Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gigs and Frolics

Today is the first full day of the Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival. The Mayo News promises that it will be "choc-a-block with gigs and frolics." Who could miss that? Who would want to? A Yankees fan or a Republican maybe, but even they have hearts and souls (even if those aren't often apparent).

The Mayo News has this interesting column by Fr Kevin Hegarty about the fascist movement in Ireland back in the Thirties. Serendipitously enough, the column coincided with my reading a novel set in part during those times, in which the fascist movement played a small role. The book (The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry) tells the story of a 100-year old woman attempting to recall the events of her life and the way they intersected with the Ireland of the 20's-40's to land her in an insane asylum. Barry's prose can be overly lyrical at times, but he's near brilliant with the set pieces, especially the one where Roseanne recalls the perilous birth of her child. You can preview The Secret Scripture here...

Who said this in 2002: "I...know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military [has] a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda."

Why, it was none other than that woefully inexperienced and unprepared Democratic party nominee for president, Barack Obama. In the current issue of The Nation, Eric Alterman explores how the MSM treats Obama as the modern day equivalent of a premature anti-Fascist. At the same time, as Alterman shows in another article, the MSM sucks up to supposed foreign policy expert John McCain -- the very same John McCain who pronounced in 2002 that he was "'very certain that this military engagement [the invasion of Iraq] will not be very difficult' and, a month later, that 'success will be fairly easy.'"

Alterman  writes that "on issue after issue, and from every side of the journalistic political spectrum, a campaign of deception and distortion has helped to ensure that McCain's extreme positions and politically inspired flip-flops remain far from the consciousness of the average voter." The MSM positions the ultraconservative McCain, who faithfully toes the Bush line time and again, as "moderate" and as a "maverick," claiming that his voting record masks his real positions, the moderateness of which will become apparent once he is president. This echoes the same line they took with noted beer buddy George W. Bush and his hollow promises to be a uniter. (Alterman: "McCain's legendary diversionary walks from the path of the Republican straight-and-narrow so impressed his friends in the media that they appeared to have passed a secret law among themselves never to refer to the senior Arizona senator without also using the word "maverick." As David Brock and Paul Waldman demonstrate in their book Free Ride, the words "maverick" and "McCain" appeared within ten words of each other 2,114 times in 2000, a practice that has continued to the present at roughly the same rate.")

Alterman, one of the best media critic around, blogs daily here at Media Matters...

Jamison Foser points out the disparity in the MSM's treatments of the personal wealth of  McCain's and John Edwards.

Citizen K. Read: The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry


Foxessa said...

You'd think by now, having shoved us into the abyss, economically in every way, the people of this nation would refuse to swallow another word of their lies. But no. We the people line up for more, with our mouths open like baby birds.


I think I've heard of the novel you just read -- probably skimmed a review of it somewhere. I read a lot of reviews!

Love, C.

Renegade Eye said...

I saw Charmaine Neville perform tonight at the Minnesota Jazz Festival. She is great.

Still McCain makes no inroads.