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Daily Howler: As the darlings erase their old trivia, they invent more--on page one
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THE DARLINGS LOVE TRIVIA! As the darlings erase their old trivia, they invent more—on page one // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2007

WORK ON THE CEILING: Men with hammers have come to our campus; they have even broken holes in our ceiling! For that reason, we’re postponing Gail Collins’ “tangerine day,” and a few more thoughts on that YouTube debate. But let’s learn two things about the darlings, who have been quite bored this week:

THE DARLINGS LIKE CHANGING YOUR HISTORY: The darlings are not unlike Stalin, who was so skillful at changing history. When the time comes, they airbrush the photos in history books. They wipe out major chapters:
Item: Al Gore didn’t say he invented the Internet! Al Gore didn’t say he invented the Internet! It was one year ago when the Post’s Michael Grunwald finally explained this fact to the world (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/25/06). A punishing part of our history was gone. But wouldn’t you know it! Grunwald forgot to say why we’d heard different in the Post for the prior seven years.

Item: Naomi Wolf didn’t tell Al Gore to wear earth tones! Naomi Wolf didn’t tell Gore to wear earth tones! On Sunday, an unnamed writer at the New York Times wiped this part of our history away (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/30/07). But wouldn’t you know it! He or she forgot to say why we’d heard different in the Times for the prior eight years.
Like Stalin, the darlings work in mysterious ways. When it suits them, photos are strangely rearranged; entire chapters of history disappear. And we liberals sit and stare! For lo, as it has long been written: You can say any damn thing about our leaders! Later, when you wipe it away, we won’t even quibble or comment.

THE DARLINGS LOVE TRIVIA: Point two: The darlings adore their trivia. On Sunday, the New York Times wasted 2200 words on a front-page report about letters written by Hillary Clinton—in the mid- to late-1960s, when she was 19 years old. Today, the darlings waste 2600 words, on page one, on this profile of Chelsea Clinton.

But darlings, trivia is rarely trivial. Indeed, many pundits took the bait about those antique letters. Quick example, just one among many—Dana Goldstein, in Tapped:
GOLDSTEIN (7/30/07): All in all, these letters aren't particularly revelatory. They prove only that Hillary has been bookish, ambitious, and maybe a little bit condescending her entire life.
Good God! We can slice the baloney amazingly thin when we take the bait from their trivia! The letters “prove” that Clinton has maybe been a little bit condescending during her entire life, Goldstein unwisely—and compliantly—judged. For the darlings, it was mission accomplished! Based on sheer nonsense, there we were, calling one of our leaders “condescending” again!

(The Times’ Mark Leibovich—he gets upset when Clinton makes men hold her purse— had improbably said that Clinton’s old letters were “mildly patronizing if not scornful.” Go ahead—just read the “example” that proves his point. Then, treat yourself to a laugh.)

Yep! Their trivia are rarely trivial; often, trivia serve as a way to get treasured themes into print. And this morning, sure enough, Jodi Kantor starts her hiss-spitting early. Readers, what can you say about a darling who is willing to hiss-spit like this?
KANTOR (7/31/07): Lately, Ms. Clinton has been able to have her celebrity and control it, too, enjoying the perks but fewer of the drawbacks she used to suffer, like jokes about her looks and tabloid speculation about a canceled wedding or secret honeymoon. She retains a publicist, but mainly to fend off publicity; she and her parents turned down interview requests for this article, as they have for countless others on the subject.
Hiss! Hiss-spit! Hiss-spit! Meee-oww! The darling love it when adepts like Kantor find ways to put beloved themes back on the Times’ front page. Has Clinton been hearing “fewer jokes about her looks?” Let Kantor prime the pump, then!

But darlings, the truly delicious trivia come later in Kantor’s pointless piece. How truly nasty are these darlings—the sick, sterile losers who type for the Times? Here’s how nasty: Fight your way through Kantor’s drivel and reach the point where the darling hiss-spits, at some length, about the moral failings of the father of Clinton’s boy friend! And at the end, drink in the time-bomb that gives this piece its real kick:
KANTOR: If her mother becomes president, Chelsea Clinton's role at the White House, or lack thereof, could be a clue to her own ambitions. She is biding her time, say friends, who toss out possibilities: A life in finance? The Clinton Foundation, which could pass from one generation to the next? Or, would Ms. Clinton run for office herself?

It is a topic of constant speculation in Ms. Clinton's circles. When Ms. Kargman first heard her deliver a speech at a ballet benefit, a few years ago, she wondered if she was watching the future first female president. ''She is going to go all the way,'' she thought to herself.

To the public, Ms. Clinton has given just the barest hint of that sort of impulse. In her essay about Sept. 11, she wrote that she felt ''a new urgency to play a part in America's future.'' She did not know where life would take her, she said, but one thing was certain. ''I will somehow serve my country,'' she promised.
“Ifs,” “could bes” and “speculations” run riot as Kantor closes her piece. But for the darlings with their bored, boring minds, this will make a boring summer more tolerable. Now they can offer inane remarks about—what?—fifty years of the Bushes and Clintons? Don’t worry—this RNC sound-bite will soon inform some part of their trivial chatter.

Yep! Trivia is rarely trivial, as we’ve seen again this week. (It wasn’t trivial in 1999, when the darlings invented endless trivia about Vile Gore—trivia the darlings are now rolling back.) Darlings, Hillary Clinton has maybe been a little bit condescending throughout her whole life! (Her letters “prove” it.) And darlings, Chelsea wants to be POTUS too!

With her looks, could she ever get there? The darlings love to ponder such drivel. Soon, cable pundits will ponder this too. In recent cycles, this has been the way our White House campaigns get decided.

TRIVIA IS RARELY TRIVIAL: To see why journalists should avoid trivia, read this fascinating report, in this morning’s Times, about the way human minds (fail to) work. But oops! That report comes from “Science Times”—and the darlings rarely read that section. Darlings! Too tedious! So dull!

THE SOUL OF THE BANAL: Could anyone be more banal than Leibovich? Here’s one of the key observations from his March, front-page profile of Hillary Clinton (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/6/07):
LEIBOVICH (3/6/07): Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton signs autographs meticulously, drawing out each line and curve of ''H-i-l-l-a-r-y,'' ''R-o-d-h-a-m'' and ''C-l-i-n-t-o-n.'' She leaves no stray lines or wayward marks.

''Hillary, over here, over here,'' called out a young woman from the mob that formed outside the Berlin Town Hall when Mrs. Clinton, Democrat of New York, arrived for a ''conversation,'' in the parlance of the made-to-order intimacy of her presidential campaign. ''Can you sign my Hillary sign, please?'' the woman asked.

Mrs. Clinton autographed the poster, carefully. It took a full seven or eight seconds, none of the two-second scribbles of other politicians. She is the diligent student who gets an A in penmanship, the woman in a hurry who still takes care to dot her i's.
Endless front-page nonsense followed, including the deeply troubling moment when Clinton made a man hold her purse. But then, as Tucker Carlson likes to say: “I have often said—when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” (“I know you do,” said his “boy toy,” Willie Geist.) That’s from the July 16 Tucker program. But then, he said the same thing July 9.

The darlings are banal beyond belief. But for unknown reasons, liberal writers keep taking their bait.