Estimated Reading Time : 5 minutes 42 seconds
I am a baseball fan, and as a little kid I used to religiously watch This Week In Baseball, which was hosted by Yankees play by play man, Mel Allen, one of the all-time great baseball announcers. Allen would narrate highlights from the week's games and add his signature call, "How about that!!". Since I didn't have cable tv or access to much if any highlights, This Week in Baseball was my lifeline to the sport I adored. I loved This Week in Baseball with a near-religous fervor, its theme music would instantaneously make me giddy.
That was a long time ago, though. My childhood a distant, faded memory. Mel Allen is long dead. This Week in Baseball is still on, but now it is on Fox and it is entirely useless since ESPN exists. So why I am rambling on about This Week in Baseball? Because I have decided to write a brief column about the media titled, This Week in Bullshit. Bullshit seems to have become our national pastime, so i figured...why not?
This past week I forced myself to do some very uncomfortable and unpleasant things, among them were to watch both Bill Maher's and John Oliver's HBO shows, and also read the editorial pages of both the New York Times and the Washington Post everyday. Even writing that last sentence, never mind doing those things, makes my colon twinge. But I did it. And I thought I would share some random thoughts about what I discovered as I swam among the sewage that is the establishment media's point of view.
Maher, Milo and Malcolm
On Bill Maher's show last Friday (Feb. 17), everyone got into an uproar because Little Bill had on Milo Yiannopoulis, the alt-right provocateur/performance artist who liberals love to hate. I do not now, nor have I ever, given a shit about Milo or anything he has to say. I do not understand why anyone else would either. But they do. In fact, I have heard numerous liberals say out loud this week that they would like to kill Milo. I am not joking.
As demonized as Milo has become, and it got worse after his appearance, he came across to me as transparent phony and unserious glamour boy. Why anyone would get worked up over something he says is beyond me. People like Milo, or Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity or whoever the conservative "it" girl of the moment is, get rich by instigating and provoking liberals. Why Liberals make their jobs so easy I will never understand. Milo and company need your hatred in order to survive, if you remove it from them, they whither and die…not unlike Trump. So, liberals need to toughen up and stop being so delicate when it comes to what people say. They need to think strategically and not emotionally, deal with actions, not words.
The most important thing about that Maher episode though was buried under the Milo freak show. After Little Bill's "interview" with Milo (which was, as usual for Little Bill, flaccid and nonsensical), his opening segment with the panel was astounding and has received little attention. In the segment, Little Bill got very solemn and said he wanted to be serious…always a bad sign. He then went on to say that the CIA and the Intel Community are at war with Trump and that is good because they know the president is dangerous. Little Bill put himself firmly in the camp of the intel community.
Little Bill then followed up with this doozy…he said that years ago during the Kennedy administration, the Intel Community moved against JFK because JFK had a "pussy problem" and was sleeping with East German agents and Mafia girlfriends and the like. In essence what Little Bill was saying is that the CIA killed Kennedy and that they were right to do it because he was compromised by his sexual dalliances. HOW ABOUT THAT!!
Maher then argued that the same is true now and that it is good that the Intel Community is plotting against President Trump. This is some remarkable stuff…but no one on the panel blinked an eye. And most importantly, "former" Navy Intelligence Officer and multiple-agency Intelligence agent, Malcolm Nance, never uttered a word of denial about Little Bill's thesis about Trump OR Kennedy.
So what we have here is Bill Maher admitting he believes that the CIA killed Kennedy and that it was a good thing, and that he wants them to sideline Trump by any means necessary (wink-wink). The fact that Nance never challenged Maher or spoke up in defense of the intel community against these charges is stunning. It makes you even wonder if it might even be true (wink-wink).
Having a major voice of the establishment, Little Bill, claim that the Intel Community murdered one president and is plotting against another, without a peep of denial from a member of that community, is a ground breaking development. One that shocks me no end. it is stunning that no one else seemed to noticed.
The Empire Strikes Back
John Oliver's show was it's usual impotent attempt at being insightful. In the opening segment, Brave Sir John "eviscerated" Trump as he has done countless other times. One wonders how many evisceration must take place before the evisceration event horizon gets crossed. I have a not-so-funny feeling we are a long way from Trump evisceration market saturation.
Brave Sir John then did his feature segment on…surprise, surprise…Russia. I had just written an article about John Oliver that get some attention on the internets the week before, and got me lots of emails calling me a Kremlin stooge and Putin shill, which puts me in very good company with people like Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges who routinely suffer the same fate. I can't help but wonder if Brave Sir John, or his staff, read that piece and my other critiques, as his Russia segment seems to use my arguments against him as a blue print. It felt like Brave Sir John was defending himself against my accusations. Another, much more plausible scenario is that I am suffering from manic depression and am currently in a heightened state accompanied by delusions of grandeur…God knows it wouldn't be the first time. Regardless, whatever the reason, Brave Sir John seemed to make a feeble attempt to counter my charges.
Brave Sir John's basic argument against Russia and for the U.S. is that the Russians are awful, and we may do bad things but it is different when we do them because we are good and deserve every benefit of the doubt no matter what!! In conclusion…U.S. is good…just because…and Russia is bad…because everyone says so.
Watching John Oliver is like being forced at gun point to watch old people fucking. It is excruciating, it takes forever, it is entirely repulsive and there is never a climax. HOW ABOUT THAT!!
"I Know Nothing!!" - Sgt. Schultz
On Tuesday of last week, Steve Phillips wrote an Op-ed for the New York Times titled, "Move Left, Democrats". This op-ed was remarkable for no other reason than it was the least coherent and most idiotic thing I have seen in a long time. Phillips spent 1,000 words or so saying absolutely nothing, all while fighting straw men and falling to define his terms. It was a tremendous piece of opinionated detritus, and proves that all you have to have to get your 1,000 words in the Times are connections to the right people and be fluent in the right buzz words.
Phillip's argument is nearly as incomprehensible as it is moronic. As far as I can decipher it, he thinks democrats should ignore white working class voters who went for Trump, but who had previously voted for Obama, in favor of "progressive" voters who voted third and fourth party in 2016. He then gives numbers to back up his assertions, but never gives any facts to back up his assumptions. For instance, he assumes libertarian voters are democrats who didn't vote Clinton, and not republicans who didn't vote Trump. Regardless, it all looks serious, until you actually read it.
Phillips logic is so faulty it is amazing he is able to function in the world, never mind write an op-ed. Phillips keeps saying democrats should be more "progressive" but never defines what that means in the context of his argument. Does being more progressive mean being economically populist? Does it mean identity politics? This is the crux of the issue when debating these points. If you don't specify what you mean, then you don't mean anything.
Phillips also pulls some bait and switches which prove him to be a charlatan in trying to make a pointless argument. He starts off by arguing for ignoring Springsteen voters (my term for white, working class who voted Obama twice and now for Trump) in favor of third and fourth party voters (green, libertarian), but then in the latter half of the piece he simply calls the Springsteen voters "conservatives". He claims that democrats shouldn't waste time trying to convince conservatives to vote for them. Ummmm…no shit, Einstein. The problem with Phillips argument, and thinking ( or lack thereof), is that he doesn't understand that Springsteen voters are not "conservative" in the sense that he makes them out to be. They are economic populists…which was a lynchpin of the progressive political movement for ages. This is why his not defining "progressive" makes his entire article moot. The political spectrum was deconstructed with the last election, and it is fools like Steve Phillips who fail to recognize this. He is like those generals in Vietnam who are trying to re-fight World War II. The battlefield is entirely different now, and the tactics and strategies required to compete and succeed on this battlefield are much different than the ones Steve Phillips is trying, and failing, to articulate.
Democrats should move left, because that is how they will woo third and fourth party voters AND Springsteen voters. The democrats and Hillary Clinton are a center-right party, beholden to corporate and Wall Street interests and a neo-con foreign policy. If Phillips had the intelligence, and courage, to say as much, he might even earn my respect. But since he just babbled on about nothing and wasted my time, he earns my venom. HOW ABOUT THAT!!
Thar She Blows!!
The aptly named, Charles M. Blow, wrote a wonderful piece of emotionalist horseshit on Feb. 23rd, that no doubt felt invigorating to him, but is ultimately fruitless. Here are Blow's final few paragraphs...
"This is why I have no patience for liberal talk of reaching out to Trump voters. There is no more a compromise point with those who accept, promote and defend bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia than there is a designation of “almost pregnant.”
Trump is a cancer on this country and resistance is the remedy. The Trump phenomenon is devoid of compassion, and we must be closed to compromise.
No one need try to convince me otherwise. The effort is futile; my conviction is absolute. This is a culture war in which truth is the weapon, righteousness the flag and passion the fuel.
Fight, fight, fight. And when you are finished, fight some more. Victory is the only acceptable outcome when freedom, equality and inclusion are at stake."
What is so great about Blow's self-righteous nonsense is that it is so completely Trumpian in its self-absorbed myopia. Blow, just like Trump, need not be convinced, as the effort would be "futile", his conviction is "absolute". The Trump movement is "devoid of compassion", Blow demands that "no compromise" be permitted.
Blow, like many liberals I speak to about Trump, is so emotionally triggered that he is incapable of thinking straight….or of just plain thinking. If Trump is as awful as liberals say he is, then stop being such candy-ass clowns about it. Stop thinking emotionally and start thinking strategically. If you ignore Springsteen voters, you will lose again. If you find ZERO room to compromise, especially on any economically populists opportunities, then you will push those moderate, Trump-lite folks, deeper into his camp.
Resist when needed, but embrace when necessary. Blow, like many liberals, is entranced by the siren's call of his emotionalism. He refuses to stop, breathe, reflect and strategize. To Mr. Blow I will quote the great, 21st century, American philosopher Dr. Phil, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?" Being "right" about how wonderful you are and how awful every Trump voter is, even the Springsteen voters who went for Obama twice, is a surefire way to end up unhappy come election day.
To Mr. Blow, I quote myself, "self-righteousness is a warm blanket few refuse in favor of the cold, hard struggle of self-reflection". Hey Blow, grow up, stop bitching, and start winning. HOW ABOUT THAT!!
Nick of Time
Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed in the Times on the 23rd as well. St. Nick wrote about how Trump voters are not the enemy. He said it is ok to attack Trump but not his voters because that is unproductive. Kristof is from Ohio and assures his readers that Trump voters are just regular, working class folks trying to make a living in a tough world.
I liked Kristof's piece a great deal. When I think about it now, I realize the reason I liked Kristof's piece so much is because I wrote it myself three months ago, right after the election (HERE, HERE , and HERE ). It almost feels like you aren't allowed to write op-ed's for the Times unless you are at least three months behind morons like me in your thinking.
But hey, better late than never. Hopefully Kristof, just like John Oliver, keeps reading my pieces. I appreciate the traffic, Nick.
And thus concludes This Week in Bullshit!! After this week's episode, I am sure Mel Allen, JFK, Herman Melville, Sgt. Schultz and Dr. Phil are all spinning in their graves. I will try to keep up my media feast, but I don't know how long I will last. One man can only eat so many shit sandwiches before his eyes go blind with brown-ness.