Caroline Kennedy knows that real reporters don't write for women's magazines or blogs, so today, Jason Linkins and I talk about Gaza in terms of masturbation and "Barack The Magic Negro" instead of her candidacy.


MEGAN: Mornin', starshine.

JASON: Yes. The earth says hello. I am so fucking tired from the holidays. At some point, yesterday night, I hit the wall.


MEGAN: I'm tired from all the drinking I've done since the end of 'em.

JASON: Erin Burnett is on teevee right now, and she needs to run her hands through her hair. She's got a rogue tendril.

MEGAN: She has such generally pretty hair.

JASON: She also needs to learn what tweed is.

MEGAN: I think tweed is something you don't wear on TV, no?

JASON: I can definitely see the appeal now, in turning Crappy Hour into one big, Let's All Watch Morning Joe Together celebration. I wouldn't wear tweed on teevee. But I wouldn't wear tweed anywhere.


MEGAN: Well, I feel like I learned that tight patterns like that end up looking wonky, but maybe they don't in HD? Not that I have HD. But I do have tweed.

JASON: So, is this thing on? Are we Crappy Houring, even as we speak? Should I say something societally relevant? Because it's getting pretty HECTIC out there, isn't it?

MEGAN: We could say something relevant, but then there would have to be something relevant going on.


JASON: Well, I speak of the goings on in the Holy Land. I think that Rick Warren needs to go to Israel, and unite everyone!

MEGAN: And, see, I thought you were talking about the furor over Chip Saltsman and his CD featuring "Barack The Magic Negro". Gaza is probably more important .

JASON: Jesus. Chip Saltzman, humorist. Bringing back the Algonquin Round Table, is he.


MEGAN: But now that Peter, of Peter, Paul and Mary has spoken out against it, I'm sure everyone will totally stop talking about it.

JASON: Honestly? Those words I typed just now? That's the first time I've talked about it.

MEGAN: Was it appropriately cathartic?

JASON: I mean, how do you solve a problem like Chip Saltzman? Honestly? You know, better people than him have hung themselves with their words. Sometimes I think about the day where maybe I go too far. There's a part of me that wants to be in a place where you're writing on the razor's edge, but chastened by the need to know where that line is, and I allow myself to think, for a second, "Well, you know, one slip, and maybe I end up where a guy like Chip Saltzman is." And then I stop and realize that the very fact that I entertain these thoughts, indeed, ANY THOUGHTS AT ALL...the very fact that right now ACTUAL BRAIN CHEMISTRY IS PHYSIOLOGICALLY OCCURRING IN MY SKULL...THAT'S what separates me from people like Chip Saltzman.


MEGAN: Well, I mean, his medulla oblongata has to be functioning for him to breathe, but I'm sure it takes some time and effort for him and, on behalf of those of us that use other parts of our brains for things other than keeping our skulls from collapsing, I'd invite him to not worry too hard about putting that much effort into it.

JASON: I think that Malcolm Gladwell needs to write the obvious follow-up to OUTLIERS. Instead of a book about extraordinary minds, someone needs to do an academic study of imbeciles. The book can be called DUMBASSES. In fact, fuck Malcolm Gladwell. Okay? That can be OUR book. Call your literary agent. The first chapter of DUMBASSES can be a profile of whoever it is that's allowing Malcolm Gladwell to go out in public with that goddamn haircut. Is he not paying attention to what's going on with Phil Spector?

MEGAN: Is Phil Spector paying attention to what's going on with Phil Spector?

JASON: Probably not.

MEGAN: Anyway, back to the news that Israel is bombing Gaza again. Does it strike you that, like with Pakistan, they seem to be pulling this shit because Bush is lame ducking it up and Change isn't in office yet so they don't have to be good? And then do you say to yourself, wow, I just compared Israel and Pakistan and that's probably not a good thing for Israel?


JASON: I think you are pretty spot on, there. I mean, Joe Biden warned everyone! These are those tests. And I seem to recall that the second Intifada coincided with our last Presidential handover. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course. You know, I'm Crappy Houring without a net, here! Mere steps from singing an addled song, about racism! BUT! More to the point, I love the NEW YORK TIMES headline today, "Obama Defers to Bush, for Now, on Gaza Crisis." Just in case anyone expected Obama to, you know, SEIZE POWER. What's funny is that all of Obama's deference is a rare example of a prominent American actually making the bold suggestion that Bush start taking his Presidency seriously!

MEGAN: Maybe since he's like the Middle East Manchurian candidate from Muslimastan or whatever those countries over there are called, the Israeli bombing of Gaza was actually designed to give him a way to illegally seize the reins of political power and thus allow the Jews to control the country only he's an Arab and it's really harder than the crazies make it look to come up with semi-coherent conspiracy theories on the fly, which is I guess why they are reduced to making racist parodies of children's songs about pot smoking.

JASON: Condi Rice, for example, has drawn the short straw in selling the Bush legacy. This weekend, she said something to the effect that a President cannot make decisions based on short term newspaper headlines. Rather, they have to consider how history will remember the decisions. My position is this: HEY! FUCKTARD! Why don't you...I don't know...SPLIT THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE MAYBE?


MEGAN: Um, really? Did President Bush decide to mislead the country to war with Iraq because he honestly thought that history's judgment was that it would be all okay? Or because he figured no one would notice? Actually, speaking of how no one would notice, the Israeli government declared Gaza a closed military zone in advance of its likely ground war there which means reporters can't get near it but they aren't trying to hide anything, they swear.

A military spokeswoman, Maj. Avital Leibovich, said the closed zone around Gaza had mostly to do with concerns of safety. She said the military had information that Hamas may employ either suicide bombers or more powerful missiles from the border area and it wanted to clear the area. She said she was sure journalists would be permitted to return.

“No one is trying to hide anything,” she said.

You know, in case you were worried that the restrictions on press coverage of a war [cough, Iraq and Afghanistan, cough] would mean people would get less upset about it. They're not trying to hide anything! Trust them!


JASON: Well, as we've learned from Jenin, reporters have to be careful what they even observe! If you see the wrong thing, you could be an anti-Semite! Best to be like Marty Peretz, dancing on the graves of children who died before they had a goddamn choice, grabbing up tight on his chub and exclaiming, "THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR FUCKING WITH US!"

MEGAN: And even when he grabs up tight on his chub, he's got three extra fingers to gesticulate wildly with.

JASON: Ha. Exactly. There's so much to hate about the entire situation. The partners range from bad to worse. When Hamas isn't terrorizing Israel, they're terrorizing their own. We're heavily invested in this peace process, and for a long time now, we've been upside down on our investment. We can't seem to elevate anyone, anywhere, on either side that's interested in ending this brutality. And I am pretty sure I won't live to see the end of this. I'm pretty sure I won't live to see the end of our involvement in this. There are plenty of days when I think it's Gordian's Knot time.


MEGAN: I actually think that the lack of substantive attention paid to Israel and Palestine as well as their initial divestment of attention to North Korea's nuclear ambitions will be ranked by history as two of this Administrations biggest foreign policy blunders, to go back to Condi's point about how they won't be pushed by headlines, though the Iraq war gets more press (and Administration) attention.

JASON: I think that's a pretty good point. In the former case, the Bush administration poured some effort into ACTIVITY. Like: "Hey! Maybe we need to do some busy-work on the Israeli peace process." They knew that all that irrelevant activity would get treated as achievement by the press. On the North Korea front, I am always struck by how quickly they played politics with the matter. "Yeah! But Madeleine Albright didn't solve the problem either!"

MEGAN: Anyway, while we're at this, we should probably mention Caroline Kennedy's New York Times interview, in which she insulted their reporters by asking if they worked for women's magazines.

But when asked Saturday morning to describe the moment she decided to seek the Senate seat, Ms. Kennedy seemed irritated by the question and said she couldn’t recall.

“Have you guys ever thought about writing for, like, a woman’s magazine or something?” she asked the reporters. “I thought you were the crack political team.”


Actually, I worked for the blog of a women's magazine for, like, 9 months — Glamour, you'll recall — and my editors there were, to a woman, incredibly smart, extremely nice and plenty politically aware.

JASON: I wonder what would happen if she answered that question honestly. "Oh, well, I was advised that I could easily obtain the seat, and the opportunity it presented, relative to the difficulty of obtaining it, had a lot of appeal!" It's a little hilarious how this has turned into some sort of a campaign. I mean, David Patterson could appoint Spitzer's hooker-booker to the seat! And I'd support that! She's a UVa. English major, and our department could always use some prominent graduates. And let's face it, most UVa. English majors could do a lot worse than becoming a booker for a high-priced call girl agency.

MEGAN: English majors, I think, have more skills than, say, people who double-majored in German lit and Sociology, which is why you are a full-time blogger and I am about to only be part-time. But, I did grow up in upstate New York, would happily pretend to move back and know enough about politics to not be bitchy to reporters at the New York Times. So I am officially declaring my intention to start a campaign to be appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. I'll even let Chuck Schumer hog the spotlight.


JASON: I think that Caroline Kennedy's suffered from a little bit of cart-before-the-horse-itis, and a little bit of a press seizing the opportunity to zero the balance with everyone who thought they were too hard on Sarah Palin. At the same time, Kennedy's been shown to be really unprepared for this limelight, and she's leaving poor impressions. She's not made a slam-dunk case for herself, but, honestly, you still cannot look at her and say, "Oh, yeah, she'd be a terrible U.S. Senator...she'd fuck things up royally." I think the lesson here is that sometimes, everyone in the room is a little bit wrong. It's like Israel-Palestine, only fewer people will die in airstrikes.

MEGAN: It's the Senate. What can you really fuck up? The whole point is that you can't ever get anything done and then you die in office.

JASON: Right. I mean, for Robert Byrd, the Senate is just a fancy-ass hospice.

MEGAN: I don't need to think about Robert Byrd's fancy ass.

JASON: Your future New York constituents would be pleased by that.

MEGAN: It's a large part of my platform.