MOB AND TOWN: We don't believe the poses they strike!


That doesn't make them bad people: Mary McCarthy may have been Lawrence's inspiration.

McCarthy once made a colorful comment concerning Lillian Hellman. We thought of McCarthy's famous remark as we briefly tried to watched our pundits perform last night.

McCarthy's comment is often cited. The leading authority on her remark describes it as shown:

Beginning in the late 1960s, and continuing through to her death, Hellman turned to writing a series of popular memoirs of her colorful life and acquaintances. Hellman's accuracy was challenged in 1979 on The Dick Cavett Show, when Mary McCarthy said of her memoirs that "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'." Hellman brought a defamation suit against McCarthy and Cavett...

The defamation suit was unresolved at the time of Hellman's death in 1984; her executors eventually withdrew the complaint.

What the heck did Cavett do wrong? We have no idea! 

For the record, we're going to guess that "every word" actually wasn't a lie. But we thought of that famous acerbic remark as we briefly tried to watch our upper-end pundits last night.

In recent years, our pundits have been staging one of their stampedes. They've been pretending to care about matters involving the mistreatment of people on the basis of perceived race.

For traditional, extremely well-founded reasons, we rarely use the word "lie." Still, we often think of McCarthy's remark when we watch these humans perform:

We don't believe the poses they strike. We don't believe the pious tone within which they encase their comments.

We're disinclined to believe the things they say. We've been watching them far too long.

We've been describing the work of these journalists for a very long time now. When they stage one of their famous stampedes, a process of novelization occurs. That process goes like this:

The pundits create a set of claims in support of the viewpoint they've chosen. In support of this enterprise, they'll disappear inconvenient facts. They'll embellish others.

They'll emphasize wholly irrelevant facts. They'll even invent false facts, which they recite as a group.

They'll write columns in the Washington Post in which they make baldly inaccurate claims. They'll do this to try to get young people marched away to jail.

In all honesty, this is ugly behavior. They engage in it all the way down.

(They hail the end of one "code of silence" even as they religiously maintain another. They do not report or challenge their colleagues' misstatements. It simply isn't done.)

These may be well-intentioned people—but they're people, all the way down. According to disconsolate experts, our human brains are wired to produce these types of group behavior. 

Our brains are wired, these experts insist, to lead us to posture and pose on behalf of tribal dogma. We repeat the Storylines of the tribe and we come to loathe The Others. It has always been like this, we're told

We could barely stand to look at their faces last night. Their conduct strikes us as remarkably bad, but so it will remain.

With that in mind, do these pious figures actually care about matters of race? We see no particular sign that they do. To us, it simply looks like the latest stampede, with all the attendant behaviors.

In the next two days, we'll offer recent examples to explain why we say that. But of these reporters, pundits and cable news hosts, we do offer this:

Bless their hearts, as they say in the South. This ugly, insincere group behavior is simply the best they can do!

Tomorrow: A portrait of massive disinterest


  1. "Bless their hearts, as they say in the South. This ugly, insincere group behavior is simply the best they can do!"

    You bet, dear Bob.

    "According to disconsolate experts, our human brains are wired to produce these types of group behavior. "

    No, dear Bob, human brains are fine. It's just your liberal-zombie cult, that's all. For as long as it owns the country. But this too shall pass.

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  2. Somerby claims that the entire pundit class is striking a pose and inventing lies to support a stampede, this time in favor of equal rights for minorities. His only proof for this is an occasional cherry-picked factual error that could as easily be a mistake as any kind of lie. In other words, Somerby has presented no proof at all that there is a stampede or that the press "strikes a pose" and lies in support of it.

    Meanwhile, civil rights has long been an issue supported by the left. No stampede is necessary because liberal viewers are solidly behind that issue, as we have been for decades.

    Somerby dislikes the "pious tone" of the cable pundits. I believe that is because he knows he is on the wrong side of this issue, much as the sinner dislikes the pious tone of the preacher while knowing full well that the preacher is right and they need to hear those words repeated. It isn't fun being confronted with your own flaws. The preacher isn't the one who needs to reform his ways.

  3. "These may be well-intentioned people—but they're people, all the way down. "

    OMG! Somerby is accusing cable pundits of being PEOPLE!!!

  4. "We could barely stand to look at their faces last night."

    This is no surprise. Somerby wanted Chauvin to be found not guilty. He cannot bear to hear about the relief and joy that some measure of justice prevailed and that there is some hope for change for those who have been targets of police abuse. Somerby cannot face the knowledge that HE WAS WRONG about Chauvin.

  5. "We could barely stand to look at their faces last night."

    Spoken by the man who will not read his comments.

    Somerby is a poor loser who cannot face his own faults.

    His only criticism of the pundits today is that they are faking their concern for racial justice. Even Don Lemon, I presume. And he presents no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. He just knows what is in their hearts and minds -- spoken by the man who won't admit that Trump has told lies because who knows what Trump thinks. But Somerby just knows that cable pundits are faking when it comes to race, even their and's and the's. Because Somerby has appointed himself Mary McCarthy, who was most likely jealous of Hellman's successful life.

  6. "What the heck did Cavett do wrong? We have no idea!"

    He didn't challenge McCarthy's statement.

    Somerby is the one who has been complaining because news reporters don't challenge the statements of newsmakers enough. Cavett no doubt just sat there and laughed.

  7. "Bless their hearts, as they say in the South."

    Maybe the problem is that Somerby has imbibed a bit too much of the Southern ways in his many years living in Baltimore.

  8. "We could barely stand to look at their faces last night."

    Meanwhile, in Virginia:

    ""Friends, today's verdict makes me sick," said Chase. "I am so concerned about our law enforcement quitting, and you should be too."

    Somerby's response is right in line with Republicans in the South. Somerby deflects, saying that it is the posing of the pundits that is making him unable to stomach watching them, but we all know how to translate that one. This is how racists all over the country are reacting to the Chauvin verdict. Somerby included.

  9. "They do not report or challenge their colleagues' misstatements. It simply isn't done."

    Even by Dick Cavett, apparently.

    But Somerby says: ""What the heck did Cavett do wrong? We have no idea!"

    Thus we see that Somerby isn't serious about this complaint. It is a screen, a front concealing his actual reasons for attacking cable pundits. What are those? I can only speculate, but he appears to be trying to weaken the credibility of the press, undermining its role in our democracy and encouraging people to believe that no one can be trusted. That is the kind of nihilistic position that aids Trump, Q-Anon and the politicians who wish to make the populace easier to control.

  10. Part of the problem here is that Somerby pretends that he is part of a search for truth, but his focus on irrelevant details which he uses to discredit the entire message of a news pundit, undermines the larger truth being told. Somerby's nitpicks provide a justification for rejecting the larger liberal truth, which aids right-wing objectives.

    In this case, Chauvin committed a shocking murder under cover of police authority. This time, he was charged, convicted and will be sentenced for his crime. There is a genuine reason to celebrate, but Somerby ignores this and calls the relief of pundits "a pose," implying that there is no genuine feeling, just a stampede to support racial justice. All is false, Somerby claims.

    Somerby feels no relief, no concern about the rights of minorities, so he assumes that no one else does either. It must be a liberal pose. When he calls out the pundits for being phony, he manipulates a human tendency to distrust those who are not genuine, those who hide their feelings and intentions. People said they liked Trump because he "tells it like it is" and is "real." Somerby urges us to reject the phony liberalness in favor of real bigotry.

    Our nation's increasing polarization may mean that the masks are finally coming off, but the mask of civility in the South, that conceals the bigotry and desire to maintain white superiority is revealing the truth in the hearts of people such as Somerby. It is not the liberals who are pretending to care, but the right-wing who is coming clean, now that Trump has given them all permission to show their true selves.

    Of course, Somerby projects this falsity onto liberals (and the mainstream press who he generally uses as a surrogate for direct acts on liberalism at this blog). Every conservative accusation is a confession.

  11. May this case be the death knell for the "good guy with a gun" theory.

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  13. The billionaire-owned corporate mass media profits from violent events, and it is in their interest to see them continue. Now they will not just come out and say that. They will not let the on-air talent giggle with glee about the profits they are making. No, the faces of your profit-from-violence model must convey the proper emotions to give their despicable way of life a humane face. But know that every expression of emotion from these corporate automatons is profit-driven. They are not your friends. They are part of the plutocracy that wants the tiniest fraction of the rich to own everything.

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