TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2017
How to talk pork to the people: Long ago and far away, we walked around Baltimore with a friend who was on his way to Vietnam.
Because he later became well-known, we won't mention his name. But his wife, Tipper, was also there that day. Along with our mutual friend, Name Withheld, we walked around Baltimore on a cold, oncoming winter day in late 1970, chating about this and that.
(They'd all driven up from D.C.)
Our friend's father had just been defeated in a campaign for his fourth term in the Senate. It was a famously scurrilous campaign, with this senator's opposition to the war playing a prominent role in his defeat.
By the campaign's final week, our friend told us that day, his father knew he was going to lose. He told our friend that he wanted him to come out with him for a few final days of campaigning.
"I want you to see me talk po'k to the people one more time," our friend quoted his father saying.
(That was "po'k," pronounced as "poke," the written word being "pork.")
Talking pork to the people! The father had grown up hardscrabble, rural and poor; he knew about regular people. When you watch the stars of cable TV, you're looking at people who don't.
Don't know, and manifestly don't care.
If you watch CNN or MSNBC today, you'll be watching the "lock them up" crowd on the two "lock them up" channels. Pundits on these cable channels are eager to see Trump and them thrown in jail.
In truth, this is the only play still available to our terrible horrible team. It's our only play because we and our big cable stars don't know, and manifestly don't care, about the lives of most regular people.
Last fall, we managed to lose a White House election to the most disordered person who ever sought the office. We arranged for our defeat in a hundred thousand ways.
(One of our professors kept telling us there was zero way Trump could win. Rachel kept making Kornacki go through his carnival barker routine, propped up nightly before "the big board," gesticulating in the stupidified ways the channel's consultants required. On a nightly basis, this promise of victory made us feel good. And so we kept watching that space!)
Today, we refuse to think about who and what we actually are. Instead, we're trying to get The Others locked up. It's the last way we can avoid ourselves, can avoid who and what we are.
On CNN and MSNBC, our demagogues were hard at work last night. As of now, this is the story we're selling:
It was OK when the Clinton campaign got campaign help from Ukraine. It was treason when the Trump campaign got campaign help from someone from Russia.
Everyone can memorize the talking-points used to support that position. For now, we'll only say this:
Absent further revelations, good luck selling that particular po'k to a wide swath of the people.
Watching cable last night, we pretty much hit the wall. Internally, we could feel it. We finally gave up the ghost.
At long last, we finally saw Cooper as an insipid shill, full stop. We finally saw Maddow as the weird demagogue she actually is. Full stop, plain and simple.
(We'd base that on her opening segments from Thursday, Friday and Monday nights. Demagoguery all the way down, and so many varieties!)
Today, Brian Williams, who tilted so hard against Clinton/Gore, just can't stop his silly peacocking in the other direction.
That said, none of these people seem to have the slightest interest in the lives of regular people.
We hope you understand that fact. It seems to us we're in for a very long, very rough, deeply stupidified ride.
We're being deeply divided and conquered. Entities who support that division are these:
1) Vladimir Putin
2) The very hardest of the very, very hard hard right.
Remaining unaddressed in all the excitement: Five thousand dollars per person per year! If we might quote Elisabeth Rosenthal:
"Where is all that money going?"
Your big cable stars won't ask!