Something we noticed this very morning!

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2022

The gods are relentlessly mocked:  It's something we noticed this morning, just before heading off-campus in our private jet.

Bored to tears as we watched Morning Joe without the ranting of its vacationing host, we wondered how the network morning "news" shows were covering recent events.

We checked the official synopses for two famous morning shows, as offered by our cable provider. At 7 o'clock this morning, this is the way those cable shows were showcasing their diet of "news" for today:

Today, NBC: The Queen's Platinum Jubilee; Scripps National Spelling Bee contest winner; Today Wellness: green juices; Today Food with Anthony Scotto. (Talk, 120 minutes)

Good Morning America, ABC: Coverage from the Queen's Jubilee continues; Deals and Steals with Tory Johnson; actors Bowen Yang and Kim Booster; Platinum Pudding competition winner Jemma Melvin. (Talk, 120 minutes)

We hated missing the pudding champ, but there were promises to keep.

On cable, the red-faced ranter was on vacation; the network shows were featuring that high-powered fare. At Slate, ownership was soon reaching out to blue tribe browsers with such manifest foofaw as this:

JAMILAH LEMIEUX / JUNE 03, 2022 / 10:36 AM
Dear Care and Feeding: I Can’t Believe What I Caught My Granddaughters Wearing to Bed

JAMILAH LEMIEUX / JUNE 03, 2022 / 11:16 AM
Dear Care and Feeding: I’m Worried About the Time My Daughter Spends at Her Friend’s Filthy House

That's what it takes to attract the attention, and gain the clicks, of us in our self-impressed tribe. This is the remarkable way our modern society rolls.

The gods will not be mocked? For decades, we've been aggressively testing the claim. The spectacular dumbness of our failing culture no longer gets mentioned enough, but can anyone really be surprised to see such dumbness fail?

Full disclosure: We once guest-starred on Steals and Deals, the mid-90s CNBC program. Apparently, Tory Johnson has changed the order of the rhyming words around.


  1. "We checked the official synopses for two famous morning shows, as offered by our cable provider. At 7 o'clock this morning, this is the way those cable shows were showcasing their diet of "news" for today:"

    These are not news shows. They are entertainment, largely for women who are going about their daily housework or waking up over coffee. They each include a brief newsbreak that reviews the headlines before returning to their talk and entertainment format.

    For Somerby to mistake these shows for news suggests he is becoming increasingly out of touch with real life. There is nothing wrong with entertainment like this -- it helps keep the mind occupied while doing chores. No one considers this high brow or serious -- it just passes the time pleasantly.

    Although he doesn't say so, this kind of complaint about shows primarily watched by women at home, is a gendered insult. Calling it dumb and implying that it represents the demise of society is unfair, when arguably the sports that men consume in large quantities are no better.

    But why this mean-spirited diatribe against people who are entitled to spend their time however they wish, and are doing no one any harm? Does Somerby imagine he is any better when he rereads Isaacson's bio of Einstein for the 8th time, with no greater comprehension for the repetition? Who does his think he is fooling? We all have different ways of wasting time, and this one seems innocuous to me, especially compared to Somerby's vendetta against anyone who ever thought badly of Al Gore.

  2. "At Slate, ownership was soon reaching out to blue tribe browsers with such manifest foofaw as this:"

    You have to read past all the real news and the celebrity news to get to the advice columns. Slate helpfully organizes its stories into categories so that the discerning reader can find (and also skip) the stories that suit their interests. I suppose Somerby thinks no one should ever read the advice, but why? If people find it entertaining or even helpful, what is the harm? It isn't as if they are replacing actual news with this stuff. The hard news is in a different place, clearly labeled, so that anyone can find it. Even Somerby.

  3. "Bored to tears as we watched Morning Joe without the ranting of its vacationing host,"

    Sounds like Joe was doing a pretty good job, if Somerby found the show boring without him.

  4. Somerby doesn't know any actual people. That's why he is out of touch about what real people worry about. Yes, they do become concerned about trivialities and absurdities, such as what their grandkids are doing.

  5. Bob is bored with Jan 6th, horrid slaughters
    of innocent people, etc. His only concern
    is getting even with those damn Yankees.
    Let’s be generous and assume he’s a

    1. 629,898 slaughters in 2019 alone.

      No, Bob and you don’t care.

    2. "Cecelia" doesn't have the guts to tell you that this is the number of abortions performed in 2019. She is so proud of her advocacy that she doesn't even tell you what that number represents. If you use Google, it is the part number for a door knob, or a drill bit.

      Abortions are not a "number" but each one represents a woman who is pregnant, a woman with reasons for terminating her pregnancy. What are some of those reasons? Cecelia doesn't care.

      1. Sometimes it is a fetus with a genetic disorder that will cause suffering followed by early childhood death.
      2. Sometimes the mother has cancer but the chemo used to treat it will result in birth deformities, so she must choose whether to end her own life by refusing cancer treatment (thereby abandoning husband and other children) or sacrifice the fetus in order to treat her cancer (other life-threatening diseases put a mother in the same situation).
      3. Sometimes the fetus has failed to implant properly in the uterus and is instead implanted in fallopian tubes or tissue outside the uterus. That will be fatal to both the mother and the fetus itself, so it is treated by removal of the fetus via abortion. No, it cannot be reimplanted given today's medical technology. The mother will die a painful death without the abortion,
      4. Sometines the pregnancy is the result of a man's sexual needs in an abusive relationship. The woman may seek abortion in order to have the ability to work and support herself (and other children) indepedent of a man she wishes to leave because he has been an abusive partner.
      5. Sometimes the family cannot afford another child. Nor can it afford the time away from work by the mother, if she were to have a child then give it up for adoption. Poverty reduces a woman's choices and "welfare" doesn't replace her earning ability.
      6. Sometimes a woman has been abandoned by her partner when he found out she was pregnant. The man cannot imagine taking care of a child, so he just leaves her alone. She then has no means of support other than working and cannot take care of the child alone. He may do this by denying responsibility and calling her promiscuous, or just by disappearing.
      7. Sometimes a woman has been raped and did not desire sex, much less a baby. She may be in college or working at a job that is important to her, only to have her life derailed by rape,.
      8. Sometines a woman is not an adult but a child in a family where she was raped by a family member or adult male relative or friend, or neighborhood youth, who the family will not acknowledge engaged in such behavior. The child is too young to be pregnant (the physical health threat is greater, the younger the girl). She is too young to drop out of school and care for a baby, and too young to be forced into marriage.

      "Cecelia" may not know that the majority of women who have abortions are older, married, and many have other children. "Cecelia" may imagine that abortion is about promiscuous women who don't wnat to face the consequences of their actions (like so many men), but that isn't who is having abortions. That is the image of Jezebel that religious bigots force on women to justify interfering in their lives for religious reasons. "Cecelia" is usually a man who objects to women having the means to control their own life outcones. For such men, it isn't about the children or the women at all -- it is about being able to control women's actions. It is misogyny. Bob is generally in sympathy with such stuff, but as we all know, he doesn't read his comments.

      But notice how "Cecelia" doesn't care about children once they are born -- "he" uses this thread about gun control as an excuse to claim that there is no reason to protect already born kids if women won't submit to male-imposed laws requiring forced birth.

    3. Anonymouse11:04am, let’s make a deal.

      I’ll surrender into your magnanimous and beneficent hands all the physically compromised human fetuses and all the human fetuses conceived via violence.

      What human fetuses will you surrender into the callous hands of life, breath, and fate?

    4. Fact: Matt Gaetz has harmed more children than abortion.
      Sad, but true.

    5. The ones whose mothers can care for them. Those are the ones with a chance at survival, as has been true since the beginning of human time. But your colleagues are not allowing any exceptions at all. Do you plan to have a talk with them?

  6. The original "Today" show remains the template: junk with lots of commercials. There was a brief time when Obama first ran when MJ was interesting, but that quickly changed.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Somerby has been harping on the idea that Democrats cannot win if we continue to engage in identity politics. Yastreblansky takes issue with that:

      "Still, if there's any way to win, it has to be something other than purging the party rhetoric of references to identity, whether from the pseudo-Marxist left or the pusillanimous "moderates". Identity politics is a core element, as I believe I've said before, in how the Northern Democrats reconstructed themselves as an urban party after the Civil War, a party that welcomed Catholic and Jewish immigrants, and a party that now represents the substantial majority of the population that is either Black, female, or both, as well as white male union members (who include factory workers as well as teachers and Starbucks baristas) and members of identity groups of all sorts. It's who Democrats were during the New Deal and the civil rights movements were, and it isn't a good idea to stop."

      Personally, I think that much of Trump's appeal is that he provides his supporters with a clear MAGA identity. Even Q-Anon does that. White supremacy is identity politics. And, as pointed out in this article, the white working class is an identity, as is unionization. The Democratic party has long been a coalition of identities, not a single formless blob.

      Somerby's incessant attempts to deprive the left of identity works against the left's political success -- and that is why he has been pushing it, in my opinion. Somerby is never shy about pushing his own Boston Irish identity or his team affiliations, so why does he work so hard to rob others of theirs? Ask Tucker and Steve Bannon.

    2. "purging the party rhetoric of references to identity"

      Strawman argument.

    3. All you have to do is use identity references to class and you've got something. But Democrats can't because they are in bed with plutocratic oligarchs. So they fall back on race based identity politics which, the track record shows, has not worked for them and as Bob's track record shows, he is 100% completely correct. It doesn't work for Democrats.

    4. @10:53 -- this purging is exactly what Somerby has been advocating here.

      @10:57 -- studies show that Americans do not identify with the present SES class but with the class they aspire to. Further, those in the upper classes insist that they are only upper middle class (regardless of actual wealth). That makes it unlikely that a pure appeal to class will help much. The reason people follow Trump is because they want to identify with his wealth and they hope he will improve their own financial status.

      Yastreblansky's point is that identity based on race and gender does work and has previously worked, especially given the animosity shown towards them by Republicans.

      Those who advocate abandoning what works are not friends of the Democratic party. Somerby has not been saying anything to help Democrats in a long time now.

    5. Okay good luck avoiding class issues and focusing on race and gender.

    6. 11:54,
      We can totally win over "the Others" by going after their beloved "job creators".
      Now pull my other finger.

    7. 12:16 never take my word for it. Just do your honest best.

    8. 12:19,
      Before you go. Can you tell us exactly which group of people we shouldn't protect the rights of, in order to fight the class war?

    9. The main point isn't whether or not Democrats should emphasize issues of class, it's that Democrats can't emphasize issues of class because of their fealty to corporate dominance.

    10. 12;22 I don't understand the question.

    11. 12:22 your question may be an extension of the original straw man argument.

    12. 12:32,
      I'd still vote for them over fascists.

    13. Yes, of course. That is by design. Meticulous design. You are given a "moral" reason to support and vote for plutocratic oligarchs.

      Divide and conquer. The oldest trick in the book. The game depends on suckers like you.

    14. Democrats aren’t plutocratic oligarchs.

    15. 1:22,
      How long has it been since you've lived in a capitalist society?

    16. I guess since about 1980 which was when the takeover began in earnest.

    17. Yes. It started with Reagan.