The Washington Post gets it right: Three cheers for eighth-grader Smar Abuagla, and for the Washington Posts Tara Bahrampour! In yesterdays paper, Bahrampour offered a superb profile of Abuagla, focusing on her decision to start wearing a head scarf to her Reston, Virginia public school.
Abuaglas an American teen born in the Sudan. Do you remember being 13? For an excellent reminder, you know what to do: Just click here.
Leg or breast? Or perhaps culture war: The thing to remember about Howard Kurtz is this: He isnt dumbhes not dumb at all. What happened on yesterdays Reliable Sources was, therefore, an example of pure craven posing. (To read the full transcript, click here.)
Midway through the hour-long program, Kurtz introduced the latest sleep-inducing discussion of Sarah Palins new book. His questions were utterly tediousas were his three pundit guests. No one had a thing to say about this utterly tedious topicexcept when Kurtz raised the question of Newsweeks current cover photo (click this), which invites you to take a long look at Palins sexy-time legs. He spoke with Amanda Carpenter:
KURTZ (11/15/09): Newsweek cover out today. Let's put it up on the screen: "How do you solve a problem like Sarah?" And look at that picture of her. I don't know where they got that from. With all of the media criticism in the book, and in light of that Newsweek cover, is she getting and will she get a fair shake from the news business?
CARPENTER: I don't think she is right. I mean, I saw that cover published by Newsweek, it's coming out in their November 23rd edition. It was a photo taken from Runners World where it makes sense to show someone with their legs. And there were other poses where she is not showing her legs. But they chose that one.
Why did Newsweek choose the sexy-time photo? Might we offer a guess? For obvious reasons, the fellows at Newsweek (Meacham and Thomas) cant get people to purchase their written materialso they turn to sexy-time photos! Pious fellows like Meacham have always made such decisions. And they always will.
Back to Reliable Sources. The discussion of Palin was utterly dull, driven by a trio of pundits with absolutely nothing to say. (They did know a few Standard Bromides.) But Palin is a major political figure, someone who might actually run for the White House. What explains where Kurtz went next? Fight for consciousness as he concludes his snoresome discussion of Palin:
KURTZ: There was a great e-mail the Huffington Post got written during the campaign by Palin. She initially didn't want to go on Saturday Night Live. You remember when she went on and appeared with Tina Fey. Those folks are whack. Even though it wasn't as bad as it was, she didn't like the portrayals naturally of her and her family.
All right, let's talk about Carrie Prejean who kind ofit's almost like in the same category as Sarah Palin. She has a lot to say about the media. She, of course, is the former Miss California who ended up in a lawsuit with pageant officials who took away her title. She's been making the rounds and look at what Carrie Prejean has been saying to various interviewers.
The discussion of Palin was utterly dullbut Palins a major political figure. By way of contrast, Carrie Prejean isnt a major figure of any type, despite Kurtzs claim that it's almost like in the same category as Sarah Palin. In fact, Prejean is a confection of cable news channels. Shes kept around so cable can run its tape of her in a swimsuit.
Why was Kurtz discussing Prejean? Is there any chance he went there for the same reason that The Parson put that shot on his cover?
Carrie Prejean isnt important. She was competing in a pointless Trump event when she got a surprise question from one of Trumps judgesa judge who is a professional idiot. In answering the question, she stated a view identical to Barack Obamas (hes currently president, of the US)and she has been assailed by the pseudo-liberal world from that day forward. (She also got assailed as a c*nt by Trumps idiot judge. Within the pseudo-liberal world, this was of course completely OK. You see, Prejean is The Other. She had revealed this fact herselfby expressing Obamas view.)
She isnt important; she doesnt matter; and this clown-time episode got its start when she stated Obamas view. (And Hillary Clintons; and John Edwards; and Bidens; and Kerrys; and Candidate Gores.) But we pseudo-liberals love culture war; well grab any excuse to sustain it. Its the way we arrange to lose votesand to convince our own small minds that we belong to the good noble tribe. As opposed to the creatures we loathethe beings we practice to hate.
MEET THE VAN WINKLES: Last Wednesday, Ruth Van Winkle, also known as Ruth Marcus, seemed to awake from a long soothing sleep. In an excellent piece written decades decades too late, she noticed a fact of life on the planet: Republicans like to disinform voters about the state of health care. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/13/09.
On Sunday, Kathleen Van Winkle (AKA Parker) also emerged from a warm cozy log. Like Marcus, she wrote in the Washington Post. Parkers column, concerning the need for civility, also comes decades too late.
In fairness, we dont necessarily disagree with Parkers call for greater civility. As she started, she sketched the recent events and trends which have her so concerned:
PARKER (11/15/09): Growing concern about incivility is one of America's more appealing trends. Increasingly, individuals and institutions are seeking to burnish the golden rule.
The concern isn't newProf. P.M. Forni started the Johns Hopkins Civility Project 12 years ago and published a book in 2002: "Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct.
But recent events and trendsfrom rowdy town-hall meetings to sideshow rants on television to the outburst of South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilsonhave brought vague unease about manners into sharper focus.
Parker mentions Wilson twice. But in which cozy log has the lady been sleeping if she thinks the events and trends in question are somehow recent?
In fairness, Parker does know that incivility has plagued our politics before. Americans have never been exemplars of manners in politics, she quickly admits. But when she marshaled her examples, the analysts were permitted to laugh:
PARKER: Americans have never been exemplars of manners in politics. Often cited are the anti-Federalists, though the Federalists were hardly rearranging the doilies.
During the Andrew Jackson-John Quincy Adams election of 1828, the former general was called a murderer and a cannibal; his wife was accused of being a harlot. Closer to Joe Wilson's stomping ground, politics has always been a blood sport, and most natives are proud of it. In the election of 1832, mobs assaulted candidates. Not very civil, that.
How long has Parker been in her log? Searching her mind for previous examples of rudeness, she thinks of presidential electionsin 1828 and 1832! Did Parker intend to challenge her colleague, Marcus, for her newspapers Van Winkle Prize? We couldnt help wondering when she let us know what has changedsince the doily arrangements of the 1830s, that is:
PARKER (continuing directly): Nonetheless, something has changedand what has changed is media. I don't mean traditional media, the so-called mainstream media everyone loves to hate these days. In fact, old media have strict standards about civility and appropriate language in the public sphere. Such concerns prevented me recently from publishing the obscenity uttered in The Post newsroom that provoked an editor to hit a writer.
Most crucial in the viral growth of incivility are new mediathe Internet, the blogosphere and all the social applications, from Facebook to Twitter, and whatever else may have developed since I began typing this page.
In what log has Parker been lolling? She slams the Internets incivilityand she praises the strict standards of the old media. In the process, she forgets to name one other famous part of new mediaconservative talk radio.
Does anyone remember when Rush Limbaugh, on talk radio, rather flamboyantly spread the idea that Hillary Clinton, then first lady, was involved in the murder of Vince Foster? Frankly, this new Van Winkle doesnt. She was asleep in her log.
Weve covered the following ground many times. But Parkers column brought it to mind againand it continues to define our misshapen public discourse.
It was strange to see Parker return to 1832 in her search for incivility. If the Nexis archives can be believed, Parker was a regular columnist all through the Clinton/Gore years. (During much of that time she was a nationally syndicated columnist.) That said, she was discussing our politics during the years when these events occurred:
Who drove these examples of incivility? Americas most famous men of the cloth. Americas most famous talk radio hosts. And, of course, the mainstream press corps, which has strict standards about civility in the public sphere.
Parker didnt drive those campaigns herself, but she was a major columnist all through the relevant era. (In her first column of the Clinton era, she took Hillary Clintons side against those who were assailing herlike her own husband, for instance.) Yesterday, emerging from her log, she forgot that eras historywas forced to return to 1828 to think of prior failings.
Why do Marcus and Parker forget? Because the liberal world permits it. Many of your favorite, fiery liberals took part in the slander campaigns against Clinton, then Gore. The others pretended they didnt notice, thus maintaining establishment standing as acceptably Serious People. And right to this day, the liberal world has kept its trap shut about the real history of the last decade. Polite boys and girls become Serious Peoplethus permitting the kind of forgetting which pervades the Parker piece. Nor have career liberals ever complained about decades of lying about health care. Fighting off narcolepsy themselves, they recite their defining pseudo-lib mantra: Must...be...Serious People...
Marcus seemed to be surprised when she saw Republicans lie about health care. Parker had to journey in time to think of earlier incivility. You have the liberal world to thank for this nonsensefor this parade of Van Winkles.
Tromorrow, well invite you to sneer at the liberal world as it too plays a bit of Van Winklethis time, concerning abortion. Our own recollections seem to be challenged when this topic is forced into view.