June 10, 2012

NYTimes Steve Almond: Sure I’m an obnoxious, arrogant prick, but the tools and fools of evil conservatism made me that way [Darleen Click]

Somebody needs a hug and a reality check

Consider the recent debate over whether employers must cover contraception in their health plans. The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies? — is part of a serious and necessary national conversation.

Any hope of that conversation happening was dashed the moment Rush Limbaugh began his attacks on Sandra Fluke, the young contraceptive advocate. [...]

But the real problem isn’t Limbaugh. He’s just a businessman who is paid to reduce complex cultural issues to ad hominem assaults. The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news. In so doing, we have helped redefine liberalism as an essentially reactionary movement. Rather than initiating discussion, or advocating for more humane policy, we react to the most vile and nihilistic voices on the right. [...]

The first and most damning reason is that some part of me truly enjoys resenting conservatives. I know I shouldn’t, that I should strive for equanimity. But secretly I feel the same helplessness and rage that animates the extreme right wing of this country. I see a world dangerously out of balance — morally, economically, ecologically — and my natural impulse is to blame those figures who, in my view, embody the decadent ignorance of the age. They become convenient scapegoats. [...]

My fixation on conservative demagogues also includes a share of covert envy. The truth is that I feel overrun by moral uncertainty, bewildered by the complexity of our planetary crises. Wouldn’t it be nice, I ask myself, to feel entirely sure of my beliefs? To shout down anyone who disagrees with me? To dismiss peak oil and global warming as fairy tales? To accept capitalism as a catechism?

But what’s really happening when I scoff at Sarah Palin’s latest tweet amounts to a mimetic indulgence: I’m bleeding the world of nuance, surrendering to the seduction of binary thinking.

This pattern of defensive grievance, writ large, has derailed the liberal agenda and crippled the nation’s moral progress.

Yes, Steve, I don’t believe what I write, what I say, or how I live my life. I just do it for the sweet, sweet check from the Koch Brothers I get each month.

Or was that Haliburton? Being such a binary, un-nuanced bitter clinger, I have trouble keeping my Evil Overlords straight.

****************
Looks like motionview found the link before me!

Posted by Darleen @ 11:11am
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Comments (79)

  1. This is a very silly article, Mr. Almond’s article. I wouldn’t have paid it any mind, save that it shows up here.

    But fulminations is an interesting word.

    fulminations [fuhl-muh-ney-shuhn] ful·mi·na·tion

    noun
    1. a violent denunciation or censure: a sermon that was one long fulmination.
    2. violent explosion.

    Origin: Latin fulmin?ti?n- (stem of fulmin?ti?) a thundering, fuming. See fulminate, -ion

    I wonder what Almond thinks nihilistic means? Or mimetic, for that matter? Plato’s dialogues, for instance, are said to be supreme examples of the mimetic art. Are the dialogues his model? heh.

    Nah. Mr Almond doesn’t even know what the question is.

  2. Mr Almond doesn’t even know what the question is.

    But he feels so good for rending his garments in public.

    and that’s the only thing that counts with Left-liberals.

  3. He states the underlying question is whether or not women should get help in paying for contraception.

    First, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t posed as a question. It was announced as a settled issue by bureaucratic fiat. Secondly, it seems odd that a man proclaiming himself in search of a nuanced discussion fails to bring up the equally important underlying issue of freedom of religion. Again, that’s not really a question though, is it? We settled that with the First Amendment.

    Mr. Almond doesn’t do nuance very well.

  4. the simplest cheapest smartest thing to do would be to make the pill available over the counter, but that wouldn’t aggrandize our cowardly failshit government

  5. Mr. Almond obviously did Boston College a favor by resigning as he is a very muddled thinker.

    bh, I too, was struck by the fact that he seems not recognize that the healthcare argument is not one about women’s access to birth control, but one about freedom of religion and the First Amendment. Each of his arguments, regardless of topic, walks itself around a small circle and ends where he began. There is no resolution.

    I need to remind myself not to read the comments at the NYT, as well.

  6. hf

    but OTC would still cost money… maybe even $8 a pack, when it should be FREE FREE FREE!

    Why do you hate the womyns and want to punish them with babies?

  7. We sometimes make note of the fact that some of our opponents in these matters are not able to grasp and then state our viewpoints accurately whether from their cocooning or their bad faith. (Or both.)

    What they don’t seem to grasp is that one doesn’t attempt to understand other people only because it’s how one actually thinks and debates but there is also the simple matter of personal pride.

    Speaking like a fool is no virtue. Neither is being a fool by thinking this is how one wins a propaganda war.

  8. If only we had helped protect Steve’s mommy from unwanted pregnancies!

  9. the idea is to cut the silly doctor visit out of the cost equation

    cutting avaricious doctards out of the equation wherever possible is the low-hanging fruit of healthcare reform

  10. Silly doctor visits? Hardly. See that cloud on the horizon? The giant black one roiling toward pharmaceutical maufacturers? That’s the class action suit brought by silly bitches taking their pills incorrectly due to their age, medical conditons, inability to read the instructions, et cetera.

  11. Of Course Birth Control Pills Should Be Sold Over the Counter

    No, they do not interact badly with antibiotics.

  12. Yes, they do depending on the antibiotic. If a woman is taking tetracycline for acne, for instance, most oral birth control pills will fail.

  13. who wants to fuck someone with acne?

  14. Do not use tetracycline if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby, including permanent discoloration of the teeth later in life. Tetracycline can make birth control pills less effective. Use a second method of birth control while you are taking this medicine to keep from getting pregnant. Tetracycline passes into breast milk and may affect bone and tooth development in a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 8 years old. Tetracycline can cause permanent yellowing or graying of the teeth, and it can affect a child’s growth.

    Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Tetracycline can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

    Do not take iron supplements, multivitamins, calcium supplements, antacids, or laxatives within 2 hours before or after taking tetracycline. These products can make this medicine less effective.

    Throw away any unused tetracycline when it expires or when it is no longer needed. Do not take this medicine after the expiration date on the label has passed. Expired tetracycline can cause a dangerous syndrome resulting in damage to the kidneys.

    Bold mine.

  15. who wants to fuck someone with acne?

    Fellow pizza-faced teens.

  16. I can’t really think of anything more rash, juvenile and imbecilic than quitting a teaching job over a commencement speaker. It disqualifies one as a serious person.

  17. bh, setting Mr Almond aside for the moment, it seems to me that a decided inability to find the right question is something of a theme in Progressive politics today (today, today), citing the difficulties Prof Jacobson found at the Netroots Convention, the facile lying-spinning-lying cycle Mara Liasson takes herself through here (I mean, who else does she expect to go along with her nonsense if not herself?) and in nearly innumerable other instances of Progressive thought abroad in the news: Obama’s failures to recognize his own failures being most prominent among them. They’s got a problem. Getting to the question is the first step to being addressing the problem.

  18. “to being” should have been written “to begin”. Sorry.

  19. cut the silly doctor visit out of the cost equation

    Planned Parenthood among other places make this a very cost free thing.

    How about OTC Viagra?

    Now there’s a cause to stand up for.

  20. Wow, Stephanie Miller’s producer is a thin-skinned Leftist

    but I repeat myself

    So far I’ve “lied” to him, I have no worldview, I’m fucked because I listen to Dennis Prager, I never expose myself to “opposite” views as I’m a far-right lemming.

    heh

  21. there’s all sorts of drug interactions possible with stuff what is already over the counter though

    otc viagra would be smart too … and it looks like there may be data on it

    In February 2007, it was announced that Boots, the UK pharmacy chain, would try over-the-counter sales of Viagra in stores in Manchester, England. Men between the ages 30 and 65 would be eligible to buy four tablets after a consultation with a pharmacist.[54]

  22. On that theme, sdferr, here’s what the Wisco Dems have been talking about at their convention.

    Their sails are torn, their rudder has been ripped off, and the rocks approach so… they’ve decided to plug their ears with wax because of the far greater threat of sirens.

    Genius.

  23. Maybe the other kids used to rag and riff on his name. They renamed the “Swirly” the “Almond Joy,” the “Skyhook” became the “Nut Harvest,” the sebaceous sheen on his face “Almond Oil” and so on. That was long ago, when no Federal government agency was tasked with defending his dignity. Not like nowadays, when do-gooder Federal intentions are permeating every nook and cranny of society like an application of WD-40. There was no Dan Savage to save him then. Vicious conservatives would like to roll back the water-displacing healing capillary flow of good intentions and leave us all exposed to random oxidation.

    The conservative commentariat funding angle works this way: If you are poor and conservative, they point and laugh at your poverty. If you are moderately well-off, you are obviously being funded by rich conservative subversives. If you are rich and conservative, you’re the one funding the commentariat. And George Soros, ACORN, government-funded academic tools, and all those special deals with rent-seeking corporations are mythical creatures like the Chupacabra. No such thing.

  24. I’ll venture an unformed thought on the cause of the Progressive’s problem by way of characterization: the problem is doctrinal, baked in the cake. As progressives, their necessary understanding is that their doctrine leads to progress (i.e. the good or the good simply): hence, how can there be a problem? Let alone a serious problem?

  25. I’ve never met anyone named Almond. I’ll bet he changed it from Mandel with means “almond” in German.

  26. Funny how he claims to “feel overrun by moral uncertainty, bewildered by the complexity of our planetary crises”. But then brings up two of the cases — peak oil and global warming — where it’s the liberals who are most often entirely sure of their beliefs and shout down anyone who disagrees, or even questions those issues where the “science is settled”. Meanwhile, he himself dubs these issues “planetary crises”, belying his claim of uncertainty. This isn’t moral uncertainty, it’s moral preening.

  27. Another way to put that, sdferr, is that it’s far harder to address axiomatic flaws. And, yes, it’s my sense that this is where they find themselves.

  28. OT: Today Cliff Lee will finally get a win this season. It’s about time, Phillies.

  29. bh, your counties and towns in Wisco have awesome Injun names like ours down here. Network newsies always mispronounce the names of our towns Eucha and some others that I can’t spell without looking them up.

  30. Speaking of which, I think this is where the libertarian vs conservative tension on the right serves a real purpose.

    Regardless of where any of us fall on that spectrum, we’re all constantly forced to address the questions of the proper role of government and the proper balance between liberty and responsibility.

  31. Men between the ages 30 and 65 would be eligible to buy four tablets after a consultation with a pharmacist.

    Only four tablets a day? Boy, those Brits really are into medical rationing, aren’t they?

  32. Yeah, they do, leigh. I remember finding it funny when Chicagoans from Illinois* expressed their bewilderment at the city names that rolled off my cheesehead tongue.

  33. There’s little to do for the progressives if, after quietly and thoroughly explaining the state of their dilemma on the “public sector workers union” at the fundamental level of expression, they refuse to come to grips. And I believe we can see that this is precisely the current state of affairs for them:

    “I think, really, government works better without them,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told “Fox News Sunday,” when asked whether public-worker unions should even exist. [...]

    Daniels said that vote should send a message about the problems with public-sector unions.

    “I think the message is that, first of all, voters are seeing the fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group, sitting on both sides of the table,” he said. [...]

    AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee said the public does support pensions for public- and private-sector workers.

    “That’s something that people do support at the end of the day. We have to figure out how to fund it, we have to figure out how to make it viable, but I don’t think that voters in this country want to go to a place where our elderly people are living in poverty,” she said. “When times are tough, people are trying to figure out who’s to blame, but we need to be able to fund our public sector.” [...]

    Lee, though, said government workers are not overpaid when salaries are taken into consideration, noting that highly skilled professionals like doctors make less in the public than private sectors.

    She said the debate should focus on how the private sector can offer better retirement benefits, not on how the public sector can offer fewer benefits.

  34. “He’s just a businessman who is paid to reduce complex cultural issues . . .”

    and

    “The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies?”

    heh.

  35. I live about a 30 minute drive from Miami, pronounced my-am-uh. It throws the weathercasters everytime.

    My german grandma who grew up in Nebraska, always pronounced Illinois with an ess at the end.

  36. AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee says we should just raises taxes, too.

    Argh.

  37. And AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee will continue to reap the untoward electoral results this policy engenders. Which, fine, if she chooses to be bull-headed to her loss, who are we to dissuade her?

  38. I’m certainly not going to stand in the way of her and the wall she wishes to bang her head against.

  39. There’s a parallel here with Obamacare as well.

    They steadfastly refuse to think about its legal problems and its basic unpopularity. So they cede the field to us and then complain that we’re merely better at reducing complex issues to simple slogans.

  40. Yipes, I may have counted Cliff Lee’s win-chicken prior to its hatching: he gave up a bttm-o’4th three-run homer tying the game at 4-4! Sorry Cliff.

  41. Bad juju in the sporting world this weekend, sdferr. Expect the worst.

  42. Bad ju-ju, for sure. Kings lost last night. Stupid Debbils.

  43. “This pattern of defensive grievance, writ large, has derailed the liberal agenda and crippled the nation’s moral progress”

    - Hold it. I thought defensiveness and grievance politics was the cause celeb entirety of the Proggressive movement.

    - As a group, they seem confused about their confusion.

  44. Wieters doubles, Jones scores! Yay! Meantime both the Mets and Marlins fold. Booooo!

  45. “reInforcing easy prejudices”

    This seemed to be the one part he got right

  46. - “LeakyGate” gets legs.

    - But asking Holder to investigate?….seriously?

  47. Hilarious how people seem to think that birth control is the “cheapest” method, and now the question seems to be who gets to pay, the actual user or the taxpayers who don’t support BC in the first place…

    There is another birth control method – 100% effective, prevents 100% of all known (and all unknown) STDs, and doesn’t cost a single penny, no matter how often you use it. The Catholics have been advocating it for years, and yet the government seems to want to force their less-effective, more-costly method that exposes you to a greater than zero chance of catching a potentially crippling or fatal disease onto us as “the smarter solution”.

    The catch is that you have to use it consistently, and you won’t have anyone but yourself to blame should you forget… And personal responsibility is no longer allowed under the Nanny State, because self-esteem is more important than doing the right thing, and it means teaching your kids that having a baby is a “punishment” with a life sentence and no chance of parole.

    I’m still trying to figure out where the words “health care” appear in our Founding Documents…

  48. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said the West needs to explain what meaningful concessions it will offer to Iran in return for a halt to 20 percent enrichment.

    “If some want us to forgo this right, they should first give their reasons, and secondly (disclose) what they will give the Iranian nation in return,” he said.”

    - If we had a prez with a pair he’d respond:

    “The United States is prepared to promise the Iranian nation as a concession that we won’t turn it into a lake of molten green radioactive glass if it stops pursuing nuclear weapons developement.”

  49. I’m still trying to figure out where the words “health care” appear in our Founding Documents…

    I’m pretty sure it’s in the paragraph about abortion and gay marriage.

  50. Penumbra not paragraph, words are so 18th century. Emanations from the future utopia are what are perceived/received and acted on.

  51. Dang it! I knew I had that wrong as soon as I hit post.

  52. - Apparently in Wisconson, the Utopian Emanations came mostly from too much brats and beer.

  53. Lee, though, said government workers are not overpaid when salaries are taken into consideration

    Thea Lee is a lying cocksucking whore what lies I think

    Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.

    Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

    Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.*

  54. Too much utopian-emanatin’ in a closed room can be hazardous to one’s health.

  55. Then again, Utopian Emanations could be a tolerable band name.

  56. [...] Utopian Emanations could be a tolerable band name.

    It’d work for both easy listening jazz and death metal.

  57. Steve Almond condensed: I have no mouth and I must scream.

    OMFG almond grl
    u r 2 pathetique 2 tweet

  58. “Lee, though, said government workers are not overpaid when salaries are taken into consideration.”

    - No feets, in a lot of instances hes correct, but its the usual Lefturd nuanced bullshit.

    - What hes not saying is that the salaries are scandeously high to begin with. By the Lefts yardstick it sounds reasonable that way.

    - They continue to ignore the tsunami, almost in a cartoonish pie-in-the-face way, the whole point of the Wis. results. Voters are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more. But the Left can’t allow the narrative to fall, so they disemble and temporize, desperate to stem the tide, and happily enough for tax payers, just making it worse for themselves.

  59. not sure Mr. Hunter

    sounds like Thea Lee is granting that benefits for piggy piggy government union worker whores are higher, but that salaries are lower

    did you see the sidebar at the article I linkered?

    ***

    The typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation. Median annual salary:

    Federal/Private/Difference
    $66,591 $55,500 $11,091

    Sources: Bureau of Labor statistics, USA TODAY analysis

  60. what’s really happening when I scoff at Sarah Palin’s latest tweet amounts to a mimetic indulgence: I’m bleeding the world of nuance, surrendering to the seduction of binary thinking.

    Bleeding? The world? You have a mighty high opinion of your reach, Dorothy. On the other hand, bleeding as a remedy or palliative for what ails ya’ sounds medieval and primitive, so it must be right up your bitter alley.

  61. The typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation. Median annual salary:

    But to be fair, the public sector workers should be paid more — after all, they are our best and brightest. As any trip to the DMV will readily attest.

  62. The truth is that I feel overrun by moral uncertainty, bewildered by the complexity of our planetary crises. Wouldn’t it be nice, I ask myself, to feel entirely sure of my beliefs?

    Sobbing Jeebus in a sauna bath, if this Almond motard keeps wringing his hands like this he’ll have to go to the emergency room to untangle his fingers.

  63. - Using “typical gov. worker” is another dodge, and they know it.

    - It’s exactly not the typical worker, (although the outlandish number of unnessesary workers is certainly part of the problem), but the highly overpaid positions, where people are pulling dpwn 400K+, and million dollar pensions, along with public sector Unions making 35 dollars an hour for private sector jobs that typically pay 12 – 18 bucks, with outrageous tax payer funded pension plans, while private sector only has 401K semi self paid. Its so unbalanced its hard not to laugh when they try to deny.

    - The truth is its all about Bunnblefucks bought and paid for base, and their fight to hold onto the scam they’ve had going for so long.

  64. The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news.

    I think she meant the liberals (like CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, etc.) treat news like for-profit propaganda. Otherwise that sentence is meaningless.

  65. their fight to hold onto the scam they’ve had going for so long.

    Not just the public sector union jobs, not just all public sector jobs, not just them and the private sector union jobs. We must also figure in the NGOs, the foundations, the multiple board memberships, the HR diversity compliance universe, even down to the 501 [c] ? schemes of all the little BKs and NRs of the world.

    The past year in Madison and the last two years, now standing exposed, of BK show just what they will do to keep the scams going just a little longer. “By Any Means Necessary” applies across the left spectrum.

  66. I’m pretty sure he actually meant memetic, i.e., as the result of a meme, versus mimetic.

    I mean, I think he’s trying to say he’s going along with this whole idea that the lady Palin is deserving of mockery, rather than the idea he and his are somehow imitating a pattern in nature that demands mockery of women. (Or they’re attempting to act like the dominant social group because doing so will result in change for their social group. I am pretty sure that’s not what they’re doing; if anything, Breitbart and Limbaugh engaged in mimesis of the Left, rather than vice-versa.)

  67. Oh, also. Switch Sandra Fluke’s name with Limbaugh’s, and then swap the sides of the argument (progressive versus conservative, etc.) and it makes just as much if not more sense.

    I have to hand it to Mr. Almond; it’s not easy to write a text that makes that much sense when you switch the nouns around like that.

    “Any hope of that conversation happening was dashed the moment [Sandra Fluke] began her attacks on [Catholicism], … “

  68. schemes of all the little BKs and NRs of the world.

    oh mo the cat’s out of the bag

  69. Waiter: So, Steve, cream and sugar in that coffee?

    Steve: How arbitrary. I’ll have both and neither, thank you very much.

    Waiter: Excuse me? I’m not sure what you want…

    Steve: Damnit, I won’t put up with this yes or no nonsense. I need a little nuance. Where’s the manager?

    Waiter: Sir, or madam, would you mind calming down a bit?

    Steve: How dare you insult me, obviously I’m male.

    Waiter: Sir or madam, I was merely trying to give you what you asked for. After all, gender is a somewhat arbitrary construct, don’t you think?

  70. Blake says June 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    That was freaking brilliant.

  71. Thank you, George, appreciate the compliment.

  72. I’m bleeding the world of nuance, surrendering to the seduction of binary thinking.

    I guess he flunked out of Computer Science if he doesn’t care for binary thinking.

  73. My favorite part was in the comments (yeah, I know, why did I go there…) where people were protesting the suggestion by one of the few conservative commenters that they should try engaging with conservatives, by saying “there’s noone to engage with…whoever we try to talk to – Brooks, Frum, etc. – is disowned by the right!” As if the whole point of “engaging with” isn’t to try talking to people who disagree with you!

  74. Yackums

    Submitted early on a comment pointing out, as this post did, that Almond was being particularly arrogant in blaming his own issues on conservatives and that the vast majority of media was already Left — thus their refusal to engage the Right.

    needless to say, it was deemed good enough to make it past moderation.

    Looking at the comments, it’s hard to see any non-Leftist.

    They loves themselves the echo chamber.

    Point

  75. Pingback: » Left and right agree: We don’t need no concern-trolling NYT op-eds - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

  76. There will be a Federal Department of Lady Parts?

  77. If there is, I imagine they will need legal representation. Just sayin’.

  78. As Jeff might say, “get your hands off back on my uterus.”

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