Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beyond watching

When Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize, Tom Lehrer gave up satire. After this, maybe we shouldn't bother with Nick any more. Summary: "those eevul libruls hatez honest ornery workin peepul laak Saruh Pa-lin". Maybe he's just writing it for a bet or a dare, or to try to get the Observer to pay off the rest of his contract?

Update 8pm by Chardonnay Chap: Overwhelmed as I am by Nick's overwhelming arguments (do any readers work on the Guardian website? was his piece sub-edited by a user called krove1 perchance?), I give you Palin for President.

Drat these youtube contributors! If only the music had been Souza's Liberty Bell, I might have squeezed in a pune or play on words like "Liberty Belle". Also, before pedants spot the mistake in the video above, the last clip does not feature Palin.

Via Peter Black. Readers may note that it took two hours from Peter's post (11:29 am here, so 6:29 on the East Coast of the USA) for the first American to show up in the comments.

Sarah Palin is a star born, it’s all over for the Obama-Biden ticket. The liberal press have more or less cooked-off the Obama-Biden ticket with their out of bounds press coverage between John McCain’s announcement of Palin as his running mate and Palin’s speech at the GOP convention in Saint Paul, MN. Middle-road America feels energized and the ‘back-lash’ is underway. More specifically, the pent-up angst felt by so many middle-of-the-road American voters is now out of the bag.

That is so like Nick Cohen's piece, it's like they share a scriptwriter. 'Liberal press' - check; 'out of bounds press coverage' - check; 'pent-up anger' - check. Karl Rove never sleeps.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Favorite part.

If they had confined themselves to charging Tony Blair with failing to find the weapons of mass destruction *he promised* were in Iraq ...
They were so consumed by loathing, however, they insisted that he had lied, which he *clearly had not*.


9/07/2008 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where's Nick's column berating the Republican supporters who have been pushing the "Barack is a radical muslim" line and other racist bollocks?

9/07/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have been nice if he'd have come up with a single direct quote to support his point about the liberal reaction to Palin.

9/07/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick also fails to mention John McCain's "joke" about Chelsea Clinton.

9/07/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone says that "people are getting ahead of themselves ... a decision hasn't been made yet" and then evidence subsequently emerges that a decision had already been made, it is quite reasonable to conclude that the person had been lying. The loathing follows the discovery of lying, not the other way round.

Moussaka Man

9/07/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that was awful. What an absolute hack. I am strangely moved to respond at length:

"As a Christian, conservative anti-abortionist who proved her support for the Iraq War by sending her son to fight in it, Sarah Palin was 'the other'"

Except both Obama and Biden are Christians. And Biden's son is in the National Guard, heading for Iraq.

The son of popular Senator and VP candidate Jim Webb of Virginia has also done tours of Iraq.

Postmodern theory therefore tells us that Democrats hate these people with irrational bile.

"They might have gently mocked her idiotic creationism, while carefully avoiding all discussion of the racist conspiracy theories of Barack Obama's church."

Liberal hypocrites! Mocking the beliefs someone actually holds while going silent on the beliefs that somebody else doesn't actually hold. How does the left look itself in the mirror?

Obama himself went silent on this issue by giving a keynote speech on the subject.

"But instead of following a measured strategy, they went berserk. On the one hand, the media treated her as a sex object. The New York Times led the way..."

It's hard to keep of who 'they' are. 'They' started off as unnamed liberals and then became the media, then become unnamed liberal journalists. Rush Limbaugh has more focus.

"Palin was meant to be pretending that a handicapped baby girl was her child when really it was her wanton teenage daughter's."

And which liberal claimed that?

"Hatred is the most powerful emotion in politics. At present, American liberals are not fighting for an Obama presidency. I suspect that most have only the haziest idea of what it would mean for their country. The slogans that move their hearts and stir their souls are directed against their enemies: Bush, the neo-cons, the religious right."

I doubt the obvious projection will be missed by many here.

Most of those supporting Obama have a very clear idea of what they are hoping for whether they will get it or not - an expansion of healthcare provision, withdrawal from Iraq, investment in alternative energy, the end of the Bush tax cuts, ethics reform in Congress, leadership on global warming, an end to the expansion of executive power, the abolition of Guantanamo and legalised torture, a reduction in income inequality, protection of Soical Security, reform of the housing market, relief from recession etc.

Many of these featured in the Democratic convention speeches and platform.

By contrast, the RNC convention and in particular Sarah Palin's speech consisted of next to no policy, outright falsehoods and sheer hatred. Their campaign - not the Dems' - is built around the character of Obama.

"They were so consumed by loathing, however, they insisted that he [Blair] had lied, which he clearly had not."

For a full account of Tony Blair's lies - with the evidence demonstrating he knew what he said to be false, please read Dan Plesch's and Glen Rangwala's 'A Case to Answer'.

To mention a couple:

"We will need to make it clear in launching the document that we do not claim that we have evidence that he [Saddam] is an imminent threat"

(Jonathan Powell, e-mail, 17/9/02)

"I have no doubt that the threat is serious and current, that he has made progress on WMD and that he has to be stopped"

(Tony Blair, September dossier, 24/9/02)


"The Government's conclusion in the spring of 2002 that stronger action... needed to be taken to enforce Iraqi disarmament was not based on any new development in the current intelligence picture..."

(Butler Report)

"The picture presented to me by the JIC in recent months has become more not less worrying"

(Tony Blair, September dossier, 24/9/02)

If you think those look a bit like lying, that's just your irrational hatred (which you share with the majority of people in the country).

Alex Higgins

9/07/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

I am very fond of the children's book, "Hippos Go Berserk".

9/07/2008 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is probably shutting the vault door after the eldritch horror has bolted but Nick's piece is virtually identical to that of Mad Mel's effort over at the Spectator blog.

9/07/2008 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CiF comments are good, too:

Brilliant observations, Mr Cohen. I reread your piece several times, and have awarded you my ultimate accolade by printing it out, punching three holes in the lefthand margin, and installing it in the special three-ring binder I keep for superior commentary

9/07/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The redoubtable Scott Lemieux considers Nick Cohen.

9/07/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But seriously. Nick is editing his own wikipedia entry! Under the name 'ncohen2'!

Look at what he's adding... hilarious.

9/07/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Having had a pedantry-free weekend up to now, I find myself wishing to ask.... what sense did Sarah Palin send her son to fight in Iraq?

9/07/2008 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

oh that's hliarious

9/07/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

" what sense did Sarah Palin send her son to fight in Iraq?"

Oddly enough, he's stolen that from Michael Moore.

9/07/2008 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" what sense did Sarah Palin send her son to fight in Iraq?"

In the sense of not actively using her position to wangle him a cushy posting stateside?

I know, I know, but that's what's considered praiseworthy nowadays.

9/08/2008 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Of course. But although pedantic it's nevertheless a point worth making - she didn't "send" anybody. It's not like the warrior-women of America berated their peaceable menfolk for their cowardice and shamed them into picking up their swords and shields and going abroad to fight for the honour of the polis.

9/08/2008 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin was 'the other' -

that sounds suspiciously postmodern to me.

9/08/2008 07:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bizarrely, Harry's Place both seem to absolutely despise Palin for many of the reasons identified by Nick, and yet also love Nick's piece:

9/08/2008 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't actually know Hippos Go Beserk - is it a variant on the Spanish song Dos Elefantes (given here as Los Elefantes)?

9/08/2008 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

It's a rhyming / counting book ("One hippo, all alone / Calls two hippos on the phone / Three hippos at the door / bring along another four", and so on). Forty-plus hippos assemble for a party and GO BERSERK! and then they all depart, in sequence counting down, until there's only the original hippo left. It's a fine book, and much better than any of Nick's recent columns.

9/08/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Forty-plus? Blimey. We perform English songs and stories for kids but I think I might have to give that one a miss...

9/08/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick: For once, the postmodern theories so many of them were taught at university are a help to the rest of us.

It's been a while since I read any NC: I got this far in the article (para 2), and understood why once again. It's also nice to know that NC is recycling the Republican talking point that any criticism of Palin is, like, sexist.

No...I can't do this...walk way... just walk away...


9/08/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

The count goes up to ten -- but 10+9+8+etc gives you forty-plus hippos. Which is quite a lot of hippos, admittedly.

9/08/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

55. I worked that out when I was six, although it took me a bit longer to come up with the formula. I've always been a bit disappointed that there's no single-character notation for sum-of-the-series-from-1-to-x, like the bang for product-of.

(I stopped doing Maths after O Level; always regretted it.)

9/08/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the cuento menudo inglès, by the way? It looks like it was fun.

9/08/2008 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or inglés, even.

9/08/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

It was There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly. I think that's the dog just getting swallowed in the picture.

9/08/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

My mistake: the count goes up to nine, so there are 45 hippos who GO BERSERK at the party, and after they've all left the last couplet is something like, "One hippo, alone once more / Misses the other forty-four."

9/08/2008 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the subject of life surpassing satire, at HP people are arguing that the reason the jury struggled to reach a verdict in the aircraft bombing case was because some of them were "hand-wringing Guardianista types who probably thought we had it coming". Seriously.

9/08/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, the LRB not printing a fairly anodyne book review is proof positive of a Guardianista cover-up of the fact that there are no such people as the so-called "Palestinians", who are an anti-Semitic forgery.

9/08/2008 09:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okamm's razor - "All other things being equal, blame the Guardianistas"

9/08/2008 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... Simon Tisdall on CiF. Any better than Nick?

He is clearly shocked - SHOCKED - that a candidate for one of the most powerful posts on earth has been subjected to intrusive press attention. He does at least specify a few sources, though the only one relating to what Democratics have actually done is, er, the Weekly Standard. On the minus side, he repeats the now familiar talking point that it's really significant that more people watched her speech on telly than Obama's.

Overall, I just get the feeling that he has no idea how the media and political discourse in the US function. Did he just get an internet in his house?

P.S.@ejh: She sent her son to Iraq in the sense of having been part of the collective that has campaigned for Bush's elections and his administration's policies over many years and hasn't demanded a policy for timely withdrawal. So, in the literal sense, just a tiny bit.

9/09/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite. Quoting the Weekly Standard and William Kristol is not the best recommendation of balance in an article ...

9/09/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

It would only be worthy of comment if less people had watched her, surely. Obama is a known quantity at this point, whereas nobody knows who the fuck she is, except for the nutty stuff. I imagine the ratings on her first interview will be pretty high as well.

Incidentally, did any newspapers that do not see the National Enquirer as their main competition push the stories about who her last child belonged to?

9/09/2008 01:49:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home