From idiots, according to their mouths

Drudge linked this interview, so half the world will see it. But it’s so embarrassing to the profession of journalism I can’t let it pass.

A local ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL., got an interview with Biden, and apparently decided they would ask him the “hard” questions, instead of the usual softballs. Which, good thinking. But their conception of hard-hitting journalism is so ludicrously bad, it makes me want to crawl into a corner and pretend I’ve never seen a television before.

Here’s a few sample questions:

Barbara West: You may recognize this famous quote. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” That’s from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to “spread the wealth around?”

Biden: Are you joking? Is this a joke?

West: No.

Biden: That’s a real question?

West: That’s a question.

West: What do you say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a socialist country much like Sweden?

I don’t necessarily expect a TV anchor to have a good understanding of Marxism, or even socialism (although it would be nice, since we just nationalized a whopping big chunk of our banking industry). But a certain rudimentary familiarity with the progressive income tax system that we’ve all paid in America since 1913 would be nice.


Incidently, conservative types leery of communitarian wealth-sharing ideas may want to refer to their Bible (thanks, Wikipedia). From the book of Acts, in which Luke describes the early Christian communities:

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:34-35)

The Orlando interview is here. Unfortunately, embedding the video seems to break my WordPress theme, so you’ll have to click through. But the entertainment value is well worth the 4 minutes you’ll spend tearing out your hair.

Is John Adams a terrorist suspect?

Ok. I’m the first to admit I didn’t particularly like Doctor Atomic. We saw the opening of John Adams’ latest opera in SF, and my personal feeling was that it was interesting, but it didn’t work. As the story goes, the librettist quit, and Adams and director Peter Sellars instead assembled a libretto from original documents such as diaries, poems, and (painfully) declassified government documents. I’m not a tremendous fan of Adams’ orchestrally dense composition in any case, but the utterly unlyrical rhythms of government prose pretty much killed the drama for me.

Still, I wouldn’t call him a terrorist, musical or otherwise. Yesterday, Adams told the BBC that he’s been “blacklisted” by the US government. Here’s Adams, from the Guardian:

I can’t check in at the airport now without my ID being taken and being grilled. You know, I’m on a homeland security list, probably because of having written The Death of Klinghoffer, so I’m perfectly aware that I, like many artists and many thoughtful people in the country, am being followed.

True? I’m all for paranoia. But if a fairly unrevolutionary composer who makes Nixon and Robert Oppenheimer mythological (anti)heroes is stuck on the US’s terrorist watch list, the administration’s Homeland Security efforts are even more pathetic than anyone imagined.

That poor girl

A brilliant encapsulation of Ireland’s rise to fortune, and subsequent, ongoing collapse, by novelist John Banville (who is a fascinating and lyrical writer, and well worth reading):

IN the ravening years of the Celtic Tiger we had a dinner-party competition to define the figure most representative of the suddenly prosperous Ireland we so bafflingly found ourselves in. Someone came up with “a non-tax-paying businessman’s trophy wife.” This seemed right, and as time went on we added more and more details; at last count we had arrived at “a non-tax-paying businessman’s trophy wife driving her 14-year-old daughter to her drug rehabilitation session in an S.U.V. at 60 miles an hour down a bus lane while speaking on her cellphone, smoking a cigarette and making a rude gesture at a passing cyclist.” Over the past couple of weeks, however, the game has lost its savor. As one dinner guest murmured, “That poor little girl.”

Naturally, the question: Who was/is the States? (or, if you’re here, Germany).