Olbermann and Matthews demoted
September 8, 2008 7:59 AM   Subscribe

MSNBC is removing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as the anchors of live political events, bowing to growing criticism that they are too opinionated to be seen as neutral in the heat of the presidential campaign.
posted by VicNebulous (270 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
T'weren't fair n balanced 'nuff.
posted by hal9k at 8:03 AM on September 8, 2008


Hmmph. I like having something that almost resembles the mythical "liberal media" I've heard so much about.
posted by Foosnark at 8:04 AM on September 8, 2008


Hmm, let's do the Godwin.

"Ya know, at the end of the day, Hitler thought Leni Riefenstahl was just a little too pro-Jewish to be of use any longer."

IMO, Matthews is a grinning turd. Olbermann has his moments, but he's too slick for his own good. If he hadn't gotten his start at ESPN he'd probably have a decent lefty blog of his own and make a hell of a lot less.

I just don't care about the MSM going "left" or "right" any longer. Cut the corporate pie any way you want, it's still full of shit. I'm staying abroad teaching Kindergarten until my country comes to its senses. Thinking I'll be here at least a decade.
posted by bardic at 8:08 AM on September 8, 2008 [10 favorites]


Uh. The only thing that's going to end an apparent liberal bias from neutral commentators is the republicans suddenly not sucking.
posted by Talez at 8:10 AM on September 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


Liberal media, my ass.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:12 AM on September 8, 2008


Making Olbermann an anchor is as legit as making O'Reilly an anchor. Neither belong in such a roll. KO should've stuck to sports -- he had more credibility there.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2008


I agree KO shouldn't be an anchor, although CM isn't as nakedly partisan. The sad fact is that most likely they are going to stick some random stooges in their place that will try to be neutral but then just recite idiotic talking points from both parties.
posted by Falconetti at 8:15 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Making Olbermann an anchor is as legit as making O'Reilly an anchor. Neither belong in such a roll.

Now this may be because I don't get to watch Olbermann every day but he's always struck me as the guy who talks shit about someone on the air because they're doing something dumb rather than any particular ideology.
posted by Talez at 8:17 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whither Tucker? He's the model of objective He-man journalism on MSNBC.

E.g., "I've never voted Democrat in my preppy life, but I really think I have the insight to tell you why Obama is a Muslim child-rapist and that Sarah Palin's unwed daughter's baby is not an act of hedonistic fucking, but God's will. Because Obama is black, dontja know?"
posted by bardic at 8:19 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


atrios: "Keith Olbermann's expressed "liberalism" is almost entirely limited to a dislike and distrust of the Bush administration, a view shared by 70% of the public, and a concern for civil liberties and executive power abuse. On top of that he has a somewhat liberal "sensibility," but his show covers little of the broader "liberal agenda." But he makes Tom Brokaw uncomfortable so, you know."

If Brit Hume can be an anchor without people flipping out, then so can Olbermann. In a fair and balanced world, anyway.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe it can be as awesome as CNN.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I get what Keith Olbermann's trying to do, and I respect it. But his thick layer of smarm prevents him from hitting the Angry Jimmy Stewart mark, by a country mile.

I think MSNBC is making a mistake though. Even though I don't think they're doing it particularly well, I enjoy watching these guys at least try to call people on their shit.
posted by padraigin at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see Tweety's reaction.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2008


Now only if someone could get Fox to do the same......
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2008


So who's Fox firing? Surely someone realizes there has been "criticism that they are too opinionated to be seen as neutral in the heat of the presidential campaign" for, like, ever.
posted by bink at 8:26 AM on September 8, 2008


can we remove the ditto-idiot too?
posted by HuronBob at 8:26 AM on September 8, 2008


MSNBC's ratings may go down as a result of this. Not because Olbermann or Matthews are the cat's meow, but because they were able to help distinguish MSNBC from the outrageously biased Fox and the boring as hell CNN.

Fox News is practically comical. An agenda masquerading as news shouldn't be able to fly.

RIP fairness doctrine.
posted by metamush at 8:26 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just because you have opinions, doesn't make them wrong.
posted by chillmost at 8:28 AM on September 8, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'd actually argue that CNN has a lot of bias, it just doesn't show up so well next to the completely comical Fox.
posted by Artw at 8:29 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whereas Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are just, you know, common men.
posted by DU at 8:32 AM on September 8, 2008


Do yourselves a favor and drop Fox News, CNN, Headline News and MSNBC from your cable subscriptions. You won't miss them, and any news that's really important will make it to you regardless.
posted by furtive at 8:33 AM on September 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Making Olbermann an anchor is as legit as making O'Reilly an anchor. Neither belong in such a roll. KO should've stuck to sports -- he had more credibility there.

Oh, come on. Bill O makes Olbermann look like Walter Cronkite.
posted by tula at 8:34 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is the beginning of the meltdown of corporate media, confronted as they now are with a political situation where substantial questions about racism and sexism, for example, are constantly threatening to take them out of their comfort zone of pseudo-issues.
posted by No Robots at 8:36 AM on September 8, 2008


ARE PSEUDO-ISSUES IN CRISIS? WE'LL TALK TO OUR EXPERTS.
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on September 8, 2008 [22 favorites]


Olbermann's willingness to wipe away Republican's crap immediately after it gets hurled at the American public, along with the... comic relief of Matthews had made MSNBC the only network I could tolerate watching events such as the RNC or primary result returns on. I guess there's still PBS for coverage, but they tend to not cover "smaller" stories and are so damn dry.

I'm not sure what they hope to gain from doing this--the "liberal slant" of MSNBC's live coverage, and that's a loose use of the term, was pretty much the only thing distinguishing them from Fox News or CNN, and I noticed a lot of Obama voters were turning on MSNBC in lieu of the other stations when "Breaking News"-type stories were occurring.

And Olbermann's comment/apology after the RNC 9/11 video was completely on the spot.
posted by Benjy at 8:41 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Do yourselves a favor and drop Fox News, CNN, Headline News and MSNBC from your cable subscriptions. You won't miss them, and any news that's really important will make it to you regardless.

How is this possible? I don't get a menu to choose from.
posted by spicynuts at 8:44 AM on September 8, 2008


The US media is absolutely gutless. What is the worst that could happen to MSNBC if they ignored this criticism and continued at least attempting to do good reporting?
posted by fshgrl at 8:46 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Making Olbermann an anchor is as legit as making O'Reilly an anchor.

There seems to be an innate desire among people to "weight" people on the left side of the spectrum to people on the right side. This leads to weird math, like people thinking Michael Moore is "the left's Ann Coulter," etc.

The incessant repetition of this by the right basically makes any shrieking frothing moonbat on the right "okay" because there are some folks who are kinda sorta leftish on the media agenda.

As long as we keep buying into the concept that "Bill O'Reilly gets a pass because the Left has Olbermann" or "Michael Moore is just like Ann Coulter but on the left," we'll keep getting slammed with the Limbaughs and Coulters and Hannitys of the world.

O'Reilly does not equal Olbermann. Not by a country mile. O'Reilly is a dedicated, single-minded, bordering-on-rabid engine of untruth at the complete service of a one-note agenda. Olbermann is a kinda-pompous brainiac that is entirely too impressed with himself, but generally just hates graft and stupidity, which is read as being "lefty" because the current U.S. administration is graft and stupidity on wheels.

Until people start shutting down these inane "equations," we're just going to get crazier and crazier people screaming at us from the media. Next week, Michelle Malkin will be O.K. because the "left has Jon Stewart" or something like that. It's a thoroughly false dichotomy that gets used to shut down actual analysis of what people are saying.
posted by Shepherd at 8:47 AM on September 8, 2008 [92 favorites]



Oh, come on. Bill O makes Olbermann look like Walter Cronkite.


But is O'Reilly considered an anchor? Everyone knows what he's about, and what side he's on. He's a host. When Olbermann's on his other show, he's a host. Editorializing is perfectly acceptable -- and expected -- on his show, but not when playing the role of anchor.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:48 AM on September 8, 2008


I already know who I'm voting for, so do I have permission to ignore all the election coverage from here on out?
posted by jonmc at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Olbermann and Matthews demoted

"Demoted"? According to Olberman, he initiated the talks about changing his position and says he expressed doubts about the move to anchor when it happened last spring:

...officials at both networks, who declined to be identified discussing personnel moves, said Olbermann had initiated the discussions to clarify his role. They said Olbermann's influence at MSNBC would in no way be diminished and that the shift would enable him and Matthews to offer more candid analysis during live coverage. Olbermann confirmed yesterday he had initiated the discussions.

"Phil and I have debated this set-up since late winter/early spring (with me saying, 'Are you sure this flies?' and him saying, 'Yes, but let's judge it event by event') and I think we both reached the same point during the RNC," Olbermann said by e-mail.


You can believe the above is pure spin if you like, and that Olberman really doesn't prefer being able to spout off more freely, but you have no evidence that's the case. Please try to keep unsupported inflammatory opinionated language out of political posts.
posted by mediareport at 8:51 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


jonmc, Handsome Dick Manitoba isn't running.

I keed you brosephus.
posted by bardic at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2008


jonmc, Handsome Dick Manitoba isn't running.

Heh. (He did tell me that he's 'voting for Obama, because Bruce Springsteen said I should.' What more do you need to know, America!)
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2008


Shepherd, hell yes. That's why I got all worked up over an item in the paper a few days ago that pointed out factual inaccuracies in each of the major convention speeches. In an effort to be "balanced," it devoted one-half of the page to the Democrats and the other half to the Republicans, even though the ratio of Republican-to-Democrat lies was around 10:1.
posted by brain_drain at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


"because Bruce Springsteen said I should"

Dude, I'd take that endorsement over many another. And he's not my favorite, but jeebus, if we're going to roll the dice on Barack or Palin, let's do the former.

Is he going to do some pro-Obama concerts like he did for Kerry? I really hope so.
posted by bardic at 8:57 AM on September 8, 2008


Anyone who watches two minutes of Oberman realizes he's partisan. He's as subtle as a bonfire. But that doesn't make him any less entertaining. It's when newscasters are less subtle, like the supposed media bias of anchors like Peter Jennings, who was accused of being a hidden liberal for 20 years. Or worse, the more subtle bias of the companies that own the media outlet.

Complaining that Fox news or MSNBC are biased in one way or another is just lazy. It's like saying that grass is biased towards being green.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:58 AM on September 8, 2008


Meanwhile, CNN continues in its inexorable creep to the right with nary a peep.

I hate that there are no checks and balances to the right wing bias of Fox. What's wrong with having one little corner of cable *news* being a bit of a liberal oasis? Anyone who won't parrot the republican talking points or dares to challenge the administration seems to get hectored or shouted down. The liberal left sucks at applying pressure via calls and emails the way the righties do.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:59 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Springsteen isn't my favorite, Obama is. Just FYI. But fuckin' "Hungry Heart." F'in "Hungry Heart." I wish he could write that one again. But I'd have to live in Baltimore again for it to make any sense.)

Just the thought of a hardcore anti-abortion, anti-sex ed, anti-birth control Evangelist like Palin, with an unwed teenage daughter-mommy makes me shudder. So strange. Not that these things don't happen, but her mom goes out there and says it's OK if my family does it, but you'll burn in Hell if yours does?

Well and truly, Republicans want to tell you with whom you should sleep with, and when, and how. How could anybody with a genital and a brain vote for that ticket? I guess many of them have neither.
posted by bardic at 9:02 AM on September 8, 2008


The same MSNBC that had a war hard-on back in 2003 with Lester Holt's "Iraq War Lowdown?" They were drooling waiting for the bombs to blow away all the civilians.

Yeah, real liberals there!
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2008


I'm staying abroad teaching Kindergarten until my country comes to its senses. Thinking I'll be here at least a decade.

So, instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and working for a different future for your nation, you bailed in the hopes that others might do the heavy lifting. Not only that, but you're saying you're doing so because you're so enlightened. Mister, you just touched my last nerve. Regardless of whether I agree with you politically, you're a fucking coward. Stay out of my country, I don't want you back.
posted by cog_nate at 9:05 AM on September 8, 2008 [15 favorites]


But is O'Reilly considered an anchor?

I'd consider using him for a boat anchor, except I'd have to get a boat.



posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


"I hate that there are no checks and balances to the right wing bias of Fox"

Dude, Alan Colmes totally balances that shit. After Hannity asked if Obama "actually hates America and its freedoms, or just wants to open mosques in every day-care center in America because of his political correctness" Colmes is all like "Britney Spears' vagina accidentally, not intentionally, slipped out from her godless thighs. And Larry Craig's thirst for throbbing cock isn't entirely a liberal plot against American babies and stuff. And my middle name is "useful librul."

Please stop hating American madamejujujive. Just stop it.
posted by bardic at 9:10 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dude, I'd take that endorsement over many another. And he's not my favorite, but jeebus, if we're going to roll the dice on Barack or Palin, let's do the former.

Is he going to do some pro-Obama concerts like he did for Kerry? I really hope so.


I haven't heard anything, but when I was sitting in a bar (it was my lunch hour) watching the first Obama/Biden joint event, they played 'The Rising,' as Joe walked up to the podium. Nice touch. Of course, "I Stand Tall" would've been perfect, too.
posted by jonmc at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2008


Can we have news shows that, like, have things like facts so that we can draw our own conclusions from it?

Nah, investigation costs money. Opinion is cheaper...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2008


They'd have to ask questions, a clear sign of bias.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2008


I'd consider using him for a boat anchor, except I'd have to get a boat.

Also, shit floats.
posted by Skeptic at 9:18 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


"So, instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and working for a different future for your nation, you bailed in the hopes that others might do the heavy lifting. Not only that, but you're saying you're doing so because you're so enlightened. Mister, you just touched my last nerve. Regardless of whether I agree with you politically, you're a fucking coward. Stay out of my country, I don't want you back."

Well, I'm voting absentee for Barry for what it's worth. But unless you're waking up at 5 AM to put up Obama lawn signs, you can suck it. Seriously, unless you can link to a personal blog showing that you've been registering latinos in Ohio or Florida, suck my f'ing balls you twat. I've been pro-Obama since Edwards dropped out (not the recent sex thing, but when he couldn't win some early primaries), and I act in my own little way. If your name isn't "Markos Moulitsas" or "George Soros," go jump off a bridge you little reactionist bastard.

BTW, this is textbook "Democrats can never win" stuff. Thanks to both me and cog_nate for playing, and thanks much for watching.
posted by bardic at 9:18 AM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


At this point I can't imagine the mainstream media ever acting like a skeptical Fourth Estate, so like the rest of America I can only consider these sorts of decisions based on their entertainment value. And from that perspective, it would be outright disappointing to have any anchormen who were willing to call out lies. Jon Stewart might end up pushed back into doing comedy, at which he's merely competent, instead of getting to keep doing the media's job for them, at which he's freaking hilarious.

Seriously, the funniest parts of The Daily Show last week consisted of:
1. "Clip of Rove/Palin/McCain/etc. saying something for transparently political reasons"
2. "Clip of them saying the exact opposite"
3. "Cut to Stewart's face mugging for the camera".

Would anyone in power feed him humor that priceless if their hypocrisy had a chance of seeing real play on television shows with a large politically malleable audience? Even if someone blundered enough to do so once, they wouldn't stay in power for years while continuing to provide fresh new material.
posted by roystgnr at 9:19 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Brit Hume is an anchor, and he is so far up GWB's ass that they have to do live remotes from the President's esophagus.
Keith Olberman just seems to be ticked off at the general malcompetence of the current administration.
Matthews is just a tool.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:19 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


.
posted by swift at 9:24 AM on September 8, 2008


not the recent sex thing

I'm still waiting for the sex tape to surface on that. The woman was a damned videographer, for crying out loud.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on September 8, 2008


GE might be worried that arms sales will go way down under an Obama administration, this is purely a business decision.
posted by cell divide at 9:27 AM on September 8, 2008


No one should be getting their information from 24-hr cable news anyway. That shit's all fucked up.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Stay out of my country, I don't want you back.

Most of our country was created by people who had the good sense to move here when they thought they could build a better life in America than they could where they came from. To demand that your countrymen now risk their ideals and futures out of loyalty to geography is against everything America was founded for. It may be counterproductive, too: in the long run, the effect of immigrants' relocation was often to make both the United States and their home countries into better places.

I believe (and strongly hope) that bardic is just overreacting. It would be incredibly sad if the same process could now only happen in the other direction. But if that's really the case then there's no need for you to shoot the messenger.
posted by roystgnr at 9:37 AM on September 8, 2008 [9 favorites]


I've been forced to watch CNN for my news these days, and in comparison to SBS or ABC in Australia, the quality difference is so great that I despair and start muttering angrily to the TV all the time. I guess I will soon have to depend on the net for news.
posted by dhruva at 9:41 AM on September 8, 2008


"I believe (and strongly hope) that bardic is just overreacting."

Meh, maybe just half-a-decade here for me. It's strange to think that my fellow left-leaning Americans would consider it "un-American" to live abroad for a while, reading Dkos every few days and putting up some random pro-Obama stuff on my blog every once-in-a-while. But since nobody's asking, South Korea is awesome. Living here makes me a better person and a better American. Seriously, come visit. The first soju is on me.
posted by bardic at 9:45 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


But is O'Reilly considered an anchor? Everyone knows what he's about, and what side he's on. He's a host. When Olbermann's on his other show, he's a host. Editorializing is perfectly acceptable -- and expected -- on his show, but not when playing the role of anchor.

The problem is that the modern US tv audience doesn't distinguish between commentators, anchors, and bloviating axe grinders. I think that most people would say that if someone is on tv wearing a suit talking and about politics that means they're reporting the news. I'm sure Fox viewers would say they get their news from Sean Hannity and Bill O. And frankly, the idea that our current state of must-make-a-profit network news is anything but a mouthpiece for established interests is just naive. The nightly news is weather, sports and the most recent zoo escapee. I personally think that John Stewart's show provides more hard information about real world issues than Katie Couric or Matt Lauer ever will.
posted by tula at 9:53 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree that Headline News has become a total trainwreck? WTF happened over there?
posted by smackfu at 9:57 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]




I find Olbermann to be a bit strident at times; enough that I don't watch him regularly, but not so much that I won't enjoy seeing him tear apart some issue in a youtube clip. But, the thing is, while it sometimes rubs me the wrong way, I think that the left needs more strident people. The conservatives keep talking about this left-wing-media elite crap, and nothing like that actually exists.

There needs to be more people like Olbermann who call out people on their behavor, the right has dozens of them now, (they sprouted like mushrooms in shit under this current administration), and the left needs to get out there and start challenging some of the lies that the right wing pundits espouse.
posted by quin at 10:04 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


I already know who I'm voting for, so do I have permission to ignore all the election coverage from here on out?

A friend of mine organized two weeks of "Movie fests" timed to coincide with both conventions, organizing outings to movies, screenings of stuff we'd rented or Netflixed, and the like so we could all avoid seeing any of the convention coverage because we would otherwise have gotten fed up.

I recommend this approach.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


...like the supposed media bias of anchors like Peter Jennings, who was accused of being a hidden liberal for 20 years

I also enjoy (c.f. 'am physically sickened by') the fact that phrases like 'hidden liberal' don't cause everyone in the conversation to burst out laughing at the sheer absurdity of the whole conversation. The burden of proof has shifted to the point where common parlance accepts the notion that the MSM is pointedly left-of-center, and any statement to the contrary must be proven--except, no, wait, you can't, because all the premises of the argument hinge on completely ridiculous definitions of what constitutes liberal bias. Jennings never showed the requisite amount of enthusiasm for the war, so he's part of the left's Insidious Media Agenda. It's even worse than Shepherd paints it: it's not enough that Malkin can be counterbalanced by Olbermann (and that people actually think they're two sides of the same coin), but the contention goes that Malkin is somehow cosmically annulled because, hey, there are guys reporting on CNN who aren't sufficiently right of center! It's a world full of reporters who are ever-so-slightly left of the center (for various values of 'center,' mostly as defined by the right), and that a dozen of them need a shrill mouthpiece of wing-nuttery like O'Reilly to make the scales balance. I have relatives who are quick to run this flag up the pole when the subject of media bias comes up, and you can't argue rationally with notions that are so deeply rooted in fantasy. At that point, it doesn't take long to degenerate into a shouting match, and the last 8 years have pretty convincingly shown which side is going to come out ahead in a competition where all that matters is whose opinion is loudest.
posted by Mayor West at 10:06 AM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shepherd writes "It's a thoroughly false dichotomy that gets used to shut down actual analysis of what people are saying."

False equivalency, but yes, otherwise spot on.
posted by orthogonality at 10:11 AM on September 8, 2008


The summer after graduation, I went to China to teach English, then here to Japan. I thought I would just pay off my loans and head home. I did, however, joke that if Bush somehow got elected, I'd just stay in Japan until he was no longer in office. Well, shit. I'm still here, and I'm probably going to be here a bit longer, if not much longer.

In the way that you don't see kids growing until they go away for the summer, America has changed, folks. I see it everytime I go back. It's more divided, less civil, and in general more caveman like ("That's different than me! It must be wrong!") than when I lived there. Hearing others abroad being told that they're not welcome, that's part of the problem.

My Japanese teacher tonight asked me about Obama vs. McCain, and when I said I'm voting for Obama, she said that all of her American students said that. She asked me why, and (based on personal experience) I told her that liberals are more likely to travel and live overseas, and that conservatives, by nature, think there's nothing better than America, and living overseas is weird, if not un-American in its own right.

So, yeah, cog_nate, bite me. I'm American, and I'm proud to be one. At the same time, I'm quite happy living overseas, hoping that one day, I can come back to the country I'm from, where people used to be able to talk about differences rather than just screaming and shouting about patriotism, where the flag isn't smeared all over everything from bumpers to houses to whathaveyou, where, no matter what the sporting event, it's not required for the announcers to talk about the armed forces members present at the event, or, well, I could go on, for a long time. Short version, the country has changed, and not for the better. Maybe someday it won't be this bad, but last week, on vacation in Hawaii, in freaking paradise, I found myself wanting to go home, as in return to Japan. That's never happened before. So, if you guys manage to fix things, let me know. I'll do my voting from here, and I hope it helps, because I'd love to come back.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:16 AM on September 8, 2008 [15 favorites]


I wish Gilda Radner was still around I think she would make a good anchor on MSNBC
posted by nola at 10:29 AM on September 8, 2008


I'm staying abroad teaching Kindergarten until my country comes to its senses. Thinking I'll be here at least a decade.

God knows I'm not exactly usually in the camp of the reactionary patriot, but one of my favorite comments about patriotism comes not from the Founding Fathers but from, of all places, Stan from South Park, from their first post-9/11 episode: "America may have some problems, but it's our home, our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium."

It's a worse variant of the same fallacy as not voting and then complaining about the Presidency. If you voluntarily give up the tools available to you for altering the government, then you're forfeiting the game. I think being a true American means staying in the country even when it sucks, rather than leaving it and then criticizing it from abroad. It's the same concept as calling someone a fair-weather friend; here, it's being a fair-weather citizen.

Don't yet lump me in exactly the same camp as your other replies: you've got every right to be an emigre, and proud of it. But I'm saying you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

You can't leave the country for the benefit of your civil rights, well-being, and happiness and then say you're still valuing the welfare of the state of civil rights in the country, where you made the choice to throw away any tools you might have to affect them in order to preserve your own welfare.

Don't get me wrong: it's fine, natural and understandable to make a choice based on your own welfare and self-benefits. But you can't make the argument that you're displaying altruistic patriotic behavior at the same time.
posted by WCityMike at 10:31 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald has a good discussion of this here.

It offers some interesting observations like this:
Second, in response to media criticism that the press is insufficiently substantive and adversarial to political power, the claim is frequently made that media outlets are simply driven by the profit motive, and that their programming choices are nothing more than a by-product of ratings. But in MSNBC's case, that is plainly untrue. Back in 2003, they actually canceled their highest-rated program, Phil Donahue's show, for purely ideological reasons -- because, at a time when the establishment "liberal media" were systematically amplifying the Government's pro-war views and excluding anti-war views, that short-lived MSNBC show was one of the only venues in America where one could hear anti-war viewpoints, and NBC's fear of angering the Government and the Right clearly caused them, first, to impose extreme and unusual restrictions on the show's content, and then to cancel it altogether.
Not to Godwin again, but few political parties in recent human history have seen as many liberal-menaces and communists hiding in the wood-works as the modern Republican party and its enthusiasts do. (Hitler on Marxism and liberal democracy: "The Marxists will march with democracy until they succeed in indirectly obtaining for their criminal aims the support of even the national intellectual world, destined by them for extinction." Substitute the word "liberalism" for "democracy," which is how Hitler understood the term, and you might as well expect to hear a gem like this on one of Limbaugh's shows.)

Is it just a coincidence that in the aftermath of WWII, when the CIA is known to have established close working relationships with former Nazi intelligence officials and other former Nazis, the most paranoid era in American history began, starting with the Red Scare, continuing with the Cold War, and after a brief period of relative calm, reemerging as the War on Terror? Maybe. But I think it's as likely that some within the intelligence community and the body politic, after looking at the tight operation the Nazis were running domestically under Hitler, decided they might try out some of those same approaches here (on a smaller, less-blatantly totalitarian scale, of course). Thus we get COINTELPRO and the like. It's no secret the Nazis (and countless other ruling parties throughout history) fully appreciated the political power of a populace kept perpetually half-out-of-its-wits in fear of shadowy external enemies. First step? Control the media.

Truth in advertising laws? Accuracy and fairness in reporting requirements? Yeah, all of them were taken off the books under Reagan, though many people still assume they're in effect. (Here's a chart that puts media consolidation since Reagan's reforms into perspective, too.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:33 AM on September 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


cog_nate writes "So, instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and working for a different future for your nation, you bailed in the hopes that others might do the heavy lifting."

Hey, he's Atlas, and he shrugged. It's what Ayn Rand said to do.

But seriously, when is it ethical to bail? I doubt we'd criticize a gay guy for leaving Christian Intolerance-ville, Georgia, for San Francisco. Or an actor for going to LA or New York. Or any of the African Americans who decided to bail on lynchings and sharecropping to join the Great Migration to Chicago.

Or for that matter, the Pilgrim "Fathers" who bailed on English intolerance of their nutty religion, and came to Massachusetts to await the (they thought imminent) Millennium.

America was peopled by bailers: Germans fleeing the Thirty Years war peopled New York and Pennsylvania; the Scotch-Irish fleeing economic disaster built the America South. The Irish Catholics fleeing British colonialism and famine peopled New York's tenements, and the Bohunks sought a better life mining coal and smelting Iron in McKeesport and Pittsburgh. German and Slavic Jews fleeing pogroms followed, and then the their more established German cousins after 1933. Now the Mexicans looking for work and the Hindurans and El Salvadorans fleeing civil wars.

And when those people got here, their kinds bailed again, to homestead Minnesota, to find gold in California and Alaska, to escape the dust storms of the 1930s.

Bailing's an old established American tradition. The question is only how to recognize the right time to go, so that you're seen as a charming individual ex-pat or pioneer, instead of part of an annoying collective burden packed in a refugee boat with too damned many of your fellow countrymen.
posted by orthogonality at 10:34 AM on September 8, 2008 [16 favorites]


bardic: "But unless you're waking up at 5 AM to put up Obama lawn signs, you can suck it. Seriously, unless you can link to a personal blog showing that you've been registering latinos in Ohio or Florida, suck my f'ing balls you twat."

And regarding this line of response, putting aside the profanity, it's one big ad hominem tu quoque fallacy.
posted by WCityMike at 10:41 AM on September 8, 2008


Living abroad isn't un-American. Never said that. (I've been abroad myself a couple times, albeit under different circumstances.) Living abroad with the intent of staying abroad until the nation somehow just decides to right itself, though, strikes me as basically giving up on the process of organizing and acting at the grassroots level regardless the futility of it. (I live in Kansas, I know.) Also, I wasn't referring solely to politics. There's so much else that folks can do at a local level to improve things -- literacy programs, Big Brother/Big Sister. Just general volunteer work that, regardless of whether it sounds cheesy, actually makes a difference in the lives of others. Stuff that, you know, you don't need a blog for.

I should have been more specific and less vitriolic. So my apologies, bardic, for blowing up in the previous comment. I hope Korea is good for and to you. I had a chance to visit a friend of mine there ages ago. I'm rather sorry I passed it up. (Never got a taste for soju, but I imagine it's better over there.)
posted by cog_nate at 10:45 AM on September 8, 2008


cog_nate, I want to thank you so very, very much for having your nose on the grindstone and fixing our broken country.
posted by everichon at 10:47 AM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


WCityMike writes "one of my favorite comments about patriotism comes not from the Founding Fathers but from, of all places, Stan from South Park, from their first post-9/11 episode: 'America may have some problems, but it's our home, our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium.'"

I don't want to say Bush=Hitler here, but I do want to provide some food for thought. Take it as you will.

My friend's great-grand-dad felt the same way. He was a decorated veteran, and after the war a factory owner, producing material for the military. A true patriot, and all that, a proud citizen who would never leave his country, no matter how bad it got.

When it did get bad, really bad, he saw the writing on the wall, and got his sons, and their sons (one of them, about 11, was my friend's Dad), out of the country.

But he (my friend's great-granddad) insisted that he'd been been born there, that he was a decorated veteran, now an old man, and that he was going to stay in his homeland, and die there.

And he did, because he was a German through-and-through, even though his fellow countrymen only saw that he was a Jew, and so he got his wish to die in his homeland, his Germany. He died in his homeland, but not in his home. He died in a camp.
posted by orthogonality at 10:49 AM on September 8, 2008 [15 favorites]


Ghidorah, I used to be in the same boat as you. Do you know what made me come back?

It was right after the 2004 presidential elections and the Republicans were calling it a mandate, saying that anyone who thought differently wason the "fringe." Fuck that. This is my country too, and I'm not going to sit on the sidelines, expecting half of America to "come to its senses." While I see the value in living abroad and assuring the non-Americans you meet that, no, we're not all like that, there's something to be said for coming back and providing the same assurance to your fellow Americans who are being told that their ideas are just freaky weird and don't deserve to be taken seriously.
posted by zerbinetta at 10:55 AM on September 8, 2008


orthogonality: "And he did, because he was a German through-and-through, even though his fellow countrymen only saw that he was a Jew, and so he got his wish to die in his homeland, his Germany. He died in his homeland, but not in his home. He died in a camp."

Not that I don't recoil in horror at the Holocaust, nor is it that I don't have sympathy for the individuals in your anecdote, but I don't think it's a relevant comparison. As much as I resent Bush, Cheney, McCain and Palin, I don't see their beliefs implemented in the running of the country evolving to a point of concentration camps and extermination.

Nor, by the way, am I saying that someone shouldn't make the choice to bail. I'm just saying that you don't get to bail and then make the argument that you're making a difference in the welfare of your country. In such a case you're making a choice based on your own opinions and welfare.
posted by WCityMike at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2008


What would happen if cable news started to humans instead of talking-point-delivery vehicles disguised as humans? (On the topic of Chris Matthews, there's the case of him and the guy who is obsessed with appeasement but doesn't know what it is)
posted by milkrate at 11:02 AM on September 8, 2008


WCityMike writes "As much as I resent Bush, Cheney, McCain and Palin, I don't see their beliefs implemented in the running of the country evolving to a point of concentration camps and extermination."

But your South Park quote is essentially, "love it or leave it". I'm trying to point out that there are sometimes good reasons for "not rooting for our team", and that "love it or leave it" is a false dichotomy used to excuse all kinds of evil.

But more importantly, seeing a nation as analogous to a ball team -- and worse, seeing the people not as active players but as passive fans sitting in a stadium and shouting -- is a terrible way to think about a participatory democracy. Because it equates any dissent to "rooting"for the "other" team; it styles dissent, or calling for change, as disloyalty and treason.

Which is exactly what those benefiting from the status quo want: "we all have to work as a team, so no questioning the coach, no striking for decent working conditions, no demanding your rights -- any of that will divide us and let the other team win the ball game". Which while true in a ball game, when applied to a democracy just forestalls change indefinitely, as there's (conveniently) always an other team, an enemy, to be vanquished before we can even talk about inequality or decent healthcare or civil rights.
posted by orthogonality at 11:13 AM on September 8, 2008 [14 favorites]


Keith Olberman can be a little obnoxious some times. I mean, how do you go from calling Steny Hoyer a fascist one week for voting for the new FISA bill, and then the next week blow off Obama's vote for it, even to the point of bashing Glenn Grenwald over it (and making up some totally far-fetched legal analysis about why it might be OK in the process)

Matthews is entertaining. It seems pretty obvious to me that he's a liberal, but tries to be 'balanced' on the air -- and he's lived in the beltway so long he doesn't really realize what's at stake. But who knows.

Watching the last day of the RNC was a ticket to boresville. It was obvious that "the panel" was biting their tongues trying not to say how they really felt, and who does that benifit? It's so stupid and pointless. They go on and on about the most inane details, and don't even give people the basic facts.

The people who run the government and the people who run the media hang out after work and get drinks. It's all a big game and god forbid they should report something their friends might take offense too. I mean, Brokaw says he's "hearing complaints from his friends" about it? Well why the hell should that matter. WTF?
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on September 8, 2008


Also, I agree that the "root for the home team or get out of the stadium" shit is pretty offensive. I those southpark guys are idiots. They did a whole show making fun of Al Gore for making an Inconvenient truth (remember "manbearpig")? When they were doing interviews for "team America, world police" they were saying things were fine for them and everyone they knew, so what was the problem?

And look, it's not a stadium, it's a country. and more importantly it's not a fucking game.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on September 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yes, you've aptly noted that metaphors should not be taken as if the wording used in the metaphor were literally meant. Well-done.
posted by WCityMike at 11:24 AM on September 8, 2008


"I hate that there are no checks and balances to the right wing bias of Fox. What's wrong with having one little corner of cable *news* being a bit of a liberal oasis? Anyone who won't parrot the republican talking points or dares to challenge the administration seems to get hectored or shouted down. The liberal left sucks at applying pressure via calls and emails the way the righties do."

Well, understand that there's a hundred-year tradition of serious journalists attempting to eschew bias in order to have what they do report taken as the truth. That NBC journalists are uncomfortable with their cousin MSNBC's rants and tirades makes sense, and is, in its way, incredibly noble.

The problem is two-fold: First, that Republicans are incredibly adept to playing to the refs, and so can't be counted on to police the media with anything like objectivity in mind (reminding me of a comment I saw recently, I believe, on Malkin's site, where a conservative lamented the oppressive Democratic rule since 2006). Second, the blunt fact is that Republicanism has failed, and that (as the saying goes) reality has a liberal bias. Objective reports of the failure of Iraq, of the failure of Katrina, of the failure of deregulation and No Child Left Behind and abstinence-only education and tax cuts and monetary policy and a million other true, concrete failures immediately raise the ire of the nation of ideologues. They don't want to face the fact that they have failed, that their policies lead to ruin and hate, that they have nothing to give the country or world except visions of nostalgia, and nothing for the future at all.

It isn't surprising that their geography tends toward the isolation of exurbs, and that their most fervent desire is to be left alone to their own devices. There's an appeal to this individuality, the freedom from constraint, the independent life. It makes sense, then, that they want nothing from the federal government, or think they don't, and resent being asked to contribute to others.

And it makes sense that they are continually vexed by news media objectively reporting the truth of what has happened, why, and what will happen, and why. Not only does each report of a failure of their agenda to produce any good make them feel defensive and desire even more to be left alone, and to lash out at those who would thus persecute them, not only does it immediately smack of a bias against them and their core desire to be left alone, to be powerful and independent, but also a good media cannot help but emphasize the very futility of that dream through drawing connections between each person and his neighbor. Not only are their goals negative toward the future, but more impossible each day.

As no man considers himself a villain or unjustified, so no man considers his desires at their base false or foolish. It must not be his fault that he wants what cannot be, that he does not want what he wants. It must be the media that tells him that his goals are untenable, his projects destined to fail.

Frequently, conservatives like to invoke Edmund Burke as the figurehead for intellectual conservatism. But Burke recognized the goals and aims of the French Revolution as good, and instead spoke out against the chaos and violence of their implementation. Sadly, nearly all intellectual heirs to Burke have been eaten alive by the openly regressive, anti-modernist ghouls who have co-opted his cause and wear the skin of conservatism to cover the hairy, nasty and rapacious self-interest for which they seize power.
posted by klangklangston at 11:38 AM on September 8, 2008 [10 favorites]


Yes fleeing a pogrom or a death camp is the same as leaving cause "My guy lost!"
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:48 AM on September 8, 2008


It's "my country right or wrong," which is at the root of a lot of what's wrong with our country.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:48 AM on September 8, 2008


God knows I'm not exactly usually in the camp of the reactionary patriot, but one of my favorite comments about patriotism comes not from the Founding Fathers but from, of all places, Stan from South Park, from their first post-9/11 episode: "America may have some problems, but it's our home, our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium."

Part of the problem in allowing journalists like Olbermann and Matthews to keep their job might lie in that citizens are now building their political philosophy from a children's cartoon. There's a lot less room to be profitable to treat your audience like adults, when a larger chunk of your audience gets its opinions from television shows made for children.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:49 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: because Bruce Springsteen said I should
posted by Hands of Manos at 11:52 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and working for a different future for your nation, you bailed in the hopes that others might do the heavy lifting. Not only that, but you're saying you're doing so because you're so enlightened. Mister, you just touched my last nerve. Regardless of whether I agree with you politically, you're a fucking coward. Stay out of my country, I don't want you back.

Flag wavers like you are a huge part of the reason why I will never live in the US again. People like you make America suck, and contribute greatly to the well-deserved negative image people around the world have about Americans.

I will never live in America again. You couldn't DRAG me back. I'll file my stupid little 2555 forms and cast my absentee ballots... but as soon as I can I'm going for British/EU citizenship (2010 or 2012, depending).

America is a big place but it's not big enough to share with people like you.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:55 AM on September 8, 2008


I don't see their beliefs implemented in the running of the country evolving to a point of concentration camps and extermination.

This next bit will be a bit contentious in that I do not mean to equate Auschwitz with Guantanamo Bay since they are different on so many levels and scales, but I would like to point out something that may escape the reader as being obvious; mainly that Auschwitz was in Poland and not Germany, much like Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba and not the USA. Add that to the fact that religious minorities were detained without rights and sub-humane conditions in both camps, regardless of their citizenship, and you can understand a bit more where Orthogonality is coming from. How do you think Muslim Americans or any American who thinks all people are created equal have been feeling the past few years?

And while we're spewing metaphors, let me just add that often the customers sitting in the restaurant dining room don't realize what's happening in the kitchen anymore than the proverbial frog sitting in the pot of hot water. But maybe it's time these customers stopped and thought about why more and more diners are refusing to eat at that particular establishment.
posted by furtive at 12:03 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


America is a big place but it's not big enough to share with people like you.

It's possible to be intolerant to other people's points of view, no matter which nationality you adopt.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:11 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's possible to be intolerant to other people's points of view, no matter which nationality you adopt.

Of course, but Americans seem to be especially good at it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:16 PM on September 8, 2008


As you've demonstrated. So run if you must, but you can't hide.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:20 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


WCityMike, please promise me you will continue quoting South Park on complex matters so that I may continue to give your input the level of attention that it deserves.
posted by applemeat at 12:20 PM on September 8, 2008


do you really think that's true, chuckdarwin? Surely there are many, MANY examples of intolerance from all over the world, including enlightened Western Europe. Don't get me wrong, I'm as disgusted by what I see happening in the US as the next guy, I fantasize about leaving on a daily basis - but it's jut not clear to me that anywhere else is better. Humans are sick fucks.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:20 PM on September 8, 2008


Several people I've met here have since emigrated to Australia or Spain... none of them received the sort of shit I got! I was called a traitor and a coward to my face by people I thought I knew well... not just anonymous fuckheads on the internet.

Americans overrate America and treat anyone who doesn't follow suit with open contempt.

I didn't run, by the way, and I'm not hiding. I LEFT. I wanted my wife and children to have a better life... the fact that my own life improved so much is simply a bonus.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:24 PM on September 8, 2008


America is a big place but it's not big enough to share with people like you.

chuckdarwin: Look, I hear you on disliking jingoism, but if "my way or the highway" thinking offends you, then why are you adopting the very behavior you're objecting to?

on the tangent at hand: I can see both sides of the "leave or stay" issue; I have gotten annoyed at those who joke that "if so-and-so wins the election I'm gonna move" as well, but -- I also do know a person who really did so -- and he had been a serious activist in the period leading up to becoming an expatriate and was just thoroughly worn out. The decision to leave a country, temporarily or permanently, is a personal one, and can rarely fit neatly into a political soundbite or dogma. So accusing someone of "chickening out" because they left, or of not "fitting their nose to the grindstone", or saying that "it's people like you that make me glad I left" is, to my mind, simplifying a matter that just plain shouldn't be simplified. If you're in this country, you belong in this country, regardless of what opinion ABOUT this country you have. If you're not in this country, because your path took you out for some reason, then you belong elsewhere, and that's just that.

In other words, "can't we all just get along?"

As to the real issue: isBill O'Reilly even the anchor of the FOX news press coverage in the first place? If he's not, then I don't see where FOX is trumping NBC on this score. Olbermann and Matthews are pundits, to my mind, as is O'Reilly. If FOX has a news anchor hosting the coverage as opposed to a pundit, then yes, NBC DID goof by sending pundits instead. If, however, O'Reilly is hosting the coverage, then yes, much snarking should ensue.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:24 PM on September 8, 2008


I will never live in America again.

Well, there goes my night's sleep.
posted by jonmc at 12:29 PM on September 8, 2008


I also do know a person who really did so

Now you know two. I did everything I could for the Kerry campaign.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:30 PM on September 8, 2008


Well, there goes my night's sleep.

I thought you normally just passed out.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:30 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Humans are sick fucks.

Give it a go. You might be surprised.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:31 PM on September 8, 2008


Now you know two. I did everything I could for the Kerry campaign.

And that's great. That doesn't alter my original point, however.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:33 PM on September 8, 2008


Yes, you've aptly noted that metaphors should not be taken as if the wording used in the metaphor were literally meant. Well-done.

Look, either America is like a game, or it's not. You said it was, I say it's not. It's not a complicated argument about epistemology and ontological structure similarity here.
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


That doesn't alter my original point, however.

Bollocks. Your original point didn't make any sense. I don't agree that I was being jingoistic.

extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy

I'm the least nationalistic person you're likely to meet.

I never said my way was best for everyone. It's just best for me and mine.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:38 PM on September 8, 2008


Bollocks.

You're from America. Give the limey-isms a rest, please.
posted by jonmc at 12:40 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"America may have some problems, but it's our home, our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium."

And that is why I say fuck Southpark. Nationalism is for the weak and insecure.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:40 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm the least nationalistic person you're likely to meet.

Says the man who constantly tells everyone how happy he is to be in the UK, and who inserts Britishisms in every comment.
posted by jonmc at 12:41 PM on September 8, 2008


none of them received the sort of shit I got!

Did it ever occur to you that it could just be you that they're reacting to?
posted by Dave Faris at 12:42 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


chuckdarwin: What exactly makes the U.K so much better then the US? I mean, at least around here we don't have CCTV cameras every six inches. We still have the principle of double jeopardy, people have freedom of speech and "embarrassing" things can't be kept out of the media, etc.
posted by delmoi at 12:42 PM on September 8, 2008


"America may have some problems, but it's our home, our team. And if you don't wanna root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium."

Wait, isn't this exactly what bardic has done? He did "get the hell out of the stadium." I don't understand the criticism.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:42 PM on September 8, 2008


So, instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and working for a different future for your nation, you bailed in the hopes that others might do the heavy lifting. Not only that, but you're saying you're doing so because you're so enlightened. Mister, you just touched my last nerve. Regardless of whether I agree with you politically, you're a fucking coward. Stay out of my country, I don't want you back.

Wow, what colossal dickishness.
posted by Artw at 12:43 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bollocks. Your original point didn't make any sense. I don't agree that I was being jingoistic.

I never said you were being jingoistic. But even though you claim otherwise, stating that "America's not big enough to share with the likes of YOU" does indeed come across as a damned intolerant thing to say. And speaking up against intolerance with...more intolerance just looks plain hypocritical.

Look at it this way -- why give them the satisfaction of writing you off as an anti-American nutbag whose opinion they don't have to listen to?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on September 8, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "There's a lot less room to be profitable to treat your audience like adults, when a larger chunk of your audience gets its opinions from television shows made for children."

applemeat: "WCityMike, please promise me you will continue quoting South Park on complex matters so that I may continue to give your input the level of attention that it deserves."

I usually feel rather happy when I'm engaging in a back-and-forth on a difference of opinions and the people who hold an opinion go to an ad hominem attack. It means that their quiver is mostly empty and the easiest thing that they can reach for is an insult, which, let's face it, is not the hardest thing to reach for.

I also think it's rather fun when they make a mass generalization declaring that an entire category of media cannot, and will not ever, hold any valid content or observations. Or even generalizing about a series.

If you don't want to respond an idea, make an ad hominem attack on the source, and on the person stating the opinion. In a subculture that values snark, it will be applauded and favorited.

South Park, a cartoon which once had a script dedicated to squeezing the word "shit" as many times as it could into the episode, is not a children's show, despite children and parents treating it as if it is.

I'm proud to say that children's shows informed the majority of my beliefs, and taught me well. Many Mefites feel similarly.

As for South Park, I can't believe I'm dignifying a taunt with a straight response, but it's hardly the source for most of my beliefs. However, I do find the show a source of funny, profane froth — with the occasional very insightful remark tucked away amongst the anal probes.
posted by WCityMike at 12:49 PM on September 8, 2008


I can be happy here and not be all RAH RAH about government policy. I can also use whichever words and spellings I like. There's actually fuck-all you can do about it, Jon. I don't do it just to spite you, you know. I do what comes natural, something I've heard you bang on about endlessly. Mentioning it in every thread hasn't worked for you so far, so why persist?

Nationalism is for the weak and insecure.


I couldn't have said it better myself.

CCTV cameras every six inches. We still have the principle of double jeopardy, people have freedom of speech and "embarrassing" things can't be kept out of the media, etc.

You probably don't even have a passport. Do a little traveling before you put your two cents in. LONDON DOESN'T COVER THE ENTIRE ISLAND. There are NO CCTV cameras in my town. None. Your other points make no sense.

There are good and bad things about living here, just as there are about living there. I could type them all out, but I don't think you're worth it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:50 PM on September 8, 2008


Regardless of whether I agree with you politically, you're a fucking coward. Stay out of my country, I don't want you back.

Unless I missed this completely, and this is a joke, cog_nate, I have this to say:

Fuck you.

While everyone in the US decided to go to war in '02-'03, or at least not arguing the point, but beating up and imprisoning anyone who did speak out against war, not to mention making demonstration illegal—or worse, unpatriotic—that so-called grindstone you mention had been recast as a means of crushing any of us who bought into our second-grade civics ie freedom of speech, and truth and justice as "the America way" [sic].

I live in Key West. It is an island in the Caribbean. It is 2 miles across by 4 miles long. And it is hands down the most laidback spot in all the US. It just doesn't get more chill than it does here. Key West is to chill was Berkeley is to radical.

When the skyscrapers got blown up in '01, I was practicing my zen by being a parasail jock more North on Madeira Beach (where I lived while going to high school). Which means I was way tan, way rad, with way unshaven. So on September 13th, 2001, with more "flag pron" all over the place than I could ever had imagined—I mean, where did all that stuff show up on the shelves come from? Was it just ordinarily stockpiled for the 4th of Julys?—I was freaking assaulted in a Walgreen because, get this, I looked arab! The guy who kicked it off actually said aloud to a group of about six customers and the cashier, "I hate Arabs. But then again, I've always hated Arabs." It was a like a friggin gang rape—in a Walgreen's! Who cares I had gone to school there, learned to surf there, and hung around that beach on and off my entire life? Know how I got away? The assailants who were in agreement with one another actually began having a fist fight in the store!

So, naturally, I hustle my butt back down to Key West where it's cool. Purely out of a sense of self-preservation. In case you haven't heard, our Island's official philosophy is One Human Family. Key West was where I believed I would be able to ride out the storm.

But you know what, I forgot about how popular Key West had become. Our standing population can include an additional 20,000 people on any given day. Which means there were other Americans to deal with. Whenever anyone started getting all pro-war and I would without reservation cooly but clearly bring up the obvious disparity between terrorists from Afghanistan equaling going to war (!!!) with Iran....not to mention the financial interests of the people in power who got into power illegally in the first place. The response was unanimous: It was as if I were the terrorist, as if I was the criminal. Visitors from the rest of the US would routinely come here to a place they are visiting and just spew loudly the most inanely jingoistic and hateful nonsense I had ever personally experienced. It was as if a large percentage of the population had lost their minds, and another large percentage was just keeping their eyes down and their mouths shut, while the rest of us were either vilified or attacked.

But, for the record, and I say this as loudly and definitively as I have ever put it, GOING TO WAR WITH IRAQ WAS A BAD IDEA.

From my painting studio on Whitehead Street, four houses down form Ernie Hemingway's now-famous place, in response to the really attractive, non-aggressive heart-covered signs I put up that said "Love is good/War is bad," people I have never met before would have the audacity to come up on to my porch and tell me to my face, "If you don't like it, leave," or better yet, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." And if you think I am talking a few people, you are sadly mistaken.

Well, you know what? I'm from here. How from here? My family—McMullen on my mother's father's father's mother's mother's father's father's father's side—were heritage founders of a territory called Florida. We are talking pre-1820. And aside from that, I made my own debut just up the (one) road here on Marathon Key in 1965. So when people make a trek to where I live and where I'm from to tell me to leave, I'm exactly the type of person to leave. As in, "Oh yeah? Alright I'm gone."

From Key West, I drove across the US to Vancouver, crossed the border into Canada, and lo and behold! It really was a different country! How different? Well, for starters as a whole the entire population hadn't lost their minds, were not pro-war, were not anti-US, were pro-peace, and welcomed a US native who felt as he had been living amongst friends who in fact turned out to be cannibals. Not to slight cannibals. It's just that civically-speaking, I myself lean more towards vegetarianism.

After poking around for two weeks just to be certain that Canada was cool, and that they were not just cool on the outside but in fact ready to get their hate on when the coast looked clear, I drove back out to the US, flipped a u-turn, and went back in to finish what I had started by declaring at the border that I was escaping a hostile political climate and requesting asylum.

And they took me seriously. It was two and a half years of living among some of the kindest, most helpful and socially-minded people I have had the pleasure of meeting anywhere in the world before my case was declined. As I was forewarned it would be, but with the understanding that reaching such a conclusion would take time.

Do you know what Canada did when I arrived and requested asylum? They checked me for a criminal record (none) and let me proceed. "Check in with Canadian Immigration Council, and we'll see you in two weeks to begin the process. If you need anything, contact Health Services."

Can you imagine if that had been someone applying for asylum in the US? Just so you know, I personally know loads of Cubans who are now members of the Key West community who were held for over six months and some over a year behind barbed wire before being allowed to move around freely. Just so you know, there is a difference.

Anyhow, when I was returned to the US, the first thing the once-border guard, now-homeland security did was 1)handcuff me, the 2) explain to me things were different since I first left. Indeed. (Priceless moment? The expressions on the faces of all the people at the border/homeland security crossing seeing a genuine terrorist in their midst. But after chilling out in Canada for over two years, all I could do was smile.)

Now, seven years since the real terrorists—George W. Bush and Co, LLC—laid waste to the resources which made this country into the idea you have of what it is supposed to be but really hasn't been though getting Obama elected will go a long way towards correcting—people are finally getting the idea that everyone got took. And to be honest, I am as happy as can be. Am I mad they didn't get it earlier on? Oh my NO! We all make mistakes, sometimes terrible ones, but being from Key West, and we have so many recovering alcoholics and drug abusers here who were cool then got fucked up then went through a twelve-step program that we may as well teach it in our schools, I get that we all make mistakes and that admitting it is the first step to recovery. And I'm a believer that we will immediately begin making good on our now outrageous karmic debt, and paying restitution for the atrocities committed by the criminals and cowards who have trodden over actual human values in the name of America and freedom. (Note to self and others: Tyranny being called freedom continues to be tyranny.)

But if one of us who was once a believer but now has doubts is shy or even recalcitrant about for the same rhetoric that was used against us in the first place, you should not be surprised.

And finally, for the record, it was asshole comments precisely like the one you made here today which gave kindergarten teachers cause to be fearful or disappointed in the first place. Either lay off the caffeine or lay off the asshole, but, either way, lay off.
posted by humannaire at 12:50 PM on September 8, 2008 [55 favorites]


And speaking up against intolerance with...more intolerance

What am I being intolerant of? Nationalism? Living in America? Please.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:54 PM on September 8, 2008


I do what comes natural, something I've heard you bang on about endlessly.

Because people in West Virginia, which if I recall correctly is where you're from say 'Bollocks' all the time.

Mentioning it in every thread hasn't worked for you so far, so why persist?

Because watching you defend your pretentious Anglophilia is hilarious to watch.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on September 8, 2008


If the right think Olbermann is the anti-Christ, wait 'til they get a load of Rachel Maddow tonight.
posted by Ber at 12:57 PM on September 8, 2008


And, FWIW, I agree that a lot of what is going on in this country is fucked up, but I also believe that the ideals this country has tried (with varying degrees of success) to live up to are good ones, which is why I'll stick around and keep protesting and speaking my mind. My ancestors went through a lot of trouble to get here, so I won't let them down.
posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on September 8, 2008


My family came here in 1630 to find fortune and religious freedom (I don't know in which order, obviously) and I will be damned if anyone tries to run me off for my religion or lack thereof, my sexual orientation or my "elitist" belief that well-educated, well-informed candidates, let alone a rational informed populace, are critical to the functioning of our government.

But everyone makes that call for themselves.

If my stand endangered anyone close to me, I would leave to protect them and/or take them with me if need be; but until that point comes (which I honestly don't believe is soon), I feel that leaving would dishonor my ancestors before me who fought the British, the Confederacy and the Germans (among others) to make this country what it is, warts and all.

I only wish there was some sort of Renegade Daughters of the American Revolution I could join that would go out and chain themselves to someone every time someone tried to join the church to the state, or lied about Iraq or made "community organizer" sound like some sort of code for "those crazy uppity minority types looking for a handout."
posted by ltracey at 12:59 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


My family came here in 1630

Mine arrived several centuries later, but I agree with your central idea.
posted by jonmc at 1:01 PM on September 8, 2008


I don't live in WV, Jon. You're getting forgetful.

Here's the part you don't get: I don't use American English because I don't live in America anymore. Wrap your head around that one. Go open another beer and ponder it. I'll wait.

Now, imagine that I'd moved to Spain instead. Why would I not learn Spanish? The only reason would be if I were completely stupid. Why live in a country if you don't want to speak it's language? Why would I carry on speaking in a way that no one here understands? Why should I switch back and forth just to satisfy some bitter old fuckhead on the internet who I'm never going to meet?

Explain that to me, Jon.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:02 PM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


What am I being intolerant of? Nationalism?

Yes. Just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work for other people.

Just like just because nationalism works for other people, doesn't mean it works for you.

You want them to respect your choice. They won't do that if you don't respect theirs.

And for the record, I'm saying that to the people that told you "America's better off without you" as well. Everyone -- if you want people to respect your opinions, you need to respect theirs. Dislike it on principle, sure; choose something else, okay. Explain why something didn't work for you, great. But -- RESPECT that it may work for other people, because that is the only way any of us is ever going to move beyond screaming at each other like kindergarteners.

And -- she said, bringing things screaming back to the topic -- it is the only way we are ever going to move beyond carping over whether this or that news guy has a "bias" and start listening to WHAT THEY'RE SAYING and what the news actually is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:02 PM on September 8, 2008


My ancestors went through a lot of trouble to get here, so I won't let them down.

Mine were treated like slaves and trapped in mining camps. I have no love for the place that subjugated them and paid them in scrip.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:03 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, with all due respect, American 'news' sources aren't worth my time.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:04 PM on September 8, 2008


Why live in a country if you don't want to speak it's language?

The country you live in (except for an accent and a few colloquialisms) speaks the same language as the country you were born and raised in. I've met enough Brits to know that they can understand that 'balls' and 'bollocks' are the same thing. Inserting limeyisms at every possible opportunity makes you sound like a white guy in Harlem saying 'Yo,' every other word to fit in.
posted by jonmc at 1:05 PM on September 8, 2008


Ah, Americans… your ability to freak the fuck out when it’s implied that everything in America is either the best thing ever or the best it could possibly be is a source of constant wonder to me.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on September 8, 2008


Mine were treated like slaves and trapped in mining camps.

Mine worked as sailors and canal builders. One of my great-grandfathers died in Panama of yellow fever doing it. What's your point?
posted by jonmc at 1:07 PM on September 8, 2008


Did it ever occur to you that it could just be you that they're reacting to?

The is the most typically American comment in the thread. My point was that people here are happy for folks when they move. "Oh! You're going to Australia? COOL! Can I come visit?" etc.

Not: "TRAITOR. COWARD. AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAH!"
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:08 PM on September 8, 2008


EmpressCallipygos, with all due respect, American 'news' sources aren't worth my time.

Then may I ask why you've come to post in a thread that was about the American news media?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:08 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


jonmc - Are you familer with the term "tosser"?
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


What's your point?

I don't feel any affection for a country that treated my ancestors like white slaves.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:09 PM on September 8, 2008


Then may I ask why you've come to post in a thread that was about the American news media?

Sad to see Olbermann go. He was worth a chuckle, at least.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:09 PM on September 8, 2008


My point was that people here are happy for folks when they move. "Oh! You're going to Australia? COOL! Can I come visit?" etc.

They might not be if you constantly harped about how ENGLAND SUXXORS!
posted by jonmc at 1:10 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think we need to lighten the atmosphere.

*passes out banana creme pies to everyone*

*switches video camera in corner to B&W*

*throws banana creme pie at Blazecock Pileon*

[misses]

Damn.

[banana creme pie whistles through the air in the general direction of Chicago]

*SPLAT*

[WCityMike's face is covered in banana creme; he wipes clean two eyeholes]
posted by WCityMike at 1:10 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


The country you live in (except for an accent and a few colloquialisms) speaks the same language as the country you were born and raised in.

No, it doesn't. The differences are so stark that it still surprises me. You should really travel more before you say things like this.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:11 PM on September 8, 2008


I can hear the fucking banjo music coming from this thread...
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


They might not be if you constantly harped about how ENGLAND SUXXORS!

Jon, that's the national pass-time here. Look up self-deprecating... there will be a picture of England there.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:12 PM on September 8, 2008


Look up self-deprecating... there will be a picture of England there.

Which is why they spent the last couple centuries colonizing the world.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on September 8, 2008


The Empire is gone. All over with. Cracking an English history book wouldn't hurt, either. Start with Peter Ackroyd.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:15 PM on September 8, 2008


Nor, by the way, am I saying that someone shouldn't make the choice to bail. I'm just saying that you don't get to bail and then make the argument that you're making a difference in the welfare of your country. In such a case you're making a choice based on your own opinions and welfare.

Oh, and this is poppycock, too.

It was by pulling my energies out from supporting the Bush-run US entirely—which in my estimation is categorically different from and antagonistic to a population-led US—was at the time clearly the most effective method to bringing the US to state of tolerance if not civility. Particularly when so much of the otherwise gentle population were unwittingly misled (out of intentional or unintentional personal gain on the parts of the leaders at the time) to believe that it was a good time to institute the very most despicable aspects of what was once after the fact called McCarthyism.
posted by humannaire at 1:16 PM on September 8, 2008


Lemme guess, the next line si going to be something about warm beer or teeth.

USA! USA! In-su-lar! In-su-lar!
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Empire is gone. All over with.

Its legacy isn't.
posted by jonmc at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2008


"'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'"

- Gilbert K. Chesterton
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


My family arrived here in the year 10,000 BC on a flaming space-yacht piloted by Elvis and Xenu. I win at being American?
posted by mattbucher at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Ah, Americans… your ability to freak the fuck out when it’s implied that everything in America is either the best thing ever or the best it could possibly be is a source of constant wonder to me."

I really hope you meant to prefix "either" with an "n."
posted by klangklangston at 1:19 PM on September 8, 2008


Dada-ling ding ding dang ding ding ding...
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on September 8, 2008


klangklangston - possibly a not should be in there somewhere.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on September 8, 2008


humannaire: "It was by pulling my energies out from supporting the Bush-run US entirely—which in my estimation is categorically different from and antagonistic to a population-led US—was at the time clearly the most effective method to bringing the US to state of tolerance if not civility."

I cannot be interpreting that statement correctly, as the way I'm parsing it know would have you holding an opinion of the impact of your energies that would be so extremely high as to be disconnected from reality.
posted by WCityMike at 1:21 PM on September 8, 2008


humannaire, I was with the folks who demonstrated against the war. We marched in Lawrence, thousands of us. I'm no flag-waver, but I continue to write letters to my congressman to this day, pleading for him to take a stand on the war. To stop it. I feel pretty helpless most of the time, being in such a solidly red state. But I'm not going to leave anytime soon, and it makes no sense to me that folks that did leave can sit idly by and take potshots at people who are making a modicum of effort to fix this shit.

Also, I apologized to bardic for overreacting, if you missed it. But I'm not going to apologize for making an honest, if infinitesimal-seeming and ultimately futile, effort to work for a better future for Lawrence, and by extension, the US.
posted by cog_nate at 1:21 PM on September 8, 2008


wow. what a bizarre thread. from an fpp about olbermann and matthews being pulled off political coverage due to perceived bias (hah! and facts have a bias toward being true--let's baninate them, too!) to name-calling and the history of british colonialism. then finally the descent into lord of the flies. amazing.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:22 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metfailter: 90% inbreeds who live up a mountain and make canoeists squeel like pigs.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on September 8, 2008


Artw: anymore cliches you'd like to trot out or have you exhausted your repertoire? And it's not like England is devoid of white trash.
posted by jonmc at 1:29 PM on September 8, 2008


Its legacy isn't.

Come on over and find out. Passports are cheap. The pound has weakened.

*makes chicken noises*
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:30 PM on September 8, 2008


Why don't you come to Queens instead? A county more ethnically and racially diverse than your whole quaint tourist attraction of a country.
posted by jonmc at 1:32 PM on September 8, 2008


Dude, I will beat you in your shitty race to the bottom any day of the weak.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on September 8, 2008


PS You lost Vietnam.
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on September 8, 2008


Why don't you come to Queens instead? A county more ethnically and racially diverse than your whole quaint tourist attraction of a country.

Another comment that belies your ignorance and un-worldliness. London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world... by a massive margin.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:35 PM on September 8, 2008


Um, you're the one who fired the starting gun with the 'banjo music' comments. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.
posted by jonmc at 1:35 PM on September 8, 2008


That orange shit is not cheese.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I apologized to bardic for overreacting

Yeah, sorry also (and thank you), cog_nate. I didn't catch that until after the fact.
posted by humannaire at 1:36 PM on September 8, 2008


Fuck you.

[snip]

I live in Key West. It is an island in the Caribbean. It is 2 miles across by 4 miles long. And it is hands down the most laidback spot in all the US.


Apparently it's not contagious.

As a Floridian by birth, I'll add that in the future when you want to make an example about how shittily we treat prospective citizens, how we treat Cubans should be your last resort. "Wet foot, dry foot" might be moronic but all the Hatians we turned around and sent home in the 80s and 90s would kill to get as lenient a policy as Cuban refugees got.
posted by phearlez at 1:37 PM on September 8, 2008


Also, I apologized to bardic for overreacting

Yeah, sorry also (and thank you), cog_nate. I didn't catch that until after the fact.


Ditto.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on September 8, 2008


London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world... by a massive margin.

Got anything to back that up? I do. Scroll down to 'Demographics,' and 'Neighborhoods.'
posted by jonmc at 1:38 PM on September 8, 2008


I cannot be interpreting that statement correctly, as the way I'm parsing it know would have you holding an opinion of the impact of your energies that would be so extremely high as to be disconnected from reality.

All of us are a drop in the bucket. I am but a single drop, each of our individuals adding up to a larger context.

But I you may have some unease with metaphor, wcitymike, so how about if I leave it at it is my belief the actions of each one of us does indeed count?
posted by humannaire at 1:42 PM on September 8, 2008


IMHO: Very good move by NBC/MSNBC. It was sort of leaning this way during the RNC when Keith Olbermann was limited to his post in NYC while Chris was there. That way Keith could keep his mouth to himself while the republicans lied themselves to sleep, thus keeping the coverage as unbiased as possible. This will just make for a dozen or so special comments on COUNTDOWN.

I mean, I love Keith Olbermann for the research he does into his stories on COUNTDOWN and his special comments (which as far as I can tell sound legit). Problem is as a news dude, he has to keep his research in a can, which is really sad, especially if the research is truthful news.

Cannot wait for a new day when news is news and not just equal spoon feeds from both sides of an argument.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:43 PM on September 8, 2008


I've been to Queens, already thinks. I don't think it's me who needs to travel.

Read this, anyway... even though the chances of you leaving the US for a holiday are nil.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:44 PM on September 8, 2008


it's not like England is devoid of white trash.

Oxymoronic as that may sound, it is still nonetheless patently offensive.
posted by humannaire at 1:45 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


humannaire: "All of us are a drop in the bucket. I am but a single drop, each of our individuals adding up to a larger context. "

What I'm not understanding is what reasoning you used to arrive at the conclusion that ... well, to combine your sentences, that pulling your single drop of energy out from supporting the Bush-run US entirely was clearly the most effective method to bringing the US to a state of tolerance. I just don't see the two connecting.
posted by WCityMike at 1:47 PM on September 8, 2008


I've been to Queens, in '91 /
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:47 PM on September 8, 2008


Oxymoronic as that may sound, it is still nonetheless patently offensive.

As opposed to Artw's 'banjo music' jokes? Sorry, the floodgates were opened, don't cry if you get wet.

and chuck, you'll notice that I'm not giving bardic (also an American expatriate abroad, with whom I have a history waaaay bloodier than with you) a hard time. You might ask yourself why that is.
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on September 8, 2008


Another comment that belies your ignorance and un-worldliness. London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world... by a massive margin.

....Actually, the UN said that Toronto, Canada wins that title.

Although, as New York City boasts the largest Jewish community outside Israel, nearly a quarter of the South Asians in the country, the largest African American community of any city in the country, the largest Italian population in the US, over 60 ethnic groups writing in 42 languages publishing some 300 non-English language magazines and newspapers, I'd say it's not too shabby.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Apparently it's not contagious.

As a Floridian by birth, I'll add that in the future when you want to make an example about how shittily we treat prospective citizens, how we treat Cubans should be your last resort. "Wet foot, dry foot" might be moronic but all the Hatians we turned around and sent home in the 80s and 90s would kill to get as lenient a policy as Cuban refugees got.


That's how you treat refugees, phearlez. Here in the Conch Republic, everyone is welcome. And actually, it is contagious.
posted by humannaire at 1:50 PM on September 8, 2008


humannaire : I live in Key West. It is an island in the Caribbean. It is 2 miles across by 4 miles long. And it is hands down the most laidback spot in all the US.

I don't know man, Marathon is like, what, an hour north east of you, and when I was last there, even the cops were wearing sandals.

Key West was a bustling and energetic metropolis by comparison.

(don't get me wrong, both were awesome, but Key West is a party town, whereas Marathon's primary reason for existence seemed to be a base for dive shops, fishing, and casual drinking.)
posted by quin at 1:53 PM on September 8, 2008


As opposed to Artw's 'banjo music' jokes? Sorry, the floodgates were opened, don't cry if you get wet.

All that HFC, antibiotic riddled meat and televangelism on the tee-vee has rotted your brain if you don't think you were instrumental in taking this thread down this weird track with your xenophobic nonsense.
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on September 8, 2008




Jonmc thinks we all wear top hats.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on September 8, 2008


xenophobic nonsense

Wait a minute. I'm here defending my home precisely because it is diverse and full of immigrants (I should mention that I am first-generation American on my mothers side) and I'm xenophobic?

What I'm angry at is chuckdarwin. not for his political views, not for his being an expatriate, but for being pompous and arrogant.
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on September 8, 2008


Artw: "Jonmc thinks we all wear top hats."

Please don't tell me you all don't wear monocles. You'll shatter my dreams.
posted by WCityMike at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2008


More importantly, he thinks British English and American English are the same language.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2008


"Jonmc thinks we all wear top hats."

Please don't tell me you all don't wear monocles


Actually, based on my BBC viewings they all travel in phone booths and dance around at accelarated speed with women in bikinis.
posted by jonmc at 2:02 PM on September 8, 2008


Pff. George Bush would blush at some of the jingoistic bollocks you and others have come out with in this thread.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on September 8, 2008


What I'm angry at is chuckdarwin. not for his political views, not for his being an expatriate, but for being pompous and arrogant.

Take it to memail, then, and quit putting everyone through your personal therapy session.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:04 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jonmc thinks we all wear top hats.

Jonmc: UK women do not wear top hats. Just the men.
posted by everichon at 2:04 PM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's how you treat refugees, phearlez.

What are you smoking? I'm talking about the US foreign policy with regards to Cuban refugees, which as an outgrowth of our completely moronic obsession with Communism has been a near complete open door... particularly compared to how we treat everyone else.

You want to get wound up over someone spending 6 months in detention before being released and allowed to stay in the US, fine - I don't disagree that ICE's handling of people could use a big dose of "do unto others." However I spend my youth - and a number of years past my youth - in Florida watching Hatians being told that no no, they're ECONOMIC refugees and have to go back. Cubans are fleeing an oppressive political regime so that's different.

Now that I live here in the DC area I watch local cities pass plans demanding their cops check the immigration status of people they stop for traffic violations - as if that's something most beat cops are up to - even as they have trouble funding essential services. My local paper ran an extensive series on people detained for years and denied essential medical care.

So what I'm suggesting to you is simply this: if you want to talk about people getting fucked by our immigration policies, maybe you should look into some stories that are reflective of the average reality, not the comparative walk in the park Cubans get.
posted by phearlez at 2:05 PM on September 8, 2008


Key West was a bustling and energetic metropolis by comparison.

LOL/busted/quin you rule
posted by humannaire at 2:12 PM on September 8, 2008


Actually, based on my BBC viewings they all travel in phone booths and dance around at accelarated speed with women in bikinis.

Heh. I'm sure some Americans will miss it.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on September 8, 2008


Heh. Artw, oddly my Italian-born, barely-English-speaking grandfather loves that show. I'm not sure why. On second thought, I am sure why.
posted by jonmc at 2:17 PM on September 8, 2008


So what I'm suggesting to you is simply this: if you want to talk about people getting fucked by our immigration policies, maybe you should look into some stories that are reflective of the average reality, not the comparative walk in the park Cubans get.

And what I am suggesting to you is that the Keys is our own thing. In case you didn't catch what I was tossing your way.
posted by humannaire at 2:18 PM on September 8, 2008


Do you have a link, EC?

I have three.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:21 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then you're just deranged. The protest efforts of the KW residents during the idiotic police stops in the 80s were admirable and to the extent that the conch republic represents outreach and lobbying it's great. But if you thought the succession and subsequent surrender were real than you really need to cut back on your meds.

KW might have a slightly more laid back and open attitude than many other places in the US but you're still following all the same laws the last time I looked.
posted by phearlez at 2:22 PM on September 8, 2008


Oh. Yeah. And not to veer off-topic, or anything, but all this talk has got me remembering that MSNBC bites the big one for weaking out and pulling Olbermann and Matthews.

But then again I always thought MSNBC bites the big one.

[And—again, being from Key West—HurricaneTracker included.]
posted by humannaire at 2:23 PM on September 8, 2008


People of New York, people of London, citizens of the world, let's calm ourselves. Both citiesare fine fine places, and we should come together in unity on one undeniable truth: That LA is a shithole and should be burned to the ground for it's own good.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Here, here, artw. I don't believe that LA actually exists. It some fantasy world where everyone is blond and half naked and the ghetto has palm trees.
posted by jonmc at 2:29 PM on September 8, 2008


I've been there: it smells of petrol.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm proud to say that children's shows informed the majority of my beliefs, and taught me well. Many Mefites feel similarly.

What the hell does southpark have to do with Mr. Rodgers. Comparing them is absurd. And look, I find southpark pretty funny most of the time, but the show's political philosophy is infantile.

You probably don't even have a passport. Do a little traveling before you put your two cents in. LONDON DOESN'T COVER THE ENTIRE ISLAND. There are NO CCTV cameras in my town. None. Your other points make no sense.

I do too! A snazzy one with an RFID tracking chip even. My other points involve the Criminal Justice Act of 2003, which allows the government to retry prosecutions which were acquitted in the past, overturning the longstanding principle of double jeopardy, the other has to do with the U.K government's ability to suppress stories. One example would be Prince Charles scandal, or a more troubling example, of people being charged with violating the official secrets act by leaking a tape of Tony Blair and George bush discussing a plan to bomb Al Jazera. [Wikipedia link]

Furthermore, I mean it's hard to judge but it does seem like there is a lot more tension between British Muslims and non Muslims then there is in the U.S.

Another comment that belies your ignorance and un-worldliness. London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world... by a massive margin.

I've heard in the past that more languages are spoken in NY then London. Check out what came up when I googled for "number of languages spoken in London"
Within the boundaries of the capital, 300 different languages are regularly spoken. "London is clearly the most cosmopolitan city in Europe and only New York can really claim to be as world class in terms of its internationalism," said Patrick Kerr, a spokesman for London First, Greater London's inward investment agency. Such diversity has a range of benefits...
From here. And that's a page bragging about how cosmopolitan London is. Doesn't hurt that the headquarters of the U.N is in NY.

Also Canada: fucking cold.
posted by delmoi at 2:37 PM on September 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have three.

I stand corrected. Cheers. Toronto must one Hell of a nice place to live.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:38 PM on September 8, 2008


bashos_frog writes "Keith Olberman just seems to be ticked off at the general malcompetence of the current administration. "

I like KO, but he's a bit too strident for me. I wish he could be cynical about all politicians, but he's a bit in the bag for Obama. I like Obama and will vote for him, but he has flaws, and I'd hate to be blind to them. His commentary about the FISA vote demonstrated that Olbermann may not be a partisan, per se, but he has difficulty admitting that Obama's not perfect, so he's reluctant to call him out. I like a good muckraker, and Olbermann is trying, but a good muckraker should be as non-partisan as possible, otherwise you only really speak to your existing audience.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:39 PM on September 8, 2008


That's a cool quote, delmoi. Also, I think most New Yorkers (other than Jon) don't consider themselves to be "Americans" in the same way as everyone else who lives on the continent.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:41 PM on September 8, 2008


[tinfoil]The longer BushCo has been in office, the more transparently the MSM has been kowtowing to them. Also, the longer BushCo has been spying on Americans. I get this paranoid little feeling in the back of my brain that perhaps all that "intelligence" gathered through surveillance has been put to good use.[/tinfoil]
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:43 PM on September 8, 2008


Also, I think most New Yorkers (other than Jon) don't consider themselves to be "Americans" in the same way as everyone else who lives on the continent.

Think whatever makes you feel better, but outside of the offshore boutique called Manhattan, New York is very much American, in the best sense of the word.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on September 8, 2008


I've been there: it smells of petrol.

LA isn't my sort of town.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:44 PM on September 8, 2008


I usually feel rather happy when I'm engaging in a back-and-forth on a difference of opinions and the people who hold an opinion go to an ad hominem attack

You must be having a back and forth with someone else, then.

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

There's nothing ad hominem about pointing out the shoddy foundation that you're using to prop up your position. The substance of your argument, such as it is, is based upon a childish, simplistic view of the world, taken from (as you admit yourself) characters in a children's cartoon who are making a similarly childish, simplistic view of the world.

Therefore, it is no surprise that there is little room for the Olbermanns and the like who try to point out the complexities of the world, when more of its residents hold childish, simplistic views of the same world and want to consume similarly childish, simplistic points of view.

If you wish to take that as a personal insult, perhaps you would do well to consider your premises and evaluate them more critically than you have done so far.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:45 PM on September 8, 2008


delmoi: "What the hell does southpark have to do with Mr. Rodgers. Comparing them is absurd. And look, I find southpark pretty funny most of the time, but the show's political philosophy is infantile."

Really, delmoi, did you bother reading anything I wrote? Or is it just the quickest of scans so you can find something to disagree with and lash out about?
posted by WCityMike at 2:46 PM on September 8, 2008


Why don't you come to Queens instead? A county more ethnically and racially diverse than your whole quaint tourist attraction of a country.

What a strange thing to say
posted by dng at 2:47 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whatever. I've been there; I know a lot of New Yorkers, and you're the only one I've met who thinks that NYC bears any resemblance to small town America.

Then again, you're the only person I've ever met who still listens to REO Speedwagon.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:48 PM on September 8, 2008


I have three.

Wait, I thought you were on about Toronto?!?
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:49 PM on September 8, 2008


Then again, you're the only person I've ever met who still listens to REO Speedwagon.

You need to hang at my corner bar, there's an old guy (of Eastern European Jewish extraction, I believe) who put on 7 REO songs in a row last time I was there. I hadn't even heard a few of them before.

You do realize that with every comment you make you sound more and more like some precious aesthete who fled to Europe because nobody back home 'understood' him. They all understood you fine, they just didn't like you is all.
posted by jonmc at 2:52 PM on September 8, 2008


but he has difficulty admitting that Obama's not perfect, so he's reluctant to call him out.

I think he's probably just hoping to see the guy get elected like I am. Whatever flaws Obama might have are magnified ten-fold in his current opponent, so I'm just not particularly interested in splitting hairs over those flaws right now myself. So what if Olbermann supports Obama? He's a human being. All of us support somebody. It's a trivial fact. So why's he getting "shuffled"? Because he expressed his personal disgust and shame over the RNC's gross political use of the imagery of the 9/11 attacks. That's not partisan. That's a legitimate, a-partisan point of view, like thinking American flag mud-flaps are more disgraceful than a show of patriotism (and pointing out that they violate the flag code, too).
posted by saulgoodman at 2:53 PM on September 8, 2008


please stop the pissing match already.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:54 PM on September 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Furthermore, I mean it's hard to judge but it does seem like there is a lot more tension between British Muslims and non Muslims then there is in the U.S.

I don't think we want to get into crime statistics.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:58 PM on September 8, 2008


chuckdarwin writes "I will never live in America again. You couldn't DRAG me back. I'll file my stupid little 2555 forms and cast my absentee ballots... but as soon as I can I'm going for British/EU citizenship (2010 or 2012, depending)."

Dude, I hear you, but... CCTV cameras everywhere, local councils accessing your internet history, a 10-finger fingerprint for a national Id card. That's worse than the US.
posted by orthogonality at 2:59 PM on September 8, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "There's nothing ad hominem about pointing out the shoddy foundation that ..."

If I may summarize: "I'm not engaging in ad hominem arguments. Your arguments are childish, simplistic, and shoddy. But I'm not engaging in ad hominem arguments. And don't take that as a personal insult."

Not meant as a "storming off in a huff" thing, but I have multiple commitments this evening, so I'll have to exeunt myself from this discussion. Any arguments I'm currently in the middle of, other person in said argument, feel free to have the last word and strut around as if you won.

I sometimes get a bit too dreamy-eyed and warm-fuzzy about this community. Nice to have reminders like these that we can froth at the mouth and try to rip each other apart with no regard for civility whatsoever with the best of 'em.

Go team go! Punch 'em in the dick!
posted by WCityMike at 3:00 PM on September 8, 2008


You're a pretty sad person, Jon. I came here for a better life and found one. I don't know why that bothers you so much, but I'm finished talking to you in this format. You know my fucking email address.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:00 PM on September 8, 2008


10-finger fingerprint for a national Id card

Don't buy into this. The ID card thing will never happen. The CCTV revolution has been a complete waste of money. There isn't anyone watching the monitors. Don't let the media fool you so completely... to get back on topic :-)
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:04 PM on September 8, 2008


but I'm finished talking to you in this format.

can anybody else hear the choir singing hallelujah?
posted by jonmc at 3:09 PM on September 8, 2008


I hear them, but they're singing, "GIVE IT A REST ALREADY."
posted by brain_drain at 3:13 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


jonmc writes "You do realize that with every comment you make you sound more and more like some precious aesthete who fled to Europe because nobody back home 'understood' him. They all understood you fine, they just didn't like you is all."

Christ jon, the way you keep waving your anti-intellectual flag ("I'll go find a computer or a nerd if I need to do math"). Just because you live in Queens, you don't have to channel Archie Bunker. I mean, come on, Carroll O'Connor was playing a role, and Norman Lear was taking the piss.

We get it, you're our beer-drinking blue-collar anti-hipster Everyman. We don't need to be reminded in every thread.
posted by orthogonality at 3:14 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


We get it, you're our beer-drinking blue-collar anti-hipster Everyman.

I'm nobody's anything, but that dosen't mean I have to let chuckdarwin's pomposity go unanswered.
posted by jonmc at 3:17 PM on September 8, 2008


saulgoodman writes "I think he's probably just hoping to see the guy get elected like I am."

Yeah. That's the problem, though. I mostly agree with KO and would probably have great fun hanging out and shooting the shit with him, but I wish he'd try to find the truth and hold it up to the light, rather than just doing it when it helps his cause. It's frustrating, though, because the only people who try to shine the light of truth and who don't have a dog in this fight are at The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:21 PM on September 8, 2008


To mix metaphors ...
posted by krinklyfig at 3:21 PM on September 8, 2008


[A few comments removed. Take the ex-pat/diversity penis size contest-derail to Email.]

That's what I would like to have seen in this thread, quite a while back.

posted by lord_wolf at 3:22 PM on September 8, 2008


We get it, you're our beer-drinking blue-collar anti-hipster Everyman. We don't need to be reminded in every thread.

AMEN!

Jonmc, The most patriotic thing you can do for America today is to just knock it off already.
posted by applemeat at 3:23 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


So... this thread is host to a pissing contest about tolerance and freedom and the leading contenders are the United States of America and England???

You people need to get out a bit more.

I'm nobody's anything, but that dosen't mean I have to let chuckdarwin's pomposity go unanswered.

So it's a fighting-fire-with-fire kind of thing?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:25 PM on September 8, 2008


"More importantly, he thinks British English and American English are the same language."

Um. They are. Sorry, old bean. Pip pip.

That LA is a shithole and should be burned to the ground for it's own good."

They tried that, but it turns out no one likes Detroit.
posted by klangklangston at 3:30 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


But if you thought the succession and subsequent surrender were real than you really need to cut back on your meds.

Before you get personal, just so you know, I have traveled extensively* abroad using a Conch Republic passport. Sue me.

On the other, if you have a thing for me, then bring it if you must. I have the secretary general's cel number on speed dial on my phone. And we take our joke seriously down here.

Writing from a place where the chickens run free and with impunity, the idea is that is that most of all we need the joke....to help them find the egg. Get it?

[How about now?]

*By extensively, I mean not only outside of the US but Florida and Virginia, as well.
posted by humannaire at 3:31 PM on September 8, 2008


We get it, you're our beer-drinking blue-collar anti-hipster Everyman. We don't need to be reminded in every thread.

Jonmc can be pretty one note sometimes, but nobody - NOBODY - can beat the same fucking tired drum like chuckdarwin.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 3:32 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just for completeness, some stats about Toronto's diversity.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:36 PM on September 8, 2008


For fuck's sake.

jon, chuck: cut it out. I don't know how I missed this epic pissing contest, but you guys can drop it or take it to email or whatever you need to do, or I can drop it for you.
posted by cortex at 3:38 PM on September 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Seriously, though, the number of people (both in the US and here at home in Canada) who say "it can't be much better than this elsewhere" generally haven't gone looking. And then some of them do. And then that attitude changes. Better everywhere or in every way? No. A lot of places, oh yeah, and in some pretty profound ways.

If that fact sticks in your craw, maybe the thing to do is hit the road with an open mind and find out if you'd agree rather than shoot down the people pointing it out like it's some kind of personal attack. I know it's one thing to tell people your mama is a drunk and have other people tell it to you. But America is getting tarted up and it ain't even dinnertime, and you know before the night is through she's gonna be smacking you around. No, it doesn't happen in every family. Wake up.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:40 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Consider it dropped.
posted by jonmc at 3:40 PM on September 8, 2008


Sorry for the derail, mefites.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:53 PM on September 8, 2008


(Maybe I should have suggested ganging up on Texas instead)
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on September 8, 2008


220+ comments, about some TV anchors? Wow, I better check this thread out!

Oh, I see...
posted by bonefish at 4:27 PM on September 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Folks from round 'ere ain't from round 'ere.
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on September 8, 2008


Yeesh. I need to stop hanging out here, because it's becoming clear to me that self-annointed "nose to the grindstone" Dems like cog_nate are going to guarantee a McCain/Palin victory come November.

Sorry, but apology not accepted. People like you are a cancer.
posted by bardic at 5:29 PM on September 8, 2008


Making Olbermann an anchor is as legit as making O'Reilly an anchor. Neither belong in such a roll.

This is also known as the fallacy of the Golden Mean. Someone should write a book about how the phrase "fair and balanced" has crept into the national mindset as a misconception of both words.
posted by Brian B. at 5:55 PM on September 8, 2008


Matthews is a blowhard, but I have a hard time nailing down his politics. I'll say he's generally right-of-center, but he actually does a pretty decent job of going hard after both sides. Olbermann is a crusader against the actions of the Republicans as well as the clearly biased right-wing news outlets like FOX News. He does go after the Democrats on rare occasion, but honestly, the left just simply doesn't play dirty like the right. I agree with Olbermann most of the time, I just find him incredibly smug and self-satisfied. He trips over himself trying to deliver these rapid fire, just-short-of-rants on the scandal du jour, and his Special Comments should earn him consideration for an Emmy, given the sturm and drang he pours into them. His apology for the Republican Convention's use of the 9/11 footage is a good example of this: he's absolutely right that the Republicans shouldn't have used it and should all be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, but I don't need to see a news anchor on the verge of tears about 9/11, not after all this time, no matter the context. Olbermann's melodrama is just over the top a lot of the time. He's good with the comedy, actually; he'd a good replacement for Jon Stewart on TDS if the need ever arose.
posted by zardoz at 6:08 PM on September 8, 2008


Not to delve into the derail, but the sentiments of "Everyone living in the US! Please fix it so I can come back!" seem... odd... to me.

If you want it to be fixed, well, come help! Here's a shovel. I can get you some boots.

If you don't like it and like living somewhere else, awesome! But then why bug the rest of us to "fix" it? You left! More power to you! But pressuring other people to "fix it" so that then you can just come and waltz on back feels... icky.

Not that saying "neener neener neener, we don't *want* you back" is the answer, but I do wonder, why come back at all? If you're happy where you are, awesome! Why wish for the u-SOFA to change?

(FWIW, I've lived abroad during the Bush administration, and the only reason I'm not down on how much America sucks is that the sad truth is that EVERYWHERE has its problems. I agree with Obama that we're "Better than this." and we need to shape it the hell up, but really, there is no utopian paradise anywhere on the planet, and until I can run away to an island full of cupcakes where everyone poops rainbows, I'm sticking around here because a new and different place just has new and different issues.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:26 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did I say tell people? That would be rude. I meant it's one thing to know...

Anyway, back on topic, when I originally read the thread, I wanted to say what klang said waaaay above. Someone used the term "oasis" to refer to, I think either Olbermann or Jon Stewart, I can't remember which. But the noted "liberal bias" of reality is, to many people, a real thing. They constantly get bombarded with messages that the party that they identify with is in the wrong and driving the country into the shitter. Is this true? Well sure, of course it is. But the result is that FOX becomes the "oasis" for them, with all the relaxing imagery it conjures. Have sympathy for it or don't, but that's the way it is.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:50 PM on September 8, 2008


"Love it or leave it" is an absolute that mashes reality down to over-processed, indigestible pap. So is this attitude that you have abandoned some unspecified duty to your country by living abroad for political reasons or expatriating. No one benefits from this kind of framing.

People are going to be excited about this race, they're going to say things they should regret, and they're going to take things way too seriously, which isn't to say there isn't justification for such imperative, just that there isn't any justification for harsh, absolute judgements as have been on display here. Americans overseas are "doing the heavy lifting" when they vote, just like those of us in the US. That's all we should expect, and even then, if one chooses not to vote that's one's prerogative; no reason to think less of one over it.

I don't know where this "you've abandoned your country" kinda stuff is coming from. Maybe it's just backlash against the Republican ridicule of community organizers. Either way, the evidence is clear: no one makes their case appealing when its coated in vitriol. I don't think bardic or chuckdarwin like this place any more after all this. And that's too bad. None of us should want to drive away good people. We need their support and we need their votes. And they should always feel welcome. This is the liberal ideal, yes?

And just to bring it all back to the topic, this is where Keith went wrong. I understand where he's coming from, though. Presenting the Republican Convention has got to be tough to do with a straight face. But the idea is to be moderate in tone, for the most part. Save the emphasis for those issues that deserve it, so that it has impact. All the other issues can get a measured tone and a full going over with the facts alone. That should be enough.

As an anchor to these major political events, Keith was a valuable asset. He's got a good mind and a commanding presence. He can present a case clearly and comprehensively (for TV). He even has a good grasp of dynamic speaking, he just loses control sometimes. And I suspect working so many hours on these back to back conventions got to him, especially ending with that bullshit fest in St Paul. But to have him at the desk of these major events that draw larger audiences than his show could have been a great service to political discourse on television (well, that and a wrestling match between him and Billo, refereed by Bill Moyers).

This is after all the core of Obama's message and as a supporter, it would have been nice if Keith could have been another exemplar of this message. We can win on the facts. There is no need for drama.

/end sappy rant

You know who would be better? Rachel Maddow. She is the utmost professional. She does a good job of maintaining an even tenor overall while still having plenty of impact with her presentation. She may get a little agitated with Pat Buchanan every now and again, but come on, it's Pat Buchanan. I'm glad she has her own show now.
posted by effwerd at 7:38 PM on September 8, 2008


Thank you, grapefruitmoon. Wish I had said things that clearly.
posted by WCityMike at 8:48 PM on September 8, 2008


I disagree -- often and vehemently - with Olbermann on most issues, but he is damned entertaining on MSNBC. As long as I know where his allegiances are, I have no problem with MSNBC putting him on the air in any capacity they want. Same with Hannity or O'Reilly -- agree with them or not, I know where they stand. None of that namby-pamby "objective" and bland garbage they spoon-feed people on ABC News and such, where people can often see whatever bias they want to (usually to the left, but what are ya gonna do?).

I like my TV news delivered by passionate people - left or right - who at least are able to construct whole sentences, speak memorable phrases, and able to integrate the past with the present in their analysis.
posted by davidmsc at 10:54 PM on September 8, 2008


(Never got a taste for soju, but I imagine it's better over there.)

No, no it really isn't.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:18 AM on September 9, 2008


Let's be clear: I don't know about anyone else, but I do not want anyone to 'fix America for me'. Fix it for yourselves. Fix it for the rest of the world, people who depend on the US economy to stay strong and the US military to act responsibly. Fix it just because it's broken.

why come back at all?

I'm not coming back in any way (waltzing, dancing, stomping), ever. It was never a good fit for me, mainly because of people like the ones in this thread who think I have some moral duty to them just because I had the bad luck to enter the world through an American vagina. I don't ever want to wake up without health coverage again, and I intend not to. I do not think that anyone, not even Barry Obama (whom I hold in high regard) can ever fix the broken health care system, or even affect it in the slightest way. Too much corruption... it's like punching at the ocean, hoping to bruise it.

Yeesh. I need to stop hanging out here...

This thread hasn't put me off metafilter. It would take more than one beer-soaked New Yorker and a few self-appointed 'patriots' to do that.

We need their support and we need their votes.


You've got it, and my stimulus cheque, as noted elsewhere.

there is no utopian paradise anywhere on the planet

No, but sometimes there is a better fit outside the US for folks like me, American or not. I think that dismissing this idea WITHOUT EVER HAVING TRAVELLED is naive and stupid.

Jon emailed me, as per my request, and we 'buried the hatchet' again. I think he should travel, he thinks I should come back. We left it there. We'll never agree completely.

Maybe that's a lesson for all of us.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:45 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Along the same lines, it really blows my mind to see what a powerful and instinctual power nationalism can be, even for American liberals (who'd be considered middle to center-right in the rest of the world). Benedict Anderson, anybody? I mean, I have issues with America like any good patriot should. I do happen to think that if McCain wins in November, and with the dollar and general US economy sucking so hard, this was the perfect time to be an ex-pat for a few years. (And it's fantastic here, btw. Win/win.)

But being told I'm "not wanted back"? I mean, I realize we are all anonymous internet fuckwits, but that's just straight out of the McCarthy playbook. And I'm going to be voting for Obama! And have donated money to his campaign!

So yeah, I'm feeling better about being abroad than I did before. Screwy Republicans and screwy Democrats deserve each other. They truly do. And September 11 is only two days away. That will definitely be a strange time for me. But with all the love and warmth I've gotten from this thread, I think I'll manage to make it through somehow.

XOXOXOXO
posted by bardic at 2:23 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that dismissing this idea WITHOUT EVER HAVING TRAVELLED is naive and stupid.

I really hope you're not directing this at me. I've travelled. A lot. I've lived outside the u-SOFA. I've experienced socialized health care. And I wants it. I've also experienced xenophobia in other countries, which has made me appreciate Americans for the big slobbering mutts that we are.

My comments weren't directed at you personally, and I find it weird how defensive you get about this. The "Bad luck" to be born from an American vagina? Jeez dude, you've moved! Awesome! You found some place that's a good fit for you, and that's fantastic. But why get so *pissy* about the u-SOFA? Just like there are no utopian paradises, every place has good things going for it. Why not be grateful that you were born into a society that allowed you to travel abroad and find what you wanted, rather than a dictatorship that wouldn't even grant you a passport? Or at least, be grateful that you learned English natively and didn't have to master a foreign tongue to fit in your chosen home. Or something. It's hardly "bad luck" to start out anywhere, unless you're starting off like, in Darfur or something. You don't choose where you're born, but you do choose where you go, and you've made yourself a home. That's great. But that's no reason for you to dump on the places that you've decided to leave. If you want us to "fix it" for ourselves, please keep your feces off of it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:49 AM on September 9, 2008


I was directing anything at you, since I have no fucking idea who you are. So, let's start there.

Xenophobia is everywhere, sadly, in varying degrees. I find that not acting like a tourist helps to lessen its frequency.

If, after reading this entire thread, you're surprised at my defensiveness, I feel sorry for you. Try being called a traitor and a coward every time you go on line, and see how it affects you after three years of it.

When I left the US, I didn't lose my right to criticise it. I'll continue to criticise it until my dying breath.

You also can't tell me what I'm meant to be grateful for. I can figure that out for myself, thanks.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:26 AM on September 9, 2008


If, after reading this entire thread, you're surprised at my defensiveness, I feel sorry for you. Try being called a traitor and a coward every time you go on line, and see how it affects you after three years of it.

But you don't agree with the people who are doing the criticizing anyway. So why do their opinions matter so strongly to you in the first place?

I'm not saying they're right to do so, I'm just honestly baffled by the vehemence of your reaction. You have made it very clear that you are much happier in the UK, and that you greatly prefer it to the US, so I don't know why the accusation that you dislike the US gets you up in arms.

The nearest analogy for me would be if someone got up in arms and accused me of hating NASCAR. And -- well, I do. So if someone called me a stuck-up stickybeak because I hated NASCAR, I'd honestly just shrug, because -- well, they're not someone whose opinions I value anyway, so who cares what they think of me? And I've got better things to do with my time than try to defend myself. I'm happier not watching NASCAR anyway, that's clear to me,so what is that kind of agita going to really get me?

And oh -- as for your position that people should travel more? I agree, but not everyone can AFFORD to. Perhaps slack should be cut.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 AM on September 9, 2008


You know, EC, you've hit upon a good point. Why do Americans piss me off so much?

I think it's embarrassment. I hate to be embarrassed by my former countrymen, because their behaviour causes people abroad to misjudge *me* as some kind of a nationalistic, xenophobic thicko who thinks that anyone who doesn't wish to live there is crazy.

Why do Americans care so much what other Americans do? Why does anyone care where I live, FFS? Why do people have an antiquated idea of patriotism? Does my postcode equate to treason? I guess, in some people's (little) minds, it does. And that does kind of piss me off.

Fucking American attitude man; it sucks. And people there wonder "why does the rest of the world hate us so?" Quit acting like you own the place.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:14 AM on September 9, 2008


I would imagine love of country is a little more complex than love of NASCAR. And impugning someone's love of country is hardly comparable to being called names over a dislike of NASCAR.

Dissent and criticism done in good faith are important. Comparing it to shit is rude. People speak up when they care.
posted by effwerd at 5:53 AM on September 9, 2008


And now poor old David Gregory will be a lone. MSNBC, doing what Fox would never would, has traded in the appearance of objectivity for the loneliness of one of its finest.
posted by dskinner at 5:53 AM on September 9, 2008


I would imagine love of country is a little more complex than love of NASCAR. And impugning someone's love of country is hardly comparable to being called names over a dislike of NASCAR.

It was the best thing I could come up with pre-caffine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 AM on September 9, 2008


So apparently he chose the alias "chuckdarwin" as an ironic joke, because his antics in this thread clearly he show that has some evolving to do.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:38 AM on September 9, 2008


"When I left the US, I didn't lose my right to criticise it. I'll continue to criticise it until my dying breath."

Good for you, chum. But it's pretty goddamn easy to ignore it as the spluttering of an Anglophile disconnected from the life on the ground here. I mean, Christ, you can't even spell criticize right. Sounds like sour grapes, or quinces or whatever they call 'em there.
posted by klangklangston at 9:24 AM on September 9, 2008


disconnected from the life on the ground here

If only. The media spotlight on America is particularly bright at the moment.

can't even spell criticize right


Your ignorance is showing, Jethro. You might want to tuck back in.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:48 AM on September 9, 2008


The media spotlight on America is particularly bright at the moment.

And the media has been doing such a great job of actually conveying reality, yes.

Your ignorance is showing, Jethro.

Could we not have a rehash, please?
posted by cortex at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2008


Quince

Grapes

Dude with a pistol
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2008


And the media has been doing such a great job of actually conveying reality, yes.

Sort 'em out, then. They're Americans, right?
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:55 AM on September 9, 2008


"Close, but no cigar, Jan. I live in a part of the city where there are no cameras :-)"

That does not mean that there are not CCTV cameras in your city. Or do you believe that reality blinks out when you close your eyes?

"If only. The media spotlight on America is particularly bright at the moment."

I see that you've clung to the peculiar American stupidity that holds a mediated experience equal to an unmediated experience, despite moving abroad.

"Your ignorance is showing, Jethro. You might want to tuck back in."

I put the worm on the hook, you put the hook in your mouth…
posted by klangklangston at 10:57 AM on September 9, 2008


I live in a part of the city where there are no cameras

That's not what you said. You said there were no cameras in your town. That's not true.

I, too, live in a place with no cameras, until I walk down the high street, or approach a bus stop, or an ATM, or a traffic light, or a car park, or a school or ... or... or... It's the same in every part of the UK and your town is no exception.
posted by essexjan at 11:00 AM on September 9, 2008


The nearest analogy for me would be if someone got up in arms and accused me of hating NASCAR.

Can I start a derail, huh, can I?

Racing cars = operating machinery

Operating machinery (e.g., doing teh washing, mowing teh lawn) /= sport

Racing cars /= sport

Quod Erat Demonstrandum
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:06 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cracking an English history book. . .

N.A.M. Rodger would be my recommendation, but then I love all things Maritime :)

I think it's embarrassment. I hate to be embarrassed by my former countrymen, because their behaviour causes people abroad to misjudge *me* as some kind of a nationalistic, xenophobic thicko who thinks that anyone who doesn't wish to live there is crazy.

I have traveled to the UK and Western Europe since the Iraq War. My impression was that people are not happy with the US government (understatement). But living abroad are things that bad for an American? How do you experience it? Is it from co-workers, people on the street, what?

ortho Dude, I hear you, but... CCTV cameras everywhere, local councils accessing your internet history, a 10-finger fingerprint for a national Id card. That's worse than the US.

There is a real conversation to be had about the differences between civil liberties in the US the UK and other countries. I have tried it before on Metafilter.
posted by mlis at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2008


I was directing anything at you, since I have no fucking idea who you are. So, let's start there.

Xenophobia is everywhere, sadly, in varying degrees. I find that not acting like a tourist helps to lessen its frequency.

If, after reading this entire thread, you're surprised at my defensiveness, I feel sorry for you. Try being called a traitor and a coward every time you go on line, and see how it affects you after three years of it.


As for a "fucking idea who I am," I'm someone who has lived abroad during my short time on this planet and the xenophobia I've experienced in other cultures has absolutely squat to do with "acting like a tourist."

I suppose you'll just spend the rest of your time on MeFi feeling sorry for me, rather than trying to engage in any sort of discussion. If you were going for the "nastiest answer wins" sort of debate, you definitely won. I'm certainly going to do my best to simply avoid you from here on out.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:52 PM on September 9, 2008


It's the same in every part of the UK and your town is no exception.

Split, then. You're the unhappy Brit, not me.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:59 PM on September 9, 2008


Ah, yes, the nationalism of the converted. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ENGLAND EVER!
posted by klangklangston at 5:38 PM on September 9, 2008


....wait.

Chuckdarwin to essexjam:

Split, then. You're the unhappy Brit, not me.

So...when other Americans slam YOU for being a traitor, it's not okay, but when a fellow British citizen expresses dissatisfaction, you tell THEM they should leave, and that IS okay.

Hmm.

....I'm afraid I can't follow these particular logic paths concentrate during a conversation, so I'll just be saying "nice talking to you" and be heading on now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Split, then. You're the unhappy Brit, not me.

1. Nowhere did I say I was unhappy. I was merely pointing out the errors/untruths in your argument.

2. I'm not a Brit.
posted by essexjan at 12:41 AM on September 10, 2008


There is a real conversation to be had about the differences between civil liberties in the US the UK and other countries. I have tried it before on Metafilter.

I wouldn't waste my time, MLIS. Everyone here seems to think the US is paradise.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:13 AM on September 10, 2008


Y'know I was trying to avoid engaging with you, chuckdarwin, but on this note, I feel the need to point out that you are being willfully obtuse.

Everyone here seems to think the US is paradise.

I believe I myself said that "NOWHERE is paradise." That includes the US. I don't recall hearing any "the US is the greatest place on Earth!" arguments (except maybe for jonmc, though he was mostly specifically talking about NYC and not the US as a whole), though several people have been trying to point out that it is not the rampant hellhole that it has been painted to be.

If you want to argue with people, it would be best to at least listen to them else you look rather foolish, as you do here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:27 AM on September 10, 2008


[a few comments remoevd - take back and forth angrifying stuff to metatalk or emaik]
posted by jessamyn at 6:19 AM on September 10, 2008


Cheers, jessamyn. I appreciate it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:36 AM on September 10, 2008


This emaik, it vibrates? Sorry, couldn't resist.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:45 PM on September 10, 2008




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