Quantcast

Slacker Friday | The Nation

  •  
Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

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

Slacker Friday

We have a new Think Again column here called "Mainstream Media Malpractice" and I wrote a new Moment column here that they called "The Secular Spirit of Judaism."

This week on Moyers:

Bill Moyers sits down with United Steelworkers' International President Leo Gerard to discuss seeking economic justice for workers in the middle of an economic crisis and how he sees the future of Americanmanufacturing. Gerard shares his thoughts on how unions will fare underthe Obama administration, what kind of stimulus might be needed and whatthe future of American industry might look like.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the main event:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"He could always pick the winner before they ever took a curve/#3might have the car but 43 has got the nerve."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Kickin' Up Dust" (Robert Walter) --Because it is itself the greatest Stimulus Package ever, I will notcompromise with any dogs, blue or otherwise, on the subject of how muchI love New Orleans.

Short Takes:

Part The First: Oh, Christ, another Unicorn Hut. I swear, this guy must have towering piles of unused aluminum sidingall over his backyard.

Part The Second: What can I say about this, except to thank the gang at Pajamas for cooperating so enthusiastically with the marketing campaign.

Part The Third: There was nothing more enjoyable on TV in the lastmonths than seeing Pete and Rog in the balcony box seats with BabsStreisand at the Kennedy Center honors.Equally splendid were their gobsmacked reaction to Bettye Levette'sstaggering transubstantiation of "Love, Reign O'er Me," and the joy going back and forth between them and that NYPD/NYFD choir. And, hey, George Jones even showed up!

Part The Fourth: Kevin Kline long has been one of our mostunderrated comic geniuses. (Even in the otherwise forgettable Tootsie knockoff Soapdish, he has moments doing Death of a Salesman in a dinner theater in Florida--"Don't call me Mr. Loman!"--that put me on the floor.) Anyway, it's lucky for us all that PBS is going to run thisabout 200 times over the next eight weeks. See it now.

Part The Last: I love Ken Burns and his work, but was thisreally necessary? The new section is bound to be the kind of heavily RedSox-centric, Curse Of The Bambino, mystical horse-pucky that has madeevery other fan of every other baseball team rightfully consider us to be themost self-indulgent crew of Utter Insufferables this side of The Corner.Ken, babe, don't do us any favors, OK? Go heavy on the '01 Diamondbacks,OK?

Well, gee, I guess I'll just set up shop over in this corner, OK?It's a little dusty, but this old lamp will work fine just as soon as Ican track down some whale oil, and I'm sure I'll find some use for WilliamDean Howells' old four-iron here in the umbrella stand. Looking out over thelandscape, I notice that many of the people on this side of things havethe vapors about the Emerging Republican Opposition, which will be abetted,it appears, by the Emerging Democratic Castrati (Sing out, DiFi!). However,I still believe in a place called Hope. (Hell, I still believe in a placecalled LBJ, but that's just me.) While Harry Reid continues to auditionfor his next job as a throw-rug in the Minority Leader's office, it'simportant to remember that the Republicans--and, especially, the brand ofconservatism that so energizes their base--are still a clown car.Never much more than a rancid bog of spittle and old resentments on its bestday--the sum total of its entire political philosophy is fairly summed upby the phrase, "Bob On A Car Phone, you're next." Movement Conservatismhas turned into a burlesque in almost all of its public forms. Its radioand TV stars are increasingly unmoored from reality. Its most famous celebrity savants have taken to recycling poisons that passed theireffective date around 1979 or so. (Annie, my sweet, what's your feeling about the Panama Canal Treaty and the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill? What's your feeling about large doses of veryheavy horse tranquilizers?) And their politicians, well, their politicians arespending an inordinate amount of their days and nights wastingeverybody's time and putting on displays that, if they came from the Ron Paul orDennis Kucinich supporters, would have had David Gregory spitting his martiniback into his "I'm One Of Karl's Boyz!" souvenir mug out of sheer helplesslaughter.

For example, this attains a level of insanity that you cannot truly appreciate unless you read the quotes in a voice similar to those which the Python boys conjured up for their drama about Doug and Dinsdale Piranha. ("Nancy Pelosi nailed my head to the floor.") And then there's this cluck.

I'd like to congratulate the voters of the 11th Congressional Districtin Michigan--at least some of whom, I'm sure, were unaware that they werere-electing the chairman of the Jim Caviezel Aramaic and FloggingSociety to represent them.

And these are the guys who are already in office. We also have theseworthies, lining up to be the next head of the Republican National Committee. I'm fairly sure that, back in the day, the IRA held leadership meetings in which personal weaponry was not discussed this extensively. I think they should all go out to the OK Corral and settle things like men.

And, finally, there's this, which is the future of the Movement Herself. By the way, John, those first two paragraphs there, what actual journalists like to call the "lede"? Well, it's better if you don't write them in such a fashion that even dead men can come up with 111 punchlines.

This is the opposition, people, fitting itself and its ideas with rubber noses and big floppy shoes. And Newt Gingrich is making noises like the King Of Neptune's Moons again. This can still turn out to be fun. Honest.

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.