Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

On Charlie Rangel, the world’s worst songs and right-wing hypocrisy.


I’ve got a new "Think Again" column called “Wall-to-Wall Craziness” about the role in the media played by the Wall Street Journal editorial page and it’s here.

Also, I’m for Newt.

And I’d happily vote for him over than my corrupt, crazy obnoxious representative (and possibly even Charles Schumer, too. But what a disgrace for Andrew Cuomo, the state’s attorney general to celebrate this crook. Is it any wonder that voters who don’t pay too much attention to politics want to turn out the Democrats this year? And by the way, it was two years ago this summer I got an email from the Obama campaign advising me to “Vote for Charlie Rangel for Change.” That’s when I became certain that they were just about as full of shit as every other presidential politician, though I’m
still hoping Obama himself did not know about it.)

World’s Worst Songs:  The Top Twenty

Afternoon Delight
The Night Chicago Died
Billy Don’t be a Hero
You light up my Life
Mary Queen of Arkansas
The Angel
Playgrounds in my Mind
Seasons in the Sun
Ebony and ivory
My love
Let ‘Em In
Sometimes when we touch
Baby I’m a Want You
Theme from "Arthur"
One Tin Soldier
You May Be Right
We Built This City
Who’s Ruling Who?

Congratulations to Paul McCartney  for placing three, and Bruce for placing

Reed Richardson writes:

America, it may not surprise you to learn, is struggling within the clutches of an unaccountable elite, a vast network of powerful figures and organizations that have no compunction about manipulating our democracy to their own self-serving needs. But lest you get the idea that recent events have once again demonstrated that this cabal is comprised of greedy corporations doing things like this or intolerant religious groups advocating things like this or intellectually bankrupt politicians who reveal their true constituencies with stands like this, a growing chorus of conservative pundits stand ready to disabuse you of this notion. Of course, the “real” usurpers that they identify are just the same old right-wing bugbears: the judicial branch, academia, government bureaucrats, pop culture and mainstream media. But in the past few weeks, they do at least seem to be preparing for these upcoming midterm elections by not so subtly rolling out a broad, faux-populist, rebranding effort, one that dogwhistles to the Tea Partiers’ obsession with revolutionary iconography by emphasizing the pejorative phrase “ruling class” to characterize all their culture-war opponents and augur for their takedown.

Keep it mind, it matters not that these same rabble-rousing pundits would more likely be caught dead than rub shoulders with the rabble they are rousing:

Angelo Codevilla, author of the American Spectator piece, has, according to his bio, never held a job in the private sector, working his entire career in either government or academia. Yet in his lengthy essay, he criticizes people like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whom he claims (incorrectly) has never held non-government job. Indeed, for someone whose resumé includes four separate stints in low to mid-level government positions, it sounds particularly ironic when Codevilla sniffs: "Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats.”

The Corner’s Larry Kirsanow, who wrapped up his anti-ruling class piece by proudly proclaiming, “This is a fight about first principles. I’ll bet on the great unwashed,” is, in real life, a anti-labor corporate attorney whose legal bio includes champion-of-the-underdog entries like:

-Represented a steel processing manufacturer in OHSA [sic], workers’
compensation and personal injury litigation proceedings following a machine
failure resulting in the death of the machine operator

-Represented a foundry before OHSA [sic] and the Industrial Commission after
one of the company’s employees died, allegedly from a workplace injury

Gotta love that use of the word allegedly.

Andrew G. Wilson, of the Weekly Standard’s blog, does manage to castigate two unalloyed members of America’s ruling class, uber-successful capitalists Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, but only for having the gall to give their money away instead of using it to address “horrific problems” like “runaway government spending” and the “spiraling deficit.” (I mean, what kind of worthless extravagances are these guys frittering away their billions on, anyway? Oh yeah, now I remember.

The always sartorially splendid Tony Blankley, of the Washington Times, gins up his indignation at “being lectured to and imposed upon by a ruling class […] who are not, in fact, our genuine betters.” Contrast that to last year, when, in a Politico story about that age-old workingman’s argument—pocket square handkerchief: yes or no?—this lover of the common man humbly observed: “Politicians not having anything substantive to offer tend to try to not offend [voters] by the clothes they wear and think, incorrectly, that if they dress as slovenly as the rest of the people, they will be appreciated.”

This kind of meme manipulation, I expect, will be par for the course over the next three months. But the media must not be cowed into swallowing this shoddily manufactured outrage. In fact, perhaps the best way to approach the coverage of the right-wing’s ongoing “anti-ruling class” noise machine would be to take a cue from one of its leaders, Newt Gingrich, whose standards for personal integrity and intellectual honesty were fully revealed this week here. “It doesn’t matter what I do […] People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”


Editor’s Note: To contact Eric Alterman, use this form.

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