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People Who Died... | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

People Who Died...

We've got a new "Think Again" column called, believe it or not, "'I'll See Your Testicles...' (Catfight on the Right)" and it's here.

Also, I did an op-ed on the move away from AIPAC-style politics for American Jews for the International Herald Tribune, which is up on the New York Times site, here.

I'm getting to the age where the obituary pages are really starting to bum me out.  Wasn't AL MARTINO wonderful in the GF? Wasn't NAN ROBERTSON brave to go after the Times the way she did? Wasn't Stuart Kaminsky a fun read? But here is the one that really got to me. Captain Lou Albano. What a great guy, even better in reality than in the "ring" or on the sidelines as the manager of the great Bruno Sanmartino. But how could Mr. Goldstein omit the greatest tribute to Lou from this otherwise loving obit? It's Psychedelic Pandemonium.

Speaking of obits, did I mention that I was briefly in a reading group with Jim Carroll. Really nice guy. He never heard the Drive-By-Truckers' version of "People Who Died" and so I played it for him on my iPod. So history moves forward...

 

"Gonna Huey, Dewey, and Louie all over the room." Who's for legalizing sex with ducks? Me, David Rudd, and Garfunkel and Oates (but I hope not that juvenile druggist/anal rapist, Roman Polanski.

 

(By the way, did you notice that the above ducks all have rhyming names spelled totally differently?  Awesome, huh?)

This week on Moyers: Barack Obama was elected on a message of change, promising a new era ofdiplomacy and international cooperation - but can the President delivera new vision of America?  Reporting from the world's most troubledhotspots, Mark Danner has seen countless deaths over ethnic andpolitical divides, and witnessed firsthand how U.S. attempts to exploitthose conflicts have resulted in disastrous unforeseen consequences.Danner speaks with Bill Moyers about Obama's challenges in resetting themindset of America from war to peace, and redefining the US as a nation.Danner was a staff writer for many years at The New Yorker, contributesfrequently to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine,and his latest book is Stripping Bare the Body, which chronicles themoral history of American power over the last quarter century.  Also onthe program, the Journal profiles public health doctor America Bracho,who serves her Santa Ana, CA community - notorious for crime, povertyand disease - with her organization, Latino Health Access.

The Mail

Name: Todd Buck

Hometown: Lancaster, TX

We know who forged the documents. And yes, they were forged, andbadly at that. But that is not the only mistake which was made. Rather allowed his desire for the story to be true to blind him to the fact that he was being sold a bad bill of goods. He had multiple experts try to authenticate the documents. All of them were very skeptical, although one did say there was a slight possibility that they were legit. Rather decided to go with that one, instead of the vast majority. He had all the warning he should have needed. At best, this was very sloppy journalism, worthy of getting him fired. At worst, it is a partisan smear. I think the evidence is too vast to consider the former likely.

Name: Dave Ward

Hometown: Austin

I never hear about the Dan Rather-CBS dustup without remembering that never once did the Bush White House deny the substance of the 60 Minutes II report. They went straight to non-denial denials like "The President is proud of his National Guard service" and to declaring that the documents were forged. Most of the veterans I know would, if faced with an accusations like that, immediately call the accuser something along the lines of a lying sack of shit. Come to think of it, I never heard that from the Bush White House about any of the crimes they were accused of. Hmmm...

Name: Ben Miller

Hometown: Washington, DC

Mr. Alterman,

As I sit and watch/read so many Americans react angrily that their President won the Nobel Peace Price, just one week after I sat and watched/read so many Americans get satisfaction from the U.S. not getting the Olympics because the President wanted it, what is beginning to strike me the most isn't what I see/hear coming from those on the Right. We knew what these people were like for the most part, and knew that the people that loved George Bush and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove for 8 years were not going to suddenly change their ways. No, what is starting to strike me the most is how much hate for Obama and how much satisfaction from any of his perceived or real failures, I see and hear from people that I have known for many, many years. These are people that I would call my friends, and people that for years, I never knew they cared about politics, never heard them say one word on any issue either way. But now, suddenly, they do not miss one opportunity to complain about or bash the President.

Now, maybe this is a product of the economy, and when the economy tanked, it made people who never cared about politics care because they want to keep their jobs, or find a job, or afford their bills and pay their mortgages. I guess that may make some sense.

But I cannot help but think I am ignoring the elephant in the room--these people are just not comfortable with a black President. They may not be outwardly racist, and may never say something outwardly racist, because maybe they know better or maybe they themselves can't admit it. So, they will never say I want him to fail because he is black. But it is clear to me that for many of them, because he is black, they want him to fail.

Am I reading too much into all of this? Maybe, but I do not think so. Even in today's era of instant media, presidents are normally judged by bigger pictures, and when issues have not been about politics, we have all rooted for the President. They want to judge Obama like he was a batter, on every at-bat, and no matter what he does, they will say, "He hasn't done anything." Most of the leftiest liberals I know took some level of satisfaction when President Bush threw a strike in Yankee Stadium - yet now, there are large groups of people angry when their President won a prize acknowledging peace?

Name: Maureen Holland

Hometown: South Venice Beach FL

I admire Amy for her tenacity.

My recommendation? Amy, post your message each day to more ABC blogs. And NBC blogs. And CBS blogs. And many, many more (if you have time). And keep it the same message each day.

The Note has been pretty immune to the Democratic message for a long time (and Mark Halprin is now on ABC TV of course!). Keep it up Amy.  Broaden your audience. Messages do filter up.

And if The Note is your particular target, let us hope that the message comes to them sideways if it doesn't make it through their own front door.

Name: John Evans

Hometown: St. Paul

Re: The Note -- The internet has a special property not really found in other media; every single time you click over there, you increase their hit count, and measureably increase their economic value.

You know it's futile anyway, so don't do it. If reasonable people stop clicking over there, the Note will not be able to pose as anything other than what it is.

 Name:  Michael Green

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

If you want to know what is wrong with the mainstream media, go toYouTube for this link.

 

It is the final commentary that Eric Sevareid did for the CBS Evening News before retiring. It was a bit longer than usual for that reason. But it is about three minutes... of a man talking...  intelligently... telling the people how smart they are. And now we have Katie Couric interviewing Glenn Beck on the CBS Evening News.  Is it any wonder that more Americans trust Jon Stewart than the three anchors combined?

 

Name: Alan Urkowitz

Hometown:  Mount Laurel, NJ

Eric, this is in response to Charlie P's most recent Friday contribution, specifically the Part about Afghanistan.

Part the First. I have been shouting since 2001 that everyone should read James Michener's novel Caravans. It is based on his foreign service tour there in the early 50's. A great book, it describes the country as a land of shifting alliances, usually tribal but with all kinds of overlays. I know almost nothing else about Afghan history than what I read there and two things have been true: Nothing that has happened there has surprised me; and I have not been able to predict anything that has happened there (except the continuing powerof opium).

Part the Last. Everybody, political, military, ordinary citizen, is in the same boat I am, though they may not even know they are in that boat. Read Caravans, read Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser, and get some knowledge about the boat. We still won't know what direction to sail.

Name: Steve Nelson

Hometown: Kent, WA

I have been offline for a while however I want to encourage dear Amy. I too tilt at windmills. I figure if there are enough of us then maybe truth will win out. Take heart that there are more of us out there.

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