Friday, October 8

Nixon's The One! Reagan's The Beard!

TOO busy yesterday, but let's greet the day today with a mention of Somerby breaking in on the latest Brooks/Collins Conversation, that gimcrack in the Times apparently designed to prove, under the pretext of demonstrating that its Opinionists do not think about the things they write and have no more knowledge of current events than the average dental waiting room occupant, that combining a wishy-washy centrist "Liberal" and a so-called "moderate" "conservative" yields a particularly thin gruel.
“We!” Has Brooks ever dirtied his pretty pink hands inside the walls of a low-income school? Has he ever spent any time examining the real state of play of these institutions? Here at THE HOWLER, if we had to summarize the progress we’ve made in education over the last decade, we would mention the large score gains in reading and math recorded by black and Hispanic kids on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Presumably, those score gains were pushed along by our teachers. Question: Does Brooks even know that these large score gains exist?

The other day Brave Indiana blogger Doug Masson talked about the difficulty of blogging about issues when no one seems to take any real interest in 'em. He's a young man, so I suppose this seems to him to be a near- or medium-term trend. (He's also a smart man, so I'm not suggesting he thinks this has happened in a vacuum.)

And I'm not going to reply Listen, sonny, I been around, and you don't know the half of it. For once. Because I really do believe there's been a flight from Meaning to the Redoubts of Emotion in the past few decades. But I think that amounts to people who formerly discussed Issues (and the sort of people who, a generation ago, would have been disposed to) being reduced to entrenchment because they can't win on an open field any longer.

And that's both long term and short term. The Right wants to fight fin de siecle Progressivism now, alongside its Hundred Years War on The Class Traitor Roosevelt, in part because it always has, and in part because it thinks it can get away with it now. Who Lost China? is now Who Wants Sharia Law?; Creationism begat Intelligent Design begat Teach the Controversy! without anyone ever confronting 19th century science, let alone 21st. Bobo Brooks thinks Teachers need to Learn How to Love; funny how he adopts that song-and-dance when it looks like his more hotheaded cousins might wind up responsible for doing something about the issue. Reagan hates the National Debt until his name goes on the account.

Such things travel in waves. I don't think we're experiencing a tsunami now so much as the popularizers of Politics have taken a page from the popularizers of Meteorological reports: exaggerating everything is a sure-fire ratings winner.

And since I'm old and richly endowed in crotchets, let me say that, on the beaches I comb, at least, the tide seems to be bringing in more Nixon artifacts, and less of the Reagan Miracle and Compulsive Optimism. Not enough, these days, that tax rates are historically low, Defense spending remains incontinent, and Democrats in full customary cower. Millions of our fellow citizens simply miss the paranoid rantings of a total lunatic. We've gone from Bill O'Reilly, Reagan without the PR affability, corporate shill, supremely confident (at least publicly) because he knows that hooks the Rubes while knowledge don't, to Glenn Beck, Nixon without the genius, but all the evil banality. The question for me isn't What Changed? but How They Keep Getting Away With It. It's not How We Got Here. It's Welcome Back. And maybe they all just need a big hug from Bobo Brooks.


itaintthatbad said...

Somehow that's reassuring.

R. Porrofatto said...

Pamela Geller has her very own picture and puff profile on the front page of the New York fucking Times this morning -- coming off an interview on last week's 60 Minutes. I'd say that would provide one answer to How They Keep Getting Away With It -- the skree gets them noticed, and "respectable" media inflate the noticing.

StringonaStick said...

Hell, I'm at the point where I believe the "respectable media" is in on the con! How else can the transfer of all remaining middle class wealth to the upper class be completed?