What ugly times these are. My peaceful Saturday breakfast, that I mentioned here a few days ago? I sat there at the counter, scrolling Twitter, nearly vibrating with revulsion. This phone-calls-to-soldiers’-families business has about broken me. Talk about taking a presidential duty that isn’t…easy, exactly, but certainly not difficult to pull off, and then screwing it up this badly, is simply dreadful.
All it requires — all it requires — is a competent staff and a man in the Oval who is capable of saying a few standard statements, either on the phone or in a letter. Deepest condolences, a nation grieves, be comforted in your time of sorrow knowing his death had greater meaning, etc. etc. A normal person with standard-issue empathy could do this in an hour. Again, it’s not easy, but it’s expected.
And even this gang that can’t find their asses with both hands and a map couldn’t pull it off. It’s almost literally sickening.
Well, the families are getting their letters. They’re in the mail. Overnight mail, in fact.
And that was just the beginning of the weekend’s mudslide of news, followed by Bill O’Reilly paying a colleague $32 MILLION DOLLARS because he didn’t do anything wrong like sexually harass her, of course. Then I read this almost witlessly bad column by Ken Stern, a former NPR executive, about the how the “liberal media” needs to pay more attention to red America, because apparently the nine million stories doing just that since the election need to be bumped to nine million and one. Did I say witlessly bad? You tell me:
Spurred by a fear that red and blue America were drifting irrevocably apart, I decided to venture out from my overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood and engage Republicans where they live, work and pray. For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. I found an America far different from the one depicted in the press and imagined by presidents (“cling to guns or religion”) and presidential candidates (“basket of deplorables”) alike. …It was all inspiring, but it left me with a very different impression of a community that was previously known to me only through Jerry Falwell and the movie “Footloose.”
(Nance, you’re thinking. Could it be this gentleman has a book to sell? Why yes, yes he does! It drops tomorrow!)
Ken Stern was a money guy at NPR, so I assume he didn’t get into the newsrooms much, or else he might not have written a sentence as stupid as the one about Jerry Falwell and “Footloose.” Jesus on a damn cracker, is there any news organization that does more reporting in RealAmerica ™ than NPR? From Indian reservations in the Dakotas to cattle ranches in Texas (hey, Wade Goodwin!), literally sea to shining sea, NPR has sent its intrepid reporters. Maybe the C-suite guys think it’s all about 30-year-old Kevin Bacon movies, but not the people with boots on the ground.
But the problem is, I am plumb out of patience with anyone who can defend this shitshow anymore. I’m no longer interested in starting a dialogue, because I think it…well, it wouldn’t go well. As one of you said, you have to go with your morals, and I’ve made my choice.
Ah, well. We got over to Ann Arbor Saturday night. One of Kate’s classes had a show as part of Edgefest, an avant-garde jazz festival. Here’s the score for their piece:
Kate played her electric bass, but also a bucket, metal pie plate and a pair of rocks. That’s avant-garde jazz for you. It was cool, though.
And with Monday nearly here, the grind begins anew. Keep your nose clean.