The Charlotte Letter

I have no idea who Charlotte Allen is, other than a just another mentally challenged wingnut broad who is attempting to drink from Peggy Noonan’s cup before she spills it again, or perhaps fill Maggie Gallagher’s ample stretch pants, and as such is naturally awarded acres of space in formerly reputable newspapers like the LA Times and WaPoo when Rich Lowry and Charles Krauthammer are too busy at home with their latest issues of Soldier of Fortune.  But ol’ Charlotte, third-stringer though she deservedly is, is a piece of work, nonetheless.  Her “credentials,” as solemnly proclaimed in Sunday’s LA Times involve having written something called, “The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus,” which does sound like the sort of thing that might make good toilet reading at the C Street house, but it doesn’t exactly smack of any nascent Einstein, nor like the kind of blockbuster a girl can retire on.  To make ends meet between op-ed’s, she of course collects wingnut welfare, from the apparently  non-elitist Manhattan Institute in this case, as “contributing editor” of its website, “Minding the Campus.”  For what, Charlotte?  People with functioning minds?

Anyway, we all know that the liberal media can’t get enough of these types, and ol’ Charlotte got 3/4 of a page to drop the steamingest pile on liberals I’ve read in quite a while, and that’s saying something.  Her point, if you’d care to call it that, is that because that Shepard Fairey is a plagiarist vandal and Roman Polanski a child rapist, and they’re liberals, no one should ever listen to a liberal again.  (the Palinesque “also” that ought to follow such a demented argument is silent, but you can still hear it….)  It’s funny (peculiar) how this sort of trip works so well for righties, but somewhat less funny (ha, ha) that even the thousandth time they do it, the media treats it as a “stop the presses” moment, and the Charlotte Allens of the world toss aside the bon bons and Vince Flynn novel, and leap from the bubble bath to type.  The story line is so formulaic, the significance of the transgression so flimsy, and the connection to anything worthy of discussion so feeble, that I do have to sympathize with her; sometimes I have nothing to write either, but I write anyway, so I know how Charlotte feels.  I don’t feel too guilty, though, because nobody pays me for it and no space was thus wasted in anybody’s paper, not like such worthies as Charlotte Allen, whose inane and irrelevant bile undoubtedly ruined the mornings of paying subscribers from coast to coast Sunday.

Since Glenn Beck already has such a comprehensive and growing list of people who must be destroyed, along with everyone they’ve ever met, in order to squelch their liberal ideas, Allen clearly had to dig pretty deeply to dredge up somebody remotely connected to Democrats who can be subject to an old fashioned ritual smearing and used to tar Obama and his diabolical hordes of Liberal Elitists as appeasement-minded criminal coddlers bent on destroying everything the Makes America Great, but dig she does.  Her target, graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, whose iconic “Hope” poster of the 2008 campaign drove the right so nuts they’ll evidently never get over it, is, in the tumbleweed country between Allen’s ears, just a whole lot of bad things, like all liberals, natch.  In no particular order, Fairey’s “True Colors,” as Allen paints them, are the lurid hues of: liar, charlatan, vandal, hypocrite, copy cat, braggart, adolescent, potty mouth, and worse, so just as darkness follows daylight for Allen, he’s now a “darling”  and “one of us” to that dastardly and “fiercely liberal cultural and intellectual elite.”  Seriously.  The guy painted a danged poster from one of AP’s millions of published photos (which undoubtedly did help to clobber her hapless party’s dim hopes) and has since squabbled endlessly with that shoddy and litigious excuse for a news organization about it.   But from such an old, inconsequential, and unremarkable story, Allen is somehow able to conjure up for her fan club of one the idea that, you guessed it, liberals have no morals and should all be sent to Venezuela, or something, and her one fan, the LA Times, actually prints such boring, insultingly tendentious nonsense as though it were of any value.

Perhaps recognizing that her premise is so lame it could park in the handicapped zone, Allen desperately rummages through the righty grab bag for another, more timely and sensational story that might add relevance to such a pathetically shopworn denunciation of All Things Liberal, and out pops, you guessed it, Roman Polanski.  You see, he’s also an artist, Whoopi Goldberg defended him, and she’s liberal, so there.  Rumor has it that Obama liked Rosemary’s Baby, too, so if they squint their eyes and watch Fox News for about 36 hours, the whole damning picture just might come into focus for the dumber among us, so lo and behold, a column comes shooting out of Charlotte’s ass about how liberals approve of artists who “thumb their noses at the law.”  Much fainting and pearl-clutching inevitably ensues.  How newsy.

Never mind that the offhand opinions of a few celebrities are somewhat different in kind than the lockstep solidarity that came to be expected by nearly all (heterosexual) Republican criminals  from elected Republican politicians for nearly a decade; it seems Charlotte can’t be bothered by the rather stark difference between, say, Whoopi Goldberg and the Attorney General of the United States, and it shows.  She clearly prefers to leave such flagrant and unapologetic nose-thumbing in the proper hands:  David “diapers” Vitter, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Tom DeLay, and essentially the entire Republican party that loudly and relentlessly continues to embrace them, because, I guess, at least they aren’t the “cultural and intellectual elite.”   (You can say that again…)  Here, she finally has a point, but she didn’t make it, I did.

But if it weren’t for the affirmative action program for righties on the op-ed pages of of the elitist liberal media, and her make-work sinecure at the Manhattan Institute, Allen might actually have to get a job, so it’s unclear to me where all this spittle-flecked ire toward the “elite” comes from, but it clearly isn’t her brain.

And what her article is doing in the LA Times I can’t begin to fathom.


  1. Let me help you fathom. The LA Times used to be a newspaper. Not so long ago, either. It’s now a cross between the West Coast edition of USA Today, and a sort of Variety for stupid people. Rhetorical flourishes aside, I know that you know this, but it doesn’t hurt to say it out loud.

    It could be worse. If the current formula doesn’t work out, it could turn into the West Coast edition of the Village Voice. Genital piercing, projectile vomiting as performance art, and people caught burning transgendered neighbors in their fireplace.

    End times, Hag, end times. They probably won’t arrive in the form of mushroom clouds on the horizon after all.

    • cocktailhag says:

      When I lived here in 1992, it was a good newspaper, but it pretty much fell off a cliff when the Chandlers sold out. (They’re probably glad they did… look at the Sulzberger’s declining fortunes…) It seems that the only columnists newspapers can afford these days are those who have a little income from wingnut welfare… people with any talent go elsewhere to put food on their families. Burning transgendered neighbors in their fireplaces? Is there a lot of that going around?

      • If there is, the Village Voice will put it on the front page. (And considering what is going around, would it really come as much of a surprise.) In the Seventies, the Voice was one of the best papers in the country, if a little edgy on the cultural pages. Now it reminds me of the Cirque du Soleil with set designs by Hieronymous Bosch. I suppose my take on it could be attributed to the fact that I’ve gotten old and stick-in-the-mudish, but I honestly don’t think so. Whenever I go and look, all I can think of is just how steamy the various forms of urban cultural incest have gotten since I was a city boy, and completely in love with the demi-monde.

        • cocktailhag says:

          I’ve never read the Voice with any regularity, but if it followed a similar trajectory as the LA Weekly, I can well imagine…. So much paper, so little to read. (Willamette Week in Portland is the same, but even less edgy)

  2. dirigo says:

    Sadly, newspapers are the steam engines of contemporary media. They are dying …

  3. Skeptic says:

    It is also worth noting that the LA Times is the same paper that saw fit to fire Robert Scheer and then hire Jonah Goldberg.

    ’nuff said.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I was working down here when that happened; it was right around the time that Ron Suskind’s book about Paul O’Neill came out. The LA Times were worried, evidently, that Bush didn’t have enough supporters in the paper. Such genius timing, too.

  4. cocktailhag says:

    I wonder what their pre-Jonah circulation was: today it’s a bit over 300,000, in a city of 8 million. That would be good for a laugh, anyway.

  5. nailheadtom says:

    Actually, it was kind of an interesting piece, the origin of an iconic and effective item of successful political art and the sleazeball behind it. That’s news. Sure, tying Polanski and this dope together might be a little bit of a stretch, but what do you expect? They’re both talent deprived criminals and members of the artsy demi-monde. It’s more interesting that you devoted almost twice as much florid verbiage to this supposedly inconsequential article as was contained in the article itself. Guess you’re right, sometimes you “have nothing to write either, but I write anyway. . . .”

    • cocktailhag says:

      I wrote about it because it was nearly a quarter of the Sunday opinion pages, with nothing timely, important, or otherwise worthwhile to say except the usual specious and Beck-like character assassination that’s all the right have left. Such hogwash can be found anywhere, and that’s the point. Righty numbskulls are pushed on stage with no act, routinely, and this was a perfect example.
      Fairey and Polanski have absolutely no political relevance at this time, but the right must always be coddled be having their bewilderingly numerous prejudices retroactively confirmed. I’m sick of “news” which has no value except kissing righty boo-boo’s. You lost. Boo f*cking hoo.
      The fact that the right is still whining, and given a forum to do so, is the only newsworthy element of Allen’s piece.

      • nailheadtom says:

        A couple of days ago you displayed a letter to the editor from over ten years ago that was either meant to rekindle the phoney outrage over objections to Clintonian satyriasis or display your dubious writing talent and illogical reasoning to a small but slavish coterie of like-minded utopians. But that could never be called “whining”, could it? And the never ending, “Bush did it”, “Cheney did it”, “Republicans did it”, that ain’t whining. And we’ve never heard it before, either. Maybe you could trade some of your history credentials for a sandwich bag of originality.

        • cocktailhag says:

          You’re more than welcome to stop reading; in fact, I invite you to do so, if you aren’t interested in what I write. I don’t require a “slavish coterie,” as you call it, to read anything… I write because I write, not for any particular audience… but merely as a modern version of keeping a diary, to keep a record of a moment in time. I fully expect that little of what is published here is of any particular significance, but occasionally I like to look back for tidbits that might contain either wisdom or stupidity, so I can learn from my mistakes.

          • nailheadtom says:

            Au contraire, I’m interested as I would be in arguments delivered from an individual standing on a picnic table in the park during my lunch hour. (Soap boxes disappeared some time ago.) This is the cyber-soapbox. It behooves us to listen to those willing to expound their views here, for they are the noisy representatives of a larger, more silent contingent of agreeables. It’s important to know that the warped ideas of Marx, Engels, Luxembourg, Lenin, Trotsky, et al still survive to add justification to class envy.

        • dirigo says:

          Nail in the Head, where can we find some of your original work, that we might, in our muddy boots, visit and spot your carpet some?

  6. Jim White says:

    So, can we take Charlotte’s writing formula and plug in “Bill O’Reilly”, “loofah”, “Rush Limbaugh”, “oxycontin”, “young brown boys”, “Clarence Thomas” and “Long Dong Silver” into the appropriate slots to prove that conservatives are lying, amoral cheats who shouldn’t bet trusted? Nah, the Times will never go for it.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Funny, Jim, but that angle always remains unexplored. Even Diaper Dave, Barely Legal Foley, and Larry Wide Stance never led to so much ink being spilled. Odd, isn’t it?

  7. retzilian says:

    The thing is, Charlotte and her ilk write for the choir; her opinion piece will never influence anyone. She’s never going to convince an independent or a lapsed Republican of anything. It’s just rah-rah for the demented 27% (or is it now 22%?). Her opinion is impotent. That the LA Times gives her space – GOOD!! Just shows you how irrelevant it has become as well.

    Nobody gives a rat’s azz about the Fairey case and I’d bet half the wingnuts who read papers don’t even know who Shepard Fairey is. Maybe even less than 25%.

    I often project my own obsessions and awareness onto the average Joe and have to remind myself (or a friend will remind me) that a VAST majority of people never read the opinion pages in the paper; most people don’t read ANYTHING, actually, except maybe the recipes Rachel Ray publishes on the back of the Triscuit box; and Charlotte influences no one.

    However, I do so enjoy reading your irate responses to it!!

    • cocktailhag says:

      I’ve noticed this about my hometown paper, the Oregonian. As circulation drops, the remaining readers seem to all be wingnuts, even though the city is almost 80% liberal. It’s odd, when 3/4 of the letters to the editor sound like Glenn Beck, and come from the same dozen or so people.
      Affirmative Action even infects the letters section.

  8. retzilian says:

    And yo, Nailheadtom – feel free to click the X on the upper right corner, dude. I mean, there are only, what, 85 million blogs out there to read that contain elegant, cyber-soap-box rants, among the many that are simply drivel. I mean, nobody is putting a gun to your head to read here.

    If you have a valid argument, make it. I find people like you so tedious. When I had a blog, if someone like you made stupid comments like that every day, I’d have deleted and banned your azz. I do not suffer fools. Hag is much more egalatarian than I.

    • Skeptic says:

      Retzilian, I would have done the same. Without a second thought.

      • retzilian says:

        I particularly like this chit:

        …display your dubious writing talent and illogical reasoning to a small but slavish coterie of like-minded utopians.

        I guess Tom has neither “dubious writing talent” nor a “slavish coterie”. My detractors often referred to my loyal readers/commentors as “flying monkeys” and “minions.” I told them to get their own blog. For crying out loud, if you don’t have what it takes to keep a decent blog (and that means not one where you post pictures of your fish tank and bore us with your music and movie critiques) – then where do you get off criticizing anyone who does? Where’s your blog, Tom? Please link us there, I’d love to read your scintillating prose.

        and this:

        Maybe you could trade some of your history credentials for a sandwich bag of originality.

        Maybe you could trade your Dickhead Membership Card for a life.

    • nailheadtom says:

      Couldn’t you make the identical argument about Hag’s whine over the Charlotte Allen thing, if the LA Times is so bad (It’s better now that Rosa Brooks went to work for our Irish president, O’Bama.), why read it and complain about it? But just because nobody killed a tree to distribute this stuff, it’s beyond criticism? Of course, this is a bonsai version of the socialist sequoia future, where dissent is forbidden because anyone who disagrees is a “wingnut”, a fool, or an earthly representative of the only superior being in the utopian firmament, Lucifer. There’s no doubt that you find some people tedious, being presented with a reality that torpedoes your fairy tale world view is bound to be depressing.

      • Steven Rockford says:

        Actually, we should be thankful for having this opportunity to observe the real-life writings of nailheadtom, for he represents one of the dwindling members of his species, a truly dying breed.

        I think, in his heart, Tom realizes that it always has been the liberal agenda that has created the actions that have made this country great. He also knows that those who do not want this country to move forward are going to have to crawl back into their caves and watch as progressive Americans, those who really care about “everyone” in this country, take America to a higher level.

        Save Tom’s comments (take pictures if you can). Some day they may be worth a great deal to archeologists seeking answers to how America almost destroyed itself at the end of the Twentieth Century.

      • retzilian says:

        Personally, I don’t read the LA Times, Tom, and haven’t for years, ever since it was clear to me that it was a superlative example of partisan hackery disguised as “journalism.” And ever since The Voice was bought by the free-rag producing “Times” publishers, I quit relying on it for any underground news as well. Even The Voice’s previously excellent theater section is amateur at best – not because of Politics but because it has turned into a glorified gossip rag, as has been the case with everything Rupert Murdock has touched as well.

        I can’t speak for anyone else here, but my opinions are never set in concrete and I have a malleable mind that is influenced by new information and a well presented argument. I don’t think dissent is forbidden here or anywhere else where intelligent people gather, but the arguments presented by the “base” of Republicans these days is simply nonsense. These people are particularly wacky and it apepars that facts and common sense have no place anymore when it comes to right-wing Republicans.

        In other words, it’s not that your opinions are wrong because they don’t agree with mine; your opinions are wrong because they are wrong. And stupid. Also.

        • cocktailhag says:

          A few years ago, my brother got divorced, and was toying with making a profile. He wondered whether he should specifically say, “No Republicans.” “Because, if they believe all that, they must be stupid, and I don’t need that.”
          We both agreed he ought to go ahead and put that in.

          • skeptic says:

            “No Republicans” would have made a difference to me… if I had been looking.

          • nailheadtom says:

            It’s amusing and informative that you utopians assume that anyone that finds your class-warfare agenda reprehensible must be a Republican and stupid. Socialists are opposed by anarchists, monarchists, various deists, cargo cult members, head hunters and major league baseball players as well as Arizona cotton farmers and liquor store owners. There’s no doubt that there’s a range of intelligence in homo sapiens, some being less sapient than others. It seems odd, however, that all the self-described wise ones would be utopians and their political and economic adversaries be less mentally gifted. Smacks of statistical improbability. But that wouldn’t give pause to an intellectual microbe like Steven Rockford. The extinction of non-socialists would make for a far less populous world, particularly in areas where the socialists once held sway.

  9. dirigo says:

    Hey Tom, let me turn the magic glass of history a bit and recommend Bob Woodward’s recent Outlook piece in the WaPo (see below).

    In it, as the debate on Afghanistan continues, he recounts how Lyndon Johnson, terrified of “the right,” made a lot of his decisions about Vietnam based on that domestic political concern – his fear of the right – rather than on what the generals call “military necessity.” And according to Woodward, the civilian leaders at the time – being “management wizards” – were so inept, not to mention deficient, in comprehending the necessaries of actual war fighting, that they issued their orders largely from a series of abstract concepts hatched by Bob McNamara and McGeorge Bundy, and rarely, if ever, took seriously whatever objections may have come up the chain of command. And, it turns out, the generals just went along with it all, punching their clocks and making rank.

    The result: 58,000 combat dead and the beating of a hasty retreat from Saigon in April, 1975.

    To this day, it is impossible to square the circle on Vietnam.

    However, the germination of the hard right in the current era came from that time, fired by the aggravation over civil rights, the women’s movement, and a deranged “stab in the back” theory about what went wrong in Vietnam.

    God help me, as a veteran of that war, I can not believe that four decades later, we’re looking at the Afghan war, and the near-daily citation of Vietnam as a point of comparison, while the president today contemplates an adjustment in strategy for a conflict he did not start (Who started it?).

    Who is the hero on the right, criticizing this president’s every move? Well, I don’t have to name him, do I?

    What is his history? I don’t have to tell you, do I?

    I will tell you this: listening to your whine about creeping socialism in this country, and hearing you wax about pure markets, and with it, lecturing people on such things as a slightly progressive program such as the health care plan, makes me want to vomit.

    And by the way, I’m half Scandinavian. While vomiting, I also laugh, and listen to you go on about socialism while considering countries like Sweden and Norway. I mean: you’re over the top! We’re nothing like them, and you know it. Except we have Amtrak and some other rudimentary, if rickety, public transportation. And the post office. And public libraries. I’d like to live there actually – go “home” as it were. But, as an American, I’m not sure I’d like all that they do. I can’t stand socialist hockey players for instance.

    Y’know, ever since I came back to this country, some forty years ago, I began to see quite clearly that people like you only cared about their slice of the pie. And that’s all they cared about. A million beady-eyed Grover Norquists and Karl Roves. I saw that I was invisible to people like that, that their politics were, and still are, only about them. Then, as now, people like them, and you, talk a lot about God and country, and wave the flag (in everyone’s face), tending however to do nothing, and know nothing outside of your assumptions. Also, most fatally, then, as now, I don’t think people like you give one shit about people who are out there on the line.

    We’re running this movie again, and I won’t gag on this tripe. A blunt reply to someone like you is required.

    The Vietnam War was influential in settling the question about the primacy of free markets. And I’m very happy that you, and the Vietnamese people, have nice shiny General Electric appliances to play with. However, I’m not sure it was worth the lives of 58,000-plus American men and women. To this day, it remains an open question whether it was.

    Sit on that and think for a moment about the wisdom of “dithering.”

    What price are you willing to pay this time?

    Talk is cheap, Tom.

  10. retzilian says:

    To add to dirigo’s fine rebuttle, I wonder why, Tom, you continue to refer to those of us here (and wherever else you comment, I presume) as “utopians”; I don’t think I or anyone here is deluded about what realities we face as Americans and as humans. I was far too young to be a Hippie and I have no sentimental attachment to that era whatsoever. In fact, I’m somewhat ashamed that the Boomers pretty much ruined everything for those in my generation. But I digress…

    Put simply enough – the conservatives/Republicans had, in my lifetime, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II constituting almost 30 years of the presidency and over 30 years with the Republicans as majority in Congress, never mind how many federal judges, justices and other law enforcement agents still on the job who were political appointees. (See also: the See Eye A and the Eff Bee Eye)…

    And where did that bring us? Less regulation, companies leaving the country to manufacture elsewhere, financial breakdowns, airlines less safe, food less safe, college costs skyrocketing, education systems in crisis, health care costs out of control, vast unemployment…

    Hell of a job, Brownie.

    I don’t care about your politics, Tom. I care about working, feeding my kids, having a safe place to live, having safe food, having clean air and skies, leaving my grandchildren a great place to live, having a reason to send my kids to college, giving them a quality of life that I ejoyed back in the good old days when things were cheap and jobs were plenty. Yeah, when we had factories.

    So, who’s to blame? I don’t care anymore. Just give me one reason to trust the Republicans, any Republican at this point.

    And BTW, FWIW, I did put “No Republicans Need Apply” on my dating profile.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Who wouldn’t? As Nailhead amply demonstrates, Republicans aren’t the most lovable things around.

    • dirigo says:

      Retz, on behalf of “my generation,” I apologize.

      As for Tom, let me be clear: I’m no utopian. I’ve had too much of what Jimi Hendrix called “experience.” Nor am I a member in good standing of any faction, splinter group or formal political association – socialist or otherwise; nor veteran’s group (the jerks at the draft board didn’t believe I wasn’t a joiner or a leader!). No party do I hang with. I’m too far gone for that – far gone, far gone, as Polonius says of Hamlet.

      I’m not willing to respond to stuff you put out, as if there’s a debate to be won. And I don’t want to have a beer with you.

      It’s what you symbolize: the blinkered, pie-eyed belief that markets, even with the evidence of their recent, catastrophic collapse in full view (and with the people in charge at the time refusing to take any responsibility), are, at all times pure and good; and in that context, that the former president can now say. with a straight face, that it’s all been “fair,” as he continues to countenance endless war (with no concern whatsoever, except ceremonially, for the people who’ve been out there, rotating over and over, for nearly eight years).

      Y’all go shopping, hear? Let’s get “motivated” !!!

      What a disgrace.

      Disgrace corrupts; and absolute disgrace corrupts absolutely.