Washington Babylon — June 22, 2010, 7:33 am

Bloggers in Pajamas or Op-ed Writers in Depends? You choose

During the Dog Days of the Cold War, the Soviet Union used to send “Youth Delegations” to international diplomatic events composed almost entirely of doddering 60-year-old-plus hacks. That’s pretty much what the Washington Post editorial page looks like nowadays, though in fairness to the Soviets, they were a far more lively, interesting bunch.

It’s hard to say which of the Post’s writers produces the greatest quantity of drivel, but Richard Cohen is a strong contender for the crown. Cohen, of course, has been awful for years, but today’s column, “President Obama’s enigmatic intellectualism,” marks a breakthrough in terms of pure idiocy. Cohen writes:

What these people were seeking was not an eruption of anger, not a tantrum and not a full-scale denunciation of an oil company. What they wanted instead was a sign that this catastrophe meant something to Obama, that it was not merely another problem that had crossed his desk — and this time just wouldn’t budge. He showed not the slightest sign in the idiom that really counts in a media age — body language — that he gave a damn.

So the president should be judged not on the basis of his policies, but on “body language.” And who better to interpret this than Richard Cohen.

Based on Obama’s body language, Cohen concludes that Obama’s foreign policy “has no heart at all” (which is true, but that’s no different than foreign policy under past presidents), and that Obama is emotionally shut down because his “father deserted the family and afterward visited his son only once.” Oh, and Cohen also has determined that Obama has no “pudding.”

I’m not a big fan of Obama’s but this is almost as embarrassing as the column that cost Sally Quinn her job.

Does the biggest threat to quality media come from bloggers in pajamas? The far bigger menace is posed by op-ed writers in Depends®.

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More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

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Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.

Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”

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