3.06.2005

the l-word

In today's Toronto Star, Antonia Zerbisias takes a look at a recent broadcast of the CBC's the fifth estate that "examined the U.S. news media in the divided states of America, a place where political discourse has devolved into high-decibel denunciation, especially from the right." Since I couldn't see the actual program, I'll have to settle for Zerbisias's summary.

Al Franken, Katrina vanden Heuvel and everyone's current favorite (though not mine) George Lakoff make an appearance, weighing in on the right wing media's distortion of the concept of liberalism, and what can be done about it. Vanden Heuvel, editor of the stalwart progressive weekly The Nation, said:
We have seen the right wage unrelenting war on the legitimacy of the kind of affirmative state with which modern liberals are identified. So you had a moment in the presidential debates where John Kerry, who by any measure is a liberal, refused to be categorized by that term. That loss of nerve has allowed conservatives both to define and demonize liberalism.
Zerbisias adds:
Never mind that liberals fought for social security, civil rights, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, child labour legislation and the G.I. bill. Thanks to the right, its media mouthpieces, and a lack of cohesion on the left, knowledge of liberalism's benefits has slipped down the memory hole.
There's also a reference to one of the campaign grenades that had my jaw dropping, the notion that supporters of Howard Dean were a "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show." Have any of these people ever been to Vermont??

It's funny, too, how those adjectives are all lumped together. Me, I love sushi, hate lattes, don't own a car, do read the New York Times, dismiss Hollywood - and body piercing, well, I'm noncommittal on that.

11 comments:

redsock said...

In today's NY Times, Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic, Michael Tomasky, the executive editor of The American Prospect, and Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation, discuss and debate the present state of liberalism in America, and its future.

An edited transcript is here.

redsock said...

Antonia Zerbisias is cool. She and I have emailed a little bit about 9/11 -- though that's not the only thing that makes her cool.

She has written some very good columns questioning the highly-questionable US version of events.

L-girl said...

She's your contact at The Star? "I did not know that." Cool.

freewriter said...

Not apropos, but 4 RCMP officers die in Canada and flags are at half-mast here. Odd; what about all the other tragedies? It smacks of the patriotic "our troops".

L-girl said...

I know what you mean. Police are somehow always "worth more" than ordinary people. Many US states have an automatic death penalty for the killer of a police officer. I never understood that.

Terrible thing, what happened to those Mounties. But terrible things are happening all the time...

RobfromAlberta said...

Police officers need the added protection. They routinely place their lives in jeopardy to protect the rest of us and, as the son of a former cop, I can assure you, they don't get paid enough to justify the risk. They do it because they want to make a difference.

L-girl said...

They definitely need added protection. It's the death penalty I object to there, since it's not a deterrent.

I can imagine that growing up with a parent who is a police officer has its own special stresses - at least in American cities it does.

RobfromAlberta said...

I agree with you about capital punishment. Clearly, there is little deterrence value to executions since the murder rate in the US is far higher than any other western democracy and once an innocent man has been executed, there is no way to make amends.

L-girl said...

And you call yourself a conservative! ;-)

RobfromAlberta said...

"Canadian conservative", a different breed from your garden variety, NASCAR-lovin', god-fearin' Texas good ol' boy. Hell, I don't even own a gun.

Crabbi said...

I don't know if that anti-Dean commerical aired everywhere, but it got a lot of play on cable news. Did you catch the Bill Maher version? An elderly couple was spouting the same kind of nonsense, and then the woman lets loose a string of profanity. Effing hilarious!