Thursday, January 28, 2010

Teabaggers in The New Yorker

I have to say, the article by Ben McGrath in this week's The New Yorker about the Tea Party Patriots™ is pretty bad--a prime example of a left-leaning magazine bending over backwards to be "fair" to the other side. The trouble begins with the opening picture, of Glenn Beck presiding over a bunch of people holding typical nutty-ass teabagger signs. The caption: "Liberals saw the activists as caricatures--mere tools of right-wing media figures like Glenn Beck. They were wrong." Uh?

The bulk of the article consists of profiles of less visibly-insane teabaggers; there are references to your birther-types, but these are exclusively used as lead-ins to "oh ho--look how the other teabaggers (not that McGrath would use that word) (by strong implication the bulk of them) are eager to disassociate themselves from such boorish behavior." Hey, there's nothing wrong with presenting the less unhinged-looking of the movement--I'm sure there are plenty of people who are very nice in their personal dealings who also honestly and sincerely believe that the economy should be permitted to collapse and people dying due to lack of affordable health care should ess tee eff you. Maybe in other areas of their life, they're perfectly smart/non-evil. People are nothing if not complex. But the fact remains that Glenn Beck--without whom this 'movement' wouldn't exist--is a demonstrably crazy person, and as anyone can easily see by looking at a sampling of pictures of signs at teabagger rallies, a lot of his followers ain't so hinged either. Oh ho! But wait! Are you somehow under the impression that the whole movement has been ginned up by Faux News and their ilk? THINK AGAIN.

Yet the presence of paid FreedomWorks operatives at meetings...handing out Obamacare translator leaflets and legislator "leave-behinds" would be cause for greater skepticism if the civilians in attendance weren't already compiling binders of their own and reciting from memory the troublesome implications buried on Page 59 of House Resolution 3200.

That's right--they have BINDERS! Suck on that, skeptics! Also, they've memorized passages from bills! Which they totally did NOT only learn about in the first place from Beck and Hannity! It's unclear to me what sort of behavior, in McGrath's mind, would indicate that the movement IS directed by outsiders. If the fact that Faux literally sponsored their big rally in September is meaningless to him, I think convincing him of anything might be a lost cause.

Oh there are more delights here. Watch McGrath uncritically quote the teabaggers' highball attendance numbers (AHEM) for the aforementioned rally! Watch him describe them as "defiantly nonpartisan!" Watch him sympathetically quote Dick Army! But don't bother looking for any mention of people carrying firearms to town hall debates and shouting down speakers to prevent any contrary view from being heard. That would have disrupted the narrative, and would have been decidedly unfair and unbalanced.

Seriously, The New Yorker, come the fuck on--it's not that everything you publish is always a home run, but you very rarely flat-out suck. This article, however, does more than suck--it fucking sucks. What with this and that awful Michael Savage hagiography you did a while back, you're making me embarrassed to be a subscriber; much more of this you are going to be stripped of your "best magazine in the English language" title.


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