Monday, June 09, 2008


"Is sincere loyalty better than insincere neutrality?"
Oh yeah.

I could put this here or here It would work either way.
One constant refrain during the Free Press's National Conference on Media Reform was that they were a nonpartisan entity and they could not endorse candidates in federal elections. This was meant to prevent speakers and panelists from doing the same.
Due to the various constraints from tax and campaign finance law, you have a lot of organizations that are unable to take the step of linking outcomes to politics. They can't say "vote for Obama, so we'll get media reform." While in isolation it isn't that big of a deal, I think it's another thing which contributes to the lack of issues and policy in politics. A lot of people doing good stuff on policy just can't intertwine the policy with the politics, even though unless the right people get elected none of the good stuff is going to happen.
More realistic acceptance of partisanship in the press and everywhere else would lead to better discussions.

My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism. Marr calls himself a "hack" and journalism a "trade" and comments on the professionalization of the American press. Atrios has called himself a hack, or at least he used to. We need a return to a vulgar political press, and Fox started that. I'm repeating this all the time now: If the political press treated Bush the way the entertainment press treated Britney Spears we'd be much better off. The only thing that bugged me about the shit Clinton had to put up with was that the liberal press refused to dive into the mud against Bush. The liberal press is made up of holier than thou reformers catering to the educated middle class. The Nation doesn't even try to be a popular magazine. If we had some left wing tabloids it would be the sign of a healthier political culture. Instead we have, or have had for a long time an elitist intellectual left. But that's changing. Daily Kos among other things functions as a Tabloid. I was always disgusted by self-important Clinton defenders, as if the jackass deserved some sort of respect, but actually I should have shrugged, since they helped too. But not for the reasons they imagine.

Republican forms of government are vulgar. and cleanliness is next to Platonism. "Enlightened" conversation should be able to withstand mockery even if that mockery is petty and adolescent, because as often as not that enlightened conversation is a circle jerk of self-important dimwits. More than redstate I really can't stand The Daily Howler. Bob Somerby drives me nuts.
Moral hazard is a risk for everything, so everything needs a counterforce: the market, the academy, the government, and anyone who calls himself an expert. My standard defense of law over philosophy is based on the fact that law in practice is incredibly low and vulgar and yet everyone understands that it's at the moral center of our culture, as intellectual activity and subject of art. Lawyers are ubiquitous in fiction, movies and TV but at the same time they're marginal. In the real world philosophers, including legal philosophers, don't count. Talk to someone in criminal defense.

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