Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TODAY IN WINGNUT WHINING.

Sean Davis of The Federalist says the evil libtard media doesn't care about the fires raging in Gatlinburg and elsewhere 'cause it's only crackers getting burnt:
Ravaged by months of drought, huge swaths of the southeast United States are on fire, but you wouldn’t know it judging by national media coverage... 
The lack of rainfall has led directly to the scores of fires currently burning throughout the South. 
The scene in Gatlinburg is nothing short of terrifying... 
But because it’s not happening in New York or D.C. or Los Angeles, it doesn’t really count as news. When a few snowflakes begin to fall in Washington, it’s a national emergency. When Los Angeles has a lot of traffic on Thanksgiving, it requires an international APB. But when tens of thousands of acres are burning in the South following months of drought, it barely warrants a shrug.
So what does Davis care? I keep hearing that the MSM is discredited and full of lies, and real patriots only watch Fox and read hate sites.

I opened up Google News and saw this at the top of the page:



Also, if you look up "georgia fire" or "tennessee fire" on Google News you get hundreds of thousands of references at present. They're not mostly from Hillarypedophile.com and nazifrog.net.

Oh, just for grins I looked up "fire" on the front page of Breitbart.com. I got "Theismann: Fire Any GM Who Trades for Tony Romo," "Levi Strauss: Do Not Bring Your Legal, Concealed Carry Firearms Into Our Stores," and "Top Cleric Criticizes Egyptians For Rejoicing At Israeli Forest Fires."

And you know what's eating up Breitbart's front page right now?



Apparently Breitbarteers, enraged that Kellogg's stopped advertising on their site, are tweeting pictures of their Fruity Pebbles and Frosted Flakes in the garbage so people will know they're serious. Why doesn't Breitbart tell their readers to send their cereal to Gatlinburg instead? At the very least they can try dropping it on the conflagrations from helicopters; given the texture of the stuff, it'll probably work just as well as that foam they normally use.

No pleasing some people, though I guess they get something out of being displeased.

UPDATE. From comments, Jimcima:
The scene in Gatlinburg is nothing short of terrifying....but when tens of thousands of acres are burning in the South following months of drought, it barely warrants a shrug
And that fire is barely half the size of just the last fire we had to evacuate from where I live in San Diego. 
Before that? 
The Cedar Fire burned 280,000 acres, which is 17x bigger than the Gatlinburg fire. It killed 26 people and we lived in the parking lot of the local high school for almost a week. 
I don't recall the national news coverage but I distinctly remember commenters on conservative websites saying how "stoooopid" we fucking Californian fruits were for living in a wildfire area.

A THREAT FROM THE REAL VICTIMSTM.

It appears some advertisers are pulling out of the Breitbart ad streams:
Kellogg’s has announced that it will pull all advertising from the site. 
The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values... 
Kellogg’s isn’t the first brand to pull its advertising from the website. That growing list includes Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker and SoFi.
Breitbart.com says Kellogg's is "blacklisting" them:
“Kellogg’s decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse,” it said in a statement. “That is as un-American as it gets.”
That would be a fair analogy if, say, Zero Mostel and Millard Lampell were able to keep making movies even if some producers didn't like them, and Breitbart were thrown off the internet.

Interestingly, the response from Breitbart's CEO, per the Hollywood Reporter, is more belligerent:
"We'll handle this the way we always do — war," Breitbart CEO Larry Solov told The Hollywood Reporter (founder Andrew Breitbart, before his death in 2012, declared "war" on what he called the "Democratic-Media Complex," his term for a liberally biased news and entertainment industry)... 
"Our readers are mainstream America and, frankly, that's who these advertisers risk alienating," Solov said of Kellogg's and Allstate. "They're creating economic censorship of conservative discourse. They say we don't represent their values — but we represent American values."
To review: A commercial entity is declining to buy ad space from a publisher. The publisher proclaims itself a victim of a "blacklist." Its CEO says it will go to "war" over this. And the chairman of the publisher is chief strategist to the President Elect of the United States. 

In other words, wingnut business as usual -- professing victimhood while wielding power and making threats. 

I doubt Solov means a boycott -- if we've learned anything from conservative consumer activism, it's that you can get them to consume more of what they already gorge on, but not to consume less of it. No one's going to stop buying Frosted Flakes to glorify Steve Bannon. But when his boss, who does not seem like the type to observe ethical niceties, comes to power, maybe we'll see what Solov does mean.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

GOEBBELS COMES BACK AS A LESS-CHARISMATIC DON DRAPER.

I don't normally do a second post on Pimp Village Voice Column Mondays, but I found something I wanted to make sure was noted before we're all thrown into gulags. You may have seen that the Associated Press -- whose business is clarity of thought expressed by clarity of prose -- laid down standards for use of the term "alt-right" that make clear AP will not accept use of the term as the disguise for which neo-Nazi goons like Richard Spencer obviously intend it, and counseled editors thus:
Again, whenever “alt-right” is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: “an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,” or, more simply, “a white nationalist movement.
Enemies of clarity such as Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit erupted as one would expect:
Don’t be fooled – The left is doing this so they can label all Trump supporters as racists. This enables hateful liberal reporters to label all Trump reporters as evil racists. The AP can go to hell.
So I guess Hoft will stick with the "Grammar & usage R for fags" stylebook he's been using all along.

Not causally related but very relevant is something CNN ran, by one Brad Todd, identified there as "a founding partner at OnMessage, Inc., an advertising agency where he has produced ads for Ron Johnson, Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and many others."

So, already, an obvious scumbag -- but one with an interesting Age of Trump angle:  He famously said on one of the talk shows that "voters take Donald Trump seriously but not literally, while journalists take him literally, but not seriously." So far as it goes it's an astute observation of the poetic sense of political rhetoric. But Todd wants to take it further:
Months later and on the far side of the election, the press is still taking Trump more literally and less seriously than voters do. The most recent case in point is the furor over his baseless claim on Twitter about voter fraud, that "millions of people who voted illegally" cost him the popular vote. It's the latest instance of the media buying into Trump's outrage-tweeting strategy. 
And journalists keep falling for it because they, like politicians, over-value words -- and they are now covering a politician who does not. President-elect Trump still takes the same cavalier approach to verbal description as he would in hawking a condo tower that's yet to be designed. And more than enough voters don't seem to mind.
Those of you who value words as -- well, as what they were meant for: a means of honestly communicating with your fellow man -- are just being silly and precious, says the adman: words are just a sales tool, something to put on a brochure with the pretty pictures and every bit as suitable for Photoshopping:
Trump has spent a career interacting with journalists, but as the first president never to serve in the military, the cabinet, or another public office before his election to the White House, he's never been immersed in the word culture that drives political journalism.
Translation: He can't read. Hey, but who cares! What's "word culture" got to do with leadership? And look at those chumps who can read and their childish concerns:
Journalists are conditioned to believe that words are the ultimate product, to be curated, sweated, grinded and polished. The profession slavishly follows the Associated Press Style Manual...
Boo! Hiss!
..which is hotly debated on every revision, to achieve industry-wide consensus on exactly which words are forbidden and which verbal shortcuts are allowed. Any exceptions to that manual come in the form of a style manual unique to each publication or network, a supplemental set of inviolable stone tablets.
You've heard this kind of talk before -- not so much from other admen, who (like David Ogilvy) are usually in favor of clearer communication, as from neo-reactionaries such as Mencius Moldbug and Rod Dreher, who denounce "The Cathedral" of people who maintain intellectual standards ("stone tablets") because they don't serve the racist revanchism in which Moldbug and Dreher believe and are therefore illegitimate. The only reason they can imagine anyone would pay close attention to words is to advance propaganda; the idea that anyone would value the symmetry of words and meanings for any higher purpose or pleasure eludes them, probably because (as their prose betrays) they take no such pleasures and their purpose is lower than shit.

Todd's pretty much the same way, philosophically -- he thinks you're only grinding and polishing words to peddle something, just like he does, see! -- but (thank heaven for small favors) he's not as addicted to spooky pseudo-mysticism as Moldbug and Dreher. He's a sunny salesman! And he's here to tell you, Mr. Gloomy Old-Fashioned Journalist, to get your head out of the clouds -- stop "writing endless columns on this or that flip-flop based on Trump's conflicting rhetoric," because you're "wasting the time" of readers -- "also known as 'customers'" -- who see Trump's words "differently than journalists do. They, or at least the members of his winning electoral coalition, see Trump not as a politician but as a businessman.... They may have met other real estate professionals in their own lives and they know better than to take the words of ad hoc marketing seriously."

In other words, it's all bullshit, and you shouldn't harsh the customers' mellow by trying to give them anything else:
Donald Trump's electoral coalition has shaken up American politics in ways few expected. Smart operatives in both parties are already trying to adapt practices and metrics to better suit the wave of change Trump rode. 
The Washington press corps, already suffering through a decade-long decline in viewer trust and consumption, would be foolish to not adapt as well. If the press covers Trump the way it covered prior presidents -- too literally -- it may find its own customers take journalism itself a lot less seriously.
[flaps hand at Mr. Smartypants Journalist] C'mon, get with it! Quit pretending you're better than flacks like me! Be a smart operative! Here are the talking points, now don't fuck things up by checking them against your precious "facts." Do you like your job?...

You know, I turned away from the Church many years ago, but I still can't get over the feeling that the Devil is trying us.

UPDATE. Todd's idea has caught on, at least in some crippled form, with one of the dimmer rightbloggers -- "Trump Punks Media With Claim Of 'Millions Of Illegal Votes.'," writes William Teach of Right Wing News. "Could Trump be correct? Probably not," admits Teach. But that's not important -- what's important is, Trump spurred a "Typical Media Freakout," which shows that "the media still do not get Donald Trump." Boo-yah!

Teach hasn't quote grasped the Tao, though -- he goes to the trouble of trying to explain Trump's bullshit:
But, hey, without an examination of the tallies in places like California and New York, how do we know that they didn’t have millions of illegal aliens, felons, people voting two or more times, and legal aliens voting?
Similarly, how do you know I wasn't kidnapped by aliens, and that these cops who claim I was driving 100 mph drunk aren't in on it? Without a major outer space exploration to check out my assertion, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

So Teach still has traces of oldthink in his system -- to go that extra mile, he has to accept that even dishonest explanations are unnecessary and may even be injurious; best to follow up only with chants of "U.S.A.!" or those bouquets of emojis, hashtags, misspellings, and conspiracy theories with which Trump followers respond to The Leader's tweets. From the evidence of his writing, Teach is not so devoted to "word culture" that he can't get with this program -- especially when he sees how much less effort it takes.

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the "normalization" of Trump, and the rightbloggers' resistance to any indication that Trump is anything but normal (or superhuman).

In the column I noted Peggy Noonan pretending to be mortally offended by Trump's multiple conflicts of interest. Had I room I would have also treated her later, even worse column, "What to Tell Your Children About Trump." I should mention here, for readers who have not long followed the woman I used to call the Crazy Jesus Lady, how absolutely full to bursting Noonan is with shit. In an earlier, post-election column, she whimpered that "Donald Trump doesn’t know how to be president" and implored the citizenry, "Help him," as if the practiced grifter would not cheerfully help himself every chance he got.

Then came the column I cited, professing to keep an eye on the fellow lest he (inadvertently, no doubt) rob the Treasury. "What to Tell Your Children About Trump" probably came after many cocktails and/or stern warnings to get normalizing if she knew what was good for her. It came with this peculiar illo:


The attempt to make the vicious, hate-faced Trump look avuncular in this image is, amazingly, even more repulsive than the actual Trump's real-life rictus when clutching horrified children, because it shows a more benign countenance than Trump has ever managed to show at any time; it's as if he had died, and had his face wrestled by an undertaker into a cheerful, Uncle Toby grin for the casket, and then someone thought it would be nice if, before he was planted, he could be crunched into a seated position, then surrounded by children who have been promised $10 not to scream in terror while the scene was photographed.

Even more artificial is Noonan's historical analysis. "The legacy media continues its self-disgrace," she claims, because they aren't showing Trump the proper deference -- "Any journalists who are judicious toward Trump, who treat him fairly or even as a human being, are now accused of 'normalizing' him." And what could be abnormal about a crooked grifter elevated to our highest office? Instead, decrees Noonan, the media should "respect" the "happiness" of "60 million people" who "haven’t taken to the streets... they haven’t broken car windows..." which I guess is Noonan's way of saying they're all white, though they are in a sense a minority.

Then comes the kind of Noonan bullshit that makes you proud to be an American, where even the most unbelievable I-walked-with-an-immigrant bullshit can net you seven figures:
Five days after the election I met an Ethiopian immigrant on a street in Washington.
"Hello, drunk white lady! Let us share our stories."
We got to talking. He spoke of how bad it was in his old country, all the killing. He’d been here 15 years. “I love America,” he said. “It gave everything to me.” But he was deeply concerned by the election. He has two sons, 8 and 6. The younger got up Wednesday morning, saw the TV and burst into tears. Trump won! The boy calls Trump “the mouth man.” How could a bully be president? “He wept,” said the Ethiopian. “How do I explain it to him?” 
I thought. Finally I said, “Tell him to trust America.” Tell him that we are the world’s oldest democracy, that we are a good people, that we’ve been through shocks and surprises, and that we have checks and balances. “If it turns out good,” I said, “we’ll be happy. If it turns out really bad, America has a way of making your stay in the White House not too long. But tell him to trust America as you did, and it gave you everything.”
Later Noonan tells us about what a lovely chat she had with Trump -- "how charming, funny and frank he was—and, as I say, how modest. How actually humble," and I see the people who can afford a Wall Street Journal subscription nodding and thinking, of course, he addresses the crowds as the idiots they are, but when he speaks to one of us he is probably as charming as I am when I joke with my caddy about his inferior genes!

I wonder if she'll get to share this touching story with the Ethiopian before he's thrown out of the country to make a swing-state honky feel better about his employment prospects.

Meanwhile the Next Noonan, Megan McArdle, says for Thanksgiving you should be nice to people different from yourself. No, not liberals, silly -- they're scum! But:
...the first thing I’m choosing to be grateful for this year is the strangers I’ve met who were nothing like me, but nonetheless did me some extraordinary kindness. The people who hate everything about my politics, but who have reached out, again and again, to wish me well and even offer me money or expert help when I was going through some sort of crisis. Those people I’m grateful for, and America, you have a lot of them.
Someone offered McArdle money? Did her Thermomix break down?

(Do read the column, it's pretty good.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

THINK OF YOURSELVES AS INTERNS AT THE PRESTIGIOUS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

When a Texas judge stops an executive order granting overtime rights to millions of workers, you expect the usual suspects to rush to yell hooray; though I see Megan McArdle is a little slow off the mark this morning, National Review got Carrie Lukas on the case pronto. Unfortunately, Lukas' bullshit dispenser wasn't warmed up. After announcing the injunction is "good news for workers," she falters in the crucial "make it look good" part of the routine. After trying the old employers-will-just-reclassify-those-workers bit -- at least that's what I think she's trying to convey with that Tammy McCutchen quote -- she gives us this:
Moreover, many workers simply don’t want to have to track their time and inform their bosses exactly when they are leaving early and when they are working late. Moving to an hourly position entails a loss of prestige for some workers, who prefer to feel as though their contributions to the company are bigger than just their time logged.
Sure, you would have gotten a higher rate after 40 hours, but you'd have had to record your hours! And if you're like me -- a rightwing factotum -- you hate bureaucracy more than you need to feed a family! Also, think of the loss of prestige -- imagine your "walk of shame" from the paymaster's office as your coworkers glare at you; you can even hear some of them saying, "yeah, looks like old Smith's only slaughtering pigs for the money!"

Well, there's one real upside: We should stop hearing about economic anxiety any day now.

UPDATE. Hi, guys, Disqus seems to have deleted a bunch of comments I did not ask to be deleted, and I cannot yet figure out how to get them back up. Working on resolution now. New comments seem to work, so feel free to blow off steam here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

THE LITTLE PEOPLE.

Salena Zito has a habit of going among Pennsylvania Republicans and delivering the big news that they're for Trump. In this September 26 article she claimed Trump was convincing "undecideds and Democrats" in Westmoreland County, which she characterized as "formerly or traditionally Democrat-blue" even though it's been voting Republican for President since 2000.

Since Trump took Pennsylvania she's been certified by the credulous as a White-Working-Class Whisperer. Today she's here to tell us that "Trump’s voters love his Twitter rants against popular culture." To this end she spoke to four Pennsyltuckians, who say things like "but he did the right thing, and the media and the elite still keep making the same mistakes" and "“Trump is standing up for the so-called deplorables, intolerables and irredeemables excoriated by Hillary and the left,” which totally don't sound like they came out of a talking point factory.

Just for grins I looked up one of her sources on Facebook and found him (or, to be fair, maybe someone else with the same name in the same town who's FB friends with Zito) talking about how most of the anti-Trump protests are paid "orchestrations of the left," and that he saw this one lady protesting and asked her "exactly she was protesting as the election had already taken place on Tuesday. She refused to answer and just repeated 'I'm a woman.' She spoke with an accent (can't tell if it was real or not)..."

Can't you just feel the economic anxiety? The best part is Zito's explanation of this phenomenon:
Here is what the cosmopolitan class still does not get: It’s not just Donald Trump you are making fun of, it is people outside your circle, the voters whose sentiments and values that have been the punch line of Hollywood’s jokes for their entire lives.
I do in fact get it: I am indeed making fun of the handful of people she quotes, mainly because they're doing a hilariously piss-poor job of pretending to be the Common Clay.

Monday, November 21, 2016

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Mike Pence's poor reception at Hamilton, and Trump's simultaneous machinations behind the scenes. Don't mistake me for one of those guys who think the Hamilton thing is a mere "distraction." I mean, obviously you couldn't put it past Fat Goebbels to gin up an effete-East-Coast Kulturkampfire for that purpose, but I hardly see the need: Trump's got so much wrong with him in so many ways, yet months of experience show it doesn't mean anything to his marks; they've always known he's corrupt as hell, and don't expect high office to change him. They just want to swim, maybe drown, in his bullshit. That's how it is with the better class of fascist -- they spew scum from every orifice, till everything is a distraction from everything else, and those so inclined may surrender.

Rod Dreher makes an appearance in the column. All weekend long he ejaculated over poor innocent American Pence and the fascist arty-farties who oppressed him. Sample:
I mean, is it the case that liberals believe that artistic performances — theater, music, and so forth — must be limited only to people who share their moral and political views? If I were worried that the Trump administration was going to be hostile to minorities and gays...
(Pause to imagine a Rod Dreher "worried that the Trump administration was going to be hostile to minorities and gays," unsuccessfully)
...I would have gone out of my way to make Mike Pence feel welcome at Hamilton, and hoped and prayed that the power of art moved his heart and changed his mind. But that’s not how the audience saw it.
That, Brother Rod, is because the audience weren't morons. They knew Pence wasn't going to see a fucking play and go, "Wow, suddenly I see minorities and gays in a whole new light, no more gay-straightening for me!" More likely he'd think, heh, them sub-humans sure do sing and dance good, and then cheerfully go back to Washington to fuck up their lives even worse. In other words, some people you can't and don't try to convince; with them all you can do to them is warn. For starters.

Extra negative points to Dreher for adding a column about why we should applaud his toleration in going to see Brokeback Mountain and writing an incredibly shitty column about it.

Friday, November 18, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I thought the only lonely place was on the moon.

•  You know it's trouble from the hed and dek:
Why This Twitter Purge Is Okay with Me
In the case of Richard Spencer, the media jackboots are getting it right.
And make no mistake: National Review's Ian Tuttle still thinks that, while libtards kinda-sorta-maybe have a right to invite or disinvite whomever from their own social media networks and college commencements, they're still liberal fascists because liberals are fascists Q.E.Duh. Here's Tuttle's extremely unfortunate object lesson:
Those of us on the right spend our time trying to loosen the very real clamps that exist on speech, for instance, on university campuses. And that’s important work. DePaul University has the right to forbid Ben Shapiro from speaking, as it did this week. But conservatives oppose DePaul’s doing so because they object to the idea that Ben Shapiro is somehow morally beyond the pale. He’s not. He’s a mainstream conservative, working within a delineable tradition of conservative thought.
Actually Ben Shapiro is a fucking asshole, and DePaul needs no better reason than that to disinvite him. You don't have a Constitutional right to be the skunk at someone else's picnic. I've been saying this since wingnuts wept because Rutgers students didn't want war criminal advice from Condi Rice,  but they never seem to have a better answer than Yer Hitler. Anyway, Tuttle approves of the (still fascist!) Twitter throwing a bunch of neo- and crypto-Nazis off their rolls because he doesn't like them, which he justifies with a lot of gloopy talk e.g.,
Communities form a consensus about what is right and wrong based in part on public debate, but also on custom and taboo and religious practice and a whole lot of other factors that were built on syllogisms and that are not entirely subject to rational debate.
"A whole lot of other factors." That's really threading the needle, buddy. Well, I guess one benefit of our increasingly post-logical environment is that intellectuals don't even have to pretend to try, and we will know them only by their tweed and shitty attitudes.

• From "Annals of the Age of Trump," a continuing series: Larry O'Connor of Hot Air announces Jeff Sessions' AG appointment, then cackles, "And right on cue, the mainstream media and Democrats (redundant) are shouting 'racist!'" Ha ha, stupid libtards, always with the racism! Then O'Connor quotes CNN to show how they're all worked up over nothing:
The former US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and Alabama attorney general isn’t without controversy. His appointment to a federal district court by then-President Ronald Reagan sank when a former Justice Department employee testified that Sessions had made racially tinged remarks.

He had denounced the 1965 Voting Rights Act and had labeled the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP “un-American” and said the organizations “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”

A black Justice Department staffer said Sessions had called him “boy” and claimed he had thought the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
Maybe O'Connor didn't read it. Maybe he assumed none of his readers would read it, since it was printed in a grey box. There are other possible explanations, none of them flattering. (I think we can rule out economic anxiety, though.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

FOR A BAG OF SALT.

Now that Trump has won the election, says Megan McArdle, we must all come together as a nation for the sake of her and her buddies's careers:
I don't see a moral obligation for anyone to serve in a Trump administration. But people who opposed Donald Trump, on both the left and right, should commit right now to one thing: We will not tar good people for joining the Trump administration. Their motives will not be questioned, and if things do turn out as some of his critics fear, the people in his foreign and domestic policy apparatus will not suffer guilt by association.
And no fair sending them to Den Haag for war crimes.
It is just too important that Trump have good advisers...

..He is going to have to staff regulatory agencies. He is going to have to decide about policy priorities, and push legislation to advance them. If smart, competent people refuse to be a part of that, because they think it’s likely that they will suffer permanent stigma from having joined his team, then Trump's administration will still do all those things -- but it will do them poorly, and the nation will suffer.
"You're way behind quota, General. Why aren't you torturing more prisoners?" "We're trying, Mr. President, but we suffer from a lack of competent personnel!"
...Good economists in an administration cannot come out and say “This is bad policy,” for obvious reasons; their job is to have those conversations internally, and then support their boss’s decisions. That will also be the job of an adviser in a Trump administration, and we want good people in there making the good arguments.
"This must be an error, Mr. President -- it says, 'No taxes on anyone making a million and up'!"
"No error. Get it done."
"But it doesn't make --"
"Do it."
"But I --"
"Now."
"Won't you at least --"
"Every minute you stand here, I deduct five grand from your salary. (The respected economist flees.) Buh-bye!"

I expect she's already given instructions for the design of her inaugural gown. (re: the title -- see the end of this review.)

UPDATE. A number of commenters (and comments are, as always at alicublog, excellent) wish it pointed out that McArdle opens her essay by praising Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys' service to the brutal dictator Pinochet, when in fact their libertarian bullshit immiserated Chile.