THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: Spike Lee introduces one last theme!


Part 8—The year of liberal loathing:
Within the journalistic realm, the year just past is now being widely described as "The Year of the Liberal."

Experts are citing 2015 as the year when it became clear—the liberal world has agreed to dumb itself way, way down. Also, as the year when the liberal world threw itself into full embrace of tribal narrative and script.

In fairness, 2015 was also a year of tremendous mainstream breakdown. It was the year of Brian Williams' suspension, the culmination of decades of self-mythologizing by major NBC News TV stars.

It was the year of various astounding breakdowns at the New York Times, ranging from the coverage of Beau Biden's last few nouns to the utterly pitiful, front-page coverage of the DeflateGate matter.

Also, the famous newspaper's sprawling tale of the scary uranium deal, an embarrassing journalistic mess which was hailed as a journalistic "bombshell" by corporate cable news liberals. Did we mention the dumbing down of the liberal world?

Given the typical mainstream disasters, was 2015 really the year of the liberal? We tend to agree with the many experts who are now making that claim. That said:

In our last few days on the topic, we want to introduce one last final key theme. We want to note the way 2015 was the year of liberal loathing.

What do experts and academics mean when they make this challenging claim? For one tiny example, let's look at something Spike Lee was quoted saying in yesterday's New York Times.

We choose Spike Lee for an obvious reason—he's sensible, decent and smart. He's talented and manifestly sane. He's socially concerned and he's funny.

As far as we know, Spike Lee is a thoroughly good and decent person, as are many people. And yet, despite those admirable traits, he made the remarks shown below in an interview which occurred shortly after the end of the year 2015.

Lee spoke with the Times' Cara Buckley:
BUCKLEY (2/1/16): There seems to be no common ground right now. Every time Obama talks about guns, sales spike.

LEE: Or there's a mass shooting. After San Bernardino, they went up.

It's called scare tactics.
I don't think anything good comes out of people using fear, whether it be Mussolini or Hitler.

Trump too. What's his motto? ''Make America great again''? Those are code words. It's like, all right, let's put the blacks back in their place where they used to be. You know what, why not go all the way? Let's bomb churches, let's bring back Bull Connor, let's have water cannons, let's have German shepherds. You might as well. They want to rewind the clock. It's not just black folks; women too. Let's rewind when white men were in control.
Using a very destructive old word, Lee said "they" want to do a long list of terrible things. He wasn't asked who he meant by "they." Buckley didn't seem to feel a need to clarify the point.

Who wants to do all those terrible things? Based on the context of his remarks, Lee almost seemed to mean Trump voters. Or he may have meant all those people who go out and buy all those guns.

Whatever! Neither he nor Buckley seemed to feel that his statement needed to be fleshed out.

Spike Lee is good and smart and decent and funny. He also says that a group of people want to do a lot of terrible things.

Buckley didn't ask who he meant. She didn't seem to feel the need. Apparently, her editors weren't journalistically troubled either. At the Times, this apparently seemed like a perfectly sensible type of thing to say.

Experts are now describing this sort of thing as an expression of "liberal loathing." According to this growing collection of professors and scientists, this cultural practice metastasized during "the year of the liberal," by which they mean 2015.

Spike Lee is good and decent and funny and smart. Having said that, let us also say this:

Who is he talking about?

Tomorrow: In search of the soul of Trump voters


  1. "Who wants to do all those terrible things? Based on the context of his remarks, Lee almost seemed to mean Trump voters. Or he may have meant all those people who go out and buy all those guns."

    He clearly means white people. He may be decent, funny and smart but he is also racist. His movies distort to portray white people in as negative a light as possible. In Miracle at St. Anna's, for example, he invents a scene not in the book to portray white officers as despicable, deliberately firing on their own black soldiers crossing a river. This kind of thing occurs regularly in his films and it is ugly.

    1. Lee may, or may not, be a racist.
      But let's not make believe that voters who want to go back to the way things were in a "simpler time" are not bigots.

      BTW, it's not just Lee's movies that "portray white people in as negative a light as possible". White, conservative voters do the same.

    2. Well, at least Bob Somerby almost seemed to know what Lee meant. That is the beauty of someone who almost seems to know what he is talking about. Like Trump voters. Like white people. Like Bob's commenters. And of course Bob himself, who is now on the cusp of celebrating what he himself described recently as nearly two decades of his own futility. He almost seems to know he is a failure.

    3. Dave the Guitar PlayerFebruary 2, 2016 at 3:26 PM

      On the other hand, true ugly events, actually have occurred to black people right up to the present day. It *is* ugly to imply that all white people do these things, but I don't think that was what Spike Lee intended. As a journalist and in the interest of clarity, Cara Buckley should have shown some interest in determining who "they" were.

    4. Name a reader who gave a shit other than Bob and those under hios influence.

      BTW Cara Buckely is a culture reporter. Her interview was labeled as being about film.

      Bob thinks black filmmakers are liberal leaders and should be interviewed as if they were candidates for office.

      BTW 2: She is Irish and Canadian. Bob probably thinks she is youngish. She seems to be pushing 40.

    5. Bob thinks something I say he thinks.

      Bob probably thinks something I say he probably thinks.

      Cara Buckley's interview with Somerby shouldn't be criticized, because it's about culture. It's just about film, people!

      No one gives a shoit.

  2. Maddow is heavily invested in water tractors and it shows.

  3. Lee is exhibiting "Xenophobia" -- the fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. Psychology Today wrote, "Unlike other phobias, this malady is not limited to a small clinical population, but is found all around us. Indeed, some experts believe it may be universal."

    1. What a shock that David the Actuary is now David the Psychologist when it comes to a negative assessment of an African American filmmaker.

      Truly a renaissance troll!

  4. Bob's entire Year of the Liberal series is the best example of "the culmination of decades of self-mythologizing."

    By a wide margin the analysts agree. I hope they survive the remodeling of the Sprawling Campus into the Howler House of Hooey.

  5. Has anyone, in tribute or derision, actually called 2015 "The Year of the Liberal?" If not, it's the only possible way this bit could be overdone anymore than it already is.

    Bob's fullsome praise of Spike Lee is sort of a "Some of my best friends are black" giveaway. Lee has always been something of a pushy bore whose massive ego probably helped him get his occasionally good work done in Hollywood, where a massive ego has got to help.

    In the case of the Central Park Five, where Donald Trump lobbied to have innocent black men put to death, then suggested they should be kept in jail when discovered to have been innocent, we have here a case of really ugly white racism folks. The only way you could conclude otherwise is to totally ignore it. Which Bob, rather shamefully, does.

    Given this, making a federal case out of Lee's admittedly over the top rant is highly dubious indeed.

    1. Nobody has called it that but Somerby. And still this post doesn't appear until the second page when you do a Google search for the phrase.

      Nearly two decades of futility. Your Howler Gets Results.

  6. In other news about race and Trump not of interest to Bob Somerby in his seminal series on liberals:

    1. 60% of white Iowa Republicans voted for black and Hispanic candidates.

  7. Compare this claim with Lee's: They want to eliminate the minimum wage. You know what? Why not go all the way and go back to a 12-hour work day and child labor?

    The "they" is clear, and the follow up is a standard slippery slope argument, simply mean to emphasize the import of losing the minimum wage.

    I see no problem with Lee's statement. The "they" refers to the targets of Lee Attwater's Southern Strategy, who are still with us.

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