Best of the Week: The Colbert Report on Charles Murray, flying deathbots and more…
March 31, 2012 2 Comments
MONDAY (March 26, 2012)
Stephen Colbert segues from President Obama’s words about Trayvon Martin to Geraldo Rivera’s nonsense about blaming the hoodie.
At first I naively thought that the President was expressing a moving sentiment to a troubled country, but then I learned better….Now, it would be very easy to blame the shooter or blame the law that let him off or blame easy access to guns or blame our nations borderline pathological distrust of young black men. Luckily, a top legal mind has fingered the real culprit.
TUESDAY (March 27, 2012)
I dislike the very fact that Charles Murray is invited to be interviewed as if he were an actual scholar who submitted his ideas for peer review, rather than an ideological hack interested in writing books to justify spending less money on helping the poor.
Here’s Professor Michael Nunley on Murray’s book The Bell Curve, which sought via pseudo-science to label blacks as less intelligent than whites.
I believe this book is a fraud, that its authors must have known it was a fraud when they were writing it, and that Charles Murray must still know it’s a fraud as he goes around defending it. By “fraud,” I mean a deliberate, self-conscious misrepresentation of the evidence. After careful reading, I cannot believe its authors were not acutely aware of what they were including and what they were leaving out, and of how they were distorting the material they did include.
As Eric Alterman points out, Murray and his co-author Richard J. Hernstein, used researchers associated with the racist journal Mankind Quarterly. The white supremacist Pioneer Fund funded some of the scholars.
Murray is now back, hawking his book Coming Apart: The State of White America (1960-2010). As Daniel Denvir puts it…
His argument is a mean and vicious slander against the people of Fishtown and working class people everywhere, detailing the decline of what he calls the “Founding virtues” of industriousness, honesty, marriage, and religion amongst the rabble.
Stephen Colbert praises Murray’s new focus, tongue firmly in cheek
COLBERT: I think it’s refreshing that following [The Bell Curve] you’re writing a book that contains no black people in it whatsoever. Believe me, I think that’s extremely refreshing.
MURRAY: You know, you know, let’s face it. Let’s face it. It made life a whole lot easier to do it that way.
COLBERT: You know what? I find just hanging out with white people a lot easier, too.
I actually agree with Murray that the class divide in the United States is getting worse and worse. As June Carbone and Naomi Cahn note on Alternet, Murray appears to blame the poor rather than the rich who actually hold the power to make structural changes in this country.
The problem with the declining fortunes of those on the losing end of the economic spectrum, he argues in his new book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, is not the loss of jobs. It’s not about the increase in contingent hiring that makes the remaining jobs less stable. And it’s certainly not the disappearance of unions that once fought for worker protection. Instead, the problem with the working class is – surprise, surprise – the working class. In the world according to Murray, they have lost their moral fiber, giving up on the values that once made America great. Instead of eagerly accepting the $10/hr, no-benefit jobs that remain, they work less and attend church less often. The men fail to support their families and the women respond by refusing to marry the ne’er-do-wells and foolishly raising children on their own.
WEDNESDAY (March 28, 2012)
COLBERT: If they can tell us to buy health insurance, that completely destroys the idea of limited government, because right now, all the government can do is tax me, draft me, put me in jail, or declare me an enemy combatant and then execute me without trial using a flying deathbot.
On the ridiculous conservative argument that mandating the purchase of health care is the same as mandating the purchase of broccoli.
COLBERT: If I don’t buy broccoli, it doesn’t raise the price of your broccoli. And if we don’t all buy into this national broccoli pool, it doesn’t get rid of all broccoli eventually. And we aren’t the only industrial country that does not provide universal broccoli care.
Of course, the conservatives are making the argument that the more progressive solution (single payer, funded through taxes) would have been a more solid legal solution. So remind me again why Obama went out of his way to do this the conservative way, rather than working with progressives?
THURSDAY (March 29, 2012)
After Mitt Romney got such joy from telling a humorous anecdote about his dad shutting down factories, Stephen offered Mittens some additional material for his stand-up act.
You ever notice how white people and black people are different? Y’all ever notice that? Like, when you fire a white guy, he’s all like “What? I’ve been working here for eighteen years. I have three kids. It’s a week before Christmas, what am I gonna do?” but when you fire a black guy, he’s all like “What? I’ve been working here for eighteen years. I have three kids. It’s a week before Kwanza, what am I gonna do?”
Right, am I right about that one?
Polentical: Best of the Week: The Colbert Report on Wall Street, Santorum, and more
American Progress: Think Again: Charles Murray and the Power of Mainstream Media Amnesia
Charity Sapphire: Why Shoe Leather Journalism is dying, Colbert reports
Campaign Bread: Should Colbert be getting involved in politics?