May 6, 2010

TV Creates Its Own Enemies

300px-Times_Square_SUV_bomb2.jpg
the bomb came from A, the attack on America came from B


Contessa Brewer on MSNBC, about the Times Square Bomber:

"...there was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country because there are a lot of people who want to use this terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry."

Contessa is an awesome name.  Oh well.

It's safe to assume who she was hoping the bomber was going to be was a white guy from Nebraska.  And the easy criticism here is that she is a leftist nut, so I'll leave it to others who make their living that way.  

But the missed criticism is the second part of her quote.  "...there are a lot of people who want to use this terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way..."  That's all her.  I understand she meant airplane pilots flying with only the right wing, but that's the whole point: she is not aware that form of her criticism applies equally to herself.

Which brings me to the second point: how many airplane pilots does she really think are going to use this incident as an excuse to hate Muslims?  Those that hate Muslims don't need an excuse; those that don't hate Muslims are unlikely to be suddenly converted to Islamophobia.

"Those certain people" are other TV pundits.  That's her whole world. That's why it seems to her like "a lot of people" will manipulate this story.   The 30 or so pundits on either side that constitute her entire social and intellectual universe will most certainly use this incident to mouth off for the next trimester, but the average American barely cares at all.  (Not a good thing either, and had it gone off a different story altogether.  But.)

When you watch TV, especially the news, understand that they are merely arguing with themselves.  This isn't "lose Cronkite, lose middle America."  These people do not represent America, they are not in touch with America at all.

But, sadly, scarily, and certainly, they provide the language and framework that you will adopt wholesale.  The intellectual problem isn't that some Pakistani nut tried to car bomb the Lion King, the problem is that our understanding of it will come from a gated community of idiots.







Comments

Political TV punditry is li... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2010 6:53 PM | Posted by nohope: | Reply

Political TV punditry is like sports for the intellectual set. You get to keep track of who's on which team, who gets traded, who made what play last night...and none of it could possibly matter less to what actually makes the world go 'round. At least sports fans don't have the same delusion of their choice of entertainment "mattering".

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When pundits say things lik... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

When pundits say things like this they might think they are promoting equality, but they're re-enforcing idiocy. When you are told over and over that you're a racist for thinking that anyone of Middle Eastern decent is doing something suspicious, you're senses are dulled.

If you see some white guys doing some suspicious stuff in a van in a dark alley, you'd be alert and depending on the extent of their actions you might call the cops, and rightfully so. But could you imagine seeing some Middle Eastern guys in the same situation, but doing nothing because the whole time you're thinking to yourself that it's just your own bigotry playing tricks on you?

Isn't that what happened at Fort Hood? A minority with sever mental disturbances acts out more than once in alarming fashion, but is not only left alone, but also promoted. Could it perhaps be that those in charge either feared the implication of being racist for investigating/passing over for a promotion a man of the Muslim faith or simply dismissed their own intuition as racist?

I'm not trying to say racism is good, but I am saying that the level of idiocy spewing forth from people when any matter that involves people of a specific ethnicity continues to astound me. The more I learn about a subject the angrier I get when I hear people accuse each other of nonsense when neither even really knows the facts or their implications.

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Also, if every time the ind... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2010 7:36 PM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

Also, if every time the individual behind a terrorist plot is of a certain ethnicity, does it make you a racist to profile or and idiot to ignore the correlation?

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Wow, I think you totally mi... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2010 7:47 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow, I think you totally missed the point here. Too bad. This incident is another unheeded wake up call to the American public to get real about the threat of Muslims living in our midst. We would all like to pretend that they don't represent any real threat to our survival. Nothing to see here. Keep moving. I wonder how many completed terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims living among us will it take before people start to wake up and say, wait, maybe we have a problem here. How many dead Americans will it take before people say enough is enough, before even the lefty idiots say hey maybe these Muslims do in fact have an agenda here and they are trying to kill us. Only when people come to that realization will they stand up and protect themselves. Until then we are dead meat.

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a gated community of idi... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2010 10:05 PM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

a gated community of idiots

Perfect.

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Just to muddy the waters ..... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 12:15 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just to muddy the waters ... what's the ratio of Americans killed by islamofascists vs Americans killed by drunk drivers? Or use of firearms? Or refusal to receive timely medical care? How many Americans have been killed in prosecuting an asinine war in Iraq?

Let me make a point. The "fear card" is being played more and more ... it's embattled white males, mainly, whose very way of life is being threatened by immigrants and terrorists who are the target. That and "their" wives and children. It's a hostile world out there in America and we need to go "unilateral" uh, proactive,to protect "our Amurica."

Sure, narratives are being spun. Let's see who's making the most money off their tales, eh?

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When you watch TV, espec... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 12:57 AM | Posted by Matt: | Reply

When you watch TV, especially the news, understand that they are merely arguing with themselves. This isn't "lose Cronkite, lose middle America." These people do not represent America, they are not in touch with America at all.

One simple idea: the media's bias is not political but institutional.

If you're keeping score at home, Alone has just encapsulated both Jon Stewart's criticism of Fox News, and Fox News' criticism of all other media, without so much as alluding to standard political rhetoric.

This is a man who knows what's going on.

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Let me clear up the water a... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 1:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Let me clear up the water a little bit. We're not talking about accidental deaths or deaths due to self negligence. We're talking about deaths due to deliberate planing of terrorist activity. Actions meant to create an atmosphere of fear and chaos.
If you want to bring up the point of white males being scared for their way of life and "for their women and children" then a better arguing point would be immigration legislation or affirmative action, not who is most likely to be a terrorist.

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It could also be argued tha... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 1:09 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nik: | Reply

It could also be argued that the majority of the deaths by United States troops were caused by "Islamofacists", especially in Afghanistan...

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Correction: "of the deaths ... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 1:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Correction: "of the deaths OF (not by) United..."

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Just confirming- that's the... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 2:54 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just confirming- that's the Viacom building that "B" (in the picture) is pointing to, which is also the link to summer redstone? sorry if this is obvious, I don't live in the above mentioned gated community.

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My money's on the guys maki... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 4:59 AM | Posted by David: | Reply

My money's on the guys making the money off the spin. It's useful to have idiotic political binaries battling endlessly. Keeps the rabble in check, dilutes where the real rage should be directed and feeds of our seemingly limitless capabilities for be scared.

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Umm...did I miss something ... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 8:20 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Umm...did I miss something with the airplane pilot comment? Didn't quite make sense to me.

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1st post. I have been tempt... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 3:08 PM | Posted by vv111y: | Reply

1st post. I have been tempted to say so much. So much of that psych stuff has been biting, hard to read but hard to ignore.

Re discussion on terrorists. Scott Atran has done research and gave a presentation @ Beyond Belief '06.
Here is another recent interview:
http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=7&bpn=779767&ts=2010-04-21%2020:00:00.0

paraphrase: biggest predictor is being part of a soccer club, not a mosque.

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That would be a good questi... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 3:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by RC: | Reply

That would be a good question to ask, if all terrorist attacks were by a certain race or ethnicity. They're not.

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Hey Alone,This is ... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 4:27 PM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

Hey Alone,

This is all you!

http://dailycaller.com/2010/05/06/black-light-diaries-very-very-very-very-bad-boyfriends/

The short version - a stripper, Pussy Per Se, writes a weekly column for Tucker Carlson's website, the Daily Caller. This week's article focuses on how strippers gravitate toward narcissistic men.

"The stripper boyfriend is most likely a narcissist, which is wicked hard to spell, and harder to live with."

Enjoy.

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Our Dunbar number is 150. ... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2010 8:11 PM | Posted by infopractical: | Reply

Our Dunbar number is 150. People are evolutionarily designed to have personal connections with around 150 people. Media figures, celebrities, and politicians have begun taking up these "slots" for most people.

What to do about this problem?

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Reading this almost immedia... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2010 11:55 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Reading this almost immediately reminded me of Bill O'Rilley's appearance on The Colbert Report.

Bill: All of this is just an act. I'm not like this in real life. It's a show; pagentry.
Clobert: If you're just an act, sir, then what am I?

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The upper west side of Manh... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2010 11:28 PM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

The upper west side of Manhattan may not actually be a gated community of idiots.

It appears more like a gated community of identical-thinking people who are relatively well-educated, but who are totally alienated and repulsed by "America". Such beliefs include the routine inbreeding by cousin marrying cousin in Red State America leading to the fundamentalist intellectual barrenness there.

The gated community senses that its mission is to make government Progressivism acceptable to the Red State plebeians, rendering them docile. Adopting that mission is the only indication that the gated community is truly made up of idiots.

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Am I the first to call Alon... (Below threshold)

May 11, 2010 8:47 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Am I the first to call Alone racist? Cool! I win!! We need to be sympathetic to these various cultural practices. Like the AAP is modeling for ritual gen ital mutilation..."provide patients and their parents with compassionate education about the harms of FGC while remaining sensitive to the cultural and religious reasons that motivate parents to seek this procedure for their daughters."
(Alone, you can read this editorial and respond to some self-answering questions, and qualify for 3 CME:
http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/pediatrics;125/5/1088 )

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"The intellectual set"? Th... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2010 10:39 AM | Posted, in reply to nohope's comment, by Arthur Taylor: | Reply

"The intellectual set"? There is truly no hope for you people if you A: think that's any kind of "intellectual set" or B: think of an "intellectual set" as a bad thing. The USA is now the only First-World country which values intellect so insanely poorly, and it's going to suffer for it for decades, possibly centuries to come.

I'm so sorry, but I am very glad I left and took the three of you I love with me.

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".. a gated community of id... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Posted by Dave: | Reply

".. a gated community of idiots."

Well said.

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It’s all about business. P... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2010 1:21 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It’s all about business. Punditry is meaningless in the political spectrum and simply a way of boosting viewership. Alone wrote about beauty pageants and how the controversy doesn’t exist in actuality but rather only in the news media. Controversial subjects like race, in the case of the New York car bomb, bring in viewers from both sides of the aisle, either to fervently agree or disagree. The people who actually follow punditry follow it because they are easily duped by the marketing put forth by the programs to advance American commercialism not because they are intellectuals (although they may claim to be as the feel it actually “matters” as Nohope put it).

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There is no such thing as "... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Posted by Q: | Reply

There is no such thing as "Islamophobia".

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