Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Monday Theme

From now on, I am renaming Monday "The New York Times runs belligerent crap in its Sunday edition, so let's try to make some sense of whatever it is they are trying to say" day.

We'll kick things off with everyone's favorite screwball, Frank Rich. I remind my readers, Frank writes for the New York Times. Yes, that New York Times, the one that millions of people read. Here's the whole thing. Let's roll.

It's kind of like that legendary stunt on the prime-time soap "Dallas," where we learned that nothing bad had really happened because the previous season's episodes were all a dream.

Well, now we've honed in on the demographic for this drivel. Geriatric grumps with absolutely no taste or conscience when it comes to how they spend their time. I love that Frank takes time to explain that Dallas was a "prime-time soap", as though his metaphor would otherwise elude us.

We now know that the wave of anger that crashed on the Capitol as the health care bill passed last month — the death threats and epithets hurled at members of Congress — was also a mirage.

Nope. Thanks to Frank, we know it was the second coming of Kristallnacht.

Skip to next paragraph

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

This is what comes up when you cut and paste a NYT article into a blog post. Fred R. Conrad would apparently like me to skip to the next paragraph. I'll do so when I'm good and ready, Fred R. Conrad.

Speaking of which, Mr. Conrad, does it depress you that the Sunday op-ed section is exponentially less demanding of your readers than the Monday crossword puzzle?

Take it from the louder voices on the right. Because no tape has surfaced of anyone yelling racial slurs at the civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, it’s now a blogosphere “fact” that Lewis is a liar and the “lamestream media” concocted the entire incident.

So, for lack of physical evidence of anything having happened, they conclude that it did not happen. How unreasonable. Also, "lamestream media", while satirically inadequate, is generations evolved from opening an op-ed with a reference to Dallas.

The same camp maintains as well that the spit landing on the Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver was inadvertent spillover saliva from an over-frothing screamer — spittle, not spit, as it were.

Here's the link Frank provides. Doesn't the above seem to be the likeliest explanation, and perhaps the rather obvious one?

True, there is video evidence of the homophobic venom directed at Barney Frank — but, hey, Frank is white, so no racism there!

The hyperlink provided does not link to any video, but rather a piece by the Washington Post ombudsman, in which he concedes that the "spitting incident" Frank references above was likely unintentional. The new rule of internet argumentation: If it's Hyperlinked, it MUST be true.

Also, nobody likes Barney Frank.

One more thing. If all of this video exists as concrete proof of single instances of spitting and faggot-calling, doesn't that call into question the contention that thirteen racial epithets were unfurled by raging tea partiers?

I mean, I hate to get all statistical, here, but it's almost implausible that we are (allegedly) 2 for 2 on these, but 0 for 13 on the others? If I cede Frank's case, there is a 1 in 105 chance that those 13 incidents happened.

“It’s Not About Race” declared a headline on a typical column defending over-the-top “Obamacare” opponents from critics like me, who had the nerve to suggest a possible racial motive in the rage aimed at the likes of Lewis and Cleaver — neither of whom were major players in the Democrats’ health care campaign.

Again, Frank did not suggest a "possible racial motive". He compared it to Kristallnacht, the unofficial starting point of the Holocaust, whereby 10 million people were systematically murdered by the government. Would anyone accuse Hitler of having a "possible racial motive"?

It’s also mistaken, it seems, for anyone to posit that race might be animating anti-Obama hotheads like those who packed assault weapons at presidential town hall meetings on health care last summer.

So, Frank thinks people are literally having this discussion:

Shirley: Simon, aren't you forgetting something for the town hall?

Simon: What? The banner's in the truck!

Shirley: Aren't you going to pack heat? After all, the president is black.

Simon: Good point. I had better bring assault weapons, but only because the president is black.

Shirley: Correct. Otherwise, there would be no need to bring assault weapons.

And surely it is outrageous for anyone to argue that conservative leaders are enabling such extremism by remaining silent or egging it on with cries of “Reload!” to pander to the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base. As Beck has said, it’s Obama who is the real racist.

Frank has gotten better at introducing Beck (twice!) earlier in his piece. Perhaps the latest NYT style guide has addressed this issue. Alas, it has not been sufficient to compel writers to introduce their thesis early on.

I would be more than happy to stand corrected.

As happens almost every week. Of course, we cannot expect the Times to write:

"Last week, Frank Rick compared the tea party movement was akin to Kristallnacht. Many readers have pointed out that this is bat-shit insane. We have corrected the error."

If that ever happened, I would subscribe to the New York Times.

But the story of race and the right did not, alas, end with the health care bill.

Memo to the intern who edits the New York Times: You almost never need an "alas" in the same sentence as a "but". They mean the same thing, in the colloquial sense. Also, don't get weirded out by David Brooks. He thinks everyone is as into jelly beans as he is.

Hardly had we been told that all that ugliness was a fantasy than we learned back in the material world that the new Republican governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell, had issued a state proclamation celebrating April as Confederate History Month.

*ding* *ding* *ding* *ding* *ding* *ding*


In doing so, he was resuscitating a dormant practice that had been initiated in 1997 by George Allen, the Virginia governor whose political career would implode in 2006 when he was caught on camera calling an Indian-American constituent “macaca.”

I look forward to a nuanced discussion of the confederacy, along with recommendations for... Oh, forget it, let's just get with the "confederacy, therefore all Republicans = racist" shtick.

I mean, that's what this is, right? Do we really need 1,500 words, with an opening salvo cum homage to prime-time soap operas from 80s?

Of course we do... Frank just keeps right on going. This was only the introduction!

(stay tuned for part 2)


Blogger Memphis Evans said...

Okay, I'll never take the New York Times seriously! I wouldn't have anyway. I preferred the randomness and unpredictability of Monday Musings. If I accept that this Frank Rich guy is a doof can I get some weekly randomness back?

Were those the real Olympic mascots, btw? Yikes.

3:48 PM  

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