May 5, 2008

FROM THE "DUH?!?" FILES:

About That Crush on Obama: If Barack is out of touch with America, then the media must be too. (Kurt Andersen, May 4, 2008, New York)

[I]n this election, as never before, I’m not a disinterested observer, not even pretending to be, but rather an unapologetic believer—I’ve been an Obamaphile from the get-go. My whole life, I’ve never cared about sports, never experienced that intense, emotional, extra-rational rooting interest in any team’s struggle to win the championship. I figure this must be what it feels like to be a hopeful, fretful, stressed-out fan during the Super Bowl or World Series.

Clinton’s supporters are clearly just as desperately devoted to their own on-the-ropes candidate, and must be obsessing in the same riveted, dreadful, nauseated way over the judges’ scoring of the next (the thirteenth? Fourteenth?) round of the fight. And they’re as grumpily, soccer-hooliganishly antagonistic toward us as we are toward them. These last five years, both sides have grown so accustomed to feeling a visceral, sputtering disgust with George Bush that it has been a seamless, easy devolution this winter and spring from anti-Republican anger to factional, internecine anger. At the very moment we’d become fatigued by our too-familiar, practically rancid loathing of Bush, this new dislike of Hillary (or Obama) that welled up is a fresh, exciting flavor of red-meat contempt.

But of course, I don’t know many of those fierce Clinton supporters, because most of my friends and acquaintances are writers and editors and cultural impresarios of one kind or another—members of “the media”—and there are precious few Clintonites among them. Because almost as much as geography is dispositive in spectator sports—if you live in New England, you’re bound to love the Red Sox and hate the Yankees—demography is dispositive in this year’s Democratic race. And the great majority of media people are members of the same (white) demographic cohort that has rejected Hillary and voted for Barack—educated, more-affluent-than-average residents of cities and suburbs.


Holy Master of the Obvious, Batman!

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 5, 2008 11:21 AM
Comments

The most significant line here might be where Andersen inadvertantly tips his hand with, "These last five years, both sides have grown so accustomed to feeling a visceral, sputtering disgust with George Bush that it has been a seamless, easy devolution this winter and spring from anti-Republican anger to factional, internecine anger."

Were this "visceral, sputtering disgust" based upon a rational analysis of the current facts, of American history in general, and sound conclusions based on comparing Bush's record with both, such an "easy devolution" would be in fact impossible. Or, at the very least, utterly senseless. Analysis and conlusions about Mr. Bush simply transferred to each of the two Dem candidates whole cloth (not even just one of them overall, but to each of them, depending on the faction), would be bizarre and foolish to say the least.

But it is in fact, quite an "easy devolution" for the supporters of both to do just that, isn't it Mr. Andersen?

Conclusions about those supporters of each faction and the validity of their "visceral, sputtering disgust" need no further elaboration here.

Posted by: Andrew X at May 5, 2008 11:50 AM

Let's not be too tough on him, he's groping towards a reality that is hard to acknowledge and that most fellow liberals are utterly clueless about.

Let's run an experiment. First read What's the Matter With Kansas, with its heated and totally unrealistic depiction of the class struggle. Then try to calculate how fervently these upper-crust types must believe in Obama for them to simultaneously deplore class differences while gathering under the tofu tent to cheer him on. It's like some brain surgery went bad and fried their irony neurons.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 5, 2008 9:16 PM

Andrew X:

That's an awesome point: They're just giving the game away. Like when The New Republic ran that piece on why it's okay, and even admirable, to hate George W. Bush. At that point it was like, hey, they're kindly giving us a notice of their continuing mental breakdown so there's no need to bother trying to decipher the gurgling.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 5, 2008 9:19 PM
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