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Daily Howler: It's hard to run a gang of rubes more briskly than Olbermann did
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CREEPING DOWDISM AND KEITHO! It’s hard to run a gang of rubes more briskly than Olbermann did: // link // print // previous // next //

Up with Milloy: We were pleased to see Courtland Milloy’s column in today’s Post. For ourselves, we haven’t seen any of Tyler Perry’s films. But we thought Milloy asked the right questions.

To be honest, we were mainly surprised that Milloy was surprised:

MILLOY (2/25/09): All around me you could almost hear the funny bones cracking—deep guttural laughter coming not only from kids in the audience but from my peers in the AARP set, as well.

And there I sat, silently ranting: There is nothing funny about this black man in pantyhose. And where is all of this cross-dressing-black-man stuff coming from, anyway? First, comedians Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence star in high-grossing movies as the fattest, ugliest black women that Hollywood makeup artists can conjure up, and now here's Perry with his gussied-up version of the same butt of the joke.

By the way, I don't want to hear diddly about Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire or Milton Berle in high heels. Having a black man play super mammy is not the same thing. Perhaps it would be were it not for America's perverse, systemic and centuries-long efforts to humiliate African men and women and turn them into slaves.

Is this worse in the African-American context? It may well be. But for ourselves, we wouldn’t write Mrs. Doubtfire off quite this quickly.

Many men love mocking women. (As we’ve often said: Some men go into stand-up comedy just so they can stand on a stage and mock women’s comical voices.) For our money, Some Like It Hot is one film of this type which packs a sly, intended surprise. Something very unusual happens; racing toward Florida on that train, we soon see that Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) is the film’s good, decent, sincere and generous person. (Sweet Sue has plenty of moxie too.) The gentlemen sneak inside the hareem—and a better class of people is there.

But then, Billy Wilder was like that. You have to admire the guy who made Mad Men in real time (The Apartment). Although he had to wriggle a bit to deal with Miss Kubelik’s conduct.

You rarely see journalists talk about this. Three cheers to Milloy, who did.

CREEPING DOWDISM AND KEITHO: This morning, we learn the latest fact from the gong-show—Maureen Dowd doesn’t seem to like Sheryl Crow either. This new possibility isn’t surprising—Crow is alive, after all, and Dowd isn’t. But the reason for Antoinette Number One’s pique is just as silly and stupid as ever. You see, Crow accepted a gig at a private event—and the sponsor has become controversial:

DOWD (2/25/09): Northern No Trust had a lavish dinner at the Ritz Carlton on Wednesday with a concert by Chicago (at a $100,000 fee); rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport on Thursday for another big dinner with a gig by Earth, Wind & Fire, and closed down the House of Blues on Sunset Strip on Saturday (at a cost of $50,000) for a dinner and serenade by Sheryl Crow.

In the ignoble tradition of rockers who sing for huge sums to sketchy people when we’re not looking, Crow—in her stint as a federal employee—warbled these lyrics to the oblivious revelers:

Never mind what those lyrics were; this is Dowd at her twice-weekly dumbest. According to Dowd, Crow was part of an “ignoble tradition;” she warbled (when we weren’t looking) for a group of “sketchy people.” But how was Crow supposed to know that these people were “sketchy” (in Dowd’s opinion)? Why is Crow in Dowd’s headline, no one else? Dowd forgets to say.

(For sheer fun, note the way Dowd’s readers might get the idea that Chicago gets paid more than Crow. In fact, that fifty grand was the price of the hall. Meow! Hiss-spit!! Meee-ow!!!)

Of course, Dowd is dumb, and personal, beyond all compare. If you give your cat to a friend, it shows that you’re callous and ruthless (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/24/09); lady doctors will get beat up for their frumpy clothes. And darlings! That hair! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/21/07.) But the upper-end “press corps” insists that she’s brilliant; For that reason, her creeping inanity has virtually defined mainstream press culture in the past twenty years, ever since she got “discovered” making that dumb observation about poor confused Mondale/Ferraro. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/14/99. Hiss! Hiss-spit!! Meow!!!). There’s only one problem with this silly trend; modern societies don’t run on dumb. Take a look around at your world to see where this process has led.

And now, the leading stars of the liberal web are adopting this dumb person’s standards. Just consider this rube-running post by Josh Marshall, who has managed to dumb himself down. It’s hard to believe that a guy has to stretch to find a way to trash Sean Hannity. But Marshall devoted fifteen seconds to this post, which is Dowdian dumb:

MARSHALL (2/21/09): A little nugget from an article in yesterday's New York Daily News pointed out by TPM Reader DS. Turns out my main man Sean Hannity was a big pal of Sir Allen Stanford too ...

A big booster of Stanford has been Fox News host Sean Hannity who intones on his radio show, "Stanford Coins & Bullion, a member of the Stanford Financial Group - their name as good as gold."

We know, we know, it’s hard to believe, but Marshall’s post was actually dumber than Dowd’s Hannity read a paid radio ad—and Marshall ran to tell the rubes that this made him “a big pal” of someone who now stands accused as a crook. And of course, anything as dumb as that had to come from Olbermann first. In the world of this big dope, the fact that Hannity accepted that ad made him the world;s qworst person:

OLBERMANN (2/19/09): And they [the authorities] have found billionaire con man Allen Stanford, accused of ripping off $8 billion from 50,000 clients. Allen Stanford, who is now linked to Sean Hannity?

OLBERMANN (2/19/09): The latest Wall Street bandit! Alan Stanford accused of ripping off 50,000 customers, while Sean Hannity tried to get his listeners to become Alan Stanford’s customers. "Worst Persons" ahead.

OLBERMANN (2/19/09): And Sean Hannity, trying to convince his listeners to be clients of the accused Wall Street con man Allen Stanford. And there’s audio. A huge harvest of "Worst Persons." That’s next on Countdown.

OLBERMANN (2/19/09): Time for Countdown’s number two story tonight, tonight’s "Worst Persons in the World."


But our winner, The Manatee [rhymes with Hannity]. You heard of the latest Bernie Madoff wannabe, Allen Stanford, the billionaire certificate of deposit guru who fled after trying to defraud 50,000 of his clients out of $8 billion. They found him tonight. One of his scams is the Stanford Financial Group, one of its scams is Stanford Coins and Bullion. And guess who one of Sean Hannity’s biggest radio sponsors is? He even reads them himself.

HANNITY (audiotape): I have been buying gold. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago I ordered some gold from our friends at Stanford Coins and Bullion. Call Stanford Coins and Bullion, mention my name and get a free guidebook of U.S. coins free with purchase. Or go to the Web,

OLBERMANN: “Mention my name and get your pocket picked personally by Allen Stanford. And if you order now, he will come to your house and vacuum the gold from your teeth.” You wait, before the economic scandals finishing shaking out Sean Hannity’s company will be left applying for a bailout from the Obama administration. Maybe he can melt down his statuette for being tonight`s "Worst Person in the World."

To his credit, Olbermann was willing to identify this story as pure “number two.” But truly, you can’t treat viewers like bigger fools than Olbermann did in that segment, and in his trio of teases. Did you follow the reasoning there? Sean Hannity accepted paid radio ads from someone who wasn’t in any trouble at the time. On Countdown, we rubes—tongues hanging out from a very brisk run—were told that this makes him “worst person.”

It’s very hard to get dumber than that. But Olbermann tries, every night.

As we said, it’s hard to believe that a guy has to stretch to conjure complaints about Hannity. But this is the way the dumbing-down spreads when “liberal leaders” decide to share the joys of Creeping Dowdism. Countdown is more and more the work of a hack, surrounded by a gang of script-readers. Tomorrow, we’ll show you what Richard Wolfe said. But then, Wolfe shows up to play the trained seal pretty much every night now.

A modern society can’t run on dumb—but “liberal” leaders are getting much dumber. We humans seem to love running rubes; as with Dowd, so now with these “liberals.” Everyone gets to trash his or her favorites, without doing the least bit of work. Sheryl Crow’s vile for taking a gig. So is Hannity, for reading an ad.

A modern nation can’t run on dumb—but dumb is what you’re getting handed. Tomorrow, that Times editorial. And what Professor Carter has said.

We didn’t call these people “fundamentalists.” Carter does, in today’s Times.

Tomorrow: A note on bad politics.

Darn that Obama: Josh Marshall just knew that Bobby Jindal was faking about that unemployment provision (more tomorrow). He had to be “grandstanding,” Marshall surmised; he then proceeded to tell the rubes exactly what Jindal was thinking And sure enough! It was political posturing, all the way down to the ground! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/24/09.) But then, if you read that dopey Times editorial, you’ll see the same “fundamentalist” thinking. If Jindal expresses a view we don’t share, it must be pure “political posture!”

But darn it! Darn that dad-burned Obama! Here’s what he said at Monday’s summit, concerning that very same issue:

OBAMA (2/23/09):Let me make one last point and then I'm going to bring Joe [Biden] up.

There has been some healthy debate over the last few weeks, the last few days, about this stimulus package, even among the governors. And I think that's a healthy debate. That keeps me on my toes. It keeps our administration on our toes. But I just want us to not lose perspective of the fact that most of the things that have been the topic of argument over the last several days amount to a fraction of the overall stimulus package. This sometimes gets lost in the cable chatter.

For example, I think there are some very legitimate concerns on the part of some about the sustainability of expanding unemployment insurance. What hasn't been noted is, is that that is $7 billion of a $787 billion program. And it's not even the majority of the expansion of unemployment insurance. So it is possible for those who are concerned about sustaining a change that increases eligibility for part-time workers to still see the benefit of 30 billion [dollars] plus that is going, even if you don't make the change.


So I will always be open to honest disagreements. And I think there are some legitimate concerns that can be raised on a whole host of these issues. And you're responsible at the state level.

And you know, if the federal government gives you something now, and then two years later it's gone, and people are looking to you and starting to blame you, I don't want to put you in that position.

Darn that Obama! Darn, darn, darn! Why did he have to use the word “honest?” Why can’t he just keep dumbing the rubes, the way pseudo-libs like to do?

Tomorrow, more on this topic. Extra reading? Check the “fundamentalist” train of thought in that Times editorial. The first two grafs should suffice.