READER COMMENTS ON
"The 'War on Christmas' is Fake, The 'War for Truth' is Real: 'BradCast' 12/26/2017"
(6 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 12/26/2017 @ 7:48 pm PT...
AS THE OLD YEAR DRAWS TO A CLOSE...
The old year draws to a close. It began with dread of evil things to come and it ends with the horror of another war adding its toll of anguish to a world already bowed under the burden of suffering laid upon it by man's inhumanity to man.
But, thank God for the interlude of Christmas. This night is a night of joy and hope and happiness and promise of better things to come. And so in the happiness of this Eve of the most blessed day in the year I give to all of my countrymen the old, old greeting-"Merry Christmas- Happy Christmas."
A Christmas rite for me is always to re-read that immortal little story by Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol." Reading between the lines and thinking as I always do of Bob Cratchit's humble home as a counterpart of millions of our own American homes, the story takes on a stirring significance to me. Old Scrooge found that Christmas wasn't a humbug. He took to himself the spirit of neighborliness. But today neighborliness no longer can be confined to one's little neighborhood. Life has become too complex for that. In our country neighborliness has gradually spread its boundaries—from town, to county, to State and now at last to the whole Nation.
For instance, who a generation ago would have thought that a week from tomorrow-January 1, 1940—tens of thousands of 'elderly men and women in every State and every county and every city of the Nation would begin to receive checks every month for old age retirement insurance—and not only that but that there would be also insurance benefits for the wife, the widow, the orphan children and even dependent parents? Who would have thought a generation ago that people who lost their jobs would, for an appreciable period, receive unemployment insurance—that the needy, the blind and the crippled children would receive some measure of protection which will reach down to the millions of Bob Cratchit's, the Marthas and the Tiny Tims of our own "four-room homes."
In these days of strife and sadness in many other lands, let us in the nations which still live at peace forbear to give thanks only for our good fortune in our peace.
Let us rather pray that we may be given strength to live for others-to live more closely to the words of the Sermon on the Mount and to pray that peoples in the nations which are at war may also read, learn and inwardly digest these deathless words.
May their import reach into the hearts of all men and (women) of all nations.
I offer them as my Christmas message:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 12/26/2017 @ 11:17 pm PT...
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant
said on 12/28/2017 @ 7:43 am PT...
Brad and Desi: Pleasepleaseplease thank Ms. Parton (again) for her Hullabaloo Blog, the first thing I read EVERY MORNING when getting ready for my day.
One of things that she makes a note of is the corporate media's and NPR's obsession with the Trump Voter. MSNBC's Chris Hayes even coined a term for this journalistic genre: "The Trump Pastoral". I would like to see this term go into wide circulation so that in giving it a name this genre would elicit a level of embarrassment in any journalist forced to perform it because of its fundamentally ridiculous project, chronicling the vibrations of this special demographic --- one that is supposedly more special than the rest of us. Ridiculous because it is cowardly and betrays its blatantly kitsch politics.
It is worth asking why this project exists in the first place. I ain't no kinda anthropologist of that species of person knows as the journalist, but I think I have a hypothesis. For decades since Nixon's "Silent Majority" speech, the right has worked hard to spread the idea of "Real Americans" as white, working class-blue collar Christian types that one finds in certain districts of the U.S., from suburban "White Flight-ers" to all the way over to red-state rurals.
I would suggest that this brand of American is a demographic that found its real existence in racist resistance to the Civil Rights Movement starting from the mid-1960's onward. In the 1980's the "Silent Majority" took on another name: "The Reagan Democrat". It was the Southern Strategy that made a point of targeting them for Republican electoral success. But what really worked is that these people were sold by revanchist ideologues like Richard Vigurie, Lee Atwater, Patrick Buchanan, and Phyllis Schlafly as Real America. The rest of us, not so much. Indeed, the rest of us were a subversive presence in America, threaten to change it something not American.
There is way more but you get the point. But here is another question: given that Trump lost the popular vote by three million, why are there no "Clinton Pastorals"? Given Bernie Sanders' surprising show, why no "Sanders Pastorals"? Why are NO journalists checking in on those who did not vote for Trump? After all, those people outnumber those who did --- heck, those non-Republican warm bodies outnumber the Republican ones.
Answer: non-Republicans ARE NOT AMERICAN. There will never be a journalist's sojourn into Sanders or Clinton "territory". No one will check on "us", as Heather Parton would say, to see if we are ok. If I were a betting person, I would wager that the "The Trump Pastoral" would persist even if Trump lost and Ms. Clinton became President --- because Real America needs to be looked in on to see, at least, if they were willing to give Ms. Clinton a chance and to see if they approve of her job performance. As if reporting on them would, for some reason, assuage their feelings after seeing their All-American Candidate, the racist, sexual assaulting, thrice-divorced libertine that Jesus supports, lose to Crooked Hillary.
Somehow, we would still be beleaguered with this genre of journalism. Even in defeat we could not escape Trump.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 12/28/2017 @ 6:32 pm PT...
Donald Pruden @3:
Have sent the good Digby your thanks and praise!
As to your "Trump Pastoral" points, which are all good ones, would you be okay with such articles/profiles if they also did the occasional "Hillary Pastorals" and "Bernie Pastorals"?
In other words, is the problem that they do them at all, or that they ONLY do those for Trump voters? (Just curious.)
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant
said on 12/29/2017 @ 8:54 am PT...
Thanks for replying and passing the message on!
I am working on my reply to your question and I am trying to address it with a level of consideration worthy of anyone's attention. I will post it next year and I hope you will find it interesting.
Oh --- you need to have Ms. Parton more often. Make it a regular feature if that is at all possible.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant
said on 1/3/2018 @ 9:35 am PT...
"As to your 'Trump Pastoral' points, which are all good ones, would you be okay with such articles/profiles if they also did the occasional 'Hillary Pastorals' and 'Bernie Pastorals'?
"In other words, is the problem that they do them at all, or that they ONLY do those for Trump voters? (Just curious.)"
The short answer is, "Both."
I beg your forgiveness for the long-winded reply, but your question deserves an answer worthy of it. I need to think this one through, and it required a little homework. I hope this comes close. Sit tight, here goes. Here comes the long answer.
"That they do them at all": We need to ask why this genre exists. Who is it supposed to reach? Who needs to "understand" the Trump Voter? Who's "not getting it" such that these profiles, always both sympathetic and disturbingly uncurious, are necessary? Do liberals need to understand them? Why --- there are libraries full of books and studies of the American Conservative, from libertarians to evangelicals to crypto-Nazis to survivalist cults to so-called "gun nuts" to the Tea Party to the old (and may be returning) Birchers. I own and read such books. I even own and read books BY these people.
They are called "The Forgotten Americans". Forgotten by whom? The government that subsidized residential segregation for decades after the end of WWII? By the police who kick our asses and stop and frisk us and perp-walk us for the local news cameras? By Christine Todd Whitman who infamously posed appearing to pat down some poor random African American male motorist (who was first "cleared" for Ms. Whitman by being patted down first by cops who pulled him over for this photo-op)? By Frank Luntz who polls them to help the wingers (Tom Franks' funny word) craft their "fuzzwords" (cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty's funny word for the talking points used by his fictional conservative congressman, Bob Forehead)? Who is "forgetting" them? Any books or columns or think pieces on the "Liberal" not written by someone who hates them? Maybe some call them "forgotten" because, as the "silent majority", they are not as likely to protest publicly as are the traditionally marginalized social (out) groups. That there are so few public spectacles of their issues --- marching against abortion, rallying to stop gay rights, the Tea Party gatherings --- testifies to the "silent majority's" non-marginal status. It is the normally and historically dispossessed that cannot afford to be silent. Let me offer this: it is the Liberal who is "forgotten", and deliberately and publicly so. How many times, and for how long, have the pundits of the corporate press and NPR (I am looking at you, Cokie Roberts...) told Democrats who win elections to move to the center and to abandon their liberal base?
Someone seems to think that we (whoever "we" are) need to "know" these people. I am all for that (I read the "Trump Pastorals") but historical context makes the mere existence of this genre of reporting resonant. The question is, why is this so? Is it to educate us, the non-Trump Voter, or is to flatter the Trump-"symps" as a marketing ploy because Trump won and there is a consensus in media circles that America is (and has always been) Nixonland-cum-Trumpland? What are "we" supposed to do with this "knowledge"?
Some writings have attempted to use the Trump voter as a cudgel against progressives who advocate for social justice. Social Justice Warriors (a slander issued by alt-righters) make conservatives mad with their finger-wagging response to conservatives' alleged "bigotry". Conservatives express their offended anger in reply by vicious trolling online, mocking the weak, voting for Trump — and occasionally running liberals down with Dodges - all to "trigger" those oversensitive "libruls". We should be nicer to them, because our demands for fairness to others grate on the sensitive ears of these snowflake reactionaries. Their "feels" trump calls for equality. These days, the Trump Pastoral has largely abandoned this line because the Trumpist bigot will not be appeased, no matter how many features they appear in. Trump and the alt-right (plus progressive rage) has finally "woke" those outlets (like Vox and the Times) such that pushing that line has made it an ideological embarrassment. You can't ask us to be nicer to people who would create memes of gassing Jews, or who wear shirts that say "Trump that B*tch!".
There have been sporadic, self-aware (and even ironic) interventions into public awareness of this genre. Your blog even featured a cartoon that made fun of millennials going to visit Real America in order to step out of their coastal-hipster bubble. Is not "Real America" an ideological fiction, therefore a "bubble" that maybe those who live in it should THEMSELVES step out of? Why do WE owe THEM this courtesy? Given some of their problematic beliefs...
"That they ONLY do those for Trump voters": There are far more non-Republicans in the U.S. of A. than Republicans. Is there a reason why no journalist is assigned to visit this or that "blue" district for a few weeks to get to know its residents, to inquire as to how they are enduring (my biased word) the current political moment, to ask if any of them feel that Trump should be "given a chance", or if his programs and those of the Republican party should be stopped dead in their tracks. Again - we gotta ask why?
Adding to my earlier hypothesis, I would suggest that progressives/liberals are a something of a "threat" in that they offer a critique of what they perceive as problematic social relations, from identity politics to economics. Corporate/corporatist media has a troubled relationship with progs/libs, deriving from the early Cold War years of the HUAC through Bush I's (with coaching from Roger Ailes) turning the word "liberal" into a slander. This is parallel to corporate America's decades-long regaining of its footing by lobbying the Fed to raise interest rates in the 1970's, through its attack on labor, and its capturing of government regulatory bodies, and cultural rightists hiding anti-Black reaction behind religious righteousness.
A "left" critique poses as a potential menace to the corporatist agenda, to any effort at rolling back the successes of pro-social movements, or the rolling back of the improvements in the lives of the non business-owning classes. The left in America has always been "the enemy" since the project of money-making has always been identified with the American project (officialdom's lofty words on freedom, notwithstanding). Morris Berman's "Dark Ages America" has a terrific chapter describing the existence in the U.S. of the enabling conditions for the possibility of democracy. He also describes European concept of "virtue" and how this concept underwent something of an inversion in the U.S. Berman quotes Joyce Appleby: "the capacity of some men to rise above private interests and devote themselves to the public good."
Now we should note, as Berman does, that the U.S. was certainly not a democracy then in the sense we understand it now (some would say, not in any real sense). Individualism and "ceaseless striving" took hold in the new nation in the late 18th century to replace the more "organic" virtues one observed in the "aristocratic model" of somewhat reciprocal social relations. This is an environment where business ethics can flourish, displacing the likelihood of reciprocity and its democratic, because humane, potential. I am grossly oversimplifying the thesis, but this is a rough gist of it.
When the American project came at a crossroads and took the path of money-making it disavowed the project of democracy. That work was left to America's dissidents, many of whom could be listed as "left" and who believed in the project of democracy. Thus, the dissident became the “enemy”, be they Civil Rights activists, environmentalists, feminists, LGBTQs, labor. The "establishment" gave plenty of lip service to democracy, while bashing those who agitated for it.
In light of this, why on Earth would the corporatist press and NPR expend any significant portion of its establishment resources in visiting "Sanderstan" or "Clintonville"? (Even the most mainstream of the Dem Party has dissidents in its midst) Why interview "the enemy"? That Hayes or Maddow or O'Donnell don't do Trump Pastorals is, frankly, nothing short of miraculous given that MSNBC is owned by Comcast and that boss Andrew Lack has been gunning for them for some time. He can't cut them (yet) because they remain a big audience draw. But in the main, journalists will not visit a Black community that went in for Hillary to ask why. They will not visit the offices of an activist Union that cast its lot with Bernie to ask why. With neither of these will they check in on them to see how life under Trump is turning out. With these and other non-Trumpers will NEVER be gathered into a room to be mass interviewed by a journalist (with the exception of Chris Hayes). Not even for the purposes of trying nudge them in accepting Trump or his agenda. You cannot risk that one of them may go and say something - gasp! - progressive! Better to not visit them at all.
I could say more, knowing how much folks just love long posts by "some dweeb at a computer", but modesty forbids such an indulgence! Happy New Year.
Lastly, I just donated to your site. This is because I consider BRADBLOG to be part of my "Information Shock Troops"!