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Both Sides: Late Night Edition

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My hero and why Trump was elected probably, Sam Bee
My hero and why Trump was elected probably, Sam Bee

Caitlin Flanagan  of The Atlantic clutches her pearls at what’s become of political discourse. A sensible person might say that the dialogue–such as it is–has coarsened because we just elected a toddler with nukes to the highest office in the land, but not Caitlin. She’s pretty certain that libs should continue going higher and higher and higher, even as conservatives take a Pepe-guided tour straight to hell.

The late-night political-comedy shows—principally Noah’s Daily Show, Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight—staked their territory during the heat of the general election: unwavering, bombastic, belittling, humiliating screeds against Donald Trump. Fair enough. Trump is a man who on any casual summer day during the campaign could be found inciting a crowd to violence. This isn’t the slippery slope; this is the ditch at the bottom of the hill. Once a man stands before a mob and exhorts the powerful to beat the outlier, it’s all over except for the cannibalism and the cave painting. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” said Abraham Lincoln. “Knock the crap out of them,” said Donald Trump.

OK, so, Caitlin, using her very own finger-words, admits that Trump is terrible, his very own terrible designation of terrible. But…

But somewhere along the way, the hosts of the late-night shows decided that they had carte blanche to insult not just the people within this administration, but also the ordinary citizens who support Trump, and even those who merely identify as conservatives. In March, Samantha Bee’s show issued a formal apology to a young man who had attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and whom the show had blasted for having “Nazi hair.” As it turned out, the young man was suffering from Stage 4 brain cancer—which a moment’s research on the producers’ part would have revealed: He had tweeted about his frightening diagnosis days before the conference. As part of its apology, the show contributed $1,000 to the GoFundMe campaign that is raising money for his medical expenses, so now we know the price of a cancer joke.

“Ordinary citizens” “who merely identify as conservative” is doing an awful lot of work here. Caitlin just admitted that Trump is a horrible person and president. So, what, exactly, am I–a coastal elite living in Tucson–supposed to think about his voters? Really. What am I supposed to think? I’ll tell you what I think: I think that a lot of the people who voted for him were at least cool with his racism and xenophobia. I think they counted on his always hurting the right people  in a precise manner. (Using sort of precision-guided bombs of cruelty, is how I’d put it.) I think they thought he was a big fat phony and a liar but they had the secret code to know when he was lying and about what. And now we have a misogynistic, racist toddler with nukes in the White House. This man may very well get us all killed. So, yes, when I’m not living in existential dread, I do feel a bit smug about not voting for the orange Id machine.

I’d also like to add that a few conservatives of conscience decided that Trump crossed a red line for them. Perhaps we should be busy interviewing and lauding them instead of endlessly traveling to Bumfuck, PA to find out why Joe Asshole voted for a guy who’s gonna deport his neighbor.

But, listen, the author  just tried to make a “both sides” argument in an article where she–with words she presumably read–admitted that Sam Bee promptly apologized to the nazi-hair guy then donated to his medical funds. When has our current president ever apologized? When has ever admitted error? When has he ever acted with humility? When has he ever contributed to someone else’s well-being?

Are you seeing where this goofy bothsidesism argument falls apart?

It was hardly the first time Full Frontal had gone, guns blazing, after the sick or the meek. During the campaign, Bee dispatched a correspondent to go shoot fish in a barrel at something called the Western Conservative Summit, which the reporter described as “an annual Denver gathering popular with hard-right Christian conservatives.” He interviewed an earnest young boy who talked about going to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays, and about his hope to start a group called Children for Trump. For this, the boy—who spoke with the unguarded openness of a child who has assumed goodwill on the part of an adult—was described as “Jerry Falwell in blond, larval form.” Trump and Bee are on different sides politically, but culturally they are drinking from the same cup, one filled with the poisonous nectar of reality TV and its baseless values, which have now moved to the very center of our national discourse. Trump and Bee share a penchant for verbal cruelty and a willingness to mock the defenseless. Both consider self-restraint, once the hallmark of the admirable, to be for chumps.

Listen, the kid was a smarmy, horrible boy who may grow up to be a lovely young man but will probably grow up to be…Jerry Falwell. Furthermore, I’m guessing he’s a fan of Falwell, so I fail to see how that’s an insult. I saw the segment. At no point were they “cruel” to these “defenseless” buttwads. Sam’s show is smart enough to let the awful awful awfulness of these people speak for itself.

“When they go low, we go high” may have been a ravishing meme, Trump’s mockery of a war hero, grieving parents, and a disabled man showed how you get the job done. When John Oliver told viewers that if they opposed abortion they had to change the channel until the last minute of the program, when they would be shown “an adorable bucket of sloths,” he perfectly encapsulated the tone of these shows: one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.

Well, yes? And the feeling is mutual I presume.

Trump didn’t have a chance, because he lacked a “ground game.” After his victory, one had to wonder whether some part of his ground game had been conducted night after night after night on television, under flattering studio lights and with excellent production values and comedy writing.

And…oh, screw it. I just can’t anymore with this shit…

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  • NewishLawyer

    IIRC Caitlin Flanagan grew up in liberal Berkeley with liberal Berkeley parents. I think she wrote a column about her parents coming home early from a date night when she was a kid because the staff was on strike and you can’t cross the line.

    I know she wrote about the joys and importance of having a nanny for her twins because it let her do all the good parts of parenting and not the bad parts.

    I gotta hand it to conservatives. They have real chutzpah in what they pull off.

    And the so-called liberals at the Atlantic are dupes for putting up with this stuff.

    • I remember hating Flanagan for very good reason, but I can’t be arsed to remember the reasons now.

      • njorl

        All I remember is that it had something to do with boats and a homeless guy.

      • msmarjoribanks

        I have some vague memory of her spreading stories about how middle schoolers these days are all having oral sex parties, and it’s because of feminism. I’d almost forgotten about her, though.

      • q-tip

        I used to work in a bookstore, so I would read lots of the political/cultural weeklies and monthlies – back during during the Bush years – while on my lunch breaks.

        I have a distinct memory of reading like 3/4 of a page into an Atlantic piece, saying to myself “who wrote this shit?” and seeing her name. (I think I was partly pissed off because the crazywrong business was eased into, and the writing was pretty good stylistically.)

        But like you, Aimai, I can’t remember what provoked my hate. I want to say it had something to do with “key parties,” but I suspect I might be conflating her piece with a review of The Ice Storm*. I’m not going to try to figure it out – life’s short enough already.

        * I read a lot of magazines over a lot of years in that damn break room. I can still see the microwave and fridge in the background as I try to recall the article that made me hate CF.

    • AlexRobinson

      We are intellectually and morally superior to Trump voters.

      Why does she not get this?

  • pillsy

    Shorter Caitlin Flanagan: Donald Trump is President because conservatives can’t take a joke.

    • No, I think the shorter is:

      “Stop holding up a mirror to Trump’s voters. When you do that you make them self conscious about how they look to other people.”

      • los

        Early Tea: “Next time we bring our guns”

        • los

          actual Next Time: “You gun-grabbing libtards made me shoot myself in the foot!”

          #ImYourFault

    • los

      pillsy says:

      conservatives can’t take a joke.

      Top cucks on twitter are jokes.
      But I wish they’d stop repetitively posting/tweeting their same tattered jokes (e.g., Robert Byrd’s head shopped onto a green/leprechaun/luckyclover accessorized klansman)

  • humanoid.panda

    We all keep talking about the Times, but Goldberg is slowly but surely is making the Atlantic highly unreadable. When you get to a point that David Frum is one of your two best writers (the other is the excellent Fallows), you really need to reassess what is it that you are doing.

    That being said: there really, really, really is no reason to interview a 12 year old for political comedy. No lack of adult or college age morons were gathered in that conference.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      TNC left?

      • Domino

        Considering he wrote the Black Panther comics, and is apparently now writing another book, I’d say we’re in the midst of him not doing regular online posts for a while.

    • liberal

      I don’t pay too much attention to the A.M., but…good god, when did they make him editor?

    • los

      wasn’t newrepublic pro-reagan in the 1980s? only the first years?

      The truth about the New Republic: Kinsley, Krauthammer, Oliver North and a liberal magazine’s demented war on liberalism

      TNR spent the ’80s in bed with Reagan and Ollie North, backing tax cuts, proxy wars — and screwing liberalism hard
      Eric Alterman

      The New Republic’s Ugly Reality
      December 10, 2014
      by Robert Parry

      • los

        2nd link
        Indeed, much of the trivialization of US journalism in the 1980s stemmed from the punchy opinions voiced by TNR columnists as they moonlighted as talking heads on the TV “shout shows,” like “The McLaughlin Group” and “Inside Washington.”

        Many of the regulars on those media “food fights” came from The New Republic and lowered the intellectual level of Official Washington into a “thumbs up, thumps down” reductionism where political leaders were rated on scales of one to 10. Their well-compensated behavior was the opposite of true intellectualism or – for that matter – true journalism.

        Also, why berate samantha bee when most of rwnj radio is more insulting? Didn’t limbaugh claim that he was a just comedian?

        • Mike G

          Being privileged means it is never your fault, and a group member’s bad actions reflect only on them.

          Being disadvantaged means it is always your fault, and a group member’s bad actions reflect on the entire group.

      • los
      • BruceJ

        Even the Liberal New Republic followed by some RW claptrap has been an ha-ha-bitter joke for as far back as I can remember on the political intertubes.

        • los

          I think now the line is usually, “Evin the Liberral Nuew Yorke Tims…”

          but we have, “Even the fascist National Review[1] says that ‘Trump is a Fake President.’ ”

          __________
          1. or Glenn Beck, Erick Erickson…

        • los

          Exemplar of Conservative Civility Rush Limbaugh responds, “Even the feminazi Caitlin feminazi Flanagan feminazi at feminazi the feminazi The feminazi Atlantic feminazi says that feminazi liberrils are feminazi mean feminazi girls11!1   (Sniffle.)”

  • Origami Isopod

    I hadn’t seen a Caitlin Flanagan piece in ages. I didn’t miss her at all.

  • Ahenobarbus

    Bee is a comedian, not POTUS.

    • JDM

      BTW, isn’t it high time that when referring to Donald Trump, we drop the “TU” from “POTUS”?

      No matter how much it makes Caitlin Flanagan whine.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Right. I don’t care if Samantha Bee was the biggest monster on TV (and she isn’t, of course), the idea of comparing her to the president in this manner is utterly ludicrous.

    • los

      Bee is COTUS.

      /”But she’s Canadian. Is that Constitutional?”

  • Caitlin Flanagan

    Hm.

    Hmmmm…

    Well, shit.

    Some days you wonder why you even bother getting up in the morning.

    • Rob in CT

      Thank goodness Our Leftist Betters are here to provide this kind of insightful commentary! Whatever would we do without it?

    • Leave me alone, creep.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I thought he was banhammered.

        • Rob in CT

          The ban hammer is used sparingly ’round these parts.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Still, though: #3

        • He has a track record of making creepily personal remarks about me. I also notice he replied to the comment I made telling him to leave me alone. I have him pied, but I bet it’s something creepy again!

      • TVTray

        Buddy both times I’ve checked out this blog in the last month you’ve commented about being sleepy in the morning. Maybe quit with the late-nite carbo-loading?

  • humanoid.panda

    The most amazing thing about pieces like this is basically:
    * Americans love comedy shows.
    * Conservatives are not funny enough to run comedy shows.
    * Therefore, liberals should do conservative comedy for them, or maybe not do comedy, so life would be fair.

    * Also, affirmative action is bad and liberals are snowflakes.

  • randy khan

    As the post notes, Bee largely depends on what people themselves say and do, and her signature approach actually is to ask them straight, slightly dumb questions and let them answer.

    But more to the point, terrible people are terrible people.

  • Derelict

    If you look at the vast swath of Trump voters and notice that most are racists, many are White supremacists, and a not-insignificant number are outright neo-Nazis, well, you’re just making broad-brush statements that insult the majority of conservatives.

    HOWEVER, if there is some guy standing on a corner in Fritters, AL with a hand-lettered sign that says “I don’t like Trump,” well, what you’ve got here is an indictment of every Democrat and all leftists, and a clear demonstration of how the entire movement is prone to violence and anti-capitalism.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      There, you got it! Just remember, the president is free to slander and slag on vast swaths of America, from his ever-so-high pulpit. But liberal comedians have a sacred duty to respect America’s ideological diversity.

  • SatanicPanic

    Listen, the little boy was a smarmy, horrible little boy who may grow up to be a lovely young man but will probably grow up to be…Jerry Falwell.

    Before I became a parent and had to hang out with other parents and their kids, I would have recoiled at this. But let’s be real, some kids, not many, are horrible. No need to wait until they’re adults to make that determination.

    • Jay B

      A million times yes. It’s amazing how easy it is to think of them as real people when they do purposefully awful things.

      • Derelict

        Torturing small animals is just a phase he’s going through.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          What the hell was enuresis ever doing in the MacDonald Triad.

          • los

            enuresis

            Ironically, that’s Trump’s safe word. (His hired help giggles knowing that Trump can neither pronounce the word, nor tweet the word.)

    • Karen24

      Oh, so veeerrrrrryyyy much this. And it’s actually kind of easy to see which ones are horrible by middle school.

      • SatanicPanic

        That’s when they’re in control enough of their own behavior that it becomes obvious when it’s a matter of external factors or if the kid is just a sociopath.

        • njorl

          By my reckoning, that would make half the population sociopaths.

        • los

          “photos of Rmoney wielding scissors at 11”

      • Rob in CT

        Middle school… *shudders*

        I’m glad my eldest, at least, will basically always be the oldest kid in her grade. I was the youngest/second youngest every time, and it mattered.

      • cpinva

        in my son’s case, we didn’t even need to wait until middle-school, the “special snowflakes” made themselves known in elementary school.

      • osceola

        Middle school, not coincidentally, was the age Trump was when his parents put him in a military boarding school.

    • Murc

      But let’s be real, some kids, not many, are horrible.

      Kids are idiots. Frankly, we’re lucky more of them don’t die on the way to adulthood.

      Full disclosure: I used to set fires. I can’t quite remember why these days. I thought fire was awesome? I mean, I guess I still do? But I think about digging a firepit and piling in some kindling just to watch it burn these days and I’m like “Nope. Does nothing for me.” As a kid that would have been an exciting Saturday afternoon.

      • Rob in CT

        Fire is awesome. I never set fires outside of where they were supposed to be, but I love a good fire in the fireplace or firepit outside. I don’t make ’em much anymore for various reasons (including “I don’t really need to be adding even MORE carbon to the atmosphere”), but fire is fun.

      • SatanicPanic

        OMG every time I plan a camping trip with friends this comes up. I’m in California so I have a deep-seated fear of forest fires. But it’s a thankless job being designated fire-watcher because I don’t even like sitting around the campfire that much, especially with kids pulling flaming sticks out of it every five minutes and waving them around each others’ eyeballs. Last time I went I finally reached my limit and was too lazy to even threaten them with putting it out. It was eleven in the morning, already sunny and hot, and two of them are sitting there, shirts pulled up over their faces because smoke is getting in their eyes, fumbling around with sticks trying to keep their fire going. I know fire is fun, but that looked like torture. At that point I was like, fine just burn down the forest, if this is our future I give up.

        • Murc

          I see you’ve met ten-year-old Murc. I apologize on his behalf.

          • SatanicPanic

            ha! they’re good kids, but sometimes I’m like, you guys are weird.

      • Ronan

        Depends. My mothers theory is 1-5 theyre adorable. 5-11 less so, but still the benefits outweight the costs. 11-13 the rot begins. 13-17 insufferable monsters. 17-24 getting better. 24+ adorable again. (obviously those last 5-8 years are stretching the definition of kid)

        eta: ie it’s mostly an age effect.

        • Murc

          This, by the way, is why I predict Jon Stewart will return to TV sometime in the next five years or so.

          Because he retired when all his kids were, roughly speaking, at “peak adorable.” They were-slash-are at the age when you don’t need to wipe their bottoms so much anymore and are super cute and getting involved in all these fun activities you can be involved in with them and exploring the world and just generally a blast to be around. And who wants to be trapped in a writers room during those years?

          Once his oldest enters their surly teenage years and his youngest is on the cusp of that, and he’s been out of the game for awhile, and the creative side of him gets that itch… at that point he’s going to start looking around for another camera to get in front of. You can already see it in his eyes when he does his guest appearances on the Late Show with Colbert; the look that says “I’m here mostly because of Trump… but god damn, I also missed it.”

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Is he gonna shave? God, I hope he doesn’t shave.

            • BigHank53

              I long to hear biting sarcasm coming out of an old testament beard.

    • JDM

      Back in the 60s I had quite a few experiences with kids throwing rocks at me because I had long hair. They didn’t think of doing that on their own. And if they weren’t disabused of the idea that it was an appropriate thing to do they were going to grow up to be obnoxious (or just plain noxious) adults.

      And that was in Westchester county, NY. Things were worse when I’d drive down through the south to Florida.

      • When I was in 4th grade, one of my friends said that hippies should be lined up against the wall and shot. We were on the playground at the time and I visualized long haired teenagers being lined up against the fence and shot. I’m pretty sure my friend’s views were largely informed by his father, the CHP officer.

        • los

          Now his(?) grandson says[1] that transgender peeps should be Thrown Off A Roof In Saudi Arabia.

          _______
          1. or maybe doesn’t

  • Jay B

    It really is amazing just how stupid people have to be in order to equivocate between late night comics and the President of the United States, as if they operate on the same level for the same purpose.

    • They both have the job of purging us with pity and terror.

  • CP

    But somewhere along the way, the hosts of the late-night shows decided that they had carte blanche to insult not just the people within this administration, but also the ordinary citizens who support Trump, and even those who merely identify as conservatives.

    Have these people ever watched Fox News, listened to talk radio, read the right-wing blogosphere, or, you know, just perused the Facebook and Twitter feeds of their own right-wing colleagues, family, and acquaintances? “Commie,” “traitor,” “terrorist” and “not a real American” are some of the nicer things that are said about us on a constant basis.

    • Rob in CT

      Only liberals have agency and are thus responsible for all outcomes.

      On this, both True Leftists and Right wingers agree.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Exactly. People on the right say all those things only because people on the left have said mean things about them.

        • los

          Top Deplorables[1] On Twitter[2] are stuck on, “Hillary lost because she called half of Americans ‘deplorable’111!![3]”

          ___________
          1. Altcuck Justice Warriors loving their Identity Poltics…
          2. #TDOT   ?
          3. “Look at me. I’m drinking my own deplorable tears.”

      • ap77

        Well put, and sadly true.

    • postmodulator

      Yeah, they hate us and wish we were dead. Just what lemonade are we supposed to make out of that?

      • PunditusMaximus

        Hiring them for positions of power and authority, apparently.

        • postmodulator

          “First they came for me, so I made them director of the FBI.”

      • cpinva

        “Yeah, they hate us and wish we were dead. Just what lemonade are we supposed to make out of that?”

        arsenic flavored should do the trick.

        • los

          Let them drink their Altcuck Tears. That runs the lead back through their digestive system.

    • Bethesda 1971

      For thirty years, relentless and largely unopposed invective and crude mockery has rained down on liberals, leading large swathes of the country never to vote for a Democrat. At the same time, the non-ideological media has taken a “both sides” position on issues.

      The result — a grotesquely unqualified disturbed President.

      Now, when finally, the “left” is using comedy to respond, idiots like Flanagan are tut-tuting and equating these things.

  • Gizmo

    Good on Samantha bee. Compassion and decency were more important than a joke.

  • Joe_JP

    John Oliver told viewers that if they opposed abortion they had to change the channel

    Here’s the segment:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRauXXz6t0Y

    The very beginning of the piece, after the breast implant joke, is how the average person has complex positions on it. Few “oppose abortion,” full stop. He cites a number of 19%.

    Which is probably too high really, since even these manage to find exceptions, but that’s the point of that comment. He said “well, if you are absolutist, okay, but most aren’t. This segment is about just that — the regulatory middle.” So, closing clinics, “should concern you,” since even those who generally “oppose” will have exceptions. And, they are denied too.

    And, he didn’t say they “had” to change the channel. He said they were “excused” from doing so. Since, again, the story was about that middle. If you were totally against abortion, closing clinics would not really concern you in the way expressed.

    So, she is sort of full of it.

  • When they go low, we go high. Maybe not too high. Start at the kneecaps, say, and work our way up to the nuts.

    • randy khan

      Although *really* high can be quite effective if your aim is good.

  • Conservatives: We want to drag everyone into a patriarchal hellscape that may or may not feature burnings at the stake but will certainly contain all sorts of oppression, some of it fatal.

    Liberals: *Puts Whoopie Cushions on Conservatives’ chairs.”

    Conservatives: WAAAAAH! You’re so meeaaaaaan.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Caitlin Flanagan: HOW DARE YOU TRIGGER THAT POOR SNOWFLAKE

  • with words she presumably read

    I don’t know, and don’t care to speculate, whether she did or did not read her own words. What’s much worse is that presumably some editor at the Atlantic read them and published them.

    • trollhattan

      Why, I can recall those magical days when it was Andy Sullivan’s jerb to (not) read and publish bad articles.

      Do they grade editors on a curve?

      p.s. Samantha Bee: (inter)national treasure. That Oliver fellow, too.

  • mnuba

    I wonder – would Flanagan write a similar description for, say, Jesse Watters? Or Greg Gutfeld? Or Dennis Miller? Or Tucker Carlson:

    he perfectly encapsulated the tone of these shows: one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.

    Like, since when exactly has right-wing punditry not been a world full of smug assholes (mostly older white men) who believe themselves intellectually and morally superior to the left?

    • Aaron Morrow

      Hell, when has Flanagan not been imbued with the conviction that she and her fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political left?

      It’s what she does. It’s all she does.

  • Murc

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is part of the unquestioned assumption that only liberals have agency.

    It isn’t the responsibility of these jackwagons to be good citizens of their own account. No, it is the responsibility of liberals and Democrats to make them into good citizens, to not judge them, to not be mean to them, to wipe their mouths and their bottoms and gently guide them into being goodness. And if we refuse to do that, why, we’re just like parents who abandon their children.

    Fuck that noise. I’m willing to say that maybe, maybe, kids should be off-limits. (For a certain value of kids. I’m more cool with judging a sixteen-year-old than I am an eight year old.) And toxic culture is a hell of a drug; you grow up marinating in that bullshit and it can be hard to shake off. But these people are grown-ups, they make their choices, and they’re responsible for’em.

    I will note you never see articles about the right-wing fever swamp of Fox News driving people to liberalism. I wonder why that is?

    • postmodulator

      I was nineteen or twenty when Rush Limbaugh started to be a thing, and I can testify that he pushed me away from “Hey, both sides have some good ideas.”

    • Rob in CT

      I will note you never see articles about the right-wing fever swamp of Fox News driving people to liberalism. I wonder why that is?

      I used to write things like that, though just in comments sections of blogs.

      I wish I’d been right.

    • PunditusMaximus

      The right wing fever swamp of Fox News definitely helped me form my absolutist beliefs regarding the moral vileness of anyone willing to associate their name with the words “conservative” or “Republican”.

    • ap77

      Well said.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    “Samantha Bee:kid with cancer::POTUS:Disabled reporter

    DISCUSS.”

    • Also–SB was unaware of the kid’s diagnosis but POTUS was aware of the disability he was mocking.

      • royko

        And she apologized when she found out and the show made a donation to the kid, as opposed to Trump, who just denied the whole thing happened.

  • keta

    The length to which some Americans will go to deny the breadth and depth of racism and general ugliness in the collective national identity is often astonishing. Flanagan’s really weak and pathetic effort here is emblematic of this dynamic. Her focus on the response to overt racism, misogyny, xenophobia, climate change denial and a host of other atrocious beliefs, and her denigration of these responses, is about as defocused as a person can get.

    I used to find these puerile essays of misdirection both amusing and disturbing, but as the promised horrors of the Trump administration come to fruition pieces like Flannagan’s just make me angry. Angry that given a public forum some people not only misrepresent the genesis, power imbalance, and impact of the responses to the Disaster-in-Chief, but mad especially because it empowers the same fuckwads who seated the clown in office. Go ahead and read some of the comments to the piece of vomitus Flannagan puked out, and behold the number of people who cling to her pathetic reasoning as proof they are in the right.

    Irresponsible doesn’t even begin to describe the type of “journalism” on display here.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      She’s playing the Republicans’ game: “racism would be in the past, if you people would stop talking about racism so much.”

  • John F

    Trump didn’t have a chance, because he lacked a “ground game.” After his victory, one had to wonder whether some part of his ground game had been conducted night after night after night on television, under flattering studio lights and with excellent production values and comedy writing.

    I see this argument every now and then, that John Stewart, John Oliver and now Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah are inspiring folks to vote against Dems…

    1. Why don’t/didn’t we see the argument that people voted for Obama as a backlash agaisnt Rush and Hannity and Savage?????

    2. Who are these people who would have voted for HRC if Oliver didn’t make a Kansas inbreeding joke?

    Newsflash: Rural folks have ALWAYS resented “urban elites” and blamed them for whatever woes are going in in the country side, and urban elites have always denigrated rural folks as peasants and bumpkins and hillbillies. And by always I mean literally ALWAYS.

    • postmodulator

      Rural folks have ALWAYS resented “urban elites” and blamed them for whatever woes are going in in the country side, and urban elites have always denigrated rural folks as peasants and bumpkins and hillbillies.

      And nobody denigrates them more than a rural-type person who moves to the big city and tries to become an urban elite.

      I, uh, heard somewhere.

      Goddamned splay-toothed hick fucks.

    • royko

      I can’t believe relatively low rated cable shows that most Trump voters wouldn’t watch had, if any, impact on driving up Republican votes. I doubt most of them have any idea who Samantha Bee or John Oliver even are.

      I think a social media backlash is more plausible — my FB feed got pretty tense around the election — but by more plausible I mean it maybe possibly might have had a small effect, as opposed to the cable shows almost certainly having virtually no backlash effect at all.

      Newsflash: Rural folks have ALWAYS resented “urban elites” and blamed them for whatever woes are going in in the country side, and urban elites have always denigrated rural folks as peasants and bumpkins and hillbillies. And by always I mean literally ALWAYS.

      You saw this a lot in their reactions to the electoral college/popular vote split. I saw quite a few conservatives defending the electoral college along the lines of:
      – Elections shouldn’t be decided by big states
      – Elections shouldn’t be decided by the coasts
      – Elections shouldn’t be decided by illegitimate voters that consist of either illegal aliens or undesirable blahs who were being bribed at the polls by Boss Tweed giving them Obamaphones

      Typically as those debates progressed, the ugliness of the underlying sentiment of who should count more or less as a voter just got worse. Sort of a Godwin of Racism. It’s not really a surprise that these sentiments are out there, but sometimes it does get to me how deep they run.

    • DAS

      I do know someone is a pretty solid Democratic voter but who gets awfully uncomfortable with public displays of liberalism and who is probably more likely to sit out an election if he perceives “liberals as being mean spirited and making fun of conservatives and rural folks”. But (a) he also is indeed motivated to vote FOR Democrats as a backlash against Rush, et al., and (b) he is absolutely, 100% an urban, coastal elitist himself.

  • Joe_JP

    Trump’s mockery of a war hero

    Can see why John Oliver, whose wife is an Iraq War veteran, would be upset at something like that.

  • Jonny Scrum-half

    I don’t understand the logic that Trump voters were driven to vote for Trump because liberals made fun of Trump voters. If they weren’t already voting for Trump, they wouldn’t take offense at that sort of mocking.

    I also don’t understand why the major media pundits refuse to acknowledge the obviously large role played by right-wing media (Fox, Hannity, Limbaugh) in propagandizing a substantial part of the population. They argue that Trump voters were motivated by resentment against shows they don’t watch, but won’t consider that those voters were actually motivated by the shows they do watch and listen to.

    • msmarjoribanks

      To some extent they seem to be motivated by those shows’ caricatures of liberals and liberal media, I think — or the popular tales of the hellscape that college campuses supposedly are or the like.

      What people who express concern (or concern troll) about this don’t seem to get, however, is that they’d be as convinced of these things even if it never happened, since you could always find some freak somewhere who said something that would upset people, and said person would be portrayed as “what all the liberals are like.”

      My sister keeps an eye on Breitbart (I am not willing to subject myself to that) and says they they regularly characterize other media and link to it, supposedly, but the link says nothing like the summary. People don’t notice or care or follow the link, I am sure.

      I just wish the double standard would be acknowledged (we aren’t nice enough, but their rhetoric is just taken for granted as normal and expected and totally appropriate), but of course it won’t be.

      • los

        link to it, supposedly, but the link says nothing like the summary. People don’t notice or care or follow the link, I am sure.

        This is true of the Huge Majority[1] of links that conservatives post.

        If I care to, I check their links.

        The contradiction is usually rapidly obvious. (… within 3 seconds. Perhaps the contradiction is in the second sentence.)
        Other times, nothing in the linked page is even broadly relevant to the “debating point” the conservative pretended to “argue”.
        Finding a cherrypicking perhaps takes longest amount of time. which might one minute (1. Use text search to find the cherrypick. 2. Read nearby “de-cherrypicked” context, or, find the not-so-nearby context.)

        ___________
        1. Majority = more than 90% (95+%?) of links posted by common altcucks.

        • los

          (… cherrypicking perhaps takes longest amount of time, which might be one minute… )

        • los

          and nevermind the matter of rebuttal-linking; often the altcuck comment rebuts itself.

      • los

        Though I rarely visit BreitbartTownhallNroHeritageEtc, I see a trickier manner of this rebuttal-linking in BreitbartTownhallNroHeritageEtc articles. (I often need more than one minute to spot the sophistry.)

        .
        In our view, the BreitbartTownhallNroHeritageEtc practice of linking to rebuttals is their error, but evidently the altcuck “base” cannot detect the error.

  • The Temporary Name

    Flanagan:

    My God, I thought. What have we become?

    When WHEN WHEN did we become inured to comedians making fun of people?

    • DAS

      But it’s liberals who have such delicate feelings, who are obsessed with political correctness and don’t know how to just accept that a joke is a joke? I guess yet again “conservatives project … always” is an applicable rule.

      • los

        but liberals are Projecting when liberals accuse conservatives of Projcting that liberals Project when….

    • efgoldman

      When WHEN WHEN did we become inured to comedians making fun of people?

      I’m old enough to remember Carson doing political jokes as a regular part of his monologues.
      He was less edgy than Oliver or Bee, but it was a less edgy time.

      • los

        Conservatives “lay claim” to George Carlin… without checking most of Carlin’s recorded performances.

        Conservatives fall into similar pitfall pits when they “lay claim” to George Orwell.

        10 years from now, Conservatives will assert that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were Always Forever Perpetually Republicans, “Yessiree, those fine Sisters are our kind of Papists!”

  • Gone2Ground

    “When has our current president ever apologized? When has ever admitted error? When has he ever acted with humility? When has he ever contributed to someone else’s well-being?”

    As noted above, not only POTUS but also the entire RW noise machine/grift factory – they are experts at deflecting blame from themselves for anything and everything hostile they’ve ever done or said. That’s “PC” and they won’t go there. Ever. They have a right to be offensive, awful, and rude 150% of the time and nobody has a right to call them out on it.

    I’m still waiting for BillO to apologize for inciting and egging on the murderer of Dr. Tiller.

  • Joe Bob the III

    …reality TV and its baseless values…

    Wait a sec…this isn’t referring to Donald Trump?

  • DAS

    I think they thought he was a big fat phony and a liar but they had the secret code to know when he was lying and about what.

    Jewish Trump supporters I know, in dismissing Trump’s associations with the alt-Right, were pretty explicit in stating things like “won’t anti-Semites who support Trump be surprised when they find out he actually likes Jews” and in implying that Trump was just cozying up to the alt-Right to broaden his base of support.

    Of course, one trick of conning people is to make them believe they are in on the con.

    • Rob in CT

      Trump says a bunch of nasty, rambling nonsense a T-voter likes: see, he Tells It Like It Is! He Says What We’re All Thinking! No more bullshit! MAGA!

      Trump says a bunch of nasty, rambling nonsense a T-voter doesn’t like: yeah, I don’t like that, but he’s just saying that. He won’t be like that in office.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Trump just invited to the White House an aging rocker who once waved around a machine gun and screamed “Hey Obama, suck on this!”

    He and some other has-been and Sarah Palin posed insultingly in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton.

    I wonder if any of that offends Caitlin Flanagan’s delicate sensibilities?

  • Thank you for starting this post with the words “Caitlin Flanagan”.

    If Flanagan had the cure for cancer I still wouldn’t recommend anyone read her actual words. Let a computer program extract the jist, use Google Translate a couple-fifteen times, and then the danger might have been neutralized.

  • wphurley

    There’s no bottom to the barrel filled with scribbling scriveners pinning to become the next Peggy Noonan.

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