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Issue #66

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Features:

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2004

DLC Mooseshit: A Letter to Marshall Wittman - Matt Taibbi

2004: The Year in Regret Timeline

Time Lies: "Person of the Year" Issue Shits in Your Mouth & Calls it a Chocolate Sundae- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Tsunami Offers Heartfelt Apology

Life Value Calculator

Giambra's Pets raise Questions, Concerns



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs: Looking Back

BEAST-O-Scopes

I HATE YOU: Channel 2 News "On Your Side"

Local Book Reviews

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills, Bledsoe Just not Good Enough - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley

Perry Bible Fellowship - N!cholas Gurewitch



Issue #65

Download Entire issue (23mb PDF)

 

Features:

Christmas in Hell: No, Virginia, There is no Santa Claus- Matt Taibbi

Disinformation Age: America Loves a Good Liar- Allan Uthman

Power 1, Truth 0: RIP Gary Webb, Journalism - Michael Manville

Insane in the Ukraine - Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Ridiculous Gift Guide

Tips on Buying Thoughtless Gifts

Giambra Admits Drinking Live Sea Monkeys

Area Child Expects Lame Christmas Gifts

Paris Hilton's What Hot & What's Not in 2005

Advice From John Ritter's Ghost



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

I HATE YOU: The Senate, Slaves to the South

DJ's Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #64

Download Entire issue (31mb PDF)

 

Features:

Happy Bhopal to You: The Disaster is 20 Years Young! - Matt Taibbi

Sleeping With the Fishes: Fear Not, Buffalo--Corporate Welfare Will Save You! - Chris Abbey

No Moore Dissent: DLC Targets Populism, Man-Boobs- Matt Taibbi

Drowning the Scorpion: Debating a Neocon- Stan Goff

Condoleezza Rice is Going to Lick Your Beaver- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Bush Refuses to Pardon Turkey, Execution Proceeds as Scheduled

Kmart, Sears Merge to Create One Big Failure - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Arcade Fire

MF Doom - Ketchup Samurai

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills Still Have a Shot at 5th Super Bowl Loss - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley







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© 2004 The Beast


TIME LIES

"Person of the Year" Issue Shits in Your Mouth, Calls it Chocolate Sundae

by Matt Taibbi


On the Internet, a volunteer army of bloggers escalated their guerrilla war against the mainstream media… Nevertheless, they stay on the margins—because, like all insurgents, they're about sniping, not governing.

—Andrew Sullivan, in Time's "Person of the Year" issue

 

It's amazing how useful a bad writer can be in exposing the vagaries of mainstream thought.

Sullivan probably doesn't mean to use the word "governing" in the above passage. He probably needs a phrase, something like "being good citizens," or "behaving responsibly." Sullivan is trying to compare bloggers to the Iraqi insurgency—a wrongheaded and unfair comparison to begin with, one that outrages both parties—but the way he writes it, he implies that the real media's natural role is to govern. In the shaky parallel structure of this sentence, bloggers and guerrilla insurgents make up one pair, while mainstream media and legitimate ruling government make up the other.

We know what he means, but this is the kind of thing one doesn't usually say out loud. Last time I checked, the press was not supposed to be part of the ruling structure in our system of government. On the contrary—and I'm just going by Jefferson and Madison, so I may be out of date—it's supposed to be an antagonist to it, a check on civil power. Sullivan's sentence would make fine rhetorical sense in Myanmar, the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, but in the United States one hopes it is just bad writing.

It's a very odd thing, watching the reaction of the so-called mainstream media to the phenomenon of blogs. The response is almost universally one of total disdain and disgust, but the stated reasons vary.

An argument I see sometimes and occasionally even agree with is that bloggers don't have the same factual and ethical standards that the mainstream media supposedly has, which leads to such fiascoes as the bogus Kerry-mistress story sweeping the country, or the name of Kobe's accuser being made public.

But more often than not, the gripe about bloggers isn't that they're unethical. It's that they're small. In the minds of people like Sullivan, not being part of a big structure intrinsically degrades the amateur, makes him a member of a separate and lower class; whereas in fact the solidarity of any journalist should always lie with the blogger before it lies with, say, the president. Journalists are all on the same side, or ought to be, anyway.

Not Time magazine, though. Time lay with the president. Time big-time lay with the president. What was great about Sullivan's "Year of the Insurgents" column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the "Person of the Year" issue into contrast. Here's Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his "respectable" media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush's cock wedged firmly in its mouth.

The "Person of the Year" issue has always been a symphonic tribute to the heroic possibilities of pompous sycophancy, but the pomposity of this year's issue bests by a factor of at least two or three the pomposity of any previous issue. From the Rushmorean cover portrait of Bush (which over the headline "An American Revolutionary" was such a brazen and transparent effort to recall George Washington that it was embarrassing) to the "Why We Fight" black-and-white portraiture of the aggrieved president sitting somberly at the bedside of the war-wounded, this issue is positively hysterical in its iconolatry. One even senses that this avalanche of overwrought power worship is inspired by the very fact of George Bush's being such an obviously unworthy receptacle for such attentions. From beginning to end, the magazine behaves like a man who knocks himself out making an extravagant six-course candlelit dinner for a blow-up doll, in an effort to convince himself he's really in love.

Throughout the "Person of the Year" article—written by two of America's great Bards of Conventional Thinking, Nancy Gibbs and John F. Dickerson—Time strains to turn banal facts into great character insights, commonplace quotes into Churchillian utterances. It starts right in the opening paragraphs:

Eagles rather than doves nestle in the Oval Office Christmas tree, pinecones the size of footballs piled around the fireplace, and the President of the United States is pretty close to lounging in Armchair One. He's wearing a blue pinstripe suit, and his shoes are shined bright enough to shave in. He is loose, lively, framing a point with his hands or extending his arm with his fingers up as though he's throwing a big idea gently across the room.

"I've had a lot going on, so I haven't been in a very reflective mood," says the man who has just replaced half his cabinet, dispatched 12,000 more troops into battle, arm wrestled lawmakers over an intelligence bill, held his third economic summit and begun to lay the second-term paving stones on which he will walk into history.

Four observations about this passage:

What kind of a maniac puts eagles in a Christmas tree? Are doves no longer ideologically acceptable—even as Christmas ornaments?

How does one come "pretty close to lounging"? I imagine that this is a state of being somewhere between lounging and not lounging, but what the fuck? What would he have been if he were standing—pretty close to leaning?

When you say that shoes are "shined bright enough to shave in," we know what you mean, but at first instant it reads like they're bright enough to wear while shaving. Why not just say, "shined bright as mirrors"?

Are they joking when they follow up "throwing a big idea gently across the room" with "'I haven't been in a very reflective mood'"?

Or how about this lead-in to a later section:

The living room of Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas is a place for thinking. There are big windows for long views, a wall of books and on one side a table that is usually freckled with jigsaw pieces.

I particularly like this passage because it's well-known that Bush doesn't even read newspapers, let alone books. In the 2000 campaign, he carried around a copy of a biography of Dean Acheson for six months, in an attempt to convince reporters that he was a reader. In fact, Bush's utter lack of intellectual curiosity is one of the most newsworthy—and most easily proven—aspects of his character. But when you're president, and Time magazine is profiling you, you get credit for being a bookish intellectual just by having books on the wall.

Time manages to get through the entire profile without quoting a single Bush critic. In fact, almost all of the people who are quoted in the piece are Bush aides, many of them unnamed. This allows Gibbs/Dickerson to report such factoids as Bush's private habit of admitting to mistakes, despite the fact that he refuses to do so publicly ("Privately, he did acknowledge there had been blunders," the magazine wrote), as well as the stirring insight that Bush loves liberty even more than his aides do. "Every time we'd have a speech and attempt to scale back the liberty section, he would get mad at us," Gibbs/Dickerson quote White House spokesman Dan Bartlett saying.

But the best quote from an unnamed source was the one that compared Bush to the icon of icons. In a section talking about Bush's admirable perseverance (contrasted with Kerry's "slaloming") in the face of vocal criticism, this was Time's way of addressing the fact that Bush is the most loathed president since Nixon:

"Part of it could be his faith," says an adviser. "Being persecuted is not always a bad thing."

And these people think bloggers need a comeuppance?


 

.. This Issue ...........Home............. Contact........Archives

The 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2004

21. Alan Colmes
Crimes: An angry conservative’s wet dream: an effete liberal dive artist. As a professional doormat, Colmes’ only tasks are to serve as a comforting aggregate of Republican stereotypes about Democrats and a target for the seething derision of his psychotic guests. Stands idly by while voracious green-blooded co-host utilizes Gestapo tactics against centrist Democrats.


Time Lies

Matt Taibbi

...What was great about Sullivan's "Year of the Insurgents" column last week was how beautifully it threw the rest of the "Person of the Year" issue into contrast. Here's Sullivan bitching about bloggers needing to stay on the margins where they belong; meanwhile, his "respectable" media company is joyously prancing back and forth along 190 glossy pages with George Bush's cock wedged firmly in its mouth.


[sic] - letters

TONGUE LASHING

Dear Vile & Dangerous Misogynists,

As a member of the Buffalo chapter of the Feminine Liberation Organization (no connection whatsoever to FelLatiO), I must tell you that I take great offense at your sophomoronic attempts at mocking the divine act of beaver licking. So what if our future Secretary of State engages in a periodic tongue lashing? Does it frighten your xenophobic male staff that a woman can satisfy a woman?


Disinformation Age

Allan Uthman

....The problem with the left is that our whole model of changing opinions—that contrary facts will alter people’s views—is inherently flawed. Mundane, oafish Americans, in a national competition to see how many $3.99 “support our troops” ribbon magnets they can fit onto the backs of their Suburbans, simply aren’t interested in reality...Let’s face it; there is a sizable chunk of the population who deny the validity of evolution—evolution. Who are we kidding, thinking we can make them see the errors in Social Security privatization?


DLC Moose Shit

Matt Taibbi

...Marshall Wittmann, the former legislative director for the Christian Coalition and also a veteran talking head of such excellent organizations as the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute (which hypes him as "one of the nation's most quoted analysts"), offers himself as a candidate for the chair of the Democratic Party. Wittmann, you see, is now an operative at the Democratic Leadership Council—he got the policy operative spot that opened up when Al From and Bruce Reed were tipped off that their initial choice, Mobutu Sese Seko, had been dead for years...


Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Hey everyone! Aren't my tits great? Truly they are a gift unto us from the Holy Father. I'm so hot for Jesus!

Please buy Nick's album. He could really use the help.

 


Power 1, Truth 0

Michael Manville

On December 12th I opened my Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times and saw in the obituaries that Gary Webb was dead. More specifically, I saw that Gary Webb had killed himself. He had, it seems, shot himself in the head. When movers arrived at his house on Saturday they found a note on the door that said "Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance."



Sleeping With the Fishes

Chris Abbey

What do dying urban centers need to keep them afloat when everything and everyone has long since moved out to the suburbs? A gimmick, of course, like the Arch in St. Louis or, even cooler, a Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of fame like Cleveland has! Too bad those ideas were already taken, and the only thing our leaders could think of is resurrecting the long dead Aud and turning it into a massive Bass Pro outdoor shop, along with a hotel and restaurant.


Happy Bhopal to You

Matt Taibbi

THE BHOPAL DISASTER had its 20th anniversary last week, and so was duly (and briefly) commemorated in the inside sections of a few American newspapers.

It is unlikely, however, that any public figures are going to pay tribute to what happened 20 years ago this week. Which is too bad, because as far as America is concerned, the week of Dec. 9 to 16 was the more important week of the Bhopal disaster. That's when we got over Bhopal.


Drowning the Scorpion

Stan Goff

When I was first invited by Dr. Stephen Smith to speak at Winthrop University in South Carolina, I was preparing a trip to Haiti and I didn't give much thought to how I would handle the engagement. I'd just finished being pole-axed by a bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and it was everything I could do to just pull the Haiti trip together. So I didn't pay much attention to the person who would appear with me - one Patrick Clawson - to represent "the other side" in a forum/debate billed as "What Next in Iraq? A Post-Election Perspective."


The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.



Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.



Too Cool for School

Al Uthman

In the decomposing cesspool of Buffalo's public schools, City Honors has long been regarded as something of a gem. In fact, it is widely regarded as the best school the city has to offer, with the brightest kids around.


Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."