Back in 1920, self-made newspaper publisher and beloved milquetoast Warren G. Harding ran for President promising a “return to normalcy”—the resumption of American life as it was lived before World War I. Ask Scott Fitzgerald how that worked out. The past is past, and its very passage confirms our endorsement of the process that carries it away from us. Even when we return to normalcy—or, if you’re a jerk, “normality“—we do so remembering the weirdicy that came before, and we are changed. Today is Friday, and United has returned me to Missoula in a mere 13 hours. My fish are somehow alive, thanks to Ben al-Fowlkes, and I am standing at my desk as if nothing happened. Fortunately for the links, however, a bunch of stuff went down. Won’t you settle in with the uneasy memory of one who has woken from a dream with me?
On Halloween, political analyst and former Clinton adviser Dick Morris besmirched the good name of The O’Reilly Factor by predicting that Mitt Romney would win in a landslide. He had sailed that claim majestically around the mediasphere for weeks, despite the fact that it was, you know, insane. Romney did not win in a landslide. No actual data suggested he would, but Morris—an ostensibly unbiased analyst—had, in his own words, “worked very hard for Romney.” Was he deluding himself? Kind of. Was he deluding others? Also yes, kind of, as he explained to Sean Hannity in a thicket of prevarication that is the subject of today’s close reading. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. Bad faith after the jump.
Presumably, public debate over current issues is still a vital part of our democracy. Somewhere, maybe in Paul Krugman’s basement, smart people are saying what they actually mean about important aspects of United States culture and governance. On TV, they’re doing something else. Cable news programs are about American politics the way The Program is about football. No one makes this principle more evident than Ann Coulter, who at one time probably believed what she said on television and hoped people would take her seriously. Now she wants us to look at her. Jesus, won’t you please look at Ann Coulter?
You probably already heard about this by now: Coulter went on Hannity and argued, apropos of Herman Cain, that “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Props to Schmen for the link.
Pilloried in the press, maligned by the media and, I dunno, blamed by the blogosphere, Sarah Palin refuted allegations that rhetoric like hers contributed to the Tucson shootings by going on Sean Hannity Monday night and proving, once and for all, that words don’t mean anything. Like a pretty pretty octopus, she held still for a second, changed colors, and vanished behind a high-pressure jet from her word hole. Quote:
Those on the left hate my message and will do all that they can to stop me because they don’t like the message.
That little tautology is the most meaningful thing she said during the whole interview. For Sarah Palin, “because” means “and also.” All the other words mean the same thing as one another.
In addition to being every woman I told myself I should just go over and talk to, SE Cupp is also a mystery. She’s a professed atheist who has written a book called Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. She’s just completed a master’s degree in religious studies at Columbia, and also just asserted her nonbelief on Bill Maher fifty times. [Warning: Maher at his most irritating.] She did the same thing with Sean Hannity, who insisted that she was actually an agnostic.* In an interview with the Daily Beast, she told Benyamin Cohen that ““I knew at a very young age that I didn’t really buy the whole God gamut.” She also told him that as a child she wanted to be a nun. Her columns for the NY Daily News—in which she argues that President Obama has not effectively wielded the power of fear and that we shouldn’t clean up the BP oil spill—suggest that she might simply be a contrarian. Yet she has built her career on aggressively upholding traditional beliefs. Let us not forget, when she argues that the news media naturally attack Christianity because “liberalism and secularism are the standards and anything that crops up against that are the exceptions,” that she is talking about a religion professed by nearly 80% of Americans.