Link Dump: #88

This week’s kitty is gazing ominously at the title character of Edward Dmytryk’s The Sniper, which I wrote about recently. Never have I seen a cat with more accusing eyes. And now, some links:

This week’s sexual search terms include “slippery teen twat first time with looney toons” (ewww…?) and the amusingly self-censoring “bondage mind-effing.” Mind-effing!

3 Comments

Filed under Cinema, Media, Politics

3 responses to “Link Dump: #88

  1. I’m ambivalent about the Stewart-Colbert piece, which makes some valid points and also some spurious ones. On the one hand, I’ve been saying for years that the self-congratulatory laughter of the live audiences (and Maher’s too) can be an easy way out. And I agree that the comedians are fixtures in the same media landscape they lampoon, and that this sometimes compromises the sharpness of their satire.

    But I think to characterize their influence and impact as primarily negative is grossly overstating the case. Worst of all is the notion that the Daily Show coverage of Iraq did more harm than good for the anti war protest movement, a notion that conveniently overlooks that movement’s major missteps and misguided mentality. The author never confronts the fact that in order to lodge an effective protest, compromises must be made. The author would seemingly rather the voices of protest be pure, noble, undulated…and implicitly impotent. I’m not saying every compromise or concession made by media figures like Stewart or Colbert is justified or unimpeachable. But making it an either/or, insider/outsider proposition, the author plays to a pathology that has hemmed in the left for decades, as much as if not more than the big bad bullying of the right and mainstream liberals: a conception that it’s better to be 100% right than 50% effective, in which rigor or rhetoric is privileged over actual results. In this radicals have been acquiescent in their own marginalization.

    It also must be said that I loathe Almond’s smug characterizations of rank-and-file soldiers, and the assertion that Stewart and Colbert should be attacking them. Yes, that’s exactly what we need: more wealthy, famous elites mocking those who did not have the same opportunities or backgrounds as them. Despite the encouraging developments of Occupy Wall Street, the first truly left-wing movement to break out of the political ghetto in four decades, there is still a degree of discomfort with populism on the educated left. But you can’t speak in the name of the people and sneer at them at the same time.

    Speaking of which, I wish that website allowed comments so I could leave these thoughts there. Oh well.

    (And I see the post is six months old. I’ll be interested to read previous responses.)

    • I’m also ambivalent about it; I guess now would be a good time to mention that links here aren’t so much full-on endorsements as my way of saying “hmm, this is a thought-provoking read.” Anyway, even though I have issues with some of those same points Almond makes, I appreciate that someone’s taking a closer eye at Stewart and Colbert, who are often treated as infallible liberal messiahs. (Speaking of which…)

  2. That link plays up one aspect of Almond’s somewhat-fair critique: that in order to maintain their cred, Stewart & Colbert have to skewer the left as well, not always fairly (I’m of the opinion that there’s plenty to fairly skewer them on, but when one is looking to skewer for the sake of skewering, some of the higher-range fruit is going to get picked along with the low-hanging). Interesting, question, however: I wonder if Stewart would make that same joke today, ten years later? Seems like cultural mores have shifted somewhat as they tend to do.

    Ultimately, I think to launch an effective critique of what’s wrong with the Stewart/Colbert phenomenon, one has to break it down in to separate components, some of which are great, some of which are ambiguous, some of which are clearly negative (among the latter, the smug self-congratulatory aspect, especially of the live audience but implicitly beyond that, is probably my biggest bone but even that’s wound up with what makes the show good – its lack of a defensive, apologetic crouch). The biggest issue with Almond’s effort is that it’s all-or-nothing. So either Colbert/Stewart are liberal demigods or they are complete corporate tools (yes, he admits to exceptions but only to bolster his larger argument).

    Although it mentions Stewart/Colbert only briefly, this was my take on the 00s cultural establishment’s culpability in the apathy & distraction of the post-9/11 era: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2008/12/way-we-werent-art-under-bush.html.

    And I hear you on the links; I’d rather read something that challenges, even offends me, that something that just reassures my point of view (although sometimes, esp. when said pov isn’t getting voiced, that’s necessary too). Hell I just copped to reading/watching Goldberg & d’Souza – that certainly wasn’t out of sympathy!

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