The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi and His Teabagging Epiphany

    A must read at link, Matt goes to a rally in which Sarah Palin harangues masses of scooter mounted white supporters in Kentucky.

    Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters........"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

    and near the end of the article:

    Buried deep in the anus of the Bible Belt, in a little place called Petersburg, Kentucky, is one of the world's most extraordinary tourist attractions: the Creation Museum, a kind of natural-history museum for people who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old....... One exhibit depicts a half-naked Adam and Eve sitting in the bush, cheerfully keeping house next to dinosaurs — which, according to creationist myth, not only lived alongside humans but were peaceful vegetarians until Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. It's hard to imagine a more telling demonstration of this particular demographic's unmatched ability to believe just about anything.

    On reading the article, one comes away with the feeling that the Teabaggers believe only white folks like themselves deserve government benefits, and they are confident their Republicans will not cut that part of the federal budget. He goes into other theories of how the Teabaggers want to turn the clock back to the halcyon days of the past where the USA was the top of the heap, and you didn't have the government forcing you to serve everyone, including blacks, in your own restaurant or your business, Rand Paul has criticized that part of the 1964 Bill.

     

    Comments

    Thanks for link. I love it when they send someone undercover like this.

    And he gives the straight dope and he gives us more than five paragraphs.

    Then he describes the crazy groups within a group and the flintstone museum.

    The right lost and they are all pissed off. There is no philosophy. There is no consistency.

    And rush just increases his audience.


    Taibbi just now realized that the Tea Party movement is full of old white people? Where has he been for the past two years? Moreover, dagblog scooped his discovery of the Creationist Museum over a year ago. Then again, we don't think very highly of Taibbi's journalistic skills around here, though he is an excellent juggler.


    I'm curious to learn your complaints about Taibbi's journalism. I have enjoyed(?) reading most of his Rolling Stone articles that explored Goldman Sachs and their involvement in the financial crisis. A whole lot of the arcane issues about SDS's and all the rest of the Wall-Street-as-casino machinations are almost mind-numbing for non-MBA, non-Masters of the Universe such as me. Taibbi has made it all real for me in ways I could not have understood otherwise. On that basis, alone, I would suggest he be required reading for anyone trying to understand that, surely, "There must be some kind of way out of here..."


    I'm going to hand the microphone over to Wolfrum. He's our resident Taibbi satirist. Personally I have no strong opinion.

    Read Orlando's scoop on the Creation Museum. OK, but he got his evolution mixed up:

    'that Homo Sapiens evolved from Homo Erectus, and before them Neanderthals, and before them Apes.'

    We did not evolve from Neanderthals, they were on a different branch and died out, and we didn't evolve from apes, both modern humans and apes evolved from a species as yet not known millions of years ago, a species not alive now, not an ape or a human.

    According to the Holy Grail of Creationism, Whitcomb's The Great Flood, published in 1960, the kangaroos hopped to the Holy Land to get on the Ark, and then hopped back to Australia afterward. Whitcomb explains every geological feature on earth as being caused by the flood, harking back to the theories of the early 19th century, called  'catastrophism'.

    One problem for the creationists is why sea going creatures went extinct, as a flood wouldn't kill them, like ichthyosaurs or trilobites. In the book, Whitcomb states that he believes trilobites are still alive and out there, somewhere. Creationists never go 'out there', they just read other people's work and twist it to fit their own pre-conceived beliefs.


    Thanks for the correction, NCD. It's not clear to me whether the evolution confusion was Orlando's error or her reporting of the creationsts' confusion. If the former, we will take severe punitive measures. Actually, we will take severe punitive measures either way just for the hell of it.

    I love the kangeroo-hopping detail. It's such a great image. I suppose that there was allegedly a land bridge at that time?


    Not sure about Whitcomb and land bridges, but the flood is explained by him as a rising up of the ocean floor, and a relatively flat world (otherwise where would the water come from to inundate it all? and most high mountains were created after the flood). Whitcomb does calculate the exact size of the Ark in railroad boxcars, and the length of the flood, 370 days, and says most animals hibernated on the Ark as feeding them wouldn't be possible. I studied evolution and creationism as a project a few years ago.

    Near the end of the book Whitcomb emphasizes the importance of the flood as keeping man in line, man must know that God can punish him if he is naughty, a concept still prevalent on the right in America.


    The latest stuff I read says that we may have bits of Neandertal and Erectus DNA.


    The Sapiens employed the old "if you can't beat 'em, genetically swamp 'em."


    I withdraw my dismissive criticism of Taibbi. I hadn't read the article, which was well-written and penetrating. But the one element that did disturb me a bit was the sneering condemnation of Tea Party followers as fat, stupid, old hypocrites. It connected a little personally because I worry that the same criticism may be made of my own book, which comes to similar conclusions about the Tea Parties. But I think--or hope--that there's a difference. Like Taibbi, I mocked the political manipulators and media stars (and I did not spare someone like Ron Paul just because he's an "honest" crackpot), but I tried not to scorn the people who follow them. Indeed, I think that in dismissing Tea Party supporters as stupid or crazy or narcissistic, you abandon any attempt to understand them and to see why they find the propaganda of Palin, Paul, Angle, and others so attractive. Without that understanding, we can never make sense of why this is happening and come up with ways to address it.


    Without that understanding, we can never make sense of why this is happening and come up with ways to address it.

    A very important point.


    one dot isn't enough data to make a picture.


    He is a good writer, isn't he?  I find it sad to see so much potentially useful right wing populism twisted and manipulated this way.  I used to even indulge the notion that our side could somehow reach them on a point or two.  But now they're too far gone. 


    He goes into other theories of how the Teabaggers want to turn the clock back to the halcyon days of the past where the USA was the top of the heap, and you didn't have the government forcing you to serve everyone, including blacks, in your own restaurant or your business, Rand Paul has criticized that part of the 1964 Bill.

    They may as well and try to force the water back into a gushing fire hose. It ain't gonna happen.


    Of course it isn't going to happen. Stopping abortions ain't gonna happen either, but its been used by the right to get the Base out to the polls for 35 years.


    Stopping abortions ain't gonna happen either, but its been used by the right to get the Base out to the polls for 35 years.

    Of course not.  They always knew that if they outright banned abortion, even with it being upheld by the Supreme Court, their more emotional adherents (more on this below) would then call it victory and go home.

    Emotions are the keys to this movement.  The reason it's difficult to "understand" is that while it may have principles - in part - it is not a movement based in either principles or reason.  "Take our country back" is not a statement of principle, it's a howl of raw emotion.

    We cannot reason people out of things they have not been reasoned into. 

    Taibbi makes that point here:

    This, then, is the future of the Republican Party: Angry white voters hovering over their cash-stuffed mattresses with their kerosene lanterns, peering through the blinds at the oncoming hordes of suburban soccer moms they've mistaken for death-panel bureaucrats bent on exterminating anyone who isn't an illegal alien or a Kenyan anti-colonialist.

    Where is the reason in that?  Who among you can tell me clearly how to reach and persuade those who hold these views to "come around" to anything close to our side?

    Where on the graph do people holding such views and "reachable" intersect?

    Maybe, just maybe, if we get cynical enough as a party to begin messaging directly targeting people's lizard brains, we can get some of the shock troops the Republicans have come to base their strategies on.

    Our question then will become one of how to control them.  All that classical business about riding tigers and all, you know.


    What a great thread and to think I almost did not read it because of its headline reference to Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone.  Nice to see some of the shiny has worn off that particular darling duo of pseudojournalism. 

    In fact, it was blog-host Genghis' faintly anti-Taibbi scrolling comment that led me here.  Then to have that comment produce its own mini-thread of duelling creationism followed by another on the tobacco wars ... pseudojournalism plus pseudoscience.    It just boggles my mind. 

    I am so looking forward to the rest of the conversation. 


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