Milbank speaks on behalf of one of his tribes!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016

A truly sobering column:
As Election Day draws near, cable pundits continue to burn their days away speculating about what will happen two weeks hence.

Every new poll provides a new way to kill some time while pretending to be performing analytical service.

If we simply wait two weeks, we'll actually know who won each state! But for cable pundits, professional joy seems to consist in the endless killing of time.

As cable stars burn their days away, columnists and other print journalists are offering some interesting thoughts about how to proceed post-election. We're especially interested in emerging attempts to understand Trump voters.

We plan to explore such musings next week. For today, we're chastened by Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post.

It's always stunning when major pundits buy into the flimsy idea that the "generations" are fundamentally different one from the other. In his new column, Milbank adopts this flimsy theory full-and-complete freakin' bore.

We jotted a note as we read his column. It's "genuinely dumb," we opined.

Milbank seems to be pretty sure that his generation contains the thoughtful good wise intelligent people, some other generations not nearly so much. We've never seen his analytical skills put to so little use.

Milbank is especially peeved with the baby boomers. They "expanded entitlement programs," he scoldingly says, apparently not realizing that many people would regard such expansion as a boon. He says the boomers "are now poised to bankrupt such programs."

Maybe yes, maybe no. In this context, the scary term "bankrupt" has long operated as a form of fuzzy math.

People who believe "generations" are tribes say the darnedest things! (We believe Art Linkletter said that.) Milbank proves this time-honored point in this remarkable passage:
MILBANK (10/26/16): Boomers, coddled in their youth, grew up selfish and unyielding. When they got power, they created polarization and gridlock from both sides. Though Vietnam War-protesting boomers got the attention, their peers on the right were just as ideological, creating the religious right. Boomers are twice as likely to identify as conservative than liberal, a figure that hasn’t changed much in two decades. And Trump captures his generation’s selfishness: his multiple draft deferrals, his claim that he’s “made a lot of sacrifices” by building buildings, his vow not to cut Social Security but to have huge tax cuts and massive military investments.
"Boomers, coddled in their youth, grew up selfish and unyielding?" It's hard to believe that anyone could write such a silly sentence, let alone an upper-end journalist who graduated from Yale. Skull and Bones!

"Trump captures his generation's selfishness?" Not unlike the aforementioned Trump, Milbank seems to be out of mind.

Might we continue? In that passage, Milbank seems to say that boomers who protested the Vietnam war "were just as ideological" as those who created the religious right. In fairness, he has clearly earned the right to snark at Trump's "draft deferrals" [sic] given his own medal-festooned, heroic service in his nation's subsequent wars, where he served under General Mitty.

(Trust us. During Vietnam, no one would have fought for draft deferrals [sic] with any more fervor than Milbank.)

That column is stunningly dumb. It's hard to believe that anyone traffics in such manifest twaddle, but our upper-end mainstream press corps rather transplendently does. This column reminds us of what can happen when they stop frisking their polls.

Full disclosure: We share the old school system tie with William Strauss of "Strauss–Howe generational theory" fame. He attended Burlingame High while we were at Aragon.

Bill Keller was down the Alameda at Serra. As best we can tell, all these fellows found a way out of the draft.

12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Meet the new boss...

      That one?

      Delete
  2. The Greatest Generation started the entitlements, AKA social safety net. Boomers started 2nd wave feminism, gay rights, ethnic studies & rights movements, environmentalism, free love (aka sexual revolution), golden age of movies, comic book anti-heroes (concept of anti-hero in lit generally), psychedelic and heavy metal music, disco, anything amplified, surfing and extreme sports, computers, AI & technology-assisted everything, space travel, the internet, and TV as an art form, pharmaceutical-based medicine and neuroscience.

    Changes attributable to the subsequent generations will hopefully be as substantial.

    I'm sure many of us were selfish but I spend 3 unpaid years as a volunteer and am still working as a do-gooder, so not all of us were materialistic (depite The Big Chill's assertion that it was natural to sell out). We were the Peace Corps generation.

    I think Milbank is perceiving the boomers as a blank slate onto which to project his own self-failings. As I near old age, I am pretty happy with my life, thank you. I disagree that we've been bad for the planet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Remember when Olbermann banned Milbank from his show? It was several years before he showed up again on MSNBC, as I recall.

    They're almost all just as bad. Tonight I've been watching O'Donnell once again mangle and misstate these Republicans' statements about sex and sexual misconduct. He has a real need to demonize them all beyond reason.

    ReplyDelete
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