Daily Archives: August 18, 2005

That Dana Milbank is a gigantic flaming asshole is scarcely news to any sentient being who has been perusing the cyberpages of Pravda. But in today’s “Live” discussion Milbank’s assholery burns brighter than ever thanks to the gasoline of studied idiocy he cheerfully tosses on the fire.

After the standard issue rhetorical overture —

“Can Bush foes turn Cindy Sheehan into the symbol of a nascent antiwar movement?”

Milbank(inadvertently evoking Peter Ustinov in Lola Montes) declares

“let’s get on with the chat and determine, once and for all, whether Cindy Sheehan is Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche”

Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche? As Meryl Streep famously quipped to Shirley Maclaine in Postcards From the Edge, when told she could have had Lana Turner or Joan Crawford for a mother, “These are my choices?”

This, of course, is par of the course in “mainstream” journalism where divide and conquer rules. You’re either a Conservative (good) or a Liberal (bad). No substitutions. No questions asked. Period.

Moreover for “journalists” like Milbank, there are special rules that don’t apply to mere mortals. Blatant ignorance for example.

“Until now, there’s been virtually no mass antiwar movement that puts people in the streets.”

Dana declares. But, dang, wouldn’t you know it? Somebody out there amidst the great unwashed knows otherwise.

Boston, Mass.: “Until now, there’s been virtually no mass antiwar movement that puts people in the streets”
What about before the war? Wasn’t there a time when there were about ten million people protesting on the same day around the world, or am I remembering wrong?

Dana Milbank: Yes, sorry, I mean since the war started.

Uh, no Dana. You meant what you said the first time. For like all Beltway whores you know nothing about the American people (a malleable mob in your view) and as you don’t have any friends who actively oppose administration policy (as most of them are the administration) the massive nation and world-wide protests that unfolded during what you and your buds insist on referring to as “the run-up to the war” barely qualified as blip on the ol’ radar screen now does it?

Cindy Sheehan is but one American — a fact she’s only too happy to point out. That so much attention is being focussed on her at the moment has more to do with the nature of the media than it does with the actions of one woman. Her particular story will run its course. But the story of this murderous act of imperialist hubris has much longer to go.

“Can Bush foes turn Cindy Sheehan into the symbol of a nascent antiwar movement?” is a question of import solely to a corrupt cultural order that insists on seeing political action in terms of “leaders” and “followers.”

Martin Luther King was not the “leader” of the African-American civil rights movement. He was but one figure, pointing to the work done by a great many others whose names “history” does not know — or care to know.

That’s the way it always is. Larry Kramer isn’t a leader either, just one man who spoke out in the hopes that many others would take action. And they did, to the considerable annoyance of The Creature From the Blog Lagoon, the pathetic sock puppet of the status quo.

I’ve been thinking about “leadership” a lot lately. Particularly in the wake of a marvelous get together of some of the brightest lights in Greater Blogistan at steveaudio’s place this past Sunday. Surely we all had much in common. Yet enormous, delightful stylistic differences mark off the consummate erudition of Mark Kleiman from the infectious enthusiasm of John from Crooks and Liars, the graceful star power of Arianna, the puckish wit of tbogg, the high spirits of Jane Hamsher (on the fast track to becoming our own Carole Lombard) and the sheer unadulterated babe-a-liciousness of Ezra Klein. But there are no “leaders” in Blogistan. Neither are there “individuals” in the culturally accepted sense (where the powerless and alienated are patronized for their “good manners.”) Rather we’re a loose alliance, keeping a eye peeled to the moment when history can be written — partially by us if we keep on the case.

Dana Milbank, meanwhile, is elsewhere, looking for other things, like a good media whore should.

Birmingham, Ala.: So why not have Laura go out and console this mother?

Dana Milbank: Now there’s an idea.

I was down in Crawford last summer when Max Cleland came to deliver a message to Bush about the Swift Boat vets. The Bushies were ready with an ambush of their own: They had a decorated Vietnam vet come out to greet Cleland. Cleland refused to hand the letter over to him, and the two circled for several minutes, then held dueling press conferences. It completely diluted the impact of Cleland.

Perhaps too late, pro-war types have arranged for pro-Iraq vets and families to descend on Crawford this weekend. I’m baffled about the lapse that allowed the Sheehan protest to go unanswered at first.

Of course what truly “diluted the impact” was the media’s fealty to National Guard deserter over an actual war veteran. And Milbank knows why, much like Tyrone Power surveying the suckers in Nightmare Alley.

Or perhaps more to the point, Lee Tracy in The Half Naked Truth

Needless to say, Cindy isn’t Lupe Velez.

But I wouldn’t put it past Dana to climb into the “geek” pit and chew the head off a live chicken.

Freedom isn’t free, you know.