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And so this is SOTU

For a moment, I actually forgot Chris Matthews was white.

And I’m looking forward to the new musical adaptation of Avatar, opening at the Kennedy Center next month!  With Barack Obama as Jake Sully and Sally Quinn as Neytiri.  Also featuring Michelle Obama as Dr. Grace Augustine, Fred Hiatt as Tsu’tey, Peggy Noonan as Moat and David Broder as Eytukan.  That should settle the question of whether the narrative is “racist” once and for all.

Posted by on 01/28 at 01:52 PM
  1. And unobtainium is the ore from which comes bipartisanship?

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  05:10 PM
  2. Who will portray the badass military honcho with the clawed face?

    Posted by Orange  on  01/28  at  05:11 PM
  3. For a moment, I actually forgot Chris Matthews was white.

    Stop it Michael. You’re making Mrs. Alito cry.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  05:28 PM
  4. Who will portray the badass military honcho with the clawed face?

    Rahm Emanuel, I’d guess.

    You’re making Mrs. Alito cry.

    Don’t make me say it, JP.  Because I used to be a Democrat....

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  06:43 PM
  5. Il Profesore’s version is certainly far less heavy-handed than this one.

    You’re making Mrs. Alito cry.

    “Not true.”

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  09:20 PM
  6. And what is a So Tu?  Is it some form of fantasy theater, like Kabuki, or is it something entirely an other? Perhaps it is a generalization gone bonkers?

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  09:44 PM
  7. Apparently there is also some form of counter-So-Tu that goes on for a while after the So-Tu.  Not sure what that is supposed to do.

    Posted by  on  01/28  at  09:51 PM
  8. Is Neytiri the woman who played Uhura? If so, then I always imagined Sally Quinn as instead the mother/mystic who picks the next mate for the All-Bipartisan-Father. And in that case, it is…

    Not sure! Used to be McCain - perchance Harold Ford, or Scott Brown? I’m not really sure where she stands on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    According to some story I read today about the Washington Post’s ‘conference salons’, one possible reason for it is that the inheritor of the paper was jealous of her family’s salons of old. Saboteurs! Depending on Sally Quinn’s answer to DADT, maybe she can latch onto Oscar Wilde’s corpse?

    Doh, I’ve just realized that, though the movie was cool, the analogies fall apart due to the ole’ “Sully taming the Dragon” thing, which negates any ‘divide n conquer’ parallels I could try to draw with Broder, Brooks, or Dowd. So I’ll quote from the wisdom of Patton Oswalt, and just say,

    “Because if that’s what they’re doin, I’ve seen it done better!”

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:39 AM
  9. The only thing I learned from the STFU Address was that yes, it is possible to hate Alito even more than you already did. And that’s really sayin’ something.

    Speaking of Avatar, I hate how blockbuster movies are always measured in terms of money and not actual number of tickets sold. What bullshit. I don’t know shit about math or economics, and even I know there’s something called “inflation”. At least someone finally addresses that here.

    And speaking of unbearable hype, for me, this made the whole Conan-Leno-NBC debacle/media frenzy worthwhile. (Trust me Christian, if you don’t speak German, it’s very funny!).

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  01:19 AM
  10. Not to transparently use the Obama-Alito “tiff” to go off topic onto the Citizens United case which I’ve been dieing to discuss but ...

    In my view:
    1) Citizens United should have been allowed to show their damn movie (on much narrower grounds)
    2) The direct consequences of the ruling will be much narrower than feared
    3) “Personhood” of corporations was not explicitly invoked (the majority opinion was nowhere near that coherent--one of the more reprehensible aspects of it was the neo-fascists on the Court hiding behind the words of a profoundly confused person like Kennedy)
    4) But the whole thing was despicable and deeply damaging to the credibility of the institution.

    My personal favorite low point from the opinion was the rhetorical invocation of the threat that Frank Capra movies might have been BANNED*.

    When word concerning the plot of the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington reached the circles of Government, some officials sought, by persuasion, to discourage its distribution. See Smoodin, “Compulsory” Viewing for Every Citizen: Mr. Smith and the Rhetoric of Reception, 35 Cinema Journal 3, 19, and n. 52 (Winter 1996) (citing Mr. Smith Riles Washington, Time, Oct. 30, 1939, p. 49); Nugent, Capra’s Capitol Offense, N. Y. Times, Oct. 29, 1939, p. X5. Under Austin , though, officials could have done more than discourage its distribution--they could have banned the film. After all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force.

    In addition to its complete lack of relevance to the narrow points under consideration or what Austin actually said, the indirectly cited Time article in question says nothing of the sort. (Similarly, the opinion’s use of the Court’s Buckley and Bellotti cases are quite misleading.) Hackery, fraud and incompetence. Sadly, the whole thing is required reading for any student of the decline of the late, great American experiment.

    *Stevens gets right to the heart of this misleading rhetoric:

    The So-Called “Ban”

    Pervading the Court’s analysis is the ominous image of a “categorical ba[n]” on corporate speech. Ante , at 45. Indeed, the majority invokes the specter of a “ban” on nearly every page of its opinion. Ante, at 1, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 38, 40, 42, 45, 46, 47, 49, 54, 56. This characterization is highly misleading, and needs to be corrected.

    Michael may now have his blog back. (But everyone do read it including Roberts’ whining “WE DUZ TOO HAZ PROCESS!” rejoinder to Stevens and Scalia’s pathetic attempt to keep his “Originalist” bona fides intact while sneering at corporation-hating. Thomas’s** contribution is not even worthy of being mentioned.)

    **And fuck all these last names that end in ‘s’. Strunk and White can piss up a rope; I do it by ear.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  10:48 AM
  11. I thought the SOTU was terribly bad, and signals a change in the likelihood of various political outcomes.  More at my blog if anyone cares.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  01/29  at  10:59 AM
  12. I thought the SOTU was terribly bad, and signals a change in the likelihood of various political outcomes.

    Not to disparage your incisive blog commentary in any way, but the signals were already apparent before Wednesday night.  Oh, herding recalcitrant senators on health care, stimulus, climate change, etc., is just too difficult: separation of powers, don’t you know ... What’s that?  Opposition to Bernanke’s renomination is building?  Time to start twisting arms to make sure he gets through.  Congress declined to create an entitlement destruction panel?  We’ll toy with creating an alternative via executive order, a process we could use to get around Congressional foot-dragging on DADT, but then Republicans would become angry with us.

    And this was the best possible outcome from November ‘08.  Once enough of the populist anger gets harnessed by the right demagogue, we’re into either Gracchi or Julius Caesar territory*, depending on just how depressed I’m feeling.

    *I figured I needed to come up with a more obscure, and hence comforting, variation on the Lex Godwinus.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:11 PM
  13. I thought the SOTU was great rhetorically, but brilliant speeches only get you so far obviously.

    It was disappointing that the Republican leadership gagged and tied Joe Wilson.

    They’ll pass another jobs bill and health care reform. November will be bad but not too bad. And then we’ll see what happens.

    Chris Matthews is funny b/c he has no internal censor in his brain. He says immediately what pops into his mind, like Joe Biden.

    Posted by Peter K.  on  01/29  at  12:28 PM
  14. Roberts’ whining “WE DUZ TOO HAZ PROCESS!” rejoinder to Stevens

    But that kitty is very cute, with its little eyes tightly closed and its little mouth wide open.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  12:51 PM
  15. You’re right, mds, the signals were apparent long before.  But it was still possible that Obama might respond to events and change.  Now it increasingly isn’t.  Or rather, there were two narratives about Obama from the beginning.  And now one of them has pretty much been excluded.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  01/29  at  01:02 PM
  16. "You’re right, mds, the signals were apparent long before.  But it was still possible that Obama might respond to events and change.  Now it increasingly isn’t.  Or rather, there were two narratives about Obama from the beginning.  And now one of them has pretty much been excluded.”

    I just disgree. It’s amazing to me how some liberals believe Obama can just snap his fingers and make thinks happen like a Hugo Chavez of Vlad Putin. And then they completely ignore what he has done and the rhetorical narrative he’s pushing from the bullypulpit. Talk about high standards.

    My baseline is Bill Clinton’s 8 years so I’ve set the bar low, but still.

    Posted by Peter K.  on  01/29  at  01:23 PM
  17. Oh, are we being all serious now? OK, fine.

    It’s probably no surprise that I found Matthews’ comment neither funny “ha ha” nor “funny” in any other sort of way. It was simply a reveal moment for White people to reflect, if they choose, on just how deeply ingrained their belief is that only White people are regular people, and non-Whites, especially if they are Black, are not. We are still very much other. And in those fleeting moments when White people accept us “same” and not “other”, we are supposed to be happy for the compliment.

    I don’t really care how the Right wing spins these kinds of incidents, we all know what their deal is. What’s really maddening is seeing the dismissive attitude and comments from White folks on the “left” side (comment sections in liberal blogs, to be specific). It never even occurs to them that when they proclaim, “This is no big deal”, or “You’re making too big a thing out of this”, it’s nothing more than telling Black folks to just STFU. They are so blissfully (and obliviously) steeped in their White privilege, it doesn’t even occur to them that they don’t get to be The Decider on what ought or ought not be offensive to Black people. Because of course they get to be The Decider. They always get to be The Decider.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  02:34 PM
  18. Because I used to be a Democrat but ever since Lindsey Graham made Mrs. Alito cry I’m outraged that Thurgood Marshall said:

    “the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  02:45 PM
  19. "It’s amazing to me how some liberals believe Obama can just snap his fingers and make thinks happen like a Hugo Chavez of Vlad Putin. “

    Is he trying, Peter K?  Is he telling Congressional leaders that from now on, he wants everything to be done through reconciliation?  Laying the groundwork for getting rid of the filibuster?  Having his staff figure out how to attack individual GOP Senators monetarily, through the President’s control over certain kinds of projects?  Setting up the rhetorical cover for the press to blast the GOP as obstructionists, rather than saying it’s all a problem of both parties?  Doing anything to inspire his base ?  Spending any of his credit on getting Congress together and telling them they have to pass health care or else?  Going forward with Executive Orders while waiting for legislation?

    No.  No, he isn’t.  It’s silly to say that he isn’t Putin and therefore can’t snap his fingers.  I’m quite familiar with what an American President can do.  And he’s not doing it.

    Posted by Rich Puchalsky  on  01/29  at  03:05 PM
  20. O-Girl:  that was righteous.  And I thought the way to make the point was precisely to make “whiteness” visible, rather than the default position of “regular,” “unmarked” people—even though, in reality, there’s no way Chris Matthews could ever make me forget that he’s white.  Also male!

    And yes, one of The Things White People Do when they’re playing “Decider” is to decide when black folk are entitled to be offended.  Likewise, we get to decide when black folk are offensively reminding us that they’re black, as when Obama comments on police officers acting stupidly (look!  even more police “stupidity”! —except that 5’6”, 150-pound viola-playing honor students can pose a threat to public safety if they’re (a) carrying a bottle of Mountain Dew and (b) walking while black) or Thurgood Marshall smears the Founding Fathers.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  03:42 PM
  21. Michael: I thought your Matthews comment was definitely “ha ha” funny - the sheer ridiculousness of it.

    That link you posted is so sad. And even more sad that it happens all too frequently.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  04:06 PM
  22. Posted by  on  01/29  at  05:27 PM
  23. OT--sorry--but wtf are you people at PSU smoking thinking?

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  06:38 PM
  24. Oaktown Girl: Thanks, spot on.

    Sven: The “distinguished speaker series” does not say in what fashion the speaker has distinguished him- or herself. So I fail to see your point.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  07:16 PM
  25. Oh come on, Sven, we have so many pro-evolution, non-lying speakers come through here every year, it’s about time we offered our students some balance.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  09:16 PM
  26. Jamison Foster on Sally Quinn:

    You cannot caricature Sally Quinn. Don’t even try. It simply can’t be done. No matter how hard you try to exaggerate her preening self-regard and utter frivolity, she comes right along and shows herself to be worse than you could possibly imagine.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  09:51 PM
  27. And just to frame Rich’s point a bit; what did Obama do today?  He certainly didn’t got meet with Dems to craft out some sort of strategy for getting stuff done.  Nope, he went and spent the day with 130 House GOP members at their expensive little retreat in the hills of Maryland.  I am sure a lot of good came out of that meeting.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  09:56 PM
  28. Well, Obama did get some visuals in which he was at a podium, speaking down to the Rs in reasonable tones while they asked him childish questions. So, I think that was okay. But, while he’s doing that, what is he doing to advance the health care ball the three inches it needs to go to break the plane of the end zone?

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  10:43 PM
  29. Actually the Obama Q-and-A with crazy people was pretty awesome.  More like that, in front of 50 million people, please.

    Posted by  on  01/29  at  11:46 PM
  30. Relieved to hear that PSU is all “fair and balanced.”

    wait

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  01:57 AM
  31. Someone’s “boy” is at it again:

    NPR Finds Right-Wing Crank to Spit on Zinn’s Grave

    When progressive historian Howard Zinn died on January 27, NPR’s All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with something you don’t often see in an obituary: a rebuttal.

    After quoting Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR’s Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz to symbolically spit on Zinn’s grave. “There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect,” Horowitz declared. “Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly alter the consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse.”

    (snip)

    Needless to say, it is not the case that NPR has a consistent principle that all its obituaries be thus “balanced.” Take its coverage of the death of William F. Buckley, a figure as admired by the right as much as Zinn was on the left. Upon his death in February 2008, NPR aired six segments commemorating him, none of which included a non-admiring guest.

    Click the link for more info and contact details on FAIR’s Action Alert request: “Please ask the NPR ombud why All Things Considered brought on David Horowitz to trash the late Howard Zinn when NPR’s extensive coverage of William F. Buckley included no critical guests.”

    captcha: boy. I shit you not.

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  02:27 AM
  32. Oaktown Girl, you’ve clearly been hanging around this den of relativism too long. It is merely a brute fact that William F. Buckley deserved six paeans while Zinn deserved but one report with an embedded rebuttal. This is what the Sokal Hoax was all about--there is an objective reality. And surely that is why MB has so assiduously avoided writing about Sokal at great length on multiple occasions. The world reports, you decide.

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  12:12 PM
  33. Wow. I stopped listening to NPR (with the exception of This American Life) some time ago, but this is just amazing.

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  12:19 PM
  34. “Please ask the NPR ombud why All Things Considered brought on David Horowitz to trash the late Howard Zinn when NPR’s extensive coverage of William F. Buckley included no critical guests.”

    I’m going to go way out on a limb here, and guess that the answer is “Because Zinn was a leftist, and leftists need to be shit upon by all real Americans in order to prove their patriotic bona fides.” Or possibly “Everyone loves kicking a hippie” for brevity.

    Anyway, thank goodness PAYGO is back.  That should keep anything even remotely liberal from passing if it costs the government money.  Then when the economy fails to improve for most Americans and Democrats get thrown back out of power, Republicans can once again repeal PAYGO in order to continue their own budget-busting ways.  Whereupon wheelbarrows of cash for groceries and mob unrest remain upon the horizon.  Lex Godwinus, people.

    Oh, whoops, sorry, Peter K.  I forgot.  At least Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act and got Ben Bernanke reappointed.  What more could any reasonable person ask for from a Democrat-controlled White House and Congress?

    Posted by  on  01/30  at  07:05 PM
  35. Because I can’t stop myself, one other “tidbit” from the Citizens United majority opinion. In this one they stumble upon a perfectly wonderful argument* for close scrutiny and possible regulation of corporate ownership of media, but instead use it to solicit sympathy for those poor little corporations that don’t got them a newspaper or TV station of their very own.

    So even assuming the most doubtful proposition that a news organization has a right to speak when others do not, the exemption would allow a conglomerate that owns both a media business and an unrelated business to influence or control the media in order to advance its overall business interest. At the same time, some other corporation, with an identical business interest but no media outlet in its ownership structure, would be forbidden to speak or inform the public about the same issue. This differential treatment cannot be squared with the First Amendment .

    And the last sentence is so, so true ... if it weren’t for the very next clause in the freaking amendment.

    OK, I’m through now. Maybe.

    *Perhaps the margin of the opinion was too small to contain it.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  04:41 PM
  36. aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggg.. i just can’t understand why we have to live in an era with such mindless/spineless governments. 

    On an other note: Apparently salaries “soared” for higher education in the last two years.  Well at least for the administration.

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  09:42 PM
  37. Yeah I must have missed it. (To be clear, my salary is still high, and I’d be happy to make less and have more education workers with job security and living wage instead - I always liked the French system of relatively low salaries, good benefits and early permanent jobs. Of course Sarkozy is busy destroying it.)

    UC now has 0.9 upper management and executive administrators (people who make 95k+) for each tenure track faculty member. We have no idea what they are doing, to be honest…

    Posted by  on  01/31  at  10:04 PM
  38. I’m going to go way out on a limb here, and guess that the answer is “Because Zinn was a leftist, and leftists need to be shit upon by all real Americans in order to prove their patriotic bona fides.” Or possibly “Everyone loves kicking a hippie” for brevity.

    Of course, and I love a good hippie joke as much as anyone. I posted the info about FAIR’s action alert because even though many of us gave up on NPR years ago (myself included), it’s important to remember that we are still supporting them with our tax dollars whether we listen or not. And they should not be allowed to get away with this kind of shit without hearing from us about it.

    Posted by  on  02/01  at  01:40 AM
  39. Of course, and I love a good hippie joke as much as anyone.

    Q: What do you call a hippie who was right about Iraq, torture, stimulus spending, health care, and Ben Bernanke?

    A: A speed bump.

    Thank you!  I’ll be here all week.

    Posted by  on  02/01  at  10:39 AM
  40. A: A speed bump.

    Hey!  I resemble that remark.

    christian: As i read through the list of the 100 top higher education salaries in Washington, i realized that a vast majority of those professors at UW were in medicine and research.  I think some of the salaries are combined with research-generated monies as well, but when #100 on the list has a salary of nearly a quarter of a million dollars one wonders about all the money that could be better used.

    Posted by  on  02/01  at  05:20 PM
  41. We’re into either Gracchi or Julius Caesar territory*, depending on just how depressed I’m feeling.—mds

    We’re way past the Gracchi and smack in the middle of Sulla and Marius.  Big Julie will show up in another coupla years or so.

    Posted by  on  02/02  at  10:37 PM

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