Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
Poor Cal Thomas. In trying to argue a conservative Christianist case this week against the Iowa Supreme Court's wise decision on gay marriage, he wound up satirizing himself yet again.
When Meredith Willson wrote the wildly popular musical "The Music Man"
half a century ago, Harold Hill proclaimed trouble had come to River
City, Iowa in the form of a pool hall, which he claimed would corrupt
young people unless the local citizens bought the musical instruments
he was selling and got their kids into a marching band. He promised
that playing music would keep kids from "fritterin' away their
mealtime, suppertime, chore time, too" ...
Neither Willson, nor his mythical character Hill, could have foreseen
what "trouble" the Iowa Supreme Court has brought on the state (and
potentially the nation) when it unanimously ruled that denying same-sex
couples the right to marry "does not substantially further any
important government objective"...
The battle over same-sex marriage is on the way to being lost. For conservatives who still have faith in the political system to reverse the momentum, you are — to recall Harold Hill — "closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge."
Thomas' problem? If you'll recall your Broadway history, The Music Manis a story about a con man. That "trouble" they had right there in River City? There wasn't any. Just a con man trying to sell musical instruments by manipulating a bunch of rubes via drummed-up fears of a corrupting influence.
I'm on the record as believing a pretty simple premise: Fox News is the TV propaganda wing of the Republican Party. I don't put it in the same category as the other TV news outlets.
I know others believe that innate liberalism among the press in general makes all news organizations except Fox de facto organs of the Democratic Party, and after years of arguing about that premise, I just don't bother anymore. If you believe that, go ahead and believe it.
Anyway, having been a vocal critic of Fox, I feel some responsibility to post clips that argue against my belief that the channel is purely right-wing propaganda. Here's a clip of Shep Smith committing actual, responsible journalism in an interview with the bizarre political figure "Joe the Plumber."
This could go several ways. I could be fundamentally wrong (it's happened before -- more times than I'd like to admit). This could be a rogue act by a journalist who is fed up with the pretend journalism at his network. This could be an ideological division within Fox. Or maybe it represents pushback within the conservative movement, which is having some fascinating internal debates about identity, direction and responsibility right now.
There are times in the history of our nation when
our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to
the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon
to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old
habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes.
Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must
either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is
such a moment.
“Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing
100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean
carbon-free sources within 10 years. This goal is achievable,
affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all
Americans – in every walk of life: to our political leaders,
entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”
Well. There's a simple, visionary plan from a guy whose life has earned him the credibility and stature to propose it: Reverse the trend in carbon emissions, end our dependency on foreign oil (thereby changing our relationship to the Middle East) and kick start our economy with new industries, new products, new services, new public works projects.
We rallied around Kennedy's call to put a man on the moon in 10 years and to do other grand things, "because they are hard." Well, we've got a better reason to do this: Because it's going to save our sorry asses.
Sure, we'll have the usual people telling us this is just more stupid libtard stuff. And to put it bluntly, screw 'em. They've had their time, and they blew it.
Anyway, I've just started a group at MyBarackObama.com to encourage the explicit adoption of this challenge. I'll post the URL as soon as it gets processed.
Reforming our corrupted and corrupting political system is Job No. 1 for Americans during the coming political era, and here's video of Xark hero Larry Lessig laying out the case for his Change Congress movement during his keynote address a week ago at the National Media Reform Conference.
If you haven't donated to Change Congress yet, please do. If you haven't taken the Change Congress pledge, please do that, too. And if you haven't taken the time yet to introduce yourself to these simple but transformative ideas, please watch this video (28 minutes) and wrap your brain around Lessig's clear, profound ideas.
I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan, and my estimation of her has diminished geometrically since April. But when Clinton supporters say that they're mad about sexism in the news media, don't dismiss it as sour grapes. They've got a legit beef.
There is no better phrase to describe the animating feature of the
modern Limbaugh/Kristol/Fox News conservative faction than "threatened
tribalism." The belief that they are good and pure, yet subjected to
unprecedented systematic unfairness and threatened by some lurking Evil
Other against whom war must be waged (the Muslim, the Immigrant, the
Terrorist, the Communist, the Liberal, the Welfare Queen) is the
centerpiece of their ugly worldview.
The sentiments expressed here by Instapunk are now most commonly
expressed towards the New Enemy -- the Muslim -- but the Wright episode
is a nice reminder of how seamlessly it gets directed towards a whole
host of other threatening, bad groups. Hence the blithe application of
the term "sleeper cells" to black Americans. That's what coalesces them
and justifies everything. What matters is that there be some scary,
malicious group about to harm them and America. The identity of the
particular scary group at any given moment is really secondary.
Stoking those fears is a predictable mass-media function. Then again, lock-step-talking-point-mass-media attacks appear to have some limits...