Real Genius
Sunday, January 23, 2005
This Woman's Gonna Kill Me
MoDo writes today about --what else-- SpongeBob:
It took Dr. James Dobson, the conservative Christian leader and gay marriage opponent, who claims the president's re-election was more a mandate for his ideas than George Bush's, to point out the insidious underside of the popular cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. It takes a sponge to brainwash a child.[Emphasis added.]

And it took Maureen Dowd, the "liberal" New York Times op-ed columnist, who, as we were approaching the election, constantly tried to "be one of the cool kids" as I recall Somerby once say in Daily Howler, and spared no effort to jump down Kerry's throat, imitated in her own little way and her prose what most major reporters of her paper and the Washington Post did by showing two sides of every story in equivalence even when such equivalence was not remotely present, to imply that the election was a mandate for George Bush's ideas and Bush's using the Christian right for his election in every possible fashion somehow does not give the wingnuts the right to claim what they bought with their votes and now own.

A lot has been said about this, and I hope to add some of my own remarks some time soon, but in the mainstream press lies our fundamental problem. And as long as we remain unable to tame them into fairly covering the news, we will suffer. The country will suffer, and as we shall see in the next 4 years in unprecedented examples, the whole world will suffer.

I'm watching Runaway Jury now for the umpteenth time and in the finale, as Rankin Fitch (Hackman) talks to Nick (Cusack) and Marlee (Weisz) in the bar, he asks how they swung the jury their way. Nick says he didn't do anything:

- I let them vote their hearts. That means you lose.

The situation is exactly the same here. The last election was the largest false marketing campaign in history. And the right's disinformation and disenfranchisement of the electorate worked mostly because we failed to goad the press into doing their job properly. We expected them to report the truth fairly and we didn't do everything in our power to ensure that. "The facts" were "biased" as Stephen Colbert once so aptly put in The Daily Show and we remained inert and did not shout out at the top of our lungs that fact at every opportunity we got. Not that that is the appropriate thing to do: It was just the way to win the battle.

And please, please, do not to take the "vote their hearts" expression in its entirety. It is a fact that when they're left alone with their proverbial hearts, most people will vote their instincts and from that we can spiral into an entire bullshit argument about moral values. No, the "vote their hearts" expression here signifies voting what's good and right for them. But of course you must've noticed that construct if you already got this far in reading this post.

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