Saturday, January 10, 2009

No, it will never stop

So the pachyderm mouthpieces over at Fox certainly didn't slow down, nor did the Republican Spin machine. Say this for them, they never let up.

Over on Fox the past few days the spin has been about how the democrats, particularly Harry Reid, are "doing a 180 with regard to Roland Burris." Burris, of course, was appointed to fill Barack Obama's senate seat by disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Never mind that there has been no real proof that a crime was committed in regards to the senate seat, or that the Illinois supreme court yesterday ruled that the appointment was legal and valid and that Burris is the junior senator from Illinois. Fox only sees Harry Reid trying to cheat his way into a filibuster-proof majority (and if the site of the republicans crying foul doesn't turn your stomach you should get a job cleaning up road kill).

Meanwhile a Palin-praising documentary called "Why Obama Won" has surfaced, in which the Alaskan governor blames Katie Curic, Tina Fey, and the media in general, for being mean to her, calls Keith Olberman "evil", and says that Caroline Kennedy isn't being scrutinized as heavilly as she was because of a "class bias."

First off, Olberman's response was classic over the top Keith--huffing and puffing like Bill O'Reiley himself, Olberman acted flabbergasted. He pretended not to know where the accusations of class bias came from. He is such a Bill-O. The one thing Palin says that has a smidgen (but only that) of merit is that there is a class bias in the media. There is when combined with ethnicity. There is a definite bias in the media against the type of person Palin represents--a conservative, rural, poor to working class white person, someone who hunts and fishes and likes NASCAR and pro wrestling, and who believes that "America love it or leave it" means exactly that. It's not really a class issue. Democrats will point out, correctly, that they are the champions of the urban poor and their issues. But Palin is the champion of the rural (mostly but not exclusively white) poor. No, it is not a traditional class bias but it absolutely is a bias. A bias against, well, rednecks. The type of people who watch Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. It is that same City vs. Country bias we've been dealing with since Ancient Greece. And the anger agaisnt it is totally justified. How would you like it if your values were constantly made the butt of jokes and you and yours were constantly portrayed as dumb, drunken, barbaric buffoons? This is how many--most--of my fellow New Yorkers view folks like my mom's family.

I am on this rant because my grandfather died on New Year's Day. He fell on Christmas day and hit his head. I was traveling to Cali already, and so I drove up to Oregon to see him in the hospital. There were my mom, her siblings, their spouses, and several cousins--all of them McCain/Palin, God fearing, "America Love It Or Leave It" Rednecks. And there was out patriarch lying in bed, dying. Grandpa was 92. He looked like he was seventy. Until his accident he drove himself everywhere and was planning a deer hunt in Mexico for next year. He appeared to get better so we left. Then he passed away. He was burried last week with full military honors. He was a hero of mine. When SNL or Letterman of the New York Times portrays rednecks as a bunch of stupid Elmer Fudds, it's my grandfather they are talking about. He was a deer hunter all his life. He drank budweiser. He voted republican. He was also a World War II veteran. He was a classic, Norman Rockwell character, right down to his red plaid hunting cap. And he was the most wonderful grandfather a boy could ever want. He bounced us on his knee and taught us to fisha nd laughed and played with us and we loved him absolutely. And he was not stupid. All of my redneck family are smart, they are well informed, and they know why they are voting the way they do. They may read different news sources than my liberal friends, but they do read. They may listen to different rumors (the left is just as gossipy as the right, lets face it). They may get angry at different things and they may have different ideas of how to fix the world's problems. But they are not barbaric and they are not stupid. They vote their conscience. They vote God and guns. Those are their values. You may not like it, but don't call them stupid.

And every time a joke is made about killing moose, or about toothless dumb rednecks, or about bud-swilling hunters shooting up polar bears, it is directed at them. That's ok. All humor is cruel. The best humor points up the ridiculousness of someone's sacred cows. Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin was brilliant. But don't pretend it wasn't biased, because it was. It's not even really a political bias. In spite of what a lot of conservatives complain, the media is not really liberally biased. But they are class biased sometimes: they are biased in favor of an educated, urban, worldly, sophisticated class. In other words, in favor of themselves. The people who produce the national news and who produce The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live and Late Night and the New York Times live in or around New York. They all went to college. They live and work in a City which is more closely tied to the rest of the world than any other American city, which has a large muslim population, a large gay population, and a vibrant theatre and arts scene. In other words, they are people just like me. They are my people--more than my redneck family is. But they look at the world differently than do working class poor in the middle of the country. One reporter noted during the primary campaign that Hilary Cinton was the candidate of those who didn't do well in the New Economy--the factory worker and the farmer, while Barack Obama was the candidate of those who did do well in the new economy--the college educated democrats in the information and financial industries. In other words, Barack Obama is the candidate of people like most of the journalists in America (Palin was also a candidate for that first group--more so than Hilary, actually, since she really is that person).

So don't pretned you don't know what she's talking about Keith.

As for Caroline Kennedy, no. First of all she has been roundly scrutinized and lampooned in the New York press. Secondly she's not actually a candidate for anything, just someone being discussed as a possible appointee. Finally, she is not running to be the vice president to a man who is a septuagenarian cancer survivor. Palin deserved more scrutiny than Caroline Kennedy. Olberman is not evil. A buffoon, maybe, but not evil. As for that documentary, it's another example of the losing side not being able to handle the truth. They have to spin their loss as a mistake. The deomcrats usually find some way in which the election was stolen by a bunch of Republican cheats (which, in 2000, was valid). The Republicans, on the other hand, act as though the poor deluded public were duped by a bunch of slick carpet baggers. They are not willing to accept the fact that the country is done putting up with their world view. The people wanted a change. After twenty years of supply side, pro business economic policies which have finally bankrupt and impoverished the richest country in the world, they--we--are through. Maybe not my mom's familly, but most of the country. They aren't buying the Republican snake oil any more.

So Sarah Palin, stop your whining.

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