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By Michael J. Smith on Sunday February 7, 2010 02:45 PM

Al Schumann writes:


His schtick is comparing Obama's left-liberal critics to unhinged wingnuts. To pull that off, however poorly, he reaches for the wingnut guide to bad faith rhetoric and selects at random.

I take a morbid interest in the ways pwogs treat each other. What differentiates them from paranoid, back-biting sectarians is an easy accommodation with institutional authority. They take comfort in revealed proprieties, provided there's broad institutional support and enforcement, the same way religious authoritarians take comfort in the revealed wisdom of theocrats. They're both dependent on the presence of cops and pervasive systems of control. They can't generate an individual conscience. They have no heuristics for determining right and wrong outside the vulgar collectivist process. The lower functioning ones, like The Poorman, are spitefully contemptuous of the relatively enlightened high church proceduralism favored by their grown up, successfully individuated brethren, e.g. Glenn Greenwald. They fidget in rage and denounce them as no better than they ought to be.

This accommodation makes it possible for them to function in oligarchic systems. They'll always get smacked around by the wingnuts, however, because they're "better" at accepting the revealed legitimization they get from institutional authority. They can grudgingly accept an electoral victory that elevates a Bush or a Reagan. They'll behave themselves. The wingnuts of course immediately start acting out when they feel a threat to their brand ascendancy.

It would be difficult to find people less suited to any form of liberal democratic republicanism. Greenwald's careful skepticism and painstaking explanation of due process enrages them.

Comments (13)

Your link is broken. Er, I removed the extra "http" therein, and was immediately sorry.

I did like the poster who wondered if there'd be an outcry in the U.S. if cops suddenly took it upon themselves to start shooting at local wedding parties just for fun. Given where I live, my answer would be another question: Was the wedding party in question predominantly black and/or Mexican?

Back over to you, Mr. Smith. :/


Thanx, X. Fixxed.


Y'know, I visited that poorman site Al mentioned and at first I couldn't make head or tail of it -- couldn't figure out who he was mad at and who he was defending.

After some re-reading, I think Al's take is probably correct, but what a crazy spectacle -- like one of those Errol Flynn swordfights where the hero is fencing with thirty different guys at once, swinging from chandeliers, dodging bullets and ducking out from under falling ceilings -- except that it's all happening in poor poorman's head.

Al Schumann:

In fairness to Poorman, he's very kind to cats. My vision of a better world is one in which he can abandon the Errol Flynn routine and focus on his strength: cat rescue and placement, generously funded by revenues from a George tax.


"The lower functioning ones, like The Poorman, are spitefully contemptuous of the relatively enlightened high church proceduralism favored by their grown up, successfully individuated brethren, e.g. Glenn Greenwald. They fidget in rage and denounce them as no better than they ought to be."

this passage of super Al's
is remarkably subtle and

the rat poison version of this is
found here at SMBIVA
under other bylines


Dickens was threatened with lawsuits by several Yorkshire schoolmasters claiming that they were the original models for Wackford Squeers.

I may not understand what op is suggesting however. I frequently don't.


Boink -- I had never heard this story. Wonderful. Almost too good to be true, but even so, I believe it.

Cognitive Infiltration:

Cass gave me a call and sent me here (a "minor" site) to defend "The Poor Man".

I really, REALLY need this job. But unfortunately I can't understand what he's trying to say, something about it being OK to kill people in Florida or something.

So I had to quit.

Thanks guys. Let's hope OB comes through and I'm eligible for unemployment benefits.

ps 9/11 was an inside job


Cognitive -- Don't feel bad. I couldn't make head or tail of it either. I have to depend on Al, my Virgil through this howling or rather squeaking Inferno of Pwog fury.


Last night's Poirot rerun on PBS:
Poirot: "Hastings, what is this 'hussy'?"
Hastings: "dither, blah, blah ... no better than she ought to be."

Guilty pleasures, Al?

Al Schumann:

I could watch teevee without guilt, but sadly without any pleasure either. So I don't bother with it.

The phrase almost always gets applied to women who reject a life of fear, squalor, chiseling enterprise and bellicose anti-intellectualism. It's a prissy, priggish way of calling them sluts. Less frequently, it's applied to men or groups of people who aspire to something, anything, better than the mean-spirited, collective self-immolation of authoritarian community. Up the perception enforcement food chain a ways, it comes in the form of Nader-baiting, red-baiting and so forth. When The Poorman sputtered at Greenwald, I saw the neoliberal Mrs. Grundy warming up. That Glenn, no better than he ought to be.


Just pointless ribbing, Mr. Schumann.

I was struck by the coincidence and made a leap to an unwarranted conclusion.

The guilty pleasure of Poirot is mine.

Al Schumann:

Watching Poirot?! On PBS??!! I'm tempted to say you're no better than you ought to be, but my flair for hypocrisy doesn't extend that far.

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