We never got if off on that revolution stuff

It’s been kind of a brutal week politically. There’s something to remember though: things will change politically when the baby boomers die off and millennials become the dominant political block in our country.

I don’t know that well how baby boomers think, but I do understand how my generation, Gen X, does, to some extent. And I think millennials see the world very differently than my generation does. It’s fair to say that I, and many of you, grew up in a world where Broderism, and worse yet Reaganism, was pushed on us by the media in a way that is not that different from what goes on in North Korea. I try very hard not to be both sides person, but the truth is…it’s hard not to have it in the back of your mind sometimes. It was pushed into our heads for so long. And also too, my generation always felt (correctly) that the world is a shitty place that we’d never be able to change. In a lot of ways, we are, to quote the boomers’ biggest obsession, like a dog that’s been beaten too much.

And a huge proportion of people over 60 have been completely brainwashed by Murdoch media.

A lot has been made about the how the kids at Parkland have reacted eloquently and angrily to the school shooting. They think it’s outrageous that we don’t have gun control but they don’t think gun control is a lost cause, and it’s not in their lifetimes. (It will be quite a while.)

I truly believe that the current political situation is just a phase. It’s a damaging one, unfortunately, but it will end. The group of people my age and older are a lost cause, but the next generation, whatever problems it may have, lacks the political pathologies that have taken our government into a ditch.








Someday Everything is Gonna Be Smooth Like a Rhapsody

I’ll bet you’re a little bit like me. As you draw nearer your last trip around the sun, your coma glows brighter and a tail of brilliant ideas strings out behind you in the firmament–ideas which you have neither the time nor the resources to implement. It’s a cruel universe for geniuses like you and me, no? Ah, well!

 When I used to commute and spend more time stuck in my car listening to terrestrial radio, I came with up with an idea for a radio show that I would host with the other guitarist in my band. We would call it “A Supposed Masterpiece I Cannot Understand” and basically play music which everyone says is great, but that we just don’t get. I don’t know if my list would be long enough to keep the program interesting for very long, but I know what I would play first: Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau rave about it, Camper Van Beethoven did a whole song-by-song cover album of it. Everybody maintains that it’s this deep, angry album about the fracturing relationships in the band. For me, it’s just a slightly spikier, claustrophobic and less Ocean Way Studio smooth and gently rocking adult contemporary soft rock that I used to abhor but now (God help me!) I kind of like just a little bit. But with fewer genuinely good songs. My friend’s choice, as he recalls it, would have been Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. While he didn’t deny the greatness of the individual songs, he wasn’t convinced the album as a whole hangs together. Peronally, I think it probably is a great album, but I have never been able to muster much affection for The Boss. There is a whiff of showbiz about him that makes his earnestness feel like a contrivance.

Don’t mistake me; this radio program would not be an opportunity to disparage and heap scorn upon the contemptible music we loathe. That’s a valuable service too, but this is a different category. I like to like things. And I’m always looking for more things to enjoy in life. That’s why I’ve given Tusk the ol’ college try every few years since the mid ’90s. I can hear there is something there. I don’t hate it. But whatever it has is just not getting through. What would you contribute to this show?

What is getting through, after that pickup in MO on Tuesday, is that a D wave is coming and I want to be on it. So, here is the fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer



I’m on the hunt, I’m after you

Does this Wolff book everyone’s talking about make any difference politically? Or is the whole thing just a Maggie Haberman-Politico-Axios wankfest, full of sound and fury signifying nothing? I lean towards the latter.

So far, this is my favorite detail:

“Nearby, in a small conference room watching the movie Fargo, were Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, Stephen Miller, and H. R. McMaster, all of whom would later insist that they were, however physically close to the unfolding crisis, removed from it.”

Don’t forget to give to the Balloon Juice Nowhere To Hide fund, which splits money among eventual Democratic nominees in every House seat currently under Republican control.

Goal Thermometer



Turn on the TV, shut out the lights

I figured people could use a fun thread to take their mind off Alabama.

What are the best movies, tv shows, and books about politics? Please don’t say West Wing.

Let’s interpret politics both narrowly and broadly.

For movies narrowly about politics, the only good movie I’ve seen is “The Candidate”. For movies broadly about politics, I’d go with “Chinatown” (it begins with some kind of city public hearing right, that’s got to count).

For books, “All The King’s Men” is my favorite of all time, by far.

I’ve never seen a tv show about politics that I liked, unless you count “Benson”.



He uses magazines

I just saw that the editor of Vanity Fair is stepping down and for some reason the NYT and others are treating this like a big deal. That magazine has always annoyed me though I will say one thing for it: they employ James Wolcott, and he’s the only magazine writer I enjoy reading. I used to like Matt Taibbi but I got sick of him, plus he’s a Russiagate denier and possibly a sex offender. James Fallows and TNC are good, too, of course, but that’s a different type of article, more like serious reading.

I used to be a big New Yorker reader when I was younger. In high-school, it was probably my only contact with the larger world, other than David Letterman (I grew up in the middle of nowhere), and even now, I’m one of those people with an unhealthy reverence for Pauline Kael. I still remember the great profiles I read of Paul Schaefer and Penn & Teller. But when I try to read the New Yorker now, a lot of it seems either corporate (profiles of Jeff Bezos and that kind of crap) or pathetically trend-chasing (read the part of this about Bien Cuit etc. — whatever that stuff is — if you want to be mildly nauseous). I know there’s important stuff too about how the world is going to end because of plastic and so on, but again, that’s too serious for me. Plus, the style generally annoys me.

Do you all read any magazines? Who’s a good magazine writer in a lighter style?








The can-can’s such a pretty show

The other day Atrios wrote:

I went through a brief slatebro contrarian phase. Not sure how bad I was but I can’t deny the possibility that “Will Saletan has a good point!” was something I said once.

What’s the dumbest Slate-syle/very serious sort of thing you ever believed or argued in favor of? Mine is a two-way tie between telling my dad that they should “teach the controversy” on evolution (which I took directly from a Gregg Easterbrook article) and saying (to whom I forget) that maybe Fareed Zakaria was right that by invading Iraq and improving relations with Iran we could establish a bloc of US allies in the Middle East. (Note: I was against the war by the time it was being seriously considered.)



Breakin’ the law?

I have close to zero interest in most things Joe-and-Mike related but I’m curious to know if this kind of thing is legal (if true, which it certainly it is). Is it?

“We got a call that, ‘Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys…’ And they said, ‘If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story,” Scarborough said.

Scarborough didn’t name names, but he said “three people at the very top of the administration” called him about this.

“The calls kept coming and kept coming, and they were like ‘Call. You need to call. Please call. Come on, Joe. Just pick up the phone and call him.'”

In other words, grovel to the president and he’ll make the mean story disappear.