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The Parson cleared his thoughtful throat and made a high-minded error
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THE PARSON’S WHITE-BOY GAMES! The Parson cleared his thoughtful throat and made a high-minded error: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2010

History resumes tomorrow: As best we can tell, we’ll be posting our twice-delayed Chapter 4 tomorrow, at our companion site.

Sinead O’Connor v. Dowd: As we’ve said so many times, we never cease to be amazed by Lady Collins’ insipid musings. At present, the world is crawling with serious topics; they beg for elucidation. But so what? On Saturday, this is the way the Lady started her latest insipid column:

LADY COLLINS (3/27/10): Now that the health care bill is passed, what are we going to do with our time?

Does the lady ever produce a new hook? As always, Lady Collins was rolling her eyes at all the attention we’ve paid to this deeply serious topic. And how did she answer her own silly question? What will our lady now do with her time? In her column, she returned to her latest insipid obsession, offering her latest droll work on a joke-rich theme: Which state seems to be most corrupt?

Lady Collins is always stunning—the crown jewel of an insipid elite. Then too, there was Sunday’s column by Maureen Dowd. And there was a superlative counterpoint in the Washington Post, penned by Sinead O’Connor.

Give her credit—the Duchess of Dowd was trying to do something very important this day. She wrote about the Pope’s response to the child abuse matter in which he’s embroiled. But no matter what topic she chooses to limn, Dowd cannot make her tiny mind focus. As always, she kicked things off with her standard insipid word-play:

DOWD (3/28/10): A Nope for Pope

Yup, we need a Nope.

A nun who is pope.

Jesus, this duchess is daft! Is there any topic on the face of the earth which will make her suspend her punning and her insipid word-play? Sadly, the puns and the clever, insipid jokes continued all through this allegedly serious column. (Example: “Because he did not defrock the demented Father Murphy, it’s time to bring in the frocks.”) Let’s face it: If World War III broke out tomorrow, Lady Dowd would be there the next day to offer droll puns on the subject. (The column may be in the can.)

Luckily, yesterday’s Outlook section gave us a look at how real humans reason. The piece was written by Sinead O’Connor; she too considered the conduct of the Pope. But O’Connor wrote as a real human being might write, not like the royals who lounge at the Times. We strongly recommend her piece as a counterpart to Dowd’s silly punning. For O’Connor’s fine essay, click here.

In part, O’Connor wrote about the culture of Irish Catholicism over the years of her life. (By that, we mean she wrote about the culture surrounding Catholicism in Ireland itself.) We ourselves grew up Catholic in the 1950s, in Ireland’s westernmost province—Boston, Mass. In 1960, our family moved to California, where we seemed to encounter a different brand of Catholicism. Because these recollections relate to our country’s modern political journalism, we’ll plan a short memoir for Friday.

But please. Read O’Connor, then read Dowd. In one case, you’ll be reading the work of your flesh, the work of a real living human.

THE PARSON’S WHITE-BOY GAMES (permalink): Jon Meacham, “The Parson,” cleared his throat, then set a high-minded example. He spoke on Meet the Press, about health reform. Despite his wonderfully high-minded pose, we thought his slips were showing:

GREGORY (3/28/10): Jon Meacham, in terms of mobilization of voters as we get toward the fall, who's more mobilized on this?

MEACHAM: Well, right now the—I would say it's a pretty close call. The passion, and the passion that we pay attention to because it's so dramatic, and again, raw and tragically unfortunate, I think, the— When John Lewis can't walk across Capitol Hill without being spit on and called the worst thing he can be called, a man who helped change America, then we're out of, we're out of whack in a way that we should denounce, in the way I think [clears throat] Republican leaders at the very highest levels—love to hear from Senator Dole, from the Bushes—I mean you, this is something that, that should not stand. And my sense is that the right has the passion. But you know what, the left and the center of left just helped pass this bill, and we shouldn't forget that.

The Parson had made a nice try. (To watch him propound, just click this.) In fact, no one has said that Rep. Lewis was spat on; that was done to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri. Despite his thoughtful self-ballyhooed “passion,” Meacham had apparently paid so little “attention” to these recent events that he grandly misspoke.

As always.

Anyone can misspeak, of course; it happens all the time. But we couldn’t help wondering if The Parson misspoke because he’d just scanned his New York Times, absorbing the latest before his appearance on this high-minded talk program. In Sunday morning’s hard-copy Times, Kate Zernike, reporting from the Tea Party meeting in Searchlight, made a noticeable error. As we wrote, her error remains uncorrected, despite the “passion” which makes us all “pay attention” to the matter about which she erred:

ZERNIKE (3/28/10): Speaker after speaker denounced Democrats for portraying Tea Party members as angry and violent, saying they did not believe members had been behind the bricks thrown at some Democrats' windows after passage of the health care bill. One speaker doubted Representative John Lewis's account that he had been spat on by a protester at a Tea Party rally on the Capitol, challenging him to a $10,000 bet to produce proof or take a lie detector test. Debbie Landis, the leader of Anger Is Brewing, a Nevada Tea Party group and local sponsor of the event, noted that her group held candidate forums and legislative action alerts: ''not one of those activities involves a brick,'' she said.

(Note: On line, the Times appends this note to Zernike’s report: “Published: March 27, 2010.” That is technically accurate, but the report appeared in Sunday’s hard-copy edition. The Times still hasn’t found a way to avoid such points of confusion.)

Did some speaker make this misstatement in Searchlight? Several other people report that the ever-ludicrous Andrew Breitbart offered $100,000 if Lewis passes a lie detector test about the names he was called. (For Tim Murphy’s account in Mother Jones, click this. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the same thing.) Somehow, the dollar figure was different in the Times—and the unnamed speaker also makes an inaccurate reference to the spitting incident.

Even if some speaker did make this misstatement, Zernike and/or her editors should have cleared it up. Apparently, somebody at our greatest newspaper hasn’t been “paying attention to this because it's so dramatic” either.

At any rate, sure enough: Yesterday morning, The Parson cleared his thoughtful throat and repeated this error on Meet the Press. Is this where The Parson got the idea that Rep. Lewis had been spat on, not Rep. Cleaver? No idea, but this is the way these cretins function. Can we talk? It seems Meacham perhaps hasn’t paid a lot of attention to the incidents involving Lewis and Cleaver. But he’s always ready to clear his throat and let us gain from his high-minded guidance. And of course, as soon as Meacham stopped his sermon, Doris Kearns Goodwin joined the parade, telling us how wonderful Frank Rich’s column had been.

Goodwin’s a bit of a cretin too, an Imus pal and Imus-enabler of long and gruesome standing. (She’s also a longstanding Matthews-enabler, dating back to the time when he waged his astonishing war against Clinton, then Gore. Doris just sat there and took it.) But now, unlike in that earlier decade, this high-level rabble has come home; they now parade onto Meet the Press and recite the scripts which seem to support our side’s causes, including the script in which the addled Rich, as he always does, says everyone’s racist but him.

Yesterday, Digby praised Rich’s wonderful thinking; she highlighted the very part of his column we ourselves found to be most pathetic. But matters of race drive white liberals mad. Every IQ point flies from their heads until they have suitably rendered.

What was wrong with Rich’s column? We’ll discuss that tomorrow, although we’ll focus on this column by Colbert King, a column which is much harder to justify. But might we add one thought for Meacham, who hasn’t paid enough attention to distinguish between Lewis and Cleaver? Our statement comes in the form of some questions, questions we would address to the types of white liberals who always step forward, clearing their throats, to prove their good faith at such times:

Are you sure that Rep. Lewis was really “called the worst thing he can be called?” Second question: Do you know how much power you grant the least among us when you insist on playing these silly, sad white-boy games?

Tomorrow: In search of the bigots