All My Party People Gonna Do What?*

|

I don't know how the "name that party" meme got started. I want to say it started when news reports failed to identify Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, he of the famous freezer, as a Democrat. Rush Limbaugh and a number of conservative/libertarian blogs started pouncing on reports of political corruption that fingered a Democrat but didn't mention his party—unfair, because it always seemed like the Larry Craigs had their party affiliations trumpeted again and again and again.

But if it ever had a purpose, it's gotten really stupid. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged (by the Wayne County prosecutor who might succeed him) with perjury and misconduct in office. Kilpatrick is a fiend, as anyone who saw his State of the City address (where he blamed a "lynch mob" for his problems and claimed "in the last 30 days I've been called a nigger more than any time in my life"). The righty blogosphere response is… bitching about how no one says he's a Democrat! Don Surber:

AP discloses everything about the charges against Detroit's mayor — except his party.

John Hinderaker:

If only the AP had been similarly reticent about Mark Foley!

Captain Ed:

In an Associated Press report on a perjury indictment for Kwame Kilpatrick, reporter Corey Williams leaves a little something out of the story. Guess which political party Kilpatrick represents?

I'll guess. The mayor of Detroit, whose name is "Kwame," and whose city is 82 percent black and gave 92 percent of its vote to John Kerry in 2004, is probably a Democrat. Alleging conspiracy on the part of AP wire editors is just loopy, unless you see party-naming—as Hinderaker seems to—as a moral question, the kind of thing that affects the way Americans think of their to parties.

Still loopy. Mark Foley's political affiliation was played up because 1)it's not automatic that a Florida congressman is a Republican and 2)Foley's party status had a role in the scandal. It was fairly quickly revealed that Foley's betters knew that he had problems and kicked the story underneath the carpet. His betters were people like the speaker of the House and the head of the committee that funded Republican campaigns to the House. Kilpatrick, by contrast, is a boor whom his party tried to defeat in a 2005 primary. The all-Democratic city council has asked him to resign. So let's stop conflating tight edits with a vast conspiracy. Come on, already.

UPDATE: If you're a Wire fan, you'll get a kick out of this picture from Kilpatrick's re-election bid. Check out the slogan. Keep in mind he was running against another black Democrat, albeit a more fair-skinned one.

*The answer is "get buck."

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  1. If only the AP had been similarly reticent about Mark Foley!

    You mean the guy Fox identifed as “Mark Foley D-FL” for an entire day when the scandal broke?

  2. Who cares what the parties are? All that matters is that a corrupter-than-most politician is going down.

    Sweet.

  3. (where he blamed a “lynch mob” for his problems and claimed “in the last 30 days I’ve been called a nigger more than any time in my life”).

    I’m glad every time some political figure in decline plays these cards.

    It exposes their statements for the vacuous arguments they are and let’s the rest of us adults, who stopped caring about the color of one’s skin long ago, to continue with relevant discussion.

  4. I find right-wing whining about the MSM exhausting. The war would be going better if they quit reporting dissent. The economy would be doing better if they quit talking it down….etc.

  5. Are there any mayors who aren’t democrats? Besides West Sheepfuck, Montana?

  6. I can’t prove it off the top of my head, but I have a feeling that complaints like this go back at least a decade or so (I remember someone complaining when Edwin Edwards wasn’t identified as a Democrat, and he was indicted back in 1998) and that Democrats have complained about non-identification of Republicans as well.

  7. I think the bigger issue is that every time a Republican is caught in scandal (no matter who it is), the media response is “what does this mean for the fate of the Republican party”, whereas when it happens to a Democrat, the party as a whole is irrelevant.

    That being said, party is largely irrelevant with Kilpatrick, Spitzer, and Craig, but a bit more of a concern with Foley, Cunningham, and Jefferson.

  8. It exposes their statements for the vacuous arguments they are and let’s the rest of us adults, who stopped caring about the color of one’s skin long ago, to continue with relevant discussion.

    joe’s in the room, “the rest of us adults” obviously doesn’t include everyone here.

    Are there any mayors who aren’t democrats? Besides West Sheepfuck, Montana?

    Does it really matter what party they are, in regards to the big two? It’s the same coin, different sides.

  9. Warty,

    A small town named New York elected Republicans 4 times in a row.

  10. Nobody claims it’s a “vast conspiracy,” just that it seems to happen with remarkable frequency. It’s also not automatic that a governor of New York would be a Democrat, and yet much coverage of the Spitzer scandal omitted or downplayed his party.

    Examples from a few minute’s research: 1 2 3 4

    And joe, the AP had him as “Spitzer (R)” once, too.

  11. When did the “meme” meme get started? And how can I stop it?

  12. Warty: Some cities have non-partisan mayoral elections. The city I grew up in was like that, although I can’t remember there being one who wasn’t at least affiliated with the Democratic Party.

  13. Not mentioning his party affiliation AT ALL is weird and plain bad journalism. (Isn’t he a superdelegate, BTW?) Plus, it fuels the paranoid fantasies of the right-wing nutjobs out there as well.

    This doesn’t mean an article has to jump to the next level and say “What does this portend for the Democratic Party” either.

    Just give us the facts, please.

  14. Other Matt, you bring up racial foodfights in every thread you pollute, regardless of the subject.

    Why is that? Why can’t you stop talking about it?

  15. I take it that the supposed conspiracy also includes Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

  16. The “What does this portend for the Republican Party?” angle only started to get reported in every Republican corruption story in 2006. Which is as it should be, because in that year, there really were so many stories of Republican corruption that they had a noticeable effect on the election.

    Ditto the Democrats back in 94.

  17. I think the bigger issue is that every time a Republican is caught in scandal (no matter who it is), the media response is “what does this mean for the fate of the Republican party”, whereas when it happens to a Democrat, the party as a whole is irrelevant.

    I think it has to do with the hyprocrit factor too. The repubs are preaching moral superiority and the right to tell others what to do in that regard. The dems are preaching moral superiority of a different sort, one that doesn’t necessarily expose them to the same level of “jackass factor” when caught.

    Spitzer, for instance, stepped out on his wife. Ok, not so big a deal in the dems, but for the fact that he kept preaching such moral superiority when he was ruining other peoples lives. Therefore, the fact that he committed a couple crimes, including federal level, was more important than the stepping out on the wife part.

    Not that the Dems are any less sleazy in my opin, they just aren’t so open to jackass allegations as they’re somewhat less inclined to say something about personal behavior unprompted.

  18. Ok, so here’s a new rule:

    If they don’t list the (alleged) political perps party affiliation then said perp is a Democrat.

    This will work 90+% of time. Can we now talk about something else?

  19. I hope people remember what big city politics is like the next time they say “well, government closest to the people is the best!”

    Not in every circumstance.

  20. Other Matt, you bring up racial foodfights in every thread you pollute, regardless of the subject.

    Why is that? Why can’t you stop talking about it?

    Cause you’re a nonsensical fuckwit, joe, who has a varying measure of “racist” that suits your own particular needs at the time, that changes as you see fit, that says absolutely stupid shit like you “bitch slapped” me once when you’ve never seen me, you’re a partisan hack who hates your own skin color. You’re a racist of the worst kind, because you believe you’re so “right” you don’t even see it, and refuse to even acknowledge the possibility, instead insulting others with your blathering.

    Isn’t that enough for you?

  21. Other Matt, you bring up racial foodfights in every thread you pollute, regardless of the subject.

    Oh, and in this particular case, the comment was about those of us adults who have left race behind. You don’t, joe, you simply don’t, you want it to be left behind a particular way, you can’t see beyond it and let people be who they are. Therefore, my commment was entirely on point, you don’t belong to a group consisting of “those of us who have left race behind”.

  22. Ah, more with the swearing, and the racialist arguments.

    I think the comments from everyone else about your bizarre obsession have made it perfectly clear that, yes, we’ve had enough of you.

  23. You know, I don’t think Urkobold–“a widely-read libertarian culture site”–ever identified Spitzer as a Democrat in our abusive pile-on over the last couple of weeks. We may need to have an editorial meeting to discuss this apparent latent bias in our reporting. And I’m a nominal (very nominal to the point of always voting Libertarian) Republican!

  24. “When did the “meme” meme get started? And how can I stop it?”

    I think posters on lefty blogs are primarily the ones who started throwing that term around.

    I’ve seen them use it quite a bit.

  25. Giant, raging, diamond-cutter boner.

    OK, did everyone chuckle a little?

    Jesus guys, if Welch and Gillespie’s article meant anything, it’s that we need to bring discussion to little bit of a higher level.

    Please reserve juvenile pissing contests for dailykos.com, thanks.

  26. Warty | March 24, 2008, 1:35pm | #

    Are there any mayors who aren’t democrats? Besides West Sheepfuck, Montana?

    Big city mayors are almost always Democrats because big city voters almost always 70%+ Democratic. The more urban and older an area is (in terms of age of the typical building in the area), the higher the percentage of Democrats. The more rural and newer an area is, the higher the percentage of Republicans. This works in both red and blue states. In general, a state is red if the rural, exurban, and newer suburban areas have more people than the urban and older suburban areas, and vice versa for blue states.

  27. “When did the “meme” meme get started? And how can I stop it?”

    I think posters on lefty blogs are primarily the ones who started throwing that term around.

    What’s wrong with “meme”? It’s a great word that incisively describes an important concept for which there’s really no other word.

  28. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is a Muslim…

  29. Really, Other Matt, your obsession with joe is both unhealthy for you and obnoxious for anyone else who reads these comments.

    Again, if you’re so desperate for his attention just send him an e-mail; his address is right there under his name. Quit wasting everyone’s time with your substance-free, tiresome rants.

  30. madmikefisk | March 24, 2008, 1:39pm | #

    Warty: Some cities have non-partisan mayoral elections. The city I grew up in was like that, although I can’t remember there being one who wasn’t at least affiliated with the Democratic Party.

    Detroit may be such a city (I dunno for sure). That is, he’s personally a Democrat, but in terms of the office he holds, he’s a non-partisan. When people voted in the election, there weren’t party IDs by the candidates names. It may be the case that in such cities, the AP Style Guide states to not mention their party. Which explains why it wasn’t mentioned in the stories.

  31. I eagerly await the time when there are enough Libertarian politicians (3, maybe?) for them to get in trouble and then we can see if the MSM prominently displays their party or conceals it.

    I will have to wait a long time.

  32. Other Matt:
    This stalkerish fixation is just weird. You seem to accuse joe of “racism” on every thread that even involves a black person. There are plenty of regular posters here that I don’t like or agree with, but I don’t go around stirring up shit unprovoked. You do yourself no favors.

  33. Three points, all of which probably contradict each other:

    1. While I’m somewhat more informed about politics than, say, DMX, Congresscreature Gary Condit had been on the TV for about two weeks before I knew he was a Democrat. And I grew up about 10 minutes from the border of “Condit Country.”

    2. Really? The MSM is biased? And in favor of the Democrats? I would have never, ever guessed.

    3. Really? The far right media machine would find some flaw in the world outside of the far right media machine and then grossly overstate that problem for the gain of the Republican party? I would have never, ever guessed.

  34. In the last chapter of his brilliant book on genetics, The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins created the word meme to discuss cultural replicators as analogous to the genes role as a biological replicators. He included things such as catchy tunes and phrases, religions, and ideas.

    There actually is a good deal of academic controversy over whether it is a useful term or not.

  35. Richard Dawkins invented religion?!

    Ya know, on a certain level that makes sense. What would he rail against if he hadn’t?
    You learn something new every day.

  36. “I can’t prove it off the top of my head, but I have a feeling that complaints like this go back at least a decade or so …”

    Yeah; that would be when the maim-stream media was licking Bill Clinton’s ass like it was the batter-spoon out of Grandma’s cake mixing bowl.

  37. It is a cheap shot, but it is fun and easy cheap shot. If you read instapundit, he has about one a week of “name that party”. The media could solve this very simply by adopting style rules that say “the party affiliation of a politician mentioned in an article will be spelled out in the first paragraph of any article in which a politician is the subject.” It is not exactly rocket science and the media could avoid these mean spirited cheap shots. But they refuse to do that and continue to set themselves us. Only a pants wetting liberal like Weigal would find this to be a problem or have any sympathy for the media on this one.

  38. If Detroit’s mayoral races are partisan contests, like New York City’s, then the media should identify the mayor by party.

    If they are not, like Boston’s, then they should not.

    So…are they? Where’s J sub?

  39. Only a pants wetting liberal like Weigal

    Though I disagree with John regarding Dave, I still found this highly amusing. Who’s with me?

  40. So let’s stop conflating tight edits with a vast conspiracy. Come on, already.

    Oh please, no one says it’s a “vast conspiracy,” as though media types are meeting at a secret underground hideout every day. It’s just a notable tendency.

    It’s a fact that the people who write for the media are overwhelmingly Democrat. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised that their reportage tends to be slanted by that fact.

  41. Actually, Kwame’s party relevance is important, especially if you’ve got wire reports claiming that he was an up and coming politician within his party.

    Whose party would that be? If you’re making the claim, you should be including the party he belongs to. That was one of the points made by Surber, but you instead cite to another part of Surber’s posting.

    Besides, it is a piece of information that voters might actually take to heart before they go and vote party line. It might effectuate change in areas that are dominated by one party or the other. That and the fact that it really doesn’t take all that much effort to include party affiliation across the board – to do so in the first instance where a politician is mentioned. That it is left optional gives editors and reporters far too much leeway to opine through their omission or inclusion (especially in headlines).

  42. John, you have some of the most unintentionally funny posts on H&R, and your complete inability to spell anyone’s name correctly is only a small part of it.

  43. I’ll just be happy with the media starts being slanted toward the factual.

    Too many of the political media seem content to merely disseminate campaign press releases, rather than truly investigate the candidates–of all parties.

  44. The media personalities are Democrats, but their owners are Republicans.

    Seems like it should balance out.

  45. The mayor of Detroit, whose name is “Kwame,” and whose city is 82 percent black and gave 92 percent of its vote to John Kerry in 2004, is probably a Democrat.

    And Larry Craig, from Idaho which went overwhelmingly for Bush, is probably a Republican. How many news reports do you suppose failed to mention his party?

    If someone would like to a complete study, I’d be interested in the result. I have a feeling it would come out much like the 2.5:1 Google News ratio between results for “moderate Republican” and “moderate Democrat.”

  46. Actually Weigel doesn’t get on my nerves as much as he used to. Lately, Howley and Welch have topped my list of people I would fire the first day after I won the megamillions and purchased the Reason foundation out of petty cash.

  47. The media personalities are Democrats, but their owners are Republicans. Seems like it should balance out.

    Except that the owners generally don’t edit much.

  48. Good point Tall Dave. If Weigel wants to shill for big media, he might want to pick a better topic than this one. The commitment to tight editing never seems to be an issue when the extra word is “Republican”.

  49. but their owners are Republicans.

    How do you mean?

  50. mayor of Detroit, whose name is “Kwame,” and whose city is 82 percent black

    I once had a black guy from Detroit working for me. He hated that place and thought anyone who was stupid enough to live there deserved what they got. I believe he called it the armpit of America. Maybe the term was Ship High In Transit Hole of America.

  51. I hadn’t posted much here about Hizzoner Kilpatrick because it is a local issue, not really relating to the libertarian leanings of most reasonoids.

    This is corrupt big city politics at its best (worst). Just to bring y’all up to date, here is Kwame’s mother’s website. His bodyguard contingent, larger than most mayors, is comprised primarily of his high school buddies. Cronyism, nepotism and ham handed corruption has been the norm here since the “Hip Hop Mayor” was elected.

    Kim Worthy, a black woman, is the Wayne County prosecutor. As such, she is accountable to the county (majority white) residents. She is a Democrat like almost all politicians in Wayne County.

    The perjury that Kwame Kilpatrick is charged with is obvious to the most partisan of Dems, and Ms. Worthy really had no choice but to indict.

    City council voted 7-1 asking for his resignation, but have no authority to impeach. The governor, Jennifer Granholm (D), can remove him, but I’m uncertain if she has to wait for a conviction to do so.

    Bye, bye Kwame. He talks a very good game, he’s a skilled politician who has done some positive things for the city, but as we see so often, hubris is his downfall. Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr.(D) becomes mayor if when Kwame Kilpatrick resigns or is removed by the governor.

  52. How do you mean?

    Do you honestly think the CEOs and boards of Westinghouse, General Electric, and Disney are liberal Democrats?

    Its possible, but I’d be surprised.

  53. John you are absolutely correct, media bias is alive and well in America. And it mostly slants one way. Not always, but mostly.

    For example, the headlines across the great state of Californicate trumpet the woes of the education cuts. Nowhere, nohow, does one single reporter mention that the actual spending on education in California is up 1% from last year. Nor do they ever once mention that the state has billions upon billions more revenue than it did when Schwarzzengroper took office.

  54. Reporters definetely have a “Do something!” bias. Usually that favors liberals, but sometimes it favors conservatives.

  55. If they are not, like Boston’s, then they should not.

    So…are they? Where’s J sub?

    Composing my previous post. Partisan elections, but the city is so overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary is where the action is. Juesus Christ (R) would get beaten by Lucifer (D) in Motown. That is reality.

  56. The mayoral contest in Detroit is decided on a nonpartisan ballot.

    Good luck running as a Republican, though.

  57. Ohnoes! I is has contridikshun!

  58. Wine,

    The funny thing is that the media I thinks hurts the causes they so clearly love through their biases. The message the media is sending in the example you give in California is basically “if you are a Republican don’t bother spending more on education, we are going to hammer you anyway.” It seems to me if you really were concerned about education spending you would want to reward Republicans for good behavior so to speak.

  59. Disney are liberal Democrats?

    Well, I dunno about the new guy but Eisner was a Dem and openly campaigned for Clinton and the Clinton tax increases. Course Eisner made certain he exercised his options before the tax increase took effect.

  60. The idea that the reason he’s not identified as a Democrat is because they expect people to guess that black-sounding names from Detroit belong to Democrats is just ludicrous. In fact, it’s about ten times more ludicrous than the idea that there’s some sort of media conspiracy to keep people from knowing his party affiliation.

    I know Weigel likes to try to score points on the overly self-important right half of the blogosphere, but calling the elimination of party identification ‘tight editing’ is a big swing and a miss.

  61. Well, still gotta say I think the “We must do something!” mindset the real bias in the MSM more so than tilting towards one particular party.

  62. JOHN, YOU FOOL, FIRE HOWLEY? NO. WHEN URKOBOLD ENTERPRISES, LLC IN FACT ACQUIRES THE REASON FOUNDATION–NEEDING NO FORTUITOUS EVENT IN ORDER TO COME UP WITH THE CASH TO DO SO–HOWLEY SHALL SIMPLY BE RECLASSIFIED AND WILL PROVIDE OTHER SERVICES TO THE URKOBOLD.

  63. Not much of a contradiction, joe. The reality of the situation is that Republicans would never run in the race, so it’s completely irrelevant.

    Can any reasonable person really believe that the mayor of Detroit isn’t a Democrat?

    And, really, for the sake of Detroit, I beg all of you to stop arguing about party affiliation and just hope to get this guy out of office. He makes my cold, libertarian heart cry.

  64. Right John, and I don’t even think the bias is deliberate, it just results from looking at things from a given perspective with preconceived ideas. For instance, the blanket assumption that big corps are controlled by Republicans when in reality they majority are controlled by centrist Democrats even under the Bush-oh-nistas.

    Some of it is plain ignorance and laziness as well. In Ca education, the schools are going to face possible (not absolute yet) funding reductions next fiscal year.

    But nobody asks why the schools are spending and budgeting based on pie-in-the-sky projected revenues rather than reality. Nobody asks why teachers rather than administrators and pet programs are being pink slipped.

  65. “Only a pants wetting liberal…”

    That’s being redundant.

    All liberals are pants wetters.

  66. Again, the reason he’s not identified as a Democrat is because the mayoral office in Detroit is technically non-partisan. If a mayor who was a registered Republican in a similar non-partisan city was involved in a scandal, they wouldn’t mention his party either.

  67. So, J Sub D, since you’re a local and seem to know what’s going on, what’s the deal with the Tamara “Strawberry” Green angle? Think there’s anything credible about a connection between this stripper’s death and Mayor Kilpatrick?

    I know nothing more than a news story about it on YouTube.

  68. Again, I think some of ya’ll are giving MSM reporters too much credit.
    I see no plots, no intentional distortions — just laziness, tunnel vision and following the path of least resistance.

  69. And Larry Craig, from Idaho which went overwhelmingly for Bush, is probably a Republican. How many news reports do you suppose failed to mention his party?

    If someone would like to a complete study, I’d be interested in the result. I have a feeling it would come out much like the 2.5:1 Google News ratio between results for “moderate Republican” and “moderate Democrat.”

    “Moderate Republican” vs. “Moderate Democrat”:
    140/60

    “Republican Party” vs “Democratic Party”:
    14,357/40,249

    “Republicans” vs “Democrats”:
    63,959/114,675

    “Republican” vs “Democrat”:
    159,589/85,813

    “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals”:
    30,037/16,680

    “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals”:
    80,682/58,540

    “Conservative Republican” vs. “Liberal Democrat”
    846/6,972

    “Conservative Republicans” vs. “Liberal Democrats”
    319/4,067

  70. OH. What TWC said.

  71. “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals”:
    30,037/16,680

    “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals”:
    80,682/58,540

    Sorry thats:

    “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals”:
    30,037/16,680

    “Conservative” vs. “Liberal”:
    80,682/58,540

  72. From Newsbusters:

    “Vitter and Craig were labeled as Republicans on every broadcast news program – 100% – that mentioned their wrongdoing. For Democrat Spitzer, four out of five news programs (80%) have skipped his label. On NBC’s Today and Nightly News through Wednesday night, reporters never once acknowledged that Spitzer was a Democrat.”

  73. It’s a great word that incisively describes an important concept for which there’s really no other word.

    My problem with the concept of the “meme” is that same as my problem with most of the core concepts of postmodernist philosophy – the phenomena they purport to describe became infinitely more common after the concept was invented and promulgated.

    After people became accustomed to the common idea in postmodernist philosophy that there is no “truth”, only competing “narratives”, they stopped even trying to look for truth and started to concentrate on cynical attempts to construct competing narratives.

    Now that the word “meme” exists, people are investing less effort in coming up with ideas, and investing more effort in attempting to “find early adopters to pass on memes”.

    No one should be surprised if our intellectual life continues to coarsen and become ever more shallow and manipulative in the future – meme theory tells us that’s OK, so no one will care to try to do any better. Actually, the people who simultaneously spout off about “memes” and complain about the deterioriation of respect for objective fact and proof in our culture really piss me off. If you subscribe to a theory of knowledge and intellectual history that holds that objectivity is impossible, you don’t get to complain when the producers at Fox News hear that and say, “Hey, great! Objectivity is impossible, huh? Awesome!”

    And yes I know that this post itself contains elements of postmodernism, since I am arguing that the way we think about our thinking ends up warping and influencing that thinking. But I don’t see any other way to even discuss these issues any more.

  74. Dang, fluffy. Post of the day.

  75. So, J Sub D, since you’re a local and seem to know what’s going on, what’s the deal with the Tamara “Strawberry” Green angle? Think there’s anything credible about a connection between this stripper’s death and Mayor Kilpatrick?

    Oh Jeez, Tamara Green. The story that refuses to die (unlike TamarA, who was killed in a drive by).

    I sinncerely apologize for the length of this post.

    Early in the Hip Hop mayor’s first term a rumor emerged that a wild party, complete with strippers, was held at Manoogian Mansion, the mayor’s residence. The rumor included the titillating detail that hizzoner’s wife walked in on the party and assaulted Tamara Green, the alleged stripper. The rumors also include allegations that a Detroit Police Officer is the gunman, silencing a witness in the great stripper party caper. Vehement denials from the Kilpatrick camp ensued.

    The Michigan Attorney General, Mike Cox (R)investigates and determines that the party is “an urban myth”, seemingly laying the rumor to rest.

    But wait, there is more. From a local TV news report
    According to the Local 4 News report, Green was reportedly working as a dancer at the rumored mansion party and allegedly got into an altercation with the mayor’s wife.

    Green was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting after the alleged party, and her family believes it was a deliberate attack to keep her from talking to officers who were investigating the rumored party.

    The lawsuit, according to Local 4 News, is on behalf of Johnathan Bond, Green’s 14-year-old son. The lawsuit alleges Kilpatrick and members of the city’s police department tried to block the investigation.

    The lawsuit is stumbling forward with (ta da!) text message subpoenas and the associated legal hullabaloo.

    Tamara’s murder is officially considered a drug related homicide. Lord knows they occur somewhat regularly here. The fact that the mayor was a liar when testifying in a different case, also involving sexual conduct (with his Chief of Staff), just adds fuel to the fire.

    I don’t think hizzoner took out a hit on Tamara Green. I also don’t think that the cops are putting a whole lot of effort into solving the crime. She is obviously not a popular person in the administration.

    I’m hoping that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit do get ahold of all of the text messages that they asked for, if for no other reason than the entertainment value. If there is some nefarious doings revealed, or even hinted at, in the messages, you’ll see it on the network news.

    As I see it, Kwame Kilpatrick has acted with such arrogance since getting elected, people are willing to believe the worst. The Detroit Free Press is probably the best source if you want to follow the continuing unfolding scandals of the Kilpatrick administration.

    One last note – A couple of weeks ago, The Metro Times, our “alternative weekly” had a main story referring to the mayor. “JUST GO!” was the cover of that leftist rag.

  76. I apologize for the ungodly length of my previos post. It’s H&R rehab for me.

  77. Fluffy,

    There is very little new about post-modernism; most of the themes associated with it existed in the writings (or what we know of them) of the so-called pre-Socratics. As for a coarsened intellectual life, well, I don’t think today is any worse than many periods in the past and it certain is far better than many others.

  78. Great meme, Fluffy!

  79. Kwame? The nigga’s name is Kwame. Kwame? Nigga named Kwame. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain’t his fuckin’ name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, “Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit” [laughs] “That ain’t your fuckin’ name.” Your momma ain’t name you no damn Kwame.

  80. Thanks for the encapsulization, J sub D. And your opinion.

    Ah yes, the sleazoid political entertainment factor. Detroit has Seattle clearly beaten. Our mayor just has his son going to jail for being in a conspiracy to cheat the Indian casino he worked for. Fun, but not in the same league as Kilpatrick, I think.

  81. So, would a story about corruption or a scandal regarding a Utah politician mention party affiliation? Scandal, definitely. Corruption, probably.

    I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, but I would call it an issue of perspective. To many folks, including journos, a Republican acting badly is an uber-hypocrite. A Democrat acting badly is just another politician acting badly. It’s the cost of being “the morals party”.

  82. HOWLEY SHALL SIMPLY BE RECLASSIFIED AND WILL PROVIDE OTHER SERVICES TO THE URKOBOLD.

    Urkobold? just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

  83. Our mayor just has his son going to jail for being in a conspiracy to cheat the Indian casino he worked for. Fun, but not in the same league as Kilpatrick, I think.

    We’re number one!
    We’re number one!

  84. What’s a little corruption and graft among elected officials?

  85. Gilbert Martin | March 24, 2008, 3:30pm | #
    “Only a pants wetting liberal…”

    That’s being redundant.

    All liberals are pants wetters.

    Conservatives need more fiber in their diet, they walk around like they have logs embedded in their rectums.

  86. All My Party People Gonna Do What?

    I’m throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care.

  87. “Only a pants wetting liberal…”

    That’s being redundant.

    All liberals are pants wetters.

    Really? Last time I checked conservatives were the ones crapping their pants about Mexicans and Muslims. “ZOMG! Muslims are scarier than the Soviets were! Take my rights, please!”

  88. Great post, Fluffy.

    I used to go in for that horseshit. It’s just an excuse to lie. “Oh, but what is truth, really?”

    Not something I’m going to get you, obviously.

  89. Fluffy: I know shit about postmodernism. I certainly believe in objective facts, and I do not think that a “good narrative” = something true.

    But it seems to me that the “meme” concept is a way to describe how ideas travel and spread, not a moral assessment of the value of truth. It seems a bit like you’re equating people who talk about memes with this guy.

    Anyhow, good post.

  90. people are investing less effort in coming up with ideas, and investing more effort in attempting to “find early adopters to pass on memes”.

    Since the begining of US history, we have a mixed bag when it comes to ideas:

    “Let’s have Religious Freedom!” – good
    “Let’s burn witches!” – not so much

    OTOH, we’ve have always kicked ass in marketing.

    So the question is Fluffy, why do hate America?:)

  91. And why does the english language hate me?

  92. Fluffy,

    A meme
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhizo7KrZrw

    But seriously.

    My problem with the concept of the “meme” is that same as my problem with most of the core concepts of postmodernist philosophy – the phenomena they purport to describe became infinitely more common after the concept was invented and promulgated.

    This is so meta, I don’t even know where to begin.

    You have just described the phenomena that the word “meme” was meant to capture in an attempt to criticize…what?

    The concept of a meme is itself a successful meme partly because it describes a part of objective reality. No?

  93. Billy Beck | March 24, 2008, 2:29pm | #

    Woah, it’s like I’m just tooling on down the highway and BAM! a bad memory jumps up on me and I almost crash the car!

    What’s up Beckster? (Star of the longest H&R thread in history here.)

  94. When I read about a politician being caught for corruption I always assume it is a Democrat…this must be why the media always notes if it is a Republican cuz then that would go against most peoples assumptions.

  95. You have just described the phenomena that the word “meme” was meant to capture in an attempt to criticize…what?

    Neu:

    I’m sorry, I’ll try to make it more explicit.

    Meme theory analogizes intellectual history to biological evolution, and looks at ideas not as ideas, but as Darwinian competitors.

    The problem is that I think it’s a destructive form of analysis.

    If ideas really are like genes, we are merely their protoplasmic carriers. The presence of this analysis in the intellectual “biosphere” corrupts the very process it purports to describe.

    It does this because people devise different ideas when they think they’re actually engaged in the process of seeking truth than they do when they are conscious of the fact that they are creating “memes”. Meme theory makes everything spin, and if you are conscious of meme theory the temptation is nearly irresistible to say [for example], “Guys, we don’t need an accurate criticism of Obama; we need a successful one.”

    And yes, I know people have always done that, but meme theory prerebuts the moral criticism of doing that. Dissembling and manipulation are less blameworthy once a theory of ideas takes hold that claims that there is no way for a human being to express himself that is not fundamentally nothing but “spin” anyway.

  96. Fluffy,

    Thanks for the expansion.

    I do not agree, however.

    There is nothing in a descriptive model of how things work that corrupts that process. In a way you are making the same odd error of reasoning that leads people to ask whether a clone would be a real human, or an artificial intelligence a real intelligence.

    Understanding the processes by which we understand no more corrupts our understanding than the understanding of physics corrupts gravity.

    Understanding how we understand also does not undermine ethics. In fact, an understanding of the bio-cultural roots of ethics that meme theory takes a step toward explaining can help us identify counter productive ideas that have been successful, but are not, by in large, beneficial or even ethical. Meme theory can be used to argue against ideas that have taken root only because they are attractive. It can help shine a light on dissembling and manipulation. Understanding how that manipulation happens can help individuals and societies to protect themselves from it.

    Objective truth, which seems to include the phenomena that meme theory describes, is robust enough to survive our poor understanding of it.

    It is also a valuable enough commodity that people will keep searching for it.

  97. That’s all fine and well. But none of that indicts the actual word “meme,” which — in common usage, at least — simply describes an idea that penetrates, then circulates within, the culture.

    If others are using the concepts of meme theory for nefarious means, if the genesis of meme theory is informed by postmodern theory, that’s really irrelevant. Most people understand “memes” to describe the ideas that are circulating in the culture at a given time, and that usage is what matters here.

    “Guys, we don’t need an accurate criticism of Obama; we need a successful one” — this is marketing and manipulation. It’s not necessarily an indictment of the “meme” concept, no matter the degree to which manipulation and meme theory each happen to stem from postmodernism.

    You’re making a normative argument, which is fine as far as it goes. Others here are simply making descriptive statements: that “meme” means X, and X exists, and “meme” is thus a perfectly reasonable way to signify X.

  98. My post above was a response to Fluffy 8:24.

  99. Sounds as if Neu Mejican are getting at the same thing in slightly different ways.

  100. Sigh.

    Sounds as if Neu Mejican and I are getting at the same thing in slightly different ways.

  101. There is nothing in a descriptive model of how things work that corrupts that process.

    This is true for physical processes [perhaps not at the quantum level, but why quibble?] but not for mental processes. I would think the reasons for this would be obvious, but I suppose they aren’t.

    Psychoanalysis is one excellent example of a case knowledge of a particular model of how the mind works will inform the way a subject perceives their own thinking. People think differently about their own thinking if they accept a model which includes an unconscious. How different is the interior life of someone who believes in the id, instead of believing in sin, for example?

    Any descriptive model of how things work will become part of the process, when we’re talking about mental processes.

    But none of that indicts the actual word “meme,” which — in common usage, at least — simply describes an idea that penetrates, then circulates within, the culture.

    I don’t think the common usage entirely escapes the implications of the full theory, as is shown very neatly by the voice of your sentence here. Memes “penetrate” and then “circulate”.

    this is marketing and manipulation. It’s not necessarily an indictment of the “meme” concept

    If the meme theory is correct, there is no form of human expression which is anything other than marketing and manipulation.

    Others here are simply making descriptive statements: that “meme” means X, and X exists, and “meme” is thus a perfectly reasonable way to signify X.

    But the description is only apt if meme theory is correct. And if we also want to talk about common usage, I have noted that the word “meme” is often employed in a “descriptive” way when the intent of the description is disparaging: “Oh, are they still pushing that meme?” But the usage itself disparages all ideas.

    Meme theory can be used to argue against ideas that have taken root only because they are attractive. It can help shine a light on dissembling and manipulation. Understanding how that manipulation happens can help individuals and societies to protect themselves from it.

    I know what you are trying to say here, but if it’s valid to talk about memes in the first place, we have nothing to replace one meme with but another meme. And that other meme will be just as callow and manipulative as whatever meme we’ve already got by definition, because memes don’t possess merit – they possess survivability.

  102. Fluffy,

    I know what you are trying to say here, but if it’s valid to talk about memes in the first place, we have nothing to replace one meme with but another meme. And that other meme will be just as callow and manipulative as whatever meme we’ve already got by definition, because memes don’t possess merit – they possess survivability.

    This is simply not true.

    A meme’s merit and its survivability are two different aspects of the meme. One does not exclude the other.

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