Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deep Stupid #12

It almost seems cruel to do a DEEP STUPID entry on the pant-load who foisted LIBERAL FASCISM on the world.  But, since he won't shut the hell up, I'm not going to let that stop me.  In a REAL CLEAR POLITICS entry dated Nov. 20, 2009, the illustrious Jonah Goldberg* excreted this masterpiece on vicious librull criticism of Sarah Palin's new book, GOING ROGUE.

Copyright 2009, Tribune Media Services Inc.

This will probably be less painful than actually reading Palin's vapid reality show cum venge-quest of a memoir, so let's have at it.

Slate magazine is just one of the countless media outlets convulsing with St. Vitus' Dance over that demonic succubus Sarah Palin.

Actually, he's off to a pretty good start, having at least accurately portrayed Palin as "that demonic succubus."

In its reader forum, The Fray, one supposed Palinophobe took dead aim at the former Alaska governor's writing chops, excerpting the following sentence from her book:

Now hold on a minute, Jonah.  Couldn't you have found some example among the "countless media outlets convulsing with St. Vitus' Dance" slightly more representative, or perhaps relevant, than the reader's forum at Slate?  Here are a couple in blogs I link to, G and T (not for the faint-hearted.  You have been warned.).  And LGM, handling it one chapter at a time. And of course, there was Steven Colbert calling her book a "Steaming pile of bleep."  (Which I heard with my own ears.) How did Jonah miss them?

"The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."

Other readers pounced like wolf-sized Dobermans on an intruder. One guffawed, "That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate."

Somehow, Jonah neglected to provide a link to the this Doberman-pouncing hate-fest.  A simple oversight, no doubt.  I mean, I can't imagine that he would be indulging in cherry-picking, or anything vaguely dishonest like that. Would he?  Fortunately, with 30 seconds spare time, and the help of The Google, I was able to track it down.

But soon, the original contributor confessed: "I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It's taken from the first paragraph of ‘Dreams From My Father,' written by Barack Obama."

The ruse should have been allowed to fester longer, but the point was made nonetheless: Some people hate Palin first and ask questions later.

Wow.  That is some serious hate, isn't it?  But wait.  Jonah forgot - and I'm sure this is another innocent oversight -  to print the rest of the original post by the original contributor, one KevClark64.  Here, Jonah's oversight is corrected.

Wow! That wouldn't make it through freshman English class, and I mean high school, not college. What's the sentence about anyway? The apartment? The gas station? The Doberman? How about sticking with one complete thought before going on to three more? Just goes to show that some people should stick with politics and give up any presumptions of being a writer.

This paragraph, obviously done in good clean fun by the clever Mr. KevClark64 to punk the liberal fascist Slate crowd, is reasonable critiquing, while saying the sentence in question deserves honorable mention in a bad writing contest is a manifestation of - what was it?  Oh, yeah: "hate first ask questions later."

You see, to a right-wing pant-load, even a jesting (or, guffawing, if you so prefer) critique of some admitedly over-wrought prose percieved to have come from a poor, oppressed, down-trodden, Splinter-sect Christian radical right-wing tool is hate.  Never mind that most everyone in the country has long known about as much as they want to about the Divine Miss S, and formed their opinions no later than August, 2008.

And, of course, Jonah is far above issuing such un-genteel criticism, or even engaging in over-wrought rhetoric.  This gem was only a slip of the pen.

It's difficult for mere mortals like us to fully grasp the enormousness of the Democrats' hypocrisy. Put aside all that talk of dissent being the highest form of patriotism. Overlook that Democrats would have upended jerry cans of gasoline and immolated themselves in protest if the Bush administration had asked people to inform on their neighbors. You can even forget that the DNC's claims are untrue.

But I digress.  Back to business.

My all-time favorite response to John McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate was from Wendy Doniger, a feminist professor of religion at the University of Chicago. Professor Doniger wrote of the exceedingly feminine "hockey mom" with five children: "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."

Oh, my - where to start.  Doniger is a feminist.  Well, to Jonah's loyal readership, that in itself might be damning. Next, Palin is "exceedingly feminine." For me to conclude that this is merely code for Ex-Gov-hockey-MILF would be rank speculation, though I do believe I'm on to something.  But let's start here:

The best part about that sentence: Doniger uses the pronoun "her" - twice.

In Jonah-land the feminist professor is so blind to her own rhetoric, that she misses the irony of using the female pronoun to refer to the pretend woman. Well, this is more than I can figure out on my own.  Maybe we should go to the source.

Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

Leaving nothing to chance here, I'll first point out that Doniger is using the word "woman" as the female equivalent of "mensch" - you know, a REAL person, rather than a contrived phony; then add definition 7 of pretense:  "The quality or state of being pretentious; ostentation."  This nuance of meaning is clearly too subtle for Jonah's little pea-brain.

And, gee.  It almost seems that Jonah's ridicule of an off-topic (remember this is ostensibly about rabid criticism of Palin's book), 14-month-old, cherry-picked quote out of context (again, no link provided) might be the slightest bit disingenuous.  Could it be our boy is hating first, and not even bothering with questions?

Just this week, a liberal blogger at The Atlantic who has dedicated an unhealthy amount of his life to proving a one-man birther conspiracy theory about Palin's youngest child (it's both too slanderous and too deranged to detail here) shut down his blog to cope with the epochal, existential crisis that Palin's book presents to all humankind. The un-self-consciously parodic announcement seemed more appropriate for a BBC warning that the German blitz was about to begin, God Help Us All.

OK.  I'm getting tired of trackng down Jonah's damned unlinked, uncited references. Well, another 30 seconds with The Google, revealed this LIBERAL as non-other than Andrew Sullivan.  Unfortunately, I had to wade through the fetid dung-mire that is Michelle Malkin to get there, and my brain is still reeling from our last encounter. And Sullivan's blog was shut down for all of 17 HOURS.

But, Jonah - come here lad - I have to explain something to you.  Your "liberal blogger" Andrew Sullivan is A FREAQUING CONSERVATIVE!   If you had provided a link, or at least identified who you were talking about, the transparency of this lie would have been manifest.  So here we see Jonah revealed.  Not merely content to cherry-pick, distort, and grasp wildly at straws in a vain attempt to make his contrived point, he has to resort - as conservatives always do - to making shit up.

Indeed, some of us will always be sympathetic to Mrs. Palin if for nothing else than her enemies.

Uh, Jonah - that sort of sympathy is supposed to be directed at underdogs and the down-trodden, not priveleged members of a political elite with hundred and fifty-thousand dollar wardrobes and million dollar book deals.  Glad to help you there, son.

The bile she extracts from her critics is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.

Time for a do-over.

The bile she spews is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.

There.  Corrected that for you.
In fairness, just as there are people who hate Palin for the effrontery she shows in daring to draw breath at all,

That's colorful Jonah, and almost imaginative, but - sorry - FAIL!  She has worked hard to earn our contempt.

there are those who love her with a devotion better suited for a religious icon.

When Jonah, in a rare moment of lucid candor, hits on a heretofore either unnoticed or underappreciated truth, it can actually be quite terrifying.

I hear from both camps, often. And while I don't think both sides are equally wrong (after all, the acolytes of the Doniger school openly reject reality more than any so-called creationist),

Can somebody please tell me what the hell a "so-called creationist" is, or what this sentence is supposed to mean?  Or is Jonah still simply hung up on not understanding definition 7 of pretense?  Really - What the . . . ?!?

I don't think either position is laudable or sufficient.

Au contraire, Jonah: extremism in defense of Palin's chicanery is no virtue, but revealing Palin as a dupliticous, grubbing right-wing tool is no vice.

Sarah Palin is neither savior

I am so relieved!

(that job has been taken by the current president, or didn't you know?)

Careful Jonah.  That is almost hateful.

nor is she satanic. She is a politician, a species of human like the rest of us.

A species of human?  Let that cogent phrase sink into your cerebellum and oscillate for a moment or two.  But, meanwhile, I'm withholdng judgement until the DNA testing is in.

I'm fairly certain that if you read many of her public-policy positions but concealed her byline, many of her worst enemies would say "that sounds about right," and some of her biggest fans would say "that sounds crazy." But most people would say that her views are perfectly within the mainstream of American politics. She may be more religious than coastal elites in the lower 48, but that is something some bigots need to get over, anyway.

I'm fairly certain that Jonah's relationship with reality is, at best, casual.

I'm happy about the books she's selling thanks to the controversy over her, but that doesn't mean I think these controversies are justified. Palin holds no public office and, as of yet, is not running for one.

And the last time she did, she walked out in a snit, unable to take the pressure.  Or have you forgotten?

But the Associated Press assigned eleven reporters to "fact-check" her book, while doing nothing like that to fact-check then-candidate Obama's or current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's no doubt riveting book.

Say what you like about Obama and Reid - but they aren't famous for making statements that are blatently lies or delusional fantasies, like Palin is.  And I have to believe that the AP is a business orginization that wouldn't devote those resources unless they were pretty confident they'd strike gold.

As it stands, my sense is that Palin is good for the Republican party but not necessarily great.

If you had any sense, you would realize that the genuinely awful Sarah Palin is the worst thing to happen to the Republican party since Watergate.

She generates enthusiasm among, and donations from, the base. But she also turns off many of the people the GOP needs to persuade and attract.

Once again a moment of lucid candor.  That's two in one article!

That could change with this book tour, and I hope it does.

Not too likely if she continues to stand up her rain-soaked supporters.

Whether she's ready or qualified for the presidency is another matter. But the presidency is a long way off,

Not long enough to teach the unteachable.

and besides, that's what primaries are for.

And that's how we got GWB.  God help us all.

Here's the bottom line.  With a little bit of quasi-clear thinking, The Google, and a dash of snark, I was able to reveal Jonah's poorly thought-out article as nothing more than a steaming pile of horse manure, and damned mean-spirited, to boot.  There is no valid conservatism in this country.  All they have is right-wing DEEP STUPIDITY, and it's pathetic.

The stupid - it festers!
*  Photo from here


J said...

Slate and the Fray are not entirely "liberal fascist" land, jz-b--really, I would say yr pals at EotAW are closer to Goldbergism. Which is to say, there are only slight differences between neo-liberals, and liberal libertarians...sort of arguments about tax policies, usually

For that matter, a Hitchens, or Fred Kaplan or other slatesters are not Goldbergs, jz-b. The Fraysters do not love Hitchens (or say Saletan); his posts are usually met with scorn, rather than approval.

I agree that Goldberg is Deep Stupid, sort of the Aynnie Rand du jour, but then the GOP and libertarians (or whatever Jonah izz) do not have a monopoly on Deep stupidity--e.g. consider Al Gore as Deep stupid material for DemoCo

Jazzbumpa said...

J -

Oh, surely, my friend, you recognize sarcasm when you see it!

One emerging point that Jonah, here, and Michelle Malkin, in an earlier DEEP STUPID entry, illustrated is that anyone who does not share extremist movement conservatism beliefs is at least librull, and possibly radically librull.

Such is their parallax view.

I haven't noticed anything along the lines of liberal libertarianism at EotAW. And comparing them to Johah-like idiocy is unsupportable. Do they ridicule quotes out of context? Do they draw wild conclusions from cherry picked information? Do they miss obvious points? Do they make shit up? Really, you let your bitterness color your perspective to rather a distressing degree.

My take on DEEP STUPID is to go after pronouncements that are so wildly divergent from reality, and characterized by the Jonah qualities listed above, that I can't keep myself from piling on the ridicule. If you think there is room for that with Gore, or anyone else on the left, have at it. I do not own a monopoly on the franchise. But please remain true to the concept.


J said...

It's a subtler form of Goldbergism, jz-b, though still about, like, the Divine right of Queens, etc., and dare we say capitalism, though with a bit of PC Trotskyism (let's not forget like Lieberman, or Feinstein, or Raumie Emmanuel and Co's support for the IWE).

And I'm not really bitter, tho' do object to putative or soi-disant leftists who mistake control freak bureaucrats, academic hacks, and J-Edgar wannabes ( like those of EotAW, or Berubay, KOS, unfogged, et al) for the real Gauche.

And yes, I could show you where they draw wild conclusions from cherry picked historical information, even if their results are not quite as extreme as Goldberg's. I don't think Goldberg, however ludicrous (Il Duce was no liberal, be sure of dat--nor were the brownshirts) belongs to GOP, at least officially. Some of the libertarians like Ms Palin--pro- oil, NRA, Alaska, pro-booze/gambling/ho's, wolf nipple chips, etc.

PJB-Chicago said...

I am not going to step into the thick of the discussion between J. and JzB., because I am late to the party and don't know the background there, as interesting as the conversation seems.

What I will say, not to interrupt your back & forth is that JzB has made me think about Deep Stupidity. I can't claim to have gotten too far in that process, but what I do have is this:
Deep Stupid means, at least in part, doing a lousy job of arguing one' s own side, setting out one's assertions in a coherent and logical manner and backing them up with reasonable evidence. Same thing goes for a court case, an editorial, etc.

I had, at one time, a shelf of Debate trophies, and at least half were from debates where my/my team's position were chosen by the flip of a coin. To "win" the debate we had to have better logic/evidence than the other team. To win a tournament consisting of many debates, we had to be able to debate either side convincingly, NO MATTER where our own personal opinions fell. Not an easy thing to learn to do, and before getting decent at it, I failed many times to present something good enough to trounce the other team.

Point is this: as much as I may agree/disagree with what someone says, I think it's a damn shame when someone who presumably thinks/writes for the public to make a living, and that person
can't state their OWN case--even if I mostly agree with their conclusions.That to me is Deep Stupid. Case in point: Sarah Palin's book and blog are long on folksy nuggets of home-brewed wisdom, but I cannot find the logic. Where is she starting from, what is she proposing--in some doable, concrete steps--that should be done? I have had the same problem with some of Al Gore's environmental lit, as well, and much of the rhetoric about healthcare (my own field, more or less)coming from both Reps and Dems. I admire anyone who can craft a nice resounding speech or a piece of prose, sure, but it's much more convincing when someone at least pre-empts what the other side will likely say/argue and deals with those issues up front.

Where the DEEPNESS meets the STOOPIDNESS is in just repeating the same things over and over, and pretending that the other side hasn't responded. Then, it's like one side yelling at the other in Russian and their counterparts are screaming in Swahili. Not a lot of good comes out of it.

That's my two Euros and a couple shillings for now. I'll keep pondering, ok?

Be well.

Jazzbumpa said...


Your points are well taken. But this is not anything along the lines of debate. This is not a point-counterpoint where either side has facts pro and con to their position. Rather, this is the unmasking of BIG, HAIRY LIES.

My concept of what DEEP STUPID means to me has been evolving since I stole the idea from Urbino at Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Currently, it is as follows.

A logically indefensible position, contrary to reality, is put forth as truth. The position is supported by some combination of - cherry-picked information,
- distortions,
- the ridicule of quotes - and especially misquotes - taken out of context,
- invalidly drawn conclusions,
- various common logical falacies,
- and shit that is simply made up.

I doubt that this list is exhaustive.

Some of their other tricks are (as you pointed out) mindless repetition, and (my favorite) changing the subject.

And all of this works with the target audience because hey have no critical thinking skills. Which is why right wingers are against education.

The thing that I wonder about is this: are these people genuinely this stupid, or are they so ethically bankrupt that truth and lies literally mean nothing to them? I think there are a few in each camp.