Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2014, April 22: Howling at the anti-racists

Bob "the Daily Howler" Somerby mostly dropped his criticism of the mainstream media years ago, criticism that I often found helpful and informative as well as entertaining.

But now he mostly trashes liberal-leaning reporters and commentators, pretty much like any other conservative. He takes a liberal troll posture, claiming to lament how His Side is committing various journalistic sins. But the troll posture has long since lost his credibility in my mind.

It was his liberal-troll embrace of Tea Party extremists - in the form of tut-tutting at Digby Parton for not realizing what nice reglar folks some of those hardline rightwingers were - that convinced me that he wasn't no friend of progressive politics. Or even conventionally liberal politics.

Having said that, his close reading of news reports is still sometimes informative. He did catch some sloppy reporting by MSNBC on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, even if one suspected he was happy to be able to criticize the same position that FOX News was constantly attacking.

Somerby's response to the Chait-Coates discussion on white racism in the US isn't encouraging to me about where he's coming from.

The title of his April 14 post on the topic is titled, Stalinist-leaners reject Chait speech! 04/14/2014. That gives you an idea on where he's coming from, Commie-baiting the critics of Chait's shaky position on the role of white racism in US politics.

In Twenty-six minutes yields 600 words! 04/15/2014 Somerby discussed "Chait in Salem Village," in which the African-American librul Melissa Harris-Perry criticized pore Jonathan Chait to his face. The pore guy just couldn't defend himself before such a ferocious opponent. And the next night, "Harris-Perry had assembled a panel designed for an old-fashioned dunking." What's a pore ole white guy to do with a mean Negro liberal like Harris-Perry attacking him!

But Somerby rushes to the pore guy's defense again in Our basic reactions to Chait’s famous piece! 04/16/2014.

The next day he returns to the Stalin symbolism with The eternal shortcomings of show trials! 04/17/2014

In Progressives should learn to question authority! 04/21/2014, he frets about whether Harris-Perry has split some hairs precisely enough. In this one, he professes to be mystified by what Harris-Perry, Chait and a couple of political scientists he quotes actually mean.

So, critics of Chait's perspective, at least the mean libruls Somerby discusses, are Stalinists who need to learn to question authority. Including that Negro Stalinist witch Melissa Harris-Perry. And, golly, us reglar folks don't understand what these here fancy perfessers are trying to say. Although he does make a mildly disparaging reference to her, which I've been known to do myself. (I'm no big fan of the general MSNBC style of liberal reporting.)

But Somerby's a liberal, you understand. He wants the Democrats and progressives to do well. But since 2004 or so, Somerby has been telling us how them nasty libruls are as bad if not worst than the Rushes of the world and FOX News.

In the "show trials" post, Somerby cites Gene Lyons' column How We Devalued The ‘R-Word’ National Memo 04/16/2014 saying "Gene Lyons wrote his column this week about the Jonathan Chait show trial." If we apply Somerby's approach, we would have to note that Gene didn't use the phrase "show trial." Nor did he accuse anti-racists as being Stalinists. Or portray Melissa Harris-Perry as a sorceress. Although he does criticize, which I've been known to do myself. (I'm no big fan of the general MSNBC style of liberal reporting.)

Although I wouldn't have phrased things quite the way Gene Lyons did, his column - in contrast to basically everything I see Somerby writing on the subject - recognizes that white racism is real:

Here in America, ethnic boundaries can be as fluid as you make them. As long as you’re white. My people [Irish] didn't arrive in the U.S. until 20 years after the Civil War, but the only "ghetto" they were ever confined to was of their own choosing. ...

For blacks, it’s not so easy to leave the “old country” behind. Because you’re living there. For the descendants of slaves, America’s where your ancestors were bought and sold like cattle: less the land of opportunity than the land of white supremacy.

Even President Obama, while careful not to say that the Trayvon Martin jury decided wrongly, emphasized that "it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away."

Actually, I’m often amazed that black people love this country as much as they do. What's more, ethnic groupthink definitely comes in technicolor. You don't have to be Justice Clarence Thomas to see that.
And we're exceptionally unlikely to see Somerby writing something like Lyons' Ryan's Rhetoric Has Consequences National Memo 03/19/2014.

Otherwise, this month Somerby has been making a number of posts defending pore Chris Christie against his mean librul critics like that ruthless Rachel Maddow. And he spent some energy venting at Joan Walsh and others for defending of equal pay for female workers. And bitched some about defenders of the Affordable Care Act.

Somerby also had some less than inspiring comments about new rightwing militia hero-of-the-month Cliven Bundy.

I notice that in a couple of posts from April, Somerby delved into philosophy, professing his admiration for the methodology of linguistic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (What the heck is an abstract object? 04/06/2014) and ridiculing existentialist Martin Heidegger (The New York Times and the nature of being! 04/01/2014), in which post he also invokes Wittgenstein. Both of them are pretty lame.

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