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Saying Grace: Paula Deen, Progressives, and Race


By Maria Dixon

I don’t agree with everything in the speech, but it’s fun.  It’s another one of those “West Wing” or “The American President” fantasy creations about what we’d like to hear – this time I guess from a media figure seeing as how the title of the series is “News Room.”  I’m not going to subscribe to HBO, so I guess I’ll have to wait a year or so until it comes out on DVD.

My kids have discovered the Brady Bunch and we’re ordering them up from Netflix.  Just hearing the theme song has triggered odd childhood memories.  I literally had not seen these episodes in 30 years.

So, regarding the intro with the tic tac toe squares with each character in the box – why is Florence Henderson in the top box above Ralph Reed?  At one point he looks up and she looks down almost as if he is worshiping and her glance is almost angelic in bestowing grace upon him.  Was this a early feminist inspired concession to signal a minor break from the traditional nuclear family (actually, there’s not much “traditional” about the nuclear family – it’s a fairly recent phenomenon in history) in undercutting the image of contextual male authority, or is the female image simply put upon the pedestal as a tribute to the anti-feminist notion that women are actually morally superior if intellectually weaker because they are too good for the world and it’s the man’s job to handle the drudgery of worldly concerns.  It was originally used against suffrage, that women should not be expected to demean themselves with political concerns.  This was the explanation I heard by a John Birch Society advocate explaining a bumper sticker they were selling calling for the repeal of the 19th Amendment on the basis that “you can’t fool Mother Nature.”

I’m told that the Brady Bunch represented a “liberal turn” from the 50s nuclear family-based television offerings such as Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show, but Ralph Reed’s character does seem to be the ultimate authority in the plot lines, so if they were trying to break from the mold they didn’t get very far.

On the other hand, there is a kind of liberal aura to the plot lines in this family’s dealings with the outside world – nobody is truly evil, and most conflict is the product of misunderstanding rather than malice, and even where there are hints of malice from outside characters, those characters are really just the products of their environment.  The show certainly did not paint a picture of a fallen sinful world.   It was always about the power of reason and compassion to govern human affairs ultimately.  Punishments were always correctional in nature, and there were no villains (not even the guy who played Howell on Gilligan’s Island who tried to push the evil pool table on the family).

Anyway, back to the tic tac toe square positioning – feminist progress, or putting women on a pedestal?

Addendum: Okay, for some reason people keep clicking on the picture above.  Are you expecting the video?  Here you go.

All of the sudden, tonight was his last broadcast.  The NBC folk want you all to believe it had nothing to do with the Comcast takeover, which begins next week.  It’s just coincidence.

“Olbermann did not discuss any future plans, but NBC executives said one term of his settlement will keep him from moving to another network for an extended period of time.”

So no Olbermann anywhere for awhile.  Why did he agree to that?  Maybe he wants some rest.  It does happen.

Josh Marshal was on the early part of the show and didn’t learn about it until he got home.  He said that there was nothing in the studio to give the impression something was up.

Here’s his sign off.

Countdown With Keith Olbermann Is No More – Lez…, posted with vodpod

Addendum: Is he returning to sports?  Or maybe a run for Senate?

A Florida school banned red and green. It was reported on TV, so it has to be true.

Oh, and to date Fox News has yet to air a retraction. They did post an “update” in which they quote the principal as denying that there is such a policy, and blamed parents for not checking with the principal before Fox ran their story nationwide.

The Village Voice adds this:

County officials shot that story down, but who cares? Fox updated, but as we wrote this, Gateway Pundit (“Florida School Bans Christmas… And Christmas Colors”) hadn’t. Neither had Blue Collar Philosophy (“since Liberalism is a religion and those who believe in it cannot tolerate the one religion that exposes it, namely, Christianity”), nor Weasel Zippers (“it’s come to this”), nor this guy, nor this one, etc.

Full Metal Patriot did update: “After receiving a predictable backlash from angry parents, the Seminole County Public Schools district has issued the following retraction correction… This may have been a case of the school and district doing an abrupt about-face or it may have been an individual teacher taking her authority a bit too far.” Or it may have been bullshit, a possibility Full Metal Patriot did not consider.

Addendum: Another edict from the Fox News Central Committee has been leaked which instructed reporters to skew any discussion of climate change.

That’s how my good friend John Rogers describes it, and coming across this clip from the last season supports the description.  It’s a fantasy in a couple of respects – that two intelligent party nominees for President would agree to a free-form debate with unlimited exchange without obsession over precisely how much time each gets.  It’s a fantasy that the Republicans would nominate a free-thinking pro-choice Republican capable of plausible depiction by Alan Alda.  And it is the ultimate fantasy of how we wanted Michael Dukakis to respond against George Bush, Sr. way back in that debate of 1988 when the former’s ACLU membership was brought up.

Of course, it doesn’t beat this fantasy response Gore ought to have made to Bush as Bartlet does to James Brolin’s depiction of a Bush-like pol (several years before his son depicted the real thing in W).  The theme is underscored by the lead-up to the debate where his staff and wife try every trick to pull a cerebral President out of his head.  Of course, the real fantasy is that voters actually want someone in office smarter than them, and would not be turned off by Bartlett’s smug sense of liberal superiority.

Addendum: Bernie Sanders tries to bring class issues back into national discourse.  Thanks to PAN for the notice.

A very eloquent defense of a much maligned word.

Very interesting discussion, that goes back to Stewart’s slamming of Crossfire.


For making campaign donations without permission from the management, against NBC policy.  Ostensibly  is “neutrality” was jeopardized.

Lots of talk on KGOE today about how many Fox News figures not only donate but actively participated in Republican campaigns, but Fox has no similar policy.  More important is the point noted through the link that many NBC figures have donated to campaigns, including the man who was assigned to replace Olbermann tonight.  So while it seems that Olbermann may have violated policy, there is some evidence of selective enforcement and a question of whether there is a clear understanding of the policy’s workings.

Indefinite suspension without pay also seems like an extreme reaction.  NBC’s refusal to answer questions about it is also weird.  It plays into the claims of KGOE programming hosts who speculate that it’s about the pending Comcast takeover of NBC with fear about the new political order thrown in.  I guess this would suggest that the Maddow, O’Donnell, and Shultz are up for the chopping block as well?

Fox does have a different policy re neutrality and the impression thereof.  What other network will organize and even orchestrate a demonstration then cover it as a spontaneous event?

MSNBC conservative commentator Scarborough donated to a Republican back in 2006 and again this year.  Will he be suspended as well?  His show Monday morning will probably be the most watched in a long time.

Josh Marshal asks some pertinent questions about the incident, and one of his readers comments:

“The strangest thing about MSNBC policy is the asking for permission part. Either you can give or you can’t. Requiring permission implies that certain candidates or parties are acceptable and certain candidates or parties are unacceptable to management. Isn’t it illegal for employers to go down that road?”

Addendum: Rachel Maddow comments.

Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann suspension, posted with vodpod

Key quotes for those of you on dial-up:

Let this incident lay to rest forever the facile never true anyway bullpuckey lazy conflation of Fox News and what the rest of us do for a living.  I know everybody likes to say Oh, that’s cable news it’s all the same.  Fox News and MSNBC mirror images of each other.  Let this lay that to rest forever.  Hosts on Fox raise money on the air for Republican candidates.  They endorse them explicitely; they use their Fox News profile to headline fundraisers.

Yes Keith’s a liberal and so am I… We are not a political operation; Fox is.

Oh, and the netroots aren’t taking it lightly. You can sign a petition.  Or you can call MSNBC.

September 2014
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