The magazine that cried wolf


My Lefty mailing lists are dominated, these days, by the anti-tyrannical Left, posting fast and furious anything they can dig up in support of the Syrian rebels or the Ukrainian Iron Maidan. But I was surprised to see a link to an article in Time magazine — yes, Time magazine — sounding the alarm about Cossacks on the march, a story which must have made a lot of old folks’ blood run cold in Washington Heights.

The Time item was illustrated by the wonderfully comical picture above(*); click on it for a link to the whole article, should you have some time to waste and an appetite for the comedy of breathless journalism.

Now I realize that boosting the Maidanites requires a somewhat selective and yet, at the same time, uncritical inventory of sources. Even so, I was surprised to see a self-identified Marxist citing Time magazine, a notoriously and thoroughly mendacious and tendentious jingoist shitrag.

I mentioned my surprise — oh, all right, I mentioned it in my usual snide snarky way: “Hmmm. We’re reading Time now, are we?”

This provoked a good deal of sanctimonious lecturing from the Maidanophiles. Apparently one is not supposed to “consider the source”, proverbial wisdom notwithstanding. My favorite spanky came from a very frequent and voluble contributor — let’s call him Humillus Dirtwick:

I would be very interested in seeing something on this list impeaching the Time’s article on the Wolves’ Hundred. I get highly annoyed with people who think they can avoid that by just impeaching the source. I consider it a corrupt practice.

Where can I get the official Marxist list of prohibited words and prohibited sources? Can someone post them here?


Caps in original.

Apparently the anti-tyrannical schematism in thinking about politics extends to a similar schematism in thinking about thinking: as if people had — or ought to have — a completely zero-based, amnesiac attitude toward everything they read or heard. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. The villagers should never have decided that the boy who cried wolf was an inveterate liar, and should have continued to muster up with the torches and pitchforks when called. After all, it turned out he was telling the truth — once.

I daresay Time occasionally tells the truth too, by accident or design. But in fact anybody who does any thinking or reading at all has heuristics for filtering the torrent of information, misinformation, disinformation, and plain imbecility that crosses his screen every day.

I’m sure that Humillus has some such heuristic as well, though in his case I suspect it comes down to whether the item before him does or does not support his beliefs.

(*) It put me in mind of a sniffy review of a long-ago Metropolitan Opera production of Siegfried, which included, the reviewer wrote, “a man in a bear suit.”

25 thoughts on “The magazine that cried wolf

  1. Hi MJS, I’m back again ringing the nuclear alarm bells again! I took the time to type out about 12 pages of the most terrifying summation of the state of nuclear arms from “One Point Safe” and posted it for anyone who is interested.

    It’s silly, and beyond dangerous, to be demonizing the Russians. But of course who takes that into consideration? IT’S TIME TO BUILD RAGE CONSENSUS!

  2. Pretty much what you said here, I feel the same about that British pop war-mongering shitrag, The Economist. That “newspaper” also feels horribly dated when it appears on the newsstands, and is beyond mind-numbing in its regurgitation of every conceivable bit or conventional “wisdom.”

    And it seems like every other cover has the same stern words: The Case for War.

  3. thanks paul. i was just about resolved to give myself over to a higher power & put down that a.m. liter of vodka, but sweet liquor still eases the pain.

  4. Humillus is one of the most obsessive jackasses I have ever come across on the web. Once he has a pet cause, there is no preposterous claim or connection that he is not willing to embrace whole hog. And he is like my old dog Tiger, who always got in the last bark. He once posted on a listserve his most important tweets on twitter. Not important to him, but to the world. I think he believes that he has been single-handedly responsible for saving lives in Syria, and now, no doubt, in Ukraine. He is so overbearing that, on the rare occasions when I now read his posts, I assume right away that there is something suspect about them.

    • This is a not uncommon intellectual deformation among us admirers of Dr Marx. We seem tempted to believe that because the old Moor gave us some very important insights into the big picture of history, we must therefore be able to divine in detail what’s going on in the streets of a city halfway around the world, though we don’t speak the language, we’re not present, and our sources of factual information are next to useless. Perhaps even worse than useless, come to think of it.

        • “Not that I want to reprise the often sterile polemics of the debate in the SWP of the late 1930s that pitted Trotsky and Cannon against Shachtman and Burnham, but…”

          the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard

  5. “The photo might be fake but the tendencies it reflects are real.” — LNP 40 minutes ago.

    (Translation: These facts may be forgeries but they are truer than the real facts.)

  6. Does Humillus post articles from the NY Times detailing how billionaire oligarchs are leading the workers in protecting Donetsk? Apparently because they’ve taken the workers side in the revolution?

    Just asking for a friend.

    • Your suspicion of the oligarch’s revolutionary purity just demonstrates the inadequacy of vulgar Marxism. Oligarchs are workers, too. Oligarching is hard work — just you try it some time. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll find a fake photograph that proves it.

  7. I feel a certain lingering dread watching the news – when I can bring myself to do it. The whole world has this sense or feel that it’s been too long since the human race slaughtered itself in a fit of mass delusion. Resource conflicts, nationalistic nut cases, run away oligarchs strip mining the last bits of wealth from their populations so that even food is now a scarce resource and madness seems to have affected everyone.

    And there’s no where you can run to get away from it all.

    • I do believe he’s enjoying it. As contrasted with poor Obie, who appears to be having no fun at all. One really wonders whether he ever had any.

  8. “Fun” is all so superficial when you were created in a test tube.

    Like our Obie.

    Like those fake animatrons in the Philip K. Dick novels.

    It’s just the Plastic Life.

    Can it be transcended?

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