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Apr 03, 2007

Since November (#3): Liberal Pricks


THESE are balmy days on the American left — genuine, uncharacteristic sunniness unpolluted by some fluky political climate change. There is even talk of a — stutter, clear-throat, perish-thought — liberal resurgence.

Above is the first paragraph of a cheeky, thoroughly-stereotyped article from a February NYT Week In Review article ("Leftward Ho?") proclaiming America as undergoing "a liberal moment.”  Thesis and tone aside, what I couldn't figure out was the accompanying graphic.  Particularly, why is the U.S. divided in half, especially from (more than) mid-west to east?  Is it some kind of play on the title?

On the other hand, maybe the map is just a distraction device for the multiple pin holes -- as if the stock of (cardboard and slightly bent) liberals must inevitably rise and even take hold of things -- but only momentarily.

This eight day series, titled "Since November," looks at images that have caught The BAG's attention over the past four months. Many are inspired by the change in political landscape following the Democratic Congressional victory in November. In this stretch, I am taking some time off, leaving the site -- and the conversation -- in your hands.

(illustration: Micelle Monish.  February 18, 2007.  NYT WIR.


From the Times:

“A potentially liberal moment,” Mr. Frank says, “assuming that liberal politicians can seize the moment and get beyond their usual plague of incompetence.”

Oh, snap. Liberal optimism, thy name is caution and caveat.

That's the "explanation' for the numerous pin holes at th top of the picture....the Democrats can't figure out how far to the West they should dare to tred their "precious" progressive way without being shot down by those gun-toten Conservatives on the way to California. [Just spin, not truth!]

Maybe the idea is to put New England at the center of the map in that this is the spiritual homeland of American Liberalism. A consevative moment map would put South Carolina or Texas as the focal point. (incedently the MA SC split is the original abolishionist versus secessionist split as well)

The article was irritating, in the usual ways. I am looking forward to better language from liberal politicians on National Security issues. This is the idiot right's favorite taunt. It is wrong of course. When it comes to substance the Liberal approach is worked out and ready for implementation. What it is not ready for is salesmanship. Here is my contribution. Fight Smart. Republican National Security approaches are inherently impulse driven with a smash first think later quality. Fight Smart is the obvious retort and alternative. After you say the Fight Smart label you can go on and give the detailed wonkery "well Jim we think trials of Jihadist suspects help us win in two ways..." You need the label before you apply the explanation otherwise you come accross as an opinionated know it all. By showing your idea as part of an overall approach to National Security issues you can reinforce the positives of the liberal/Democratic Party brand.

Let me put it another way. Republican National Security politics has always been about labeling itself as strong and its opponents as weak. What we have been doing up until now is simply saying "we'are not weak" But denials are inherently weak so it doesn't work. What you need to do is reset the terms of the debate. What good is strength without intelligence? What good is strenght without the right application of this force? It's no good. Just look at Iraq. Being strong doesn't cut it in the 21st centrury if your not smart about it. Fight Smart.
I think it has potential but everyones loves their own rants. Comments?

it's off to the left there, don't you get it?


The image is inherently wrong in that the congressional seats, governorships, electoral colledge votes, and senate seats that will make the coming years a true liberal moment will come from the Mountain States and the SouthWest. The divisions between conservative and liberal in the east are decided (the civil war 4Ever), the West is the keystone and it is trending heavily independent and pro Democratic Party. Hence the DNC picking Denver for the Presidential nomination.

Independent: the liberal that dare not speak its name.

Ann Coulter spoke this past weekend at a local university in front of a throng of (800) cheering Young Republican nazi youth, their helicopter parental units and assorted jackboots while (40) unwashed liberal traitors, queers, terrorist enablers and Islamofascist sympathizers protested outside the hall. Don't even get me started on the why not's of these Young Republican cowards being in Iraq fighting for their sacred ideals?

(800) to (40) is a 'whitewash' in my book and does not appear anywhere near a leftward revival or enlightened reawakening of the American populace from this crows' nest.

Here's another tidbit for those of you at the BAG who are praying for a reversal in the political winds of this once proud now, openly disgraced nation.

Newsweek reports that nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.

How can anyone with even a modicum of intelligence, slightly above that of a boiled carrot, believe in a confederacy of dunces overnight metamorphosis from a slimy ooze into a shiny beautiful butterfly just because the Gray Lady says so in print? We live in the Theocratic States of America a decidedly right wing ideological cauldron of hate, bigotry, warmongering and medieval educational standards with their accompanying superstitious belief systems.

That half the USA is silhouetted by the NYT is to show greater New York as the head of our tarnished nation while covering up the tail. Namely California, who the right wing Times views as the unsightly asshole of America.

Boy, we might be in a liberal 'movement' but the 'moment' we are in now is, uh – like, 99.9% conservative construction. The only reason there's a resurgence is because of the dismal failure of leadership from the right. Criminal failure.
F'n NYTs.

On image, it looks like all the Liberal Pricks are in New England. It's a black and white issue, no doubt, New England is the problem. NYC is very near the center of the image. That push-pin has entered the paper more than a dozen times.

acm is right. I mean corect. Perhaps New England is pushing the US off the page?

I find it interesting that the pin is out somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and not, let say in the middle of the map.

I think, as an illustration of how dependent the left is on the cool Gulf Stream and warm North Atlantic Drift currents to bring needed nutrients for the many migrating land and sea fauna of the region. Why else show that much ocean?

Or, it's a terrifying dystopian nightmare of how a Left Wing resurgance will bring a horrible flooding disaster in which no mere city is flooded, but everything from the Rockies westward are buried in water.

And Mexico. And Canada. And Greenland, Cuba and, most disturbingly, the Florida Keys.

Not that anyone would want to live on the charred, blackened half-continant that remains.

I mean that's not even the "left" half of the US, unless it's America's left. No the other left. There you go.

And lastly, that's not sunniness or optimism that the left is feeling. It's more like that moment when a wrongly-convicted prisoner sees the gate through which they will walk through and maybe never see the inside of a jail again. There's still no promise the prisoner will make it to the gates, or through it, or won't meet some tragi-comic bus-related mishap.

But you smile anyway.

Not sure what I think of the image, but the article is, indeed, hugely annoying. As it happens, I'm a big fan of Thomas Frank most of the time; his "What's the Matter with Kansas" is an excellent look at how devastating the distraction of the culture wars have been for progressive causes. But because of his frustration with the Dems' behavior during these years of rightward swing, he is congenitally disposed towards snarky and curmudgeonly comments about Dems and progressive politicians. So it's interesting, to say the least, that the NYT would choose T. Frank to lead off the article. It's like asking your most cynical, embittered friend to give the opening toast at a banquet... for the very causes that he's cynical about!

Beyond that, of course, the author of the article does everything possible to deprive the Democrats of any agency. The Soc. Sec. privitization "flopped" -- but it did so not just because Bush failed to sell the bill, but primarily because Democrats stood united to defeat it. You'd never know that from reading the article. Instead, we're left with the usual impression of "Dems in disarray," with the "liberal moment" presented as a temporary vacuum between "conservative eras."

They kept hammering home the "liberal moment" idea, too, as if to pointedly remind everyone that it *is* just a moment, just a brief punctuation mark in the ongoing, inevitable shift of Americans to the right. Moreover, the whole article is written in the same snarky, unserious tone that one would reserve for an analysis of this year's line of fall fashion -- "look for liberal earth tones to grace this fall's collection, Susan..."

Looks like the country slid leftward, and Cal, Ore and Wash fell right off the page and into the Pacific, dragging other states along.

With a name like that it should probably be a Liberal Ocean anyway.

Meanwhile, the map appears to tilt slightly downhill to the right, so future may be that the nation oozes slowly rightward into the gray shadows.

Actually, the map just looks tilted to the right, but it isn't. So?

as usual, no Canada, Mexico or Cuba, etc. as is the norm on televised U.S. weather reports (where even the satellite imagery is painstakingly cropped so that un-American climate does not intrude upon our consciousness).

“ liberal, conservative ” stop at the border, thus; having nothing to do with the rest of the world. indeed, the flatness of flatland here suggests the lack of historical depth as well: liberal- / conservat-ism are entirely existential ~ they come from out of nowhere, attached to nothing; they have neither text pretext nor context, and did not evolve; and of course, everything will be the same as it ever was, tomorrow.

the same as it ever was ?

the same as it ever was.

"Liberal Pricks" isn't that something a conservative would say ?

I don't know what this image is supposed to be saying. The colors or shape, or something, makes me think of a cow... whatever that means.

Off-topic, but something that might be of interest.

Haunting Image of War: A Dead Woman's Dentures in the Dirt

An article in The New York Times on Friday, with remarkable photographs, was one of the most disturbing of the entire war in Iraq, an up-close look at the murder of one Baghdad woman. But why is the most gut-wrenching photo of all not online?

That pin is stuck in Quebec, not the Atlatic Ocean.

THESE are balmy days on the American left — genuine, uncharacteristic sunniness

There is nothing remotely balmy or sunny in that image, just the starkest of contrasts between a black silhouette and a white ocean. I guess black and white are the only choices for our nation. No pinks and oranges for a new day, green or blue for a sunny day and rebirth. Nope. You can be black on the left or white on the right.

(Also, I wanted to repeat how much I like the comments that analyze the images more than the politics. That's what this site does so well.)

That pin is stuck right about into Lac Manicouagan, created by an asteroid that cratered about 212 million years ago.

By Patrick's accounting above, half of the people in the US would say that that is impossible, since it would be about 211,993,993 years before God created the World (which was on October 23, 4004 BC).

Maybe the pin holes are all the little bits that fell off the asteroid as it lit up in the atmosphere.

What about the media?

I hope you don't mind an off-topic comment, but this is important: There is a great post on The Carpetbagger Report from a few days ago about the mainstream media's (specifically Time magazine's) ignoring the prosecutor purge scandal.

What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.

ummabdulla: do you have any other links for the dentures in the mud photo. I tried to google it when your link didn't work and I kept getting referred back to the same E&P article sans photos. Thx.

Cactus, were you able to get to the NY Times article? That has photos, but they didn't put the photo with the dentures online. I never saw it.

Sorry, all it reminded me of was an old Kliban cartoon, labeled "Map Filth":

"Hey, Europe! Eat my Florida!"

ummabdulla, thanks for the NYT link. I couldn't get there on my own.....dial-up plus luddite equals total incompetence. Ms. Saadoun's face is priceless. She shows the disappointments she has endured and the stolid determination that she will not be intimidated. The sorrow is that the only other choice was her death. One wonders (and worries) about the safety of women like Riverbend, who has been quite silent recently. One wonders how much terror one can stand.

I guess I'll never see the much discussed dentures-in-the-mud photo. I fear it has disappeared from the internet at the behest of the great internet phantom, just like that photo a couple of years ago of the tsunami, showing all the debris washed up on the shore with the dead bodies. Truly shocking and I sent it to a couple friends. When they went to resend it later, it had disappeared! From everywhere! Oo-oo-oo!

Leftward Ho?

I'd guess the photo was asking, like the title, "is the new liberal movement going to drag the country to the left?" Drag the political mainstream, the solid middle of the country to the left - maybe as far left as crazy-ass California.

But really, sometimes it's not worth the time to try to guess what some 24 year-old, ivy-league editor thought would be a clever photo.

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