Staring at Train Wrecks

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Marilyn Monroe - White Bathing SuitWhat is it about crazy people that makes them so compelling? But we're all mesmerized. Its hard to turn away. I don't want to rubberneck the mad pile-ups on my television and computer... and yet I do. Anna Nicole Smith. I'm not proud of it, but I had to watch at least a little of the faithful, interminable, press vigil. I cover my eyes and try not look. I peek. She was just such a fascinating, tragic, beautiful, mess. Like Marilyn taken to the nth degree, in every area of her short, sad life.

But now, in keeping with the news cycle, my eyes are drawn by the glint of other shiny psychos: Ann Coulter and the artist formerly known as Armando.

I don't think I'm revealing any state secrets when I say that Armando rose phoenix-like from the ashes of his infamous outing as Big Tent Democrat. (Affectionately known as BTD) It looks like we won't have him to kick around anymore and I find that I'm a little sad. Like Coulter, he's just so fun to hate.

As reported earlier the artist penned a GBCW diary. It seems he bridled when it was suggested by the Great and Powerful Kos, that he should make a greater attempt at civility. Perhaps Kos finally realized that banning people right and left for spitting on the sidewalk, while simultaneously letting the artist spew venom at anyone and everyone, was, how say, incongruous. He as much as admitted that he's been hypocritical as hell. From the thread of a thousand and one nights:

If you want to talk "double standards",

fact is you would've been banned a long time ago if you weren't you.

It's a perfect example of sliding-scale standards -- you are such a stellar writer, thinker, and friend that you survived despite behavior that would've zapped a lesser mortal long ago.

I really wish I could have my cake and eat it too in this case -- keep your writing brilliance without the message board meltdowns.

But then, we've long known that there were special rules for special boyz.

As per Booman it's now official. The artist has been shown the door permanently.

Since this is a meta thread, I guess I'll add that Armando has been banned by Markos from Daily Kos. Armando claims it was done at the behest of DHinMI and Plutonium Page. That's just his opinion. Apparently they suddenly noticed that Armando wasn't civil. That's a fine way to reward his loyalty. I used to get angry emails from Armando anytime anyone so much as thought of criticizing Markos and/or Daily Kos. Armando's flamewars jacked up the pageviews at Daily Kos into the stratosphere. I guess he's no longer convenient.

Armando acted unforgivably in the orange threads for several years. He made many enemies. But that is still no reason to try to do him harm or get him fired. And it's a little late to ban him for it.

Interesting perspective. So flame is good if it's "loyal" flame; like if you're serving as a noble knight for his royal majesty, King Kos. Once again. Special rules for special boyz. Whatever.

So the artist formerly known as Armando will no longer have a comfortable, orange platform for his screeds. And it looks like Ann Coulter has also jumped the shark. It seems high profile conservatives have, to borrow Booman's phrase, "suddenly noticed" that she's vile and offensive.

In the melee triggered by her unfortunate use of the word "faggot" to characterize John Edwards, she has now been dropped by four newspapers. (That's as of this writing. I fully expect that number to climb.)

The Times of Shreveport, Louisiana has become the fourth newspapers [sic] to drop Ann Coulter's column as a direct result of her 'faggot' remark aimed at presidential candidate John Edwards.

"Today we move past the rhetoric and unproductive dialogue offered by Ann Coulter. The Times is dropping her column effective immediately." Times Executive Editor Alan English wrote.

"It is her recent 'joke' about John Edwards being considered a 'faggot' that is the back-breaking straw for a decision we've openly discussed for some time," English added.

The Times joins The Oakland Press of Michigan, The Mountain Press of Sevierville, Tennessee and the Lancaster New Era (Pennsylvania) in dropping Coulter. Others may follow suit.

Coulter has become embarrassing enough to conservatives, that we're beginning to see things like this from within their ranks:

Coulter’s vicious word choice tells the world she care [sic] little about the feelings of a large group that often feels marginalized and despised. Her word choice forces conservatives to waste time defending themselves against charges of homophobia rather than advancing conservative ideas.

Within a day of Coulter’s remark John Edwards sent out a fundraising email that used Coulter’s words to raise money for his faltering campaign. She is helping those she claims to oppose. How does that advance any of the causes we hold dear?

Denouncing Coulter is not enough. After her “raghead” remark in 2006 she took some heat. Yet she did not grow and learn. We should have been more forceful. This year she used a gay slur. What is next? If Senator Barack Obama is the de facto Democratic Presidential nominee next year will Coulter feel free to use a racial slur? How does that help conservatism?

It's taken them long enough, but it looks like conservatives have finally noticed that Coulter serves liberals/progressives very well by providing fodder. Her screeds are more of a rallying cry to the left than the right. She even makes for fun party games.

What we're witnessing with Coulter is a tipping point. It's all downhill from here. My husband has long had this theory that when Ann Coulter's career started trending inexorably south, she would pose for Playboy. She can't live without the attention, so the theory goes. We'll know soon whether or not my husband's prediction is accurate. But what will Armando pose for? Shudder.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Kos for finally confirming what we've known for many years:

1. He's a mercenary bastard who will toss his loyal right-hand thug to the wolves when said thug no longer serves the Kosfather's purposes;

2. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

As for Ms. Coulter, I have long suspected that her homophobia masks a fear of her own sexuality. Is Ann Coulter a deeply closeted lesbian? All I can say is that many of the preachers who denounce gays and slur them so vociferously (such as Ted Haggard, to use a recent example) turn out to have, um, "special feelings" towards their own gender. One wonders if it's the same with Ms. Coulter....

Actually, the take that Glenn Greenwald had on Ann Coulter was probably more correct than my speculation: Ann Coulter is there to "feminize" and "emasculate" male Democrats (calling Al Gore a "homo" and John Edwards a "faggot") and "
"masculinize" women (Hillary Clinton, et al). Coulter would have called them all Commies in the Fifties, but that particular slur doesn't fly any more. Ann Coulter's slurs were not only tolerated but encouraged for a long time because they were red meat for the hyenas who constitute the hard-core followers of the Right in America. Now that Coulter has inevitably stepped over the line, she may (or may not) be tossed to the hyena pack.

As for Armando--well, same deal.

Odd, isn't it, how the management tactics of Kos mimic those of the political far-right?

DavidByron said...

I don't see them as the same Armando and Coulter.

Coulter is a potentially important swing in national politics. The Overton Window theory says that to keep the national dialoge headed your way you must legitimize the fringe on your side and get the other side to attack theirs.

Republicans have always done this tremendously well. Their fringe voices are given huge support and this makes the rest of them look like centrists. Ann Coulter? She's a character alright but she's not mainstream.

Now look at the so-called "circular firing squad" on the left. It's not circular at all. Everyone spits on anyone seen as more socialist than they are so as to gain "credibility". If the left fringe is unacceptable even to Democrats and invisible as a result then center-right politicians like Clinton (HRC) can be attacked as socialists.

Republicans have always understood this. They've always obeyed that eleventh commandment and got Democrats to eat each other. So this turning on Coulter is astonishing. Is it anything less than a crisis of identity on the right?

If the Democrats had any sense, and they don't, they would endorse their fringe left (eg Kucinich) and pile on the Republicans to repudiate more of their fringe (eg Rush). They could create a huge shift relatively easily.

Anonymous said...

Good analysis, David.

There's only one thing missing:

There are elements of the moneyed elite in the United States absolutely agree with the far-right screech monkeys (I'm thinking of the Coors family, to name one example) but none that agree with the far-left (such as it is).

If the Democrats push the far-left, they won't get the hundreds of millions needed to fund their operations.

Your analysis assumes one thing that is fundamentally false: the parties can, if they choose, operate independently of the elite (which I identify as the people belonging to the top 1% of income distribution). The Democrats do not attempt to "legitimise" their far-left "fringe" because they are not permitted to do so.

No, no one has published an edict forbidding them to do so. These rules are unwritten but no less real for being implicit and universally understood among the political elites.

DavidByron said...

That's true enough. My analysis was based on conventional truth in a "this is what the Democrats would do if they were really left wing" argument ad ridicule. They are not of course and that is why they are happy to see the Overton Window shift rightwards per their corporatist paymasters. Sorry - yeah it sounded like another lame "Why don't the democrats do X?" complaint. Well we know why they don't do X.

However the analysis works well enough for the blogosphere who by and large are not being paid by GE or whoever. It would be advantageous to center-right Democrats like Kos to support the left, yet they do not because they wish to be seen as "serious".

Kos doesn't realise that the best way for him to look better is to position himself as centrist or even center-right (as he is) by magnifying the visibility of the far left as a serious player.

AlanSmithee said...

Summing up, Armando ceased being useful to KO$ and thus had to go. Coulter is ceasing to be useful to the GOP and thus will have to go. When KO$ ceases to be useful to his DNC masters, he'll be gone. (Just like he was kicked out by the Republicans way back when.) That the over-privileged twerp has gotten as far as he has is mildly surprising.

Curmudgette said...

AlanSmithee said...
...When KO$ ceases to be useful to his DNC masters, he'll be gone. (Just like he was kicked out by the Republicans way back when.) That the over-privileged twerp has gotten as far as he has is mildly surprising.

If his ad sales are any indication, it looks like he's already on his way out the door. It has been suggested by some, and not erroneously I think, that cutting off his right arm (the Artist) is a desperate attempt at righting his ship before it crashes into them there rocks.

Now when you say he was kicked out by Republicans, to what exactly are you referring? I know he's a disenchanted Reagan Republican. Is there more backstory of which I remain in ignorance?

Anonymous said...

According to Kos, DailyKos is NOW a "group blog".

Um...NOW? Wasn't it a "group blog" all along?

I know what Kos means--that the front-pagers now have biographies, etc in the "about" section--but wasn't DailyKos conceived as a "group blog" where anybody could register and post their political opinions?

It seems that only the front-pagers matter, and they only matter because Kos says they matter.

Does anybody here really think that DailyKos is going down the tubes? One of Kos' former software developers, Peeder, says that Kos is expanding his software development staff to develop DailyKos 4.0 using proprietary (rather than open-source) software. Peeder claims this will be fantatically expensive and makes no business sense--one reason DKos has been profitable is because Kos was able to start and run the site using open-source (free) software.

dKos is officially a group blog

As far as Kos being "kicked out" of the Republican Party, I think the Republican Party left him by moving so far to the right that even he couldn't stomach it.

But Kos is anti-abortion, anti-feminist, anti-free speech, anti-welfare state, etc....I mean, really, Kos could walk into any GOP convention before 1988 and feel quite at home.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: read the bios of the front-pagers.

It's VERY interesting. A lot of these folks are--how shall I put it delicately?--not exactly hairy-legged women's studies types. They are either "centrist" or "DINO" Democrats. I couldn't perceive a single liberal in the bunch.

The Kool Kids

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot Meteor Blades. Definitely a lefty if ever there was one. But I don't see him around much on DailyKos. The others are, you will notice, either political pros or aspirations to becoming such.

And Plutonium Page has some lefty credentials. But that's another one who's rarely around.

And yes, I DID notice a certain, um, scarceness of adverts on DKos compared to the past. Wonder what's up with that? Anybody have any theories as to why the advertisers ran away?

For the record, I don't think it was Armando aka Pup Tent Democrat who scared people away. DailyKos was thriving when Armando was still Armando. I think the person responsible for slowly killing the site is--Markos himself. He drove away so many people in successive waves ("feel free to storm off in a huff") that the site has become incredibly boring. Pageviews are down--WAY down--because Kos has purged the site of its best writers and liveliest debaters.

Blaming Armando for this is like Hitler blaming the loss of World War Two on Heinrich Himmler. Yes, I just compared Kos to Hitler. Both short men with bad tempers and a definite lack of foresight.

DavidByron said...

I am not convinced that dKos is going down. OTOH I also don't think Bush will bomb Iran....

What we could do with is a lefty version of dKos. Unfortunately the further left you go the less authoritarian people are and therefore the harder it is to get them to do anything together. There seems to be a lot of fragmentation and some pettiness.