November 9, 2004


Take That Advice and Shove It (Douglas Kern, 11/09/04, Tech Central Station)

Look, this whole make-nice-with-the-fundies thing is hard for us, okay? Half the reason we became Democrats was to get away from small-town Babbitt-flavored bible-thumpin' bigotry.

Which leads to my next point: "If you don't want religious Americans to think that you hate them and their beliefs, maybe you should stop hating them and their beliefs." Little about the liberal post-mortem of this election reassures ordinary Americans that the Left has anything to say to them. When Thomas Frank argues that social conservatism is simply false consciousness, meant to distract the masses from their proletarian peonage, or when Jane Smiley whines that orthodox religious beliefs are merely a smokescreen with which to inculcate ignorance among the apparently cretinous masses, what can we conclude, except that the Left considers itself too good for non-Left votes?

Whatever. Do you have any suggestions that don't require us to sell out our principles?

I suppose you don't want to hear "It's time for a Sistah Souljah moment with Michael Moore and his America-hating wannabes." Moore's America is composed solely of puppets and puppet-masters (and oh-so-superior auteurs filming the show) -- hardly anything worth fighting or dying for. Is snarky sniveling filmmaking now a liberal principle?

But never mind. I won't belabor the "Don't run polarizing figures from the 60s" point, either. How about "Stop pursing the chimera of 'electability,' and pick someone you actually find appealing?" Or perhaps "Sincere liberal beliefs expressed in a moderate way are better than insincere centrist beliefs expressed in a dishonest way?" Or "Stop whining about 'mandates,' because that's just sore loser talk?"

We don't want to do any of those things. We're happy the way we are. What can we do to make you happy with the way we are? Can you give us any advice that allows us to win without actually requiring us to change?

Nope. You can claim that you lost this presidential election by accident, if you must. You can believe that you lost all those Senate races as a result of Karl Rove's voodoo mind control mojo. Or you can insist that it was your illimitable sense of honor and decency that prevented you from campaigning hard, dammit! Any number of delusional lefty commentators will be happy to sell you those tinfoil hats.

But you lose not because you don't communicate your intentions clearly, but because you do. Change your intentions, or change the terms of the debate.

Your attachment to the status quo suggests a rationale for your beliefs that extends beyond the political. And religious people know a rival religion when they see it.

An interesting cultural moment is coming in Hollywood--by awarding Michael Moore an Oscar they'd demonstrate their disdain for their audience, not as if that's ever stopped them before. But by awarding one to Mel Gibson they'd express disdain for themselves--and those were the two films that mattered this year.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2004 8:44 AM

"Team America" doesn't count?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at November 9, 2004 10:57 AM

Jesus could get best actor. Moore best diector, and Gigli best picture. Covers all bases.

Posted by: Perry at November 9, 2004 12:21 PM

Fahrenheit 9/11 was meant to be watched during the summer of 2004. The Passion was meant to be watched for as long as people watch movies.

If I were a betting man, I'd put cash on Michael Moore to win Best Picture.

Posted by: brian at November 9, 2004 3:31 PM

They are dodging a bullet this year because they will be able to give the Oscar to Ray, which not only is a fabulous movie with great performances but is a conservative tale, emphasizing self-reliance and that there are good and bad people of all races.

If they gave the Oscar to that bloviating, purulent sphere Michael Moore, they become as irrelevant to Americans as the Tonys are.

Posted by: Bart at November 9, 2004 8:33 PM

I'd say no way Moore gets best picture. Even many Hollywood people sympathetic to his views think it's pretty poor as a film. I suspect there's also still some semblance of the old Hollywood studio common sense that it's a bad idea to let your politics tick off half your potential audience.

Posted by: PapayaSF at November 9, 2004 10:59 PM