The ultimate wages of absolute epistemic closure on the modern GOP unfortunately extend far beyond simply causing them to nominate national embarrassments like Christine O’Donnell every now and again and into actual peril for the Republic.
The two political factions officially have their own “facts.” One of those factions has a 24/7 news organization, the most popular such outlet in the country, dedicated to using anything and everything as “indisputable evidence” of their set of facts; when usable material doesn’t show up on a given day, they resort to creative editing and outright fabrication. That’s what’s happening here. Obama made comments about infrastructure; creative editing makes it into a comment about business in America. Next thing you know, the Boston Globe runs a story on their front page implying there is no empirical evidence (e.g. the text of Obama’s speech as delivered); therefore “GOP says Obama hates business; Democrats say otherwise…” and no conclusion about the veracity of the claims is made or even implied. Unacceptable.
Research has repeatedly shown that once this inaccurate information such as this is “out there,” there’s just no stopping it. Primacy always wins. Even people who know the information in question is false in hindsight have difficulty accepting the “new” and correct information.
How then does Obama “prove” he isn’t a secret socialist? When did he stop beating his wife? These and other questions will plague us until the non-FOXnews contingent of the American media wakes up, realizes there’s no there there, drops this view from nowhere approach that gives us only unusable he-said-she-said nonsense, and starts thinking and acting critically (but without malice, obviously) in all dealings with figures public and semi-private. Short of somebody utterly and unexpectedly disrupting the media as it stands today, I see no other way out.
Apparently IOKIYAR extends to food choices:
Mitt Romney has a complicated relationship with fast food. He likes pizza, but insists on scraping off the cheese before he ever takes a bite. He likes fried chicken, but only when the skin has been removed. He likes Big Macs, but only after removing the middle bun. He likes Coca Cola because, he explained in his 2004, book Turnaround, it reminds him of polar bears, but he rarely drinks it because he can’t have caffeine. On the trail, Romney has name-dropped Carl’s Jr. and spoken of the wonders of WaWa, but subsists mainly on granola he carries around in one-gallon ziplock bags.
Yes, I understand this is all in service of a broader piece on Mitt’s relationship to Big Food. But, let’s just pause to compare this treatment to that of Candidate Obama in matters gustatory:
SHUSTER: Well, here’s the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, “I’ll have orange juice.”
SHUSTER: He did. And it’s just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, “Here, have some coffee,” you say, “Yes, thank you,” and, “Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?” You don’t just say, “No, I’ll take orange juice,” and then turn away and start shaking hands.
You just don’t say “I’ll take orange juice.” It just isn’t done. When in a diner, one must drink the coffee. Everyone knows this. Scraping the cheese off your pizza? Couldn’t be more normal. Remove middle bun of BigMac? No problem, not even worth mentioning, actually. Carry around a few pounds of flavorless mush you call Rootmarm, diff’rent strokes &c. But order orange juice. In a diner?!? Unimaginable. The most shocking thing since (as MoDo told us) “John Kerry sank himself by windsurfing in spandex and ordering a cheese steak in Philly with Swiss instead of Cheez Whiz.” Truly, Candidate Kerry was history’s greatest monster.
And, frankly, can you imagine the level the emasculation meter would go to if it came out that Obama “subsists mainly on granola” out on the trail? Surely the Republic would fall to pieces. More, I mean.
If we’re going to focus relentlessly on the idiotic, can’t we at least apply the beloved false equivalency principle to that as well? Mitt removes middle bun; Democrats for middle bun. Opinions differ. Or, can we simply agree that everyone on this Earth has an odd eating preference of some stripe and just stop mentioning them. All of them. I, for one, just don’t care how my President (past, present, or future) takes his cheesesteak, or if he or she likes them at all, or if Rootmarm is what really turns their crank.
Likewise: diners. Find someplace new, media. There are a million doors in the naked city, and lots of them lead to rooms full of “common” people and are not, in fact, diners. Pie is even served in many of those rooms. So you know. Just imagine the possibilities.
- New York City Romney Donor in Land Cruiser: "We’ve got the message. But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
- Krugman: "So I was curious: what do “nails ladies” earn? The answer, according to the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, is that in 2010 the mean annual wage of Manicurists and Pedicurists was $21,760. Among other things, this means that nails ladies probably face a higher marginal effective tax rate than Romney donors."
- Lemkin: A truly agile messaging arm in a tight election year would have had Krugman responding to this linkage, not making it. This is why we fail.
Turns out Lemkin|5 came a few days too soon; here we have a bit of follow up that reaches all the way back to dickity-nine. You no doubt fondly recall the sad tale of Kimber VanRy, the man who received a $25 summons for just sitting there, drinking his own beer, on his own stoop, all safely enclosed behind his own gate there in Brooklyn.
Well, they’re at it again. The New York Times (again) reports that this time it’s Andrew Rausa and a few friends that were sitting on a similarly figured stoop behind bars; each received a summons. Even one friend who “was holding a red plastic cup filled with soda” received a $25 summons. This is hardly surprising, in that they made the cardinal mistake of pointing out the inherent foolishness and likely illegality of this sort of enforcement. Gentlemen, to the iPhone:
Holding his phone, Mr. Rausa approached the officer and said that because he was sitting on a private stoop behind a gate, he was not breaking the law.
“I don’t care what the law says, you’re getting a summons,” the officer said before rolling up his window, according to Mr. Rausa.
Frankly, he’s lucky he didn’t get his face used as a door opener for a few hours while the cops made their rounds. At the very least, a savage in situ beat-down would have ensued in various parts of town. Even in the absence of all that, a simmering rage gradually built over the $25 fines:
“We had an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” he recalled. “They were like, ‘No way, we’re going to fight this. This is injustice.’”
“My issue is not some yuppie, I-think-I’m-above-the-law-issue, it’s the fact that I brought to the attention of the police officer that he was not in the right and he was not receptive at all,” Mr. Rausa said.
File that last sentence under “least surprising thing ever reported by The Times of New York.” I’m not even entirely sure Mr. Rausa is still speaking English at that moment. But he’s right about the legality part. And that’s something, isn’t it? Rest assured we’ll be watching for the outcome of this one. If CourtTV hadn’t long ago switched its programming to only Bahrani hard-R independent films, we could all expect extensive coverage. But we can’t. So it goes.
Regarding the mechanics of the piece itself: what beers were they drinking? How many? Crown tops or twist? Where did you learn your trade, Vivian Yee? Clearly not from Clyde Haberman, who I trust is still with us. But, in partial recompense, Vivian does offer up some spicy VanRy where-are-they-now:
Since contesting his summons [and having it dismissed on a technicality], Mr. VanRy has moved from Prospect Heights to a brownstone in Windsor Terrace, but he hasn’t stopped enjoying his beers outside
Thank FSM for that. And godspeed to you, Andrew Rausa. A parched nation looks to you as you defend our freedom to drink a beer quietly whilst safely ensconced on our own property.
On the bright side, 56% of Americans that, uh, actually knew something had transpired in this area prefer that lawmakers “move on to other national issues” rather than “continue to block the law from being implemented.” So there’s that…