Wingnut struggle is a new entertainment

Chunky David Brooks gingerly wades into the Battle of Levingrad:

Both politically and intellectually, American conservatism would be better off if Levin’s fans responded to Manzi’s post, not by objecting that he didn’t take “Liberty and Tyranny” seriously enough (he did take Levin’s arguments seriously, and that’s precisely why his criticisms were so scathing), but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.”

What a load of bullshit. Admittedly, I’m extreme, I get mad when people on Comedy Central don’t live up to high journalistic standards.

But being an “entertainer” is simply no excuse for not getting your facts right. Whether you’re writing for the Atlantic and the New York Times, hosting a comedic talk show, or just writing a blog no one reads, if you’re lying to your audience about important issues, you’re an asshole, and you deserve far worse than being excoriated by Jim Manzi.






34 replies
  1. 1
    freelancer says:

    Time to bring out Jon Stewarts “GFY” Gospel Choir.

    What a sanctimonious, disengenuous piece of lard.

  2. 2
    Jeff Fecke says:

    Shorter Chunky David Brooks: Indeed, most of conservative thought is simply about riling up the rubes. This is good news for John McCain.

  3. 3
    Zifnab says:

    but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.” “DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN, DORTHY!”

    There’s that old go-to, “It’s a joke – haha!” Is that dog-whistle politics for the tone deaf? Don’t believe those lying eyes, he was only kidding! He didn’t mean “We should all shoot the President”, I was just joshing ya and you took it completely out of context and who wouldn’t love to see a few more dead Presidents anyway? Hahaha.

    Levin wrote a hard copy volume of conservative political talking points, and Little Bobo wants to wave it off as a big joke? Christ, it’s like the fat bastard doesn’t actually know what humor is.

  4. 4
    Mike Kay says:

    “just writing a blog no one reads,”

    Oh lay off the PUMA punching. Poor Jeralyn and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. The old bags have suck delicate feelings. Man, this just low, one step below punching peace-loving hippies.

  5. 5
    freelancer says:

    RW discourse is like Special Olympic Calvinball. When they influence the debate, they are serious people, and a movement to be feared.

    When they are called on their bullshit, they hide behind “being entertainers”. Really? Entertainers? Is that why POTUS is asked a question about Leno’s vapid monologue from time to time in major news interviews?

  6. 6
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    Wingnuts are all about optics and entertainment, there is nothing serious about them other than their hatred of anything not ‘them’. Write a serious tome about a deep topic that’s really a fluffy piece of shit with no basis in reality? It’s just entertainment. Criticize that “entertainment” on your side of the aisle and now you are getting serious!

    When you exist solely to piss off liberals, everything that accomplishes that goal is pure entertainment. If you live and operate in that sphere you step outside of those boundaries at your own risk. Manzi found that out the hard way.

  7. 7
    Midnight Marauder says:

    What a load of bullshit. Admittedly, I’m extreme, I get mad when people on Comedy Central don’t live up to high journalistic standards.

    You know, when I first read Douthat’s quote that you cited at the top, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. But really, let’s take a closer look at what he’s really saying.

    Both politically and intellectually, American conservatism would be better off if Levin’s fans responded to Manzi’s post, not by objecting that he didn’t take “Liberty and Tyranny” seriously enough (he did take Levin’s arguments seriously, and that’s precisely why his criticisms were so scathing), but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.”

    It sounds to me like what he’s advocating here is “American conservatism is not a serious thing, and the entire movement would be much better off intellectually and politically if we just admitted as much.”

    Now, I have no doubts that Douthat is not actually trying to say that. But the funny thing about being intellectually hollow and trapped in your own know-nothing Bizzaro World, is that words and sentences that mean one thing in Bizarro world (absolutely nothing) can mean something totally different in the Real World (these guys know they are completely full of shit). Again, I think it’s somewhat refreshing that one of the Right’s intellectual heavy hitters (hilarious.) is encouraging members of the movement to come out and confess that all their leaders, public figures, and living deities are “just clowin’ around.”

    We have known for a long time that this was a deeply unserious movement populated with deeply unserious people. It would appear that for the first time, some of those deeply unserious people are beginning to realize this fact.

  8. 8
    Kevin Phillips Bong says:

    Damaged goods. Send them back.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I agree with your analysis. But he’s far off to claim that this can be used a defense.

    We destroyed the planet? We were just kidding, relax!

    Crap.

  10. 10
    DougJ says:

    @Kevin Phillips Bong:

    Thank you. Maybe the most underrated album ever.

  11. 11
    Kevin Phillips Bong says:

    @DougJ: I’m starting to think our record collections are like a Venn diagram with one big circle. And I’m f*cking old because I still call it a record collection.

  12. 12
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @DougJ:

    I agree with your analysis. But he’s far off to claim that this can be used a defense.

    Oh, absolutely. It’s an utterly atrocious defense. The way to improve your credibility as a political movement is to say that all of your prominent thinkers and scholars are entertainers only, and not politically serious in any way? That is right up there in the Terrible Justification Hall of Fame with Vanilla Ice and his classic line “See, my beat was like ‘dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun.’ And their beat was like “DUN dun dun DUN DUN dun dun.'” It is a total farce. I mean, this is basically what Ross is doing:

    “Hey, you can’t be mad at this guy. He’s totally joking. He is completely unserious. What’s that? Why yes, I do consider him to be an intellectual heavyweight and one of the top thinkers in the conservative movement! Wait…why are you laughing?

  13. 13
    Martian Buddy says:

    Oooo, he’s going to pay for that; in the earlier thread at Irky Irksome’s place, one of the readers Flavor-aid drinkers was quite irate that Manzi could dismiss The Font of All Conservative Wisdom as (*gasp*) a mere entertainer.

  14. 14
    cactustom says:

    Give David Brooks a little credit: saying “Relax, it’s only entertainment” is probably shorthand (or code, take your pick) for getting the point across that no one should take Levin seriously. And Levin will never catch on…that’s the brilliant part.

  15. 15
    calipygian says:

    It’s ALL entertainment until a wingnut drives a diesel fuel and fertilizer filled Ryder truck up to a federal building.

  16. 16
    calipygian says:

    By the way…they are doubling down over at the Frum Forum:

    Palin’s comments on START reveal a disturbing truth; that when she doesn’t have an expert to tell her what to think, all she can do is recite the factoids that were drilled into her during the campaign. Switch to the GOP Southern Leadership Council where Palin is seething. Without Randy Scheunemann to advise on foreign affairs, she has to wing it. She reaches in and pulls out a card from the past:

    “With all the vast nuclear experience he acquired as a community organizer, a part time Senator and a full time candidate, all that experience and still no accomplishment to date with North Korea and Iran.”

    She retaliates like an Israeli commando, striking back twice as hard as she is hit, and yet there is a new element that is decidedly odd. Why is she speaking in campaign slogans from two years ago? Obama has been commander in chief for over a year, a period in which he has met or spoken with the Russian President sixteen times to personally negotiate details of the treaty.

    Can it be that her real beef is not about policy, but the suggestion that she knows less than he?

  17. 17
    beatty says:

    wait, douthat is a chunky brooks? isn’t brooks himself rather chunky? do the two mentions of chunky cancel each other out?

  18. 18
    Bill Section 147 says:

    The genius of the right.
    Don’t try to defend Slavery by saying, “It was States Rights,” but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.” Check.

    Don’t try to defend Torture by saying, “It was necessary to stop the terrorists,” but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.” Check.

    Don’t try to defend the Feather River massacre by saying, “It was defending our homes,” but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.” Check.

    Don’t try to defend the Iraq War by saying, “It was about Weapons of Mass Destruction,” but by saying “relax, it’s only entertainment.” Check.

    It works on so many problems. I guess that is why the Romans didn’t much notice the downside of all those Gladiator shows and other “games” back in the day. It was, after all, only entertainment.

  19. 19
    ljdramone says:

    “The Indian smiles, he thinks that the cowboy is his friend. The cowboy smiles, he is glad the Indian is fooled. Now he can exploit him.”

  20. 20
    Batocchio says:

    Points for :Battle of Levingrad.” Also for “I get mad when people on Comedy Central don’t live up to high journalistic standards,” especially when said people have such a ridiculously high batting average.

  21. 21
    DougJ says:

    @cactustom:

    You could be right. Chunky David Brooks is Ross Douthat, because of the chunky Reese Witherspoon fiasco.

  22. 22
    zhak says:

    Um .. I haven’t read the book but is it supposed to be non-fiction? I assume it is. If so, then, yes, facts should matter and no, it’s not just entertainment.

    Unless David Brooks thinks that lying to a credulous group of Americans about everything from death panels to climate change is acceptable for its entertainment value alone? Is that it?

    Presumably what passes for an intellectual on the right knows that every other word they write is nonsense, but their readership does not.

  23. 23
    RSR says:

    no NO! You don’t get to claim the high moral ground by after-the-fact claiming that your errors and omissions are excusable because you’re ‘entertaining’ some folks. Especially when those folks utilize your publishings as part of a coordinated campaign of disinformation.

    The “wait, you were taking us seriously?” bit is pathetic and obvious. What’s next, “some of my best friends are black?”

  24. 24
    JBerardi says:

    DougJ, I have no idea what or who this post is supposed to be about, but great job on working in a Gang of Four reference.

  25. 25
    Toast says:

    If you’re lying to your audience about important issues, you’re an asshole

    Fucking. WORD.

    DougJ, I take back anything bad I ever thought about you.

    This is the thing I don’t get about the Straussians, the Overton Window Fuckstains, and the Glenn Beck “Rodeo Clown” assholes. I don’t fucking SAY THINGS unless I believe they’re true. Period.

    The Truth is not something to fuck with, no matter the righteousness – real or imagined – of your ends.

    This is also why I loathe the jaded attitude so many political commentators take towards hypocrisy. They pooh-pooh it as a run-of-the-mill, ho-hum thing. Fuck that noise. To me, if you espouse one thing and then turn around and do the exact opposite, you should be shunned and ignored and hopefully lose your job.

    Gods, I fucking hate liars and frauds.

  26. 26
    Vinny Skull says:

    I wonder how long until we start to see the anti-Douthat blog posts and/or Levin’s response to him referring to him as an “entertainer”.

    Fun stuff.

  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    This is the thing I don’t get about the Straussians, the Overton Window Fuckstains, and the Glenn Beck “Rodeo Clown” assholes. I don’t fucking SAY THINGS unless I believe they’re true.

    Especially the Straussians.

  28. 28
    Citizen_X says:

    How can I sit and eat my popcorn
    with all this blood flowing from the Wingnutosphere?

  29. 29
    Bat Guano says:

    Yes! Gang Of Four!

  30. 30
    Quiddity says:

    The “entertainer” excuse (which I believe Limbaugh can claim authorship of) is bogus. As if the factual errors were merely incidental to the act. And what is that act? It’s political persuasion, not comedy or song and dance.

  31. 31
    Frank says:

    Thats how they roll.See when we dismiss conservatives it’s because we’re condescending elitists that refuse to take the right seriously.When we do take them seriously and demonstrate why these people are morons ,we’re still wrong because it’s “only entertainment”.

    As any winger will tell you, it makes perfect sense.

  32. 32
    The Golux says:

    But being an “entertainer” is simply no excuse for not getting your facts right.

    Not only that, topical humor is humorous precisely because it is based on truth. If Jon Stewart made shit up, it wouldn’t be funny.

    “Half Hour News Hour”, anyone?

  33. 33
    Bea says:

    My email is not properly installed so I can’t contact the writers here directly, but in regard to the global warming petition a look into the background and history of this outfit and its founders is very rewarding. I checked it out years ago and am appalled to see any supposedly reputable person citing it once more.

    http://www.oism.org/ is the starting point.

    I would appreciate it if someone with a functioning email would forward this hint along to John or one of the other guys.

  34. 34
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

     

    the Battle of Levingrad

    This is chock full of awesomesauce.

    So how long does this battle drag out – and do they end up running out of supplies and eating each other before the 900 day siege is lifted? Or is it more like the battle of Stalingrad, which IIRC concluded with Operation Uranus?

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