The information never ends: Increasingly, we’ve been struck by our tribe’s tolerance for The Dumb.
We got that feeling as we read Kevin Drum’s post concerning Ashley Parker’s latest. Kevin read the whole darn piece and came away with this:
DRUM (12/28/11): The New York Times reviews Mitt Romney 2.0 today in much the same way you'd review a new version of an iPad or an update of Microsoft Word. Verdict: He's layered a slightly retooled UI onto the same old chassis, and it's an awkward fit. The man can't make small talk, tosses weird wonkery around whether it's appropriate or not, and doesn't seem to quite understand the concept of humor. Occasionally, though, I think this serves him well...Kevin goes on to offer a chunk from Parker's “review”—an episode where Romney’s failure to understand the concept of humor supposedly served him well. This was the chunk he posted from Parker’s deathless report:
PARKER (12/28/11): A few moments later, a voter named David Rivers asked Mr. Romney whether there would be place for Mr. Paul, a Texas congressman, in a Romney White House. Mr. Romney treated the question as a joke, letting out a laugh and walking on by.According to Drum, “a nervous chuckle and a quick getaway was the only decent response” in this circumstance.
“I was actually kind of serious,” Mr. Rivers said in an interview afterward.
Whatever. Drum’s piece was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek throwaway—and that’s what we really don’t get. The sheer stupidity of this type of “reporting” never seems to bother us libs, even though its fruits have been used to destroy our candidates in the past. But no matter how stupid the Dowdism gets, we liberals and progressives never seem to complain about its existence—its growing dominance in our daft political culture. Reading the comments to Drum’s piece, you will see readers getting into conversations about what Romney should have said.
This is very, very dumb. What makes us so blind, so tolerant?
For the record, Romney—who doesn't seem to quite understand the concept of humor—has smoked Br'er Gingrich in the past week with a punishing, highly effective joke drawn from I Love Lucy. (The gods often respond in such ways to “news reports” like Parker’s.) At any rate, there’s much, much more to learn in the Times about the various GOP candidates. This morning, to cite just one example, the Times offers this giant, sprawling report about the houses they live in.
“The hunt goes on for insights and stories to provide an unfiltered view of their true character,” Kate Zernike thoughtfully writes, referring to the GOP hopefuls. “Where better to look than their homes, to get a sense of their style, and what it might tell us about what they value and how they live?”
Good lord! And yes, she actually wrote that. Does Dowdism get more plain?
We know, we know! That grinding stupidity was in the “Home” section; in fact, it ate up the vast bulk of the section’s front page. But galloping Dowdism rules at the Times, even as its intellectual author flounces about in JFK’s former home. (Yesterday, she let her brother write her column, as she does once a year, for no known earthly reason.) Also today, Helene Cooper offers this fairly dumb piece about the way Obama spends his spare time. The piece features a giant photo of Obama boarding Air Force 1, and a second substantial photo of Obama at play in Hawaii. People! We get to see what it’s like when the president recreates! Meanwhile, for a bit of the know-nothingism which rules at the post-Dowd Times, just enjoy this bit of analysis. For whatever reason, Rep. Dennis Cardozo is enlisted to serve as Cooper’s resident “expert:”
COOPER (12/29/11): On Capitol Hill, Republicans say they rarely hear from the president, and members of his own party complain that Mr. Obama and his top aides are handicapping themselves by not reaching out enough.There’s no doubt about it! In the current partisan environment, Obama would get a lot more down if he’d just schmooze members more!
“When you have relationships with individual members, you can call them up and ask a favor, and a lot of times, if it’s not objectionable, you can get things done,” said Representative Dennis A. Cardoza, Democrat of California.
The president hosts plenty of large gatherings...but they lack the intimacy of smaller events, where there is real give and take, Mr. Cardoza and others lawmakers said.
How deep in The Dumb at the New York Times? Today, on page one of “Thursday Styles,” we get this sprawling report: “The 75 Things New Yorkers Talked About in 2011.” According to the New York Times, these were the top five topics:
1. The G.O.P. debates. The best reality TV show not on Bravo.When Times readers discuss the debates, they talk about the time Perry said “Oops.” And about Ron Paul’s eyebrows!
2. The best moment of the debates: “Oops.”
3. The second-best moment of the debates: Ron Paul’s errant eyebrow.
4. Regis Philbin calls it quits after 28 years.
5. Kim Kardashian calls it quits after 72 days.
We know, we know—that was just the “Thursday Styles” section. But let’s be candid—The Dumb is found all over the Times. The Dumb is truly dominant.
Question: Can you think of any major political or policy issue on which the Times has seriously informed us this year? No, Paul Krugman doesn’t count. We’re talking about this paper’s reporting.
Surely, there must be many such topics! But can you name even one?
The Dumb is everywhere in this paper. When it comes to The Dumb, why don’t we liberals complain?