Interlude—Public knowledge in the age of the Emperor New York Times: More and more often, we think of the Robert Graves novel, I, Claudius, when we read the works of the New York Times.
In the 1970s, the novel became a heavily watched PBS series. We watched the series first, read the novel later (along with its successor, Claudius the God).
It's been decades since we watched the series or read the books. Still, a strong impression lingers, increasingly so when we gaze on the works of the Times.
Who the heck is the Claudius to whom we refer? The leading authority describes him as shown below, clouding the issue of the way we link him to the Times:
"Claudius was the fourth Emperor of Rome (r. 41–54 AD). Historically, Claudius' family kept him out of public life until his sudden coronation at the age of forty-nine. This was due to his being perceived as being a dolt due to his stammering, limp and other nervous tics. This made others see him as mentally deficient..."
In our day, the Times keeps no one from public life due to perceptions that they are dolts! In the modern era of the Times, Maureen Dowd is the prime example. And sure enough—consider the claim Times readers encountered in her most recent column:
DOWD (1/24/16): [Sarah Palin] used the last refuge of scoundrels in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday, wrapping herself in patriotism. In her convoluted, disingenuous way, she charged President Obama with a lack of “respect” for veterans and suggested that Track had post-traumatic stress disorder and became “hardened,” implying this is what led to the incident prompting his arrest. This from the archconservative who presents herself as a model of personal responsibility and scourge of victimhood?Stunningly, Dowd defended Barry O'Bambi against the pitiful claim that he caused the apparent problems of Palin's son. But even as Dowd did that, good God!
Outraged vets urged Palin not to reduce PTSD to a political “chew toy,” as one put it, or to excuse domestic violence by citing the disorder.
The rattlebrained Palin has reversed her Iraq position, so that now her stance somehow matches Trump’s consistent and prescient one against the Iraq invasion.
She crazily said that Candidate Trump always opposed the war in Iraq! Trump was "prescient" concerning Iraq, the Pulitzer prize-winner crazily said!
Gong-show survivors, please! There is zero evidence that Donald Trump ever opposed the war in Iraq. Last summer, Trump began to bruit that claim in major, high-profile forums. On several occasions, he said he could produce dozens of news reports to that effect.
No such news reports have ever been presented or found.
Presumably, Candidate Trump was simply lying about his brilliant stance on Iraq, and about those dozens of news reports. But so what?
At the Times and at other big papers, they let his high-profile claim go unchallenged. Yesterday, Times readers saw the claim restated by Dowd, with a garland of "prescience" draped around Trump the God's neck!
At the Empress Times, it's fairly clear that Dowd has been promoted because of her various "mental deficiencies," not in spite of them. Over the past twenty years, she has repeated the claims her owners seem to love, and much other nonsense besides.
What sorts of claims have Dowd's owners loved? For one potent current example, consider the claim Times readers encountered in another of yesterday's columns, the column by Nicholas Kristof.
As he started, the noble Kristof recalled some of the ways Hillary Clinton has "suffered for being a feminist."
"Even when Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008, there were put-downs," the columnist noted, "like the two men from a radio show heckling her, 'Iron my shirt!'”
Playing by the rules of the game, he failed to mention the much more significant putdowns of Clinton which came from his colleague Dowd. As a result of her endless putdowns, Dowd was savaged for her misogyny in this June 2008 column by Clark Hoyt, then the newspaper's public editor.
Whatever! Kristof went on and on in yesterday's column, presenting his progressive bona fides. But then, dear God! It happened again! As he ended his column, Kristof repeated one of the mandated scripts of the empire by which he is owned:
KRISTOF (1/24/16): One way in which attitudes have changed has to do with sexual predation. Shaming women who make accusations—in short, the Bill Clinton campaign approach of 1992—is much less tolerated today.He stated it not once but twice! Candidate Clinton is being scolded "for turning on and helping to stigmatize the women who accused her husband of misconduct."
So today Hillary Clinton is scolded for turning on and helping to stigmatize the women who accused her husband of misconduct, which oddly means that she may pay more of a price for his misbehavior than he ever did. That irony would encapsulate the truism that whatever the progress, women are often still held to a higher standard than men.
Stated a slightly different way, it seems that Candidate Clinton is being scolded for "shaming women who make accusations—in short, the Bill Clinton campaign approach of 1992."
Please note! Kristof doesn't exactly say, in his own voice, that Hillary Clinton engaged in that conduct. Technically, he merely says, with technical accuracy, that Candidate Clinton is now being scolded for such offenses, which may imaginably just be alleged.
There was a time when such careful phrasing would have been called "Clintonesque," in our view quite unfairly. Because Kristof is understood to be noble, we'll assume he didn't mean to play that slippery old game. We'll assume that he is alleging, in his own voice, that Hillary Clinton did engage in that "shaming of women."
It's one of his empire's favorite claims! But to whom does Kristof refer? Who got "shamed" and "stigmatized" in 1992?
Gruesome! Once again, we're forced to discuss the background to this favorite imperial claim. Because it's a favorite ownership claim, you'll see few others supplying that background, not even your favorite liberal heroes and stars!
It's nauseating to discuss the accusers who, according to this favorite script, got shamed and stigmatized by the Clinton machine back in the bad old days. It's painful to go back over the lists of facts you'll never read in the glorious Times.
In the days of Claudius, the Roman masses were constantly deceived, misled and misinformed about the way their empire was actually run. The Graves novel brilliantly sketches this state of affairs, as does any sagacious daily reading of the New York Times.
We liberals! On a journalistic basis, last year is now being widely described as "The Year of the Liberal." In the two weeks which remain to this site in its present form, we'll continue to explain why that assessment has been sweeping the nation.
We liberals slid in some bad directions in the year just ended. But why not cut us some slack? As we liberals showed the world how much we long to resemble The Others, we were constantly assailed by the deficits at the Times, the empire's least forthcoming newspaper.
Trump was prescient about Iraq! Hillary Clinton stigmatized women! Day after day, we the utterly clueless liberals read these claims in our empire's most famous newspaper. In thrall to our silent tribal leaders, we're rarely exposed to a wide range of facts which underlay such claims.
In Graves' depiction, the Roman masses were constantly conned and deceived by the lordly figures surrounding Claudius.
Lumpen prole-cats, cough it up! How different is our world today?
Tomorrow: Amid the hammering, banging and pounding, our plan for the next two weeks
Bob reminds me of Rocky.ReplyDelete
David in Cal and his Mssus reminds me of Boris and Natasha. mm reminds me of Bullwinkle.Delete
Say "Moose and squirrel" please.Delete
That is David in Cal's job.Delete
It's not his wife's job?Delete
Claudius Somerby informs his proles:ReplyDelete
"Presumably, Candidate Trump was simply lying about his brilliant stance on Iraq, and about those dozens of news reports. But so what?
At the Times and at other big papers, they let his high-profile claim go unchallenged."
Of course, The Claudian Times did it a little differently than the Brilliant Bobster recalls.
"In Fact | Donald Trump Opposed Iraq War — but After It Started
Donald J. Trump took a moment to separate himself from his rivals by declaring that he had gone on the record with his opposition of the Iraq war some 11 years ago — in July 2004.
The claim, however, left out the reality that his opposition came well after the war was already underway. The war began in March 2003.
It was that next year that Mr. Trump spoke against the war, in interviews with Esquire and Larry King.
“I do not believe that we made the right decision going into Iraq, but, you know, hopefully, we’ll be getting out,” Trump said on “Larry King Live” in November 2004."
Why don't you forward that to Mo Dowd, evidently she didn't get the message.Delete
That's one hell of a fucking fact check by the way. Trump has repeatedly claimed there's a dozen instances of him opposing Iraq before, yet none of his Fans in the MSM ever challenge him and ask him to cough up a single example.
I am not addressing Empress Dowd's assertions. I am addressing her imitator, Bob the Nude Emperor Spotter Somerby.Delete
But you have made Somerby's case, not refuted it. Was that accidental?Delete
Somerby has made my case.Delete
Challengers, all of you!Delete
No, Somerby hasn't made your case.Delete
Yes, you've made his.
A "prescient stance against the Iraq invasion" clearly has nothing at all to do with opposition stated *during* the conflict, you ponderous dolt troll.
Nobody was making a case for or against Dowd or Trump you name calling imbecile.Delete
This business of turning a candidate's strength into a weakness is exactly what happened during Kerry's swiftboating. Clinton's strength is her ongoing efforts to help women, children and families. Attacking her bona fides in those areas is a way of cutting her down to size as a potential nominee in the Fall, a way of undermining one of her strongest sources of support among young and older women.ReplyDelete
Clinton has been clear that women making accusations are to be believed -- to have their accusations investigated and taken seriously. She has gone on to state that when such an investigation shows the accusations to be meritless, they are not to be believed. That is the crux of what happened to Bill Clinton. A parade of bought-and-paid-for accusers were brought forward making accusations that repeatedly turned out to be lacking in substance, politically motivated, and opportunistic. Hillary Clinton does not have to believe and support such a string of politically motivated attackers in order to maintain credibility on women's issues.
If the left does not address this and offer her support but instead leaves her swinging in the wind, as it did Kerry (who mistakenly tried to take the high road by ignoring the accusations against his war record), we will see a repeat of what happened to him.
This is nothing more than conservative campaign tactics and we are on our way to throwing away the general election, again. To the extent that Bernie supporters join in, they are scum. This isn't honest campaigning.
You would think it is only common sense, yet the attack dogs on Hillary don't care about logic and common sense.Delete
Don't hold your breath waiting for democrats to make this obvious point.
"This is nothing more than conservative campaign tactics and we are on our way to throwing away the general election, again"Delete
Who is we?
We are dumb, disliked, and of dubious moral character.Delete
@3:38 I intended "we" to encompass (1) Sanders supporters, (2) diehard Hillary haters from Obama's team, (3) the liberal establishment that is entirely silent so that attacks are permitted to gain traction. The only people fighting back are labeled Hillary Surrogates (so their statements are seen as biased). Sane people on the left need to speak up or Hillary can be brought down by this garbage, just as Kerry was. Kerry seemed bullet-proof on his war record but wasn't. Hillary seems bullet-proof on women's issues. There are enough stupid young people out there that she can be harmed by this garbage accompanied by silence from those who know better (regardless of who they want to see become the nominee). There doesn't appear to be any sense of party any more. That's why we lose when we could be winning.Delete
"There doesn't appear to be any sense of party any more."Delete
Sanders is barely willing to call himself a Democrat.
I take it you are an old person, but are you a (1) Sanders supporter, (2) diehard Hillary hater from Obama's team or (3) the liberal establishment?Delete
Sanders was a longtime Independent, a self-declared socialist. He's the only willing candidate the Democrats in the Democratic-wing of the Democratic Party could find to represent us. I don't see what the problem is, if this doesn't make sense to you I'm sure the neo-liberal Clintons can explain to you why, in the twenty-first century, there's no alternative to this sort of outsourcing.Delete
In the most recent GOP debate, Kaisich (kindly forgive if I haven't spelled this correctly) was asked about what he thought about Sanders, given everyone on the distinguished panel was assuming Clinton would be the nominee - Kaisich responded with a chuckle - he said that he assumed Clinton would be the nominee, but if it turned out to be Sanders, the GOP would win all 50 states. There is the fable about the tortoise and the hare, but. . . .Delete
Hillary Clinton is not a neo-liberal.Delete
CMike, no one but O'Malley (who is hoping Hillary has a stroke) and Lincoln Chaffee would run against Hillary because she has earned her shot at the presidency and is the strongest candidate with the best chance of winning it. It is stupid that Sanders (out of ego and lack of interest in party politics) decided he could take her down when she deserves her shot.Delete
You'd better believe that if a male candidate had the strength of experience and competence of Hillary Clinton, no one would be running against him. There is a kind of sexism in the fact that both O'Malley and Sanders thought it would be right to try to take this away from her.
I am looking forward to the primaries and seeing Clinton rub their noses in their folly. Just as no one supporting Trump is doing it because of his policies, no one supporting Sanders has pure motives either. They are doing it because Hillary's screechy voice reminds them a bit too much of their mommies and who wants an icky woman in the presidency. Only hand-waving old farts with the right genitals belong there.
Nice try 7:22 PM, dial it back a tad and your attempt to muddy Clinton won't be so transparent.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
That wasn't worth saying once.Delete
7:22 PM: "Any man running against Clinton is by definition sexist, because she 'earned' the candidacy. No man would run against her if she were a man."Delete
YOU CANNOT MAKE THEM UP. THEY EXIST!
Anonymous 7:22 writes:ReplyDelete
"CMike, no one but O'Malley (who is hoping Hillary has a stroke) and Lincoln Chaffee would run against Hillary because she has earned her shot at the presidency and is the strongest candidate with the best chance of winning it. It is stupid that Sanders (out of ego and lack of interest in party politics) decided he could take her down when she deserves her shot."
people "earn their shot" by winning the primary...no one "deserves their shot"...you make it sound like Clinton was entitled to a free ride. and I think you are implying she is not getting that free ride because she is a woman?
come on now...