Posts from April 2003

Tonight’s dilemma

Tonight’s dilemma
: West Wing or Tina Brown? Hmmmm.

Christmas in May: A Janeane Garofalo interview

Christmas in May: A Janeane Garofalo interview
: Oh boy, oh boy, I go to Alternet and what do I find but a Janeane Garofalo interview with the Progressive that was done just as war started. A few crunchy nuggets:

Q: What’s your opinion on the current state of the mainstream media?

Garofalo: The mainstream media has, in my opinion, been so grossly negligent, so disturbingly devoid of authentic debate, and actual dissemination of information….

The parents of the troops who die and the parents of Iraqi civilians who die should have the right to slap a lot of these media outlets with a suit of criminal negligence. Military parents would have a legitimate case, especially against Fox and the New York Post for cheerleading this thing the whole way, for waving the flag, and using knee-jerk, sycophantic, pseudo-patriotism as a tool to galvanize public opinion.

Say what? Sue on what basis? Opinion? You’re the one complaining that people are daring to disagree with your opinion and now you want people to sue others over their opinions? That’s every bit as stupid as it sounds.

Q: Do you think it’s possible to have a liberal media network?

Garofalo: It is possible. What’s not possible is to penetrate the wall of opposition. The myth is it can’t work. Phil Donahue was working, but MSNBC took it off for their own rightwing agenda.

Phil Donahue was working? Compared to what? If Phil Donahue is the best video provocateur (we) liberals can come up with, it’s a sad and sorry state.

Q: Do you have plans to tour again?

Garofalo: No…. I have no plans to travel at this point, in part because nothing’s funny to me.

Q: Why is that?

Garofalo: There’s been such an assault on democracy here, and the mainstream media is complicit in it. We are living in neo-McCarthy, post-democratic times. Democracy is being criminalized. Democracy is being ignored….

I never imagined that I would never care about dumb things anymore. I never imagined I’d be a person who could transcend that kind of nonsense. But beyond that, I never imagined I would be penalized for speaking out in favor of social justice. I never thought that anyone who spoke out for peace, and diplomacy, and social justice would be pilloried.

I’m frequently depressed, just have a general malaise. And I don’t mean a malaise of indifference, I mean a malaise of sadness and fear. I’ve always been alarmed by some of the things that the mainstream media does and by what the government does, no matter who’s in office, but the broken heart is new.

So, once again, it’s all about Janeane: Janeane the transcender of nonsense, Janeane the pilloried spokesperson for peace, Janeane who just doesn’t care about dumb things, Janeane the queen of ennui.

You can never, never underestimate the ego of a star, even a small one.

Janeane: Democracy is far from dead. Disagreement is what democracy is all about.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the spotlight!

What’s wrong with Ashleigh Banfield?

What’s wrong with Ashleigh Banfield?
: The transcript of the speech that got Ashleigh Banfield in trouble with her bosses just went up on — of course — Alternet. What’s striking about it is how naive it is. She’s not reporting, she’s babbling.

Ambassador Rumsfeld

Ambassador Rumsfeld
: Donald Rumsfeld takes soldiers’ questions in Iraq right now. He’s asked about Iraq and OPEC and starts to answer but then stops himself: “This is diplomacy and I don’t do diplomacy. You may have noticed.”

SARS central

SARS central
: When the BBC is good, it’s very, very good. The beeb’s SARS update.

If news could spread like SARS

If news could spread like SARS
: An expat in China who’s moving out of Beijing tries to find news about SARS on TV:

Last night I saw yet another dimension to the evils of China’s censorship machine. I was watching CNN in my hotel when a guest was introduced to dicusss how China’s lies about SARS in Beijing were damaging the nation’s political system. This sounded interesting and I sat up to listen. Suddenly, to my utter amazement, the screen went black. It stayed black for about ten minutes with no sound. Then, just as suddenly, the picture and sound came back, just in time for me to hear the announcer thanking the speaker for his time. China is still obsessed with censoring the news and will go to any lengths to keep people in the dark about its crimes, whether we’re talking about Tiananmen Square or SARS.

If democracy could spread like SARS

If democracy could spread like SARS
: A secular, pro-democracy activist in Iran issues a statement that hints at asking for outside (read: American) help there:

We invite non-governmental reformists, constitutional monarchists, religious-nationalists, socialists and all freedom lovers who understand the necessity of unity, to join us in the only alternative for liberty without bloodshed. Otherwise the oppressed people of Iran might seek other ways to escape cruelty, corruption, injustice and poverty and ask foreigners for freedom — like in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Co-conspirators

Co-conspirators
: Robert J. Lieber in The Chronicle of Higher Education does a great job of exposing, summarizing, and puncturing the conspiracy theories of the when-did-they-become-anti-Semitic-left regarding the supposed neocon cabal running the U.S. with ambitions to run the world:

A small band of neoconservative (read, Jewish) defense intellectuals, led by the “mastermind,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (according to Michael Lind, writing in the New Statesman), has taken advantage of 9/11 to put their ideas over on an ignorant, inexperienced, and “easily manipulated” president (Eric Alterman in The Nation), his “elderly figurehead” Defense Secretary (as Lind put it), and the “dutiful servant of power” who is our secretary of state (Edward Said, London Review of Books).

Thus empowered, this neoconservative conspiracy, “a product of the influential Jewish-American faction of the Trotskyist movement of the ’30s and ’40s” (Lind), with its own “fanatic” and “totalitarian morality” (William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune) has fomented war with Iraq — not in the interest of the United States, but in the service of Israel’s Likud government (Patrick J. Buchanan and Alterman).

This sinister mythology is worthy of the Iraqi information minister…

[via Die Zeit]