Entry from October 31, 2010

Michael Tomasky of The Guardian had to admit that his worst fear about the Stewart-Colbert Rally on the Washington Mall yesterday — “that Fox would capture images of potentially offensive signage and go to [sic] town” — was not realized, but only because (he said) Fox “resolutely ignored” the rally. Also, we’d have to wait and see if the evil Murdochites may yet have picked up on one or two of the signs he saw on television — “mostly about witches, it seemed, referring to you-know-who” — that might prove Fox-fodder. But I saw the rally reported on Fox, which seemed to report it pretty sympathetically, and for the sign on which prominent Republicans — including the Jewish Eric Cantor — were given Hitler moustaches you had to go to the Internet.

I thought it odd at the time that Mr Tomasky had slammed Fox’s coverage proleptically, before the rally had even taken place. “Jon Stewart still calls out to sensible America,” he wrote. “Fox won”t: His ‘rally for sanity’ this weekend is a laudable enterprise. But Fox News and friends will make it look like a liberal hatefest” Why was he already discounting Fox’s treatment of the “liberal hatefest”? Could it be that he thought there might be some justice in the charge? Also, isn’t there just the teensiest hint of the hatefest implicit in that word “sanity” — which is what Mr Stewart used to describe what he was rallying to restore? What was this if it is not calling the Glenn Becks of the world, to which the Stewart rally is an obvious riposte, insane? As the great James Taranto of the Murdochite Wall Street Journal wrote:

Tomorrow afternoon in Washington, Comedy Central showman Jon Stewart will hold what he bills as a “Rally to Restore Sanity.” The Daily Caller more accurately dubs it the “Rally to Mock Likely Voters.” The rally’s website explains: “We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying.” Apparently what happened was that Stewart heard voters were “mad,” meaning angry, and misunderstood it to mean that they are “mad,” meaning insane. Thus the rally seems likely to defeat its stated intent. If someone is angry, disparaging him as insane will only make him madder.

As it happens, I decided to skip the rally myself and instead visit one of my favorite Internet aggregator sites, BookForum. Here’s what I found there, with the 28 separate links to articles seeking to delegitimize the political views of the Tea Party left out.

From The Exiled, Yasha Levine on how Tea Party Republicans are nothing but Big Government whores, just like their billionaire masters. David Rosen on the strange sexual obsessions driving the Tea Party Movement. Here are six midterm candidates who will ruin your sex life. The Tea Party movement has two defining traits: status anxiety and anarchism. The Party Crashers: Time magazine goes behind the new Republican revival. All the talk of shaking up the establishment notwithstanding, once they take office the Tea Partiers will fit comfortably within the GOP. Is the Tea Party just a big scam? Lefty academics convene in Berkeley to try to make sense of the Tea Party movement. A review of books on the Tea Parties. Confounding Fathers: Sean Wilentz on the Tea Party’s Cold War forebears. The Founding Fathers vs. the Tea Party: Movements that regularly summon the ghosts of the framers end up promoting an uncomfortably one-sided reading of history (and more). A look at 5 constitutional amendments that constitution-loving tea partiers would change. A look at when the Tea Party takes over the comics page. It used to be that a clownish past could disqualify you from office — not anymore, but it still shouldn’t get you elected. From Church & State, a special issue on the resurrection of the Religious Right. An interview with Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (and more and more). The upstart energy of the Tea Party is beginning to coalesce with the organizing savvy of the religious right — and putting the force of religious zeal behind the Tea Party’s anti-government fanaticism. A look at how nativist militias are getting a Tea-Party makeover. White America has lost its mind: The white brain, beset with worries, finally goes haywire in spectacular fashion. A new white ethno-nationalism of imaginary victimization — something that can only be racism, but can’t publicly be called “racism” — will infect American politics for years to come. The Caucasian Wingnut is most common, or at least started out, in Northern Iran, which isn”t necessarily what you”d figure for your garden variety Tea Partier.

So, no hate going on there, then. It sure sounds like the intellectuals, who are Mr Stewart’s natural constituency, have their minds made up about the Tea Party! But it is so easy for intellectuals to make up their minds. For just as only white people can be racists, so only conservatives can be angry haters. Oh, and somebody should tell Jon Stewart that only Tea Partiers can be clowns.


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