Thursday, March 6

Free Curmudgeonry.

• Why is it only the Youth are allowed to construct Official Lists of post-dated cultural jetsam? "Shot of Jager" (see, or don't, Andrew Sullivan ) is now officially as dead as the goldfish in Walt "Clyde" Frasier's platform shoes. Because I say so. You hear me, punk? It is freaking inexcusable for a forty-five year old man to be writing about quaffing execrable alcoholic beverages by referring to them by their frat-boy nicknames. In fact, it's inexcusable to write about slugging any spiritous potable which has a frat-boy nickname. This doesn't mean you can't employ it, if you wish; drink raspberry-peach merlot or Purple Passion, for all I care. In fact, do me a favor and drink a lot more of them. But in writing about it, act like you've learned by this point in life that taste and experience matter, and that they are something either to be acquired or rejected, not flouted cluelessly.  Surely this would not be the first time you'd lied to the world about something just for appearance's sake. 

• What Tom Watson said:
Let's look at the scope of Hillary Clinton's victory. She'd lost 11 straight contests to Barack Obama, the most beloved candidate in either party since at least the halcyon days of Ronald Reagan and possibly since FDR's reelection in 1936. Obama's campaign outspent Clinton in Texas and Ohio by four to one, according to some estimates. His field operation was the stuff of organizing legend, and his big rallies made hers seem like church suppers. His online fundraising doubled hers. He led in all the national polls, and her leads in those big states had evaporated. Her imminent departure from the race was declared.

Hillary Clinton was laying on the canvas and the ref was pretty much at nine.

And unlike John "The Amazing Comeback Kid" McCain, she did this without the luxury of waiting for everyone else to lose, yet I didn't hear a bit of coverage which played that up. Then again, I avoided MSNBC. Maybe Tweety was gushing all night.

• That's not curmudgeonly, exactly, but we're building our way to a complete halt. I found it rather notable that most Clinton Bashing Progressives didn't miss a beat in defeat. "On the one hand, [Ohio] was a big win for her," notes young Ezra, the most ambidextrous of bloggers; on the other, "[her] trends in Ohio weren't that promising." This was demonstrated by the fact that Senator Obama cut into her lead once he started campaigning there, a remarkable occurrence assuming this is the first time you've ever looked.  Matt tips the boater to CNN for revealing that Clinton cornered the racist vote.   And yes, that was what he did.  Josh, befitting his greater experience, waits a decent interval before urging us to return the campaign to the issues, namely, the question of how much we all hate Mark Penn.

Or maybe he just has a lower tolerance for Jager shots and slept late.

• The more I read incontinent primary coverage the more I've come to appreciate the vast majority of the electorate, which couldn't fucking care less and yet, somehow, winds up being no more idiotic than the punditry.

• "This is my real hair. If it were a wig it would look much more natural."
--Quentin Crisp

Okay, I'll say it: Dante makes me sick, * and Barack Obama is overrated as a public speaker. And Will Ferrell making fun of 1970s hairdos is beginning to wear a little thin.

Modulate! The microphone is there to take care of volume concerns. You don't have to worry about being heard over the El anymore.

I was watching him the other night thinking, y'know, I'm sure the campaign thinks he's much better on the stump, since he's a little gaffe-prone in a smaller setting, but I think he's a lot more effective using his inside voice; the best I've ever seen him was on The Daily Show.   I'm not saying he's not impressive, au contraire, but that I think he's benefitted from the judging standards being set by people who are more familiar with Bob Barker than Martin Luther King (who, since we're speaking of standards, C. L. Franklin famously referred to as "a baby preacher").

Call it the Quentin Crisp Effect: Senator Clinton, no better than mediocre, over time begins to seem more real on the grounds that she isn't any better. And Senator Obama begins to sound like a guy who watched JFK shout "Ask not..." too many times for his own good.

This campaign has seen two moments I've waited for ever since Reagan made his reputation through paying for a microphone. One was Hillary depantsing Tim Russert. It doesn't matter that it didn't fold him up for good and pitch him in the dumpster; what matters is that it should have, and Russert knows it, and that it proved, however fleetingly, that our best politicians are 20x smarter than those guys, even if the rest of 'em bring the average way down.

The second was Senator Obama's reply to McCain's "al-Qaeda in Iraq" comment. One, here's the sort of thing the blogosphere makes plain, over and over, without making a dent in the CW, and two, it was long past time for a Democrat to start talking that way. And then Obama hits the all-caps key: I HAVE SOME NEWS FOR JOHN MCCAIN.... Dude, you didn't have to make sure he could hear it from the podium.

* Lope de Vega, on being assured that he was dying.


punkinsmom said...

Personally, I'm sick and tired of these self-righteous "lefty" bloggers who've glommed onto Obama like pilotfish deciding that anyone who votes for Hillary must be racist. (While soothingly assuring us that we may not even recognize the racism that we're exhibiting, but they will be more than happy to point it out.) Far be it from their self-pronounced open minds for them to grasp that some of us voted for Hillary because we think she'd be better for the job.

James Stripes said...

it's inexcusable to write about slugging any spiritous potable which has a frat-boy nickname

True poetry! Amen and amen. Anyone over the age of forty that wants to write about drinking without first cultivating an appreciation of the late Hunter S. Thompson's favorites should keep silent. Confusing the quality of what Hunter drank for swill called hunter in any language reveals the absence of taste.

As for Obama being overrated as a speaker, that depend upon who is doing the rating. Certainly Democrats that offer strings of liberal platitudes will be overrated by some hearers, just as conservative tripe will be overrated by others. You are dead on when you observe that Hillary is 20x smarter than most pundits following her, and that the vast mass of American politicians lowers the average almost to the level of journalists. Barack Obama is one of the bright ones, too, or so it seems to me a bit over halfway through his Dreams from My Father. There should be no question that the average IQ of the leading Democratic candidates is far above the norms that have developed in the American political circus.

Julia said...

I find it interesting how many of the bloggers who thought we ought to give Bush the benefit of the doubt in the runup to the war are supporting Obama.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll illustrate my ignorance. When did Clinton depants Russert? During what debate or interview?

Houston said...

I like Obama a lot more than I like most of his supporters whom I encounter more frequently than I enjoy. They're an insufferable bunch, for the most part.

I like Clinton a lot more now than I did a year ago. She wears better than I thought she would. On the other hand, Obama is wearing thin. I've heard the speech already. I need to hear how he's going to convince Congress to go along with anything. "Can't we all get along?" won't work with Repubicans.

McWyrm said...


Shorter D.H. Riley: Get off my lawn!

Seriously - you're cracking on Obama's oratorical skills because he's doesn't quite stack up to MLK? Lame.

voxpoptart said...

the vast majority of the electorate, which couldn't fucking care less and yet, somehow, winds up being no more idiotic than the punditry

No, they're exactly AS idiotic, because they do everything the punditry asks. Told to swoon for McCain and treat his 4th-place finish in Iowa as proof of his destiny, the Republican voters nominated him in a landslide. Told to ignore Kucinich, Dodd, Richardson, and Edwards as unserious, the voters ignored them. Told to support Obama instead of that bitch Hillary, they did so.

I saw her TX/OH victories coming a week out, because the media got too cocksure and started turning Barack into Darth Farrakhan too soon. An electorate worth respecting wouldn't follow in step with Tweety's and MoDo's every move.

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