Mike the Mad Biologist

In my response to my post about Maureen Dowd’s brief relapse into sanity, PhysioProf writes:

Dowd’s been on the list of the top ten mainstream shitbag media enablers of the depraved right-wing Democrat-feminizing-gayifying shell game for twenty fucking years. As far as I’m concerned, she can go fuck herself, and take her fake-ass new-found Dirty Fucking Liberal Hippie Commie Islamofacist schtick and shove it up her fucking ass.

The only reason she’s doing this is because she has finally figured out that the right-wing scumbags she’s been tongue-bathing for the last two decades are losing their grip on power, and she’s readying herself to start toadying up to the the new power center.

I don’t disagree, because I was not arguing that Dowd has reassessed what she thinks. Dowd, like a fair number of pundits, is not only an opportunist, but a narcissicist to boot*. Of course, she hasn’t changed what she fundamentally believes (to the extent that she actually believes in anything); those with massive personality disorders rarely do. But she can change what she writes, even if it’s for the ‘wrong’ reasons.

The reason I mention creationism in the title is because the same thing happened with the pushback against creationism: after enough members of the Coalition of the Sane, including credentialed scientists, badgered enough reporters–and their editors–reporters cut way back on the ‘he-said, she-said’ stories that portrayed creationism as an equivalent idea to evolution. I’m sure some did this because, after they reassessed and rethought what they knew about creationism and evolution, they had changed their minds. Others more, erm, sociopathic-leaning reporters, however, were probably discouraged because they didn’t like getting called fucking morons by those with the intellectual credibility to do so.

In other words, the incentives to find a ‘controversy’ or a story about conflict or a bunch of ‘iconoclasts’ were greatly diminished.

Back to Dowd. Do I think that Dowd has suddenly become a good (or even just mediocre) person? Of course not (if nothing else, she seems intent on psychobabbling inanities about Republicans, which is, at best, a marginal improvement).

But she has changed her behavior, and I think when a lot of bloggers–and their quiet readers–keep hitting on the same themes, it ultimately filters back to someone like Clark Hoyt. It’s not that there was one post that did the trick, but having a lot of bloggers criticizing Dowd (and their ‘meat world echoes’) is both a cause and a result of the growing dislike of her writing.

And we can use that.

*When a blogger can rightfully call someone a narcissicist, you know that person is really screwed up.

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    June 27, 2008

    A hopeful sign, I think.

  2. #2 PhysioProf
    June 27, 2008

    Thanks for the link, dude!!

  3. #3 MattXIV
    June 27, 2008

    I’m bemused by the idea that Maureen Dowd has been “tongue-bathing” the right for a decade. Yes, she writes profoundly stupid and superficial, often to the point of offense, things about Democrats, but she also writes profoundly stupid and superficial, often to the point of offense, things about Republicans. Most people would conclude from this information that Maureen Dowd is simply a profoundly stupid and superficial person. But to maintain our Dirty Fucking Liberal Hippie Commie Islamofacist blogger cred we must assume that everybody who disagrees with us is part of one big right-wing conspiracy to keep the voices of us Dirty Fucking Liberal Hippie Commie Islamofacist bloggers out of the MSM, regardless of if we actually have any idea what we are talking about.

  4. #4 The Ridger
    June 27, 2008

    I have to say I likewise am boggled by the accusation that Maureen Dowd sucks up to the right-wing. She despises them, too. She despises everyone.

  5. #5 PhysioProf
    June 27, 2008

    Dowd is Queen of the Village. The Village sucks up to and sucks off power. You guys need to read some fucking Digby.

  6. #6 Mike the Mad Biologist
    June 27, 2008

    To echo what PhysioProf wrote, Dowd has used very specific anti-Democratic slurs, the most notable of which is to assault the masculinity of Democratic politicians (unless they’re women, in which case, they’re shrieking harridans). Hence, Gore was lactating, and Obama is Obambi.

    Sure, she’s shallow and stupid, but she also reinforces Republican talking points (and not Democratic ones), and their decades-long attempt to paint Dems as sissies and weaklings.

  7. #7 Dan S.
    June 28, 2008

    Dover-area journalist Laura Lebo on reporting the IDcreationist trial (nice interview, highly praised book) . . .

    If someone were to go back and take a look at my first couple of stories, they’d probably see that they were pretty even. But that’s because I hadn’t done enough homework, and by “doing homework,” I mean gathering information from both sides and sifting through and weighing the evidence. This “fair and balanced” approach makes us like a sponge: We’re supposed to just soak up the information and then wring it back out. But then we haven’t accumulated any knowledge. That’s crazy: It’s denying everything I’ve learned. That night, my editor Randy tried to get me to change the lead because he thought we were piling too much on intelligent design. I was really scared because I thought he would take me off the story if I didn’t agree, and there I was, three-quarters of the way through the trial … but I also knew I couldn’t lie, and that’s what it would have amounted to.

    I don’t think there’s any specific reason to think that her editor was particularly sociopathic-leaning, but it does sound like he may have been responding to the Discovery Institute’s PR-produced social/CW cues, and as a result viewing ID creationism as worthy of being in the ‘objective’, two-sides-to-every-story box, rather than the Geocentrists/Pet Psychics/Alien Abductees box (taken seriously as a cultural reality (or just played for wacky woo-woo amusement, with punning headlines), but certainly not as an literal out-there reality).

    In this case, Lebo’s own strong sense of truthfulness and integrity made her take at least a perceived risk, but I’m sure there are other cases where people have & will decide (as with classroom teachers and administrators facing the same issue) that’s it’s just better not to rock the boat. Whether her editor was concerned about angry pushback, his own (here mistaken) sense of journalistic integrity, or personal beliefs, at least the first two (and even possibly the third) are going to be responsive to cues that it really, really isn’t worthy of being treated as a factual (rather than cultural) controversy. And of course, this is why strong & responsive support for teachers and admin is also so important.

    (Now, at its crudest and lowest – the point, laugh and mock loudly form of social pressure – it’s kinda anti-intellectual and dismissive of individual conscience, so I prefer approaches that stress how it is a question of integrity, honesty, and responsibility . . .

  8. #8 Mike the Mad Biologist
    June 28, 2008

    Dan S.,

    Good catch on the Lebo quote. My point about sociopathy is that there are quite a few editors and reporters who want controversy more than accuracy–if there’s no controversy, then there’s no story.

    Regarding creationism, I would like to take the high road, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from following other political controversies, it’s that taking the high road doesn’t work with our dysfunctional press corps–unless we make it less dysfunctional.

    To follow up on my previous comment, if you want to realize just how deranged Dowd is, read Bob Somerby.

  9. #9 MattXIV
    June 30, 2008

    Are you two incapable of seeing politics in terms of anything but the crudest of us vs them binaries? She engages in exactly the same type of vapid pop psychology about all facets of the political spectrum – see her pointless and baseless ad nauseum speculation about Bush’s daddy issues. Perhaps you should consider that not everybody who doesn’t swoon over whatever moron the Democratic party puts up for office isn’t secretly a Republican stooge. You’re thinking like conspiracy theorists – you cling to one fact that’s consistent with your theory (Dowd mocks Democratic politicians using some of the same pop-psych BS that Republicans do) while ignoring the wealth of facts that cast doubt on it (Dowd’s policy positions are liberal, she routinely criticizes Republicans in even more harsh terms, she mocks Republicans she relies on the same type of pop-psych BS).

  10. #10 chat
    September 18, 2009

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