Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sap, indeed

David Brooks, over at The New York Times, has unloaded on President Obama.

Brooks claims to have been “a sap” for believing just about anything Mr. Obama has said over the past 2 1/2 years because of the specifics in the President’s new plan to cut some taxes and raise some others.

But Mr. Brooks’ sappiness really becomes obvious when, towards the end of his column he writes: “at least Republicans respect Americans enough to tell us what they really think.”

Oh, Dave, Dave, Dave.

If you believe Republicans respect the average American, you’re such a sap.

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

2nd step in reading

The current brouhaha regarding the Doonesbury comic strip is a good example of distraction as a metaphor for sleight of hand.

The strip is being censored in a few newspapers for its political content. At least that’s alleged reason.

If you look at the strips in question, though, it’s easy to see that Gary Trudeau isn’t being critical of Sarah Palin so much as he’s taking some shots at Fox News and the sort of newspapery being touted as journalism by right wing news outlets.

The panels quote from Joe McGinnis’s new book, to be sure, but the punch lines are aimed directly at the journalist who’s reading the book and then spinning the quoted material in absurd terms. He is the object of ridicule, not the former 1/2 governor (see the distraction?).

The sleight of hand comes in when the censoring newspapers allege it’s the political content which merits the removal of the strip, but actually those newspapers don’t want the public to think about what the comic journalist is doing. That might call too much attention to what the papers, themselves, are doing in reporting the political news.

It’s time for the English teachers of the world to point out to their students that calling words is only the first step in reading. The second step is thinking about the content of those words.

If there were more thought in the reading process, we’d’ve learned long ago that individual politicians are transitory, but institutions are more permanent. And there’s more danger to a flawed journalism institution than there is in a single pol.

Trust, but verify. 


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