Slate EVISCERATES Keith Olbermann and Our Vogue for Snide Political Monologues in an EPIC RANT

A couple of headlines, just from the past few weeks: “Elizabeth Warren Eviscerate ‘Gutless’ Wells Fargo CEO,” “Trevor Noah Eviscerates Matt Lauer’s Presidential Forum Performance,” “Soledad O’Brien Eviscerates CNN,” “This Celebrity-Packed Political Ad Eviscerates Donald Trump.” The only other arena that sees nearly as much evisceration is sports, but it’s not even close: Politics has become incredibly dangerous. There must be some kind of brutal revolt in progress, an insurrection in which nobody is so secure and powerful that he might not find his guts suddenly sliding out of a gashed-open belly; the halls of government are blood-flecked and stink of human garum, and politicians wade to work through the dug-out viscera of their fallen colleagues. An incredible massacre, surely.

So where are all the bodies?

Every week brings news of gruesome tortures, but the next day the victims are still there, guts still wobbling happily inside their skin, and still pumping out the same old shit. Wells Fargo is still printing money; CNN is still seeping blather; Donald Trump might still stomp his way to a big, beautiful nuclear arsenal. Nothing is tamer, nothing is more toothless, more flaccid, more uselessly limp and passive and sterile than the click-mediated evisceration. In a recent column, the New York Times’ Ross Douthat writes that various liberal monologists have built a new political consensus, “an echo chamber from which the imagination struggles to escape”—which probably says far more about the powers of Ross Douthat’s imagination than it does about the state of the discourse. Political invective is weak, far weaker now than it’s ever been. Look at the gleeful pornographic slanders of ancient Rome or revolutionary France, Marx tearing into Louis-Napoléon, or Malcolm X declaiming the sins of white America, and try to find even an echo of that caustic fury in a talk-show host raising his eyebrows. It’s not just that these things are ineffective (after all, what have you or I ever actually done to stop the banking system? What could we do?), they’re not even polemical. Instead of exposing the evils of the world, our ranters have resigned themselves to laughing at stupid people. Real polemic surges up from below; these people look down and sneer. The left—and these eviscerations are always almost from something that, at the very least, calls itself the left—has lost something important. It still likes to see itself as an agent of merciless justice, cutting through the stomachs of its enemies, but it’s had a bad turn; it can no longer stand the sight of blood.

From: Slate EVISCERATES Keith Olbermann and Our Vogue for Snide Political Monologues in an EPIC RANT

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31 thoughts on “Slate EVISCERATES Keith Olbermann and Our Vogue for Snide Political Monologues in an EPIC RANT

    • Makes me miss that couple of months a few years back when people were getting curb stomped left and right. Or when that pasty-looking fella from LGM was talking about putting heads on pikes.

      Personally, I enjoy all this talk of figurative violence from the folks least adept and least familiar with the employment of violence. It reminds me not to take them at all seriously.

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    • I suspect that a lot of clickbait is pure plagarism or some switching around to just credit the original writers.

      I get that some of this stuff is just venting and that is because politics can be emotionally draining. My big concern as I wrote to Richard on daily links is that this destroys any concept of rhetoric.

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      • I’m right there with you, Saul. Well crafted rhetoric has better legs and impact than quick & dirty hyperbole.

        ETA: A well written piece is a work of art, even if I completely disagree with it’s point. If I find myself finishing a read, and saying, “This author was wrong on every single point, but DAMN if that wasn’t a well written bit of wrong.”, that’s a treasure.

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  1. I think that the substance of the article has been said better numerous times by Freddie deBoer and some other writers. I see it in many ways as analogous to right wing radio. Seeing what that approach to discourse has done to the mainstream right ought to give a lot of progressives reason for pause. Play with themselves too much and they might forget how to play with others, much to the detriment of us all.

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      • I can sorta see the concern, but the way the linked article is set up, it seems to be that the author worries that the “eviscerations” aren’t savage enough to warrant being called that, even in a fit of hyperbolic metaphor. I really don’t think preferring more scathing political rhetoric would do anything to stave off epistemic closure–and indeed the author wraps up his piece with a complaint that boils down to progressive commentators (Oliver et al.) not being sufficiently leftwing for his taste.

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    • I don’t know if FbBoer was ever able to make it into the Internet writing big leagues. He was made fun on the Toast once though. I guess that counts.

      Honestly, I am one of the guys who finds FbBoer pretty horrible to deal with and generally take the LGM stance against him. He is at least a fb friend of a college friend though so I seem a lot on FB.

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      • Well I don’t want to thread jack this into a debate about him personally. I think his analysis provides a good counterpoint to the cultural assumptions (circle jerk is IMO more accurate) of a subgroup of college educated blue tribers who dominate social media.

        Maybe it only rings true to to me because I’m a fellow heretic, despite being pretty liberal in the small ‘l’ sense and demographically right in there with the educated urban crowd who I believe is the target of the critique.

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  2. On a related note, when did rant start getting used positively? Up until very recently I either heard it being used critically, or at least self-deprecatingly. Since when has a word best used to describe yelling at clouds been considered something to aspire to?

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