Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Partisans of Twit

Apparently my skillz at pissing folks off cross partisan bounds. I was a reluctant late adopter of this Twitter thing and I still have some reservations. I was mostly won over by the immediacy of following events from the streets during the G20 police riots. I was glued to the updates coming from trusted voices like the eminent Antonia and from the various street teams of media, notably from the papers and TVO's Steve Paikin. I was also introduced to a lot of other interesting voices and perspectives proving that citizen journalism was both possible and increasingly credible. With a few clicks and by following ReTweets I was able to track both the very best and the most reprehensible of those passing comment. The Sun team wasn't uniformly awful but did stand out as having a higher than average cretin to human ratio. No surprise there. The major media outlets, especially TV did a pretty damned bad job of covering the events and it was the individual reporters and citizens that did the lion's share of solid work.

We live in an interesting time when the ever hungry news cycle of broadcast media wants smaller bits of louder spectacle to run on terminal loops. Getting the story has fallen to the wayside and the priority has devolved to getting viewers with flashy visuals and brash, brainless narrative. Polemic deviants like Beck and Limbaugh not only get airtime, they run huge numbers. There is no critical editorial hand steering the ship. Controversy and outrage equal numbers, numbers equal money. Responsibility ends there, despite what puffed up nitwits like Blatchford might pretend.

The dumbing down of media parallels that of our political culture. The Cons pioneered the elevation of ignorance when weepy Pete sold his papa's party to the rednecked fundies led by Preston's under achieving protege, the malicious dullard Harper. The rebranded Conservative Reform Alliance Party could only ever have come to power in a time of voter ignorance and apathy and whilst the once potent Liberal party wallowed in helpless, stupid infighting unable to scrub the taint of corruption and scandal from their unworthy hides. One of the nettlesome Conservative imports from Rove's America was the constant droning whine that the media had a liberal bias. This false and tedious construct took hold and became the accepted wisdom of the mouth breathing class. Anything in the news could be discounted and written off under this blanket caveat.

Spin the calendar a few times and the new trope among the Liberal partisans is the lock step declaration that the media now has a right wing bias and that poor, poor Mr Ignatieff just can't get a lick of positive coverage. And after he put on a series of ugly/casual shirts and rode in a bus and everything. And perhaps it is just me, maybe I missed the magical turning point where the several straight years of wretched performance by the Liberals in the house had been erased. Did I not notice the grand mulligan being awarded for enabling Harper's agenda, for failing to turn out for votes, for voting with Harper rather than fighting on principle even if that fight might be lost? I don't think so. A lot of folks held out a glimmer of hope that Iggy might just be an injection of spine for the tired old party but that simply has not been the case.

And how dare I question the received wisdom of the new talking point. I had the temerity to do just that on Twitter, my sin compounded by stating that poor, drab Iggy looked like a fool trying to dance at Caribana. Heresy! I can't for the life of me understand why the Liberals are so desperate to make the guy into a mock up of a regular Joe. This failed theme has been dragging on since the handlers stuck the guy in a bit of woodlot for some of the worst political advertising ever unleashed on a bemused Canadian public. I don't like what Ignatieff stands for, or stood for, or might stand for... it gets kind of hard to tell as he vainly rescripts his narrative. His apparent apologia for torture, his advocacy for the invasion of Iraq and his continued support of the failure in Afghanistan are troubling. And we are supposed to buy that he is leading a progressive alternative to creepy Steve's cadre of Harris washouts and fundie douchebags. Yet to the untrained eye, the modern Liberals are within spitting distance of the Cons as they've shuffled further and further to the right in pursuit of the fabled centre.

For my trouble I've been called a "blithering idiot" by one Lib snorebag and had another little parrot pop up to troll me. Evidently I warrant the very worst of insults, "You sound like a Harper fan, btw." apropos of nothing other than a failure of Kool-Aid consumption. And so for my dyed in the wool friends and acquaintances, some advice. Drop the new meme. The media will cover what sells first and foremost. Are there biased outlets? Damned right there are, both to the left and to the right. Get the hell over it, you sound like whiners trotting out the cheapest of the bad guy's tactics. As for Iggy, stop trying to shoehorn the guy into a Tim Hortons. He looks ridiculous. A friggin' bus trip won't make up for month upon month of waffling and calculated, safe refusals to engage the enemy. You're the Queen's Loyal Opposition, it behooves you to act like you are actually opposed to the bad legislation being shovelled through.

You will not win this coming fight by trying to syphon votes from the mythical centre. The federal Liberals have never been a powerhouse without the support of La Belle Province. If you prats want to regain power you'll need to get humble and frame some honestly progressive policy and fight tooth and nail to diminish the NDP's recent gains and steal some seats from the Bloc. Quit the stupid populist crap. Ignatieff looks like a disingenuous fool in his checkered shirts. March him into battle as the mighty intellectual, the smartest guy in the room. Get rid of the Toronto cabal. Make a stand for a damn change. My suspicion is that the damage is done. You're too stubborn and stupid to change course and as soon as you get trounced all of the Ignatieff loyalists, clapping like red t-shirt clad sheep, will turn on the professor so fast he'll wish he was Gilligan. And because I'm a big ol' meanie here's a last lick of free advice. When Iggy crashes and burns at the head of the team of inept middle managers and squalling parrots, don't install Bob fuckin' Rae in the wreckage. I'd bet my beloved vintage Ibanez Concord acoustic that Bob Rae will never win an election as leader of the federal Liberal party.

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