Shortcuts & Delusions: Books, Books, I Need My Books!
If I ever need material for this column, I just mosey on over to Slate or Salon; they are a wealth of material for writers like myself who like to point and laugh at jerks.
In a book review for Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s latest, Giant of the Senate, Laura Miller advocates for Franken to run for president in 2020, writing:
What once might have hobbled Franken politically—the persistent “funny man” label, his histories of recreational drug use and show business, the fact that as a comedian he has written and said many things that are not actually true and that he did not really mean—seem a lot less insurmountable since November. If the nation can elect as president an erratic, confabulating reality-TV show personality with no governmental experience and a past shadier than a redwood forest, then why the hell not the guy who once played Stuart Smalley?
My ideology and Franken’s ideology seldom overlap. I loved Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot: and Other Observations (I also find Rush amusing at times, and very insightful when it comes to liberal media bias, though unlike Rush and most conservatives, I recognize complaining about mainstream media bias is like complaining about gravity). And I appreciate the concept of lowering the bar for who is considered “qualified” to be president. But why should that bar be lowered so that celebrities can more easily step over it? What is the obsession with elevating those already predisposed to self-centeredness to positions of power where their self-adulation could be such an outsize influence in their policy making decisions?
The Founders wanted government service to be carried out as a sense of duty by normal citizens; farmers, merchants, etc. It was an injection of populism into a federal/republic system to protect from mob rule. I’m pretty sure they’d get the vapors if that populism led to actors who got their starts in wrestling, sitcoms, and variety shows the way The Rock, Tom Hanks, Franken and Sonny Bono did occupy positions of authority.
While we’re on the subject of populism, do you guys know how to talk to the white working-class without insulting them? Do you think you’d have sense enough to not insinuate they are racist? Isaac Chotiner didn’t when he interviewed Joan C. Williams about her new book White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America.
“I think my book differs from a lot of what’s out there, and that it really talks about a broken relationship between two different groups: the professional managerial elites and the white working class. The argument I make is that the broken relationship between these two groups has driven the United States further to the right and ultimately into the arms of President Trump,” Williams said.
This is a fun interview to read because it involves the interviewer making a lot of condescending and insulting remarks about Trump and Trump voters, the interview subject disagreeing and making a decent case for why the interviewer is wrong, and the interviewer moving on to his next question which is full of condescending and insulting remarks about Trump and Trump voters.
I’ve been sitting on this for a while since I’m reading Shattered now and I wanted to write about its flaws, but since I’ve found myself doing a book review clip show, I’ll just burn this off now. Co-author Amie Parnes stopped by Salon a month ago when the book first came out. Salon executive editor Andrew O’Hehir commented, “…when Clinton’s defenders argue that what happened was not her fault and does not reveal any fundamental weakness in the Democratic Party or its message, they raise some valid points. Clinton faced a flukish and unprecedented array of obstacles while carrying the burden of being the first major-party female nominee in American history, and won more votes than any previous candidate not named Obama.” This is essentially the premise of the book.
I’m about three quarters through the book, and Parnes and co-author Jonathan Allen have yet to write about how voters took issue with HRC’s policy proposals. In their telling, HRC lost the election due to her closed-off personality, clashing with outsize personalities like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, infighting among her ego-maniacal campaign leaders, and the email scandal, etc. Not once have they mentioned that the Democrat Party platform could be to blame. As with most liberal progressive apologists/defenders, it’s never the message, always the messenger that is to blame for electoral losses.
I welcome this ostrich head-in-the-sand tactic. Except for a few social issues, I don’t like what liberal progressives stand for, and want them to continue to fool themselves into believing that their product doesn’t sell because the salesman doesn’t know how to sell it, rather than the product being of low quality.
A few other pieces of criticism of the authors: it is soooooo obvious that they wrote this book to work as an either/or for the outcome of this election. Meaning, since they both covered the election and had co-written a biography of HRC released in 2015, the could pre-write this book; if Hillary lost, they could write about how the factors they delineate in the book prevented her from winning, and if Hillary won, they’d frame it as her winning despite these factors. Even the goddamn title is lazy. If HRC won, she “shattered” the glass ceiling; if she lost, then it’s her dream of being president that is shattered. Finally, the vast majority of quotes are attributed to unnamed sources. I understand why journalists cite anonymous sources, but a full-length book with 9 out of 10 sources remaining anonymous should have given the editors pause. That the editors green-lit this book should give readers pause.
And this is where I shall pause this column.
Slate and Salon are fonts for the hot air that inflates the liberal bubble.
Speaking of hot air, how can I not be skeptical of liberal progressive solutions for climate change? The proponents of their solutions have been off in their doomsday scenarios since the 1970s. How can they accurately predict the amounts of carbon dioxide and air temperatures in the future when they’ve been wrong in the past, and can’t competently analyze present phenomena such as why people vote the way they do. Climate data and models are more complex than exit poll answers, and they can’t even honestly and accurately explain election outcomes.
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.
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