IMITATIONS OF DISCOURSE: Rachel wants to lock them up!


Her forever war against Them: It was Wednesday night, November 3. Over Here, within the tents of our own childish tribe, we were getting to have some fun.

Rachel Maddow had interviewed the man she twice described, on the evening in question, as "the great Steve Kornacki." (It's her persistent way of "selling the car," in this case the full corporate line.)

The great Kornacki explained to Rachel that NBC had just called the New Jersey gubernatorial race for our own tribe's candidate. At this point, we acolytes got to have some fun, even as we absorbed instruction in how to love Rachel more:

MADDOW (11/3/21): Steve, there's a bottle of hundred-proof rye in my office right now. If you're sitting in my desk chair, you go with your left elbow, there's a door that doesn't look like a door. If you open that up, you can have it.

KORNACKI: How about that? Now that you've told everybody where it is, I hope nobody beats me to it.

MADDOW: I was going to say, you should go now, because now everybody knows where it is. But you deserve it, my friend. Thank you for all of these hours. I appreciate it.

KORNACKI: Hey, thank you very much. Appreciate that.

MADDOW: All right. And I will just tell the control room, if my office door is locked, either get Steve a lock pick or let him in because, boy, yeah!

All right. Lots more to get to this evening. Stay with us.

At this point, Rachel adopted one of her practiced facial expressions. We were taken to a commercial break, during which we were sold products.

In that exchange with the great Kornacki, Rachel rewarded us acolytes with some fun. As of this morning, we're sorry to say, the network is running that perfect bullshit in an official MSNBC ad.

On our pitiful tribe's own cable channel, we're encouraged to believe that the multimillionaire cable stars are our buddies, our pals, our friends. They often let us share their fun, no one more often than Rachel. These are the tiny rewards we receive for being so loyal and helpless.

Indeed, at the end of Rachel's hour that evening, the fun about the bottle of whiskey started up all over again. At this point, Rachel was pretending to be friends with Lawrence. After a pointless discussion of the New Jersey polling, we pitiful rubes were rewarded again, this time during Lawrence's hour:

MADDOW: In New Jersey, you're totally right, it was like double digits in some cases, or high single digits. The polling was really wrong, and we don't know what the exact margin is going to be with Murphy and Ciattarelli, and Steve is hopefully going to drink liquor in my office and take a nap. But he doesn`t think there`s any chance it`s going to be a five, 6 percent margin. It's going to be tight when the final results come in, and that just means we were wrong, wrong, wrong.

O`DONNELL: I'm going to be going straight to your office at 11:00 to see if he's passed out with a jug that you told him about.

It made me wonder, what do I have in my office for Steve Kornacki?

MADDOW: The non-drinker [a reference to Lawrence].

O`DONNELL: There's an answer to it, and it's neckties, and he borrowed one a million years ago that he's worn a million times.

MADDOW: And this is why you need a diverse cadre of friends. From some you can get liquor, from some you can get clothing. He would never borrow clothing from me.

O`DONNELL: Exactly. There we are. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, as Rachel just reported, we do have a projected winner in the election for governor of New Jersey... 

He would never borrow clothing from Rachel! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! It was just so amazing and fun!

As we learned so long ago—first on Cheers, but then on Friends—it's great to have so many pals. real friends and imagined. It's great to see the way these friends let us look in on their lives!

Did we mention the fact that the corporate bosses have taken that bullshit and turned it into an ad for the channel itself? It's their way of letting us know how helpless they know we are, thanks to their marketing research.

Rachel "earns" her multimillions—you aren't allowed to know how many—by entertaining us in these endless ways. The entertainment features are seldom far away on the TV show. Neither are the selective presentations of tribally pleasing stories.

This Tuesday night, we got to enjoy "the night of the million dick jokes." The name is derived from the entertainment feature offered during Rachel's program that night. Perhapos for obvious reasons, it was a Maddow Show exclusive:

MADDOW (11/9/21): The dance card in Washington just broadly is quite—here is something I want to show you on a lighter note. Here is something I want to show you that we've got exclusively. This is going to start airing broadly tomorrow.

There`s pretty significant ad buy behind it, so you will likely be seeing it circulating tomorrow. I say that with a little bit of surprise because, to be honest, we had to double triple check with the lawyers to see if we were even allowed to play this ad on TV. It turns out, we are allowed to play it. And so I am going to show it to you.

Again, it is coming up tomorrow. We got it here exclusively tonight, this is the world premiere. It is not gory, or sweary, or upsetting or anything. But it is a little edgy. I think that's the right word. Let's see what you think. Watch.

Even though the ad wasn't sweary, our own tribal idiot double triple checked with the lawyers! So amazingly daring and cool!

In fact, you probably won't be seeing a whole lot of that ad. That's because, even now, most outlets have better judgment and better sense than Our Own Forever Child.

The forever child proceeded to play the whole ad. Hilariously, it was an endless series of plays on "erectile / elective dysfunction!" It was just so amazingly clever!

The ad's dick jokes ran on and on. When it mercifully came to an end, Our Forever Child offered this:

MADDOW: Admit it, that's very well done.

Represent Us is a good government group. They're an anti-corruption group. My favorite parts are the sad Twizzler. I will never eat a Twizzler again without laughing at it.

The ad's "sad Twizzler" couldn't stand up straight, just like a you-know-what. 

That said, it was her favorite part. It's so much fun to share so much with Our Own Corporate Harlequin.

It would be hard to record all the foolishness found on this "sad Twizzler" TV show. We refer to the silly entertainments, but also to all the selective "reporting" on tribally pleasing themes.

Then too, the career politics! Yesterday, Our Own Rhodes Scholar found time to offer this tweet in recognition of the fact that Brian Williams will be leaving NBC:

MADDOW (11/10/21): I wish everyone could have the blessing of working alongside a colleague who is as hilarious, as wickedly capable, as enormously generous as the great Brian Williams. It's one of the true honors of my working life to have shared a desk (and so many midnight hot dogs) with him.

Those midnight hot dogs, so cool!

 It may well be that "the great Brian Williams" is a generous, enjoyable colleague. We recall the astounding ways he misbehaved during Campaign 2000 as he ushed hi way towards the top. and the subsequent ways he dreamed shit up in the course of getting himself canned from NBC Nightly News.

We thought of the many people who died because of his astounding behavior in 1999 and 2000. Watching Maddow play the fool in tribute to a history like this, we thought of the people who died in that other Great War.

Wilfred Owen was there:

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

In our view, Rachel likes to tell her own ancient tales with extreme "high zeal."

"Dulce et decorum est?" Yes, but also "the great Brian Williams." In such ways, we the suckers have always ended up getting sold.

At any rate, Williams clowned, and millions drowned. Today, our harlequin cheers him on. Those hot dogs were just so cool!

We'll postpone, until tomorrow, the principle thought behind this report. It deals with Maddow's "forever war"—the forever war we get to enjoy, her forever war against Others.

As we've long noted, Maddow is a master of imitations. Imitations of journalism abound—imitations of human discourse, imitations of life. 

Tomorrow: The night of November 4


  1. Oh, dear. Enough with this 'Rachel' clowness, dear Bob, please. It's just boring, you should know the limit.

    By the way, dear Bob, we've been wondering: are you (and the anthropologists living in the cave inside your head) expecting Mrs Pelosi's War next year?

    Please enlighten, dear Bob, please be so kind. If indeed Mrs Pelosi's War is coming, shouldn't we all stock a bunch of supplies?

  2. "On our pitiful tribe's own cable channel, we're encouraged to believe that the multimillionaire cable stars are our buddies, our pals, our friends. They often let us share their fun, no one more often than Rachel. These are the tiny rewards we receive for being so loyal and helpless."

    What is wrong with Somerby? The anchors goof around and "pretend" to be friends on every nightly news channel in our nation. The actors on ensemble comedy shows goof around and "pretend" to be friends when interviewed too. People in work places around the our nation goof around and "pretend" to be friends too. I don't see anything wrong with that.

    It is only on semi-scripted "reality" shows that people "pretend" to dislike their friends. Only boxers before matches "pretend" to hate each other and indulge in vendettas. Is that any more real?

    Somerby reveals himself to be a sick, sick man when he reviles Rachel Maddow for supposedly pretending to like her on-screen coworkers. And how exactly does Somerby know that this is pretense, intended to make the audience love her more, and not the way she really feels about other people? He obviously cannot know that. So what motivates him to be so transparently spiteful toward this particular cable news host?

    And then in his conclusion, Somerby abuses the phrase "imitation of life" again, to claim that Maddow is imitating journalism. Manifestly, she is not. She may not have a persona Somerby likes, but she does cover news and report current events in a manner that has gained her a huge audience. And she has none of the white supremacy displayed by rival Tucker Carlson, none of the paranoid delusions of the right. But SHE is Somerby's target here, not cable news personalities like Tucker. And why is that?

    This is what hate looks like. It is also an abuse of the pretense of media criticism to pretend to be reviewing journalism while actually singling out a female, gay host for special, ongoing attack, month after month for no good reason except that he dislikes her. Whatever this is, it is not media criticism.

  3. For the record, I think Steve Kornacki is great and clearly earns his pay with his election coverage. What is Somerby's beef with him?

  4. "He would never borrow clothing from Rachel! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! It was just so amazing and fun!"

    Somerby apparently doesn't like it that such joshing is used to fill time on a live show where it may be difficult to figure out how long segments will run.

    TV audiences who grew up with live TV are used to this sort of thing. What is Somerby's damage?

    1. And Kornacki certainly could share a wardrobe with Rachel.

    2. It was reported in Vogue Maddow wears $3,000 underpants.

    3. No, you misunderstand. That is where Somerby says she stuffs her money.

  5. Somerby quotes Owen:

    "If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,"

    This, in response to Rachel's praise for Brian Williams, who is leaving MSNBC.

    Somerby is a truly disgusting person. Somerby tries to blame Williams for Al Gore's loss in 2000, but that is patently ridiculous and hardly justifies this quote, which is one of the ugliest things Somerby has posted here recently, setting aside his misogyny and racial bigotry.

    There is something wrong with Somerby. If you know him or any of his relatives, you might suggest that they look in on him, because he seems to be having some sort of meltdown today.

    1. Did you know that Wilford Owen’s brother, Harold, saw Wilfred in his (Harold’s) tent after Wilfred had been killed?

      Harold also had a weird experience as a child when he was thrilling at a game of hide-and-seek that he and Wilfred and their cousins were playing at the Owen home.

      He was hiding on a back stairway when he sensed a presence that he described as being so utterly dangerous as to immunize him from all earthly thrills and chills.

    2. It is common for grieving people to see their loved ones after their death. It doesn't mean there is such a thing as ghosts or that the deceased are coming back in some way.

    3. It doesn’t necessarily mean that, but it happens.

    4. Yes, I said that people see dead loved ones. It is a form of hallucination, since they are obviously not actually there, especially in some of the circumstances in which people see them. For example, walking into the living room from another room and seeing a dead loved one there. More often, it is thinking you see them in a crowd of people or out of the corner of an eye.

      Unless you believe that ghosts exist, such an hallucination doesn't mean the loved one has come back.

      This is important to state because psychics bilk grieving people out of a great deal of money every year, playing on the natural human desire to connect with someone who is indisputably gone.

      I consider it abusive to the grieving to encourage such fantasies. I am not sure why you would mention this stuff about Wilfred Owen's brother, but it doesn't help protect people against exploitation.

    5. Yes, I’m sure readers are running off to mediums as we speak.

      The book of allowable expressions so as to escape chiding and accusations of cruelty by sanctimonious anonymices, is paper-thin, but you still couldn’t fit in your backside.

    6. "It doesn’t necessarily mean that"

      This is what you said. These are your words. And you brought this topic up yourself. It has nothing to do with Wilfred Owen.

      Part of empathy is thinking about the effect of your words and actions on other people. You don't seem to do that much. That isn't my fault, but saying that ghosts exist is misinformation and counter to science and doesn't help anyone, any more than the other kinds of misinformation conservatives spread around.

      If you don't want to be called on this stuff, don't come here and say stupid things.

    7. Digby has an excerpt of Pew research that describes political categories based on beliefs. She says this about conservatives:

      "In the same vein, majorities across GOP-oriented groups say that “people too easily taking offense to things others say” is a major problem for the country, while far fewer think that “people saying things that are very offensive to others” is a major problem. "

      This seems to capture Cecelia's complaint and suggests why she is having conflict with the other commenter (@2:34), who is most likely more on the liberal or progressive side.

    8. Yes, it is your fault that you’re ridiculous, and honestly Anonymouse 2:34pm isn’t it mean of you to present your sort of ridiculousness and sanctimony to any child or adolescent that may chance upon this blog?

      Isn’t it thoughtless and cruel for you to give them the impression that any sentiment to which you don’t concur is some sort of pathology?

      I think that it is, but who we gonna call? Ghost Busters?

    9. Anonymouse 2:49pm, I do not do liberals/progressives the injustice of considering anonymices to be typical examples of conservatives’ political contrarians. To which I’m certain that normal liberals are more than grateful,

    10. Meh. Everywhere we look, liberals are very similar to these here dembots. It may seem incredible, but a lot of them pretty much are as retarded as the dembots here.

      It is true, unfortunately. They really are zombies.

    11. Cecelia, the film Ghostbusters was not a documentary.

      I'm not the one who says that conservatives tend to lack empathy. There are studies showing that. Also showing that the opportunity to say mean things to people and laugh at awfulness, to say Fuck Joe Biden, is part of what attracts supporters to Trump, because he is a crude as it gets. And you lack inhibitions when it comes to crapping on people and saying ugly things. So don't come off as some poor misunderstood conservative who just disagrees with the mean liberals.

    12. Anonymouse 3:30pm, I’m not a poor misunderstood anything, any more than you’re a sensitive and caring human being.

      We’re both right on this.

    13. You're a troll, 3:51.
      Don't overthink it.

  6. "We'll postpone, until tomorrow, the principle thought behind this report. It deals with Maddow's "forever war"—the forever war we get to enjoy, her forever war against Others."

    Meanwhile, Somerby continues to prosecute his forever war against Maddow and the libs. Has he no sense of irony?

    Today is Veterans day. I'm not sure Wilfred Owens anti-war poems are the best choice to commemorate the sacrifices of our nation's brave troops, living and dead. Especially given that he has made no mention of them or the context of that poem, hugely inappropriate to a discussion of Maddow's so-called war.

    The right-wing has been increasingly engaging in political violence and threats against those who do not believe as they do. Is it right to glorify that as any kind of war? Maddow has never done any of the things the right is now being prosecuted and jailed for, from 1/6 to mowing down protesters using vehicles, to Kyle Rittenhouse's shooting of three protestors, to running public servants out of their jobs using death threats on them and their families. How then is Maddow engaging in anything that can be termed "war"? And how can it be right, on Veterans Day, to co-opt the term war and use it to further one's crusade against a media host? I find the disrespect in that action to be staggering! But then, Somerby avoided the draft himself.

  7. The ad that Somerby complains about wasn't produced by Maddow. It is in support of the Freedom to Vote Act. Somehow Somerby never mentions that part. Is he perhaps against that legislation?

    And why the extreme reaction to a parody of the kind of pharmaceutical ads we all see when we watch nightly news shows? Perhaps it is hitting a little close to home for Somerby?

  8. This is what real media criticism looks like:

    Judd discusses whether the facts justify Walgreen's statement that shoplifting caused the closure of 5 stores in the San Francisco area. The NY Times uncritically picked up that story and featured it in its own paper, but is it true that shoplifting has increased? Judd looks at the figures.

    Somerby could be focusing on actual media mistakes resulting from its tendency not to examine corporate claims as closely as it should. Instead he repeats right wing memes and attacks his favorite targets (Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Blow, Don Lemon, and any woman writing anything, especially if she is a professor), largely over trivialities. Today he is fixated on liquor in desk drawers and erectile dysfunction depicted using a twizzler, ignoring the other reporting Maddow did on those various shows Somerby has choosen to complain about.

    This is an imitation of media criticism on Somerby's part. It is self-indulgent, or more likely, paid right wing disinformation.

  9. The idea of making these talking heads your pals is virtually without exception in its observation. Bob knows this. This is how TV news has functioned pretty much from day one. Perhaps Bob is shamed by the worthwhile aspects of her show, so he must endlessly kick dirt in her face for doing what everyone else does.