SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
I’ve received quite a few complaints in recent months from readers who think I’m pro–Hillary Clinton and anti–Barack Obama. In fact, I believe Obama has better politics than Clinton, is personally more honorable, and that his victory would represent an important generational shift in American politics.
That said, there are a few things that make me like Hillary. First, she’s a bloodthirsty monster who’ll stop at nothing in her quest for power. That is refreshing, given that the Democrats’ default presidential-campaign strategy is to whine about how rough the Republicans play and to get trounced. Another thing that warms me to Clinton is that the media (in general) hates her and loves Obama, which makes me sympathetic toward her and suspicious toward him.
Yesterday I posted an item about a New York magazine piece by Kurt Andersen, who acknowledges his own “crush” on Obama and the media’s general tilt toward his candidacy and away from Clinton’s. I received a number of emails in reply, including this one:
Andersen alludes to another thing that the media misses. They all miss that Clinton’s demographic isn’t the media, it is people who have day jobs and who can’t blog, bloviate, or otherwise slam Obama, or defend her. It’s also generational. Older voters are probably not blogging. Nor does his demographic in the media have any understanding of her demographic other than dismissive phrases like “Joe Six-Pack.” That is part of what makes this race so remarkable: even though she is roughly even in votes, it as if her constituency doesn’t really exist and isn’t important even though it represents a lot more of the country than his might.
Another thing is this Orwellian tale of how somebody who wins has actually lost is repeated and reinforced. At the end of the day, which is more undemocratic: winning a state contest outright or “winning” through losing [as Obama did in Indiana] by a small enough percentage to keep enough delegates in hand? It seems the latter is. Why not just say he lost? In a convoluted, elitist system of picking a nominee, he can win without actually winning. That is just as true as the critique of Clinton trying to sway superdelegates. The real story might be how lame the Democrat’s primary/caucus process is and how it reinforces the stereotype they want to shed: that they are elite and out of touch with a lot of voters.
I’m not pro-Obama or pro-Clinton. I’m just really stunned by the coverage and (lack of) analysis by the media generally—or perhaps stunned how their analysis is unabashedly elitist and out of touch with a vast number of voters.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”