Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

POP FASHION DEMAGOGUERY....CNN's Jeff Greenfield recently made the bizarre suggestion that Barack Obama's favored jacket-and-no-tie look is a "sartorial time bomb" because it reminds him of wait for it Iranian President (and famed Holocaust skeptic) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Clearly Greenfield has been watching too much CNN.

Still, it's hardly unusual for reporters to obsess over politicians' clothing. Bob Somerby comments:

During Campaign 2000, this same priesthood conducted an endless discussion of the two Democrats dueling wardrobes. Bill Bradleys unfashionable neckties and 25-year-old shoes showed his admirable authenticity; Al Gores earth tones/cowboy boots/polo shirts/three-button suits showed his deeply troubling character. (His cowboy boots showed that he was a phony. His polo shirts showed he was targeting women. His three-button suits showed that he was a sex fiend. His earth tones showed he didnt know who he was. When he wore casual clothes some days and formal clothes on some others, that showed he was all mixed up too. We wont even waste our time directing you to all the archives. Our liberal leaders are deeply committed to not knowing what has occurred.)

Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy "Armani Suit" Pelosi can all sympathize. (And yes, as near as I can tell, "Armani Suit" must be Pelosi's middle name or something. Not a profile goes by that doesn't mention her attachment to Armani.)

Question: Does this demonstrate the moral frivolousness of the modern press corps, as Bob believes? Or is this mostly a reflection of human culture, which has been obsessed with demeanor and appearance ever since clothing was invented? Did the Roman press mock the subtle ecru highlights in Cato's robes?

The latter, surely, but 24-hour cable news has turned it into the former. When fashion description was confined to occasional sentences in news stories, there was only a limited amount of damage it could do. But when cable news took over, with its addiction to images and its voracious appetite for something anything to fill up its 1,440 minutes per day, pop fashion demagoguery suddenly became a big deal indeed. That's how you end up with deeply weird stuff like Greenfield's take on Obama. Even Maureen Dowd would probably think twice before saying something like that in a print column, but in the cable news era thoughts that once would have been limited to the water cooler are now tossed out on prime time with abandon.

Channeling our inner idiot 24 hours a day hardly makes our lives richer. There's a reason God gave us prefrontal cortexes, after all. But at this point I'd settle for just a modest helping of common sense.

UPDATE: Digby's headline is better than mine.

Kevin Drum 1:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Comments

The media message is always, underneath and beyond everything else, "There's something about these people that makes you uncomfortable. We're here to help you put your finger on it!"

Posted by: Kenji on December 12, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

it's because they're Democrats. the press doesn't give a fuck what Republicans wear.

Posted by: cleek on December 12, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why did Al's comment just disappear?

Posted by: alex on December 12, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Did the Roman press mock the subtle ecru highlights in Cato's robes?"

Actually, my recollection is that Cato (both of them, actually) thought it immoral to wear underwear under one's toga, and was otherwise quite obsessed with matters of dress . . .

Posted by: rea on December 12, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

That must be fake Al abovebut when you're dealing with reality on that pathetic a level, there's probably no such thing as fake anymore.

Posted by: Kenji on December 12, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, Al's comment just re-appeared.

Posted by: alex on December 12, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so happy the media is so focused and presenting the important things! Just like apologizing for Pinochet and Kirpatrick. And facts like this:

http://www.andrewtobias.com/newcolumns/061213.html

never see the light of day!

Hail their corporate overlords!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on December 12, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, isn't it odd that all of these deragatory comments on a politicians clothes concern Democrats? I don't remember anyone disparaging Bush's various dress-up days (cowboy, fighter pilot, etc.) Those were displays of how "comfortable he is in his skin."

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on December 12, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

CNN's Jeff Greenfield recently made the bizarre suggestion that Barack Obama's favored jacket-and-no-tie look is a "sartorial time bomb" because it reminds him of wait for it Iranian President (and famed Holocaust skeptic) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Clearly Greenfield has been watching too much CNN.

I cannot imagine how detached from reality you have to be to look at someone wearing a jacket with an open-necked shirt and have your first thought be "y'know what, that looks kind of like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." Perhaps if Greenfield had looked at any men's fashion magazine in, say, the last thirty years, or ever walked along the streets of any American city, he might have noticed several tens of million other men who are supposedly taking their fashion cues from Iran's president.

Posted by: Stefan on December 12, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

I don't remember anyone disparaging Bush's various dress-up days (cowboy, fighter pilot, etc.)

You forgot biker, construction worker, and Indian chief.

Posted by: Stefan on December 12, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Did the Roman press mock the subtle ecru highlights in Cato's robes?"

Actually, my recollection is that Cato (both of them, actually) thought it immoral to wear underwear under one's toga, and was otherwise quite obsessed with matters of dress . . ."

I think Cato the Younger was so concervative that not only didn't he wear underwear, he didn't even wear a tunic under his toga; and that was considered pretty far out at the time.

Posted by: Ekim on December 12, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Remember before the 2004 election campaign, one of Paul Krugman's columns for the NY Times consisted of suggestions for political reporters and columnists on covering the upcoming campaign, one of which was "don't concentrate on fashion". Obviously, they never learn. (Sorry, not skillful enough to post a link!)

Posted by: Civil-Rights Lawyer on December 12, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

What I've learned from them:

They're right. We're wrong.
Heads they win. Tails we lose.

...no matter what the facts are.

Posted by: darryl pearce on December 12, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my fashion question: I want to know which politicians wear their lapel flag pins on their pajamas. On their gym shorts. To church. I want to know how they signal that they're serious about fighting the War on Terruh when they take off their jackets. If they don't wear their mandatory flag pins, how will we know?

Posted by: Philocrites on December 12, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Does this demonstrate the moral frivolousness of the modern press corps, as Bob believes? Or is this mostly a reflection of human culture, which has been obsessed with demeanor and appearance ever since clothing was invented?

To report that Obama was wearing a jacket with no tie may be frivolous. To go on to help us understand what it means is the height (depth?) of frivolity. The reporter has gone from what he observes to what he thinks, or maybe he's just free-associating. Either way, I've lost interest.

Posted by: Dapper Dann on December 12, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Obama should start wearing an Evo Morales sweater instead.

Posted by: segi on December 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Does this demonstrate the moral frivolousness of the modern press corps,

In one of Abraham Lincoln's early campaigns he mocked his opponent for wearing expensive clothes. So the answer to your question is no -- it isn't modern, and it isn't the press.

Remember about Gore that he changed his clothing after hiring a clothing consultant. Gore initiated the story, not the press.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 12, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Naw, Obama's picked up my late 1950's Ann Arbor look, made popular by James Garner as "Rockford" twenty years later. Whoo, Jimmy and me! We old 2nd Division guys hang tough.

Posted by: buddy66 on December 12, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

My ex-wife's kid loves Obama. Bear in mind this isn't why I dumped them, but for different reasons all together.

Posted by: Bob King Neverland III on December 12, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I blame Clinton.

Posted by: Disputo on December 12, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Al? I still think allowing women into Congress was a big mistake. They've done nothing but cause trouble and draw attention away from important issues.

I think that there are two Als, and one of them throws in stuff like this for comic relief, or else to mock the other one. If there is indeed only one Al, then the people who think he is a troll might have a case.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 12, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Remember about Gore that he changed his clothing after hiring a clothing consultant. Gore initiated the story, not the press."

You're a dick. And stupid as a fucking fencepost.

Posted by: brewmn on December 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Remember about Gore that he changed his clothing after hiring a clothing consultant.

That's a double lie. There was never any clothing consultant, and Gore didn't change his clothes.

How does it feel to be a bigger liar than the famous Al Gore?

Posted by: Boots Day on December 12, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Does this demonstrate the moral frivolousness of the modern press corps, as Bob believes? Or is this mostly a reflection of human culture, which has been obsessed with demeanor and appearance ever since clothing was invented?"

Can't it be "yes" and "yes"?

People are, of course, obsessed with the pointless. But that doesn't mean that a news network should be wasting their time with obsessing over what politicians are wearing.

But the obsession with the inane is only part of the problem. The behavior by people like Greenfield wouldn't be quite so offensive if it didn't also involve half-baked conclusions and weird pseudo-psychology. It's one thing to point out that Gore wore earth tones (that would simply be frivolous). It's quite another to say that the fact that Gore wears earth tones indicates that he is "confused." That sort of behavior is downright dangerous. Similarily, on the topic of Obama - yes, I've noticed that he doesn't wear ties sometimes. But did anyone think that he was dressing like Ahmadinejad?

Posted by: keptsimple on December 12, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here from Greenfield: The senator was in New Hampshire over the weekend, sporting what's getting to be the classic Obama look. Call it business casual, a jacket, a collared shirt, but no tie. But, in the case of Obama, he may be walking around with a sartorial time bomb. Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad....

You know, I've seen literally hundreds of photos of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld wearing a jacket, collared shirt and no tie, and yet have never before heard Greenfield compare them to Ahmadinejab. Then again, they're all white guys while Obama is somewhat darker in complexion, so, yeah, y'know....

Posted by: Stefan on December 12, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Question: Does this demonstrate the moral frivolousness of the modern press corps, as Bob believes? Or is this mostly a reflection of human culture[?]

Is the modern press corps similarly frivolously obsessed with interpreting the attire of Republican politicians? Answer that question, Kevin, and you answer your own.

Posted by: Gregory on December 12, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn, the Gore campaign did hire a consultant who did advise a change of wardrobe and indeed the Vice President did change what he wore.

Marler can indeed be a penis, but in this case he is not the one being stupid.

Posted by: Keith G on December 12, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"You forgot biker, construction worker, and Indian chief."

Don't worry, Stefan. Bush is going to be sleeping at the YMCA yet. This guy will soon be giving us the most spectacular flame-out we've ever seen in an ex-president. Even Hoover and Nixon spent the rest of their lives trying to prove their gravitas. But the Chimp is heading for a ditch after 2009, when all of daddy's friends will have deserted him forever.

Kevin, can we have a thread with predictions as to where W will end up in the next decade? I mean, we need our consolations wherever we can get them.

Posted by: Kenji on December 12, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

My new rep., Republican Michele Bachmann, often plays dress-up. Rather than being mocked for it (well, a Star Trib celeb / gossip columnist mocked her for looking like a homecoming queen), she gets a puff piece in the "real news" section of the paper about her wardrobe. She often drops quotes about her clothes even when the topic is something else completely.

I remember a lot of criticism on the blogs when Dick Cheney wore that hooded green jacket and ski cap to a F***ING AUSCHWITZ MEMORIAL, but not a lot of criticism in the MSM other than this piece:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43247-2005Jan27.html

I blame the crop of "fashion" shows for this recent uptick in interest in what people are wearing.

Posted by: Pat Smith on December 12, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I think that there are two Als, and one of them throws in stuff like this for comic relief, or else to mock the other one. If there is indeed only one Al, then the people who think he is a troll might have a case.

Sweet Jesus, do you realize the thought process -- if one dare call it that -- that must have gone into this comment?

"Gee, I normally agree with everything this Al fellow says, but this comment seemed a tad outlandish."

You're hopeless, Marler. No wonder no one takes you seriously.

Posted by: Gregory on December 12, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot imagine how detached from reality you have to be to look at someone wearing a jacket with an open-necked shirt and have your first thought be "y'know what, that looks kind of like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Hey, dude, back off. I'm sporting the Ahmadinejad look as I write this. I want to be a chick magnet just like him.

Posted by: Disputo on December 12, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. It took several attempts to post that last comment; kept getting a "too many connections" error.

Charlie isn't attempting a DOS attack, is he?

Posted by: Disputo on December 12, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kev;
It's simply more of the same McCarthy-esque character assassination coming from the rightwing Corporate News Media.

Duh.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 12, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: "Gee, I normally agree with everything this Al fellow says, but this comment seemed a tad outlandish."

Gregory, it is your thought process, not mine, that turns my comments into polar opposites. I seldom agree with Al, but clearly some of his comments are worse than others.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 12, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn, the Gore campaign did hire a consultant who did advise a change of wardrobe and indeed the Vice President did change what he wore.

You and Rush can say it all you want, but that doesn't make it true. What happened was that the egregious Dick Morris "speculated that Wolf, who has long contended that earth tones are more 'reassuring' to audiences, is the person behind Gores recent wardrobe change," according to the Washington Post. Wolf denied that she had ever spoken to Gore about any article of clothing, ever, but the press and the GOP never let a little thing like the truth get in their way.

And on top of that, there was no change in wardrobe. Some idiot reporter saw Gore wearing a brown suit one day, one he had worn many times before, and spun the whole "earth tones" fantasy.

How does it feel to be a bigger liar than Al Gore?

Posted by: Boots Day on December 12, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I recently had dinner with my mother-in-law who is very southern and republican. She went on and on about how Hillary doesn't wear dresses. She just wears suits, like a man. I know her well enough that this wasn't her original observation, she was hearing it from someone, most likely Fox news.

Posted by: objective dem on December 12, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

No one who buys into the idea that a guy who was a pissant Illinois state senator two years ago or a woman whose major achievement in life was marrying Bill Clinton should be seriously considered for the Presidency, has any business calling anyone else an idiot.

Posted by: Zathras on December 12, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I recently had dinner with my mother-in-law who is very southern and republican. She went on and on about how Hillary doesn't wear dresses. She just wears suits, like a man.

Whenever I hear this, I respond that women in dresses and skirts are tramps who like to give men easy access to their private parts.

Posted by: Disputo on December 12, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Years ago I met Al Gore in person. I was surprised to see he had a huge bald spot. He was using a dark color make-up on the skin so it blended in with the hair. It was very well done but reminded me of the some spray paint like stuff they sold on TV for the same purpose. The bald spot and cover up didn't bother me in any way but I always wondered if it contributed to Gore being labeled as a phony by the media.

Posted by: objective dem on December 12, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I reckon this FoxNews crowd would be happier if Pelosi and Hillary were wearing bhurkas. Barefoot. In the kitchen.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 12, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, no one who buys the notion that a man whose primary achievement was being born to the Bush family should be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate has any business complaining about the quality of another person's potential candidates.

Neither Senator Clinton, nor Senator Obama could possibly be as bad as the disaster that is Bush.

Posted by: functional on December 12, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I reckon this FoxNews crowd would be happier if Pelosi and Hillary were wearing bhurkas. Barefoot. In the kitchen.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 12, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Zathras:

You say: "No one who buys into the idea that a guy who was a pissant Illinois state senator two years ago or a woman whose major achievement in life was marrying Bill Clinton should be seriously considered for the Presidency, has any business calling anyone else an idiot." That's not very nice.

Here's the obvious reBUTTal: George "Windbreaker" Bush. He set the bar so low, we can't limbo anymore.

Obama and Clinton sure look good from here.

Posted by: Aunt Thrax on December 12, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Yep. I've been getting too many connections open errors for about 20 minutes now. It's more likely some weird server glitch than a DoS attack, though.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 12, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

functional: "Sorry, no one who buys the notion that a man whose primary achievement was being born to the Bush family should be taken seriously ..."

At least we can take solace in the fact that even as that man wrecked the country, he has also wrecked the credibility of his family's political brand name for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 12, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"When fashion description was confined to occasional sentences in news stories, there was only a limited amount of damage it could do. But when cable news took over, with its addiction to images and its voracious appetite for something anything to fill up its 1,440 minutes per day, pop fashion demagoguery suddenly became a big deal indeed."

The NOW prominent use of women anchors on the cable shows has probably added to the "fashion" frenzy. It gives them something to giggle about.

Posted by: wlgriffi on December 12, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ahmadinejad must have got it from the Israelis.

Posted by: gmanedit on December 12, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

And who the hell dresses this maniac?

Isn't there a movie where John Lithgow plays a psychotic murderer in exactly this outfit?

(link dedicated to bob)

Posted by: cld on December 12, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't call me surely. And, it's the former.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on December 12, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I happened to see this on CNN yesterday. The comparison was asinine. So Obama wears a jacket with no tie, so what??? Hitler wore pants, does that mean that every man wearing pants is a closet Nazi???

and who cares if a woman wears a jacket with pants instead of a jacket with a skirt? What does this have to do with one's ethics or legislative ability?

Posted by: Librul on December 12, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

Awww ... that makes me feel all warm 'n' runny inside.

Ironically enough though -- since my computer doesn't use graphics on the net, I can't see the glorious image to which you linked.

Seriously though -- glad to have helped out.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 12, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's publicist should receive a very big bonus. Here she set out to promote his book sales and wound up not only selling a lot of his books but also making him a leading presidential contender.

Posted by: Robert Dare on December 12, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Great post at Making Light on the conspiracy of elite opinion,

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008266.html#008266

(and I think I remember a complimentary essay by Gore Vidal on how the national media get fluffed up to think they're in the loop while being carefully selected lap-pets that yip on cue.)

Posted by: cld on December 12, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

"brewmn, the Gore campaign did hire a consultant who did advise a change of wardrobe and indeed the Vice President did change what he wore.

Marler can indeed be a penis, but in this case he is not the one being stupid."

In addition to the smackdown on the facts you received upthread, I would like to add a misreading of my post: when I called Marler stupid, I did so because of his conclusion that Gore's alleged wardrobe consultation meant that he (Gore) "initiated the story." That, my friend, is some serious stupid. Do you still wish to defend the utterly moronic nonsense that passes for logic in this man's brain?

Posted by: brewmn on December 12, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

As your commenters above demonstrate, you seem to have missed Bob Somerby's point in his post today. Greenfield's absolutely idiotic comment about Obama is not an example of "human nature" at work - it is specifically the latest example of the by now decades-long invidious treatment of Democratic candidates by the national news media.

Beginning with Gary Hart 20 years ago, the national news media as a class has constantly asserted a self-conferred veto power over the presidential campaigns of all Democrats. This must be fought every single time it happens. Bob Somerby has spent years just trying to debunk all the lies about Al Gore - and you see from the comments above how far he still has to go on that one point alone.

The better question to ask here may be why has the media attack on Obama begun so quickly?

Posted by: spinozista on December 12, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Greenfield...
"All people of color look alike."

Racist fuck.

Posted by: ckelly on December 12, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK
the press doesn't give a fuck what Republicans wear. cleek 1:59 PM
They just love Bush in a flightsuit.
Gore initiated the story, not the press. MatthewRMarler 2:37 PM
No, indeed, it was the presses' obsession

Tell him how idiotic he is at jeff.greenfield@turner.com

Posted by: Mike on December 12, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Mere laziness from me, but a great post at Making Light.

Posted by: cld on December 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

The better question to ask here may be why has the media attack on Obama begun so quickly?

Um, because he's a Democrat?

(And hence an effete color-coordinated dandy, not unlike the manly, codpiece wearing macho Republicans, who don't care what they wear as long as its got lots of straps and buckles to carry their gear and their huntin' knife).

Posted by: Stefan on December 12, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, everyone else has already taken Marler apart for repeating the Al Gore clothing consultant myth, so I'll take this one:

In one of Abraham Lincoln's early campaigns he mocked his opponent for wearing expensive clothes. So the answer to your question is no -- it isn't modern, and it isn't the press.

Mocking an opponent for wearing pricey duds (hold on while I get my Republican cloth coat) may be old news--that's the classic I'm-a-workin-man-like-you meme. But a simple appeal to economic populism is not what's going on here. When the press tries to deconstruct clothing choices to see resemblances to heads of states Bush would like to bomb, or spreads the word that Big Dyke Hillary puts on her unfeminine pantsuits two legs at a time, we've reached a new low in reaching for it, baby.

Besides, everyone knows hairdos are the only fair game. What small animals died on the heads of Trent Lott, Bob Ney, Rick Santorum, George Allen, Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, anyway?

Posted by: shortstop on December 12, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

And how they went into a great huff being offended by Hillary's haircut? And then Bill's haircut? And then John Kerry's haircut?

And Ann Coulter spent a couple of years carping on about how John Kerry had spent his life mooching off wealthier women and, as far as I know, not one of the tools interviewing her ever pointed out that he's the third wealthiest member of Congress,

http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/overview.asp?type=W&cycle=2005&filter=C

Posted by: cld on December 12, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think the reporting on the inconsequential is an effort to marginalize the person

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is too f****ing funny since I believe I've seen Greenfield on CNN several times tieless. Is that Ahmandinanjadesque?

Posted by: azggl on December 12, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

It definitely says some funny things about Greenfield, but what it says about the state of journalism in this country is pretty depressing. Interesting how during GWB's tenure as president so many things come down to laughing or crying... that and counting the days.

Posted by: cyntax on December 12, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

"What small animals died"

I had no idea that ferrets and skunks were Publicans. Perhaps, like really does stay with like.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 12, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Brings to mind a recent article I scanned about non-verbal communication. The study claimed that a significant majority of communication was non-verbal. If that is true, are we really that much superior to the apes?

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on December 12, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be a lot of indirect communication we humans use that is totally manipulative--pouting, shutting down and becoming quiet...withdrawing. Crossing arms or legs, turning toward, or away.

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I have never had a class that I could not bring back into line by simply stopping talking, leaning on the podium, and glaring.

(Except middle schoolers. I lasted one year, thanks to xanax. I'm a biochemist, not a fucking zookeeper.)

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 12, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: I love when I see Rick Santorum linked with the hair-do gang.

Bumperstickers in Pennsylvania were pretty bold:

dumprick


...On tons of cars, made you laugh everyday

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 12, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

All my mum had to do was raise an eyebrow and we shaped up

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

When my mom lapsed into Yiddish, we remembered the rules. If she lapsed all the way to Czech, we went to the neighbors for a few hours.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 12, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Funny

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's clear, to me at least, that Greenfield's sartorial insight is very restricted in its intended application.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on December 12, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like we need a feature - What's Jeff Greenfield wearing today?"

Posted by: paulo on December 12, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Librul: Hitler wore pants, does that mean that every man wearing pants is a closet Nazi???

Possibly every civilian wearing a uniform, e.g. G. W. Bush.

Fellows, Gore changed his clothing on purpose in order to attract more voters to his side, and the press pointed that out. He didn't just one day decide that he preferred borwn over blue.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 12, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Greenfield should also check current Iranian sartorial taboos -- and that includes tie-wearing. Evidently, ties were considered a symbol of western decadence and therefore un-Islamic. Not sure if it is against the law.

Posted by: ctm on December 12, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely:

My favorite Santorum bumper sticker moment was a mod on one from an earlier campaign. The original is:

Rick!
Santorum

A neighbor went to town with a little white-out on the first letter of his first name :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 12, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Funny!

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

It was really huge dethroning that pompous ass. It got a bit edgy when the governor was quoted saying 'Rick Santorum delivers'--and Casey seemed marginalized for a moment.

Posted by: consider wisely on December 12, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Look guys, there is no Marler, Charlie just picked up an old handle and is giving it a bad name.

Posted by: heavy on December 12, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Digby also has the analysis of this phenomena.

Several things at work here. There is right wing noise machine spewing out this type of crap from a million sources. An dit has been spreading crap like this about Dems (they are weak, frivolous, etc.) for years -- its the Gingrich phenomena.

Lazy ass journalists read this stuff, or get it fed to them by someone in the office who has read it, and they repeat it because it reminds them of past successful stories dissing Dems along similar lines. They sense the story line has sparkle, and repeat the crap.

It does not matter where the craop comes from since it bubbles up from so many place sin wing nut land. And lazy journallists stay with the comfortable story lines until someone hits them with a frying pan for this crap.

You don't hear it about Repubs because there is no similar DEm smear machine at work

Posted by: dmbeaster on December 12, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

heavy:

Nahhh ... I've debated MatthewRMarler before. No way he's Charlie -- which is a really serious accusation that might get somebody's posts deleted, so I'd be careful making it now that we're moderated, seriously.

Marler's a minion of rove- / republicrat-grade well-spoken conservative.

Charlie, OTOH, is a sociopathic menace.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 13, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

And who was it who once posted something to the effect of: "I've debated Norman and he is no Pale Rider".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 13, 2006 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: There's a reason God gave us prefrontal cortexes, after all.

'God' who?

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 13, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

And who was it who once posted something to the effect of: "I've debated Norman and he is no Pale Rider".

I resemble that remark, sir, and the resemblance is fleeting at best.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 13, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Obama seems to the butt of all jokes now a days. Yesterday,CNN carried a news piece on the similarity between his name and that of Osama Bin Ladin. Also, many are trying to link him to Saddam Hussain... as his middle name happens to be Hussain. Even his first name Barrack reminds many of ignorant people of Iraq. Now, in the above piece... his style of dressing seems to remind many of the Iranian President!!! Funny people... and an amazing creative MIND!

Posted by: Kunal Majumder on December 13, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

The most typical neurologic term for functions carried out by the pre-frontal cortex area is Executive Function. Executive Function relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions, and social "control" (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially unacceptable or illegal outcomes).

Many authors have indicated an integral link between a person's personality and the functions of the prefrontal cortex.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_Cortex

Yes, all those functions obviously convey greater survivability in increasingly complex social groupings. No 'reason' imputed to divine origin is called for.

I'd had occasion to be deeply involved with a case where a 3 year old girl suffered massive injury to the right frontal lobe and contra coup damage to the anterior right.

The prognosis wasn't pretty.

Her ability to understand and function within the context of relationships and to understand the consequences of her actions would be severely impaired and this impairment would worsen as she reached adolescence when the brain undergoes a massive rewiring to allow for adult functioning of the Executive Functions. Here the wiring was essentially too damaged or missing entirely.

The auto manufacturer (defective bolts holding front driver seat sheered in rear impact collision) in question settled for several million.

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 13, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Obama seems to the butt of all jokes nowadays.

He shouldn't be the butt of jokes for his last or middle names...however, he deserves all the jokes he gets thrown at him for that inane "Monday Night Football" opening on ESPN the other night. More and more, he looks transparent, artificial, more a feel-good fellow than someone with genuine heft (and don't give me Harvard Law School -- after Bush, how can anyone inherently trust people because they have Ivy League degrees?). He's being foisted upon us by kingmaker Oprah.

Sorry, but while I'd love to see a black president in my lifetime, I don't want it to be him any more than I want the first woman president to be Hillary. They're both phonies.

Posted by: Vincent on December 13, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

And speaking of MoDo - calling Senator Clinton 'Hillzilla' is a new and shameful low even for this bitch.

"I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."
- Richard Dawkins

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 13, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I just had higher expectations of Marler. The recent posts show a mindless drone repeating long ago debunked lies. The notion that Gore was, in any way responsible for the press covering him as if the election were a fashion show is unworthy of anyone with a functioning intellect hence the suspicion that this was merely a hijacked handle.

Posted by: heavy on December 13, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

News Flash: Hillary Rodham Clinton has stocky calves, thick ankles.

That's howcome she wears pantsuits, not incipient dyke-iness.

If you had her legs, you'd wear pantsuits too.

Posted by: Heather on December 13, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Please, Ties suck everybody knows that.

Posted by: Robert Lindsey on December 13, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

heavy:

Well, athough it was blown completely out of proportion by an infamous Robert Novak column, Gore *did* hire feminist (and Uber-babe) Naomi Wolf as an image consultant during the campaign.

Whether she was responsible for the earth tones and the legendary suggestions for how Gore could become an alpha male -- or whether these things werea product of Novak's mendacious imagination, of this I am not certain.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 13, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Whether she was responsible for the earth tones and the legendary suggestions for how Gore could become an alpha male -- or whether these things werea product of Novak's mendacious imagination, of this I am not certain.

Well, that's just it, though -- Novak's mendacious imagination is a matter of record, and was even before 2000, and yet he and his ilk are allowed on national TV to cluck his tongue, stroke his chin, and wonder what's to be done with these Democrats.

Posted by: Gregory on December 13, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Marler's a minion of rove- / republicrat-grade well-spoken conservative.

That's almost as good as faint praise.

Personally, I preferred the blue business suits that Gore wore before his change-over to earth tones, and I thought they were a better fit to his fairly didactic style of speech and his mastery of complex topics. What really bothered me about him was that he abandoned Clinton's centrist economic policies and became a populist. He also ante-dated his conversion from pro-Tennessee policies (pro-tobacco, anti-abortion) to the national Democratic policies; the changes themselves were mild enough, but he gave speeches claiming illuminating life events that pre-dated his Tennessee-oriented policies.

I live in California, which went for Gore by a wide margin. For all I know (see how bad my predictions were in 2006), it was the earth tones that helped him carry the state.

Incidentally, I always look for your posts on these threads, and for those of windhorse and global citizen.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 13, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Heather: I was making fun of the MSM message machine.

Vincent: Sorry, but while I'd love to see a black president in my lifetime, I don't want it to be him any more than I want the first woman president to be Hillary. They're both phonies.

I don't disagree with you, but why you buy Edwards as a genuine article is a mystery to me, Vincent.

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