The soundtrack is awesome, isn't it? Pounding the ink stamp is a staple
of negative political advertising, but this is the Hammering of the Ink Stamp of Hell wielded by the hand of Satan Himself, echoing
back from the Great Hall of the Netherworld. I have to admit, though, that the requisite Doomsday Chorus
isn't quite up to that standard.
The content, of course, is even more breathtaking. At the top of the list
is the Sharpton clip. It's not just that it's taken out of context. The really remarkable thing is the kind of
reality editing that I wrote about below. All the YouTube versions of this clip were posted by wingers, and all are labelled something like "Sharpton admits
Obama's a Socialist." But you don't have to listen all that carefully to understand what Sharpton's saying:
The Fox guy says something like "Some would argue that it's socialism,"
and Sharpton explains that if that's true then the country voted overwhelmingly for socialism. Because, you see, the
country voted overwhelmingly for Obama.
What, exactly, causes them to miss this? Is it dishonesty? Stupidity?
Bad hearing? Or just a perceptual filter, so that they honestly don't hear the Fox guy's comment or understand Sharpton's
syllogism. I'll go with perceptual filter for the former and stupidity for the latter. Maybe it's the irony behind
the syllogism. Irony always seems to throw them.
Then there's the Alcee Hastings clip, which is actually spliced together to
say something he didn't say. What he said is:
“I wish that I had
been there when Thomas Edison made the remark that I think applies here: ‘There ain’t
no rules around here — we’re trying to accomplish something.’ And therefore, when the deal goes down, all this talk about
rules, we make ‘em up as we go along, and I’m here now 18 years, and a significant
amount of that time here on this committee under the leadership of the Republicans…”
It takes real balls to misquote someone by splicing their words together
with their own quotation of someone else. And, again, irony.
Hastings's point was that the R's had used "deem and pass" when they were in the majority. And not only did they use reconciliation for substantive bills -- that technique was
pioneered by none other than the Reagan Administration. Now that was making it up as we go along.
But speaking of making up the rules, how about the Hastert Rule? No Democratic bills ever reached the floor for a vote while Denny Hastert was Speaker because he made up something
called the "majority of the majority" rule. A bill came to the floor, not through the regular committee process,
but only if a majority of the Republican caucus voted to allow it to.
And then there's the Medicare Part D vote. After the standard 15 minute vote, the bill was defeated, so Hastert held the vote open for another three hours
until he could switch enough votes. Innovative and ad hoc!
If only the Democrats could say "We will remember." But somehow all of this has gone down the
It's rather too bad for the
kittens, but we find ourselves compelled to discuss "epistemic closure," a subject we had planned to avoid, as it is hopelessly
middlebrow altogether (adjusts monocle, brushes invisible dust speck from shirt-cuff, flays peasant). It ought to be sufficient
to observe that "conservatives" spew all sorts of preposterous cod-intellectual horseshit, and leave it at that. "Epistemic
closure" is I suppose a way of saying that nicely enough so you can still have nice polite conversations with the
people you've just called morons. Which is of course just wanking. The proper response for the scientist is to drop the specimens
in the bell jar and never mind how they caterwaul. The proper response for the blogger is to fill the bell jars with pee.