Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Katie Couric = Matt Taibbi

At least when the economy doesn't seem to be collapsing around our ears, right-wing politicos and think-tankers in this country generally brand any concern with economic justice "class warfare." It is, you see, un-American and divisive to worry that 1% of the country controls 40% of its wealth and that the income of that top 1% grew 180% from 1979-2004, whereas the income of the bottom 20% grew about 10% over the same period (see p. 5 of "Is the American Dream...").

But those same politicos and tankers seem to have no objection to cultural warfare. It's totally cool to act as though a tiny percentage of Americans control 95% of the nation's--nay the world's--virtue. See, whereas it's divisive to tell poor people that they're getting the short end of the stick, it's just not a big deal to tell liberals that they're unpatriotic and/or tipped for everlasting torment.

For some obscure reason, I've been thinking about The Titanic lately. And gosh darn if a little old Alaska common sense doesn't tell me that we seem finally to have reached the iceberg-intensive portion of the journey at which the folks in first-class are sending stewards down to steerage to tell us, "Hey, hey, why so reproachful? I mean, we're all in the same boat here, folks."

Then they add, "So all you peons should stay here while the boat sinks because there aren't enough lifeboats for everybody."

Anyway, that's all a long-winded and indirect intro to a relatively brief point.

To wit: political life in this country is increasingly a weird game in which a tiny majority holds power over a large majority while insisting that the people in that ruling minority are coextensive with some vague populist majority. And that creates all kinds of conceptual weirdness.

In particular, I'm struck lately by how the McCain-Palin campaign--especially Palin--simultaneously insists that its candidates know what mainstream Americans really want at the same time that it claims that the "mainstream media" are out of touch with mainstream America.

But if the media really are "mainstream," then wouldn't that mean they're in touch with mainstream America? And if McCain and Palin mean "left-wing" media rather than "mainstream," why don't they say that? Surely they don't want to imply that mainstream America is left-wing?

Is it because if McCain and Palin were actually to say "left-wing" rather than just hint it, they'd have to explicitly accuse Katie Couric of being the hatchet-woman of the liberal media elite and they know that would sound more than a little loopy?

Or (and) is it because they're trying really hard to appeal to groups--especially fundamentalist Christians--whose very identity since at least the 1970s has come in large part from positioning themselves as an embattled, even oppressed, minority in the current, decaying America, although they see themselves the dominant majority of real Americans?

In memoriam Might Magazine: "Katie Couric = Matt Taibbi = GAY!"

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