BEHIND THE CURTAIN CONTINUED: Rucker's return to Al Gore's beard!


Part 3—Kelly's date for the ball:
"When the musician Alice Coltrane changed her name to Turiyasangitananda, she announced it to her children by having them practice spelling it out with fridge magnets."

And that's not all! Also this:

"King Edward II of England banned a forerunner of modern soccer in a 1314 decree, which warned that 'there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls from which many evils may arise.' "

We're going to list these presentations as noteworthy facts. Indeed, they're listed as such on page A3 of today's hard-copy New York Times, in the daily "Of Interest" feature.

(Also Of Interest: "In 1935, the average broiler chicken reached the slaughter-ready weight of 2.86 pounds in 98 days." Truly, the wizard behind this newspaper's curtain can go on and on.)

Rather plainly, this paper's "reimagined" pages A2 and A3 represent a marketing plan, Also, they constitute a skillful attempt to dumb the newspaper down.

The marketing plan is transparent. Over on today's A2, the Times presents a lightly edited version of this cheerful (and linkable) "Inside The Times" feature. It hands us readers a cheerful account of the way Timesfolk of the not-too-distant past worked to maintain the noble Times Index, maintaining a record of all the reports which had appeared in the paper.

Inevitably, the report contains an admiring quote from Nicholas Kristof. Along the way, reporter Davis Dunlap offered this good-natured overview:
DUNLAP (5/3/17): A journey through the Times Index is like a journey through any great encyclopedia. On your way to finding whatever it was you’re looking for, you will be diverted by a lot else besides.
Today, that diversion-from-task is provided each day by the crazy quilt of "noteworthy facts" found atop page A3. At least on pages A2 and A3, the Times has become Frost's famous guide, "who only has at heart your getting lost."

Dunlap's text is designed to remind us of the New York Times' long-standing greatness. From a marketing perspective, the "memorable headline" we get each day on page A2 serves the same obvious purpose.

Today, the daily feature to which we refer looks like this:
On This Day in History
MAY 3, 1933


By 1933, May Day had already been celebrated by international labor movements for more than four decades. But this year, Nazis followed the holiday up by shutting down German trade unions, arresting their leaders, seizing their assets and replacing their periodicals with propaganda. "All union leaders who could be reached were taken into custody," The Times reported, "pending investigation of their political activities and business transactions."
From a marketing standpoint, this daily "memorable headline" is meant to make us feel that the Times has always been there, behaving in the way outstandingly moral people like Us would have wanted the Times to behave.

From a marketing standpoint, this is much better than reminding us of the way the famous newspaper has routinely behaved over, let's say, the past twenty-five years. For example, the way it behaved in 2015, when it formed an axis with Peter Schweizer, a Breitbart-funded propagandist, leading it to publish a 4400-word "bombshell report" about Hillary Clinton's scary uranium deal, which she did for the money.

In truth, the Times has been a major, highly disordered gong-show for quite a few years, but many liberals have no idea of this. People like Drum, Tomasky, Maddow and them have refused to tell Us this, presumably for the perfectly obvious reasons.

In the past two months, the dumbing-down of the New York Times has proceeded on its reimagined A2 and A3. That said, the dumbness has been there for all to see, at the Times and elsewhere within the guild, for a great many years.

Here at this award-winning site, we've been trying to pull the curtain back on this fact since 1998. We've established one fact in that time:

At least within our own pitiful tribe, pulling the curtain back doesn't work. You can pull the curtain back all you like. Tribal leaders won't mention what's been revealed, and the rank-and-file still won't see it.

Alas! Over Here, in our own vastly self-impressed tribe, We liberals are aware of "bias" as a category of thought. The concept of "dumbness" flies over our heads. How else is it possible that the high lady Collins could still be posting columns like, after all these destructive years?

We link to the column the high lady wrote for Saturday morning's editions. The column appeared in our hard-copy Times. For some reason, it wasn't listed that way at the famous newspaper's "Today's Paper" site.

Last Saturday morning, the high lady produced one of her trademark ten-minute columns. We refer to the ten-minute specials which appear in the form of a "quiz."

Donald J. Trump had completed his first hundred days in office! Rather than offer something of value, this ridiculous figure sold us this piddle, hard-copy headline included:
COLLINS (4/29/17): The 100-Day Quiz, Part 2

Happy hundredth day of the Trump administration! Hey, only one thousand, three hundred and—no, wait. Don’t count down the days. It’ll make you crazy. Let’s just see how closely you’ve kept an eye on our commander in chief so far:

1. Early in his first round of calls to foreign leaders, Donald Trump told British Prime Minister Theresa May...

A. “The relationship between our two nations is a special one, and always will be.”
B. “If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know.”
C. “I’ve just finished reading a very long book about all the kings.”
Ha ha ha—but wait, you're right! There isn't the slightest hint of wit anywhere in this column. If this crap took ten minutes to write, "early onset" may be dogging the Times' high lady too.

Meanwhile, the key words there were "Part 2." Good God! This was the second ten-minute column Collins had burned in this fashion.

In this morning's Times, a letter writer from Pennsylvania inquires about Donald J. Trump's mental acuity. Can anyone tell us why the same questions haven't long been swirling around ridiculous slackers like Collins?

We say "figures" because the Seamus-obsessed Cupcake Wars-watcher displays a type of institutional mental disorder which infests the New York Times and the entire guild of which it is the leader.

This institutional devotion to dumbness has infested the mainstream guild for a large number of years. Consider Philip Rucker's "news report" in today's Washington Post.

Good God! Rucker, Yale 2006, was reporting on Hillary Clinton's latest public statements. Why is she casting such a wide net as she lists the reasons for last November's defeat?

Within the upper-end guild, inquiring minds want to know. Incredibly but inevitably, Rucker was soon typing this:
RUCKER (5/3/17): Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist who advised two losing presidential nominees, Al Gore and John F. Kerry, said Clinton is not applying enough weight to her own failures, especially her economic message, in analyzing her loss.

“I have a measure of real sympathy, but it is also true that you can’t just blame the things that happened to you,” Shrum said. “Part of credibility here begins with saying, ‘These were things that happened to me that really hurt and could’ve cost me the election, but there were decisions I wish I made differently as well.’ ”

Losing a close presidential race can be devastating, and even traumatic, for a politician who long aspired to the office. After his 2000 defeat, Gore grew a beard and gained weight. Following his 2012 drubbing, Republican Mitt Romney retreated into seclusion in La Jolla, Calif., where he was spotted pumping his own gas, with his hair preternaturally flopping over his forehead.
You're right! After reading those highlighted passage, a sensible person might wonder if Rucker, like Donald J. Trump, may perhaps not be OK—if his troubling mental condition might even be getting worse?

In fact, Rucker is simply channeling the cultural craziness which has infested our mainstream "press corps" since at least the early 1990s. The press corps' frisking of Gore's coiffure and clothing started in earnest in 1999, eventually setting a new record for journalistic craziness. A certain Pulitzer prize-winner at the Times built seven columns around Gore's highly revealing hair during Campaign 2000 alone.

Concerning Romney, Collins arranged more than fifty (50) columns around his alleged treatment of Seamus the dog. Even as our culture devolved, we massively self-impressed pseudoliberals were dumbly cheering her on.

Yesterday morning, Joe and Mika were making a set of good observations and asking a very good question. They cited the president's weirdly truncated attention span and his inability to focus or remember. They wondered if these traits suggested the onset of dementia.

People, might we talk? These same traits have been on display within the upper-end press corps for years. On its reimagined pages A2 and A3, the Times is moving to make it official.

Meanwhile, Rucker returns to Gore's revealing beard, to Romney's fly-away hair.

In his new column, Thomas Friedman asks if Donald J. Trump is unwell. An obvious lack of intellectual health has marked the mainstream press corps for years.

But so what? Over Here in our own liberal tribe, our leaders have chosen not to alert us, presumably for the obvious reasons. And as with the rank and file Over There, our own rank and file is plainly unable to see that We're getting played.

Might we offer brief words of praise? When Dorothy peeked behind the curtain, she was able to see what was happening there.
In another famous tale, the people weren't able to do so.

Long ago, in a mythical empire, an emperor discarded the curtain of his clothing. He proceeded to parade about in the altogether. The screen of his clothing was gone.

Alas! Even with that curtain gone, that emperor's subjects weren't able to see what was right there before them! So it has been for the past three decades Over Here.

Long ago and far away, Michael Kelly invited Fawn Hall to the annual ball. Should that have been the first clear sign that something was going very wrong inside these strange people's heads? That it might even get worse?

Tomorrow: Fawn Hall and Donna Rice at the dance; David Leonhardt's hour


  1. Details, snippets of facts, are meaningless outside of their context. I do think it is a service to remind the American people what the Nazis did to their own citizens. This is why many of us are horrified by the way ICE has been behaving.

    I find myself wondering whether it is a coincidence that people are attacking Hillary for being a "bad candidate" and not recognizing the flaws of her own campaign (although she has said repeatedly she both acknowledges and discusses them in her new book), when Hillary has been giving every sign of joining the resistance and being as vocal as Elizabeth Warren in opposing Trump. She is a big league critic, so she has to be taken down as many pegs as they can accomplish. Just as they took her down during the election.

    Somerby doesn't need to help conservatives hobble our vocal liberal voices by insisting that she lost because she was a bad candidate.

    This sentence: "Why is she casting such a wide net as she lists the reasons for last November's defeat?" may be attribute to Shrum or it may be Somerby's question. It is unclear who is asking. But, I repeat, she is referring to Comey and the Russians because there is now plenty of evidence that (1) Russian interference happened and did hurt her campaign, and (2) Comey's letter strongly affected her polling, to the point that it made the difference between winning and losing. Whatever her other mistakes, she was on-track to win before Comey and the Russians swung things to Trump. She was not a perfect candidate and she no doubt made mistakes, as every candidate does, but she was winning despite that, and Comey's interference and the Russian intrusion were not politics as usual but a major disruption of our electoral system by an outside government. That was not Clinton's fault!

    But portraying Clinton as the world's biggest Goofus only helps Trump by invalidating her remarks and undermining her criticisms of Trump, which we all expect will be ongoing and as loud as she can make them. She is another MVP and we should be defending her, not helping to take her down. This means you, Somerby.

  2. In May 2016, Shrum predicted that the Democrats would take the Senate. Why did all those Dems run such bad campaigns? Was that Hillary's fault too?

  3. Tonight, we heard a familiar cry. It came from the Analyst Viewing Facility here on our sprawling campus.

    Gore, Gore, Gore, Gore, Gore," the analysts derisively shouted. Have you ever seen a blogger so obsessed with his source of sollege Bromance?

    1. Anon -- Are you aware that Al Gore and Bob Somerby were roommates at Harvard?

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