Thursday, June 05, 2003

Oh, Those Crazy Hardliners

They are all so predictable, aren't they?
It's Over, Go Home; Andrew Has Slain His Dragon

I really didn't want to write three posts about Sullivan in one week; it feels distastefully Luskin-esque. But as soon as I heard on the radio today that Howell Raines had resigned, I knew that Andrew would inevitably have a self-congratulatory orgasm in public, and that I, just as inevitably, would be compelled to say unkind things about him because of it.

For as long as I have been reading his work, Andrew Sullivan has been a dutiful little soldier in the Right's campaign to bend public opinion to its will by discrediting any source at odds with the Talking Points for any given week.

Of the many columnists, talkshow hosts, and think-tank hacks that have been waging this campaign, Sullivan has not been the most dishonest; nor has he been the most vicious.

He has, however, been the bitchiest, and that is saying quite a lot.

When a person is drummed out of their job, particularly if the reason for the drumming-out is their constant public belittling of the people in charge, they are expected to say horrid things about their ex-employer to their friends. It is also reasonable to expect them to constantly complain about said employer to their family on a regular basis, possibly for years - although that depends on the general tolerance of the family in question.

Disgruntlement is a perfectly normal reaction to events one perceives to be unfair.

However, a reasonable adult with some sense of propriety does not constantly stand in front of their former workplace with a large sign saying "My ex-boss sucks!"

This is essentially what Sullivan has been doing on his website for quite some time now, and it is tacky, juvenile, and annoying as hell.

From the Raines Watches to the Times Watches to the jihad against an editorial page he thinks he deserves to have a spot in, Andrew has made war on the New York Times in general and its now-former editor-in-chief in specific, magnifying not only minor errors but any facts which do not agree with Sully's worldview into indications of fraud, bias, and general maliciousness on the part of the Times.

In an increasingly partisan atmosphere where large portions of a major Party regarded the Washington Times and Fox News as "fair and balanced" while dismissing CNN, major network news, and the Washington Post as Left-wing propaganda machines, Andrew kept jousting away at the news organization for which he was not good enough, and used his increasing voice on the web to rally the troops against his nemesis.

As he accused Democrats of wanting America to lose a war, so he himself fervently waited for a journalistic scandal to befall the Times; the difference being, of course, that those supposed Democratic desires were a Right-wing hallucination.

Jayson Blair, then, was the answer to his very-public prayers. To Andrew, Blair was not a liar and a crooked reporter; he was Monica Lewinski with alternate genitalia and a darker skin tone, the perceived perfect weapon to use against the man he so hated yet was so unable to affect.

Now, with the ripple-effects of the Blair scandal finally having brought Raines down, just as the ripple effects of the Lewinski scandal led to Bill Clinton's impeachment, Sullivan is dancing with joy and claiming a personal victory over his foe, whom he thinks he knocked out through his own efforts, mano-y-mano, a hero in his own eyes. Newt Gingrich and his crew felt much the same way, and, just as with Sullivan now, their inflated perception of their own Cojones & Righteousness kept them from realizing the simple truth that, despite their best efforts, what actually led to their victory was a foolish mistake on the part of their enemy, without which their impotence would have continued unabated.

Andrew Sullivan did not bring Howell Raines down; Howell Raines did. He may have booed him until he was knocked from his pedestal, but I booed the Lakers until they were knocked off of theirs, and I am not vain enough to think that my efforts meant anything to anyone but me.

So, in the end, I am not angry at Andrew. Let him have his little cheers for himself and his enabling audience. There are more important things in the world than who runs the Times, as long as it isn't Roger Ailes.

I do not hate Sullivan; at least, not in the sense that I want him to be unhappy and despise himself as a failure. If it makes him happy, let him believe what he wants to believe. Besides, it gives us all a chance to laugh at his foolish self-importance, which makes me happy as well.

Andrew Sullivan has slain his dragon, and I am a happy man because of it.

Who would have guessed?

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Crazy People With Microphones

It's been a while since we here at VeryVeryHappy have checked in on our mascot Michael Savage, so the entire staff drew straws and, when that didn't go according to the wishes of the senior editors, the interns were sent out to listen to Mikey's show.

They came back with the most tangible proof yet that Savage's constant description of liberalism as a mental disorder is in fact a case of massive projection.

According to our intrepid interns, Mike was talking about...well, whatever lunatic thing was passing through his mind at the time. Needing some validation, he then decided to take some calls.

The rather one-sided conversation proceeded as follows:
Savage- Okay, [whoever] from [wherever], you're on the air.

Caller- Hey, Michael, I've heard from several media sources-

Savage- What's your real name? Dickhead? Are you a member of the Nazi Party? Is your name Goebbels? Or dickhead? You want me to drop my pants so you can inspect my circumcision? Go die somewhere, you Nazi. You Nazi. Go gargle with Rogaine, you Nazi.

[some lines from Savage's harangue omitted because, well, it was coming pretty fast, and one can only write so quickly. However, every word the caller said is shown]
I don't have the words to describe how bent this man is.

Michael Savage is truly a wonder to behold, and the sooner he is put in a cage and carted from town to town so small children can laugh at him and poke him with sticks, the better.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

If Sullivan Believes Bush Then So Do I!

When Andrew Sullivan writes a post entitled "Reality Check," smart people watch their wallets (in a metaphorical sense, of course; I don't actually think that Sullivan is a pickpocket- although, if I shared his sense of journalistic ethics, I would rephrase that as: "While nothing has been confirmed yet, several people in the know have recently been talking about the long list of people accusing Sullivan of petty theft").

He says:
"REALITY CHECK: Interesting poll in USA Today: 70 percent think things are going moderately well or very well in Iraq; and 67 percent believe that the administration did not deliberately deceive anyone about the WMD threat from Saddam. If I were to poll my own brain, I'd come up with similar results. Sorry, Paul. Try harder."
I'm not really sure who Andy's trying to stick it to with that first poll result. I think that things are going moderately well in Iraq. The war is over, the Iraqi people are experiencing more freedom than they have in a generation, and the only people still shooting at us are coming in groups of ones, twos, and threes. For a formerly totalitarian country a large portion of whose population hates our guts, that's not too bad. No, what concerns me, and lot of other liberals, is the fact that more and more of the evidence is pointing towards a lukewarm commitment to rebuilding Iraq on the part of the administration, and the not-insignificant possibility of a hostile (or at the very least, corrupt as hell) government replacing Saddam's regime. It is not the current state of Iraq that I'm worried about; it's the future that concerns me.

In contrast, it is exceedingly clear who Sullivan is trying to stick it to with that second poll result. Actually, it reeks of desperation. With the weeks going by without any evidence of WMDs in Iraq, the administration is coming under increasingly heavy fire for deceiving the country on the road to war. For the first time since Enron, it seems that there is a seriously damaging story that is not going to go away in a week or two. As more and more people are realizing (some to their joy, others to their horror), this one has legs.

And so, the ridiculously fraudulent ex post facto explanation angle being covering in other corners of the Right-wing media, Andrew decides to rely on the good ol' common sense wisdom of the American people, a huge chunk of whom believe that some or all of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi.

Well, shit, if the American people plus Andrew Sullivan believe it, it must be true!

The funniest part about his post, however, is the obligatory shot at Paul Krugman. This man simply cannot get past his little jihad against PK. From the weeks and weeks of postings about Krugman's extremely minor but fully-disclosed dealings with Enron, to favorably citing Krugman-stalker Donald Luskin (who has turned into an embarrassment even to Krugman-haters), Andrew simply cannot stand to go even short periods of time without trying to discredit Bush's most consistent critic in the major media. At this point, it seems necessary to create some version of Godwin's Law specifically for Sullivan - whenever he mentions Krugman, he is automatically Wrong About Whatever He Is Talking About.
Rhetorical Bullying Triumphant, or If It Makes Andrew Sullivan Happy, It Must Be Bad For You And Me

Sully says:
"The BBC's governors have decided they now need to monitorthe national radio and television service each quarter to detect and keep an eye on bias. That may well be a result of the protests that this blog and many, many others helped frame and coordinate. Three cheers for the "second superpower" of the web."
Like anyone else who has read Eric Alterman's book without being an utterly blind ideologue, I agree that the Right's obsession with "liberal bias" is an effort to work the refs of the media in order to actually move the press to the Right and discredit any coverage that is not kind to the Right and its views.

Consequently, the apparent decision on the part of BBC officials to "focus on whether viewers and listeners believe the BBC is biased" is a terrible turn of events. You'll notice that the focus is on viewers' beliefs about bias, something that is easily manipulated by sources outside the actual content of the BBC- like, say, one of Murdoch's rags, or people like Sullivan.

It's bad enough that the Right has succeeded in intimidating most major media sources here in the US, something that was made painfully obvious during the war when a good chunk of the population turned to the BBC for their war coverage. If people who think like Sullivan succeed in muzzling the BBC as well, it will be a dark day indeed.

So yeah. Three cheers for...well, nothing. There is no cheer here today.

Update: Via SullyWatch, who does on a daily basis what I only have the stomach to do every once in a while, we find this wonderful quote from Sullivan on journalistic objectivity: "But a certain amount of B.S. is necessary for any vaguely successful retrenchment of government power in an insatiable entitlement state ... a rhetorical smoke screen is sometimes necessary."

Now, perhaps my reading comprehension skills have atrophied during my long semi-hiatus from VVH, but isn't that just a way of saying "We need to lie to get what we want" using an extra twenty words?

Monday, June 02, 2003

Governor Perry of Texas:

He may occasionally have protestors in wheelchairs arrested, but at least he also sends cops to the neonatal intensive care ward to harass the family of political opponents!

Anyone know where to submit an application to get a job writing campaign slogans for the Texas GOP? I think I'd be good at that job.
The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

I know that by writing this, I am going to piss off everyone who agrees with me about anything (except, perhaps, TBogg), but I just saw Peggy Noonan live on TV for the first time (until today, I've only seen photographs and read her writing), and I'm sorry, but subtract fifteen years to make the age difference palatable, and she'd be pretty hot.

My God, you are saying to yourself, Christian has lost his mind. He has finally gone over to the Dark Side, seduced like one of those little pervert Tory boys in the eighties who fantasized about paddlings and Maggie Thatcher.

Ho ho. Not so fast. I simply state that the lady has nicely-shaped eyes, a pretty smile, and decent cheekbones. I said nothing about personality or ideology.

In fact, I now know exactly why whenever Noonan is mentioned, someone inevitably makes a crack about Peggy being off her meds and out of the padded room. Through her entire back and forth with Chris Matthews, I counted five separate times when I was almost certain she was about to break down. Not that she seemed excessively emotional, but the way her voice quavers when she tries to make a point, and the unpredictable on-off-on-off of her smile makes me very definitely uncomfortable.

So, I guess my question is...

Is her problem genetic, or perhaps the result of coming of age with a flawed ideology among characters of questionable sincerity and negligible ethics?

And if it's the latter, does she have a daughter? Perhaps one that's been raised by normal people? Or, failing that, wolves?

If so, someone pass her along my URL, eh? Think about it; Peggy's daughter and I- talking, meeting, falling in love. And someday, Peggy as my mother-in-law!

Oh what fun,
Oh what fun,
Oh what fun indeed.
Funny Like A Boot To The Skull

Does anyone else find it amusing that MSNBC's editor-in-chief is on MSNBC's Hardball right now adamantly denouncing all of the "liberal bias" in the media?

And for bonus points, he's arguing against abortion rights activists and talking about why his "friends" dislike affirmative action.

Let's just think about the irony here for a minute, shall we?
God Obviously Hates Me

Because I just heard this closing line from one of Fox's Interchangable Aryan Princess Anchorettes (IAPAs):

"The network America trusts for real journalism, Fox." (emphasis hers)

I dearly hope this is not a new Fox slogan, but I think I may be out of luck on this one. It's just too perfect an example of Murdochian straight-faced bullshit.

And I was having a good day...

Sunday, June 01, 2003

It Is By No Means Wrong

...for a guy in his twenties to really want to see Finding Nemo. Everything that's come out of Pixar so far has been brilliant (Monsters, Inc. is a G-rated masterpiece), and with those guys pushing the envelope (both technology-wise and revenue-wise), the rest of the CGI industry can only get better.

And better, cheaper CGI means the possibility of more imaginative movies (can anyone envision Disney laying out the cash for a muppet-type Toy Story? Would anybody want to actually see the undoubtedly creepy-as-hell result? Remember The Country Bears?) Where's the downside?

Is the number being proposed as a financial incentive to donate the organs of deceased family members.

I'll write more on this later, after I've had the chance to think about the issue some more, but my intial reaction is quite negative.

I understand that there is a critical need for donated organs in this country, and I absolutely support efforts to a) convince more people to donate organs and b) develop alternatives to human organ donation (genetically modified animals bred for organ harvesting, therapeutic cloning, stem cell research).

However, there is something deeply disturbing about putting a price tag on someone's internal organs- not for some abstract philosophical reason, but for the very concrete reason that people do vile and horrible things for money.

Maybe I'm being an alarmist, but the idea of someone killing their spouse for five grand does not seem incredibly far-fetched to me.

Of course, that rather small possibility would probably mean a lot less to me if I or someone I loved needed a liver.

There's just not a simple answer to this one, and now it's going to bother me...
The Good Kind of Terrorist

The captured kind.

Is there some sort of handbook that requires reclusive mad-bomber types to have stupid-looking facial hair?

But seriously, it may seem rather insignificant after 9/11, but I remember watching the Olympics live when that bomb went off, and it was scary as hell to see the genuine confusion and concern on the faces of the people on the screen, knowing that what I was watching was actually happening at that very moment.

I also remember being glad that, while over a hundred people were injured, only one person had died. It wasn't until years later that I realized that some of the ugliest stories come from the ranks of those listed in the papers as merely "injured." As anyone who has seen shrapnel/gunshot/burn injuries -- in person or in photographs -- knows, there's a large range between healthy and dead, and the things that a bunch of nails wrapped around an explosive can do to a human body are truly horrific.

I'm glad they caught the bastard.
In Case You're Curious

I know what I want for Christmas.