Monday, June 22, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"What we talk about when we talk about race" edition

Remember that time we ordered from Aurelio's?  For something like the hundredth time, the same order from the always-reliable Aurelio's and when it arrived we practically threw the money at the guy because we were starving and in the middle (as I recall) of a fierce, Black Sabbath air-guitar showdown and debate over the ethical structure of the Universe and I bit into it without really looking, because its our regular order from Aurelio's, right?

And suddenly there is incomprehensible thing happening in my mouth.  Inedible.  Untranslatable. Some salt-and-fish slander against the good order of the Universe. Morton Salt girl had eaten the entire content's of the Shedd Aquarium main tank and taken a dump on my taste buds.

What.  The.  Fuck.

"Oh," Brad or Tom said, nonchalantly, actually peering at the slice for the first time, "this's got anchovies on it .  Musta mixed up the order."

I called Aurelio's on a dial-up phone which was bolted to the wall and which only had one app on it ("phone) and, being Aurelio's, they made good on their mistake and had the right pie at my door post haste.

Yes, somehow we survived.

The Sunday Morning Gasbag Cavalcade is not about the truth.  At. All.

The Sunday Morning Gasbag Cavalcade is about the bubble in which our political, financial and media elite live, which increasingly has nothing in common whatsoever with the rest of America.  And since their product is an artificially flavored and colored news-like product, engineered to suit the tastes of those inside the bubble, the Beltway Media makes up comforting fairy tales of how Things Are out in The Real Murrica.

So that's what you're biting into.  Every Sunday.  If you were expecting something else, get over it.  It isn't what you wanted or needed or thought you were ordering, it's what you got:  A report by our ruling elite designed soothe the nerves and reinforce the delusions of our ruling elite, generated from the heart of a dying empire.  And two of the things you must never, ever say on Imperial Teevee are
  1. The fundamental tenets of white supremacy are still very much alive and well and deeply woven into the basic DNA of the American empire, and, 
  2. Rather than trying to eradicate our nation's original sin, the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement (now virtually the same thing) have harnessed that ancient and ruinous horror.  Carefully cultivated it.  Pandered to it,  Flattered it.  Sold their souls to it.  And, finally, cannot live without it.  As I have written about since the first days of this blog, the GOP has thrown in it's lot with the worst scum in America, and now the bill is coming due.
And because this is the central truth of our country, and because our Beltway media is an instrument specifically designed to deflect, diffuse and deny any discussion of this central truth of our country, when some tragedy like Charleston happens at the intersection of racism and gun fetishism,  our Beltway media has no fucking idea what to do.

Of course they have no idea what to do generally -- these are, after all, people who, week-in/week-out, have demonstrated no capacity to talk honestly about things like budgets or poll numbers.  So no great surprise that when the most important news item of the week is a bloody rampage rooted in a culture which continues to allowing traitors and terrorists to be revered as heroes, continues to allow the American Swastika to be proudly flown at an American state capitol and the continues to pretend of one of the worst ideas in human history is some kind of noble "heritage"... the Beltway media completely shits the bed.

Shuck Todd, for example, coped by getting a bunch of black inmates together to talk about how much they regret using a gun.  Positively buried the needle on weird, denialist Beltway reflex reactions to shit they really, really don't want to talk about -- "I know Aunt Sadie's death was a terrible shock, so were going to run a marathon of Jan Michael Vincent's early works to help us all cope with our grief."

Has fuck-all to do with anything, but hey, it's Shuck's show and for some deeply bent reason he thought running this segment was Very Important.  So Very Important, in fact, that he asked his audience to all hold hands and suspend their disbelief by pretending the issue of race did not even exist at all:
The circumstances you are about to see are very different from the racist violence in Charleston. In this case, the inmates are African American that you're going to hear from. But their lessons remain important. We simply ask you to look at this be a colorblind issue, as about just simply gun violence.
Karoli from Crooks and Liars sums it up very well:
While I agree that the issue of gun violence is one that must be raised and discussed in the context of Charleston, I cannot imagine a more tone-deaf choice than this vehicle to begin the discussion. Surely Chuck Todd must be aware of the perception this would have conveyed to viewers; namely, that gun violence is something perpetrated by African-Americans as opposed to it being perpetrated on them.

But Charleston did happen, and that alone should have prompted this segment to be axed in its entirety. It presumes and oozes white privilege, particularly in the claim that race and perception would somehow be overlooked because of the larger context of gun violence.

Memo to Chuck Todd and NBC News: You cannot separate the two. You cannot. When you choose to air a segment featuring black people in prison for murder -- whether or not they regret their act -- you ARE bringing race and perception to your viewers. From your perch, you think you can be lofty about that, but real people and real viewers will not and do not share that privilege.

Here's just one response from one of our commenters about their perception of this segment: "This was no mistake, it was pre-packaged corporate reinforcement of white supremacy."

I happen to think that comment is on the mark.
And I happen to agree.

UPDATE:  I also agree with Brother Charlie Pierce:
It was a spectacular failure of judgment. It was a spectacular collapse of simple human decency. It was as lunkheaded a decision as ever has been made by a major television network. A whole lot of somebodies should be on the sidewalk at the moment after having been counseled to seek employment in the fast-food industry. Jesus H. Christ on hiatus, how does your mind have to work to think that the weekend after a racist massacre at an African-American church is a good time to run a segment on African-American convicts?
Ever since the Bush Administration went tits-up, the entire Beltway lexicon has been reduced various  Voice From Nowhere iterations of Both Sides Do It: no one is ever really responsible for anything and everyone is always equally responsible for everything. Sure, Republicans have sworn a blood-oath to destroy the Obama Administration by any means necessary up to and including burning the country down...but somehow this is also equally the fault of Barack Obama because something something leadership!

And because they have fully committed their minds, hearts, wallets to the vocabulary of the whore and the groveler, our Beltway media has no fucking clue how to talk about simple, vital things like right and wrong, and true and false.  

Which brings us to Mike Huckabee -- a Southern swindler and presidential hopeful of the old school. A man who is never happier and more in his element than when he has a chance to get up on his hind legs and whang that Good Book like it was John Phillip Sousa's entire percussion section... long as the issue at hand resonates with the bigoted ideological shut-ins who make up the bulk of the Republican base.

Here, for example. is Mike Huckabee, explaining that the primary responsibility of a President is moral clarity:
As President, I will lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world. Moral clarity is the foundation to our economic and military strength.
Here is Mike Huckabee, making wild and claims about the IRS because Mike Huckabee views all things through his crystalline "moral lens:
“The IRS has become a criminal enterprise, needs to be stopped,” Huckabee said. “It's abusive to the American taxpayer. They get away with what I can't get away with as a taxpayer. It's got to stop.”

The outraged condemnation is consistent with Huckabee's overall approach to economic issues, which is to view them through the same moral lens that he uses for his signature topics like opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The moralizing language clearly resonates with his religious base.
Here is the star of America's most famous Christian breeding program and child molestation show, endorsing Mike Huckabee not of his sterling moral clarity:
"Importantly he is a man of faith who is very wise, and will help get our nation back on track," Jim Bob wrote. "Simply, he's a leader who will bring the moral clarity we need in the White House...The Duggar family asks all Republicans to join us in helping Governor Mike Huckabee become the next President of the United States of America."
And here is Mike Huckbee, taking a fearless stand against birth control because because access to affordable health care is turning American's Good Girls into a bunch of wanton Slattern McSluttys:
"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without 'Uncle Sugar' coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,"Huckabee said. "Let us take that discussion all across America."
So when in comes to taking clear positions on issues which have been ginned up out of thin air to titillate the wretched, paranoid Republican base, in the name of his Christian piety and his future presidency, Mike Huckabee has an long record of commandeering any available pulpit and thundering in the name of some God I hardly recognize.


But, when it comes to making a simple, clear, moral statement about the morality of flying the American Swastika on the statehouse grounds in South Carolina, like all Karefully Kloseted Konfederates, Huckabee immediately goes full-bore indignant weasel:
But, Chuck, if you can point me to an article and section of the Constitution in which a United States president ought to weigh in on what states use as symbols, then please refresh my memory on that. But for those of us running for president, everyone's being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. And my position is: It most certainly does not.
Yes, when he is not raving about establishing a wingnut forward operating base in every woman's vagina or telling gays to suck it up and die despised, second-class and alone -- surprise! --  candidate Huckabee is suddenly very cuddly with the virtues of (caution: bigot code ahead!) "states rights". Suddenly, because there is no explicit text in Constitution regarding what the President can or cannot do about Confederate flags and other suchlike fetish object of the Party of Jefferson David, the Huckster believes President just oughta  keep his big, Kenyan nose the Hell outta the affairs of the Great State of South Carolina.

Because morality!

This massive contradiction between the public bombast of moralizing swindler Mike Huckabee and the nit-picky parsing of coward-who-hides-behind-the-Constitution Mike Huckabee would seem to cry out for what used to be called "a follow up question" back when I was a lad.

Ah, but you forget that this is Shuck Todd's show and Shuck Todd's show has anchovies on it, so no embarrassing follow-up questions today.

Instead, for further discussion of the tender issue of racism and violence, let's turn to America's Self-Appointed Moralizer-in-Chief,  David Fucking Brooks.

Yeah. Well, there were two sides of the week. There was the massacre, which was the shocking side. But I thought the family's reaction and what we just saw at the top of the show was an equally newsworthy event. Somebody used the phrase grace that surpasses understanding.

And to see that forgiveness. You know, the natural human reaction is to greet hatred with hatred, revenge by revenge. That's the natural genetic reaction. But what we saw in the courtroom and then just now was lives transformed by faith, people living out the faith, people walking the walk. And it's an example to the rest of us. First of all, all of us who are in politics with these little petty feuds. And here's a bunch of families who have forgiven that?
No, David.  No.

I really feel I shouldn't have to explain this to Yale's professor of humility and the world-wide best selling author of "The Road to Character", but apparently in all of your deep-dives into the literature of faith and morality, David, you never bothered to noticed there can be no absolution, no forgiveness, without first doing the very things you and your entire, stinking party and profession categorically refuse to do.  Rigorous self-examination. Confession. Atonement.   Repentance.

I know, I know: shut up and eat your anchovies, driftglass.

And now, a small reminder of how longstanding and deep-in-the-bone this cancer has gotten.

Once upon a time there was a thing called the Chris Matthews Show.  And all the way back in January of 2006 this was the state of our media:
I have never expected heroes or messiahs from my elected leaders, but when I look around at my fellow travelers at least I see Liberals and Progressives who repudiate racists, and give degenerates like Reed the back of their hand.

Which is what makes it easy for me to choose my allies.

Because when I look across the fence at the remnants of what once was the Republican Party, I see self-blinded ideologues smiling and drowning in a brine of hate and fear. Men and women mesmerized into stupefyingly self-destructive acts of denial and delusion by the Stalin-like cult of personality that has been erected around the epically corrupt and incompetent Bush Administration.

A dead press that steadfastly will not report on what matters.

A dead Center where critters like Andrew Sullivan, Tom Friedman and David Brooks camp out and hobble hither and thither to find some fake “other side” of every fucking thing from Creationism to bestowing monarchical powers on George W. Bush. Who have debased themselves into useless, human difference engines that reflexively infuse their editorial tintures with one part rat poison and and one part wine, divide the brew by two, and declare whatever half-toxic slurry that they have left over to automatically be the “Reasonable Middle”.

Well guys, there is no fucking philosophical “Center” that can accommodate the racists and Dominionists of the Right and free thinkers and Compassionate Christians of the Left.

Or to paraphrase Lincoln – who your Party used to esteem highly, once upon a time, before you sold your Founder out the heirs of Jefferson Davis --
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half Wahabi Christian and bigot, and half tolerant.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Because in the end, you must choose.

This Sunday, for example, on the Chris Matthews Show, the Wall O’ Pundits flipped through one Republican corruption and treason after another like a deck flash cards in the service of a conversation mocking and Democrats!

Scandal after Republican scandal. Failure after Republican failure. And buttlicking drivel like this from Andrew Sullivan -- “The only opposition is coming from the Conservatives. Democrats are nothing but whiners and spectators.” – went unrebutted and unquestioned.

Hey, cocknoggin'! Isn’t carving into the people that are actually destroying this country, actually lying to the public, actually bleeding our Democracy dry sorta Your Fucking Job?!

Oh, it was quite the gigglefest until Cynthia Tucker threw a sharp elbow into the throat of Matthews’ "Ain’t the Dems a buncha bumblefucks" party by letting the phrase "Southern Strategy" pass her lips. Then she actually fleshed out the ugly, racist-pandering history of the modern GOP; reminding the panel of the true face of who it is they actually serve as Matthew’s fum-fuhed around, trying to find the escape hatch.

Then…silence. Crickets. Nothing.

Instant right-handed circle-jerk buzzkill. Hit Sullivan so hard that it almost knocked Bush’s dick out of his mouth.

In the end, the simple truth that people like Sullivan fight almost hysterically to deny is that you have to choose -- and your choices will always be imperfect -- but when you intellectually geld yourself in a desperate attempt to pretend that the midpoint between the proud, upright magnificence of the Enlightenment and the slinking, slouching sponsors of a new Dark Ages is a reasonable place to stand…you choose to side with the Pat Robertsons of this world.

When you passively let it slide on by, opt to do nothing, or to fritter your power away into the wind of political movements that will never, ever garner more than one or two percent of the vote, you choose to let the Falwells win.

And if you are a Republican Moderates, in exchange for tax cuts for billionaires and a few other boutique, ideological gift bag goodies, with eyes wide shut -- you, who damned well knows better -- who damned well know the true and monstrous face of the likes of Ralph Reed -- choose to climb into bed the scum of the Earth.

Choose to serve the sworn enemies of everything you claim to believe.


Frank McCormick said...

Slattern McSlutty! Wasn't that a character in L'il Abner?

Kathleen O'Neill said...

Wasn't David Brooks' presence such an extra tasty dollop of derp on this execrable excrement dish?

Ellis Weiner said...

"I know Aunt Sadie's death was a terrible shock, so were going to run a marathon of Jan Michael Vincent's early works to help us all cope with our grief."

...instead of delivering the eulogy some of you might have expected here, at what is, after all, her fucking funeral.

(Also, can we put "conservative" out of its, and our, misery? These criminals and imbeciles are not remotely conservative. They rode roughshod over every conservative principle you can think of, during W's eight years. At this they're just Republicans.)

Unknown said...

Just wanted to chime in to say Aurelio's, particularly the mothership location in Homewood, is f'ing awesome. Probably my favorite thin crust, and better than any of the disc-shaped crackers smeared with sauce and cheese that New Yorkers call pizza. I'd put Aurelio's sauce on my shredded wheat if I could figure out the recipe.

People who say Chicago pizza sucks based only on deep dish (which is great too, but it's quite different and I can understand why non-Chicagoans wouldn't like it) know not of what they speak.

marindenver said...

Nice dg, really, really nice. Thanks as always.

crweaver said...

As for the Confederate flag being the American Swastika: for those who dismiss any relationship between the former and Nazism and any of its symbols, I would direct them to and similar sites where posters therein typically do not deny such a relationship - they celebrate it!