It’s Silly Season — Let’s Relax With Rightbloggers on Dylan, Helen Gurley Brown, and the Jackson-Lee Cell-Phone Outrage


In the latest round of health care town hall protests, rightbloggers…

Hold on a second. Isn’t this August? Though we are new to this journalism racket, it’s our understanding that August is the height of the “silly season” — that is, per Wikipedia, the time of year “typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media.” Yet here we’ve been stuck with topics of great national import while everyone else is filing goofball stories from the beach.

To hell with it. We’re laying off, and will ramble through the dumb awhile.

As you may heard, Bob Dylan was hassled by cops for loitering in Long Branch, New Jersey on July 23. As he was without ID and the officers did not recognize him, Dylan was asked to remain with police until hotel staff “vouched” for his identity.

A fun little story. But NewsBusters saw in it a sinister conspiracy:

“And we’re hearing about this NOW?” correspondent Noel Sheppard asked. “How might this have impacted the Gates-Sgt. James Crowley affair if it had been reported at the time it happened rather than over three weeks after the fact?”


“I guess when a white rock legend is detained by police for having the nerve to walk around a minority neighborhood, and cooperates fully with the authorities to quickly resolve the misunderstanding, it’s not a teachable moment.”

Maybe we’re thick, but we fail to see the relevance of Dylan’s arrest in Long Branch to that of Professor Gates outside his own home, particularly as Gates was already identified as the homeowner when he was arrested. Nor do we see why even the perfidious media would trouble to cover it up. Others, thankfully, were happy to explicate:

“Bob Dylan Teaches Race Baiter Obama and Friends a Teachable Lesson,” says Obamamask. “Did poor old Mr. Dylan throw a fit? No! Did Mr. Dylan make references to the cops mama? No. Did Mr. Dylan find it offensive that, He Mr. god almighty Dylan had to explain himself to a mere lowly cop? No!… Is Whitey outraged? No! Are we going to have a tax payed investigation? No!”

And so the lesson is given: “The real teachable moment of Bob Dylan gets no air time by leaders because America has no leadership that represents the founding principles of this now pathetic boy-king and congressional pimp and ho’s country.” Obamamask also takes the opportunity to castigate “sell-out cop” Crowley, who “has just helped black America to scream racism no matter how ignorant their own behavior.” Therefore, “I would have to say I’m with the Black’s on this one. Screw this cop!”

Intellectual Conservative went for poetry. “Of course, Dylan knew all along the answer would be blowin’ in the wind,” he said. “Professor Gates, on the other hand, couldn’t see that times they are a changin’.” (Actually, for Gates it may have seemed as if the times hadn’t changed very much.)

Eventually the story bubbled to the very top of the right blogosphere, National Review‘s The Corner. “One wonders what would have happened had Gates acted like Dylan or Dylan like Gates?” asks Victor Davis Hanson. In the latter case, it’s possible Dylan would have been charged with public nuisance, or knocked on the head, for the crime of talking back to an officer of the law, though we suspect this does not play to Hanson’s point, insofar as we understand it. Jonah Goldberg, after suggesting that Gates should have acted like Dylan, offers under fire, “Sure, the differences are real, but they don’t all reflect well on Gates,” though he declines to say how. “But,” he adds, “I think everyone either agrees with that or doesn’t by now. No need to rehash the Rashomon effect again.” Spoken like a man who has resoundingly won his argument.

OK, let’s see… health care health care health care… let’s just drop by Rod Dreher’s place at Beliefnet, that’s always fun. Like us, Dreher is swooning under the hot sun, and inclined to quote long passages from other people’s work and let the fireworks commence.

Dreher notices that John Edwards has confessed to fathering a child out of wedlock (his), and takes the opportunity to attack… Helen Gurley Brown, via an Atlantic essay on the sexually voracious former Cosmopolitan editor. The Atlantic essayist, Caitlin Flanagan, sees Brown as one who viewed men “not as oppressors to be vanquished, but as resources (economic, sexual, professional) to be tapped”; also, “a round-heels,” one who set in motion the chain of events that led Rielle Hunter to steal John away from Elizabeth Edwards.

“Incredibly, there are feminists who celebrate the awful Helen Gurley Brown as some sort of liberator,” says Dreher. “Unbelievable.” It may be equally hard to believe that no man-stealing took place before the publication of Sex and The Single Girl, or the dawn of feminism.

Elsewhere, Dreher takes issue with disapproval of the non-medical usage of the word “retarded.” It’s an arguable point, but Dreher can’t leave well enough alone, and refers to an old comic strip about the term “colored people,” suggesting that he finds objections to this equally foolish.

In comments he adds, “calling someone a person of color’ is perfectly acceptable (or was in 1988 when the strip was published; who knows what it is today), but calling him a ‘colored person’ outs oneself as a crytpo-Klucker.” This is a strange sword to fall upon in defense of language. Nonetheless it suggests an interesting investigative journalism adventure for Dreher: a trip to an African-American district to ask if there are any colored people he can talk to. A spirited exchange may be expected.

Our President also excites, as usual, feverish commentary hither and yon. Blogs for Victory, a retroactively humorously-titled retread from the Bush years, is enraged that Obama has directed HUD to concentrate funds on rental housing rather than on home ownership.

As we have just experienced a massive housing bubble, for which the government is still paying dearly, this might seem to some a sensible course of action. BFV, though, finds it “typical liberal, elitist hogwash — they don’t want people to own their homes because home ownership means independence.” They add that “of all the things Obama has done, this tops then all in cynicism” — astonishing, considering the crimes of which our new Hitler has been accused — and fault the President for “us[ing] the liberal-created financial crisis as a means of taking over the stock of American housing to rent it out to be people financially wiped out by the very same financial crisis which allows Obama’s Administration to buy the property.” If you balked at “liberal-created financial crisis,” you will no doubt also stumble at BFV’s declaration that “the goal of US policy should be to get us as far as possible towards 100% home ownership for the American people.” We look forward to the position paper that suggests how this might be accomplished — maybe by a new land rush, only in sparsely-populated states like North Dakota instead of Oklahoma.

We said we’d let the town halls alone, but feel sufficiently refreshed to note a sideshow thereof, in which incivility has been noted by rightbloggers: this time it’s not by the hero-screamers you’ve seen on the news, but by Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, who was seen talking on a cell phone during one such event. Amazingly, after the hollering they’d approved in earlier matches, rightbloggers were aghast at this breach of decorum.

“The best example of liberals’ ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ attitude toward their own voters,” says Right Wing News. “Do all liberals in Washington have an elitist attitude?” asks the Coralville Courier. “Do they think they’re royalty and anyone outside the castle walls of D.C. are peasants?” “Queen Sheila, known more informally as haughty Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas),” says the American Spectator, “doesn’t even have the decency to apologize for gabbing away on her cellphone during a healthcare townhall meeting…”

Maybe seen a certain way, even the momentous health care debate is a silly season story. Maybe they all are.