring the rising sewage from when The Landlord was in "junior high," since that would mean I'm a lot older than him, which is not possible. Anyway, it's abundantly clear at this point that the best post-Beatle Beatle was George, which is probably no surprise since he was hitting his peak as a songwriter ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something") as the band was beginning to come apart. He also seemed less thrown by Not Being A Beatle than John and Paul were. All Things Must Pass really was a declaration of musical independence.

And, in a related development, RIP to the guy who brought us the greatest performance in the history of the Oscars, even though this isn't it. And a further RIP to another bad motherf ... (Shut your mouth!).

I have great sympathy for folks who sign aboard the gleaming vessel that is any ambitious media start-up. Hell, I did it once myself, only to have the project fall victim to an unfortunate accident while docking at Lakehurst, New Jersey. ("Sportswriters are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Oh, the humanity!") That said, if there's one clear lesson that can be gleaned already from the 2008 election cycle it is that The Politico is at least as worthless an addition to the American political process as were either of the Romney campaigns. It's horse-race happy. It's celebrity-silly. It exists to cover only the campaign, as though the whole exercise will conclude in November after which it will vanish without consequence as though it were the NHL playoffs or something. Browsing it, you are struck by the thought that, if these guys ever covered, you know, actual news, half of them would get the bends. Take this, for example. This is perhaps the single most useless piece of political analysis I have ever read, including some of my own. Some elections are like some others and, yet, confoundingly, some are not, too. This might be one of them. Then again, it might not. Let's see what our panel of experts says. Yes, but perhaps no, and therefore, maybe. Hell, the Python boys did this kind of thing better and they were playing it for laughs. Against considerable odds, there is an actual point in there worth pursuing. If it resembles any election at all, this one looks more like 1980 than any other one. In 1980 and in 2008, as this piece takes considerably pains to obscure, the party brand of the incumbent president was hopelessly damaged. Of course, it's possible that the gang at Ye Olde House Of Mulch For Brains speak a language with which I am unfamiliar.

Name: Don Hynes
Hometown: Portland OR

Thanks for this important counter to the seemingly insurmountable wave of self-importance and political ignorance that envelops our country and culture. I won't add a pity addenda. Your column provided sufficient counterpoint. It's a shame that the people who suffer the most under our system of supposed equality likely won't have the benefit of reading your defense, being too busy on the hardscrabble turf the Andover boys will never know, but they and I are thankful.

Name: Linda Whitener
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

You noted that "It's become political wisdom of late to argue that since John McCain has advocated a different policy position than President Bush on the conflict in Georgia, it's a good thing for him. Doubly so because Barack Obama is much closer to Bush's position."

IMO, this just goes to prove that there is nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- that Candy Crowley, Mark Halperin and the rest of the Villagers won't spin to McCain's advantage. And let's not forget that Ms. Crowley was one of the most enthusiastic purveyors of the "uppity Negro" (sorry, I meant to say "presumptuous") meme.

Our liberal media at work.

Name: W. Lewis
Hometown: Cincinnati


If I read only Mickey Kaus and watch only Fox News I could swear that John Edwards was the Democratic nominee for president. Guess that's what they're hoping for.

And after the major medias' mea culpa after Corsi's last book (they use the term "swiftboating" as a verb with a straight face and no recognition), how can they give the guy's latest book even a moment of their time beyond condemning it?

And isn't John McCain being a bit presumptuous to talk to a foreign leader on a daily basis without instructions from the State Department? And, even more presumptuous to send over his own delegation?

Keep up the good work.

Name: Lou Cabron
Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Oh, my! Photographer Thomas Hawk just ALWAYS gets in trouble. He got thrown out of an art museum, photographed a security guard flipping the bird, and launched a boycott against Hyatt Hotels for saying he couldn't take a picture of their lobby!

But is the obsessive photographer persecuting the security guards -- or is our society persecuting photographers. Building owners are trying to clamp down on security -- sometimes arguing that even photographing their building is a security risk that helps the terrorists! (See the "BACKLASH" section of this article.)

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