Anti-goatee qualities: At least one columnist has blazed it
May 24, 2017 9:27 AM   Subscribe

"A Guide to Conservative Publications: Which ones are trolling you, and which ones are simply bad?" by Alex Nichols in The Outline.
How thoroughly do they embody the worst characteristics of conservative writing? How smug are they? How convinced are they of their own superior intellect? Are they painfully, seethingly horny? As many of the worst specimens delight in terrifying the world with poor grooming decisions, our measuring stick will be the goatee, here affixed to a tiny troll face. The longer the goatee, the more batshit insane the publication.

For more coverage of Last Man Standing, here again is Alex Nichols in The Outline: Tim Allen's career is a metaphor for America.
After his release, the troubled Tim Alan Dick became the straightlaced Tim Allen, Dick. As a convicted felon with no appreciable skillset, his employment options were limited to only the most undiscerning industries: street crime and 1980s stand-up comedy. He chose the latter option, rising through the ranks on the strength of his material: a readthrough of the Sears catalog punctuated by grunting noises.
posted by Rustic Etruscan (38 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
No Blaze? No Taki's? No Washington Times?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:41 AM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


how many bowties to the goatee?
posted by thelonius at 9:42 AM on May 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


I find facial hair to be a peculiar measurement for this particular subject because most conservatives I've known strive to restore their face to pre-pubescent smooth like they are afraid to give up their selfish childhood impulses and be an adult who has to live in a world with other people.
posted by hippybear at 9:45 AM on May 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


I am super skeptical that the New York Times deserves more goatees than the Daily Caller.
posted by corb at 9:45 AM on May 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


Holy christ, that Tim Allen article white-text-on-blue-background hurts my eyeballs.
posted by rocketman at 9:57 AM on May 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


This is a mocking article that does nothing to properly analyze nor look insightfully at conservative publications. It's designed click bait for a certain audience already 100% certain that their understanding of conservatives is rightous and that they'll receive high-fives all around for snarky comments.
posted by lstanley at 10:06 AM on May 24, 2017 [29 favorites]


Most of those sites are neocon, which isn't the same thing as conservative. This is the big story that I wish the media would dig into, that the right wing base has rejected neoconservatism, which is why Trump won the Republican primary and also why so many of those sites hate Trump more than progressives hate him. The GOP is literally breaking in half.
posted by Beholder at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


I am absolutely sure it's righteous, and I'm totally gonna give anyone here who wants it high fives for liking it.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:13 AM on May 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


so many of those sites hate Trump more than progressives hate him.

You underestimate me
posted by beerperson at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2017 [53 favorites]


MetaFilter: designed click bait for a certain audience already 100% certain that their understanding of conservatives is righteous and that they'll receive high-fives all around for snarky comments.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2017 [13 favorites]


Not getting into the specifics of the ratings, because holy shit, “Sanctuary City Mayor Trashes American Hero Robert E. Lee.” This was written and published on a website attempting to appear respectable. The fuck? (Not going to link to the article, because fuck them, but I cannot believe that anyone would publish that on a website without swastikas on the front page.)
posted by Hactar at 10:17 AM on May 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


There are people on this website who still get the sads over anyone trashing Lee and/or the Confederacy.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on May 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


The GOP is literally breaking in half.

If it is, then so too are the Democrats. There seems to be a pretty big divide between the "fuck this shit let's try socialism" camp and the "baby steps towards universal healthcare is the way/we just weren't center enough" folks.
posted by graventy at 10:29 AM on May 24, 2017 [15 favorites]


rocketman: "Holy christ, that Tim Allen article white-text-on-blue-background hurts my eyeballs."

Um... dude you just posted that on METAFILTER. Everyone using the classic /modern dark theme is rolling their eyes at you right now.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:51 AM on May 24, 2017 [32 favorites]


Bunch of sites and papers are missing and shouldn't be. The Blaze, Washington Times, American Spectator, WSJ, Human Events.

Also, the main link doesn't differentiate between op-eds and reporting from actual editors/journalists on the sites or papers. Breitbart's front page is filled with batshit articles written by their staff reporters. Conservative conspiracy theories, articles fellating various Republicans and their policies and trashing Democrats, etc.

The New York Times runs opinion pieces by anti-science idiots like Bret Stephens. (How the man still has a column in the paper is beyond my understanding.)

The two aren't equivalent. Even if we argue that the Times doing a greater disservice to the public by offering dumbass Conservative viewpoints to a larger audience, that doesn't make them a Conservative newspaper. The Wall Street Journal is way more conservative in its articles and has more readers than the Times.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on May 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Um... dude you just posted that on METAFILTER. Everyone using the classic /modern dark theme is rolling their eyes at you right now.

I don't care. I am right.
posted by rocketman at 10:57 AM on May 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: I don't care. I am right.


If ever there was a perfect site motto....
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on May 24, 2017 [30 favorites]


The insight to be gleaned here is that, for all the obnoxiousness of Breitbart and other new right-wing sites, it's the genteel publications like National Review that have done the most damage, by putting an intellectual sheen on white supremacy and the upward redistribution of wealth. Including the NYT is trolly, yes, but the fact is that center-right and right-wing voices have far more influence on their opinion pages than center-left and left-wing voices do. Which is worse: The Weekly Standard reflexively saber-rattling, or the NYT op-ed page saying, in sober, stentorian tones, that a new war in Syria (or Iraq or Iran or North Korea) is sadly necessary? It is the paper of record, which is why it's a big deal when utterly misguided ideas get so much play on its pages.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:05 AM on May 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


This article is just self-aware enough to mock its premise in the opening paragraph, yet tacky enough to ham-fistedly hack its way through that premise just the same.

Ugh.
posted by sp160n at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Outline is my online enemy. It uses its gorgeous web design to snark, dissipate, and inflame for the sake of Method soaps and Cadillac vehicles. I was so excited for it when it first launched- it felt like it was going to be a grand web design experiment that celebrated media literacy while pushing the boundaries of what it meant to be reading on the internet. But it's become the opinion piece headline reader for those who want an edgier leftist reddit front page.

The Outline is a symptom of a terrible trend of people online talking over each other, but to me, it is the worst offender. I have never seen a publication so insistent on telling you what to think within just the meta description and title tags of the web page. It's dangerous. People are looking up arguments in their own words on Google and The Outline is their source of prewritten polemics to send their conservative Facebook friends that they haven't ghosted yet. The Outline is the worlds most streamlined version of this

A lot of their articles are great too, but that doesn't really matter, you'll know if you like them or not. It's not for everyone, it's for you, remember?
posted by weewooweewoo at 11:20 AM on May 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Are there any conservative websites, like actually conservative, not neo-con/white-nationalist/etc., that are worth reading as a bleeding-heart liberal?

Serious question.
posted by SansPoint at 11:38 AM on May 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Including the NYT is trolly, yes, but the fact is that center-right and right-wing voices have far more influence on their opinion pages than center-left and left-wing voices do.

Yeah, this is demonstrably untrue. Most days, the ratio of progressive and left wing columns on the Times op-ed page is much higher than the right. And their daily editorial from the NYT staff usually leans pretty left as well.

Let's look at the current batch of op-eds.

LEFT
Trump’s Budget Takes Aim at My Sweet Son
Why Saudi Women Are Literally Living ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
Trump vs. Math
The Price of ‘Disability Denial’
Trump’s Budget Doesn’t Make Sense
Mitch Landrieu’s Speech on the Removal of Confederate Monuments in New Orleans (This is a transcript, not a column.)

RIGHT
Macron’s Disastrous Eurozone Plan
What Made Theresa May Run With the Pack (Cowell usually leans right, so I'm including him here, but there isn't much to this op-ed that's right wing.)

APOLITICAL
What an Attack at an Ariana Grande Show Means for Teen Girls
Manchester’s Resilience

Yesterday's editorials included a heartbreaking one by Monica Lewinsky detailing what Roger Ailes and Fox had done to her. That's not to say the paper doesn't give a regular space to dangerous idiots like Bret Stephens. But no, overall the right wing does not get more column inches (or columns) than the left. Quite the opposite.

Which is worse: The Weekly Standard reflexively saber-rattling, or the NYT op-ed page saying, in sober, stentorian tones, that a new war in Syria (or Iraq or Iran or North Korea) is sadly necessary? It is the paper of record, which is why it's a big deal when utterly misguided ideas get so much play on its pages.

I think the paper's reach and influence should definitely be considered by the Op-Ed page editors before they choose to print climate- or science-denying garbage. But there's still a difference between an opinion column and articles researched and written by actual journalists. Could we find examples of right-leaning articles in the paper? Sure. But the Times' reporting leans left and has for decades -- especially in its local reporting.
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on May 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


Founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, the National Review exists to give humanity’s worst instincts a thin justification. Buckley’s life’s work was to create a new, more noxious brand of American conservatism that wedded backwoods Christianity to robber-baron economic policies.

Seems about right. I watched Best of Enemies a few months ago and was reminded all over again what a smarmy shitheal Buckley was.
posted by octothorpe at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Are there any conservative websites, like actually conservative, not neo-con/white-nationalist/etc., that are worth reading as a bleeding-heart liberal?

You might enjoy the Christian Science Monitor.
posted by corb at 11:45 AM on May 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


corb: As long as I avoid their science and medicine writing...
posted by SansPoint at 11:50 AM on May 24, 2017


Are there any conservative websites, like actually conservative, not neo-con/white-nationalist/etc., that are worth reading as a bleeding-heart liberal?

The Economist, if you can find non-paywalled stuff.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:07 PM on May 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


"Are there any conservative websites, like actually conservative, not neo-con/white-nationalist/etc., that are worth reading as a bleeding-heart liberal?"

The American Conservative is probably a little better than TFA might indicate. Yes, there's a lot of religious stuff, but Catholic social teaching is pretty liberal (at least compared to mainstream Republican social thought), and there's some dissent from right-wing orthodoxy on things like social services and labor. The foreign policy stuff is stoutly anti-interventionist, not to the point of pacifism, but anti-militarism. You'll want to skip the identity politics stuff, though. I would recommend reading Rod, though. You will not agree with him, but he's a thoughtful person who is a good entry point into right-wing thought. (The analogy I use is Ta-Nahesi Coates. Coates will not find much in common with conservatives, but he will at least respect them enough to take arguments seriously, and his comments section is full of respectful dialog. Rod is similar.) There's a New Yorker profile of him from last month if you'd like an intro.

There are some pretty niche sites whose readership probably isn't much beyond me, but they're at least interesting from an intellectual perspective. Front Porch Republic, Postmodern Conservatism, etc. Here's a guide.

Some of the more intellectual sites/magazines will still probably piss you off, but they're less screechy than the pundit sites at least. The New Criterion (art), Claremont Review of Books (book review), The New Atlantis (science-y stuff, broadly defined), First Things (religion), Humanitas (the humanities), the University Bookman (book review)... I don't think any of these will change your mind on major issues, but at least you (probably) won't throw your computer across the room reading them. And you'll find occasional non-partisan articles that might be enjoyable. The New Criterion, for example, features (classical) music criticism from Jay Nordlinger, who's unquestionably a right-winger (he used to write for National Review), but his music column is about music, not politics.

The WSJ editorial page is probably worth reading from a know-your-enemy perspective, although they're truly awful people. As are most conservative bloggers and pundits. (And I'm a conservative, saying that, which should tell you how awful they truly are.)
posted by kevinbelt at 12:26 PM on May 24, 2017 [15 favorites]


The WSJ editorial page is probably worth reading from a know-your-enemy perspective, although they're truly awful people.

Just to add to this... the WSJ's op-ed page is run by James Taranto. Until January of this year, Taranto compiled a column called "Best of the Web" that ran in the online version of the paper five days a week. BotW got its start as an email reading list way back in 2000 that linked to articles and essays from around the web the Journal op-ed staff thought would interest their readers. Back then, Taranto ran OpinionJournal, so he was a natural fit for BotW.

It was very right wing. Taranto used to be a publicist, and knew how to write persuasive editorials. BotW link roundups were stridently neo-con, fearmongeringly xenophobic and racist. They regularly attacked the poor, the homeless, women and a variety of "liberal" issues, including feminism, gay marriage and abortion. In 17 years, his opinions don't appear to have changed much.

On the other hand, Best of the Web has changed. A little. It's now run by James Freeman and has become marginally less offensive but still pushes a relentlessly conservative point of view. If you can't stand reading the Journal's entire editorial page, BotW might be easier to stomach.
posted by zarq at 12:54 PM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


wait, hold on, the article is about what websites are trolling you, and it claims that the ny times is trollier than breitbart? so should i conclude this claim itself was some kind of ... Metatroll?
posted by wibari at 12:57 PM on May 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


The GOP is literally breaking in half.

If it is, then so too are the Democrats.


That's because Republicans have moved so far to the right that it's allowed Democrats to move to right and still look better in comparison. I don't believe this was accidental.
posted by Beholder at 12:58 PM on May 24, 2017


The Economist, if you can find non-paywalled stuff.

Ten free articles + selective cookie deletion = infinite Economist
posted by clawsoon at 1:47 PM on May 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


The Economist, if you can find non-paywalled stuff.

Good timing for this article today: How The Economist Thinks
posted by Space Coyote at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Space Coyote: Good timing for this article today: How The Economist Thinks

Great article.
[The Economist] objected to Baptist’s brutal depiction of the slave trade, saying the book did not qualify as “an objective history of slavery” because “almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.”
Jesus Christ.
posted by clawsoon at 3:24 PM on May 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


The Economist's obituary for Roger Ailes, published today, is... was The Economist always this slimy? Was I just naive?
posted by clawsoon at 7:56 PM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Another vote for the OP link being way too snarky & vapid for my tastes. I was ready for a nice takedown but this wasn't one--and the whole entertainment culture approach to political discussion is IMO a big part of how we got here.

Re The Economist: Daniel Davies more than once said Americans will say the Economist is bad on covering the Americas but OK to learn what's happening in Asia, Asians will say it has no clue about Asia but is valuable for it's European insights, and Europeans know it's crap on Europe but a good source for America and Asia.

@clawsoon: Wow, that is really horrible. I kept reading, looking for the point it got better, but it's like an editor cut out the four or five paragraphs that would pivoted it into something just normally bad instead of just this bizarre the World-According-to-Ailes write up.

Could we find examples of right-leaning articles in the paper? Sure. But the Times' reporting leans left and has for decades -- especially in its local reporting.

I can't speak to the local stuff but as a long time (now ex-)subscriber the "lean left" nationally is a YMMV type statement. It is definitely sympathetic to mainstream Democrats on most social issues like race, immigration and sexuality. And it is not knee-jerk hostile to government programs. On the other hand it is instinctively sympathetic to the rich, heroic entrepeneur narratives, and upper middle class professionals. You won't find much pro-union sentiment informing their coverage. And its reporting was exceedingly bad on Trump, Clinton, and the Iraq War, in all those cases the mistakes favored the partisans on the right in mattes of national importance.

I tend to think most reporters & editors are left of center but that this gives them bizarre blind spots--like a tendency to consider people to their left as radicals. Or bragging post election about how they wrote "just as much" bad stuff on Clinton as they did on Trump, as if that showed independence when what it really showed is an inability to recognize how much more bad stuff Trump was doing.
posted by mark k at 11:10 PM on May 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yeah, if you can look behind the 'and that, children, is why markets are the solution to everything' homily that seems to permeate every issue of the Economist, their reporting is OK. Obviously that means it’s fairly shallow, but that’s going to be true of any 2-3 page article on a given complex, often international topic. Years ago I subscribed, but eventually I let it drop after I realised I was tired of having to work out which bits were the Economist viewpoint leaking into the 'objective' reportage & I could get a lot of the reportage elsewhere. It’s worth flicking through occasionally to see what the Economist thinks the global elite ought to be thinking about the topic du jour though.

I thought the Ailes obituary was fairly straight & very much in the Economist house style however. Generally Economist obits don't moralise about their subjects: Compare with their bio of Osama Bin Laden for instance. The Ailes obit follows the same pattern of trying to give a thumbnail sketch of a person & describe their achievements in terms of the values of the subject in question. If you want a "here’s how terrible person X was" obit, then the Economist is not the place to find it - they’re more interested in the 'here’s what drove this person & how they saw themselves' style of obituary.
posted by pharm at 1:51 AM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


One for the "conservative publication" column: right-wing natsec wonk Tom Nichols opining that the Montana Congressional candidate Gianforte's recent assault on the reporter Ben Jacobs is a good reason to get rid of early voting. Because early voting makes it easier for poor people to vote, getting rid of it would actually make it easier for right-wing candidates like Gianforte to win. But Tom Nichols surely knows that.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, at the same time it's fucking unreal a candidate can literally repeatedly punch a reporter and still possibly walk off with a win on the strength of early ballots which are possible but extremely difficult to invalidate.
posted by corb at 6:10 PM on May 25, 2017


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