What Julia Allison & John McCain Have Done To JournalismSince the world is ending around us, it's important to take note of what parts of our civilization fell and in what order. And, really, there's no one better at documenting mayhem than the original Wonkette (the rest of us are just pale imitations), Ana Marie Cox, who now writes for Time's Swampland. Today, Ana and I talk about how the New York Times is snarking on John McCain, Sarah's tanning bed, why Todd Palin might have been perfect for me but really isn't, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds' sexual proclivities and who Julia Allison is fucking to death now.
ANA MARIE: I AM AWAKE! MEGAN: Hooray! I am too. Are you appropriately grumpy about it? ANA MARIE: Could be worse. We could be talking about BLOGGING AND POLITICS. MEGAN: Like, oh my God, Ana, when are bloggers going to get ethics like real journalists? ANA MARIE: As soon as we gain enough power to mislead a country into a stupid war. The best thing about this election so far, I have to say, is not so much that the press has goaded itself into becoming more watchdog-y, but that they're doing the watchdogging with such petulant snarkiness. Almost like bloggers. From the NYT's editorial board blog yesterday:
What's Spanish for ‘Lies'? By The Editorial Board
It's "mentiras," I think, but I'm sure that's not the point! MEGAN: It is way more than I thought, since I was too busy laughing at the thought of the New York Times editorial board getting so upset that John McCain was misleading voters. I guess it's a fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and we'll publish a number of glowing pieces about how Saddam has nukes kind of thing. ANA MARIE: Almost like he was exaggerating the threats posed by Iraq or something! Fool me three times and we'll write a snarky blog post! THAT WILL SHOW HIM. MEGAN: What if all the newspapers became actually snarky? Like, what if they decided that the only way to compete with new media was to out-blog us? Would The Onion have to become an outlet of serious journalism? Would democracy as we know it die? (You did see that article about how cynicism is killing democracy...) ANA MARIE: WHAT IF NICK DENTON RAN THE NYT? I think we would develop a shortage of first-hand journalism. But EVERYONE would know who Julia Allison is. MEGAN: You don't need to leave your desk to know stuff, obviously! Wait, are there people who don't know about Julia Allison yet? I thought she was part of the citizenship exam by now. ANA MARIE: She's actually being launched into space soon. So that she's, like, one of the first things aliens learn about us. You know: Beethoven, math... Julia Allison. MEGAN: They'll like her better than math, that's for sure. Gawker certainly does. ANA MARIE: There's some kind of segue between Julia and this about Tucker Bounds, but I'm still coffee-less, so I'll let you make it. They really need to stop sending the twelve-year-old intern out to the morning shows. Or cable shows, I mean. I think I was thinking "morning show" because he's getting his ass kicked, in all cases, by heavily rougued faux-next-girls! GIRLS! MEGAN: Actually, the man just needs to, like, fucking prepare before he goes. Your candidate is out lying like he's Dick Cheney or something, you gotta put your big boy panties on just like Ari Fleischer did and take it. I think the real problem is that Tucker Bounds likes getting spanked by hot women. ANA MARIE: YOU CAN TOTALLY TELL. He totally knows the shit the campaign is trying to pull and just enjoys being called on it. "TELL ME AGAIN HOW WE LIE, CAMPBELL. MAKE IT HURT." MEGAN: "I know I've been naughty, Megyn. Tell me I've been naughty." ANA MARIE: Oh, breaking!
Senator McCain, on a round of seven morning shows, says on CNBC's Squawk Box that he favors a 9/11-commission-style body to look into the Wall Street meltdown: "Everybody's at fault here – the regulatory agencies, who were clearly asleep at the stick … That's why I think maybe we ought to have a 9/11 commission type thing, because this crisis is very serious and … certainly a threat to our economy. … I understand the economy. I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights every part of our economy. I have a far, far longer record of addressing these issue than my opponent does. And I certainly don't think we should raise taxes in these difficult times."
MEGAN: Is oversight a verb? ANA MARIE: Look, he was a POW, ok? He is allowed to verb anything. MEGAN: Wait, John McCain was tortured? I didn't know that. ANA MARIE: Do you think somewhere lying around the WH is a memo entitled, "Wall Street Determined to Strike Inside the US"? MEGAN: So, by the way, the 9/11 Commission report only took a year to commission and two to write, which means McCain's financial crisis commission will issue its report on the current financial crisis in 2011, which is 2 years before McCain wants to start pulling troops out of Iraq but possibly a little late to have any effect on the deepening financial crisis. But, read his lips: No New Taxes. ANA MARIE: Speaking of which, I actually wrote someone on the McCain campaign yesterday to ask if the candidate had finished Alan Greenspan's book by now. MEGAN: And did you get a response that wasn't vetted 15 ways from Sunday? ANA MARIE: Er, yes. MEGAN: I wonder if Steve Schmidt has taken away everyone's BlackBerries. ANA MARIE: Maybe he's just installed some kind of filter. The answer I got was, basically, "Fuck off." It was a little nicer than that. MEGAN: I think, then, that Steve Schmidt is controlling everyone's BlackBerries. ANA MARIE: No, Steve would have actually written "Fuck off." He's from Jersey, you know, where that is a term of endearment. MEGAN: Maybe that's the filter! He types "fuck off" and a computer somewhere translates it into something polite. I could totally use one of those, if they made it into one of those little boxes you use to talk after throat cancer surgery. ANA MARIE: Speaking of cancer (I'm getting better at segues!): Bristol Palin's tanning bed. MEGAN: I was just thinking, actually, that Todd looks equally suspiciously tan for the start of winter. But he works outside, if he wanted to submit to a tan line inspection to prove it's not from the bed, I'm happy to judge. ANA MARIE: Wait, isn't he part Eskimo? Does that make your question racist? MEGAN: He's like an eighth or something? I have been too busy noticing that he's cute and kind of silent which is how I too prefer the cute men. ANA MARIE: And I think he's also controlling and a little insane. He's perfect for you! MEGAN: Insane, definitely! I try to only date the mentally ill, it makes it so much easier to blame the break-ups on them. Controlling, well, that shit just annoys me in about 2 seconds. I dumped a guy once for questioning who I was talking to on the telephone. ANA MARIE: So you probably wouldn't let him, say, write your state budget, huh? MEGAN: I probably wouldn't let him know the balance in our joint checking account. ANA MARIE: So here's a question: What are the gender politics of Todd being so up in his wife's business, as it were? MEGAN: Well, metaphorically speaking, I am all for Todd being all up in his wife's business. ANA MARIE: I am actually quite sure that they have hot Christian sex all the time. MEGAN: But, other than that, it's a little weird on a state level. Especially because state budgets are really complex and stuff, and I don't recall Todd having a degree in public management or accounting. Or anything, really. ANA MARIE: So when HRC got all up in Bill's (completely literal) business, that was ok... Because she was sharing expertise. MEGAN: Well, only it wasn't, right? Because then she was a nagging, first-wifely harpy. At least that was the Republican talking point... ANA MARIE: It was. And now the Dem talking point looks like it might be, "Todd is pulling all the strings, a bullying, first-dudely Machiavelli." From my friend Mike's admittedly amusing Salon piece, out last night:
"No one has accused Todd Palin of interfering in state business for his own personal benefit — instead, the situation has remained somewhat inscrutable, if not odd. According to local politicos and observers, he lurks around the capitol if he doesn't have anything better to do, which, since he works seasonal jobs in oil and fishing, is fairly often."
MEGAN: I love how he's "lurking." And that with 4 and now 5 kids at home, he doesn't have anything better to do. ANA MARIE: But here's the thing: switch the genders — our standard mode of cultural critique this year, practically so mandatory that I'm thinking Chris and I will just go as each other for Halloween — and what do you think? "Sarah Palin, with 5 kids at home, has no right lurking around her husband's place of work like she has any idea what's going on." MEGAN: I'm of two minds, as I am with everything else. On the one hand, free advice is good. Free decision-making, not so good. ANA MARIE: I agree. It's just really awesome to see Rs having to grapple with this. I wrote a piece a couple of months ago about how, along with Woodstock and the moon landing, another major event McCain missed while in prison (yes, he was in a Vietnamese prison! true story!) was the women's movement, which is obviously where a lot of these questions were first framed on a national level. He's totally having to make up for lost time, in a way, but without any of the intellectual or historical work that went into the first round of discussions. MEGAN: I think a lot of her politicians missed the women's movement in some pretty significant ways. ANA MARIE: They weren't even really the "first" of course. Well, yes. But do you get what I mean about how the R's new-found feminism is missing a lot of the context and thoughtfulness that, well, makes it a real argument rather than a talking point? MEGAN: Well, I think the Republican party's newfound "feminism" is born of, oh, God, too early, what's the word that means you're taking advantage of the situation? Anyway, I think the Republican party hasn't found feminism. ANA MARIE: You're right. Or, rather, they've just found the word "sexism." MEGAN: They've found the power of the word sexism to attract a certain class of voters. ANA MARIE: Well, weirdly, it's not! I mean, HRC supporters ARE NOT flocking to Palin MEGAN: And they've discovered the sheer joy of Schadenfreude, watching all of this. No, they're not flocking if they are committed Dems, but I think plenty of Hillary supporters weren't committed Dems. ANA MARIE: The sexism charge is mainly working as a proxy for the standard "media bias" charge. Which is as old as the hills, though not as old as John McCain. MEGAN: I think the sexism charge is connecting hard with Republican women, bringing up old grievances with feminists and the feminist movement connected to their life choices. The idea that feminists disrespect women who stay home with the kids or are pro-life, those feelings. ANA MARIE: So, really, they're just co-opting the words. We're not actually having a productive discussion. MEGAN: It's politics! Productive discussions aren't allowed. ANA MARIE: Which makes it a perfect time to segue back into Julia Allison! MEGAN: Um, she called herself a journalist. ANA MARIE: But, and this is important:
"I don't want people to think that I think I'm Woodward and Bernstein."
Which sort of makes me think she's actually Sarah Palin. MEGAN: I believe journalism just died. Actually, I think she slunk into its hospital room, climbed on it's bed, slapped it around, smothered it with a pillow and then stabbed it 39 times for emphasis. ANA MARIE: I was just thinking: I think Julia Allison had sex with journalism, THEN killed it. It's the best end journalism can hope for. It would be much worse to have sex with Woodward and Bernstein before dying.