You ought to be very angry: Later today, we’re heading home from this, the Hudson Valley, on Amtrak. And no, we don’t mean Acela!
In the meantime, you ought to be angry about many things found in recent newspapers.
For starters, you ought to be angry about this passage shown below from Paul Krugman’s new column. The column deals with the power of the mega-rich, about whose vast wealth most of us are less than fully informed:
KRUGMAN (9/29/14): Does the invisibility of the very rich matter? Politically, it matters a lot. Pundits sometimes wonder why American voters don’t care more about inequality; part of the answer is that they don’t realize how extreme it is. And defenders of the superrich take advantage of that ignorance. When the Heritage Foundation tells us that the top 10 percent of filers are cruelly burdened, because they pay 68 percent of income taxes, it’s hoping that you won’t notice that word “income”—other taxes, such as the payroll tax, are far less progressive. But it’s also hoping you don’t know that the top 10 percent receive almost half of all income and own 75 percent of the nation’s wealth, which makes their burden seem a lot less disproportionate.We were a tiny bit peeved by that highlighted passage. Here’s why:
How many years have gone by since we started identifying that key piece of sleight of hand? Back in the day, we endlessly tied it to Sean Hannity, who was endlessly pimping it out.
In that highlighted passage, Krugman is citing a tightly-scripted piece of disinformation. We identified it more than a decade ago, along with a group of companion misdirections.
Fiery liberals and mainstream journalists have aggressively let such matters go. It’s very, very, very hard to induce career journalists to discuss the highly visible ways the American people get disinformed about financial and budget matters and, in the process, get fleeced.
If a problem deals with race and sex, a different rule obtains! In those cases, the modern, millionaire corporate liberal will shout the outrage to the skies, keeping your eyeballs over there, where you can't follow the money.
The so-called “social issues” are very important, of course. They’re also very useful to the plutocrat class. Over at the new Salon, an astonishing piece by Daisy Hernandez has the commenters calling each other names. In these, and equally useful ways, we the rubes get turned against each other, as people like the awful Hernandez carry off sacks of cash.
We’ll discuss the Hernandez piece upon our return to our award-winning campus. For now, let’s return to the ways the public gets played concerning issues of wealth:
In yesterday’s Sunday Outlook section, the Washington Post presented its weekly “Five Myths” feature. Yesterday’s piece was written by Darrel M. West, a functionary at the Brookings Institution. West’s piece bore this slightly concerning headline:
“Five Myths About Billionaires”
We’ll admit it—we were already concerned. As Krugman notes today, we don’t have anywhere near enough "myths" about the ongoing role of our billionaires.
What “myths” was West prepared to debunk? Incredibly, this was the very first myth his piece addressed:
“1. Billionaires can buy elections and change public policy.”
Billionaires can buy elections and change public policy. In bold print, these obvious facts were trumpeted as a “myth” in yesterday’s Washington Post!
There’s much more to be said about that piece—and about its strange twin at Salon, in which the same Darrel M. West warns that a group of billionaires is planning to buy the next presidential election!
We don’t know when we’ve seen a more peculiar pair of pieces. We think you ought to be angry at West—and especially, at the Washington Post.
In the end, our favorite piece from yesterday’s papers appeared in the Sunday Review of the New York Times. It was written by the unbelievably foppish Anna Della Subin, a young semi-academic with whose simpering class you ought to be very annoyed.
Subin wrote about procrastination. Her essay was the the featured, front-page piece in the high-profile Sunday section.
In comments, many readers said they loved it. We were struck by this horrific passage:
SUBIN (9/28/14): [I]f procrastination is so clearly a society-wide, public condition, why is it always framed as an individual, personal deficiency? Why do we assume our own temperaments and habits are at fault—and feel bad about them—rather than question our culture’s canonization of productivity?The conference had a biographer of clutter! Also, a theorist about queer procrastination! Every top conference does!
I was faced with these questions at an unlikely event this past July—an academic conference on procrastination at the University of Oxford. It brought together a bright and incongruous crowd: an economist, a poetry professor, a “biographer of clutter,” a queer theorist, a connoisseur of Iraqi coffee-shop culture. There was the doctoral student who spoke on the British painter Keith Vaughan, known to procrastinate through increasingly complicated experiments in auto-erotica. There was the children’s author who tied herself to her desk with her shoelaces.
The keynote speaker, Tracey Potts, brought a tin of sugar cookies she had baked in the shape of the notorious loiterer Walter Benjamin. The German philosopher famously procrastinated on his “Arcades Project,” a colossal meditation on the cityscape of Paris where the figure of the flâneur—the procrastinator par excellence—would wander...
As we entered the ninth, grueling hour of the conference, a professor laid out a taxonomy of dithering so enormous that I couldn’t help but wonder: Whatever you’re doing, aren’t you by nature procrastinating from doing something else?
You should be extremely annoyed with horrible people like Subin and Potts, who wasted time baking those fracking cookies in the shape of an alleged philosopher whose life story Subin made virtually incoherent. Over the past thirty years, they and their kind have been wasting time at international conferences of the type described in that passage, creating the impression that a serious work is occurring.
Gullible newspapers like the New York Times pretend that these high academics are involved in serious work.
Unfortunately, they aren’t. As they piddle their time away, their guild’s economists keep pimping the cant of billionaires, in the way Krugman described in Sunday's Book Review section. None of their pretty class stoops to the actual work of the day—refuting the disinformation spewed by the people like Hannity.
We’ll offer you more on that horrific conference this week. To peruse its truly horrific web site, you can just click this.
That said, you ought to be very angry at useless young people like Subin. Their conferences are funded by gifts from the plutocrats and it horrifically shows.
Tomorrow, we’re back to The Houses of Nantucket County. We’ll be explaining how the world seems to work—the world which has us in our second war in Iraq.
How weird that it is left to us to describe the role of those lovely houses in the journalistic horror show of the past thirty years! That said, who else is going to do it? Career journalist will never tell you how their world actually works. The Subins, meanwhile, flounce around at Oxford with their plutocrat-financed acts of self-absorption.
That horrific international conference is linked to The Houses of Nantucket Country. Everything’s pretty in those realms. The truth is told not to escape.
At Oxford, the flâneurs are in charge. They're eating their Walter Benjamin cookies and trying themselves to desks with shoelaces. This leaves the plutocrats free to do business in The Houses of Nantucket County.
Amtrak willing, that story resumes tomorrow.
Just for the record: The theorist of queer procrastination was the regally named Lilith Dornhuber de Bellesiles, whose presentation was called The Queer Art of Procrastination. For verification, click here.