The people are revolting

Sometimes I feel like Bill Keller is trolling all of us:

Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street? Fed up (Fed Up!) with the presidential Race to the Bottom? Depressed by the warning signs of the next Depression?

What follows is a breezy tour through other countries (complete with a mix-up between Brazil and Venezuela, now corrected). Just as I am constantly amazed by the clueless sexism of libertarians when they pine for the days of “hot stewardesses”, I am amazed by the clueless, too-comfortable elitism of Times opinion writers.

Oh, those dirty hippies and their protests! Oh, those third-world shennanigans!


59 replies
  1. 1
    Jenny says:

    Funny how the former elite editor to the 1% didn’t have anything negative to say about the teabaggers.

  2. 2
    Loneoak says:

    Sometimes I feel like Bill Keller is trolling all of us.

    In other words: don’t bullshit a bullshitter.

  3. 3
    Cat Lady says:

    Fucking self-awareness – how does it work?

  4. 4
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Sometimes I feel like Bill Keller is trolling all of us.


  5. 5
    JPL says:

    My PBS station is airing a documentary on the Triangle Fire. I wonder if Bill would call it a natural disaster also, too.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    JenJen says:

    Oh good fucking grief:

    Next, let’s put our hands together for Somalia — arguably the saddest place on earth, ravaged by militant Islamists, pirates, bandits and dire famine. Last week residents of Mogadishu gathered in a soccer stadium for what The Times called “one of the largest rallies in years.” To demand handouts? To call for tax cuts? No, to denounce the Shabab, the Qaeda-supporting guerrilla group that has terrorized Somalia for years.

    It’s bad enough that he’s using the horrors of Somalia to supply light-hearted fodder for this ridiculous piece, but it would also seem he’s ridiculing OWS with that “to demand handouts?” snark.

  8. 8
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    the clueless, too-comfortable elitism of Times opinion writers.

    Not just the Times but Time… I heard Joe Klein on NPR today, just enough to hear him bemoan the “wall-to-wall, obsessive coverage of this Occupy Wall Street” (parentheses to indicate disdain), ignoring the noble heart landers who want centrism and compromise.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Someone on PBS NewsHOur said that the 99% earn 500,000 or less. Anyway the point was obvious.

  10. 10
    Jenny says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    ignoring the noble heart landers who want centrism and compromise.

    I mentioned this last week. He’s such a dick with his “Evan Bayh and Harold Ford are very serious people who we should follow” shtick.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @JPL: If you sit through that documentary, which I recommend, you’ll learn that the liberal NYT’s coverage of the pre-fire Triangle workers and their struggle to unionize was exactly the same as their coverage of OWS today. Once you realize that the NYT is the society paper of New York’s haute bourgeois it all begins to make sense.

  12. 12
    Chris Wolf says:

    It could be worse. If we were English, we’d be hooligans, committing hooliganism.

  13. 13
    harlana says:

    in his “fucked-up countries” monologue, which does seem disturbingly gleeful, apparently the asshole confused Venezuela with Brazil

  14. 14
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street?

    I would kinda like to see if OWS/OT can have its grievances heard and addressed without resorting to carrying assault rifles and talking about “Second Amendment remedies”, but if he wants an armed mob howling for his head and the heads of the banksters, I’m sure that can be arranged…

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Bill Keller’s feel-good world tour includes Burma, whose kinder, gentler new military junta has installed a new parliament and let a few dissidents out of jail.

    I’m less than convinced. Even I know that the many decades of being bossed around (and worse) by the US has beena painful and humiliating for many South American countries. Keller’s pat on the head for a US-friendly Peruvian President seems patronizing.
    ETA: in fact, his whole thing of doling out praise to selected countries’ for good behavior is patronizing.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @beltane: I haven’t seen the documentary but I have read about the fire. Bill Keller is an ass btw but just my opinion.

    also, too.. why doesn’t Keller compare us to other industrialized nations? btw did I say he was an ass imo..

  17. 17
    harlana says:

    So I guess the point being, stfu, you could be living in Somalia?

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    It seems like Keller is making an excellent case for populist revolt the world over. Oh gee, I hope that kinda encouragement doesn’t bit him in the ass next time he travels abroad.

  19. 19
    Chris says:


    Next, let’s put our hands together for Somalia — arguably the saddest place on earth

    Yeah, it’s amazing what happens when you COMPLETELY remove government from the equation, and leave an armed citizenry to sort out its problems in Rugged Individualist, Free Market fashion!

  20. 20
    Martin says:

    Heh. Perfect title.

  21. 21
    Amir Khalid says:

    The post title reminds me of a comic strip i saw in a newspaper many many years ago:

    Courtier: Sire, the people are revolting!
    King: You said it. They stink on ice!

  22. 22
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: Isn’t that from Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I?

    ETA: Yep

  23. 23
    Chris says:


    So I guess the point being, stfu, you could be living in Somalia?

    In this case, that’s the point.

    The broader point is that no matter how bad people have it, Bill Keller’s the guy walking up and pointing out that you could have it worse. If he ever had to get into Somali politics, he’d probably be saying something along the lines of hey, lucky duckies, at least you’re not in concentration camps!

  24. 24
    Chris says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    “Sire, the people are revolting!”
    “They’ve always been revolting. But now they’re rebelling!”

  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Also a possibility. Maybe even both. Whichever it was, I saw it, as I say, many many years ago.

  26. 26
    Jenny says:

    The Nation has an excellent piece on why Keller is an asshole.

  27. 27
    jl says:

    @beltane: It shows. More and more of the NYT is devoted to high minded exquisitely exquisite, carefully wrought, very preciously crafted piffle that wanders between uninformative and senseless.

    They are too timid, to befuddled to say anything.

    A little baker’s dozen of inspirational piffle is not impressive when most of it makes no sense or is full of wrong. Just two issues:

    Good for little Slovakia for voting against the Euro bailout (and if the Euro falls apart, will that be better or worse than higher taxes in unimportant to bring up in The Paper of Record). And claiming all the distressed peripheral Euro economies are in trouble because they were profligate is wrong. Keller should check out Krugman once in awhile. It is obvious he doesn’t.

    And did the Myanmar democratic movement start out well organized, respectable, and with clear aims?

    As for Somalia, I sincerely wish that rally does some good. But Keller would love for OWS to hold a rally in a big stadium and then everyone go home. I hope that a rally works on Somalia, but it sure wouldn’t work here, and that is probably why Keller likes that approach.

    I think the thing is meretricious tripe, which is turning the NYT into bad menudo. (note to self: get drunk before you read the NYT, unless it is Krugman or Kristoff)

  28. 28
    harlana says:

    ohemgee, i just heard that Herb wants to construct a 20 ft, Atlantic to Pacific barbed wire, electrified fence with a sign on the other side that says “It will kill you”

  29. 29
    danimal says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Damn, I thought I had something positive to contribute to this thread, having memorized WAY too many Mel Brooks films over the years, but you all beat me to it.

  30. 30
    Chet says:

    “That’s why the people are revolting,’cause Louis, you’re pretty revolting yourself!” – Allan Sherman

  31. 31
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @danimal: “We’ve gotta protect our phony baloney jobs here!”

  32. 32
    Maude says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    The msm and pundits aren’t important during OWS. They don’t get to tell us what it means. They can’t pontificate on how the DHFs are ruining everyone’s weekend.
    The message from OWS is direct and people in many countries understand it just fine. That’s what makes the pundits so sour.
    And all the telling oWS how to form their message and they need a leader and all of that garbage.
    Those folks don’t understand what is going on. Also, now, a month later, I get the sense that some who are on the left and in the media want to be a part of it from the standpoint of being wise and brilliant. Jerks.

  33. 33
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    “I got it
    I got it,
    I ain’t got it. . .”

  34. 34
    geg6 says:

    I’ve clicked on the Times twice today. No fucking way I’ll do it again for that asshat Keller. I’ve got a tumbrel with his name on it.

  35. 35
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    He would have an enormous schwanz-stucke

  36. 36
    srv says:

    So that’s what they were up to…

    Those Southwest stewardesses were trying to turn me into a libertarian when I was 8! All those handouts, candy, letting me run FREE in the isle. Just imagine if Ayn Rand had written in a pocket book format.

    I bet Bill Keller and Herb Keller are related.

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @beltane: As I sit here and wipe my eyes, I’m trying to understand why. Locking fire exits in order to prevent theft still happens. Walmart a few years ago locked employees in and the press wasn’t good but it didn’t last more than a day or two.

  38. 38
    Betsy says:

    That vapid piece of back-patting actually inspired me to send Keller an email this morning. Not that it will have any effect. But his contemptuous and condescending description of OWS put me over the edge.

    ETA: Since Keller had juxtaposed that description with “good news,” implying that OWS was bad news, I explained that a lot of us out here in Real America consider OWS to be Very Good News.

  39. 39
    Boots Day says:

    It’s so telling that Keller derides OWS because it “bore[s}” him. The Times would be in much better shape if it chose to cover subjects based on how important and newsworthy they were, rather than on how much they failed to bore the editors.

  40. 40
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Keller was getting slammed pretty hard in the comments earlier today, btw. IIRC, the commenters corrected him on the Venezuela thing and found another factual error in the piece.

    @srv: It’s Herb Kelleher. And he was plying me with free peanuts and plastic captains wings when I was 8 too!

  41. 41
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    That’s also an exchange from Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part One:

  42. 42
    Cat Lady says:

    OT, sort of:

    These people need to be revolting also too.

    Fuck you Bill Keller on behalf of them.

  43. 43
    harlana says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: so he got to be “expert” on things, for about 30 seconds.

  44. 44
    harlana says:

    i have avoided the Cain “Imagine” video all day long. Now it’s on the teevee. I want my mommy now.

  45. 45
    harlana says:

    oh goody, i won’t have to pay taxes on used food!

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @harlana: He has a nice voice though. Unfortunately he wants all of us to live his childhood and then we can say we had it better than the poor starving children in Africa.
    The job creators will take care of us and because of that they should not have to pay taxes at all.

    Also, too if deregulation kills a few people, it’s the price we pay to live in the best country ever.

  47. 47
    jl says:

    @Boots Day: uh oh. Keller said OWS was ‘boring’? (Edit: damn, I missed that when I read his column)

    That is Richard Cohen territory. That is the bottomless pit into which one falls after one swirls around the bottom of column writing world. And everyone know that Cohen is just a running Dave Letterman gag.

    A lot of the OWS people are very well informed, can draw correct diagrams and spell, know some facts and can articulate a logical argument.

    Hey, maybe a little fear and envy factor working with some people in the contemporary US corporate press.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    Funny how the 99% are supposed to shut up and feel grateful for how easy we have it in the US but the 1% never shut up and feel grateful for the instances where they pay less in taxes (etc) here than elsewhere. In many countries, the 1% all need armored cars because kidnapping them and their family members for ransom is practically an economic sector with a SIC code.

  49. 49
    Calouste says:


    why doesn’t Keller compare us to other industrialized nations?

    FTFY, and now self-explanatory.

  50. 50
    handsmile says:

    At the very bottom of Dougerhead’s post, “via” links to Glenn Greenwald’s Salon column today, “What are those OWS people so angry about.”

    I realize that for many here Glenn Greenwald is a contemptible figure and his writings for Salon are unworthy of attention other than to belittle. (Views I do not share.) To those of less strident opinion of the man, his ironically-titled article not only defenestrates the odious Keller, but offers a perceptive analysis of how the burgeoning OWS movement provokes the media elites to defend the political/economic status quo. (As always with Greenwald, the column “Updates” are important addenda.) A long excerpt:

    Anyone who expressed difficulty seeing or understanding what motivates these protests revealed many things about themselves. None is flattering. The only thing that’s surprising is that these protests didn’t happen sooner and that they’re not more widespread and intense. I think it’s become increasingly clear that that is likely to change, and soon. Like the Arab Spring, the rapid growth of these protests should be a permanent antidote against defeatism. It’s unclear what these protests will accomplish — that still depends on how many people join them and what they cause it to be — but, already, they prove that the possibility always exists for subverting even the most seemingly invulnerable power factions. That hasn’t happened yet, but the possibility that these protests are only in their incipient stages is one of the more exciting and positive political developments in some time. It’s been clear for quite awhile that unrest and disruptions — and the fear which they alone can put in the hearts and minds of those responsible for widespread ills — are absolute prerequisites for meaningful reform (our fundamentally corrupted electoral process certainly can’t and won’t accomplish that). These protests at least reflect the possibility, the template, for that to happen. And anyone expressing confusion about why these protests are erupting is almost certainly someone invested in keeping things exactly the way they are.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris Wolf:

    It could be worse. If we were English, we’d be hooligans, committing hooliganism.

    Funny, but that’s how the old Soviet Union used to describe their troublemakers. Hooligans.

    Just reinforces Keller’s situation at Pravda on the Hudson.

    His head would look much better on a pike than it does on his shoulders.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Okay, that’ll keep the Canadians out. Now what about the Mexicans?

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Just imagine if Ayn Rand had written in a pocket book format.

    Maybe it’s time for me to revisit my idea about translating Atlas Shrugged into LOLCat.

  54. 54
    David in NY says:


    translating Atlas Shrugged into LOLCat.

    That’s a no loss proposition. Couldn’t possibly be worse than the original.

  55. 55
    goblue72 says:

    @jl: Folks in these parts don’t seem to realize that the NY Times is a NY Metro area real estate daily for upper-middle class households masquerading as a national paper of record.

  56. 56
    Dougerhead says:


    It’s still the best national newspaper in the country. Their local coverage could be better, I agree. Keller turned the paper around, too, after Howell Raines.

    The guy shouldn’t have an opinion column, though, he sucks at it.

  57. 57
    Nutella says:


    Thanks. I’ve been thinking about what I should have on my sign when I go down to the OWS protest here, and now I have it: “MSM is bad menudo!” It makes a good chant, too.

    Pic of OWS adherents in the southern hemisphere. Going global!

  58. 58
    russell says:

    Seriously, fuck Bill Keller.

    There was a moment in time when he had the opportunity to make a huge contribution to the good of the country. Not just an opportunity, he was editor of one of the most influential newspapers in the god damned world.

    He decided to cater to the vanity of star reporter little-miss-run-amok Judith Miller. It was also good for his ratings and his job, natch.

    So whatever steaming god-damned pile of festering turds Dick Cheney and his crew decided to channel to the NYT front page and editorial page, was published without contradiction.

    And ever since then, Bill Keller has been trying to convince the rest of us that it wasn’t his responsibility.

    Screw him. In the name of hundreds of thousands of dead people, he can kiss my ass.

  59. 59
    PWL says:

    I look at it this way:

    NYT courtiers of the rich like Bill Keller are like the courtiers of Louis XVI sneering at the lower orders–before a funny thing happened at the Bastille…

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