Thursday, September 22, 2016

Worse than David Brooks

David Brooks is not actually the most ridiculous columnist at the New York Times. There is also a creepy little weirdo named Ross Douthat. 
Eew! Ick ick ick ick!!!
I don't really know how his last name is pronounced, but in my head it sounds like "Douche-Hat."
Anyway, as all conservative columnists are required to do, Ross recently published his "Why TRump is really the Democrats' Fault" column. Here's his incredibly stupid take:

When the histories of the Trump era are written from exile in Justin Trudeau’s Canada, they will record that it was none other than Jimmy Fallon who brought down the republic.
Or so you might have thought, at least, listening to the furious liberal reaction to Fallon’s willingness to treat Donald Trump like any other late-night guest last week: kidding around with him, mussing up his combover and steering clear of anything that would convey to late-night television viewers that Trump is actually beyond the pale.

Okay, first of all, yeah - fuck Jimmy Fallon. If you have as a guest on your show someone with a legitimate chance at the highest office in the land, you do NOT treat that person like any other guest. You  don't say "oh, you want the nuclear launch codes? And command of the world's most powerful military?  Great. When does the new album drop? Hey, what's it like working with Bobby DeNiro?" By having a presidential candidate on your show, you assume a certain responsibility and if you are not capable of handling that responsibility, as Fallon clearly is not, you don't invite a candidate on to your show. Especially if that candidate is a thin-skinned narcissistic sociopath with fascistic tendencies and no impulse control. You don't rumple his hair and try to make him seem cuddly.  Also, you have never been funny. Ever.

That being said, however, Douche-hat does have a point. It would be pretty silly to blame the results of an election on a late-night comic.

But the Democratic Party’s problem in the age of Trump isn’t really Jimmy Fallon. Its problem is Samantha Bee.

Samantha Bee is the problem? Samantha Bee? Really? Oh, this should be good.

Not Bee alone, of course, but the entire phenomenon that she embodies: the rapid colonization of new cultural territory by an ascendant social liberalism.

Really? You righties have been complaining for decades about "liberal Hollywood" and the "Liberal Entertainment Industry" and the "Liberal Media." Now you're going to act like this is some new phenomenon? You've been crying "wolf" for so long, now that a few actual wolves show up, you just don't know what to do? Oh, I know, let's try blaming them for Trump!

The culture industry has always tilted leftward, but the swing toward social liberalism among younger Americans and the simultaneous surge of activist energy on the left have created a new dynamic, in which areas once considered relatively apolitical now have (or are being pushed to have) an overtly left-wing party line.

 I'm pretty sure you don't understand what "left wing" means.  Because "social liberalism," ie not wanting to deny equal rights to women, minorities, and the LGBTs, that doesn't really qualify as like leftist politics. It's just common decency.

On late-night television, it was once understood that David Letterman was beloved by coastal liberals and Jay Leno more of a Middle American taste.

There was no real truth to it, of course, but it was understood nonetheless.
If anything, David Letterman was preferred by younger viewers and Leno by older ones. But there's no real point in getting into that. Please continue.

But neither man was prone to delivering hectoring monologues in the style of the “Daily Show” alums who now dominate late night

 Okay, there are three Late Show alums on late night. Sam Bee, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. One is on TBS, one is on HBO and only Colbert is on a major network., and only Colbert is on more than once a week. Meanwhile, NBC has two Saturday Night Live alums headlining its late night lineup, And TBS has former SNL writer Conan O'Brien, so I'm not sure you could really say that Daily Show alums "dominate" late night.

 By the way, Seth Meyers is doing really good work in the old Letterman/Conan slot.

Also, there's this. Samantha Bee is not doing a Tonight Show-style late night program like Letterman and Leno used to. She doesn't have guests, doesn't do interviews (well, not often) there's no band or sidekick, etc. She's doing a specifically political comedy show. This is a completely different animal. You can't compare what she does to what Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon did or do.

Actually, you should probably go back and re-write this entire column and make it about Stephen Colbert.
Colbert is actually doing the classic Johnny Carson-style late night talk show with the celebrity guests and comedy sketches and whatnot. And he absolutely gets his political point of view across.

But while we're on the subject, why do there seem to be so many "liberals" on the late night television? Well, mostly because conservatives are not funny. I mean, you can be a conservative and be funny. Drew Carey is supposed to be pretty conservative and he's relatively funny. But that's because he doesn't do political humor. You can be funny and a conservative, you just can't be a funny conservative.
There area t least two main reasons. One is that when conservatives try to be funny, they punch down. And punching down is almost never funny. You won't get a lot of laughs from normal people with "hey, how about all those losers who lost their homes in the mortgage crisis? Am I right?"

The second reason is that their jokes tend to be based on false premises.

See, that "joke" only makes sense if you believe that Ms Clinton wants to bring tons of Muslim immigrants into America without vetting them, as FOX watchers undoubtedly do believe. In fact, refugees from any part of the world are put through an extremely rigorous investigative process. . .well, you already know this. That's why none of you are laughing at the above comic.

Also, I'm guessing none of you will laugh at this one either:

Okay, so even if that premise were true, joking about people living in poverty is a really shitty thing to do. Still, you can be shitty and still be funny, I guess. But the whole premise of the "joke" is total bullshit. According to census data, the states with the highest poverty levels are
1. Mississippi
2. New Mexico
3. Louisiana
4. Arkansas
5. Georgis
Wait, Georgia? Shit! We're worse than West Virginia?
Anyway, the truth is that it's red states that tend to have the highest poverty levels, not California. In fact, this study shows California as the 9th richest state in the union.So the whole "joke" doesn't make sense.

So, we got a bit off track here, but I guess what I'm saying, Mr. Douche-hat, is that if you want fewer liberals on TV, you conservatives are going to have to learn how to be funny.

Some of them have better lines than others, and some joke more or hector less. But to flip from Stephen Colbert’s winsome liberalism to Seth Meyers’s class-clown liberalism to Bee’s bluestocking feminism to John Oliver’s and Trevor Noah’s lectures on American benightedness is to enter an echo chamber from which the imagination struggles to escape.

 Hmm. you mean it's like switching from FOX News to CNBC to Rush Limbaugh to the Blaze, to World Net Daily to National Review to. . .?

 It isn’t just late-night TV. Cultural arenas and institutions that were always liberal are being prodded or dragged further to the left. Awards shows are being pushed to shed their genteel limousine liberalism and embrace the race-gender-sexual identity agenda in full.

Oh. My GAWD! They're pushing a message of anti-hate? And anti-discrimination? And anti-bigotry? What kind of radical leftist bomb-throwers are these that would have us not hate our fellow Americans based on minor differences? 

Oh, look. It's Emma Goldman and Leon Trotsky!
 Meanwhile, institutions that were seen as outside or sideways to political debate have been enlisted in the culture war. The tabloid industry gave us the apotheosis of Caitlyn Jenner, and ESPN gave her its Arthur Ashe Award. 

 Wait, you think Cait Jenner transitioned because of tabloids? Like I know that whole family is a bunch of publicity whores, but come on!

  Also, you know what the Arthur Ashe Award is, right? Here's how ESPN describes it:

Given out yearly at the ESPY awards, which were created by ESPN to recognize accomplishments in athletics, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage is unique in recognizing athletes who transcend sports in dedicating themselves to humanitarian or social endeavors.
"Humanitarian or social endeavors." Or, as you put it, "social liberalism." It's named after a man who stood up against societal ills. Again from ESPN:

The award is inspired by the life that Ashe lived, using his fame and stature to advocate for human rights, although, at the time, those positions may have been unpopular and were often controversial. 

 So, it has ever been thus. The Arthur Ashe award has always been given to someone who stood for human rights, civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, etc. This isn't the Heisman trophy. If they gave the Heisman to Cait Jenner, you might have a legitimate complaint. But as it stands, no. You do not.

The N.B.A., N.C.A.A. and the A.C.C. — nobody’s idea of progressive forces, usually — are acting as enforcers on behalf of gay and transgender rights. Jock culture remains relatively reactionary, but even the N.F.L. is having its Black Lives Matters moment, thanks to Colin Kaepernick.

Um, Douche-hat, you're probably going to want to tune out for next year's Ashe Award.

So what I'm getting here is that American culture is growing up, leaving your pre-Enlightenment value set in the dustbin of history where it belongs and somehow this is a problem for Democrats?

For the left, these are clear signs of cultural gains, cultural victory. But the scale and swiftness of those victories have created two distinctive political problems for the Democratic Party.

Oh, okay. Here we go. This is where it should all start making sense.

First, within the liberal tent, they have dramatically raised expectations for just how far left our politics can move, while insulating many liberals from the harsh realities of political disagreement in a sprawling, 300-plus million person republic. 

Yes, some of these crazy Lefties actually think they can advance politics all the way up to where it was in  1950?

Among millennials, especially, there’s a growing constituency for whom right-wing ideas are so alien or triggering, left-wing orthodoxy so pervasive and unquestioned, that supporting a candidate like Hillary Clinton looks like a needless form of compromise.

Looks like? Of course it's a compromise! Of course the voters who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary look at Hillary Clinton as a compromise. Shes' nowhere near as progressive as Sanders, but she's light-years better than Drumpf! And most of us understand this. Most of us know that in politics you rarely get your first choice and we're going to pull the lever for Hillary. We may not be smiling when we pull it, but we understand that compromise is the essence of politics. The people who don't understand compromise are the ones who threaten to shut down the government whenever they don't get their way.

Thus Clinton’s peculiar predicament. She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left’s Manichaean view of the culture war sufficiently that she finds herself dismissing almost a quarter of the electorate as “irredeemable” before her donors.

Okay, first of all, the DNC adopted a very progressive platform, but no one actually believes that she'll feel any obligation to follow it. And second, Manichaeism is pretty much the province of the right wing. Studies have shown that conservatives are far more likely to see everything in terms of black and white, good vs evil, friend or foe, while liberals  see endless shades of grey.

 Third, they are irredeemable! The voters to which she was referring are the neo-Nazis, Klansmen, "Men's Rights" activists, and the other shitgoblins of the "alt-right" that have crawled out from under their rocks to support Trump. Are you really ready to defend these scumbags?

 At the same time, outside the liberal tent, the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.

No, you do NOT get to paint Republican voters as rebellious outsiders, No. No way. Why did the Obama years see so many gains for the GOP? Well, we can start with gerrymandering, at which Republicans are much better than Democrats due in part to their utter shamelessness. Then there's the fact that the party in the White House often loses seats in midterm elections. Also, Democrats are notorious for not turning out to vote in non-Presidential years. Oh, and also having a black President really activated the right wing who turned out to vote for "Tea Party" know-nothings in droves.

This spirit of political-cultural rebellion is obviously crucial to Trump’s act. As James Parker wrote in The Atlantic, he’s occupying “a space in American politics that is uniquely transgressive, volatile, carnivalesque, and (from a certain angle) punk rock.” 

What the fuck? "Punk rock?"
 In England, this means "Fuck You!"

 (The alt-right-ish columnist Steve Sailer made the punk rock analogy as well.) Like the Sex Pistols, Parker suggests, Trump is out to “upend the culture” — but in this case it’s the culture of institutionalized political correctness and John Oliver explaining the news to you, forever.
 And in America. . .

Trump’s extremism also limits his appeal, of course. But if liberals are fortunate to be facing a Johnny Rotten figure in this presidential campaign, they are still having real trouble putting him away … and if he were somewhat less volatile and bigoted and gross, liberalism would be poised to close its era of cultural ascendance by watching all three branches of government pass back into conservative hands.

No, if he were less volatile, bigoted and gross, he never would have made it through the Republican primary, because that's what your party has become now. As long as we're making music analogies, you've become the party of Ted Nugent.

 Your party has literally embraced this racist, misogynist, seditious piece of human filth.

Something like this happened once before: In the 1960s and 1970s, the culture shifted decisively leftward, but American voters shifted to the right and answered a cultural revolution with a political Thermidor.

Pictured: A more intelligent thermidor.

That Nixon-Reagan rightward shift did not repeal the 1960s or push the counterculture back to a beatnik-hippie fringe. But it did leave liberalism in a curious place throughout the 1980s: atop the commanding heights of culture yet often impotent in Washington, D.C.
Which is why Tip O'Neill was only able to serve as Speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987. Because liberals were completely powerless in DC. 

By nominating a Trump rather than a Nixon or a Reagan, the Republicans may have saved liberalism from repeating that trajectory. But it remains an advantage for the G.O.P., and a liability for the Democratic Party, that the new cultural orthodoxy is sufficiently stifling to leave many Americans looking to the voting booth as a way to register dissent.

So the problem for liberals is that they have so thoroughly  won the battle of ideas, their ideas so utterly dominate the culture that. . .um. . . that people will vote against liberal candidates? Because. . .um,. . . they want to feel rebellious? Is that seriously the best you got?