Sunday, May 10, 2009

MoDo's psychedelic version of reality

Maureen Dowd's headline writer for her Sunday New York Times column came up with one that could be used again and again for MoDo's columns: Put Aside Logic (dated 05/09/09 online). MoDo's mind has recently been quite impressed at the thought that the newspaper industry is in deep trouble. That MoDo, always cutting edge.

Her column is some strange fantasy about how Obama is like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. As she explains, "Mr. Obama is also a control freak who learned to temper, if not purge, all emotion." No, I'm not making this up. Apparently, MoDo just saw the new Star Trek film. And it's not clear if she has a sense that the reality in which President Obama lives is in any way distinguishable from the fictional world on the screen. And, yes, this is what passes for high-end journalism in America today.

Now, being a bean-counter business numbers type, the thought keeps recurring to me that the collapse in the quality of the product might have something to do with the industry's economic troubles. MoDo doesn't see it that way. Coming from her, writing in the New York Times, former journalistic home of Judith Miller, this is really comical:

Newspapers do a praiseworthy job of trying to keep the dark side at bay, by shining sun on it. But society may not consider us obligatory, as we’re finding out.
Yes, in the reality spinning around inside MoDo's troubled mind, our press corps has been vigorously battling to keep the Dark Side away. That would be the press corps that is right now today practically unanimous in their insistence that it would be the greatest sin against civility imaginable if Bush administration officials responsible for torture were legally held to account in any way.

During the Bush years, MoDo herself was considerably more enthusiastic about protecting the Republic against that horrible liar and fabulist and phony Al Gore, and against pathetically effeminate male Democrats like girly-man John Kerry and John Edwards, who she found frighteningly troubling for his femininity long before she got an actual sex story featuring him to drool over. As she was doing last week. And that terrifying masculine Hillary Clinton has repeatedly driven her to the verge of babbling lunacy on a regular basis. Today, MoDo thinks Obama is a soulless Vulcan. During last year's election she worried that he, like all Democratic candidates in MoDo's alternative reality, was distressingly effeminate. Maybe Sarah Palin can teach Obama how to be a woman, she helpfully suggested.

Let's give MoDo credit. She did write one recent column yucking it up over torture. Michelle Obama's sleeveless outfits clearly disturb her far more.

Just in the last few weeks, there has been a surge of conventional wisdom among the punditocracy that if they could just charge people for news content that they get over the Internet, things would be hunky-dory. MoDo embraces the new conventional wisdom, wondering whether there's "any way to shut the barn door now that the ink-stained horse has gotten out into the virtual pasture (making readers pay for content now that they’ve gotten used to getting it free online)." Yes, there's this Internet thing out there now that's causing problems for business models that still consider the Gutenberg press the latest in cutting-edge technology.

Quality? Irresponsibility? Insane celebrity columnists? A press corps that welcomes Karl Rove as a colleague in punditocracy? A virtual complete collapse of integrity in the run-up to the Iraq War? An industry that considers David Broder to be the Dean Of All The Pundits?

No, that stuff can't have anything to do with the newspaper industry's woes. It must be that new Internet thingy that all the kids are using these days.


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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?


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