Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Right versus left

One thing I've contemplated of late is why right wingers I know, Bruce Bateman, Harry Blalock, Mike Ernest and even Richard Pierce come to mind, are way cooler people to hang out and talk with than the left wingers I agree with so much more. I think it boils down to humor, and the left's apparent lack of it. Angelo, pretty liberal himself, has had his spats with lefties Wendy Doromol, Ed Propst and Dengre. I've gotten it from lefties Jane Mack, monkey picture and a touch of it from Steve Woodruff. As usual, Matt Taibbi captures this phenomenon in a quote I just read.
As for why the left's writers are dull, that's probably the reason —
anybody who's doctrinaire is also always going to be dull. If I know what your
opinion is going to be on any subject, why should I bother reading you? Plus,
most of the left's writers are like Democratic politicians in general — always
worried about offending somebody. And they're always trying to stay on message.
There is something there left over from the old communist dictum about art for
art's sake being dangerous and unorthodox. What's most infuriating about this is
that humor is the most subversive force there is. If you can become the place
where people go to laugh at the system, you will attract all the dissenting
energy in the population. But the American left has no sense of humor and no
sense of fun at all. And so the would-be revolutionaries all avoid them like the
plague, go into day-trading and shit like that.


Mr. PNG said...

Jokers to left of me and freaks to the right...but the good news is the list is out!!!!!!!!!!

Razala and Turbitt join Unity newcomers to the Master List.

Do you know who I am?

I write the list and spread the word the CNMI Master List is out with new faces, sympathizers, Unity organizers, golfers, divers, clergy, and weathermen.

2008 Master List and representatives of the DCC (decent citizens of the commonwealth)

Jesse Borja, Dr. Ada, Dr. Khorram, Efrain Camacho, Dr. Brostram, Tina Sablan(2007 person of the year 2007), Dr. Stearns, Karen and Dave Borja, Dr. Aldan, Sister Martha, Judge Ed Manibusan, Jerry Custudio, Bonnie Sagana, Wendy Doromal(core ring leader), Jerry Tan(among Saipan‘s most charitable), Ed Propste(Pugua tales), Steve Woodruff, Mark Hanson, Brad Ruzala(women stuffed ballot boxes), Jeff Turbitt(Bald is Beautiful), Jeanne Hodges(screamed racism for 2007 list omission), Randy Steele (Saipan‘s nicest blog), Jeff Taylor(sandbagger), Lupi Manglona, Sister Stella, Lil_Hammerhead (battered blog opponents in 07),The reveler(middle road strikes again), Ruth Tighe (Ruth Tighe says only Wendy and Tina….), Ken Hodson O’Harnett(Son of Saipan WWII hero), Judge Jane Mack(the real Saipan writer), Jim Benedetto(edged Cohen for NMI man of year 07), Diego Benevente, Hector Sevilla, Rick Kautz, Jess Wabol, Pastor Lee, Father Joe, Nick Sablan, Irene Tantiado(writer of “Humans“), Tony Pellegrino, Jessica Barcinas(work alcoholic for MHS), Bill Weiss , Jaimie Veragas, H.M. Ferdous(picture of a gentleman), Bishop Camacho(top vote getter again and beat gaming…period), Malou Berueco(Unity core organizer), Richard Miller(defender in landmark CNMI case), Dr. Ashlee Elizabeth Moore - General Surgeon, Vince Cabrera, and The Last Weatherman

Leading vote getters

1. Bishop Camacho 15,498

2. Tina Sablan 15,132
3. Sister Stella 14,947

Others receiving votes

Governor Fitial 6
Dick Pierce 2
Bruce Bateman 2
Harry 2
Goro 130
Deanne Siemer 2
Howard Willens 2
Angelo 3 (2 votes challenged, the puppy and EJ citizenship)
Stanley steamer 1108
Glenn 1231

Jimbo said...

It all began with that joker to the left. A joker on the left...? Shouldn't be there at all! And that's how Wacky Wednesday began.

I looked to the right. And I said, "GEE"! More things were whacky.. And I saw three. A monkey (picture), an activist and a lawyer...that's not right - jokers are on the right where they're right when they write on the right - so the right's writers are right when they write about what's right...

Jokers to left...I do not like them here or there...I do not like them anywhere. I do not like them, Right-I-am. Jimbo

dekada lawyer said...

Yyaaawwwnnn! Gee, that quote from Matt Taibbi sure was tired, dry, stiff, and humorless.

Kinda hard, though, to characterize a guy who writes an article entitled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope" in the "waning hours of a Vicodin haze" as a conservative.

Sounds more like Gonzo journalism to me ... and what would you expect from a guy who writes for Rolling Stone?

Getting off message is a recommended writing strategy? Even if your message is gonzo, good writing stays on message.

"Conservatives" are never doctrinaire? I take it then that Ann "If liberals had any brains they'd be Republicans" Coulter is a lefty?

Indeed, the totalitarian communist states knew what they were talking about when the said "art for
art's sake [is] dangerous and unorthodox." And just who is it, left or right, that is trying to kill NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Hummanities, and so on?

The observation is instructive, I think.

Absolutely, "humor is the most subversive force there is" -- likely the most effective political weapon on the planet.

Remember, people were laughing at Dubaya until they got just too sick and tired of it all. Now he is just a big, annoying horsefly.

Just what is the "American left" Taibbi is talking about anyway? And what, exactly, are its defining characteristics?

Looks to me like a pretty broad brush painting some fairly vacuous graffitti ....

vincent vog said...

Steve, I think you have just galloped headfirst into the trap and made yourself Exhibit A to the very point Jeff was trying to make.

Don't feel bad, somebody was bound to do it.

Jeff said...

Yeah, exactly. Your dismissiveness of Gonzo Journalism and Rolling Stone kind of illustrates the point.

I for one would rather read Taibbi than the victims marathon of depression and self righteousness from The Nation or something.

Getting off message is a recommended writing strategy?

He's talking here about scripted politicians, not writing.

Just what is the "American left" Taibbi is talking about anyway? And what, exactly, are its defining characteristics?

The politically correct wing of liberalism.

Mike said...

If I were as smart as Woodruff, I'm sure I would write dull stuff too. Unfortunatley, I'm not, so I gotta get by on my good looks and humor.

It's funny how conservatives and liberals can get along. My favorite person in the CNMI (gone now) was Arin Greenwood, who is the most liberal person one can be without being a parody, and we got along swimmingly.

I still have a can of vegetarian soup in our pantry waiting for her in case she drops by.

dekada lawyer said...

... and here I was thinking it was me, getting by on my good looks and engaging personality. ;-)}

dekada lawyer said...

Hardly, Vincent. It is actually the hyperjeff who is showing symptoms of CKJS (clinical knee-jerk syndrome).

I'm dismissive of Gonzo journalism and Rolling Stone? Where did that moon landing come from?

All those Hunter S. Thompson (who also wrote for Rolling Stone) books on my shelf keep falling out of the bookcase and rolling on the floor laughing.

They ordinarily keep company with books by another great writer/journalist, my fellow alumnus Tom Wolfe (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby ... not to mention Bonfire of the Vanities or A Man in Full)

The Taibbi quote here only shows that even gonzo can be banal -- at least when quoted out of context.

Now, I admit, there was something new here. I hadn't realized that all "the would-be revolutionaries" had gone into "day-trading and shit like that."

Truth is, Jeff has done Matt Taibbi a grave disservice here. The man despises Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity (and admires Seymour Hersh), but no one would ever have guessed it from what Jeff chose to quote.

Jeff did not really respond to my post in any substantive way, but consider what response he did make:

The "politically correct wing of liberalism." What's that?

And how does "American left" become synonymous with that? How's anyone to know from reading "American left"?

Seems like the point of the quoted passage, and the quoting thereof, is that certain writing, or things said, well ... they would just rather not read or bother to think about. Just what is rather amorphous, and may not even be the same for author and quoting audience, but can be conveniently attributed to "the left's writers," who are then dismissed as "dull," "doctrinaire," "worried," humorless, and "like Democratic politicians."

In a logical sense, this is merely tautological, which is to say, meaningless. In a political sense, it is quite another thing: a polemic to disparage "left," liberal, or progressive views.

Funny that Jeff, who says he agrees with "left wingers" "so much more" would chose to offer traction to Roger Ailes-style psychological-subliminal anti-Democrat mental programming.

I read TownHall, but I don't get carried off by the rip current.

In fairness to Taibbi, the foregoing is not what he was saying at all, although his radicalism probably has little use for politicians of any stripe. The quotation was lifted from an interview. The interviewer noted that he seems to "write from the left" but with a tone quite different from leading publications (reputedly) on the left, then asked him, "Why do you think so much lefty journalism is unbelievably dull?"

Responding to this loaded leading question, Taibbi first rejected political pigeon-holing, then proceeded to give the principal substance of his response, omitted by Jeff: "[I]f you can tell exactly what a writer's politics are, he's probably not a very good writer."

Taibbi then attempted to expound on his answer, and this explication is what Jeff chose to quote -- in the process giving Taibbi's remarks an apparent political viewpoint he in fact did not express.

Doctrinaire writers on the right are indubitably in Taibbi's view equally dull, or worse, "monster[s]."

Jeff said...

To get back to my initial point about likability, which is a factor in public persuasion, the left hasn't had their ass handed to them pretty much for the last twenty years because they have worse ideas. They've lost because they've either come off weak or lame of personality, and humor is a factor in personality. Gore, Kerry, Dukakis and Carter were all stiff and dull. Gore had everything going for him and still lost. Clinton was one of the few with evidence of a soul, and was obviously the most successful.

As for the rest, who said the guy was a conservative? And the principal substance part you said I omitted is restated here: "If I know what your opinion is going to be on any subject, why should I bother reading you?"

This below isn't dismissive?

"Yyaaawwwnnn! Gee, that quote from Matt Taibbi sure was tired, dry, stiff, and humorless.

Kinda hard, though, to characterize a guy who writes an article entitled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope" in the "waning hours of a Vicodin haze" as a conservative.

Sounds more like Gonzo journalism to me ... and what would you expect from a guy who writes for Rolling Stone?"

dekada lawyer said...

Jeff -

"This below isn't dismissive?"

Nope. I was very specific: "that quote". And I stand by my assessment.

And how is it you say Taibbi was "talking about scripted politicians, not writing" when his reference was specifically to "most of the left's writers"?

"Broad brushes" and "graffiti" is, I think, a sound evaluation of such broadsides against unspecified persons hazily placed in some part of the political spectrum.

Mike said...

I would say the Left has had worse ideas than the right, but that's just my opinion.

Barak's doing well, precisely because he isn't talking too much about his specific plans.

Frankly, recently the Left hasn't been winning, the conservatives have been losing. The last congress, the republicans were the party of pork and feeling up pages or dudes in public bathrooms, and that shouldn't win any elections.

Oh, and Dukakis wasn't dull. He was funny riding around in the tank. I'm pretty sure he lost because of two things: Willie Horton and when he said he wouldn't want the death penalty for someone who raped and murdered his wife.

Jeff said...

It struck me as dismissive.

I made a mistake on the writer thing, you're right.

Mike, we can argue over alcohol soon enough.