Monday, June 04, 2007

Growling and Howling

We started The Daily Growler as a fictional response to what we philosophers here consider a cartoon-like life--we mean, how can you take any of this reality for real? We looked for a position to take when we decided to go'a bloggin' a year and a month ago. We had for about a year back been daily readers of The Daily Howler, the blog-now-website run by an ex-school teacher, now comedian who lives in Baltimore, we think (Bob Somerby)--we know he used to teach in the Baltimore school system--or do we? We don't really know this guy at all except for reading his comments--usually on "education" but also on the reporting of current affairs, especially political affairs, through the current national television networks--especially the regular political shows on Sundays when all the Repugnican candidates and wannabe presidents get to be thoroughly analyzed and evaluated in terms of their chances, their platforms, their hopes for our future, and their love of all-out, perpetual WAR, like Newtie Gingrich, for instance--and, oh yes, Newtie was interviewed on the networks Sunday because he's written a historical novel with a guy who we assume is his ghost writer--we immediately flipped the dial off Newtie--who cares what that old fogey crook cares or says or even how the hell he's feelin'?--rich asshole; rich off the Military Industrial Complexes that dot his Gawjah-based base of operations--and what a waste of precious air time to spend it interviewing Newtie Gingrich about a worthless piece of crap historical novel this fool half-wrote--we actually call him a bloated, bow-tied, piece of anachronistic crap--how's that for a putdown?

But The Daily Howler does get a kick out of analyzing in detail the reasoning and arguing that goes on on these silly idiotic media political-comment shows with their bloated, sagging, or hagging moderators and also editorial commentators and feature writers of the big newspapers like the silly Washington Post--and especially he loves to attack the reasoning of dipsticks like Timmy Russert, George Snuffulaphagus, etc., you know, clowns like that, clowns we at The Daily Growler quit watching years ago about the same time we quit reading the New York Times--but the Daily Howler does watch these shows and it does peruse the large newspapers and it does take detailed word-for-word notes on what the overall whacko media is reporting to us as well-chewed and well-digested material when in fact it's all pablum.

So we went back to The Daily Howler yesterday because BuzzFlash had linked to a post he'd made about a certain Washington Post columnist's treatment of Al Gore.

Here's an excerpt from last Friday's Daily Howler:
FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2007

GENE DON'T TELL: Many liberals will be inclined to salute Gene Robinson for this column in today’s Post. In our view, those generous impulses will be vastly misguided.

Liberals will tend to think well of Robinson because he almost dares to speak up for Al Gore. Here is his opening paragraph:
ROBINSON (6/1/07): Al Gore has been in town launching his new book, "The Assault on Reason," and you could have predicted the buzz: Is he about to jump into the race? What you probably wouldn't have predicted is the counter-buzz that Gore, poor fellow, is just too ostentatiously smart to be elected president.
By paragraph 3, Robinson “leaves aside the question” of Gore and begins to state a general preference; he wants the next president to be very smart. After listing the things he wants the next prexy to know, he closes with these stirring sentiments:
ROBINSON: I don't want the candidates to pretend to be average people, because why would we choose an ordinary person for such an extraordinary job? I want to see what they've got—how much they know, how readily they absorb new information, how effectively they analyze problems and evaluate solutions. If the next president is almost always the smartest person in the room, I won't mind a bit. After all, we're not in high school anymore.
We’re not in high school anymore, Robby says—after pretty much proving we are.

Here at THE HOWLER, we’d prefer a smart president too. So what is wrong with Robinson’s column? Start with his opening paragraph, where he makes this ridiculous statement: “What you probably wouldn't have predicted is the counter-buzz that Gore, poor fellow, is just too ostentatiously smart to be elected president.” In fact, that has been “the buzz” about Gore for the past dozen years, relentlessly driven from Robinson’s newspaper. You “wouldn’t have predicted” this week’s reaction to Gore if: 1) You’ve been stationed on Mars since 1995, or 2) You’re simply refusing to tell the truth about the past decade of American politics.

With Robinson, we’ll assume the second answer. Just note how hard the pundit works to keep readers basically clueless. In that first paragraph, he says that a “buzz” has followed Gore this week, but he doesn’t say where this buzz has come from. In particular, he doesn’t say that the buzz has largely come from his own hopeless newspaper—from Dana Milbank’s ludicrous “Washington Sketch” and from Alan Ehrenhalt’s childish review of Gore’s book. (In the Times, David Brooks made it three.) When Robinson closes with that “smartest person in the room” reference, he seems to be referring to Milbank—but he’s careful not to say so. As such, this is classic Soviet-style punditry, in which the reader has to struggle and strain to understand what is being said. Robinson refuses to speak directly—because he’s discussing the press corps.

You wouldn't have predicted the counter-buzz that Gore is just too smart to be president? In fact, this buzz has driven our politics for years; it was part of the press corps’ larger War Against Gore, which derived from their war against Clinton. Sadly, most American voters still don’t know that—in part, because people like Robinson won’t tell them. Robinson worked at the Post all during the years when Gore was savaged, mocked and scorned. Sorry, but unless the Post had him stationed on Mars, he couldn’t have been surprised by the buzz surrounding Gore’s appearance this week.

But we’ve long told you, it’s their number one law: The press corps refuses to tell you the truth about its own conduct and values. Robinson plays the fool today, in service to his High Pundit Class. But then, for the past fifteen years, our “liberal columnists” have refused to discuss the shape of the wars against Clinton, then against Gore. Have you ever seen E. J. Dionne discuss this? That is why George Bush is now president. But even after that world-class disaster, Robinson still won’t tell.

We almost put a link to Somerby's Howler with languagehat and wood s lot (the only blogs we truly find fascinating) when we first started and the reason we didn't was that our own thegrowlingwolf began to appreciate Somerby's thinking and yet castigating him, too, for breaking the backs of "liberals" who are who? as our Wolf Man keeps asking. And he asks further, do "liberals" in this country really know what a "liberal" really is? And if what is said is liberal then how the hell does anybody know whether they are a liberal or not or like we first said, how do they even know what a liberal is and they sure as hell don't know what they are because it's all phony baloney, liberals--fibbers, prevaricators--EVERYTHING IN THIS GOD-DAMN WORLD IS A LIE. Yes, there are plenty of phony liberals but no real liberals in this country, except out in one of The Daily Growler's favorite little cities on the prairie, Liberal, Kansas, plenty of Liberals and Liberalites out there--of course, our Wolf Man is as factitious as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck but he respects good writing and he admits he's fascinated by The Daily Howler's writing but not so sure what his systematic point is to anything.

We are improvisationalists here at The Daily Growler--as our own Wolf Man says, "Howling is done after the Growling has led to a confrontation, which is either resolved or chewed on until it's soft enough to swallow and turn into the shit it is before it's been well masticated...then comes the Howling--howling being sort of an expression of pensive satisfaction for a wolf. thegrowlingwolf is also amused how Bob Somerby now has a "howling wolf" icon as his site's mascot. We have our own live thegrowlingwolf as our mascot on our site--even though our mascot has recently resigned from writing posts and is saturating himself with cheap booze in a downtown hotel in Davenport, Iowa, as we pull back the bedsheet on the dead here in "Terrerist" Attack Heaven, New York City, to identify the body of all the recently deceased.

When a wolf is growling, don't mess with it unless you're prepared to maybe have to go belly up in submission or you're prepared to maybe have to go to the throat of what you're growling over.

So, anyway, we highly approve of your checking out The Daily Howler if you're in the mood for some wolfishly clever pedantics--and we'd certainly invite Bob Somerby out for a growler of ale anytime he'd like to do a little howlin' in a Daily Growler way.

We might even bring Pastor Melissa Scott along, too, oh Howling One. She's one we could really do some Growling and Howling over--and she speaks innumerable languages, too, some of them ancient as Hell.

for The Daily Growler

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