FICTITIOUS TIMES: Andrew Sullivan is out of touch!


Part 2—Fictitions all the way down: Andrew Sullivan is out of touch.

Yesterday, he unmasked himself in this post at the Daily Beast:
SULLIVAN (6/19/12): The idiotic campaign non-news of today is that Mitt Romney has never heard of WaWa stores. This apparently, makes him "out of touch." No it doesn't.
Dearest darlings, avert your eyes! Even as he disputed the proof that Candidate Romney is out of touch, Sullivan showed that he himself is:

He thought “Wawa” is written “WaWa!” This fellow is way out of touch!

Is Candidate Romney “out of touch” based on his recent behaviors RE Wawa? In such ways, fictitious “journalists” pretend to engage in journalism—and sadly, this low-IQ culture is spreading. Michael Tomasky is a smart, decent liberal. But yesterday, the analysts wailed and tore their hair when they saw him type the following. His post appeared at the Daily Beast under a "Wawagate" headline:
TOMASKY (6/19/12): [T]he tone of [Romney’s] voice sounds for all the world to me like he had just discovered this touch-screen technology for the first time. Listen to the sense of wonder in his voice. And anyway, there's this, too. I remember the first time I saw that technology, in a Sheetz probably 10 years ago (I'm quite a fan of Sheetz's breakfast sandwiches; elitist of me?!). I marveled that first time. Then the second time, I was used to it. Yesterday, Romney sounded for all the word like someone who had just seen this technology for the first time, and if that's so, it may be a small thing, but to me it says "out of touch."
Had Romney ever seen the Wawa sandwich technology? We have no idea—we ourselves only saw such technology perhaps a year ago. (As a general rule, we wouldn’t spend that much for a sandwich.)

But good God! To Tomasky, Romney’s possible ignorance “may be a small thing, but to me it says ‘out of touch?’” As Tomasky offers that judgment, he endorses these past debates:
Debates Tomasky endorses:
The debate about Candidate Kerry’s cheesesteak.
The debate about Candidate Obama’s orange juice (and bowling).
The debate about Candidate Gore, in 1987, out-of-touchedly ordering Perrier.
The debate about Candidate Shriver, in 1976, doing the same goldarn thing.
Good lord! Within the sprawling set of fictitions which now pose as political journalism, such pseudo-discussions have increasingly come to rule our “political discourse.”

How bad has this fatuous culture become? Consider:

When Andrea Mitchell pimped the Wawa gaffe on MSNBC this week, she compared it to the time in 1992 when President Bush was said to be out of touch because he was allegedly flummoxed by a supermarket scanner. She was patterning Romney's out-of-touch moment on that earlier failure.

But as Mitchell has surely heard by now, it isn’t even slightly clear that Bush was flummoxed by that scanner. We've discussed this stupidity in the past. For the Snopes account, just click here.

That famous moment was maybe a hoax. Everybody knows that by now. But so what? Knowing her point of comparison was maybe fictitious, Mitchell kept playing the game!

Do we live in ficitious times, as Michael Moore so brilliantly said? Of course we do, and pseudo-journalists are eager to showcase this fact. Yesterday morning, the silliest child at the New York Times worried her simple small head about Romney’s "banter" concerning Wawa.

He had mistakenly called the store “Wawa’s,” this silly young Dowdian said. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/19/12.

Today, the silly young children who call themselves journalists are expert at striking such fatuous poses. Does Tomasky want to encourage this culture?

“We live in fictitious times,” Moore said. By now, this statement is so true that even intelligent liberals like Tomasky are happy to play this game.

Citizens drown in such fatuous claims, made by children who pose as reporters. Question: How well do those citizens understand the major issues at the heart of our politics?

Very poorly, the surveys all say. As a group, American voters know very little about almost all major topics. Here again is Citizen Schaller discussing one famous example:
SCHALLER (6/5/12): Last summer at a community fundraiser, I was conversing with a man who began to carp about runaway federal government spending...When I asked him what types of spending ought to be cut, he mentioned foreign aid. “What share of federal spending do you think goes to foreign aid?” I countered, knowing that the correct answer is just under 1 percent. “Forty-eight percent,” he hazarded as my jaw dropped.
For years, this has been a famous example showing the cluelessness of us the people. But on one major topic after another, we voters express remarkable ignorance concerning the most basic issues.

Then again, can you really blame us? In our most famous newspapers, we read discussions about the difference between saying Wawa and Wawa’s. We see sily children acting as if this is a point of concern.

How do we voters become so clueless? In part, it’s the propaganda. For decades, pseudo-conservative spinners have encouraged voters to misunderstand the reach of foreign aid. That said, pseudo-liberals are catching up fast. Within the past week, we liberals were instructed to think that “diehard Keynesians” named Reagan, Bush and Bush moved to increase government employment during the recessions which occurred on their watch. In today’s New York Times, the truth is briefly noted. (“During the recession from July 1981 through November 1982, under President Ronald Reagan, and again during the recession from July 1990 through March 1991, under the elder President George Bush, government employment shrank slightly, both overall and in the federal work force specifically.”)

How do we voters become so clueless? In part, it’s because of the propagandists. In part, though, it’s the fictitious culture of modern “journalism,” where silly children pose as reporters, discussing such things as the proper way to banter about Wawa stores.

In fairness, these silly children are extending a culture invented by people with names like Broder. But voters encounter these stupid discussions and think that they are thereby in touch with top-notch political reporting.

Is Candidate Romney “out of touch?” If so, he’s a man of the people!

In recent weeks, the New York Times has told us about Ann Romney’s dressage. It has told us about her fashion choices. It has told us about Mitt’s home in La Jolla. (That’s foreign for “the jewel,” we were told.)

It has told us about the way Candidate Romney banters about Wawa stores. This morning, the paper pretends to discuss an alleged controversy concerning Obama’s memoir.

But how often does this famous newspaper discuss this campaign’s actual issues? If we look at this paper’s alleged reporting, we see a flight from such matters of substance.

Instead, we see a devotion to fatuous bourgeois values. Truth to tell, our journalistic culture is pretty much fictitions all the way down.

Tomorrow: Bringing up Bougie


  1. Wow, I'm and out-of-touch prog. Never seen one of those things myself.

    1. Me neither. Never seen it or heard of it until I read Bob's post just now.

  2. Here is the unedited Wawa tape, showing that Romney was comparing the efficiency of the private sector Wawa sandwich production with an anecdote of paper work nightmare with a government agency:

    MSNBC shamelessly edited out the full context.

    1. Quaker in a BasementJune 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Thank you very much.

      Lost in the stampede is Romney declaiming that government doesn't work. What does he propose? The corps is too busy to ask.

    2. MSNBC should not have edited out the context.

      However, Romney's anecdote was utterly false (almost certainly deliberately so). He falsely claimed that a post office change of address form is 33 pages long. I don't know about anyone else, but last time I filled one out it was the size of a postcard and took about 5 minutes to complete.

    3. Yeah, my Mother in law, in her mid eighties, took only a couple of minutes to change her address with the USPS, and she was able to do so from home using an online form.

      33 pages? Yeah, right. Politicians keep telling the same stories even when reality has long ago moved on.

    4. Comprehension Skills Are LowJune 20, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      It was a change of address for a physician getting (I presume) HHS reimbursement, not the USPS form. But don't let me spoil your tribal moment.

    5. Perhaps you are right and I was misinformed. My apologies.

      I did, however, just look up the process for changing your address as a medicare provider. The form itself is long (60 page pdf - b/c it doubles as the new provider enrollment form) but you only have to fill out rudimentary information on about 4 different pages to change your address - you don't have to complete the whole form.

      The larger point is that Romney's anecdote is idiotic and useless. On its face it doesn't make sense for HHS to require a 33 page form just to change an address. This is the value of an anecdote for Romeny as it causes outrage in people with no understanding of the actual situation. If

      If the anecdote is false (which I suspect) then Romney is a liar. If the anecdote is true then I guarantee that there is a logical and obvious explanation for why a 33 page form is necessary.

  3. “During the recession from July 1981 through November 1982, under President Ronald Reagan, and again during the recession from July 1990 through March 1991, under the elder President George Bush, government employment shrank slightly, both overall and in the federal work force specifically.”

    Well that doesn't prove they *weren't* die-hard Keynesians.

    You have to increase spending just to keep it flat. Or something. I'm still working on a mathematical proof.

    1. The Howler is unfortunately clueless as to what Keynesianism is. It has nothing to do with the size of government employment. Reagan and Bush II presided over massive increases in government outlays and, with huge tax cuts aimed primarily at people who spend less of their income, massive accumulations of deficits. It kept unemployment relatively low. That is Keynesian economics. Bush I had half of the Keynesian equation -- moderate expenditure increases but huge deficits, and unemployment rose to the point he was kicked out of office.

      The lowest increases in Federal expenditure came under Clinton and, so far, Obama. Clinton presided over a net surplus for his eight years, while Obama's deficit come from a stimulus that worked as far as it went and huge revenue shortfalls from the inherited tax structure and the inherited depression. Both had Keynesian aspects to their policies -- for Clinton, more progressive taxation with new tax breaks to lower income, and for Obama, the stimulus -- but they were far less Keynesian in total than the Republicans who denounce it were. Calling them "die-hard Keynesians" is a perfectly legitimate exercise in ironic hyperbole -- if it is hyperbole at all.

    2. "Keynesianism ... has nothing to do with the size of government employment."

      One might think from your comment that Bob Somerby had insisted it did.

      But that's not the case, of course.

      It was Joan Walsh who did that. She said it was a central part of "die-hard Keynesianism." She had a graph of gov't employment that she misinterpreted to prove it.

      Take your argument up with her.

  4. The comment is an example of one way that Romney is just a bad candidate.

    Given the examples listed in the above, which I am sure he and his staff are aware of, and the idiotic way the press magnifies them he should have censored himself.

    1. "The comment is an example of one way that Romney is just a bad candidate."

      What comment?

  5. Wasn't "Wawa" the song George wrote about the Beatles break-up?

  6. There is no Wawa in Massachusetts as far as I know, so it's not such a stretch that a visit there made an impression on Romney. The media is lazy, they should be focused on policy....I'd vote for a Venusian if she had solutions to our unemployment problem.

  7. Bob, you are unbelievably heartless, bringing up the recessionary employment and spending of Republicans issue again so soon, and right after I Solomonically pronounced Friday's thread extinguished. Sadly now there may never be peace in our time...

  8. And we have fictitious justice! Roger Clemens was tried for lying to Congress (which he probably did); John Edwards was tried for trying to keep his illegitimate daughter secret (which may have involved campaign funds); and Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about sex. But at their heart, these cases all demonstrate how much more satisfying it is for Congress and prosecutors to focus their attention on trivia. Why was Congress ever investigating steroids in baseball? Don't they have real jobs to do? Have they already solved all of the nation's other problems? Why did DOJ go after Clemens (and Edwards)? Are there no real criminals afoot? How about looking on Wall St., or in the previous Administration's cabinet (or this one, for that matter). Yes, fictitious government can only be covered by fictitious "journalism."

    1. Professional sports is a gigantic segment of commerce. Making sure that competitive rules that keep that commerce from dying are maintained -- at a time when self-regulation by professional baseball was clearly failing -- is the furthest thing from trivia.

    2. Hahahahaha. Funniest comment ever! Oh wait, you're being serious aren't you.

      [backs slowly away]