Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That's funny, because I looked up "sanctimonious" in the dictionary, and I found this:


For those of you who have wisely blocked the 2000 election from your memory, let me remind you of its most heinous feature.

And no, I’m not talking about the illegal suppression of Democratic votes, the subversion of the vote-counting process in FL by Republican operatives (led by the now-beloved James Baker of the Iraq Study Group, the commission whose recommendations W ignored and ridiculed. Pssst, how you like him now, Baker?), or that dark, shameful day when the Supreme Court twisted the law to fit their own political desires.

I’m talking about the open hatred of the press for Al Gore.

Yeah, hatred. He was hated during the 2000 election, especially. The press hated Mr.-Know-It-All so much, they booed him in the press room during one of the primary debates.

The press booed Al Gore.

And then they went on to write completely unbiased and fair news stories about him! Really. Come on, they’re members of the press! How dare you suggest that they let their personal hatred of the candidate color their coverage of him!

Sure, their stories had Gore saying things he didn’t really say, and ascribed motives to him that no reasonable person would really believe he possessed, but you know, they have a sacred duty to report on each and every fax they receive from the Republican National Committee, and they took that duty VERY SERIOUSLY.

No one more seriously than the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who, in spite of an near-crippling dislike for the former vice president, forced himself, for the sake of objective journalism, to attend a lecture Gore was giving to promote his new book:

A capacity crowd of 1,500 people jammed into Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University last night for Al Gore's speech and book-signing. But the numbers don't matter: Even if Gore were speaking before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center, he would still be the smartest guy in the room.

He reminded his listeners of this repeatedly last night.

You know, Dana, I never thought of it that way. Back when I was in college, and I would hear authors, or professors, or other scholars speak on a topic, I thought that they were doing it because, well, they knew something about it that they thought I might want to hear. I had no idea that they were just calling me stupid the whole time. Boy, am I steamed! I am going to go back to Penn State, and find that smart-ass Eastern European Literature Smartypants Lady, and tell her that just because she can speak for 50 minutes on the class structure of pre-revolution Russia, and its effects upon the character dynamics of the plays of Chekhov, does not mean that she is better than me!

"Were it possible to summarize this book in only 15 minutes, it wouldn't be the book it is, but I'll do my best," he announced en route to a 34-minute talk.

There you go again, Al Gore the Liar! Saying you’ll talk for 15 minutes, and then you talk for 34! Dana, honestly, I do not know how you can bear to be in the presence of such dissembling. You must be some kind of saint.

He waxed esoteric about the ancients: "Both the Agora and the Forum were foremost in the minds of our Founders. . . . Not a few of them read both Latin and Greek, as you know."

He waxed erudite about the Enlightenment: "Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' was first published the same year as the Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations.' "

And he waxed informed about the Information Age: "One of the challenges in discussing the premise of this book is to establish as a concrete reality the importance of this virtual space, forgive the phrase, within which the conversation of democracy takes place."

Gore practically oozes gray matter…

That Gore! How fucking dare he! Know things! What a fucking tool!

Imagine the Iowa hog farmer cracking open "Assault on Reason," and meeting Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Lippmann, Johannes Gutenberg, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Marshall McLuhan -- all before finishing the introduction.

Ho ho ho! A hog farmer? Dana, you are too funny! Everyone knows that hog farmers can’t read!

"The new technology called 'Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging,' or FMRI, has revolutionized the ability of neuroscientists to look inside the operations of a living human brain and observe which regions of the brain are being used at which times and in response to which stimuli," Gore writes.

Still with him?

Um, well, yeah, I am. I didn’t have any trouble following that at all, in fact.

There goes my political career!

Try this: "The architectural breakthrough associated with massive parallelism was to break up the power of the CPU and distribute it throughout the memory field to lots of smaller separate 'microprocessors' -- each one co-located with the portion of the memory field it was responsible for processing.

Not that you'd doubt Gore on these points, but, just in case, there are 273 endnotes.

Man, I am doomed. Not only did I completely understand Gore talking about what my company’s IT guy might refer to as, oh, “Computers 101,” but I thought it was a good thing to document your sources! Just goes to show you that I will never have a career in journalism, either.

Gore's main points are powerful, if not obvious: The Bush administration has manipulated the facts on the Iraq war and a range of other policies, the public has been easily manipulated, and Americans watch too much television. As in 2000, it's the way he makes his points that causes him trouble.

He makes his points with facts. “Obvious” facts. I’m not sure what the “trouble” is with that, but hey, Dana, you’re a journalist, and if you say that facts cause him trouble, then who am I to say that that statement is completely unsupported?

Of course, the passionate Gore fans who flocked to last night's speech wouldn't have been annoyed if he had opted to read from an organic chemistry textbook. The 1,500 tickets, at $16 a pop, were sold out days ago, and Politics and Prose sold books by the case…

People who like Gore really like him, I guess, is Milbank’s point. They must be some kind of crazy masochists, not to mind being called stupid for 34 minutes.

…Professor Gore used a roving microphone and paced back and forth, pausing thoughtfully and looking upward at times, putting one hand in his coat pocket and gesturing with the other.

Professor Gore. That’s funny. Because he thinks he’s smart, get it? Plus, all that looking and thinking and gesturing he does? So obviously phony and meant to belittle us.

He began by expressing his concern about the American public's knowledge. "How could it be that 70 percent of the American people genuinely believed that the person responsible for attacking on 9/11 was Saddam Hussein?" he asked. As for the Bush administration's false claims about Iraq's weapons, he called it "shocking and much more troubling to me that our nation fell for it so easily."

It’s not shocking to me. But maybe that’s because I am such a big fan of journalists like you, Dana Milbank.

Especially when you say things like this:

Gore is sanctimonious, and that's sort of the worst thing you can be in the eyes of the press. And he has been disliked all along, and it was because he gives a sense that he's better than us--he's better than everybody, for that matter, but the sense that he's better than us as reporters. Whereas President Bush probably is sure that he's better than us--he's probably right, but he does not convey that sense. He does not seem to be dripping with contempt when he looks at us, and I think that has something to do with the coverage.

Ya think?

10 comments:

Chris said...

God forbid we want a leader who is interested in critical thinking and new technologies. Reading your post, I kept thinking about Bill Hicks bit about anti-intellectualism (What you readin' for?).

Fuck Dana Milbank in the ass with a big rubber dick.

Michael said...

Why do you bother with such fools, dear?

Skylers Dad said...

What a pompous asshole!

By the way, will you please run for something so I can vote for you?

kirby said...

Jesus, who put a bug up his ass?

vikkitikkitavi said...

Chris: I just remembered another wonderful Bill Hicks bit:
Redneck: I'm a Christian, and I don't like what you say about Jesus.
Bill: Then forgive me.

Michael: Oh, only because he is a nationally famous journalist that people might read and think he actually has one fucking clue what the fuck he is talking about. I want to stab at the heart of giant with a teeny tiny eeny weeny little pin, that's all.

SkyDad: Sorry, too many skeletons in my closets.

Kirby: I know! Could it BE more bitchy?

'Bubbles' said...

What are we going to do, Vikki? We need to f'ing do something! Seriously.

Great post again, Vikki. You rock! (as me kids would say!)

:)

I would run as your puppet, but my sekeltons are all around us, too!

deadspot said...

That dude is everywhere. I found him under coprophage, which I guess explains the grin.

Grant Miller said...

Good lord.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I so hope Gore runs in '08. I want to see more of Milbank's works, but only on your posts after you reduce them to what they are - garbage.

Larry Jones said...

I guess Dana must be a Republican. He thinks Bush really is better than us, and he respects the clever way Bush doesn't lord it over us. I wonder if maybe the editor should have sent someone else to cover the event?

This kind of shit is the reason I stopped getting paper copies of newspapers at home. I need to pay money for this? Not.

In any case, I hope you send Milbank a copy of your post.