Category Archives: So Called Liberal Media

A Question of Emphasis

This is honestly the only thing that needs to be said about the ongoing self-fucking chicken that is the NYT opinion section:

They could write about anything. Like, get paid to start conversations about literally anything on this earth, conversations that would then be backed up with action by people with the capacity to enact change. Can you even imagine? Think about that.

It would be like if I could write in this space that all Americans should knock off wearing sleeveless turtlenecks and immediately YouTube would fill with people burning their sleeveless turtlenecks in the trash. The UN would introduce a resolution declaring that if it’s cold enough for a turtleneck it’s too cold for bare shoulders. Lawmakers would pass legislation fining people for making themselves look like sausages. My personal word would save us all from this fashion abomination for all time.

I’m joking, but think about that kind of reach, that kind of power. David Brooks and Bret Stephens and this Bari Weiss person and all the other Mousketools in that office have that.

And they choose to write about people on the Internet, being mean to them.

It’s not even that they’re wrong, although they are. It’s that they’re small, on the largest stage there is for a newspaper journalist. Give them the chance to write the world, give them journalism’s largest piece of real estate, and they describe … themselves.

Like, say what you want about Nick Kristof and I’ll say plenty but he does at least pay attention to people with less power than he has, and try to tell their stories even if he never completely manages to get out of his own way. Say what you want about most of the NYT but most of their journalists are actually trying to tell us about other people’s lives and then along come these assclowns making their workplace a punchline.

That they’re wrong, and they’re bad, and they’re overpaid and dishonest, those things are bad enough. The real crime they commit against their trade is their news judgment, their sincere belief that there is nothing larger than them happening right now in the world. That more than the subject of any correction should be a fireable offense.


David Brooks Thinks Twitter Invented Politics, Or Something

Who’s to blame for the fall of democracy? It won’t surprise you that Brooks thinks it’s millennials on the Twitters: 

Italy is now a poster child for the three big trends that are undermining democracies around the world:

First, the erasure of the informal norms of behavior.

Norms aren’t laws, which is the problem when somebody — Trump, Bush before him, Lee Atwater before them — figures that out and don’t give a fuck no more.

Second, the loss of faith in the democratic system. As Yascha Mounk writes in his book “The People vs. Democracy,” faith in democratic regimes is declining with every new generation. Seventy-one percent of Europeans and North Americans born in the 1930s think it’s essential to live in a democracy, but only 29 percent of people born in the 1980s think that. In the U.S., nearly a quarter of millennials think democracy is a bad way to run a country. Nearly half would like a strongman leader. One in six Americans of all ages support military rule.

It’s almost like 60 years of Republican howling that government blows, amplified by the likes of Brooks and his fellow Very Serious People, had some effect on those who grew up listening to it.

Also, a system of government is only good insofar as it benefits the people under it, so maybe the problem isn’t so much Kids Today not reading Plato as it is Kids Today being broke as hell.

Third, the deterioration of debate caused by social media. At the dawn of the internet, people hoped free communication would lead to an epoch of peace, understanding and democratic communication. Instead, we’re seeing polarization, alternative information universes and the rise of autocracy.

One of my favorite ongoing Things is discussion of polarization that completely ignores Fox News. Look, the majority of Americans do not sit on Twitter all day yelling at their relatives. They watch Fox clips in their podiatrist’s office and yell at their relatives in person, via the voting booth.

Polarization was not invented by Facebook. It was created by Republican operatives and funders who found it effective and lucrative, and spent eight years screaming about anti-American traitors who loved terrorists, and then another eight screaming about the president being born in Kenya.

Back when there was no social media, in the glory days of Internet 1.0, you had all of cable news debating whether Bill Clinton and Hillary murdered Vince Foster and HEY WE’RE JUST RAISING QUESTIONS, so yeah, it’s Snapchat that’s the problem here.

But don’t forget, BOTH SIDES:

The underlying message is clear. As Mounk has argued, the populist wave is still rising. The younger generations are more radical, on left and right. The rising political tendencies combine lavish spending from the left with racially charged immigrant restrictions from the right.

“Lavish spending” aka teaching children to read and curing diseases, versus banning all Muslim immigrants and deporting people who’ve lived here for 60 of their 61 years on this earth, those are the same! Polarization! Millennials! It’s dumbfuck bingo!

This is among the laziest of Brooks’s outings recently. If you want an equal opposite of Trump’s Muslim ban you need to make the case that liberals want completely open borders, and cherrypick some Reddit anarchists to support that contention. Fully funding the operations of public schools is not the example you go with.

I don’t see how he can lament the death of democracy when he’s so fucking confused to begin with about what it even is.



That Michael Lewis piece starts badly and gets worse: 

Back when he was president, Barack Obama told me that only two people treated any interaction with him as a zero-sum game. One was Vladimir Putin, the other congressional Republicans. Both behaved as if there was no such thing as a win-win situation: Any gain for Obama was a loss for them, and any gain for them must also entail a loss for Obama. The moment that the Russian president or congressional Republicans saw he wanted something, they went to work trying to keep him from getting it — even if it was something they might otherwise have approved of.

Approaching any aspect of life as a zero-sum game has obvious practical costs: Deals that leave some people better off without making anyone else worse off suddenly don’t get done, because making some people better off now, by definition, makes other people worse off. It also comes with some psychological side effects. It cripples your imagination. It blinds and deafens you, as you sort of know what your adversary is going to do or say before they do or say it. Or, rather, you know how you are going to make sense of it: uncharitably.

The zero-sum approach in politics has since spread, as it tends to do wherever it takes hold. It has infected congressional Democrats and parts of the news media, and is seeping into everyday political discourse.

Really? WHERE? HOW has it affected Congressional Democrats similarly? How has it just crept in and taken over their minds, like poison gas in a vent? SHOW ME, motherfucker, how both sides are the same.

I know it’s fashionable to pretend that everybody bears some blame for the currently gridlocked Congress, but until you can give me an example of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi passing legislation just to fuck with Republicans, sponsoring bills like the We Have No National Language Act and the Actually Let’s Expand Medicaid Nationwide Act and the Rename All the Reagan Buildings After McGovern act, you won’t convince me Congressional Ds are on the zero-sum train.

I mean, they have no power. None. They haven’t had any really since the 2010 midterms and they sure as hell have even less now. So how have they been “infected” by this mindset? Show your work or don’t show up at all.

I see no sign that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi want to protect Dreamers just to piss Paul Ryan off, or preserve Obamacare because it makes McConnell squirm. Congressional Dems did not block Trump’s Supreme Court nominee simply because they could, meanwhile Merrick Garland of noble name is sitting on a couch someplace. Shit, Congressional Dems confirmed far more of Trump’s nominees than their base is really comfortable with so if there’s a zero sum game it’s not between Dems and Republicans, it’s between Dems and their own fucking voters.

They are occasionally corrupt and often deeply stupid but they do actually have policy goals involving helping people, which is more than I can say for their opposition, which shut down the government rather than confront the operational reality of immigration.

This is a throwaway paragraph, the kind of nut graf boilerplate you put into a story to kind of paint the walls blue so everyone knows they’re looking at the sky, and that’s exactly why it’s so damaging. The lazy shorthand is all anybody hears and so all anybody hears is that both sides are at fault. They’ve been infected. It’s seeped into them.


Oh, NOW It’s Trump’s Party

This is an honest-to-tits headline in the Washington Post, labeled “analysis.”

This is the week that the GOP truly became the party of Trump

Silly me. I thought a party became someone’s party when it NOMINATES HIM AND ELECTS HIM PRESIDENT.

I guess Republicans got a pass for 12 months to figure their shit out.

This was the week when the Republican Party finally went all in with President Trump. What once seemed unlikely is now reality. The Republican establishment — there are a few dissenting voices, of course — has succumbed to the power of the presidency, and this president in particular.

Let me ask this, at the end of this first paragraph. What precisely was the Republican “establishment” (meaning who, but let’s do that later) doing prior to This Magical Week? I mean, all they were doing was voting in lockstep with everything Trump wanted. Was that somehow not succumbing to the power of the presidency?

For shit’s sake, this Congress approved Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and girlfriend is — let’s put this nicely, I’m sure she’s lovely — a pretty hideous dumbass. If that wasn’t succumbing to the power of the presidency …

There was the enthusiasm Republicans in the House chamber displayed when Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday. There was the all-in-the-family chitchat when a conversational and relaxed Trump spoke at the Republican retreat in West Virginia on Thursday.


Dating back to the 2016 campaign, Trump presided over a divided, even hostile, Republican establishment. Ryan’s awkward relationship with Trump during the presidential campaign came to symbolize the plight of a party captured in a hostile takeover by a candidate operating outside the boundaries.

Ryan did not have an “awkward” relationship with Trump. Ryan had an opportunistic relationship with Trump that has largely benefitted Ryan and the donors he courts.

The party did not have a “plight.” They had a choice. They made one. Trump spent his entire primary campaign shit-talking the other GOP nominees. It was the only pleasant thing about his campaign. He clowned on them nonstop. Self-interest is not some kind of moral quandry.

This is well-compensated, widely read political analysis without which we are told Democracy Dies in Darkness and the author does not seem to understand that his job is to see through the bullshit maneuvering, not describe it like it’s the weather.

For those in the leadership, there seemed to be no good place to land.

On the side of America, one imagines, was a pretty solid spot, but the party picked the intersection of fascist and Juggalo and hasn’t moved an inch.

The turnaround in the relationship came from two directions.

The first was pressure from the outside. Party leaders began to recognize that rank-and-file Republicans wanted the GOP to be the party of Trump rather than for leaders to keep their distance from the president.

Since 1968 this has been true. Sixty-five million people tried to warn you.

The other major turning point came from the inside, with the passage of the tax cut in late December. Finally, the president had a big legislative achievement, thanks to congressional Republicans. The victory party Trump staged at the White House became an extravagant love fest. The president heaped praise on all the members of Congress who engineered the bill’s passage. In turn, they lavishly praised the beaming president.

So they’re a bunch of transactional pricks with no values beyond enriching themselves. That’s what you’re telling us? You’re gonna get to that soon, right?

The Nunes memo moves the relationship to a different place. Its release puts much of the Republican leadership fully behind the president in his efforts to discredit the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and possibly remove more officials at the top of the FBI.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE THEY’RE MOTIVATED BY SOMETHING OTHER THAN HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND RESPECT FOR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. I mean oh, my God, this is a party that impeached Bill Clinton over an employee beejer, a party that smeared the legacy and lives of multiple war heroes, a party that fully embraced stealing a Supreme Court seat from a sitting president because that president was black. A party that enshrined a culture of lawless surveillance and illegal war that will be handed down to every executive from George W. Bush until the end of fucking time.

And we’re just now noting that they’re kind of not in favor of the whole “check and balance” thing?

The fact that the memo’s release came with the imprimatur of the House speaker and many other leading Republicans only adds weight to what has become a Trump-led effort to muddy the eventual conclusions of the investigation. With public opinion among Republicans likely to follow, Mueller’s goal to deliver a report that will be seen as legitimate has become materially more difficult.

Mueller’s goal is not to deliver a report that is seen as legitimate. Mueller’s goal is to follow the law. If the report is not “seen as” legitimate, that has absolutely no bearing on anything but that the GOP is a death cult bent on disavowing anything that makes them feel icky no matter how real it is. Mueller, I’m sure, thanks God every night his job is just to jail lawbreakers and not to convince Republicans of reality.

Now, a political “analyst” might want to take a different position.

Still, GOP dissenters remain among a distinct minority, largely the handful of Republican elected officials who long ago broke from the president, along with the “Never Trump” cadre loyal to the old GOP but estranged from the party of Trump.

For the Republican Party, this has been an extraordinary transformation in a remarkably short time.

Or nah.




Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the New York Times that the social network will revamp its news feed to emphasize “meaningful interaction” between friends and family. As a result, the news feed will significantly decrease the number of posts you’ll see from news outlets such as Motherboard.


This move has been long-rumored, and has been looked at by many in the industry as an incoming algorithmic apocalypse that will have far-reaching impacts on the bottom lines and ultimate survival of outlets whose readers find them through Facebook.

Which wouldn’t have been the case if they had FUCKING LISTENED to everybody saying this was temporary, this was crap, but no. We all had to drop everything and pray to the Great Zuckerberg and master his optimizations and study his algorithm and tailor our work to suit his platform, so that he could just yank it out from under us which is what HAPPENS when you rely on something that isn’t yours.

I mean Jesus H. Blue Ribbon Christ. Some third party company whose only interest is making money is not ever gonna save you. They might pay you for a little while, and not much, but they’re interested in their own thing, not yours. They were never gonna do your jobs for you. They were never gonna act out of the goodness of their hearts and be what you needed which was a goddamn reason to exist.

The only thing that has ever worked for journalism is journalism. That’s it.

A GOOD question to ask as a result of all this would be why people preferred to read news on a platform that wasn’t yours. Maybe it was because Facebook for a long time didn’t have a hundred pop-up ads EVEN IF YOU SUBSCRIBED or auto-play video or a funnel to feed your content into and extrude it all over what should be the calm experience of reading the news about a world that is on fire. It would be a good thing to find out what your customers wanted out of Facebook that you didn’t give them.

That’s if you were actually concerned about them, though. Maybe you could pivot to that.


Headline Of The Day: The Power of the Butt

I’ve been feuding with the Times-Picayune/ since the great purge of 2012. I doubt that they’ve noticed but I’ve enjoyed deriding them as the Zombie-Picayune since they “moved their focus to digital” and began “robustly” firing people left and right.

This year there was a Christmas miracle as the Zombie-Picayune published a front page that I can get behind:

That’s right, Saints Cornerback Marshon Lattimore intercepted a pass thrown by Matt Ryan of the hated Falcons with his butt. It’s been described as a “butterception” and a “butt pick” among other things. The consensus has settled on butt pick, which the former Ohio State Buckeye doesn’t like but the internet hath spoken and butt pick it is.

The butt pick helped clinch (clench?) the Saints win over the Dirty Birds. The team has snapped three years of monotonous mediocrity, and looks like a “contender and not a bum.” I like to work in an On The Waterfront reference wherever possible. I’m not sure if “Jesus (Breesus?) is on the docks,” but New Orleanians are hoping for another Super Bowl appearance. Who am I kidding? We want to win it all, y’all.

The great butt pick of 2017 reminded me of a classic Dana Carvey bit on SNL:

That’s Carvey as the late, great George Michael who went on and on about his awesome ass and the power of the butt.

The last word goes to my late countryman George Michael and the video that inspired Carvey’s bootylicious reverie:

Fake News Happens Because of YOU, Kids!

Learn to diagram sentences properly because SLJKFL’SKJDFDL;KFSJARGLEBLARGE: 

The ancestral lineage of fake news is easy to trace. It winds back through the birther movement and Benghazi, as a tool for weakening political opponents. It filtered through Sarah Palin, who never said she could see Russia from her house, and Al Gore, who never said he invented the internet — myths that hardened into seeming truths due to repeated retelling. It has silly origins, as networks begged us to believe that reality TV was real. It had sinister origins, as W. begged us to believe that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq.

Okay, so at least we’re admitting this predates Trump and Russia, and that someone profits from political division. Don’t love the “both sides” business, but Sarah did get a raw deal on that one considering how much stupid shit she ACTUALLY said.

We are at this point in the column the optimist who jumped off a building. So far, so good.

Yet the origin of fake news, as it applies to modern times, is not important. What’s important is the acceptance of fake news. How did we go from a nation of skeptics to a nation of carp, blindly slurping up every bit of rot that wafted to the bottom of the lagoon?

There might be no better place to start searching for answers than in the English classrooms of our public schools, which in the latter half of the 20th century bought into the idea of descriptive linguistics, or the notion that rules were overrated.

There’s the crash.

Let’s not talk about Rupert Murdoch’s money or the benefits to the wealthy that result. Let’s talk about what public school kids learn in English class!

Language evolves, the thinking went, so instead of fighting it, why not roll with it?

This gave teachers permission, of sorts, to avoid the hard work of beating proper English into the skulls of balky kids.

Diagramming sentences became passé, and the finer points of the language were lost as students were basically allowed to make it up as they went along.

I’m … not sure you can go from the passing of the diagrammed sentence in public school to W’s weapons of mass destruction bullshit, given that W and almost every TV personality who reported on him in any significant way was a private school kid.

In some ways I understand where this dude is going but knowledge of dangling modifiers and incorrectly placed prepositions can’t replace a finely tuned bullshit detector.

Yet in English classes, the resulting lack of intellectual discipline and critical thinking has startling similarities to the sloppy thought that has elevated fake news from a strategic political endeavor to a big-box store of wholesale lunacy. “Efforting” might not be a real word, but it doesn’t matter because everyone will know what it means; Hillary might not have actually had a disloyal campaign aide killed, but it doesn’t matter because everyone knows that’s the way the Clintons operate.

Oh for God’s sake. These aren’t abstractions. People don’t believe “fake news” because language is evolving. They believe “fake news” because regressive segregationist propaganda tools harnessed the recognizable language and conventions of objective journalism in order to turn the electorate against Democrats and moderate Republicans, whip up fears about black crime and immigration, and aim reasonable concerns about violence — that would otherwise be directed at the NRA — at the owner of your neighborhood falafel stand.

The real mystery isn’t why people believe fake news. It’s why we reserve our greatest contempt for the buyers of bullshit and not the sellers. Your dumb second cousin Pete thinks Hillary invented AIDS and that’s not okay for Pete, but when we’re done critiquing Pete’s grammar can we maybe talk about who got paid to make Pete believe what he believes?

Those English teachers who come under so much criticism here? They’re teaching to GOP-mandated tests and filling out assessment forms while their budgets are being slashed and they’re buying their own paper and fundraising for chairs and the next town over just shot down a tax increase of half a percent to pay for heating the building because a charter-funded ad campaign told them teaching kids to read shouldn’t cost more than a large Diet Coke at McDonald’s.

Why don’t you diagram that.

Via Forward Falcon.


‘Hastening its decline would be a mistake’

Too late: 

Those still putting digital advertising ahead of paid digital subscriptions are in danger of extinction. The smartest ones will continue to manage down the print business so as to optimize the profitability it can contribute until it is no longer profitable. Hastening its decline would be a mistake.

I was thinking about brand identity and brand loyalty the other day apropos of absolutely nothing but the ongoing demand to make the newspaper something other than a paper full of news. Make a series of micr0-sites! Publish directly to Facebook! Pivot to video! Pivot to longform! Put everything online! Put nothing online! Spin around in circles until you’re dizzy and hold your breath until you’re blue, but make damn sure you’re on top of the latest trends at all times so that people have no idea who you are or what you stand for!


The problem with our current Media Business Model Conversation is not that nobody knows the answer. Ten years ago nobody knew the answer and that was okay. Now the problem is that everybody knows the answer and everybody’s wrong if their answer involves pivoting to anything other than journalism.

Corporations can only dream of the kind of brand loyalty news organizations have pissed away over the past 15 years as they chased quarterly returns and cut to achieve them. Rebuilding that takes investment in journalism but more than that, it takes time. These organizations have been in communities for decades, in some cases centuries, so we have to think in those terms for our investment.

We’ve had 15 years of experimentation with various stupid “trends” invented by a class of consultants making salaries the likes of which journalists could only dream, and they’ve gotten nowhere. They haven’t even made the quarterly returns better.

We should put a couple hundred years into doing journalism. That got us somewhere.


Saturday Odds& Sods: Blues Before and After

Lucky Dare-Devils by Reginald Marsh.

I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster all week.  I was on top of the world, ma, with Doug Jones’ win and then on the bottom with Pat DiNizio’s passing. I prefer to be somewhere between those two extremes: it’s exhausting y’all.

They shot a Dixie Beer commercial in my neighborhood yesterday. I hate film crews. There’s always some officious twerp with a clipboard yelling at people. I had to deal with clipboard guys in my past life as a Jackson Square business owner. I learned that if you gave them an inch they’d take a country mile even if you were in the city.

One time a clipboard guy wanted to plug into my shop electricity.  No way: the wiring in the Upper Pontalba was dodgy and one could blow a fuse merely by plugging a space heater in the wrong outlet. When in doubt, demand compensation. That usually runs them off but on one memorable occasion they bribed me. It’s the Louisiana way, y’all.

FYI, Dixie Beer was purchased recently by local plutocrats/Saints owners/GOP donors Tom and Gayle Benson. Every time old Tom farts, the local media wets itself. I yawn in disinterest myself although the family fight over his empire was quite entertaining.

We’re staying in New Jersey this week with our featured image and theme song. The featured image is a painting by Reginald Marsh who grew up in Jersey and the theme song comes from the Smithereens. Anyone shocked by the latter? I thought not.

I hope that y’all don’t get the blues before and after the break because it’s time to jump. Skip the Dixie Beer: it’s swill.

Continue reading

They’re Always Gonna Hate You. That’s Not Gonna Change.

Stop thinking these people are persuadable, interested in your process, or possessed of any good will of any kind at all:

You can do that. Sure. It’s pointless, but so is everything else. God almighty.

I know in the minds of the tote-bag audience there is a massive vast unwashed group of people out there who are “on the fence” about whether the president and his sycophantic cult members are correct that journalists should die quickly, and these types of transparency audits would really persuade those persuadable people and get them to become informed and vote in their own interests and value democracy and American values. I think that is the biggest pile of horseshit I have ever seen and you can dig in it if you want but I’m done looking for the pony here.

Just stop wasting time. We can have a thousand ethics panels. We can have daily seminars on How Journalism Really Works. We can be Totally Transparent and Completely Honest and Prostrate Ourselves Before the People, and you know what’s going to happen?

A bunch of Pepe-wearing Nazi sympathizers are going to show up at our doors in “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.” t-shirts and demand our swift demise in the ovens of Auschwitz because THAT’S WHAT THEY FUCKING DO. It is all they do. It is all they want to do. It’s not based on a lack of transparency and it’s not based on a lack of understanding and it’s not based on anything we do anymore than the actions of a schoolyard bully are on the attributes of his victims.

That’s been the Republican Party since at least 2004. Since 2001, really, when the party wasn’t openly yelling about “dune coons” but found ways to get right with the votes of those who did. Since the rise of CPAC as the anointing ground of True Conservatives, they’ve been hating on “the media.” Since Fox News reared its rabid head and started telling everybody that Fox and only Fox was “far and balanced” they’ve been wondering out loud if maybe they really ARE liberally biased and very, very, very bad boys and girls.

Since then, a thousand ethics conferences. A thousand sincere attempts at outreach. A thousand thousand mea culpas and conservative hires and columns about how maybe it’s all really our own fault they’re hitting us. Fifteen embarrassing fucking years of knuckling under to the viewpoints of dishonest chucklenuts screaming about secret liberal agendas. The triumphs of Bernie Goldberg and Ann Coulter, of James O’Keefe and Bill O’Reilly, and where are we now?


During the campaign, he did it from the podium. He put reporters in a cage and encouraged his followers to shout obscenities, and he got elected, and those reporters gave him the benefit of the doubt, and yesterday he sent his millions of followers after Dave Weigel, for making a simple mistake.

That’s where we are, after all that lying down and staying still and being quiet. After all that acquiescence. After all that being good. They’re still hitting us, and you think the lesson we should learn is to be NICER? In 2017, with Donald Fucking Trump as president, with friends of mine who can’t Google their own names because of what he and his people have done, you think the lesson here is that we need to act right?

I will keep saying this until I am dead: Do not give an inch to people who hate you. Do not give a single inch. Do not take a single step back. Do not let them in. Do not let them pass. Do not change a single thing you are doing to mollify the bully. The bully doesn’t want you to change. The bully doesn’t care what you do. Give him your lunch money Monday through Friday and he’ll kneecap you Saturday for your carnival tickets.

Those of us who back in the day tried to warn media bosses that nothing good would come of paying people to opine in the editorial section that the entire paper should be set on fire so Real Americans can dance around the flames? Lots of us are unemployed now and a few of us are dead and it’s a matter of time until somebody’s murdered and I’m not scared of anyone telling me I’m being hysterical because that’s what you said in 2005, and Donald Trump is president. The balls on all of you, to be astonished now, to be shocked. To still equivocate after all you’ve seen. Fuck you.

It’s sickening, the weakness that people behind the press continue to display. It’s reprehensible. It’s irresponsible. And worse than that, it’s ineffective.

The people who most need to be educated and would benefit from that transparency will instead be listening to some blow-dried Fox-lite anchor asking if the news today is fake, really fake or totally fake and by the way here’s the FUCKING TWITTER HANDLE OF SOMEONE FOR ALL TEN MILLION OF YOU TO GO YELL AT.


The Economics of Matt Lauer and Others Like Him

Matt Lauer was everything that was fucked up and bullshit about journalism, and that was before we knew he was a criminal and a disgusting sex pervert.

He was fucked up and bullshit because for what he made, you could run a newspaper in a decent-sized city for ten years. For what he made interviewing the same six celebrities everybody else was interviewing so that America’s mom-bies knew what to talk about at playdates, you could have paid for any number of journalistic enterprises. And by that I mean papers. Magazines. Metro desks. You could have paid for them all.

Read this entire thread:

Matt Lauer was everything that was fucked up and bullshit about journalism because he did that thing that really only famous men are allowed to do, which is to float back and forth between being a talk-show-host celebrity bullshitter and being a serious journalist. I don’t love Katie Couric, okay, but when she wanted to hold down an anchor desk everybody laughed themselves sick. Yet Matt Lauer, who did her same job except worse, got to ask presidential candidates questions like he was some kind of authority and everybody had to bow down.

Like a guy who gets owned by Anne Hathaway should be given the keys to that particular vehicle. Like that’s a thing we should do.

Matt Lauer was everything that was fucked up and bullshit about journalism because he got owned by a 90-pound actress but NBC paid him like he was somehow essential to society. Like, democracy dies in darkness but here, this anthropomorphized circumcision of a human is our highest offering to the gods of the presses.

He got good ratings. People liked him, so NBC did what they had to do to keep him around, and somewhere along the way he started acting like he deserved to be liked instead of lucking into it. People like what they’re used to, so I guess you’d want to shell out to keep people comfortable with a show they’ve come to like.

But what I also know is that people can get comfortable with anything if it’s around long enough, and the way I know that is that we replaced Regis & Kathie Lee some time ago with a couple of other people and the Republic did not fall. It stands to reason, thereby, that at any point when Matt Lauer’s money or his antics became unsustainable he could be jettisoned for the next guy.

That he wasn’t, proves Matt Lauer was everything that was fucked up and bullshit about journalism. And as glad as I am that we are rid of him, there are a dozen others just like him, making his money, whose salaries should all be given to weekend photogs and whoever’s working night cops at the smallest paper in the market, because those people on their laziest days are working harder than Lauer ever did exposing himself to his interns.


Facebook & Twitter Did Not Elect Trump. Fox News Did.

I’ve written before about the decline of local news and how it led to Trump. I’m always yelling on the Twitter machine about how if social media disappeared tomorrow we’d still have Republicans all over the TV so if we can have some hearings about that, it would be great.

A couple of links for further reading. First, this:

That year, Sinclair created a national news desk to produce segments for stations’ local newscasts, and in 2003 it followed up with a Washington bureau. Sinclair’s political leanings gained more widespread attention in 2004 when Ted Koppel planned to spend an episode of Nightline reading the names of soldiers killed in Iraq. Sinclair ordered its ABC affiliates not to run the show, saying it was “motivated by a political agenda.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Sinclair’s move “unpatriotic.” During that year’s presidential campaign, Sinclair sparked a national uproar when it planned to air Stolen Honor, a controversial documentary widely seen as a hit piece on then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic nominee. Amid the backlash, Mark Hyman compared news networks that refused to report Stolen Honor‘s allegations about Kerry’s anti-Vietnam War activism to Holocaust deniers. After Sinclair’s DC bureau chief described the documentary to a Baltimore Sun reporter as “biased political propaganda with clear intentions to sway this election,” the company fired him and sued him for breach of contract.

And this:

I’m not discounting the fact of Russian meddling in Facebook and Twitter and the influence Reddit played in boosting the signals of inbred MAGA dipshits who wanted an excuse for why women wouldn’t service them. But Fox is omnipresent in ways the Internet still is not for the demographics that reliably vote Republican. Walk into any car dealership, any podiatrist’s office, hell any airport, and there’s a better than average chance Fox is what’s on. I had to yell at my doctor’s office to turn that shit off and I live in the People’s Republic.

Local news, which takes its cues from Fox and the like, tends to trivialize any “politics” in favor of stories about the conveniences of the upper middle class. You want an example? Last Friday, my local Fox affiliate ran a story about protests on Black Friday that focused on drawing attention to police brutality against black people. The protests focused on that, I mean. The story focused on shit like this:

At Boycott Black Friday demo in Chicago, two from Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party told me Russia lost “true communism” after death of Joseph Stalin. He’s their hero, not a brutal mass murderer of millions. They called Nikita Krushchev’s famous 1956 speech about Stalin’s monstrous crimes “lies.” GULAG? Berlin Wall? Fuggetaboudit!

The entire tone of the piece (which isn’t online, natch, because why would you make your news site useful) was that these protests for black lives are dumb and over compared to suburban mommies buying overpriced dolls, and I mean tone in everything from the reporter’s voice to the word choice. “Yeah, there were protests, but whatevs, they’re not gonna change anything, they didn’t draw any huge crowds so they’re wrong, they just got in the way of shopping and were loud. Hee hee, commies.”

I seriously doubt these idiot kids were involved in Stalin’s purges. These dumb poseur-communists and the protesters marching right next to them have killed exactly nobody in the past year, in stark contrast to the Chicago Police Department, but sure, let’s spend some of our limited time on this planet making fun of them.

This, by the way, is the station’s “political editor.” A bazillion more people saw this broadcast than follow Trump’s tweets and what they saw was that black people protesting are worthy of ridicule and aren’t as important as the Disney Store.

Do you see where I’m going here? You don’t have to log on to Facebook to find this shit. Forget TV, even, since we’re talking about people who aren’t online: Talk radio, which has spent 30 YEARS calling all Democrats baby-killers who want to let black men rape all the white women, is omnipresent in the Midwest. Right now this shitbird is on a redemption tour but he was the main reason Republicans like Scott Walker — Trump with slightly better table manners — and his legislative cronies got elected in Wisconsin. His entire schtick was basically LOLOLOL LIBERALS R FAGS, sucking up to the right wing of the Roman Catholic church, and hating on food stamps.

Radio listeners across the Republican base of white-flight suburbia heard him. Tens of thousands of them. Far beyond the reach of any bot-driven MAGA shut-in re-tweeting Trump’s rage.

This is leaving out so many other things that reinforce the status-quo narrative, including broadcasts of religious leaders who are neither, profiles of FUCKING NAZIS because we have learned nothing since Charlottesville, celebrity coverage that lionizes inoffensive white girls who don’t speak up about being groped by man-pigs, and on and on and on.

We have to solve the media disparity before anything changes, and that doesn’t just mean hauling Snapchat in front of HUAC to find out if they have any rubles in their pockets. It is worse than pointless to bitch out Zuckerberg and leave out Rupert Murdoch and creatures like Limbaugh and his lesser acolytes. It is counter-productive.


ps. Want to help sustain liberal voices? Donate to First Draft’s fundraising drive here.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Let The Night Fall

Early Sunday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s hard to write a full-blown Odds & Sods post during a holiday week so I’m not going to try. I did, however, write about the late New Orleans election and overshare about my past this week so there’s that.

It’s been chilly in these parts lately. I even broke down and turned on the central heat. For some reason, the vents weren’t as dusty as in past years, which means the air inside the house wasn’t as smoky as usual. In the past, I was worried that the original Smokey Bear would show up and harsh my buzz.

I got a free ticket for last Sunday’s Saints home game. One of Dr. A’s favorite colleagues has had end zone seats since Bum Phillips was head coach. The seats are in the first row and the view is spectacular when they’re coming at you. It was a crazy game with an insane comeback leading to victory in OT. I’m taking credit for the win: the Saints are 4-0 when I sit in Section 101. We also got to see this up close and personal:

I associate the music of the Band with Thanksgiving so this week’s theme song comes from Islands, the final studio album recorded by the Robertson-Helm-Danko-Manuel-Hudson lineup. Let The Night Fall is a sleeper in the Band’s catalog with a beautiful lead vocal by Richard Manuel and stirring harmonies by the rest of the group.

I’m aware that the featured image is a morning scene and doesn’t match the theme song. Since when was I a matchy-matchy guy? I did, however, like the original version of The Match Game. Alec Baldwin is no Gene Rayburn, natch.

I have a few more things to share. The first involves the death of Charlie Manson.

Tweet Of The Week: George Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand won NOLA twitter the other day:

Tabloid Headlines Of The Week: The two daily tabloids in New York City usually have wildly different viewpoints. The Daily News leans left and the Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Say no more. This week the two papers came together in an expression of disgust after the Insult Comedian re-endorsed Judge Pervert:

Saturday GIF Horse: Who among us will ever forget the WKRP turkey drop?

Now that we’ve seen Mr. Carlson melt down, it’s time to finish up with some holiday music, Adrastos style.

Saturday Classic: Stage Fright was regarded as a disappointment upon its 1970 release. Those people must have smoked some really strong weed because it’s a wicked awesome album featuring some of the Band’s finest songs.

That’s all for this week. I thought I should recycle last week’s bat meme, which is one of my all-time faves. Tony, Phil, and Mike say toodle-pip:

Judge Pervert’s Ten Commandments Of Love

Athenae wrote a brilliant piece yesterday about the moral, ethical, and personal aspects of the latest Roy Moore scandal. She nailed it completely so I’m going to focus on the political, legal, and semantic aspects of this shitstorm.

I’m going to try something different and do it in a way the defrocked (derobed?) judge might appreciate if it weren’t aimed at him. Moore came to national attention by placing the Ten Commandments monument seen above at the Alabama Supreme Court. He’s obsessed with the Ten Commandments even if he violates many of them, so I came up with Judge Pervert’s Ten Commandments of Love. I know I should put quotes around the word love but I don’t want to come off all air quotey like an Alabama sorority girl: they’re too old for Ole Roy, after all. Besides, love has nothing to do with Roy Moore aka Judge Pervert.

FIRST COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt vote for Doug Jones.

The easiest way to keep Judge Pervert out of the Senate is for Alabamians to vote for his Democratic opponent. Jones is a distinguished lawyer and seems to be squeaky clean. Judge Pervert is neither. Unfortunately, many white Alabamians think voting for a Democrat is akin to supporting a member of the Satanic-Communist party.

Suburban voters should think twice before sending this embarrassment on two legs to represent them in the Senate. It’s a special election: the seat is up again in 2020.

Moore is still the favorite as of now but Doug Jones has a fighting chance,

The next commandment is directed at Senate Republicans if the pervert wins.

SECOND COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt not let Judge Pervert keep his seat.

Seating a Senator is a pro forma act and a past supreme court case involving Adam Clayton Powell established that Congress must seat even corrupt members. BUT there is no provision or precedent barring the Senate from expelling an odious solon. I direct you to an excellent op-ed in the failing NYT by a law professor at the University of Alabama.

Senate Democrats should do whatever they can to force a vote on expelling Judge Pervert. It would likely lose BUT it puts GOPers on the record on the Moore issue. Imagine the attack ads: “They voted to seat a pervert. Whatever happened to the party of family values?” Politically, it’s a win-win situation.

THIRD COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that Roy Moore was unfit for office *before* the WaPo sexpose.

Roy Moore is a judge who was defrocked for defying SCOTUS. He led an effort to preserve a pro-school segregation clause in the Alabama state constitution. Moore’s rap sheet on important issues is so extensive that I’m not going into details. Suffice it to say that he’s to the right of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. He’s an extremist, not a conservative.

FOURTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that Alabama is a corrupt, one party state.

Alabama Republicans are divided on Roy Moore who is financially, as well as morally, corrupt. The peckerwoods and wool hats are supporting their fellow asshole extremist. Business GOPers are queasy over his candidacy but they supported Luther Strange who was up to his eyeballs in the weird sex scandal involving former Governor Bob Bentley. One party states breed corruption and produce unfit politicians.

FIFTH COMMANDMENT:  Thou shalt honor and believe the victims of perverts, rapists, and sexual harassers.

Our society is programmed to look away from allegations of gross sexual misconduct, especially when the accused is an authority figure. Clarence Thomas is a Supreme despite Anita Hill’s compelling testimony against him. BUT the timing for Roy Moore couldn’t be worse. It comes on the heels of the exposure of so many powerful men as pervy assholes. It will be interesting to see if Moore survives it like Trump or is somehow recast like Kevin Spacey. I doubt if Christopher Plummer would be willing to play Judge Pervert.

I originally planned to go all Slate contrarian on the use of the term pedophile to describe Roy Moore. The word’s clinical definition involves an attraction to pre-pubescent children, which is not Roy Moore’s thing. BUT the correct clinical term for an attraction to mid to late adolescents is ephebophilia. It’s a mouthful and on the unpronounceable side, so I’m not going to be a semantic pedant in this instance. The word pedophile is clear and pronounceable so have at it. Judge Pervert deserves no mercy, semantic or otherwise.

SIXTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt be prepared for more shoes to drop.

A former colleague of Judge Pervert had this to say yesterday on CNN:

“It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird,” former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall … but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that.”

Holy Ephebophilia, Batman.

SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt remember that the publicly pious tend to be hypocrites.

Judge Pervert is the biblebanger’s biblebanger. He’s forever moralizing and sermonizing. Never trust a sanctimonious evangelical. They all have dark secrets and plans for their public redemption. Biblethumpers are big on forgiving those who agree with them. They love repentant sinners as long as they’re against abortion and gay marriage.

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt heed the words of Doctor/Governor Dean:

Praise be unto the former party chairman who tweeteth the truth. Moore is already running against the Bezos/Amazon/Washington Post.

Hell, they’d think people from New Orleans were carpetbaggers let alone people from the North. They need scalawags who speak their own language, y’all.

NINTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt separate Sean Hannity from his advertisers.

Judge Pervert turned to the Fox News meathead in his time of woe. Hannity seems to have coached him to say the expedient thing and deny that he was interested in  teenyboppers. This has increased the pressure on Hannity’s advertisers. It’s fun to watch the Fox News meathead squirm. Squirm, Sean, squirm.

TENTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt give the last word to the pop song that inspired the post title.

There are some swell versions out there. Here are three of them. I suspect Roy Moore thinks this song is blasphemous. Fuck you, Roy.



The News Business Was Always Run By Rotten Bastards

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst walk into a bar.

In hell, of course. What kind of story do you think this is?

Pulitzer and Hearst walk into a bar in hell and order the finest whiskey they have, and proceed to get gloriously, exuberantly, luxuriously shitfaced. Like, undergraduate drunk, the kind of drunk where you not only make out with a co-worker but declare your undying love.

Stumbling back to the cave where they dwell together in torment, they pass a pay phone and, giggling, ask the operator to ring up Joe Ricketts. They leave him a one-word voicemail:



It is worth being clear about exactly what happened here, so that no one gets too smug. DNAinfo was never profitable, but Mr. Ricketts was happy to invest in it for eight years, praising its work all along. Gothamist, on the other hand, was profitable, and a fairly recent addition to the company. One week after the New York team unionized, Mr. Ricketts shut it all down. He did not try to sell the company to someone else. Instead of bargaining with 27 unionized employees in New York City, he chose to lay off 115 people across America. And, as a final thumb in the eye, he initially pulled the entire site’s archives down (they are now back up), so his newly unemployed workers lost access to their published work. Then, presumably, he went to bed in his $29 million apartment.

News of the shutdowns spread across Chicago Twitter, where Chicagoist and DNAinfo are beloved, in part because they covered urban communities and stories often overlooked by downtown/TV media focused on the suburbs. And we all read a lot of this:

Which approaches, but doesn’t explicitly state, a structural problem. For years we’ve been hearing about how journalism needs a new revenue stream. It doesn’t need a new revenue stream, it needs a whole new ecosystem.

You all reading here know that subscriptions have never paid for news. And back when ads paid for media companies, that money rarely, if ever, made it to the city desk, even before the dastardly internet came along.

Smug business analysts like to chide journalists for not understanding how to run a business, but you tell this clueless journalist something: If you enjoy double-digit profit margins and times of plenty the likes of which even Wal-Mart can only dream, why would you not bank some of that cash in case (I know this is far-fetched) the good times don’t last forever?

Okay, you’re not in the money-warehousing business. Why would you not invest it in marketing your product, expanding and then solidifying your distribution network, shoring up your customer base, rewarding brand loyalty?

(I’m not even bothering to suggest you reward your employees. That’s just crazytalk.)

Why would you, instead and in order: blow all the money you’re not actively stealing on multiple levels of corporate functionaries doing “branding studies,” invest your profits in things that have nothing to do with your core business, weaken your product with acquisitions and load your company up with debt? Why would you make your product worse and shit on customers who object?

All the subscription money in the world, all the new revenue streams in the world, don’t matter if the money goes into the same contaminated sewage plant.

You give a guy like Joe Ricketts a profitable enterprise, he will find a way to fuck it up.You give a guy like Joe Ricketts an unprofitable enterprise that serves the public good, he will find a way to fuck it up. We’re letting the wrong people run this.

There are a lot of models out there that can work, subscription revenue or no. Nonprofit, employee ownership, co-ops, etc. These have existed for years before corporate owners got involved. There are people out there who keep saying they want democracy to live in the light instead of dying in darkness.

Time for them to put their money where their small-d democratic mouths are.


The Grossest Thing About Halperin

Will always be this: 

A team of journalism students will take a page from Halperin and offer analysis of his remarks on Twitter, as well as produce a streaming video feed that will allow people watching on the Web to ask Halperin questions.

Look, let me just stipulate up front that I am a dumb girl who makes dick jokes on the internet, and therefore am not the arbiter of What Is Journalism, especially since I often start sentences with conjunctions. But even I, a dumb girl who makes dick jokes on the internet, think that anyone who thinks Mark Halperin and his merry band of blithering asslicks offer any insight worth listening to is a deluded famefucker.

I am annoyed that he has been exposed as a gigantic pig who rubs his wiener on young girls who work with him, because if that’s the thing that takes him down it’s bad for journalism.

What should take him down is his conflation of being an “insider” and his “must-read status among political junkies” with journalism. We’re parading this guy, and Chris Cillizza, the creature, around like they’re Woodward and Bernstein just because they call themselves journalists and make a shitload of scratch. If Halperin and Heilemann had to cover cops in a middle-class suburb for just one week they’d go bugass crazy nuts by Tuesday afternoon at the latest. The first time the scanner blew up they’d pee themselves.

What they do is write a gossip column for ugly people, and that’s fine, I have nothing against that. Everybody needs a hobby. But we are running around in this industry with our hair on fire screaming about how nobody wants to pay for the news and consumers are in danger of becoming congenitally unable to discern truth from falsehood and there’s no money for anything, yet here comes this asshole. Getting paid millions to not only be a disgusting pig but to be dumb as all hell.

I mean Jesus H. Ranch Dressing Christ.

And if you read the press releases issued by journalism schools they are the fucking arbiters of the future. They’re the molders of young minds and the creators of the journalists of tomorrow, and so they encouraged their students to take a page from this guy’s fucking book, and … tweet.

Sometimes I wonder if this industry deserves to be saved.


Saturday Odds & Sods: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

We finally had a chilly day this week. New Orleanians tend to overdress when it cools off so there were many coats, sweaters, and scarves about town. This cold-ish snap is another example of how extreme the weather has been this year: the first cold weather doesn’t usually arrive until around Thanksgiving. I am opposed to turning on the central heat until November but dragged out the space heaters. It warmed up yesterday, but it’s going to be cold today. We’re back on the autumnal weather yo-yo. So it goes.

The big local story is the precipitous fall of celebrity chef John Besh. Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson spent 8 months investigating charges of sexual harassment in Besh’s empire. The story landed last weekend and Besh has resigned from his company and lost two casino based locations. I’d heard that he was a hound and a creep but hadn’t heard how systematic the problem was. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Besh since it followed the Weinstein revelations.  I am trying out a new word to describe the outing of sexual harassers: Beshed. It probably won’t catch on but if it does, you heard it here first.

Another big local news story popped up as I was Oddsing and Sodsing. It’s a flap involving  mayoral frontrunner LaToya Cantrell, her use of city credit cards, and the heavy-handed intervention of District Attorney Leon Cannizzarro who is supporting her opponent. So much for that campaign being dull. It’s New Orleans politics in all its seedy glory but I’m going to save it for the Bayou Brief. I’ll let y’all know when my column drops. I’m uncertain if it will be Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian. Corinthian leather?

Now that I’ve incited the wrath of Khan, let’s move on to this week’s theme song. It was composed by Charles Mingus in honor of his friend the great jazz sax player, Lester (Prez) Young.

Here are three versions for your enjoyment. First, Charlie’s original instrumental followed by Joni Mitchell who added lyrics for her Mingus album in 1979. Finally, a guitar driven version by Jeff Beck from his Wired album:

Now that we’ve tipped our pork pie hat to the great Lester Young, it’s time to say goodbye and jump to the break or something like that. Sometimes I even confuse myself.

Continue reading


Oh look, someone else with nothing at risk is doing less than nothing and getting all kinds of praise for it! 

Not pictured in CNN’s jerkoff session above: The 48 Democratic Senators who were never under the delusion that Trump was gonna be okay, the 65 million people who were right about him all along and VOTED FOR THE CHICK INSTEAD, or any one of the thousands of people who’d already been fucked over by this guy before he ran for president and tried to warn us.

But sure, let’s keep lionizing Republicans who “stand up to” Trump, as if saying mean things about a racist old asshole whose own staff hates him is something brave. You know what would have been brave, Corker? Standing up to the party when it nominated Trump in the first place. Standing up for your constituents when Trump intimated it was okay to deport them, ban them, grab them by the pussy. Standing up for the powerless back when you had power.

All these newly enconscienced Republicans who are so, so scared of Trump (for the cameras) should have stood up to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who seized all the executive power you’re now worried about Trump wielding. Trump has the unlimited capacity to direct the military, spy on Americans, drone-bomb civilians, and do just about anything else he wants without the interference of those pesky checks and balances because you all decided that yelling NATIONAL SECURITY TERRORISM 9/11 was the same as judicial oversight.

For what it’s worth, they might have contested Obama on these issues too, since he was terrible on them. But they were too busy screaming about health care and tax cuts and being a Seekirt Muslin, so spare me the swooning now about the great traditions of our democracy. You assholes slept on it til now. I’ll save my credit for those who were awake.


Stop Publishing Things You Don’t Believe In

I think, aside from the “both sides” fetish, this is my least favorite journalism Thing:

Every newspaper editorial page hauls this out when someone calls the paper out on publishing racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise utterly bullshit: Oh, we’re just contributing to the Great Marketplace of Ideas Where We Debate Everything Civilly. Leaving aside that bullshit isn’t an idea, I could almost let this go at a time before TV and the internet, back when newspaper editorial pages were, you know, the main places ideas were debated.

When it was either the Opinion Section of the Beaver County Tidbit or literally yelling on a street corner to the passing omnibuses, I could see the editors of the Tidbit feeling obligated to present as many views as possible. In the interests of traffic control if nothing else.

Now, though? When there are approximately 31 squillion places ideas get debated, and a medium for every message, and newspapers are struggling to differentiate themselves from every other information source?

Now this is just chickenass and lazy. We publish stuff we don’t agree with. Why? Like why do you?

Do you sincerely believe there’s some kind of enlightened debate happening? Because your own voicemails should have convinced you otherwise like 20 years ago. Do you think publishing one conservative wanker every other week will shield you from criticism in your reporting? Because again in things you should have learned in the past two decades: Nobody gives you points that you can redeem when you trip on your journalistic dick. That’s not how anything works.

Why publish stuff you have to disavow the second it comes out? Why not publish what you DO believe? Why not publish what you do agree with? What, the online frogboys will howl? They’re already doing that no matter how many tired contrarians you run. Do you think the Journalism Police will come take your Cracker Jack badge away if you don’t run One A Conservative and One A Liberal each week? You’re not under any legal obligation, nor any moral one either.

Publish what you think people should know. Publish what you think is important. Publish underrepresented voices, on understudied topics, and celebrate them instead of distancing yourself from your own content. Set an agenda with the limited pages that remain in your august publication, and make the editorial choices you make work for you instead of hoping they shield you from criticism. Put something out there you can be proud of. Quit apologizing.

Stop trying to not suck. Because it ain’t working.


Quote Of The Day: Movie Monsters Edition

I’m not talking about scary clowns, vampires, or reanimated monsters, I’m talking about monsters who make the movies.  One of the best things I’ve read about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, or as I call it Shitstorm Harvey, was written by Lindy West for the failing NYT:

It is unclear what possessed Woody Allen, of all people, to comment on the accusations of sexual predation against Harvey Weinstein, when he could have just not said anything, not expressed sympathy for an alleged serial rapist, not accused long-silenced women who said they were sexually assaulted of contributing to “a witch hunt atmosphere” and not felt compelled to issue a pouty follow-up statement in which he didn’t apologize but, in fact, reiterated how “sad” he feels for Weinstein because Weinstein is “sick.”

I’m kidding! It’s totally clear why Allen would issue such a statement — why he wouldn’t hesitate to include the astonishing confession that “no one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” implying that people did tell him about Weinstein but he, with that odd omniscience native to the very rich, deemed them insufficiently serious. It’s also totally clear why Allen felt untouchable enough to add that even if he had believed the “horror stories,” he wouldn’t have been interested, let alone concerned, because he is a serious man busy making serious man-art. He said people wouldn’t bother coming to him anyway, because, as he described it: “You’re not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.” (That last bit is fair, actually. If I’d been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, literally my last instinct would be to go to Woody Allen for help.)

It’s clear because the cultural malfunction that allows Allen to feel comfortable issuing that statement is the same malfunction that gave us Allen and Weinstein in the first place: the smothering, delusional, galactic entitlement of powerful men.

We already knew that monsters can make great films. Roman Polanski has. Woody Allen has. Harvey Weinstein has. I can still watch Woody Allen’s old movies with *some* enjoyment but I’ll never like them quite as much as I once did. For 25 years, Allen was my favorite film director even though hints of his perviness showed up in movies such as Manhattan. I think he’s made one good film in the 21st Century. At this point it doesn’t matter, his name has quite deservedly been dragged through the mud and I’m inclined to think that a guilty conscience has something to do with his artistic decline. I would hope that a man with his talent would have a conscience but it’s hard to tell as he natters on about witch hunts. STFU, Woody.

As to Harvey Weinstein, he’s a disgusting pig who was widely known as an asshole’s asshole before the shit hit the fan. It’s quite fitting that Ronan Farrow wrote one of the Shitstorm Harvey  exposes. He’s allegedly Woody Allen’s bio-son but, damn, he looks like Mia Farrow’s ex-husband Frank Sinatra. I’d rather have Frank in my gene pool than Woody any day.

The #metoo discussion that has popped up online in the wake of  Shitstorm Harvey has been moving and seems to be leading to a more open discussion of sexual harassment and assault. It seems that most women of my acquaintance have, at the very least, been subjected to unwanted groping.  It’s a sad commentary on the world and it’s been going on long before any of us were around. I hope that the open dialogue sparked by this will lead to improved behavior on the part of many men. I have no illusions that all men will pay attention but if there are fewer Woodys and Harveys out there, the world will be a better place.

My parents were conservative in many ways but my brilliant and accomplished mother was an instinctive feminist.  As a successful professional woman, she taught me by example that women could do anything and should be treated with respect. My father was sexist in some ways BUT he taught me to keep my hands to myself and treat women with respect and old-fashioned courtesy or as he liked to say, “be a gentleman, not a bum.” Bums groped, gentlemen did not.

The Jayhawks get the last word with a song that bids adieu to monsters of all types: