Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes 04 seconds
On November 20, I wrote an article where I ruminated on the death of academic Edward S. Herman, co-writer of the magnificent book Manufacturing Consent. I noted that it was ironic that the same week Herman died the U.S. forced Russian owned television channel RT America to register as an agent of a foreign government. This week there were some more rather deliciously ironic developments in the story.
The first development was that The New York Times did exactly what Herman had long claimed and proven with his life's work they routinely do…namely they distorted the facts in order to diminish dissent and uphold the establishment line. What makes the Times behavior so noteworthy is that they did those things in their obituary for Edward S. Herman…thus in his death proving his point.
The Times writer Sam Roberts wrote in the obituary of Herman's seminal work, "Manufacturing Consent was severely criticized as having soft-pedaled evidence of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and, during the Bosnia war, Srebrenica."
The most glaring issue with that sentence is that... it is entirely and completely incorrect. Besides that it is perfectly alright. Here are the facts...Manufacturing Consent was published in 1988, the Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994 and the Srebrenica massacre was in 1995. While it is legitimate to condemn Mr. Herman for failing to be a time-traveller or for failing to vigorously predict future atrocities, it is not fair to blame him for "soft-pedaling evidence" about events that hadn't happened yet.
In addition, Manufacturing Consent spends a tremendous amount of time discussing Cambodia and its mass killings. The book doesn't soft pedal anything, it simply notes the differing levels of outrage and anger over atrocities committed by the U.S. as opposed to other nations.
There is nothing so satisfying as being proven right, and I hope Mr. Herman is having a good eternal laugh at the New York Times expense, he deserves it…and so do they.
The other update to the story is that RT America complied with the U.S. Justice Department demand that they register as an agent of a foreign power, and even though they did so they are now summarily kicked out of the capitol and refused journalistic credentials. I know many people hate RT for no other reason than they have been told to, but I think it is a dire sign that America in general, and liberals in particular, are so comfortable playing politics with the First Amendment.
RT America may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they do what none of the slavish, corporate-whore establishment media do, and that is vigorously question the American oligarchy. When RT America is banished or exiled from even being allowed to question members of the government, dissent loses and the American oligarchy wins. And in case you haven't noticed…when the establishment wins…we all lose.
In further laughing last news, it was amusing for me to see New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg write two recent columns about the sex harassment story as it related to Al Franken. Goldberg's multiple takes on Franken story reveal much that is wrong with the America and the media.
Goldberg's first op-ed, aptly titled, "Franken Should Go", was published on November 17, right after the Al Franken sexual harassment story broke. In it she demanded that Franken resign from the Senate for his sexual sins. Her second Op-ed titled "When Our Allies are Accused of Harassment", was written Novemeber 22 and was the height of unintentional comedy. In it she wrote in response to her initial November 17 op-ed,
"Almost as soon as it was published I started having second thoughts. I spent all weekend feeling guilty that I’d called for the sacrifice of an otherwise decent man to make a political point."
She then wrote,
"Personally, I’m torn by competing impulses. I want to see sexual harassment finally taken seriously but fear participating in a sex panic."
I assume Ms. Goldberg is read my article titled, "Sex Scandals and the Phases of a Sex Panic" which I published on November 17th and which must have been the impetus for her to re-think her initial position of Franken. I jest of course, but as with Mr. Herman's posthumous satisfaction at being proven right, I took Ms. Goldberg's repositioning to be more proof of my right-ness, but certainly not my righteousness. It did give me great pleasure to see Ms. Goldberg being living proof of the stages of a sex panic which I had written about just a week before.
Ms. Goldberg's second column was also indicative with another problem she and the rest of the media and the nation suffer from…emotionalism. In her second column she wrote of her first op-ed calling for Franken's resignation,
"Yet I am still not sure I made the right call. My thinking last week, when the first accusation emerged, was: cauterize the wound."
I think Ms. Goldberg is deluding herself, she wasn't "thinking" in her first piece, she was feeling. Everyone seems to believe that what they feel matters nowadays. It doesn't. I do not care what Ms. Goldberg feels, I am interested in what she thinks though.
The disease of emotionalism is a plague upon our nation and has made it nearly impossible to have a discussion with anyone about anything. Emotionalism causes irrationality to reign supreme and you get a country and a world that is deep in the throes of madness.
I have written many times before, and will do so again, that Trump is the president we deserve. The media are all shouting from the rooftops that he is mentally unstable…well guess what…his madness is a symptom of our collective psychosis. There have been reports that he may be suffering from dementia…well so is the whole country. Think I'm exaggerating? Go watch Ken Burns' recent documentary The Vietnam War to see how the collective is unable to accurately tell the truth about itself or its history.
Besides Ms. Goldberg being a reader of this blog, the New York Times has another op-ed writer who must read my work. Ross Douthat wrote a column on November 29, titled "Race and Class and What Happened in 2016". In the column, Mr. Douthat espouses ideas that are extremely similar to an article I wrote over a year ago on this very blog…welcome to the party Ross! In Mr. Douthat's piece he writes,
"But the swing also happened during a campaign in which Trump explicitly and consistently tried to move the Republican Party’s economic agenda toward the center or even toward the left — abjuring entitlement cuts, channeling Bernie Sanders on trade, promising a splurge of infrastructure spending, pledging to replace Obamacare with an even better coverage guarantee and more. This stuff wasn’t a small part of his campaign: Trump literally picked out sites for campaign events based on their post-industrial-wasteland backdrops, talked constantly about the “forgotten man,” railed against Clinton’s Goldman Sachs connections and more."
Thus it’s strange to read Serwer dismissing “the idea that economic suffering could lead people to support either Trump or Sanders, two candidates with little in common” — since if you just listened to their public rhetoric, Trump and Sanders did have a lot in common, with Trump deliberately positioning himself in territory close to Sanders on a range of economic issues. (And foreign policy issues, and attacks on Washington corruption, and more …)"
I wrote about this same exact thing last November and was excoriated by my democratic friends, now former friends, who quickly exiled me and my loved ones from their lives for the sin of not adhering to Clinton Cult orthodoxy. The reason that my former friends were so quick to banish me from their lives was because they were highly emotional after Trump's victory and they reacted accordingly. Like Ms. Goldberg, my friends weren't thinking, they were feeling, which is always a recipe for bad decisions and even worse ideas.
I think I have discovered two other high profile readers of my work beside Ms. Goldberg and Mr. Douthat. On November 10, on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, two of Bill's guests were Sarah Silverman and Chris Mathews. During the discussion both of them scolded Maher for belittling Trump voters and white working class people. Matthews even went so far as to call Maher's attacks on white working class people "bullshit" (GASP!). Silverman spoke of her new Hulu tv show where she interviews Trump voters and regular Americans and doesn't judge them but takes them seriously and actually really listens to them. It is pretty shocking but just listening to someone is now a revolutionary act in our current political climate. Good for you, Ms. Silverman.
The reason I even cared a little bit what Sarah Silverman and my usual punching-bag Chris Matthews were saying was because they were, almost a year to the day, reiterating what I had written right before and right after the election of 2016. It was somewhat satisfying for me to hear the point of view I implored a year ago, and which cost me so many dear friends, now be acknowledged as correct.
God (and my readers) knows I am no Edward S. Herman, but I do admit it has been nice to be alive to see at least some of my thoughts and ideas be proven correct. Don't get me wrong, I am not laughing at those who were so quick to dismiss me and eradicate me from their lives. Look, I am just some guy trying, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, to figure things out. I don't think I'm some genius prophet or something like that who knows all the answers. I sure as hell don't. What I am doing though is beseeching people, my former friends among them, to stop being so myopic and emotionalist. We live in dangerous times in an upside-down world, and only those who keep their heads about them will be able to see clearly the road ahead and understand what path needs to be taken. The more emotional we get, the less rational we become, and thinking, not feeling, is the only cure for our current madness. People need to stop being led around by their nose in a self-induced hysteria, start thinking long term and acting strategically. If folks would listen more and get outraged less, then maybe they might end up being the ones who laugh last.