Most of the time I try to avoid the worst of the worst in our media, but sometimes I am in the mood for a little psychic pain. When those urges arise, my go to columnists are Charles Lane at the WaPo and Bobo at the NYT. Many of you will think I should probably go to Halperin, but he’s just so stupid it doesn’t cause me the physical pain that Lane and Bobo do. As far as I am concerned, no one can deliver the kick to the gut that Charles Lane can pack in one of his Both Sides Do It masterpieces. Here’s one of my recent favorites, which I have bookmarked so that whenever I start to feel good about myself or the country, I can read it and be brought back to earth:
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of war.
The Democratic National Committee accuses the GOP of a “Republican War on Women,” to go along with its “war on working families” (according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) and “Paul Ryan’s war on seniors” (Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky).
Various Republicans accuse President Obama of waging “war on religious freedom” or even, in the words of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “a war on religion.” According to the Republican National Committee, the president is also waging “war on energy,” the sequel, apparently, to what the House Republican Leadership has called “Democrats’ war on American jobs.”***
Amid the fog of blog posts,Twitter, Facebook, talk radio and the rest, only hyperbole has a chance to break through. Even so, many, if not most, people tune out the parties’ “war” propaganda. The shriller it gets, the less seriously they take it. For any given individual, this is a mentally healthy response.
Multiplied across the entire electorate, however, the effect may be more corrosive. To the extent that sensible citizens tune out politics, they abandon the field to people who are receptive to constant cries of war, war, war — people who are prepared to think of their opponents as enemies.
When you think of someone as an enemy, it’s harder to contemplate trusting, respecting or cooperating with him or her. Indeed, those behaviors start to look like treason, instead of what they really are: the minimum requirements of democratic life.
On his Web site, Frank Luntz, the erstwhile GOP propagandist whose credits include rebranding the estate tax as the “death tax,” tells potential clients about “transforming mere words into an effective arsenal for the war of perception we all wage each and every day.”
According to Luntz, “We all submit to the power of language, whether we know it or not.”
My fear is that he’s right. All the more reason to stop the wars.
Tell me, after reading that, are you conflicted as to whether you should grab the scotch and slowly drink yourself to death, or just grab a handgun and end it quickly. No one, in my estimation, can bring it like Chuck. He’s the worst of the worst. He’s the Michael Jordan of false equivalence.
At any rate, what columnists have the same impact on you?