[FoRK] The real threat of reactionary socialism
jbone at place.org
Sun May 25 00:55:31 PDT 2008
On May 24, 2008, at 9:09 PM, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:
> Jeff Bone wrote:
>> I agree; I think I pointed out that she was on the loonie fringe in
>> the first e-mail about this.
>> Doesn't really change the point, does it?
> Sure it does. You're worried about a "trend" but she's a totally
> irrelevant nutbar.
I think your facts are right on but your conclusions are wrong, and
Yes, she's a nutbar. But if you can't spot the trend, then you aren't
paying close enough attention. Here's how it works.
She's a nutbar, and she makes some comments that are, frankly, pretty
outrageous --- yet the only place it's initially picked up is in the
What does this tell us? Well...
(1) media loves nutbars and outrageous statements, so the fact that
it's only picked up by opposite-extreme media is a bit curious...
(2) that tells us that it's not being regarded as all that exceptional
(3) data point: in 2006 a random use of the term "macaca" cost George
Allen his reelection
(4) data point: in 2002 Trent Lott's comments at Strom Thurmond's
birthday cost him his Senate majority leadership slot
(5) in both those cases the mainstream media picked up and ran with
those stories like crazy right from the get-go
So from this we can synthesize the following plausible hypothesis:
the "mainstream" media in general reacts with vigor to outrageous
right-wing statements, but not to similarly outrageous left-wing
statements. Now, unlike the right-wing conspiracy theorists, I don't
actually suppose that most of the "mainstream" media is in fact a vast
left-wing conspiracy. I think they're in business, and I think
they'll sell anything sensational. And further, I'd say they probably
have a pretty good idea of what counts as sensational... and a
sitting Congresswoman making comments about nationalizing the oil
industry isn't regarded as sensational because, in the opinion of the
mainstream newsmakers, most people aren't going to find the suggestion
all that outrageous.
And there it is.
I could be wrong, but I've made my living in one way or another over
the last 15+ years by extrapolating about trends from often fairly
sketchy evidence, and I've not been wrong about that sort of thing
very often. So you could be right, my pattern recognizer could be
generating a false positive here --- but I feel pretty confident about
the prediction I'm making. America's leaning a lot further left than
most people are willing to acknowledge just yet.
Time will tell.
> Does anyone know who the two people to her right (physically
> speaking) are?
> Looks like they were basically cracking up. Practically laughing at
Yup, I believe I already pointed this out. Didn't recognize those
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