As the tall trees continue to fall!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017

Postcards from the decline:
With Matt Lauer's instant exit, the tall trees continues to fall. We offer four postcards from the ongoing decline:

Money and fame: We've routinely warned about the destructive power of wealth and celebrity. As we red about the appalling conduct of people like Lauer and Charlie Rose, we think of this age-old subhuman syndrome.

Our quick take: Money and fame may lead to more than appalling sexual conduct. Wealth and fame may also lead to mugging, clowning, self-adoration and constant dissembling, of a type we constantly see on one or more "cable news" shows.

Off-camera, staffers laugh at the jokes. This is a cultural problem, part of a major decline.

Our tribe's thought leaders sound off: Why was Garrison Keillor dumped by Minnesota Public Radio? At this point, there's no way to know.

MPR has offered no description of the matter or matters in question. Meanwhile, Keillor has offered an anodyne account of a minor event. There's no way to know what's true.

That said, nothing stops our tribe's most unbalanced players from making us look foolish to the rest of the world. At the Atlantic, Megan Garber melted down as soon as Keillor's dismissal was announced. She constructed a rather murky rant against the Prairie Home Companion radio program, culminating with this:
GARBER (11/29/17): [Keillor] became one of the many men who have fallen to the “Weinstein effect.” That effect is its own kind of landscape, its own kind of frontier—a version of manifest destiny in which expansion is not geographical but ideological, and in which justice, rather than justification, is the guiding ethic. The new American landscape is a cultural space that is cognizant of power differentials and mutual respect. It is one that strives for equality. And it is one that takes for granted the conviction that belittling those who are less powerful—all the women are strong—will have, finally, meaningful consequences.
That's right! Garber felt that Prairie Home Companion's description of Lake Wobegon—as a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average"—was Keillor's way of belittling women for being less powerful than men. Or at least, that's what she said.

We have no idea why Keillor was dumped. That said, do you know how silly this highly familiar type of analysis will inevitably look to The Others? In such instances, can we really say that the dimwitted Others are wrong?

No one had the slightest idea: Savannah Guthrie was shocked, just shocked, when Lauer got dumped. As such, she joined the long list of high players who had absolutely zero idea about the misconduct which was occurring on or near their watch.

Oddly, these clueless people have been unknowing about conduct which is routinely reported to have been "an open secret." Again and again, nobody knew what everyone knew! Frank Rich rolls his eyes at this "playacting" in this new interview.

Why can't John Conyers be fired: It's stunning to see how many journalists can't tell the difference between 1) an employee of a private corporation and 2) an elected official.

If Matt Lauer can get fired so fast, why can't John Conyers? Waves of pundits seem utterly baffled by the logic lurking behind this deeply puzzling question.

Earth to pundits, listen up! The logic goes something like this:

Matt Lauer was hired by NBC. On that basis, it's relatively easy for NBC to fire him.

John Conyers was hired by no one. He was elected, by voters.

In particular, he wasn't hired by Nancy Pelosi, or even by James Clyburne. It would be problematic for them to assume they had an obvious right to "fire" him.

This logic also obtains for Roy Moore. If he wins the upcoming election, he will have been "hired" by the people of Alabama.

Alabama is part of the nation, just as Lake Wobegon is. If we want our continental nation to long endure, the viewpoints of people in such farflung locales have to be respected, or perhaps endured, even when the people's wisdom falls far short of Ours.

Our tribe thinks Keillor was belittling women. Their tribe thinks Moore belongs in the Senate.

It's clear that our tribe is just stunningly brilliant. But what are you going to do?

31 comments:

  1. Megan Garber thinks Keillor was belittling women, which becomes, in Somerby's hands:
    "Our tribe thinks Keillor was belittling women."

    There's a word for this kind of logical fallacy. Overgeneralization? Deception? Who reasons like this?

    Whereas their tribe apparently does want Moore in the Senate, if the polls are to be believed.

    ReplyDelete
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  2. Here's a news report on Garrison Keillor.

    http://www.startribune.com/garrison-keillor-fired-for-improper-behavior/460802703/#1

    Here's Keillor's full email to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    http://www.startribune.com/read-garrison-keillor-s-full-email-to-the-star-tribune/460827763/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's your thinking on that?

      Delete
    2. Keillor admits to sliding his hand 6 inches up the bare back of a woman with an open shirt. I cannot imagine a work environment where that would be OK. Why is her shirt open? Was he in her dressing room. What was he "comforting" her about? He says she recoiled. That makes it sound pretty unwelcome and surprising. He doesn't tell anyone what was going on. Why not? Lots of things to think about in his self-serving email. And yes, it does come across as egotistical and like he thinks he is a victim when it was the woman who was touched by him.

      Delete
    3. CMike, I don't know what to think. I'd like to hear the woman's side of the story.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the links, Caesar. In the spirit of this blog, I would say this is a good example of the Left (MPR in this case) eating its own even before all of the facts of the matter come to light. You rarely see that from the Right.

      There does seem to be an element of hysteria to all of these recent allegations about so many people, given so many years after the incidents, though some are obviously well-backed up by others who witnessed some truly execrable behavior. If Keillor’s recollections are to be believed, then his lone accuser (or is it two now?) seems to be engaged in a form of ratfucking.

      But who would ratfuck Keillor? It’s not like he’s a pol that’s hated by the other tribe. Maybe MPR needs to trim payroll.

      By his account, I simply can’t imagine that this past offense rises to the level of termination. I enjoyed PHC now and then while on the road, so perhaps that might be construed as bias on my part.

      As you said, we only have one side of the story. I don’t know wtf is going on in this case, but it would be interesting to see if Keillor’s apologetic email and the response could be brought to light. In Franken’s case, we already know the apology was accepted, though his accuser took a hella long time to relate the incident. What more does it take? Do careers really need to be ruined over what seem to be relatively minor “sexual” infractions?

      In the case of Keillor and Franken, I think the shaming should be quite enough. But as Bob likes to say, there’s a stampede occurring. It has its positive aspects, but things have gone just a bit too far in my view. And btw, I think Bob has taken a perfectly sane view on these matters, though as I’ve said before, I think Moore should be slandered to the fullest extent of the law, whether the accusations are true or not. Having this guy elected is just one more step towards a fascist theocracy in light of his political record in Alabama. Speaking strictly as a tribalist, of course.

      Leroy

      Delete
    5. Not A Hater Or TrollDecember 1, 2017 at 8:04 PM

      "... I think Bob has taken a perfectly sane view view on these matters ...."

      No he hasn't.

      Delete
    6. How so? I have an open mind and enjoy the expansion thereof at all times.

      Leroy

      Delete
    7. These large corporations and organizations don't fire people for no good reason because of the potential of a lawsuit. They investigate and they fire people for doing something wrong.

      Garrison Keillor comes across as a personality but we don't know anything about what he is like in real life.

      His own explanation didn't sound that innocent to me.

      Delete
    8. "They investigate and they fire people for doing something wrong."

      Jamie Dimon, still CEO of JP Morgan, on line 2.

      Delete
    9. He's not an employee.

      Delete
  3. Mao, Sergei Viktorovich says Mr Trump is provoking North Korea.

    https://sputniknews.com/world/201711301059565581-russia-us-north-korea-lavrov/

    Believe the foreign minister! Mr Trump is guilty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh dear. While I strongly commend the ongoing purge of lousy (mostly) liberal celebrities, I have to admit that purging out Garrison Keillor is unfortunate. He is, of course, a rare case of true talent among the obnoxious bunch of opportunists, hypocrites and impostors.

    Oh, never mind, the more the merrier - keep it going. Who's next?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it's the totally pro-establishment President of the United States. Unfortunately, even after he admoitted to being a sexual predator, Mao and the rest of the oligarchs voted for him.

      Delete
    2. It seems to me that Mao Cheng Ji has only the best interest of the United States at heart, given the high regard Ji places on humanity in general.

      Delete
    3. Скорее, это просто озвучивание ультиматума нашей офшорной олигархии, нашим чиновникам-клептоманам: "Ребята, определяйтесь. Вот вам полгода. Вы должны за это время решить, по какую сторону баррикад вы будете".
      Читайте больше на.

      Delete
  5. "the appalling conduct of people like Lauer and Charlie Rose"

    Somerby seems quite willing to "believe the women" in these cases, but is much more cautious about the Moore allegations. Why?

    Maybe it's because "We've routinely warned about the destructive power of wealth and celebrity"

    So, it fits Somerby's narrative.

    Why not "the appalling conduct of people like Lauer and Charlie Rose and Roy Moore?"

    Perhaps wealth and political power are also destructive? Perhaps in ways more damaging than wealth and TV stardom?

    As an aside, I learned this as a child , long before Somerby started his blog: Radix malorum est cupiditas

    Comes from the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Pink Floyd does that better, I think. Though who knows where their inspiration comes from?

      Leroy

      Delete
  6. "If we want our continental nation to long endure, the viewpoints of people in such farflung locales have to be respected, or perhaps endured"

    Yep. That's why we worked out that nifty compromise with the CSA and avoided that troubling War. The Union, presciently following Somerby's advice, respected the South: They just wanted to preserve slavery; so what if they fired on Ft Sumter? We'll just have to endure it.

    Respect? I don't respect Roy Moore and a whole host of other Republican politicos. I don't respect the view that global warming is a Chinese hoax. Why should I? I can respect a Republican voter as a human being and try to be persuasive about global warming for example, but I refuse to disavow my principles. If they don't respect me in return, then what?
    Endure? In the face of the dismantling of critical social safety net programs? How about organizing, protesting, and pushing back against the disastrous pro-oligarch agenda of the Republicans?
    Respect and endure...and here I thought the liberals were supposed to mount a resistance decades ago, but were slumbering.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I honestly have no idea why Somerby insists on pretending that THE OTHERS (by which I guess he means white male conservatives in the midwest) read random articles by unknown writers in The Atlantic and, as a result, decide not to vote for Democrats. What? This is a nonsensical causal claim.

    I agree with many of Bob's complaints about various lazy habits of TV liberals, which is one reason I don't watch cable news. But the divide in US politics has not come about because of sloppy or overzealous argumentation from the left.

    If Somerby were correct that conservatives could be won over if liberals would stop "playing the race card" or committing whatever other sins, Obama would've done it. He bent over backwards to be rhetorically inclusive. That was what launched his career and was the basis for his entire persona. He criticized black people and leftist "political correctness". He constantly invoked national unity, was demonstrably religious, and practiced good family values.

    And what happened? The GOP nominated Trump, an ignorant and irreligious fraud and liar who built his political persona around a racist slander.

    So while the left should strive to be generous to political opponents ("with malice toward none") and should uphold high intellectual standards, let's stop with the absurd canard that it's somehow liberals' fault that conservatives now advocate the politics of cultural revenge and can be convinced to support better policies with reason and evidence. Nothing supports that analysis.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's a pity there's no like/thumbsupvote/recommend button here....

      Delete
    2. Good comment, Pedler. I do think Somerby makes some valid points, particularly about the press. What bothers me, though, is his predilection for veering from sober analysis of a journalist's misstep to name-calling the journalist, the way he did recently with Michelle Goldberg, just as an example. She said she believed Juanita Broaddrick; Somerby rightly pointed out her error, and gave the real facts of the case. But then he went on to call Goldberg a "pseudo-progressive careerist", among other epithets. Based on Goldberg's single mistaken assertion, Somerby concludes that she is "pseudo progressive" and then sits in judgment of her motives by calling her a "careerist."
      I have no opinion of Goldberg one way or the other; perhaps Somerby is correct, but he has in no way proven his case about her. His name calling and mind reading seems to me childish and unhelpful to his case.

      Also, he will veer from pointing out a (liberal) journalist's misstep to insulting all liberals: "we" are stupid, lazy, dishonest, etc, as if a single journalistic misstep shows something true about all liberals. Whether there is any truth in his assertions about individual journalists or liberals in general, Somerby tries to jam every offense that he finds into his double-pronged narrative "all prominent media people are corrupt" and "liberals are stupid and don't know how to talk to the others."
      And he never discusses good examples of journalism that undoubtedly exist, so one could be forgiven for thinking that it's all a steaming pile of poo. And he seldom if ever tries himself to talk about issues or shows any positive examples of such.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Excellent post, anon 1:54, as was Pedler’s. Your comments neatly bookend some of the real shortcomings of this blog. I suppose the reality is that Bob can’t move beyond his somewhat crabbed view. He’s right about so many things in his analyses (within their contexts), but it would sure be a breath of fresh air to see him get beyond media analysis, since he’s obviously a very smart and well-read guy. And funny too, though maybe only to some.

      “Around the country, liberal brain cells screamed in pain as they initially writhed, then keeled over and died.”

      I laughed out loud at that comment, Bob’s reference to an episode of the Maddow show. She’s one of the reasons he mentions our “inability to talk to the others,” because if fans really take her to heart, then they are indeed in need of a little TDH.

      To point, when Bob talks about “we liberals,” he’s referring to avid viewers of such shows. They exist. But we liberals here are not in that category, barring a few Maddow defenders.

      It’s what got Bob started. You do see him post off-topic with thought provoking themes, but rarely. I’d like to see more of that, since his catalog of media malfeasance is so extensive that it can’t be denied.

      Time to venture out of the castle a bit more, Bob, and I say that as longtime appreciative reader.

      Leroy

      Delete
    5. Bob's problem is that he believes Right-wing tropes about liberals.
      Hey Bob, this just in (LOL), they're lying to you.

      Delete
  8. Committing an act that diminishes women (such as touching them at will) while repeating a phrase that all the women are strong is ironic at best and taunting if he said it with intent.

    Men don't seem to understand that sexual assault on women is about power, not sex. Men exert their power over women in a physical way that reminds them of their place in society and their submission to male domination. Some rapists even express this motive explicitly, buy it is a subtext in every interaction where a man behaves sexually toward a woman without consent, in an unwanted uninvited way.

    That means that when Garrison Keillor considers it his God-given right to put his hands on women who are within his reach, he is exerting male dominance in a way that the woman feels, even if the man is unaware of how his acting out is being experienced by her. Men who don't get that are loudly complaining that women are out to get them, that they are lying, looking for a payday, trying to bring down a political opponent, acting like victims when they have nothing to complain about, etc. Men cannot afford to remain clueless about this when their jobs may be at stake.

    Men know better than to try this stuff with each other. Because they have the power to fight back against it in various ways that women cannot. Women are now using lawyers and publicity to fight back. Men can and will adjust by keeping their hands to themselves and making the workplace less of a jungle for female employees.

    Somerby meanwhile keeps ignoring the most obvious aspects of these cases.

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  9. I think Keillor was belittling women.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A few women with an opinion is a witchhunt. A few men telling them they're probably overreacting is stoic rationalism.

    Bob, Kevin Drum, Garrison Keillor are all very scared women might have an effect on politics. These women are all getting together and exerting influence that protects each other as a class.

    Try to make it about the press, it's not. It's about latent conservative sympathies for men as a class.

    ReplyDelete