Friday, January 28, 2005


Friday Blog Blogging

The most excellent Barbara O'Brien (aka "Maha") over at her terrific the Mahablog says what a lot of us have been thinking, only she puts it in real nice words.
The Real Entitlement Culture

Regarding "entitlement culture," which the Wall Street Journal seems to think is rampant in New York City (see previous post), it strikes me that nobody on earth has a bigger sense of entitlement than righties.

It struck me this morning when I stumbled on a column in the Los Angeles Times, in which Max Boot foams at the mouth over Seymour Hersh and his most recent New Yorker article. "It's hard to know why anyone would take seriously a 'reporter' whose writings are so full of, in Ted Kennedy's words, 'maliciousness and innuendo,'"  Boot rants.

Now, if I had a few hours to kill, I could write a detailed commentary on all the maliciousness and innuendo that Boot packs into the twelve paragraphs of this morning's column. But to save time I'll just link to Ari Berman at The Nation, who explains why the Pentagon and the rightie punditocracy owe Hersh an apology. Boot is several news cycles behind.

But I say Boot's real problem is a sense of entitlement. The Right thinks it is entitled to news stories that tell them what they want to hear. Bill O'Reilly and his temper tantrums are Exhibit A. Another recent example is the Right Blogosphere's near-worship of the Iraq the Model web site, which I blogged about here and here. As Juan Cole wrote, "Looking for token pro-American Iraqis to say nice things while ignoring all the evidence of US failure is pitiful." Yes, but typical.

And what about Bush's recent coronation, a four-day wallow in extravagence the GOP felt entitled to in spite of war and the tsunami disaster?

And I was struck by the way the Bushie crowd treated John Kerry at the swearing-in ceremony. Dana Milbank wrote in WaPo, "every time they flashed his picture on the Jumbotron, the crowd -- full of wealthy Republicans -- jeered." Although I never attended a presidential swearing-in personally, I've been reading about 'em and watching 'em on television since Eisenhower. And I have never heard of such behavior before. People in the past were gracious and respectful of the loser.

But this crowd feels entitled to act like six-year-olds: We won. Kerry stinks. Nyah nyah nyah.

Granted, brattiness spreads itself across the political spectrum. There are selfish and ungracious lefties. I actually knew a liberal sociopath once. But on the whole, liberals don't feel entitled to special treatment, which is why the righties so often get away with beating us up. And when the righties claim victory and go merrily on their prepubescent way, we lefties slump into a neurotic wallow of self-blame. We've got to stop doing that.  

But then, how does an adult deal with a spoiled six-year-old who has more power than the adult? If we can come up with an answer to that, then we'll know how to deal with the Right.
Basically, the entire conservative movement and its political wing, the Republican Party, has turned into Freepers - whiny, bitchy avatars of George W. Bush, for whom nothing is enough. And for whom anything they do is pure and perfect. Bush wins with 50.8%, it's a mandate. Bush wins with 50.8%, it's the only "accountability moment" he is ever going to face, and it means the entire world is 100% in favor of everything he did.

The slightest critcism is treason. Any disagreement is cause for ranting fury. Any opponent is the enemy, to be destroyed if possible, ridiculed and humiliated if destruction is not yet in the cards.

And all this is done, not just with the sense of entitlement Barbara describes above, but with the religious certainty of a Savanarola. The rest of us are simply wrong, and there is not point in any discussion or debate, let alone compromise, with someone who stands with Satan.

So you have a combination of a spoiled six-year-old with nuclear weapons and delusions of Godhood - if that doesn't scare the shit out of you, can I have some of whatever you're drinking? I need to get some sleep one of these nights.
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