Tuesday, November 22, 2016

And the coveted Greg Marmalard Award goes to . . .

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-content Generator

Nothing drives clicks more than handing out awards (unless it's pointless lists or pictures of what child stars look like now that they're 50).  If the next President of the United States can violate every norm to enrich himself, we don't see any reason to deny ourselves.

So we've decided to hand out a new award: the sure-to-be-coveted Greg Marmalard Award, named in honor of the Animal House fraternity president who famously persuaded six of his frat brothers to beat the crap out of Otter, just because Otter had done the nasty with Greg's girlfriend.  Later, Otter got him one-on-one.  After telling Greg to look at his thumb, Otter cold-cocked him and then said “Gee, you're dumb.”

"Our op-ed page has more than its share
of campus leaders."
Otter's words rang in our ears this morning when we happened to pass over David Brooks's latest effort on the op-ed page of the New York Times, where he pontificates as part of a fraternity of underachievers including Generalissimo Tom Friedman of the Hot Air Force, Nick Kristof, who specializes in interviews with imaginary voters and South Asian confabulators, and of course Maureen Dowd, whose stylings we have covered ad or possibly trans nauseam.

But we can't hand out a Marmalard to every mediocrity who has unaccountably been awarded by a column by The New York Times, or The Washington Post, or even our own Boston Globe.  Better luck next year.  In the meantime, let's look at Brooks's winning effort.

He starts off by channeling Kristof.  Instead of actually talking to Trump voters, which would involve an act of journalism, Brooks imagines some:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the best imaginable Trump voter. This is the Trump supporter who wasn’t motivated by racism or bigotry. This is the one who cringed every time Donald Trump did something cruel, vulgar or misogynistic.
Whether such a paragon exists is of course an interesting factual question, but facts don't interest our winner.  He relies on telepathy:
This voter wants leaders tough enough to crack through the reigning dysfunction, and sure enough, Trump’s appointments so far represent the densest concentration of hyper-macho belligerence outside a drill sergeant retirement home.
We don't know many drill sergeants ourselves, but we did make the acquaintance of a few members of our armed forces, and we don't recall them boasting about sexually assaulting women, providing forums to neo-Nazis, or resorting to crude religious or ethnic stereotypes.  That's not “hyper-macho;” that's hatred and bigotry straight up.  But let's forget about all that, the same way the media forgot all about Trump's vitamin scam.

After the imaginary stereotyping our Marmalard Award Winner gets to the task at hand: dispensing condescending advice.
Second, this seems like a moment for some low-passion wonkery. It’s stupid to react to every Trump tweet outrage with your own predictable howls.
Really?  Why?  Should we let hatred-fueled lies dominate our political discourse?  That's working great in Russia!

After some perfunctory tut-tutting about Republicans whose insane lust for tax cuts for the rich led them to embrace a crooked ignorant bigot (that's actually not the delict Brooks is upset about), he gets down to every lame pundit's favorite topic: those pathetic liberals and their silly prejudices:
The Democratic Party is losing badly on the local, state and national levels. If you were a football team you’d be 2-8. Maybe you can do better than responding with the sentiment: Sadly, the country isn’t good enough for us.
Hmm, by doing some perfunctory fact checking, we learned that the Democratic Presidential candidate amassed some 2 million more votes than the tangerine-face grifter and Democratic Senatorial candidates won 6,000,000 more votes than Republicans, but lost the House aggregate by 3 million votes.  So in terms of what Americans voted for, we'd say they were 2 for 3.  Maybe there's something wrong in a political system that translates those results into President Tangerine-Faced Grifter and 52 stooges for whatever whackjob he nominates for the Supreme Court.  Must be the fault of those liberals!

And finally we get to the money shot:
Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.
They don't?  They are?  Talk about post-truth.  Is the reason that coal miners and steel workers can't find jobs is because 25 years ago they weren't trained as software coders?  Seems post-truth, or maybe pre-truth.  Are the Obamacare exchanges failing because gross premiums are going up to levels estimated by the Obama Administration?  Twenty million people, including a lot of Trump voters, will find out what happens when those “failing” exchanges are replaced by the healing power of estate tax repeal.

Maybe those of us in the professional class should be unrelenting in our opposition not only to the ruling kleptocracy, but also to the anti-democratic voter suppression and gerrymandering schemes that have frustrated the popular will.  And maybe those not in said class who voted for the tangerine-faced grifter might reflect on the coming betrayal.  Those who didn't vote, like those black barbers in Milwaukee, on the grounds that the white woman was as bad as the white man, might want to rethink their view sometime after they lose their health insurance and whatever progress made in the last eight years to reduce the numbers of minorities tossed on the streets by the 5-0.

In the meantime, we hope that David Brooks enjoys his much-deserved Marmalard.  Just remember, David, to handle it the same way Mandy handled Greg: with latex gloves.

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