Sunday, March 22, 2009

Which is worse?

I don't know which is worse in Sunday's New York Times. Maureen Dowd ranting about Michelle Obama's arms and arugula. Or Tom "Suck.On.This." Friedman writing this sentence: "There don’t seem to be any adults at the top - nobody acting larger than the moment, nobody being impelled by anything deeper than the last news cycle."

It's worth recalling what very adult things America's supposedly most influential columnist was saying about the Iraq War not so long ago:

With "adults" like Friedman and MoDo counting as two of our most prestigious, high-end pundits, predator CEOs are not the only danger to the country's future. As Bob Somerby likes to say, "A modern nation can’t run on dumb." And promoting dumb is what these two characters do.

Just to be clear about Sunday's columns. Both of them could be nominally taken to support Democratic positions, though MoDo seems to be desperately grabbing phrases from the economic news and trying to fit them into her frenzy about Michele's organic garden. And Friedman seems to think that if Obama talked nice to those AIG players getting mega-bonuses, they would just give the money back!

Tom Friedman must be one of the least self-reflective individuals on the planet. He writes, apparently offering us a Deep Thought, "I’ve never talked to more people in one week who told me, 'You know, I listen to the news, and I get really depressed'." It doesn't seem to have occurred to him as even a dim possibility that one or two of those people might have meant, "I listen to the news and I get really depressed because our press corps is so pitiful and our pod pundits so useless."

MoDo seems to be giving what she imagines to be a "populist" indictment of Obama's bailout plan, though it's not at all clear she understands what's she's talking about on that topic. And her version of Beltway Village populism comes out in head-scratchers like this: "Now that Mr. Obama has made $8,605,429 on his books — including $500,000 for letting his memoir be condensed into a kids' book — maybe he’s lost touch with his hole-in-the-shoe, hole-in-the-Datsun, have-not roots."

I guess I've missed something in life by not knowing what "hole-in-the-Datsun" means. A damaged muffler? Also, in the alternative Village reality, pundits like MoDo consider themselves firmly in touch with their own humble roots and uniquely entitled to declare what the humble masses want. But for MoDo, as is often the case, the problem comes down to her weird gender obsessions and her image of wimpy Democratic men being emasculated by their manly wimmin:

The tableau of Michelle Obama hoisting a pitchfork on Friday with her sinewy arms and warning that the commander in chief would be commandeered into yard work left me wondering if the wrong Obama is in the Oval.
Such are the images that haunt her evidently disintegrating mind.

And Friedman and MoDo are two of the highest-profile, high-end pundits in our "quality press"!

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • The AIG Cluster-F
  • Galbraith on the economic crisis
  • Spain to withdraw its troops from Kosovo
  • This isn't going away
  • Obama and the AIG bonuses
  • Obama and the Establishment press, Week 8
  • Predators at work
  • Lessons from Weimar Germany?
  • Painful Hitler analogies
  • Krugman on the Economic Crisis



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