Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down

In which, based on the fact that for some reason Ed Asner

was appearing on every channel to talk about the anniversary of the Fall of the House of Krenz, I assumed there was a Very Special “Lou Grant Show” reunion on somewhere.

I looked and looked but sadly, no.

There is, however, apparently a remake of the 1980s science fiction series “V” slugging it out for audience share with a remake of 1960s science fiction series “The Prisoner”, proving once again that, other than within a few, carefully-tended creativity preserves, teevee has long since officially given up on doing anything but turning its underpants inside out every few years and calling it re-imagining.

Speaking of which...

On “Face the Nation” Lindsey Graham warned “the public option will destroy private insurance.”

Just as public parks and gyms have destroyed for-profit fitness clubs, public beaches have destroyed private seaside resorts, public transit has destroyed the car, Segue, motorcycle, bike and scooter industries, public libraries have driven Amazon into bankruptcy, taxpayer-funded police departments have wiped out the market for private security firms, the US Armed Forces have put Blackwater out of business, community colleges have killed the Ivy League, public playgrounds have destroyed private sports franchises, public washrooms have people turning their bathrooms into extra closet space, public housing has destroyed the housing market, public drinking fountains have crushed Evian and Ice Mountain.

And so forth.
And so on.
And so forth.

Of course, even if you accept Graham’s bullshit premise, he still failed to explain why it would be a bad thing.

In fulfillment of prophecy, David Fucking Brooks appeared on “Meet the Press” ,

to speak about “Independents”, but the real fun happened after the show, about which more down below.

“Fox News Sunday”'s own Ralph Furley -- Holy Joe Lieberman -- dropped in one again, this time to talk in pedantic tones about Islamic Extremism and Fort Hood by essentially reading one New York Times headline after another.

Lieberman knows nothing of his own. There is nothing he can confirm.

So why was he on at all?

To warn against premature speculation…after which he speculated darkly and prematurely about larger plots. By self-radicalized, home-grown terrorists. Who got their stuff over…Teh Internets!

Holy Joe also demanded hearings because “You have to see this as if 12 American troops were killed in Afghanistan” which, even if you buy Lieberman’s point (which is, apparently, that he can read headlines out loud without help) I don’t remember Joe Lieberman running onto the Fox News to demand hearings on every other occasion that an American soldier was killed in Afghanistan.

No, it had just been too long since the Senator from Likud had had a chance to suckle political advantage off of the 9/11 teat and to get his political rocks off say “Islamic Terrorism” over and over again in front of a camera.

Holy Joe: The debt! It is sooo high! And the public [health care] option will send us crashing into a new recession.

Of course, he’s lying, but so what? Flipping over a rock and finding Holy Joe playing at superfuckingpatriot and lying about Democrats on Fox is about as surprising as finding dung beetles holding a rave in a shit house.

On “This Week” , Republican Party Chairman DJ Mikey Steele shook his tiny, rented fist at God and shouted: “You delivered a 2,000 pound baby that nobody wants!”

Which, I don’t know what that means, but it was Steele’s intellectual high-point.

Later, Republican consultant and perennial “Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians” also-ran

Frank Luntz followed the chemical trail laid down by the likes of Dick Armey, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham in weeks gone by and hauled his pie wagon onto the show to peddle his dirty, little book.

Sexual super-collider

George Will frets: Nothing frightens a middle class like inflation. India bought gold! Not a lot, but still!

But…there is no inflation.

Will: Yeah, sure, but there could be.

Luntz: The public is most angry about wasteful Washington spending. (Luntz then reads his own polling questions as if they mean something.)

Cokie Roberts: The problem is, people want jobs and don’t want to spend any money. How oh how will they do that?

Will: I remember how the Carthaginians handled a similar problem in the…

Luntz: I’m gonna throw out a completely unrelated issue which my PR firm is contractually obligated to drag into this conversation: Governors releasing prisoners.

At which point you can actually see Donna Brazile roll her eyes.

Stephanopoulos: OK, enough with the meaningless digit-salad, Luntz. What about the effect of awful shitty crazy that is boiling out of the skulls of GOP leaders? What about that?

Luntz (categorically refusing to even acknowledges the question): There are two statistics I want to put forward about what people are really angry about; intergenerational blah blah and economic whatsis.

Back and forth it went, with Sam Donaldson pushing back harder and more consistently than usually against the predictable tide of George Will “trial lawyer and tax cut” wing-natter, while Luntz just jamming the issues he gets paid to pimp into the public discourse in with a fucking turkey baster.

Even Cokie Roberts had to grudgingly admit that, while the Evil Liberal had once upon a time driven the Holy and Almighty Moderates out of their Party, it was not the case anymore. But Republicans? Are you kidding me? They should start calling themselves Pecan Log Cabin Republicans (driftglass tm) they’re so fucking nuts.

And whenever there was a nanosecond lull in the chatter?

Luntz: Let me grind out more hollow, contextless statistics so I can tack this show onto my video-resume.

On ”The Chris Matthews Show” Tweety just kept whanging away at the facts with the Beltway Wisdom Hammer, trying to force them to fit the fiction the Villagers have already decided to sell and insist that everyone pee their pants in Bellagio Fountain Unison

over the results of a trivial, off-off-year election that wouldn’t have registered as a rounding error during a real election year as seen through the filter of the granfalloon of the “Independent” voter.

Over on CNN’s Washington Pundit Full Employment Rodeo "State of the Union with John King", the mortal remains of Mary Matalin and James Carville Punch-and-Judy their Sunday morning away doing Very Badly (but with zoomy graphics and urgent music) what some of us have been doing Rather Well with naught but coffee, a keyboard, a box of fortified wine and a strong stomach since 2004: examining the Mouse Circus and parsing what we see there.

Their Very, Very, Very, Expensive version of what I do here every Sunday was all but unwatchable.

Matalin -- dressed in her Arby's Regional Manager best -- bitches a continuous stream of loathing for all things Left of Dick Cheney in a voice that makes the sound of nine cats and a sack of ball bearings in an industrial dryer sound sonorous.

Carville honks and smirks his way through a big, Cajun pot of Beltway Wisdom Gumbo. Then they stack in a few more panelists. Then a few more. All getting their pundit contact highs on sniffing the panties of everyone else on every other show, and finishing the job of completely composting the corn at the bottom of the Beltway Soup of the Day.

Because there’s just not enough of that going on already.

But the real sweet honey in the rock was buried inside something called the “Meet The Press: Web Extra", during which David Fucking Gregory questioned David Fucking Brooks about how he writes a column.

Yes! Finally, someone asking the tough questions!

Gregory: Let's ask about your work. David, I'll start with you. How you, um, arrive at a topic for your column. Because and for you it's particularly interesting 'cause you...you...you'll get into politics a LOT, but then you're also interested in, uh, in other matters like, uh, the neurological makeup of human beings.
Brooks: And you know if you want some brain surgery, I'd be happy to perform that.


Brooks: No, for me it's pure desperation. I, uh, find it actually extremely hard -- I tell college students, imagine having a paper due in three days and that's the rest of your life.

OK, on a purely professional level, I’m never gonna begrudge a fellow writer making a living from their craft: writing -- especially writing well -- is hard, fussy work that is usually done in painful awareness of the lengthening shadows of a culture hurtling towards a dark age of celebrity worship, giggling illiteracy and pandemic superstition and irrationality.

That being said, pause with me for a moment and consider that writing two columns a week is not something David Fucking Brooks does in his spare time.

Not something he knocks out in the few spare moments each day he has when he isn’t, say, taking care of children.

Not something he squeezes in between a job that barely pays his rent and another job that almost pays for his health care.

Not something he supplements with custom-made editorial art or video.

No, David Fucking Brooks’ whole job is writing two columns a week about whatever he wants, and then reiterating those columns on radio and teevee.

That’s it.
Bobo continues: And so for me I used to have all these normal, human needs for food, for water, for leisure. Now I only have one need: column ideas. And it’s all just panic and desperation. But I do write about that other stuff because I do fundamentally believe that culture shapes our lives more than politics.

Two things, then I'm done.

First, as the economy continues to drive PhDs into pizza delivery jobs, and pizza delivery guys into cardboard boxes, it was hilariously revealing to hear Bobo offhandedly categorize "leisure" with "food" and "water" as a basic human need. Reminds me of “The Simpsons”, when Krusty the Clown was trying to break back into comedy by doing topical, observational humor about things people “deal with in everyday life.”
Krusty – “Oh, yeah. You mean like when your lazy butler washes your sock garters and they're still covered with schmutz?”
Second, consider that for the last few years we have all watched the Corporate Media imploding in slow motion, sending hundreds of hardworking reporters to the unemployment line and leaving hundreds of important stories unreported. And every time another newspaper goes down, we all hear the same 7-10 excuses for the collapse: too much debt, falling ad revenues, Teh Internet, mismanagement, antiquated work rules, ancient Mayan curses, whatever.

It’s sad, no doubt about it (and, as the joke goes, if the New York Times finally closes its doors, who will the Huffington Post have to steal from?) but there is also something terribly wrong -- something that reeks of the same wildly-out-of-balance-and-ripe-for-extinction aroma as Wall Street banksters gloating over their billion dollar taxpayer-subsidized bonuses…after nearly destroyed the world…in pursuit of billion dollar bonuses –- when the Mainstream Media is crying poormouth at the same time it is overpaying its top talent by several orders of magnitude for cranking out creative typist piecework twice a week.

Something that begs for our contempt in that this stratospheric overcompensation for mediocrity is happening in the same Universe where a dozen bloggers I could name can and do regularly produce vastly more, better and more variegated work...in their “spare” time...at 1/1,000th of what "Meet The Press" spends on Green Room snacks every month.


D. said...

This is so true I have to wonder why none of those TV shows have imploded into antimatter universes.

Rehctaw said...

As a Chicagoan of a certain age you must recognize Wally Phillips syndrome. It is a phenomena that defies logic. Where herd beings flick on their radio, tuned to 720am, each and every morning, "listen" while they go about their morning routine and think they are hearing the Wally Phillips morning show that went off the air in 1986.

The show was lame and mindless, just like its audience. Since Phillips left the microphone, WGN has marched a parade of talentless non-descript Bobos into the studio to carry on the noise. Keeping the legacy and the franchise going.

In the immortal words of Eukipha Heap, "Give them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere"

Nineteen Kilo said...

Sorry, Drifty, you finally outran my metaphor engine. What current TV show can even claim a pale reflection of "The Prisoner?"

Fran / Blue Gal said...

AMC is making a new "Prisoner" Kilo. But to me it looks like they are filming it on the set of "The Truman Show."


You continue to astonish, DG.

Cirze said...

I'm sorry to be the one who is always gushing after reading your fount-of-wisdom blog, but Dg, you are P R I C E L E S S.

And getting more so all the time.

Low, low, low bows,


Republican Party Chairman DJ Mikey Steele shook his tiny, rented fist at God

. . . Will: I remember how the Carthaginians handled a similar problem in the…

. . . Republican consultant and perennial “Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians” also-ran

. . . They should start calling themselves Pecan Log Cabin Republicans (driftglass tm) they’re so fucking nuts.

I could continue.

So fine.

Anonymous said...

I really dont know how you do it. Over the last few months, I have removed all of the sabbath day gasbag fests from my autotune for fear that I would one day plunge my waffle fork in to my eye. The guest lineup is pretty much the same as it was during the frat boy reign....and the phrase "Critics will say" just repeats over and over again when they do book anybody with any sense. You should really be carefull....to much of that stuff...anyway stay away from waffles....

Mike Goldman said...

This is writing.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

also too, I don't think Luntz should be an "also ran." He gives Bruce Jenner reasons to say on the treadmill, fer sure.

And that "men who look like old lesbians" site should make every heterosexual man in the world swear of Botox forever, the end.

the first time I've ever reported my word verification: reagn.

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