Saturday, July 03, 2004

The time for liberals to be polite has long since passed 

And much as I've liked Ellen Goodman's work over the years, I thnk she's yearning for a time long past. Anyhow, she went to see F911 and this was her reaction:

But halfway through "Fahrenheit 9/11," I realized this wasn't an audience, it was a fan club. They weren't watching the movie, they were rooting for it.

If the right is after him, does the choir have to sing the filmmaker's praises as our own cuddly and amusing pit bull?

Michael Moore has been called the left-wing answer to Rush Limbaugh. Rush without the OxyContin. But is it heresy to ask whether the left actually wants its own Rush?

To which my answer is, "Hell yes!" The left doesn't need 10 million listeners? WTF?!

Politics isn't polarized between ideas as much as it is divided between teams in an endless color war. The famous geopolitical map of 2000 painted the states red and blue. Now we have added red and blue talkmeisters, red and blue books, red and blue movies.

Which happened... Well, why, exactly? What Goodman's overly balanced commentary ignores is that the winger authors were funded, by Scaife and the other VWRCers, and given loads of free publicity by media whores in all the major outlets. So, when liberals—surprise!—start using free market mechanisms—like selling books that don't rely on bulk purchases—to redress this unjust imbalance, somehow this is construed as "polarization." I don't buy this little piece of old-time liberal self-flagellation, thanks very much. I still want payback for the Clinton coup, since the people who perpretrated it are still benefitting from it. After we stomp them, then we'll forgive them.

Moore described his movie as an "op-ed piece," not a documentary. Well, I know something about op-ed pieces. Over the long run, you don't get anywhere just whacking your audience upside the head; you try to change the mind within it. You don't just go for the gut. You try, gulp, reason.

Well, politics is the art of the possible, eh? And looking at the record of the Bush administration and the wingers who back it, I don't see a lot of upside potential for reasoning with them. And if we are to reason with them, the first thing we're going to have to do is get their attention. Which Moore (and Stern, for that matter) are doing. More power to them!

I actually agree with P.J. O'Rourke, a conservative who writes in the Atlantic that he tunes out Rush because there's no room for measured debate: "Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, has gone out of fashion with conservatives." But now liberals are trudging purposefully down the same low road.

Sure. After Rush and his ilk take over the airwaves, and after the wingers organize the coup against Clinton, and after the Bush operatives steal the 2000 election, typist O'Rourke wants a measured debate. Measure this, PJ....

In the election between Bush and Anybody But Bush, reason and civility are now designated for wimps. But what happens to the country when the left only meets the right at the American jugular?

The name of Moore's production company, you may recall, is Dog Eat Dog.
(via WaPo)

Your point, Ellen? Beyond a wistful feeling for what might have been?

Liberals didn't start this... But we may have to finish it. And if it's not a pretty sight... So what?

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