Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Frank in Orlando was here but now he's gone, left this message to turn you . . . off?

Frank in Orlando sends a cheery e-mail that he requested be passed on. (It's his kiss off and he's given permission for it to be printed. My reply follows. And for all the members who've felt that Frank in Orlando has been given too much time, please note his kiss-off is the last we'll hear from him.)

Frank in Orlando: This morning you went finally left the face of the earth hope you like it out in the ozone space oddity (Mick Jagger's famous hit song if you don't know since it wasn't written by some whiney female singer & songwriter). You think you can drop song metaphors but let The New York Times use a sports metaphor and you're all over them. Well how does it feel up there in the stratefied air knowing that you aren't coming down and are sure to lose tons of members? Huh, how does that feel????????? Your slams on Elisbeth [Bumiller] have become downright bitchy and you're not fit to step into her panty hose!!!
She works so hard and you seem to think she has an easy job. Do you not get that she had to travel to Russia?????????? She has to get on planes all the time!!!!!!!! She has to chase down stories. Maybe you missed it while you were lolly gagging around, but she broke the story about the tailor of George W. Bush's suit jacket?
Didn't you read that? Or maybe you were too busy thinking up some unclever jokes with the other fourth graders while you sneaked out behind the gym to smoke!!!!!!!!!
Today you link to Ellen Goodman. She's another one not fit to wear Elisabeth's panty hose!!!!!!
You and your bra burning, pit sprouting pals, you gals just don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We don't care about dead nuns in Latin America!!!!!!!!!!! It's 20 years ago!!!!!!!!!! Get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But there you are pushing Amy Goodman's story on another dead nun!!!!!!!!
Who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elisabeth does more good with her writing than any nun ever could and you better believe when she passes, it will be real news unlike these dead nuns stories!!!!
You waste time on Juan [Forero] and you don't get that either!!!!!!!!! No one cares what he writes about some other country, no one gives a damn!!!!!!!
What goes on over there doesn't effect my life or anyone I know so quit boring us with Nepal and Argentina!!!! I don't care!!!!!!!!!!!
And you insult Jodi Wilgoren again with fat jokes!!!!! Just like when you quoted that hideous Ad Nags site on her weight!!!!!!!!!!! She's stocky, we get it, we all get it and we all stopped laughing long ago!!!!!!!!!!!!
But you're too busy pushing those Goodman sisters!!!!!!!! Amy and Ellen don't matter and no one reads them!!!! They're as boring as you are!!!!!!!!!
Do you and the other femi-nazis get together once a week to figure out who to pick on?????????
You're all just jealous because Elisabeth is smart and pretty!!!!!
And the idiot Goodman, take your pick but I'm talking Ellen here, she doesn't know what she's even talking about!!!!!!!!!!
She doesn't even get the basics of what she's talking about on social security today!!!!!!!!!!! Does she even know the numbers because she's not mentioning any!!!!!!!!!!!!
She's as stupid as you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your hero Bob Somerby isn't anyone she's paid attention to!!!! That's your God!!!! Your Daddy!!!!!!!
And I notice no link to Bob yesterday guess that's because he's calling people like you assholes!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, missy, he's sick of all you gals and your antics over "Larry Summers must be fired!!!!!!!!"
Didn't inform us of that, did you???? And it's cute how you and the editors of The New York Times are working off the same talking points!!!! You didn't point that out either, did you? Not one word about Sunday's editorial that was just like everything that went up on the stupid site this weekend!!!!!!!!! Did you feed them your thoughts?????
Guess it fits in with your plan to feminize the world!!!!!!!! That's probably why you focus on all those backward countries that no one gives a damn about!!!!!!!!!!!
But here's something you might want to think about you stupid hypocritical femin-nazi, while you scream "Fire Summers!" you turn around and scream "Save Ward Churchill!" There's not a damn bit of difference between the two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've suffered through Black History Month day after boring day!!!!!! You don't see any important sites covering that, do you??????????? The New York Times isn't running a damn "Highlight" every damn day, are they?????????????? No!!!!!!!!! Because no one cares!!!!!!!!!!
"Oh Julian [Bond]! Oh Corretta [Scott King]! We love you!!!" It's bullsh*t! So I'll thankfully take my leave and avoid the daily salute to women's history month that's coming soon to be followed by gay Americans and then Latin Americans and then I'm guessing Irish Americans since they seem to be your latest cause!!!!!!!!!!! To be followed by Americans With Long Nose Hair????????????????
No one cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get your balls out of your purse and shut up or do something useful like talk about social security or about something else that matters!!!!!!!!!!!!! You suck worse than Ms. Magazine!

Where to begin with such a sweet note?

Let's note from the start that an entry from the Ad Nag's site was quoted that dealt with Jodi Wilgoren's weight and it was quoted because "Frank in Orlando insists" (the full section from that post will be at the bottom of this post, I had put it here but I think it slows down the response to Frank in Orlando).

As noted in that entry, Frank in Orlando is the one who wanted that quoted. As noted in that entry, I e-mailed him to make sure he'd read the post and realized what it said. So it's a little late in the game (that's from November) for Frank in Orlando to be pretending that the link above was something he hadn't requested.

Moving on. Black History Month is important. Whether others highlight it or not, we do here. And I'd argue that indeed if "important sites" aren't covering it, that's all the more reason that we need to do so here. There are, however, no plans yet to highlight Americans With Long Nose Hair, but Frank in Orlando, if and when we decide to highlight those people, you're top of the list.

You don't care about Black History Month and you don't care about about foreign countries. I don't know what you care about, other than Elisabeth Bumiller. Start your own blog and do a fetish site, don't know what else to tell you. "Space Oddity" is a David Bowie song (on the album of the same name), not Mick Jagger. But as "foreigners" (British) perhaps you're not interested in that.

But start your fetish site because I'm sure there must be others as concerned with putting on Bumiller's pantyhose as you are. Me, I have no desire to step into them. But you do what you want.

Ellen Goodman is a columnist. And while Bumiller is in a paper with a large circulation (one of the top three), Goodman is one of the top ten syndicated columnists in the country. Why you choose to pit the two against each other is beyond me (one's supposed to be a reporter, the other writes op-eds) unless you just have some lust for a catfight. (Possibly in a mud pit with the two wearing pantyhose since that's apparently an obsession of your's.) As someone who's published collections of her columns and a top ten syndicated columnist, Goodman's reach is quite a bit more than you give her credit for.

Today, for the first time, Ellen Goodman's column was highlighted. (Thanks to Marcia for pointing out that for all the talk/praise for Goodman at this site, I'd never highligted her. That was a mistake on my part.) And you seem to have a problem with her for not going into figures.

Here's something to think about, Frank, not everyone's going to go that deep into the workings of social security. Goodman's point was (as I understood it) that social security does not need to be scrapped. That's a point that will reach people whose eyes glaze over as people start talking about "trillions" and "billions." She's a common sense writer. With an audience. And she's built up that audience over the years so I think she knows how to speak to them and how to reach them.

You're angry that she's not pulling out charts and a pointer. Not everyone wants that. (Or could follow it.) She speaks in her own voice and that's why she's got an audience. If Paul Krugman or someone else speaking in their own voices want to go over figures, that's their right and what they should do provided that they're speaking in their own voice. But we don't all have to be "on message" with the same list of "talking points" and "facts and figures" because we are all not the same person. The United States (we'll focus on domestic because I know I'll lose you if we go international) is full of people who like ___ but don't like ___. It's ludicrous to think that we will all respond to the exact same words and the exact same message. (Even advertising hasn't been able to pull that off which is why you have niche marketing.)

I love Chinese food. I also like pizza. I can eat either and be happy. (And a number of other things.) Ellen served up Chinese and you wanted pizza so you're throwing your plate against the wall and screaming. But you weren't the only one at the table. And maybe the rest of us had pizza all week and were ready for a change?

Bob Somerby is not my "God." He is someone I've learned a great deal from. He is someone who speaks to me. As to the Howlers you refer to, I hadn't read them. When I worked on the post yesterday morning (that utilized the archives of The Daily Howler), he hadn't yet posted his latest. This morning I worked a long time on the first post of the day (the one that offended you) and had no time to check sites. When I had time online during the day, it was about 15 minutes and the mid-day post focuses on the things that were either pointed out (Marcia pointed out Goodman's column, thank you, Marcia) or Democracy Now! so you're mistaken if you're seeing some conspiracy of silence.

Somerby has a short post today and here's an excerpt (short because he was going to be on air that morning -- and I would've listened had I known and been near a computer):

As of last night, we were still unable to access the C-SPAN video of last Friday's Washington Journal. For that reason, we'll postpone our ongoing discussion of Gene Robinson's appearance on the program. But do check Robinson's column in today’s Post about the Summers matter. All across the press -- all across academia -- major figures are using this event as a chance to showcase their grinding illogic. In Robinson's case, check the way he savages Summers for asking the most obvious question on earth. (See paragraphs 7-8. For the record, we don't know the answer to the question involved here. Neither, of course, does Robinson.) And while you're at it, check Dr. Rachel Ivie's blatant illogic in today's NYT "Science Times." Good grief -- check paragraphs 11-12. Before doing so, of course, just click here.

Monday's column (excerpt) notes the Summers "matter" as well:

SUMMERS' BREEZE MAKES THEM OPINE: We've avoided comment on the “Larry Summers Show,” an HBO series-in-the-making now being piloted up at Harvard. But a striking post in Friday's Tapped does deserve your attention. Garance Franke-Ruta starts off with an accurate point; she notes that it was Summers' choice to be "provocative" in his now-famous speech. But after that, the outraged pundit turns Night into Day in her effort to trash All Things Summers. In particular, she savages Summers for the outrageous way he chose to "insult" his audience:

FRANKE-RUTA (2/18/05): Summers went on to say that he specifically chose to talk about "the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering ... not because that's necessarily the most important problem or the most interesting problem, but because it's the only one of these problems that I've made an effort to think in a very serious way about."

Now, if that's not a way to insult the audience right off the bat, I don't know what is. The conference, after all, was on precisely the topic Summers doubted the significance of, and so presumably most of the attendees thought the topic both interesting and important. Having thus primed his audience, Summers proceeded to tell them -- repeatedly -- that he thought -- after having seriously considered this problem -- that the greatest obstacle facing women in the sciences was very likely their own biology. Kill the pig! According to Franke-Ruta, Summers "insulted the audience right off the bat," "doubting the significance" of "precisely the topic" their conference was convened to discuss.

We'll continue noting The Daily Howler entries (it's also a sidebar permalink).

Somerby can disagree. That's his right. It's our right to disagree as well. If you want to know what he thinks, go to his site, grab his e-mail address and ask him.

To address your comments about Ward Churchill and Summers being the same thing, that's your opinion. My own opinion is that it's not. Churchill can cite sources to back up his comments. Whether he's right or wrong, he's done some work. Summers went into a conference thinking he could give off hand remarks based, apparently, on 'conventional wisdom' and that somehow that qualified for an academic conference. I don't know how many academic conferences Summers has been to, but that's not how they've worked at any I've attended.

Churchill is an issue of academic freedom. (And would be one if his position was the polar opposite. Though, were his position different, it's unlikely he'd be the subject of so much controversy in today's climate -- my opinion.) That's because it's based on academic study.

Summers, my opinion, has no academic-freedom-escape-clause. The administrator hasn't made the academic effort. He's shown up at a conference with the apparent attitude that he can toss of a few general observations. He has no research to back him up, he hasn't made the effort to inform himself and he's speaking at a conference.

My opinion: Common sense should have told him (regardless of whatever topic he wanted to speak on) that at an academic conference, you do a little work to prepare. Common sense should have told him that when he's seen as hostile already (due to earlier issues), he needs to be clear and this shoot-from-the-hip nonsense that may fly in a locker room (or seated at a bar) has no place at a conference of this sort. (He wasn't supposed to be delivering an improv speech on the spot after drawing a topic out of a hat.)

Theda Skocpol is among the most gifted academics we have in the poli sci field today. When she's going on the record about something bothering her, that's a red flag to me to pay attention to the issue.

As someone running a university (with a history of hiring problems) his remarks were especially noteable. In terms of members, if I remember correctly (you can go to the archives yourself, I don't have time) some members may have said he should be fired, some members may have said he should step down. I myself have focused on the fact that his remarks were uninformed and not going away. (And they're not.) (And I believe Maria's remarks were that he needed to back up his statements because she, as a teacher, would have to.)

There were questions about his leadership prior to his remarks (lingering questions). What he elected to say only made those questions more pertinent. He created his own mess and I don't have a great deal of sympathy for anyone who wants to talk 'conventional wisdom' before a crowd full of academics. Especially when there are already questions about his leadership.

Somerby should speak his truth (and I would have enjoyed hearing his points made on the radio today). Again, you want to create a fight that isn't there. As Molly Ivins has noted, grown ups can disagree. Though not my "God" or "Daddy," I value what Somerby writes even if I disagree.
He could be right, I could be wrong. I could be right, he could be wrong. Or their might be some valid points being made from both camps. (On the last point, I have no idea because instead of being able to contemplate his remarks, I'm replying to you. For the last time.)

When not suggesting that I'm meeting with the Goodmans (and for the record, I don't believe Ellen and Amy Goodman are related but perhaps you're using "sisters" as in "sisters in the struggle" -- if so, I'd recommend you check in with them on that), you seem to be suggesting that the remarks members and I made are similar to the New York Times editorial Sunday (I haven't read the editorial). I'm not sure if you're also attempting to suggest that there are clandestine meetings going on with the editorial board. But if that is what you're suggesting, are you suggesting that they'd meet with someone who so strongly criticizes Elisabeth Bumiller?

I'm not meeting with the editorial board, I'm not sharing points with them or working off the same page. (And I find it doubtful that the points are the same, though they may be similar. I've stated before that I generally agree with the editorial board of the Times and that if I didn't, I would have stopped subscribing long ago.) If there were similar (but not the same) points made by the editorial board, it's because they're looking at it in a similar manner. (And they could be wrong and Somerby could be right.)

We don't generally note the editorials or the op-eds from the Times. When we do, it's usually because a member asks that something be highlighted. I noted an editorial on Saturday. My comments were not about the topic or the opinion of the editorial. They focused, instead, upon the fact that Jane Mayer's writing was twice quoted in the editorial but instead of receiving credit, credit went to "The New Yorker." Someone in the newspaper business should have a great deal more respect for the byline than I do. That was the point. (And I offered a suggestion of three words that could have been cut out to allow the space for "Jane Mayer of" to be insterted before "The New Yorker.")

There are editorials in the paper I strongly agree with and ones I strongly disagree with (and the majority which I just nod along with). Those are their opinions and I'm not going to make it a point to say, "Is not!" to their "Is so!"

I didn't read Sunday's editorials (or today's or yesterday's) because I didn't have the time. If you felt it needed to be highlighted, it would have been highlighted if you e-mailed in requesting it to be noted.

As for sports metaphors vs. noting songs, we've always noted songs. If you go back to the early posts, they were titled after the line of song and opened with a song lyric. Susan, Julia and Julie (among others) have been asking repeatedly that we include more song lyrics. Shirley pointed out early on that in terms of archives, it could be hard for people to easily find entries if they continued to be titled after songs. So we moved away from that.

At a time when so many rely on sports and war metaphors, I'm glad if you're seeing song "metaphors." (However, I think what you are seeing is song citations and quotations. I could be wrong.) My opinion, we need more music in our lives.

Your comments about "dead nuns" leave me cold and I won't try to respond seriously to that or to think of a funny quip.

As for your having me outranking Ms., I'm flattered but they do a better job than I could ever hope to so I'll reject the judgement. I'm sure I'm forgetting to respond to something but this will have to do.

I found disagreement with the majority of your comments (there may be some point I'm in agreement with you on but if so I'm blanking). You have self-described "left" in the past. My feelings there are the same as with "feminist." The more people who use the term the better.
So although you don't meet my concept of the "left," you're welcome to the label. Self-describe anyway you like.

But you'll need to self-describe and self-identify elsewhere in the future because members have been very vocal about the space responses to you have taken up as well as the time. Translation, I'm not opening your e-mails any more. You identifed this e-mail (in your subject heading) as your "Kiss off to the community" and, as requested, it has been posted here.

Your comments have been printed in full except for specific attacks on community members. You've had your say, now walk off on the field (to put it in terms that will apparently please you) because you've dropped yourself from the team.

Good luck to you. Start your own blog and get your own voice out there if you'd like because we do need more voices, we always need more voices (that's the point of a democracy). You might end up a powerful voice in opposition to the Bully Boy's war on social security. But there are members with concerns that don't involve attacking what others want highlighted or insulting feminists or races or other countries. And having announced your retirement, you'll need to find another space.

As I remember it, Sue in Waterbury just insulted me, not the entire community. That's fine. (As it was fine when you did.) For that reason, there's a plate at the table if she ever chooses to come back. But you've insulted the concerns and cares of most (if not all) the community so there's really no need for you to show up for dinner. Your presence was disruptive to many and I doubt now that it's even tolerable.

Again, good luck to you. But if you'll excuse me now, Amy Goodman's got a carton of Luckys and I'm supposed to meet up with her, Ellen Goodman and Adam Nagourney (he's trying to change the system from within!) behind the gym. Tonight's topic? Uganda! By God there will be performances of the Vagina Monologues!

For those who've forgotten the Ad Nag's mention that popped up in November or missed it the first time:

Frank in Orlando feels that "first you slash and burn Adam [Nagourney] and now you're going over Jodi [Wilgoren]!" In a series of e-mails, Frank questions my noting the 24 pounds Wilgoren wrote about losing and quoting her on that in "Red" States Part IV.
Frank says that was mocking "Jodi's very serious weight problem." As I've stated before, I pretty much do not watch TV. If Wilgoren does have a weight problem (if), I'm not sure why Frank feels I should know about. Frank supplies a link to something calling her a "Ho Ho queen" -- I'll note it later in this post because Frank says "Your readers need to know she has a weight problem and if you don't [link] you're hiding what you did which is really evil."
Wilgoren personal life, from her loss of 24 pounds to her wedding, wouldn't have been an issue had she not elected to write about it on the pages of the Times. Reading that article, it appeared to me that the problems I found with her writing could reflect on the fact that her wedding planning was competing with her duties as a campaign reporter. That was my theory. People can post or e-mail their own theories. We don't have any answers. Which is a point made near the end of "Red States" Part IV regarding the media damage that leads to easy "answers" like "values" or spotlighting "issues" like wind surfing:

To judge what issues mattered in the campaign, perhaps the media should address which issues (and trivia) they chose to embrace? And when judging the Kerry campaign's turnout in states that they didn't even make campaign priorities, we might want to consider the type of "informed" coverage they were left with since their state wasn't deemed a battle ground.

The point I apparently didn't get across was that the media "entertained" us instead of informing us. Why that happened is something the media needs to address. Wilgoren might argue that her coverage is something she's proud of. If so, she could explain what she sees in her reporting that is worthy of pride. I don't see anything to be proud of. I offered that I believe she lacked campaign experience and if you're of the mind that her reporting was not worthy of her topic, that may be all you need to know.
Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder wondered if she was just bored. That's a valid question. Based on the story the Times published, I wondered if she was preoccupied with her wedding planning. Those are theories. I don't know that any or all are true. But I do feel that engaging in what the media did cover, how they covered and attempting to figure out why it was covered that way is worth more attention than these superficial feature stories being filed on "values" or whatever.
[. . . Note: We move on to other issues here before dropping back to Frank in Orlando's concern]

Now because Frank in Orlando insists that readers will not know how "truly evil" I am for mentioning Wilgoren losing twenty-four pounds, at his request, I'm about to post something.I want to state first of all that this a parody web site called Ad Nags. (WARNING: the web site I'm about to provide a link to uses objectionable language that may get you in trouble depending on your work place guidelines if you view the site while on the job: http://www.adamnagourney.com/.)
The people here are pretending to be famous reporters, pundits, et al. The entry Frank's referring to is by "Cokie" who, I'm guessing, is not the real Cokie Roberts. So before you read it, please realize that this is parody and not fact. I'm no fan of Cokie Roberts, but do not read the following and then leave with impression that in real life Cokie Roberts and Norah O'Donnell are attempting to sideline Andrea Mitchell so that O'Donnell can take over Mitchell's duties at NBC.
It's a parody. It's meant to be funny. The "people" listed in the entry are Alan Greenspan (whom we all know but we may not know that he's married to Andrea Mitchell), Jodi Wilgoren (of course), Elisabeth Bumiller (who covers the White House for the Times), Maureen Dowd who writes op-eds for the Times, and Kit (Katherine?) Seelye who writes for the Times. Oh, Daniel Okrent is mentioned as well and he's the public editor for the New York Times. Oh and the "you" it's written to is Adam Nagourney (reporter for the New York Times).
Again, note, this is parody. This is not real. (For instance, Wilgoren's wedding is due to take place on December 5th so Cokie Roberts could not have yet attended it.) Here is "Cookie" (who signs "Kooky Cokie to you!"):

I’m not even sure if I went to JODI’s wedding? Did it happen yet? Either it did and I went or I had the weirdest dream. JODI looked lovely in her WEDDING PONCHO and all was well until she sneezed and the back of her PONCHO RIPPED. Then either ELISABETH or MAUREEN or KIT started LAUGHING and POINTING at JODI. It was hard to tell who was underneath which BURKA. JODI proved she can be a DRAMA QUEEN in real life and not just in print by STOMPING OFF. And when the wedding was finally back, no one could find the groom. Finally he turned up with you in the men’s room. You were HELPING HIM WITH HIS ZIPPER, or that’s what NORAH told me. Then at the reception, the ICE SCULPTURE almost decapitated ANDREA MITCHELL. It was so shocking and, honestly, ALAN looked as though he might have a heart attack. NORAH was sobbing and I was patting her gently on the back and repeating, “NEXT TIME” over and over.
JODI had changed for the reception into a SLIMMING BLACK DRESS which didn’t do much for her but then it’s not a cure all, it can only do SO MUCH. And all the sudden DANIEL OKRENT shows up drunk, dressed in JODI’s WEDDING PONCHO chanting, “KERRY LOOKS FRENCH! KERRY LOOKS FRENCH!” while slamming HOSTESS CUPCAKES and TWINKEES into his mouth. Yes, we all call JODI the HO-HO QUEEN, but BEHIND HER BACK. That was so tasteless.
Or as that compassionate soul MAUREEN put it, “WEDDING HOUSE OF HORRORS. JODI showed up looking like RICKIE LAKE in HAIRSPRAY II: THE BIG TOP! SWIRLING around in her FLOWING PONCHO, JODI was bound & determined that everyone know SHE FINALLY CAUGHT HERSELF A MAN even if she did have to TROLL through every EX-GAY support group with a QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY to land him. FLOUNCING down the aisle with all the grace of a BURLY TRUCK DRIVER and looking like SHERRIF LOBO’s more rugged, older brother, JODI was like SHELLY WINTERS in The Poseidon Adventure which may explain why most of us are rooting for her to die.”
Adam, if Maureen’s commentary doesn’t seem it’s usual pithy blend of pop-culture and snide asides, blame it on me. I’ve got a broken heart I can’t even feel. I can’t even remember my motto. Something like DAY FORWARD I MATTER. I’m lost adrift.
“Column done.” Yes. Well I’ll go swallow a handful of pills and hopefully get some sleep. I don’t know how Judy did it. Garland, not Miller.

Frank in Orlando notes that "many publications" have talked about this blog "including Columbia Journalism Review" and that the "only reason" I could have for not linking is that I want to conceal how "really evil" I am. I did e-mail him that linking to this article could be construed as "cruel" if indeed Wilgoren does have a weight problem. (Or for that matter, if she only thinks she has a weight problem.) Frank replied that I was "running scared people will see the kind of person you really are." [Actually, people could feel it is cruel for any number of reasons not having to do with Wilgoren. And they don't have to be a fan of Okrent, Mitchell, O'Donnell, etc. to feel that way. If you don't think I should have linked or copy and pasted, please let me know. I'm tired and won't claim this decision was made without hesitation.]
So it's posted. I don't know that it says anything about me or how evil I am (or am not) but maybe it will give someone an easy laugh? I've scanned the site and I want to add that although this is humor, I think it's underscoring the level of "clowning" (Bob Somerby's term) that goes on in our press corp. Consider it Mad Magazine with a point and that it may offend some people. (I'm sure I'll hear about that.)

[E-mail address is common_ills@yahoo.com.]