Obamacare

Who Wins Today's Godwin Award?

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Is it … Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, talking on Capitol Hill today about health care obstructionistas?

You think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough.

Nope! It's old-timey media futurist Douglas Rushkoff, recipient of the Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Intellectual Activity (no, really!) talking about–shudderfree journalistic content online:

On every free search, a voice cries out: To a gas chamber, go!

Unless something is done to address the issue, Rushkoff said, professional journalism could collapse leaving society to rely on an army of online amateurs.

"There is a tremendous value to a literate, self-expressive amateur society that can't be overemphasised. At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.

"People will not understand that until they are living in something akin to fascism."

I for one am guessing that people's ability to understand will actually be hampered by fascism, but maybe that's why I don't win Intellectual Activity awards.

Interestingly (or not), Rushkoff has been banging the fascism gong for years. Here he is in a pre-9/11 Adbusters:

We are so inundated by the free market's rhetorical whitewash that we are fast approaching what can only be labeled "market fascism": a social contract that can no longer tolerate any opinion or event that doesn't serve the speculative economy.

Or in 2006, answering R.U. Sirius's query about whether we are already living in a fascist state with a hearty, "Yeah, for sure we do." Or in March of this year, advocating some kind of Disaster Anti-Fascism:

The current financial crisis is the best opportunity we have had in a very long time for a bloodless revolution against the faceless fascism under which we have been living, unaware, for much too long. Let us seize the day.

Carpe Godwinium!

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  1. That is not a Gowin award. That is a Godwin lifetime achievment award. If you set out to toll as a lefty journalist who calls everything he doesn’t like “fascism” would your writing look any different than this guy’s?

  2. Do you know who else relied on overwrought rhetoric and exaggeration to promote his cause?

    1. ummmm is it Bush?

      no no no wait!

      Is it Obama??

  3. I thought Rushkoff’s quotes would make more sense in context. Silly me.

  4. “Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Intellectual Activity”

    I guess that would make him an “intellectual”. Why are so many intellectuals such complete dumb asses?

    1. Didn’t you know? In Russian slang, the word for “intellectual” is sometimes used to mean “idiot” or “fool” or the like. George Orwell spoke of grandiose lies that were so stupid only an intellectual could believe in them. In the Bible, a word often translated “fool” does not mean that the person so described is lacking in intellect, but rather in moral character. By any of these standards, a great brain can very easily be great fool.

      1. old story….Oedipus remember became king after solving the Sphinx’s riddle, but didn’t realise he had killed his own father and was screwing his mother.

  5. I don’t see a Godwin anywhere in Rushkoff’s or Reid’s comments.

    1. What a literalist. You are obviously one of those extremists that doesn’t believe the dictionary is a living document.

      1. I am a Godwin purist. Sue me. I’m sure if the nazis were around, they would misconstrue Godwin’s law just like Welch did.

        1. That’s racist and Godwinist.

        2. Auto-Godwination?

          1. Actually, I think it’s a rare double-reverse Godwinism.

    2. That’s because a *professional* journalist wrote that. They’re very sneaky with their wordsmithing talents. You don’t realize it until it’s too late.

      Online amateurs just spew their Godwins like a bukakke party, because, you know, they’re amateurs.

    3. I didn’t either. Perhaps there is a libertarian-alternative definition of “Godwin Award” of which I am unaware.

      1. Either that or you can create a blanket term for cheap and overblown references to fascism, slavery, etc. in inappropriate situations.

        1. Politics?

        2. Asshattery?

  6. “”””it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations. “””

    So does this mean that he advocates getting all new professional newsmen since the ones we have now just regurgitate press releases sometimes not even bothering to rewrite them

  7. I always find it curious of authoritarians warning us that some *other* kind of authoritarians are coming. (And you better watch out!)

    BTW, Matt, if you’re going to flip the picture so the subject looks/faces into the text, you need to crop out the logo on his shirt! Layout 101 FAIL.

    1. Oh, I didn’t flip the image; that’s the way he does it on his website, from which I stole it.

      1. Oh, you rascal!

        I bet he doesn’t see the irony either.

  8. At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers…

    I laughed. But I don’t think I was supposed to.

  9. professional journalism could collapse leaving society to rely on an army of online amateurs.

    And to whom could we then turn for “special needs baby” analogies?

  10. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it’s too early. Let’s wait. Things aren’t bad enough.

    I call total, utter bullshit on this. I defy this Rushkoff nob to produce one single piece of evidence that anyone in the debate over slavery ever said any such thing.

    Opponents to abolition said a lot of things, and some no doubt said, gosh, great idea, but we’re just not ready. But “its too early, things aren’t bad enough”? Horseshit.

    1. That was Harry Reid, so we might see some additional bullshit come of this.

      1. Fuck. So it was. Rushkoff has such a punchable face, and his actual quote are so goddam stupid, that I just assumed he spewed this as well.

        So, my apologies to Rushkoff.

        1. best apology i have seen in a long time!

    2. well it was actually Harry Reid, so yeah, literal horseshit came out of his gob and splattered on the podium

    3. Someone remind Reid that it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who opposed the abolition of slavery — an inconvenient detail that Rev. Sharpton, et al., forget when they demand “reparations” from institutions that “profited’ from slavery.

    4. If anyone WAS saying it, it would have been a Democrat. The Republican party was from birth the anti-slavery party.

      1. The Republican party was from birth the anti-slavery party.

        …and it was the Democrats who figured out how to re-enslave people and turn them into a reliable voting bloc in the process.

        -jcr

    5. I call total, utter bullshit on this. I defy this Rushkoff nob to produce one single piece of evidence that anyone in the debate over slavery ever said any such thing.

      Thomas Jefferson

      1. Pretty sure Lincoln dipped his cock into that one as well.

        1. Both correct.

  11. The current financial crisis is the best opportunity we have had in a very long time for a bloodless revolution against the faceless fascism under which we have been living, unaware, for much too long.

    No kidding.

    I had no idea.

  12. At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.

    So I should trust professional journalist over professional PR managers? Is there a hierarchy of trust I can refer to so I can understand which new professionalism I should trust the most?

  13. Pithy, yet succinct.

  14. I nominate all Reason writers for Pretend Journalist awards. This prestigious award is given to ppropagandists and hacks who manage to get paid for writing utter crap.

  15. I nominate all Reason writers for Pretend Journalist awards. This prestigious award is given to ppropagandists and hacks who manage to get paid for writing utter crap.

    1. 2 x 0 still = 0

    2. So, Morris, what is it that keeps bringing you back here? I mean, if the writing here is really that bad, why waste your time with it?

      1. Since he lost his job as the nine lives spokes-cat he needs something to fill the void.

      2. Someone told him that libertarians were okay with NAMBLA members; he’s just pissed because he found out it’s not true.

        1. The National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes? Nothin’ wrong with them. Fine bunch of fellas… and a few gals.

      3. So, Morris, what is it that keeps bringing you back here?

        You keep feeding him. Why do you think he’s called Morris?

        1. Yeah, you people just can’t ignore trolls, can you? Jesse Walker goes on a troll-feeding frenzy when I point out that he’s a right wing hack because he writes right-wing tripe for a right-wing rag. What the fuck is it with libertarians? Why do you care so much what I think? Assholes.

          1. I can assure you that no one gives two shits about what you think. They reply to your posts for the same reason they scratch a poison ivy rash.

          2. Morris, this isn’t MediaMatters. Go there and masturbate to your fantasies.

    3. How much you get paid for sucking Obama’s dick?

      Oh wait, you do that for free.

      1. We do it AND pay for it!

  16. …it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.

    I’ll say this much for Rushkoff: he’ll never back off the central idea to his thesis, which is that “everyone but me is a stupid, slack-jawed rube.”

    I wonder where these professional journalists will work, or whom they will work for?

    1. They can set up LLP’s kike lawyers and dentists do.

      1. did you mean to say ‘like lawyers’?

      2. A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean a mother.

      3. Sure, but is this for Rushkoff’s post-corporate uptopia, where the fat cats have already been up against the wall? Professional journalists work for corporations now.

        I suppose we could delay the revolution for a bit while the framework is laid for afterwards. We’ll kill their bosses later.

      4. The “L” key is right next to the “K” key, so your story checks out

        1. And the comma key is right below.

          It could go either way.

  17. People will not understand that until they are living in something akin to fascism

    Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums.

  18. why liberals are useless (from a socialist)

    http://www.truthdig.com/report….._20091206/

  19. I, for one, like the idea of a world where only the obscenely rich can afford actual news.

  20. I know this isn’t relevant or important, but a key vote is coming up in the Senate, and either way it comes out, the health bill may be in trouble with some Democratic Senators:

    ‘The decision on the abortion amendment will be a decisive moment. If it fails, anti-abortion Democrats including Nelson and Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., may vote against the final bill. But if the amendment passes, the party’s many senators who support abortion access, such as Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., could walk away.’

    1. Now that is truly depressing. The Democrats who think they’re wise enough to run the entire health care system and make all our medical decisions in a fair and impartial manner are having legislative foodfights over whether to pay for abortions.

      1. A certain H&R commenter (whose pants I’m wearing right now) made the right call on this issue a month ago when he said that ‘the abortion issue is turning into an apple of discord with the potential to split the supporters of nationalized health care.’

        1. (whose pants I’m wearing right now)

          If it was me I hope you’re a chick Max.

          1. Naaaa, it was you.Pretty scary when I clicked the link though.

    2. I just gave every woman in the country free mammograms and this is how I am thanked.

      1. Hey, I can help with those!

  21. We are so inundated by the free market’s rhetorical whitewash that we are fast approaching what can only be labeled “market fascism”

    Oh, come on — it could also be labeled “market earring”.

    Also, RACIST!

  22. From National Public Radio, this is Maggie Mertens:

    ‘Buckle your seatbelts, the ride starts now. If you’ve been tuning out the health care debate on the Senate floor so far, we don’t blame you. It’s been a little senatorial. But if you’ve been waiting for tempers to start flaring, you might want to start paying attention now.

    ‘The Senate has officially begun debate on an abortion amendment, and tentatively plans to vote on it tomorrow. How the Senate handles it could be key to the fate of the whole health bill.’

  23. The current financial crisis is the best opportunity we have had in a very long time for a bloodless revolution against the faceless fascism under which we have been living, unaware, for much too long. Let us seize the day.

    I’d love to take this suggestion, but if I do it isn’t going to end up like Rushkoff hopes.

  24. Submit your guesses for what that C on his chest means.

    My entry is “cuntsmear”.

    1. Captain Felcher.

  25. “cumguzzler”?

    1. That’s Congressman Cumguzzler. Observe the protocols, peasant.

      1. Right Honorable…

  26. But Obama’s president, now…

  27. I really try not to just say people look like a douche unless they have a fake tan, gold chain, and pink polo on. But that guy looks like a douche. He also appears to have the same intellect as a rock, or a freshman J student.

    1. See, most dumb people know, at least at some level, that they’re bulb isn’t so bright. What’s really dangerous about Rushkoff and his ilk, though, is that he’s dumb but thinks he’s brilliant, in fact, one of the only people in the world who knows “the truth”.

  28. “Let’s wait. Things aren’t bad enough.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, talking on Capitol Hill today about health care.

    Fucking A!

    (See, this online journalism thing is easy.)

  29. I actually thought that Rushkoff was that rare kind of genius, but I have to confess I haven’t followed most of his political thought. I only became aware of him due to a book he wrote called “Get Back in the Box”, a book about business wisdom which eschewed a lot of the corporate B.S. about re-branding, hiring of consultants, efficiency experts etc., and extolled the virtues of business focusing on the core product or service which made them successful in the first place. I came across this book at a time when I worked for just such a brain-dead organization, full of highly paid, suit-wearing dimwits in wingtips who tried to consultant, rebrand, catch-phrase and morning huddle their way to success, all the while turning their backs on their products.

    1. Which of course is why one of my all-time favoritist pieces from Matt Welch is this: http://mattwelch.com/OJRsave/OJRsave/DEN.htm

      I came across that article at about the same time I came across Rushkoff. But Matt knows I worship this article already.

    2. I liked Get Back In The Box, too. Rushkoff drops a lot of inane wowsers like this, but some of his rhetoric at least deserves a nuanced libertarian rebuttal:

      http://www.edge.org/3rd_cultur…..index.html

      I agree with him that the system currently in place, with government and subsidized corporations eating each other’s tails, has little to do with “freedom.”

  30. Or in 2006, answering . . . whether we are already living in a fascist state with a hearty, “Yeah, for sure we do.”

    Because libertarians surely can’t be found talking like that!

  31. We are so inundated by the free market’s rhetorical whitewash that we are fast approaching what can only be labeled “market fascism”: a social contract that can no longer tolerate any opinion or event that doesn’t serve the speculative economy.

    I keep wondering what planet people who say shit like this live on.

    Where the fuck is this oppressivly uniform pro-free-market society? So I can go visit it occasionally?

    1. There is no such thing as an oppressive free-market society.

      Now, socialists… THEY know how to oppress.

      Cue Tony and/or Chad in 5…4…3…

  32. Reid’s a dumbshit. He compared opposition to health care “reform” to slavery. Fuck him and his fellow travelers.

    AND the Republicans.

  33. What is a Douglas Rushkoff? Is this one of those obscure hipster references?

  34. So this guy is against giving you your own intellectual property away?

  35. Wow thats amazing. Pretty cool stuff.

    RT
    http://www.be-anonymous.bg.tc

    1. I disagree.

  36. You really ought to put a moron alert on any article about “Career Achievement in Intellectual Activity” recipient.

    1. Really? The “Neil Postman” part clued me in.

  37. I thought you only Godwinned when you dropped the N word?

    *(Nazi)?

  38. This guy probably whacks off thinking of being raped by Nazis.

  39. At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.

    When you find one, let us know. The literate, self-expressive amateurs are eating your lunch.

  40. Rushkoff has been confused for a long time, mouthing tired old platitudes tarted up in modern drag, but it’s just a severely limited intellect and education that he suffers from.

  41. At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.

    Having spent the last 18 months watching those “professional journalists” elbowing each other out of the way to lick Obama’s loafers, I’m not inclined to give much credance to this statement. Ninety percent were doing it out of ideological commitment to The Cause, the other 10% wanted a gig in the administration.

    OTOH, I was able to watch James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles blow ACORN apart for precisely $0.

  42. If professional journalists were currently doing a good job of presenting a balanced view of events, he he could have a point. But when the MSM is in the tank for Obama and the Democrats, and is behind the curve on so many issues-ACORN,Climategate to mention two – the need for professional journalists isn’t as clear. If you shoot yourself in the foot, you are not seen as a good candidate to carry a message from one place to another.

    1. Thank God for FOX News. I’m serious. Whatever its bias, it is a true alternative, and has exposed the partisan hypocrisy of… well, every other MSM outlet. It’s hardly fair, but it does provide a balance. Glenn Beck, for one, is a true libertarian.

  43. @ NAL|12.8.09 @ 12:44AM|#
    Self aware dim bulbs vs.
    delusions of brilliance

    Joni Mitchell called them
    “40 Watt successes” 🙂

    Seriously, and scarily,
    this is a common failure mode
    of the human personality,
    which gets worse as their
    delusions are destroyed
    by real-world facts; See
    Reid’s comment on HealthCare,
    ClimateGate, Obama blaming
    small business for unemployment !?!

    See also Jose Ortega Y Gosset
    “The Revolt of the Masses”

  44. It seems like he thinks journalism’s sole job is to stop capitalism and the dirty corporations that practice it. This seems like the problem that is leading to people relying on the blogosphere in the first place.

  45. “At the same time, when corporations and governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations.”

    Does he mean professional deconstructionists like these:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..n_the.html

    or this guy:
    http://www.editorandpublisher……1003631984

    I trust the amateurs more. Trust but verify of course.

  46. We are so inundated by the free market’s rhetorical whitewash that we are fast approaching what can only be labeled “market fascism”: a social contract that can no longer tolerate any opinion or event that doesn’t serve the speculative economy.

    The dark night of fascism is forever descending upon the United States, yet somehow it always lands in Europe” – Jean Francois Revel (or maybe Tom Wolfe)

  47. Rushkoff: “when governments are employing highly-professional communications managers, it requires that people have professional journalists who can deconstruct all this public relations”

    Yes, thats what Pravda said too.

  48. “So I should trust professional journalist over professional PR managers?”

    Heh. That wicked thing Maureen Dowd does with her hips? Where do you think she perfected it?

  49. What can I say? I’m a fascist.

    If you define a word down, you take all of its meaning away. Fortunately – unlike “racist,” which is still touchy in the US – fascist is not a word taken seriously in the US except by those who imagine there can be such a thing as “free market fascism,” essentially a diametric contradiction in terms.

  50. “… an army of online amateurs.”

    Amateurs built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic.

    If Olbermann &c are examples of “professionals”, I’ll take the amateurs every day. Amateurs like Glenn Reynolds, Michael Yon, …

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