It was another week of grim laughs as America resignedly awaited the installation of The Leader, with rightbloggers fighting a rearguard action against various threats to the Republic, including Facebook’s fake-news alerts, the new Star Wars movie, and basic math.
The Leader continued his streak of successful presidential appointments, picking his own bankruptcy lawyer to serve as Ambassador to Israel, despite the fact that this lawyer has famously compared Jews who disagree with him to collaborators in the Holocaust.
“It was wrong of him to do so,” admitted John Podhoretz at Commentary, “but it’s something in the heat of a rhetorical moment I myself have done in relation to a disgusting Jewish cartoonist who uses images out of Der Sturmer to portray Israelis he doesn’t like, so I can appreciate Friedman’s emotional impulse.” We’ve all done it, right? Podhoretz collegially suggested the nominee apologize, “which would, by the way, give him a second shot at explaining why JStreet is egregious in front of a far larger audience.” That would be one hell of a “what I meant was.”
The Leader also did his usual Twitter thing, at one point calling the Chinese seizure of an unmanned U.S. sea drone “unpresidented” — apparently his idea of how “unprecedented” is spelled, or perhaps what will come to be known as alt-spelling. There was much joking about this, including at SNL, which at least kept us all from thinking too much about what a dangerous departure from precedent the president-elect’s comment was.
Few of the brethren jumped on this, though it may have inspired some if-you’re-so-smart subtweet repartee. For example, when someone pointed out that Trump booster Mike Cernovich had misspelled “Gettysburg” on Twitter, Cernovich replied, “Strategic Typos increase engagement as it makes you stop to look. Thus more views. As your reply proves.” Scott Adams could probably get with that. (Others, less interested in spelling, responded to the complainant by calling him a “cuck” and declaring that the Holocaust never happened.)
This may also have been the spur of a Twitter convo between the New York Post’s Seth Mandel and Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel about how that Obama guy isn’t so smart actually: “It’s Obama’s utter lack of intellectual curiosity that grates…” “Despite his intellectual pretense, I’ve never taken Obama as a big reader.” “he’s not (though he occasionally pretends to read, with hilarious results).” “Got to hand it to Dubya… he read A LOT,” etc. By 2014 they’ll be telling us it was Obama who couldn’t spell.
There was also more news about Russia’s interference in the election, with the FBI backing the CIA’s claim that Russia pushed Trump for President. Polling suggests Vladimir Putin’s hacking on Trump’s behalf has convinced many Republicans that Putin’s not so bad after all — though, as I’ve discussed here, this is a long-developing trend, as rightbloggers have for years man-crushed on the butch authoritarian Putin as testosteronically superior to the professorial democrat Obama.
Last week, Obama wearily suggested this development would have Reagan turning over in his grave, to which Allahpundit at Hot Air responded that “if the Gipper’s rolling in his grave now, he started during that debate four years ago when dopey here and his liberal enablers had the laugh of their lives at Romney’s claim that Russia’s still a core enemy of the United States… That’s easy for Democrats to say now that it doesn’t cost them anything. It cost the country a lot that they couldn’t see it at the time.” Well, thank God there’s a Republican in office now to set those Russkies straight!
That “fake news” stuff I talked about last week resurfaced, too, as Facebook announced a program to warn users who click on specious links when “3rd Party Fact-Checkers” such as snopes.com have disputed them. Many of the brethren complained on the grounds that the effort was partly funded by George Soros, a major rightwing boogeyman. Others complained that appending such warnings to traditional conservative stories like “Clinton Death List” was censorship.
At Fox News, John R. Lott voiced another common complaint: “These fact checkers have their own biases — usually the same liberal biases that we see in the rest of the mainstream media.” For example, Lott wrote, fact-checker Politifact said Trump’s claims of “large scale voter fraud” were bullshit, but aha, “voter fraud in 2008 gave Al Franken the Senatorship in Minnesota.” That is, if you believe the evidence Lott was offering, namely another Fox News editorial written by… John R. Lott, containing rock-solid proof points like “undoubtedly other felons voted illegally in other counties.”
Lott therefore described the Facebook warnings as “attempts at censorship,” which conservatives could not escape by switching to other social media such as Gab and Freedombook because — well, who knows, but it probably has something to do with small government.
Meanwhile, a researcher ran an online survey and 52 percent of Republican respondents said Trump won the popular vote — a fairly stark denial of the verifiable fact that Clinton won it. When the Washington Post reported this, commenters flocked to the site to explain that “your continued cry baby articles are becoming annoying. Try to think and write like a real journalist,” and “the only reason Hillary has more votes than Donald is because of California,” thereby rendering her numbers invalid — a popular rightwing talking point that, like other such like generated as Clinton’s numbers climbed, was meant to refute math with spin. The depressing fact is, we not only can’t agree anymore on policy; we also can’t agree on the meaning of numbers.
Having thus dismissed Clinton, conservatives were left free to attack other prominent liberals who posed a threat in the age of The Leader — like the writers of the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One.
Last year at this time, readers may recall, rightbloggers sprayed political meaning all over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as if that were the only way they could appreciate it. This year, they had some help: As Wired explained, a couple of Star Wars writers connected the anti-Brexit, anti-Leader movements with the Resistance on Twitter.
In context, it seems like clever marketing and/or youthful ebullience. But many conservatives seized on it as proof that the movie itself is an assault on their virtues, and even made up stories about scripts being changed and scenes being reshot to slander The Leader. (Here’s a link to Snopes, but I don’t see why you should bother to click it, since as we now know they’re Very Liberal Bias.)
Wired’s coverage included a few quotes from Cernovich, who elsewhere published his own raw interview notes, sharing with fans such director’s-cut lines as “I make counter-narrative points, which is why my profile continues to rise where as 99% of people in media are never read for their own byline but instead are cogs in Disney-owned corporate machines.” Can’t see why Wired cut gold like that — must be Liberal Bias!
Some conservatives called for a boycott — which, given Rogue One’s smash opening weekend, seems not to have come off — and people took to laughing at them, which made them sore. “A bit weird how all these journalists demand their audiences to see a movie because it’s being attacked by people you should hate,” I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’d Scott Greer of the Daily Caller.
But there’ll be other targets. Accuracy in Media just dropped a scathing indictment of Ken Burns. Yes, they’re talking about the Civil War and baseball guy, who they say “hammers at left-wing mantras in his documentaries.” For example, in “his blatantly biased documentary Central Park Five,” Burns focused on the fact that the Five were exonerated by DNA evidence — or, as Accuracy in Media had it, “exonerated” in quotes, since “they would have to stand trial and be declared not guilty in order to be exonerated. Instead their sentences were simply vacated.” It looks as if the reign of The Leader will have a suitable intellectual complement.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 19, 2016