Why We’re Screwed

Hag readers know I harbor an understandably visceral disdain for NBC’s David Gregory, but watching him this morning on his last-place excuse for a show, I think I started to figure out why.  He’s an automaton (and a sloppily made, one, too… they evidently put on either the wrong eyebrows or the wrong hair at the factory).   And he utterly lacks any knowledge or perspective beyond what he hears at any given moment.  Oh, every so often a “conviction” pops out, say, that wars are great and rich people like him are very worried about the greediness of the lower orders, but that’s true of anyone on TV.  What makes Gregory special is that he not only makes no distinction between lies and truth, but he goes a step further, constantly giving credence and air time to proven liars’ latest lies, presumably because they make better television than the boring old truth.

The urgency and grave tone that he adopted when he recounted the latest nutty, boring, and utterly false rantings of despised former Vice President Dick Cheney to current VP Biden was either ham acting, or Gregory is the stupidest human being on the face of the earth, besides Sarah Palin.  I’m not sure which is more disturbing.  Gregory almost seemed surprised at how easily Biden swatted away such malevolent nonsense, but clearly realizing that he now looked like a bigger ass than Dick by this point, Gregory tried to turn the whole thing into a Mean Girls gossipfest about appropriate behavior for former VP’s.  Biden wasn’t having that, either, saying that being outspoken was fine, but lying wasn’t.  Good luck with that Joe; you’re talking to Karl Rove’s dance partner, after all.

But as though that interview weren’t both vacuous and cringe-inducing enough, along comes the panel:  David Brooks, whose head wobbles and arms swing independently of his body as he prattles, sort of like a bestacled Barney Rubble with Tourette’s, (his eyebrows don’t match his hair either, am I seeing a pattern here?), Harold Ford, Rachel Maddow, and this well-scrubbed 14 year old wingnut from Illinois named Aaron Schock.

Fireworks begin when Rachel points out the absurd hypocrisy of Shock’s attending an event celebrating stimulus dollars in his district, when he voted against the bill and repeatedly railed against such irresponsible “spending.”  The panel format gave Rachel a lot of opportunity to work her false eyelashes demurely in side shots as she repeatedly made her trademark “concerned” look.  (That’s how inherently bonkers TV News is…  the butch lesbian is the one in false eyelashes.)   Of course, the 14 year old didn’t appreciate such impertinence, and while he mentally read his hand, he said, “With all due respect,” and not much else.  He finally thought of something a little later, though, and opened with another sneering, “With all due respect,” which I think was intended to mean, “you nasty ol’ smartypants bull dyke with the false eyelashes,” and  explained that his constituents needed to be told that they were getting their “fair share” of this wasteful spending for which our grandchildren will surely turn on us later and become hookers and meth-heads.  Like all Republicans, the 14 year old has apparently not been told that his party is a tiny and disgraced minority, and has been deservedly told by the voters to give it a rest for a while.  Both he and Gregory openly high-fived the prospect of “another 1994,” which would put all this nonsense about Republicans not running everything to rest once and for all.  I can understand such stupidity about 1994 from someone who wasn’t born yet, but luckily Gregory is born again each day, so the fact that before 1994, Democrats had controlled congress for 50 years or so, often overwhelmingly, was never mentioned.  Both have so many imaginary friends that they think Republicans are much more popular and abundant than they actually are, and all the king’s horses could never convince them otherwise.

The least relevant guest, and that’s saying something, was former Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, who’s gotten so rich after leaving congress that he thinks he ought to be a senator from Wall Street, without being bothered by the messy politics of it all, kind of like Rudy.  Gregory’s gossipy questions about his taxes and position at Merrill Lynch didn’t  dent Ford’s vaulting overconfidence one iota, but did reveal Ford to be an excellent circumlocutor and fervent disciple of Reaganomics, despite being about 1/64th black and 1/99th Democrat.  I’m sure Gregory wanted to dance with him after that little performance; he’s way cuter than Karl Rove, too.

As usual, a whole hour of television was utterly wasted on trivia, speculation, and politics as theatre, the enormously important implications of the issues being discussed mattering not a whit to either the moderator or the guests, only how all of this will play in Peoria.  I have news.  Just as many Peorians as other Americans would sooner gouge out their eyeballs than watch “Meet the Press.”    People can accept high unemployment, but not when David Gregory still has a job.


  1. timothy3 says:

    with all due respect = How dare you question me, proletariat!

    the fact of the matter is = Now, I’m going to lie here.

    if you will = Of course my analogies make no sense.

    at the end of the day = my proposal will crush humanity but I have no imagination (other than offering proposals to crush humanity).

    going forward = then we can see how crushing my policies will be.

    to be frank = what you just called evil I call bone-crushing policy.
    Let’s be realistic = the people have elected me to abuse them.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    They’re all pretty good, but I would add that “going forward” also means “not looking back,” which is the popular excuse for all sorts of otherwise prosecutable heinousness these day, because, well, they’re old and boring.

  3. timothy3 says:

    the popular excuse for all sorts of otherwise prosecutable heinousness these day ….

    I think Obama says it best

    we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.

    For sure. I mean how unfair is that?

    Oh, and

    The bill has support on both sides of the aisle = they may be the party of No but we’re both the Party of 1%.

  4. rmp says:

    The M$M keeps painting Joe Biden as someone with an uncontrollable mouth. He did pretty well with it today via videotape (He’s in Vancouver today at the Olympics) including the best idea he ever had. Please Mr. President and Eric Holder, listen to him this time.

    Biden Favors Military Tribunal for Cheney

  5. Personalities. Ugliest word in the English language. I’m a big fan of your eviscerations, Hag, but gathering your material where you do must surely be bad for your health. I worry about you.

    Then again, peace and quiet can be overrated, especially when the peace is illusory, and the quiet may very well be the calm before the storm. There’s a lovely old word, redolent of an earlier time, that I remember sneering at when I encountered it in novels by estimable Victorian ladies, but now describes me with a cunning accuracy: pensioner. The world of those novels was very quiet, very proper, but just as savage as our own, especially for those with limited means, and the ladies in question made sure that our illusions about it were never for a moment left unchallenged.

    In the cities, of course, there was Dickens, who acquitted himself admirably when encompassing the noise and dirt of an entire population being ground into semi-human flotsam, but in many ways, the ladies’ peek under the skirt of the middle classes was even more devastating.

    Mmm…where have I wandered to here? Not all pensioners were dotty, if I remember correctly, but I seem to settling in at the dotty end of the pensioner spectrum. Anyway, I guess the point that I was rowing toward here is that your dear Grandma Etta, as she appears in your own fictions, is a far more satisfying character than a schmuck like David Gregory. She had redeeming features — as an archetype, anyway. He has none at all. As for Rachel, yeah, she overracts — part ingenue, part puppy-who’s-glad-to-see-you — but you gotta love her anyway. Don’t you?

    • cocktailhag says:

      I remember encountering that term and wondering what the pension was from…
      Etta was certainly more interesting than Gregory, though nearly as dumb. I actually love Rachel, but her effect is blunted when she’s surrounded by nincompoops, as she was on that dreadful show. I’m leaving for LA this morning, and wouldn’t you know the sun is coming out for the first time in days. Ah, well.

  6. Ché Pasa says:

    Oh now Hag, the sheer scrubbed innocence of the Childe Republican was almost like a tonic in the face of such depravity. Not Rachel’s depravity, but Gregory’s and Brookie’s and what was that other fellow’s name? Ford? Whatever. (Is he running for some office or other? Why? Oh, I see, he’s RICH, and that’s what RICH people are supposed to do. Silly me.) At least Rachel and the little meal-mouthed twirp had something of an “exchange of views,” eh? No?

    And was Gregory on something? Honestly, he seemed far more keyed up than is appropriate for a man in his position, and far more interested in expostulations without consideration than in gaining any sort of insight.

    Truth to tell, I stopped watching “Meet the Press” long before Punkinhead passed. I’m sorry, I miss Lawrence Spivak. Some of those episodes are still worth watching. Russert’s obsequiousness to the wealthy and powerful and contempt for People’s representatives (when they rarely appeared) put me off. I had some wan hope for Gregory, but he seems determined to make it into nothing but a Cage-match Show. And don’t ever bother him with those nasty “fact” thingies. Every time Rachel (too politely) tried to bring up “facts”, Gregory would change the subject. He acquitted himself so poorly, I was glad I don’t ordinarily watch. My blood pressure is too high without that provocation.

    But I did watch this segment on the Internets. Which convinced me my firs instinct was right:

    No Gasbags on Sundays! That’s my motto!

    • cocktailhag says:

      I think that’s it; the whole tone of the thing is so childish and divorced from reality. And I found the young’n to be another dreary portent of a new generation of Randians coming up.

  7. Skeptic says:

    ‘Hag, you and the commenters above have listed most, if not all, of the reasons I no longer watch the Sunday morning talking heads.

    There are far better ways to spend my time. Some of them even frivolous.

    Like William, I am tempted to worry about you, too. You need little vacations or mini-breaks from all of this drama. Otherwise, it really does begin to affect your health… and we can’t have that.

  8. Hi,
    Need any more encouragement? Just wonderful, like the writers of “Colbert.”

    If you were some sort of doctor, may I suggest some medicine I could use:
    Can you talk again on how you used to not want to work for Republicans because they may end up ripping you off. More thoughts on how you personally deal with such a dominating strategy, get them before they get you: Republicans. I think Saturday Night Live dealt with a lot of things on class warfare in a sophmoric way, or at least those with class versus those “without.” Things like Animal House movie effectively gave a little breathing room, although misguided in a softening way. Nowadays, it’s not so much about having money, but being a poser, or something about hype, or something about “keeping it real.” ?

    By the way, seeing your latest blog, comments about your health seems like left field? I just think it was very “dense” as in tight. I hope it gets you to do more things with your voice. As for me, on the contrary, your blogs generally are helpful. For example, my insurance guy asks if I keep up with some founding father bloke who I say no. Back then they didn’t get anything done either, so I guess republicans are excused, and might as well lump them in with the other politicians. Not until later… do I read your article explaining why republicans use founding father rhetoric. It’s very clever, and you are very clever, and I wish my timing was better. Not that I would argue with an insurance guy who’s against any HCR. I went to see him for a latest quote.

    It’s not that I’d like to waste time belaboring the point about Republican psychology. I’ve turned off the TV a couple three years ago, so although addictive, I’d like to think I’m done with all the negative, zombie thoughts. But W. cleared up who the enemy was including fringe elements in both parties, which I take as helpful of him. For the first time nationally, one of the two sides have been dumb-down and lucidly defined: it is either one is out for yourself, or one respects connectiveness with others. This is a war I have always wanted to fight, and now with the internets, more people see what the haters do. I believe in good over evil, and think Republican brand will continue to be marginalized. Voters are just starting to learn this discernment, so hopefully it’s not too late for a quality of life. I could go on…

    Another topic for you could be bringing children into this world. I don’t see why the stakes aren’t high enough to broach this subject. I’m always a tinged surprised to see parents with a newborn. Besides I’m running out of time, and I still can’t afford it.

    Another topic is military personel. Past and present. It’s a welfare thing for these people, and I can’t hold back saying so. I pay student loans (deferment with accumulating interest one thousand dollars each year), it’s $5,000 for health care for the two of us, which I don’t partake. Etc. (…In a romantic way, perhaps with sword, I would have loved the comraderie of battling an oppressive enemy, myself – that’s a patriotism, a pride, I’ve been denied my whole life; to watch rednecks who just appreciate the opportunity to fire a gun anyhow, and get paid for it for the rest of their lives.)

    Hope you don’t mind me requesting a “song” or two. You may have done them before, and I wouldn’t know. Lately, I felt like your talent is inspiring, for what that’s worth. Thank you.

    PS – read any Weil? big fan.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for asking. A big theme here is always the bipartisan corruption, wherein Democrats pretend Republicans aren’t crazy, so everyone involved can steal more money. Both parties have discovered that wars are the most efficient way to drain the treasury for cheap political points, and chickenhawks that they are, they never think of the costs, human and financial, of their little sideshows. If you look in the archives, there’s a piece entitled, I think, “The Clients From Hell,” which has a nice story about Republican ripoff artists; funny, too, if I remember correctly….
      As for the health thing, I guess I’m just blessed with very nurturing commenters…. I don’t plan on tipping over (unless booze is involved) any time soon. I think maybe sometimes I come off angrier in my writing than I actually ever really get anymore, which makes people think I might burst something…mostly I’m just trying to chronicle a bizarre and disconcerting era, trying to find something funny about it, if possible.
      The kid thing is an interesting idea. I have none of my own, but I have nephews, and often when discussing politics with my mother, (who died in 2008, partly why people look out for me so much….) she’d say, “well, we’ll probably be all right, but I worry about the little guys.” I worry about them too; they’re 14 and 16, and heading into a very crappy economy, along with the wars, environmental time bombs, deficits, oligarchy, etc.

      • Hi,
        Thanks for responding and addressing some of my concerns. It seems like we have some things in common? Besides writing, I’m intrigued by I think it’s your occupation? Ever need an electrician? If you got to know us, that would be the direction I could head. Always thought I could be more of a national electrician, which doubles as a vocation to a highway calling. Do you market nationally? If interested, see website, http://www.audreyandchuck.com! I’ll continue to read your work, and try to respond when I think fast. Can I say hello to anyone else here?

        • cocktailhag says:

          Actually, I do need an electrician, because mine just inconveniently died. (Non work related…) I have two houses that got repiped that haven’t had their grounds put back in, a fact I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit, since one was from last summer but the other has been like that for a year… I think I’m pretty far out of your service area, though, here in Portland. In addition to doing, design, code compliance, and general contracting, I also do all of my own demo, framing, drywall, tile, finish carpentry, painting, planting, and wiring (everything back to the box. I don’t open those.) The only subs I bring in besides electricians is a cabinet maker and plumbers.
          Since the boom ended, we all see a lot less of each other. Jobs tend to be small, and those huge remodels and additions that I used to draw up in my spare time for others to build have disappeared entirely. I’m back to doing what I’ve always done: remodeling bathrooms and kitchens, planting gardens and painting… I left the theatrical lighting/production industry in 1990, during the last Bush Bust, so I know what pays the bills in tough times, and I have a twenty year roster of happy clients to fall back on.
          If your highway calling lands you in Portland, I’ve got an easy three days’ work, which might pay for you lodging and some righteous microbrews, anyway, and you’re of course always welcome to drop in at CHNN’s Park Avenue Headquarters. You can email me at cocktailhag @gmail.com.