Carnival of Stupid

Krugman’s column today is on the Right’s hostility to education. Do also read “Mitt: Pay for Your Own Damn College” by Jonathan Chait.

Whenever I hear some wingnut go off on education, I think of Mao Zedong. Chairman Mao seems to have hated education also. He crushed the Chinese education system and sent intellectuals and teachers to do manual labor on farms. As a result, 20 years after the Cultural Revolution China had a massive illiteracy problem. China re-built and expanded its education system after Mao died, because the less radical leaders who succeeded Mao understood a nation of illiterate peasants cannot be a great power.

So why don’t our Republicans know that?

Dictators can’t stand an independent education system. If you look at dictatorial regimes over the past century or so, you find that the despots either destroyed education or took over the school system to use for indoctrination and propaganda (as in Germany during the Third Reich).

I postulate that hostility toward education is a hallmark of political radicalism and totalitarianism, left or right. Knowledge is power, etc.

And then there’s Stupid. In this video poor Soledad O’Brien confronts a concentration of highly distilled Stupid. Indeed, the Breitbartachik she must interview, Joel Pollack, is so Stupid he is to intelligence what a black hole is to matter, and any intelligence in his vicinity is sucked in and destroyed.

You’ve probably heard about the “hidden” Barack Obama/Derrick Bell video the Breitbart minions rolled out recently, the one that’s been online at PBS since 2008. Buzzfeed released a version of the video that cuts out Obama and Bell shaking hands and embracing at the end. When O’Brien pressed Pollack to explain why leaving out the embrace is somehow significant, he said, “Additionally, if the President’s embrace of Bell was unimportant, why did Buzzfeed choose not to pay the hundred bucks to license those seconds? If it wasn’t a big deal, why cut it?”

Simon Maloy: “‘If it wasn’t a big deal, why cut it?’ There should be a word for someone who fails to recognize their own accidental logic. Maybe the Germans have one.”

Also — as I understand it, Critical Race Theory is a means of analyzing how racist attitudes are embedded in the legal system, not a call for blacks to go out and overthrow white people. But that doesn’t stop the Breitbarters into being scandalized by the fact that Barack Obama, in 1994, assigned Derrick Bell’s Race, Racism, and American Law as required reading for a course he was teaching at the University of Chicago called “Current Issues in Racism and the Law.”

This inspired Jesse Taylor to write the wingnut definition of “radicalism”: Radicalism (n.): remembering that all of American history through 1964 happened.

See also David Graham, “’s Massive Barack Obama-Derrick Bell Video Fail” and Ta-Nehisi Coates, “There Is No Whitey Tape.”

21 thoughts on “Carnival of Stupid

  1. Joel’s going to give all “Pollacks” a bad name.
    And it appears we have a late entry in “Teh Stoopedest Wite Mahn” competition.
    If I were that f*cking stupid, I’d stay home in my basement and lock myself in. But, I suppose this shows that Breitbart wasn’t exactly choosy when it comes to sycophants willing to ______________________ (fill-in the blank).

    And I can see why they might want to call it “vetting” – it’s catty, their arguments are all dogs, and they’re for the birds…

    As for education, Shitt R-money’s just doing his part to alienate still more voters.
    Alienating Blacks, Hispanics, gays, and recently women, just leaves them wanting more… So, Shitt’s just doing his bit to piss-off potential college students and their parents.
    Republicans had better do a 180 on their cloning position – because the only chance they’ve got in the coming years is if they can clone enough old white male stupid assholes to overcome the 100’s of millions of people they’ve already antagonized, and the ones they’re going to work to alienate even further in the coming weeks, months, and years.
    I’m hard-pressed to understand how they think any of this helps them any – but, then, I may be older, and white, and I may even be an asshole, but I’m not a stupid one.
    Keep it up, BOYZ!!!

  2. If they ever make a movie about the adventures of the young Herman Munster, that Pollack fellow has his big break coming.

    Other than that this really is a jaw dropper. I love the woman indicting the media for not covering this before the election when “Frontline” aired this in 2008, before the election. She just charges through the truth and hopes to leave the facts scattered by the force of her assertion. Unfortunately, that often seems to work.

  3. “The Whore of Babblin’ On” strikes again!
    On Hannity’s show – about the Civil War – care of C&L’s:

    Here’s a taste:
    “Well, what we can gleam (sic) from this is an understanding of why we are all on the road that we are on and it’s based on what went into his thinking, being surrounded by radicals. He is bringing us back Sean to days that… you can harken back to days before the Civil War, when unfortunately too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were created equal. And it was the Civil War that began the codification of the truth here in America… yes, we are equal and we all have equal opportunities, not based on the color of your skin.”

    And here’s the coop da grassy knoll:
    “Now, it has taken all these years for many Americans to understand that that gravity, that mistake, took place before the Civil War and why the Civil War had to really start changing America. What Barack Obama seems to want to do is go back to before those days when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin.”

    It’s no longer a “Word Salad” with her – it’s now a “Word Atomizer.”

    If Hannity had half a brain, he’d have pissed himself.
    But, of course, Unibrow doesn’t – so this made perfect sense to him. And his viewers.

    I think Sarah just HAS to be given consideration as the greatest performance artist of all time!

  4. Well, personally, I’d march proudly into obscurity rather than leave a legacy that records my greatest intellectual achievement as being able to procure a screen capture of some guy’s scrotum..

  5. Okay, Gulag, now you’ve gone and done it! I clicked on that Hannity/Palin link–aaarrgh!

    What in the hell was Palin talking about? No, better question–what did she THINK she was talking about?

  6. OK, I just had an idea for a two-actor play starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, during the 30 Rock summer hiatus: one night, Sarah Palin is haunted by the ghost of Shelby Foote (hey, Baldwin’s lost weight, and he does a perfect Mississippi accent). Except the dialogue would go round and round in ever-wobblier circles, and before Sarah could be dragged down to Hell and Shelby invested with his wings, the audience would get up and walk out in disgust.

    Listening to anything that woman says past “Good morning” is a complete mind-bleep.

  7. Muldoon,
    Your guess is as good as mine.
    Back in the day, when I did illegal pharmaceuticals and herbs, and at the same time, chased tequila with beer, all in copious quantities, I don’t think I ever sounded as incoherent as she does in the average interview.

    And this one is something truly special!
    There’s a level of incoherency and screeching that must had driven even Roger Ailes’ nuts up into his earlobes.
    Maybe she finally saw “Glory,” or something.

  8. Heres the money shot. Breitbartcom deceptively edited the tape.

    The statemeent, “Of course we hid this til after the 2008 campaign” is sliced completely out of context. The preceeding comment that Breitbart left out (rot in hell, asshole) makes it clear.

    “Uh, and this is … you can see this is 1990, so this is 21 years ago.

    None of these people look like this today [laughter] and I know they’re going to be afraid or mad that I found this but it’s a good example. [quiet laughter]

    Let me see if I can get this, uh, to work… Now what makes this so interesting, when you think about
    it, uh it’s uh, of course we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign so don’t… [laughter]…l

  9. Barbara, please recover my comment from the twit filter. It didnt like my choice of words about Andrew.

  10. Palin might be talking about the Missouri compromise…It’s as good a guess as any.

  11. If you look at Obama’s course notes he didn’t prescribe Bell’s text; he prescribed a few short passages from it as material for some topics (along with passages from other books for other topics). Most of the course reading material consisted of legislation and court decisions, as you would expect from a law course. In several instances the notes comment that Bell’s summary of a decision can be read in lieu of the decision itself.

    The course introduced students to a variety of perspectives and asked them to engage in critical evaluation; in other words it was mainstream scholarship. The idea that Bell’s text was the core of the course, which is what some on the right are trying to imply, is simply wrong. That will not stop them lying about it of course. Some have no idea what university study is and those who do know choose to misrepresent it because it serves their own interests.

    Exposing students to competing versions of reality is only suitable for high school students compelled to study creationism apparently. Their critical thinking capabilities will allow them to separate the truth from godless Darwinist propaganda. On the other hand law school students voluntarily studying the social and political context of the law can only be trusted with the version approved by mainstream white America.

  12. “I postulate that hostility toward education is a hallmark of political radicalism and totalitarianism, left or right. Knowledge is power, etc.”

    I’m sure that is true but I’d argue the rights hostility towards education nowadays is much simpler, they can’t sell their low wage, trickle down, constant war machine to anyone except the inept knuckle draggers that watch FAUX, stupid is simple!

    • I’m sure that is true but I’d argue the rights hostility towards education nowadays is much simpler, they can’t sell their low wage, trickle down, constant war machine to anyone except the inept knuckle draggers that watch FAUX, stupid is simple!

      What I already said, I believe.

  13. Wow, that video is quite a show! I was stunned not only by the Breitbartian, who, after all, I would expect to be a clueless wonder, but what was up with that woman on the panel and her complaining about how we didn’t see this in 2008? Um, except we did. Oh, but “not in its entirety.” Um, and what, in its entirety does it show us now that would have mattered?? As a student he introduced a professor at an event, and hugged him. Maybe “the media” acting as “gatekeepers” shouldn’t have “hidden” the accounts of him in elementary school pushing the A/V cart down the hallway, also? How much boring and innocuous detail did we need about the guy?

    Of course, one answer to why we didn’t see this footage in 2008, besides that we actually did see it, of course, is that in 2008 people were too busy trying to deny that he was born in the US! Why bother having a cow over innocuous video from decades ago when you can have a cow over stuff you simply make up?!

    By the way, is anyone going to tell the Breitbartians that the time for vetting someone is BEFORE they are hired, not after nearly four years on the job?

  14. You want to hear some good news?
    Advertisers aren’t just running away from Rush – they’re also saying they don’t want their ads run on some of the other right-wing yakkers shows:

    Warning, this appears to be a rightie radio site.

    Here’s the crux of what was written:

    “Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.”


  15. The first ttwo paragraphs are beautiful and handily define the problem. The closing paragraph answers it. Reverse racism mania is classic projection. In essence they’re saying “See? The sneaky black devil is just like us.” …which affirms and justifies their racism. Their distrust is so great that helping the downtrodden and lowest (themselves included) is viewd as a threat. Thet cannot imagine another unlike themselves. Ever tried to calm or feed a scared animal? You can extend a helping hand with food but you never know whether the food will be taken or hand bitten or both. Excellent illustrative vid of rural MI crackers by award winning videographer on Maher last night. Will try to find link. It’s a must view but also must-understand.

    I gladly spread these words, regretting 1)that I can’t induce my personal network to read and 2) that facebook filters reject links to here because of coincidental side effect of your site layout. FB is nothing special…just a watering hole shared by those with connections to my place of birth and a sub network of smart progressives.

    Not sure that you’d care since your not harvestng souls for Jesus but it’s hardly greed or self-indulgent to help advance that which has potential to increase self awareness or awareness of that which will impact us negatively.

    I do web for a living, have written rss readers and know the innards of RSS. There might be feedburne/wordpress options that support delivery of entire post content in feed either with comments or with separate comments feed.

    OT but I’ve started Justin Frank’s Obama On The Couch. He elaborates intelligently on what has gnawed at me about the good decent man I intend to vote for. Worth reading.

  16. Before the Civil War, the slaveholding South provided a perfect example of the basis of hostility to education. After the “Nat Turner Rebellion,” nearly every state enacted harsh laws making it illegal to teach any slave (or Black) to read or write.

    Kind of makes the “keep ’em stoopid” agenda pretty clear.

  17. Yet another historical example of dictators attacking education and the educated can be found in Cambodia of the 1970’s when ruled by the Khmer Rouge. A friend has told me stories of his father who fled his life in a city during that time, threw away his reading glasses and had to feign illiteracy in order to keep from being killed.

  18. Pingback: The Mahablog » And They Deny There’s a War on Women

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