Scouring Tampa for Palinesque strippers!


Semiotics and our tribe's values: When it comes to issues of race and gender, our tribe has extremely high values.

Until you peruse our work.

Case in point: Like the smarmy gang at the New York Times, the New Republic has been examining strip clubs in Tampa.

The Republican convention will be held there this month. This leads to high-minded journalism like that of Emily Witt:
WITT (8/23/12): GOP String Divas

In a matter of weeks, the Republican Party will descend on Tampa. With beribboned millinery and talk of the sanctity of marriage, the party whose members blanched at the word “vagina” will arrive in a city that the rest of the country now associates with Magic Mike, this summer’s unexpected blockbuster about the complicated emotional lives of male strippers.
Does “the rest of the country” associate Tampa with Magic Mike, a low-IQ movie? We’ll call that an overstatement. But surely, you knew where Witt’s examination of Tampa would lead.

People, this is the New Republic! Witt was soon giving us this:
WITT: The futuristic 2001 Odyssey club, which has a VIP room shaped like a flying saucer, installed Web cams in its dressing room earlier this year, and out-of-towners can form early attachments by watching the dancers grimly count their cash with unlit cigarettes dangling from their mouths. Other clubs are adding more shifts and flying dancers in from around the country. In a marquee event at Thee DollHouse, the porn starlet Lisa Ann will reprise her role from the parody Who’s Nailin’ Paylin? and its sequel, Obama’s Nailin’ Palin, in two live topless shows.
As part of our progressive values, we rarely pass up the chance to sexualize Sarah Palin. The Times did it first, on July 27. Others were sure to follow.

We offer this as a reality check on the claims of our tribe. We’re very good at telling the world about our extremely lofty values. The truth of the matter is often somewhat different.

Our tribe’s sexual politics tends to be poor. This has been so for some time.

For further discussion: Will the New Republic survey strip clubs in Charlotte? Why and/or why not?

Who the Joe Hill is Witt: It’s an inspiring story. It includes an internship in Little Rock, which Witt refers to as “bumblefuck.”

That's in line with progressive values, which stress contempt for the laughable folk who didn't go to Brown.

According to Pro Publica (“Journalism in the Public Interest”), Witt graduated with honors from the Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Before that, she graduated from Brown, with a bachelor’s in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies—and Art Semiotics!

“But wait,” you say. “What the Professor Harold Hill is art semiotics?” You’re asking a very good question.

At Brown, the semiotics major has been renamed. According to Brown, the renamed department “is committed to the study of media in the context of the broader examination of modern cultural and social formations.” It “combines the analysis of diverse texts—visual and verbal, literary and historical, theoretical and popular, imaginative and archival—with the study of contemporary theories of representation and cultural production and creative practice in a range of media.”

All this learning takes place within a society whose journalists still can’t explain whether Newt Gingrich proposed “Medicare cuts” in 1995 or was simply “slowing the rate at Medicare would grow.” Ain’t higher ed grand!

Back to Witt: Inevitably, her academic background led her to Tampa, where she used her skills to find a stripper who compares herself to Sarah Palin. To Sarah Palin getting "nailed!" In two live topless shows!

Studying semiotics at Brown wasn’t always this much fun. Last fall, Steven Johnson wrote an essay in the Times recalling his undergraduate days in the Brown department. “I was a sophomore in college,” the former semiotician recalled, “and my voice on the page sounded like that of a 60-year-old Sorbonne professor, badly translated from the French.”

Johnson recalled the riot of learning he encountered at Brown:
JOHNSON: [W]hen I arrived at Brown in the mid-80s, there were dozens of splinter groups huddled beneath the semiotics flag: Derrida’s deconstruction, post-Freudian psychoanalysis, postfeminism, poststructuralism, cultural studies. (We were post- a lot of things, it seemed at the time.) Insiders rarely talked about “semiotics,” in fact. The umbrella term was just Theory, with a capital T. Theorists like Derrida and Michel Foucault were heroes on many college campuses around that time, but somehow having a dedicated major that announced your allegiance—instead of hiding behind a more traditional degree in philosophy or English—made the affinity more pronounced.

Some of this was posture, to be sure. “Going to college in the moneymaking ’80s lacked a certain radicalism,” [Jeffrey] Eugenides writes. “Semiotics was the first thing that smacked of revolution. It drew a line; it created an elect; it was sophisticated and Continental; it dealt with provocative subjects, with torture, sadism, hermaphroditism—with sex and power.”
“But there was more than just the-latest-from-France fashion to semiotics in those years,” Johnson insists. Watching Witt sexualize The Other, we can see how right that is.

Our tribe has very lofty values—until you review our work. Despite her background in semiotics, we'd say that Witt's piece makes this clear.

Witt's editor speaks: "Our Tampa strip club story is so much better than the @nytimes' Tampa strip club story," Franklin Foer boasts.


  1. In a sense Franklin Foer is right. Reading this level of snark is not so bad in an ideologically aligned magazine.

    It still makes you scratch your head and wonder at the malevolence, but it's not the sort of kick in the chest you get from reading it in the NYT.

  2. The most telling line: " In Perlin’s hands, “don’t work for free” becomes this generation’s “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

    Reminds me Alexander Hamilton, you know that radical revolutionary working to tear down the system, who wrote about hermaphrodites, wasn't racist, but "supported a gag rule to keep divisive discussions of slavery out of Congress..."

    Source: oxfordamerican, wikipedia

  3. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far too close for comfort, The national media
    behaved shockingly in a disastrous Presidential Election it is no grave distortion to
    say they helped throw. This went beyond the usual high jinks of dumb jokes
    and puffed up controversy, but to thumb on the scale partisanship that included
    misquotes and incidents created out of whole cloth. Even worse, strong evidence
    suggests this was done out of petty score settling and arrogance, born of the
    public's refusal to buy into previous scandal sheet nonsense which never panned
    out. No one chronicled this not so secret history, hiding as it does in plain sight,
    more effectively than The Daily Howler.
    Alas, future historians on the trail of what really happened in 2000 will
    have a tougher time effectively relating that story, because the Daily Howler
    has become a barely rational crank. It's hard to know where to start with this
    splotch fest, it's a collection of unconnected dots, but a few jump out:
    Does anybody even take the illusions to Palin (from pornographers who also
    mock Obama) as a bad reflection on her, let alone as representation of the
    contempt liberals have when they "sexualize(?)" poor Sarah Palin? Palin and
    her family (see Todd on his new reality TV show, where he plays Army with
    a shameless Wesley Clark) have lowered themselves in the eyes of many
    (most?) Americans through sheer naked self promotion. But, Bob's tapping
    into a now fairly common bit of conventional bigotry, LIBERALS are really
    the sexist bastards. What he doesn't have are examples.
    Indeed, the cheery picking and selective standards he applies when
    he's got his hate on for Rachel Maddow are a lot more suggestive of the
    bigotry of an old guy not quite comfortable with gays in places of power
    than anything he presents here. Witt's piece is pretty dumb, but how hard
    is it to find a good one from the liberal perspective that relates to Tampa
    and the Republicans? just click here...

    I guess it takes a Harvard man to properly grandstand against the fey
    intellectual balderdash of Academia, but has The Daily Howler actually invested
    any time in investigating Art Semiotics, or is he going strictly by a Johnson's short op ed(in
    The New York Times, imagine!) where, by the by, he ignores Johnson's
    POSITIVE conclusion on the whole Semiotics thing? Oh yeah, the thing seems to
    come from FRANCE. The clear connection here seems to be between
    Bob's thinking and that of Dennis Miller.

    Well, maybe the truth about Al Gore and 2000 will one day come out,
    in spite of The Daily Howler's now all too common tarnishing of the case.
    The leftist who is too good for other liberals is something less than an
    isolated phenomenon, it's been exploited quite effectively by a corporate
    media, fitting nicely into the agenda of it's owners. But, let's face it, it seems to
    have something to do with a liberals need to be the smartest guy in the room,
    even if it's their own room.
    Out here on the west coast, "liberal" outlets gave endless space to an
    obviously unhinged lefty hating liberal nutcase named Marc Cooper.
    This went on for twenty
    years, until it finally became all too obvious that nobody of any
    political persuasion listened to a word he said. May the funny, tragic,
    and critically important story of The War On Gore meet a happier fate.

    1. Another well thought out comment rendered unreadable by newlines.

    2. Has some word processing software come out with with a comment template consisting of --yes, the people you are commenting upon were [wrong,,,dumb,,,hyperbolic...], but you're a an anti-Irish-Catholic homophobe closet-conservative to mention it. Stay on script and dance, boy!---?

      If so, would you mind alternating with the formal business letter template in Office? You'll still sound like a toddler-tyrant, but at least at least there'd be some variation.

    3. In fairness, it wasn't well thought out, either.

  4. Does anybody even take the allusions [fixed that for ya!] to Palin as representation of the contempt liberals have when they "sexualize" Palin?

    Yes, these too-frequent references to Palin-themed porn are read as contempt for her by "liberal media."

    Because that's what they are. Contemptuous.

    Color me unimpressed by this ostensibly "well thought out" comment.

    Or, try to summarize its point in one sentence that isn't tendentious bullshit.

  5. You well know that the New Republic is NOT part of the liberal tribe...

  6. Time for a refresher in Bob's 3 Step Election Strategy:

    1. Run a campaign that meets Bob's exacting standards of purity.

    2. Get your ass handed to you.

    3. Blame Maureen Dowd for the rest of eternity.

    1. I see how you got your name...

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