Friedman: Can’t we do better: As we emerges from our long tribal nap, we liberals have been quick to criticize the press corps for alleged “bias.”
That’s a perfectly sensible framework. We have been much slower to criticize the press corps for its dumbness—for its stunningly fatuous values.
For whatever reason, people seem comfortable with the one framework. With the other one, not so much.
At the New York Times, Maureen Dowd keeps testing that permissive side to our nature. Yesterday, her column bore the following headline:
"Woodrow Wilson, Stud Muffin."
How dumb can it get before we speak? Early in yesterday’s column, Dowd continued her downward spiral, offering this to our floundering nation:
DOWD (12/8/13): And it turns out that the League of Nations was not the most intriguing thing about Wilson. The love of women was.Grrrrr! There was no holding that particular tiger! Did you know Edith Wilson was buxom? We’re embarrassed to say we did not.
A. Scott Berg, the author of “Wilson,” was relating the story of how the widowed president wooed Washingtonian Edith Galt with flowers and private romantic meetings reminiscent of the widowed president wooing a Washington lobbyist in the movie “The American President.”
“She was widowed very young,” Berg said of the buxom Galt. “She had not been in love with her first husband and so along comes Woodrow Wilson, the great lover. I’m telling you, she didn’t call him Tiger just because he went to Princeton.”
(Somehow, Dowd restrained herself from comments about White House interns.)
Later, Dowd pretended to care about something, complaining about Wilson’s racism. This produced the following speculation in the very first comment:
COMMENTER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: What probably drives the Tea Party and their cohorts crazy is just the thought of Barack and Michelle Obama doing the nasty in the White House in their bedroom where all the presidents have slept. There's still racism going on, and not so subtle.That’s almost certainly it!
On-line, Thomas L. Friedman’s column appeared right beneath Dowd’s in the Times listing of contents. “We Can Do better,” its headline said.
Right above Dowd, the headline said this: “Borderline Insanity at the Fence in Nogales.”
Who has to travel that far?
A newspaper’s low intellectual standards: Each Sunday, the Times presents a “Sunday Dialogue” feature in its Sunday Review. Readers respond to a submission published the previous Tuesday.
Yesterday’s Dialogue concerned “Partisanship in the Media.” It was based upon a submission by an antiquarian bookseller from Connecticut.
That original submission was very weak. Go ahead—read it yourself.
As we keep noting, the New York Times just isn’t an especially bright newspaper. That may be why the paper works so hard to signal that it is.
I was struck by that Times commenter imagining that some hypothetical Tea Partiers were upset about a black couple "doing the nasty in the White House in their bedroom." I'm a Tea Party supporter, and that sort of thought never occurred to me. It's not that it doesn't upset me. It just never entered my mind.ReplyDelete
But, it did enter the mind of that Times commenter. S/he's the one who's focused on race. Rather than admit that s/he's overly focused on race, she attributes her unacceptable thought to some hypothetical others. Do psychologists have a name for this? Is it called projection?
It isn't clear whether projection applies to just unwanted feelings or also unwanted thoughts. Brenner (An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis, 1974) says it is wishes and impulses that are projected.Delete
I don't think it can be thoughts that are projected because that amounts to an argument of "I know you are, but what am I?" or "I'm rubber, you're glue," and it is impossible to have any kind of rational discourse that way.
The better term for what this commenter has done is "Mindreading," since he or she cannot know what is in the minds of others unless they express it, so attributing negative beliefs to others is just a way of maligning them. I don't think it has to come from racist self-impulses but I think it happens because being called racist is the worst name some people can think of these days. Nice try, though.
Psychoanalytic theory would say that projection is a defense mechanism that takes feelings from the id that the ego finds unacceptable and neutralizes the anxiety from the conflict by ascribing those feelings to someone else. It's possible that MoDo unconsciously finds the idea of two black people having sex disgusting and defiling, but consciously she knows that's wrong. Thus she ascribes those unacceptable feelings to unacceptable others. The bad thoughts then arise from bad people and not from herself, making it unnecessary to consider the painful possibility of her own "badness." I'd guess an analyst would pursue this in therapy because it seems such an odd thing to bring up. A few teahadists seem driven by race, but none I know seems concerned with sex. Most focus on the absurd notion that they're the victims of an unjust and illegitimate political regime. That said, in the absence of actually talking to MoDo in a therapeutic setting, no competent therapist would think projection more than a possibility.Delete
DAinCA, you're a supporter of the Tea Party? Imagine my surprise.
It was a commenter who did the mind reading, not MoDo.Delete
Thank you. I stand corrected. Replace my references to MoDo with "MoDo's commenter." The alleged psychological mechanism remains the same.
Thanks for showing accountability deadrat. Aren't you the one who was complaining about reading comprehension just the other day?Delete
I think my reading comprehension is good to excellent, although I realize that I'm not the most objective judge of that capability. At least I know it's not perfect.Delete
I'll understand if you think my cyber-manner requires perfection: "Yeah, I've had complaints about it, but it keeps getting worse."
Pink or brown?ReplyDelete
Woodrow Wilson went Galt?ReplyDelete
Eat shit and die.
This reminds me of the early days of communism when committees determined whether a comrade was holding the correct views and offered various forms of reeducation to bring an errant soul into line again.Delete
Did "we liberals" develop such a police force during one of the meetings when I was absent? Did I misplace my copy of the liberal manifesto in which the only permissible opinions and thoughts are listed? Are you going to take away Bob's "liberal" badge so he will have to go badgeless into the cold?
AnonymousDecember 9, 2013 at 3:00 PMDelete
This blogger isn't even human - he seems to have undergone a Kafkaesque metamorphosis from human to some loathsome life-form.
THERE ARE PRACTICALLY NO LIBERALS IN THE U.S. NOW. And after 9-11, it is actually physically risky for true liberals in the US to express their opinions about the Government/Upper Class depredations.
Evidence: How few objected to the second Iraq War after the country was devastated by one high-tech war and 8 plus years of genocidal sanctions.
IT IS VERY HARD FOR LIBERAL TALK/TV BROADCASTS TO ECONOMICALLY SURVIVE.
What does this blogger want to do - get Maddow / Lawrence et al. taken off the air?
They have to "clown" because of your average flyover country clod - their audience is not Ivy League grads in major metropolises who already hold similar opinions. Any anti Sara Palin / Hannity / O Reilly message has to be conveyed with sugar-coating.
This blogger is a seething angry loser white male who needs therapy real real bad.
You assume that Maddow, Lawrence et al. do liberal causes some good. If you assume instead that they are tools of a plutocracy who convey only approved messages, their presence is less benign. Matthews, Dowd and various other Somerby targets cost Gore the election and put Bush in office. Doesn't it bother you that the 2nd Iraq war wouldn't have happened except for these "liberal" media figures. They are surviving because the power structure loves them because they don't rock the boat. Criticizing them is most likely to reassure their Galtian overlords that they are doing their jobs well and avoiding "dangerous" themes.Delete
AnonymousDecember 9, 2013 at 4:59 PMDelete
If you buy into this sick piece of shit's (the blogger) argument that "librulz" are also corporate shills, then there is no hope.
YOU HAVE TO LIVE, EVEN CHOMSKY IS A WEALTHY MAN - it is only this nauseating blogger who obsesses about the money liberals are making (but never about the multi-millions that have been made by Limbaugh et al.)
THIS IS A UNIQUELY SICK COUNTRY. IT HAS FOUGHT over 240 wars (all except the revolutionary war on foreign soil) and has under its belt the only use of nuclear weapons against civilians, massive Chemical weapons usage on a living ecosystem and such "feats" as killing off 1/3 of Koreans in the Korean war.
Then there is the gun obsession - the answer to mass shootings is - "more guns".
It is very hard and after 9-11 even dangerous to be liberal in the US of A. The liberals this blogger defecates on constantly are all doing the best that they can.
Speaks for you own selfs. This liberal still be nappin.Delete
Bob, you do need to ban trolls. I would not comment on a post I appreciate after so horrible an insult and if these insults are allowed to continue I will no longer read comments here. No other blogger would allow such vileness.ReplyDelete
Perhaps the trolls remind Bob of hecklers in his glory days of stand up comedy fame. If so, allow him to indulge his nostalgia. If it's good enough for Bob it's OK by me.Delete
Bob, the vile troll comment is really distressing and such comments will make this blog unreadable if allowed to continue. Ban trolls immediately or this blog will be in jeopardy.ReplyDelete
I share your distress at the poor level of comments, but I don't know if the comments make the blog unreadable. They just make it worthless to read the comments.
The most useless comments of all come from the perpetual whiner named Anonymous who has yet to respond to a challenge to delineate any worthwhile comment he or she has ever made.Delete
Jonny, you are right.Delete
I suspect that both Wilson and his wife would have been horrified at how they are being discussed today. It seems disrespectful to make such personal comments about them, regardless of their policies, beliefs or accomplishments. Biographers used to treat their subjects with dignity, becoming attached to them as if they were living human beings. Dowd not so much, obviously.ReplyDelete
I hope your suspicions are ill founded. It is horrifying enough for the living to know of these discussions. Dowd, like trolls, should be banned. And, please, don't call her a biographer. Nobody who treated Al Gore and his bald spot with such disrespect deserves to be called anything other than a big old waste of time and ink.Delete
I was referring to Berg, the biographer of Wilson quoted by Dowd. In talking about Wilson's love life, interpreting what his wife meant by Tiger, he is disrespectful of both Wilson and his wife, in my opinion.Delete
Thank you for that excellent clarification. You are to be congratulated for tossing this insight into the rising tide of trollism.Delete
I think the giveaway phrase here is "alleged bias." So I guess that "War On Gore" was a matter of opinion? Whatever. The notion that basic good taste is an important one, and a somewhat tough one to counter or answer. You're either a party pooper or the person who understands the difference between a good dirty joke (very rare) and an awful one (a nice hunk of our current discourse. I don't really know how to talk to "conservatives" anymore, because their major mouthpiece now talk about the President having orgasms. Not that Bob would call into question the taste of conservatives. Dowd does a lot worse than this, writing puff pieces on the moronic Sarah Silverman, a talentless jerk who puts everyone on the left (with half a brain) of pressing their faces into smiles and pretending She is funny. On the other hand, we HAVE gotten better since the days when Mo Dowd was taken seriously. Almost everyone on both sides hate her now, and a take down is filler for The Daily Howler.ReplyDelete
The Vintage Wholesale Company The Vintage Wholesale Company.Walson Rockabilly are a vintage wholesale company who focus on vintage fashion wholesale. WalsonRockabilly Vintage Clothing wholesalers are the UK's leading,Shop wholesale vintage dress, xxxx silk dress, vintage jewelry products from reliable vintage dress wholesalers on walsonrockabilly and get worldwide,We know wholesale vintage clothing. We're the only vintage clothing wholesaler that knows what it's like to be in your shoes,because we run stores ourselves.Always Vintage is a Wholesale Vintage Clothing Distributor. We offer more than ninety different categories of vintage clothing for you to choose from.ReplyDelete