CSotD: ‘Many Say’ and other journalistic malarkey

So Joe Biden’s campaign is done, over, finished, because he decided to use a quirky, amusing word in place of “bullshit.”

I don’t know if Matt Wuerker is proclaiming this, or only observing it, but in a less hostile, divided country, it might not even be an issue.

However, Politico has determined that Biden’s “No Malarkey Tour” is controversial:

They don’t love or hate the slogan. Some of them said it’s kind of funny; others, kind of corny. While some voters welcomed the slogan as a throwback to a calmer era, others said it will only alienate younger voters.

But many said, bottom line, they don’t quite get it.

Well, there you go: “Many said.”

That proves it. Many wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.

Disclaimer: I used to hate doing “Man on the Street” reaction pieces. To begin with, I was more comfortable talking to a murder suspect or the VP of a bank that had just been robbed than interrupting some anonymous schmuck who was just trying to run a few errands.

But I particularly hated it when my editor would read about a trend and assign me to go prove it was happening in our town, by searching the malls and sidewalks until I came across an example, no matter how long it took or how dubious the match-up.

At which point, you cover up the fact that you don’t know if it’s really representative or not with some weasel phrase like “Many say.”

But while “many say” that Biden’s corny old-fashioned grandpa image is killing his campaign, he’s leading in pretty much every poll in the country.

I don’t know if the polls are accurate, but many say social media is not.

By which I mean, I say it.

Kal Kallaugher has captured something I’ve seen on social media, which is that many say the Democrats need to repeat the George McGovern campaign and choose a candidate of unsurpassed doctrinal purity and vision.

Bernie is in second place in a lot of polls, often well behind Biden, except for here in the Granite State, where he leads but is also the Boy Next Door, so it hardly counts.

But many say that the Democrats should not get hung up on “electability,” which is kind of like saying you shouldn’t bet on the fastest horse.

Still the McGovern thing turned out so well that the theory deserves a second chance.

This is a bit deceptive, and those who decry the Electoral College would point out that it was really much closer than this looks, since McGovern actually won nearly 38% of the popular vote, very nearly as strong a showing as Walter Mondale scored a dozen years later.


“Politics ain’t bean bag,” Mr. Dooley observed, but apparently the way many say it should be played isn’t football, either.

Though it should be noted that Herm Edwards was born in 1954 and is therefore a Boomer and many say that makes his opinions irrelevant.


Over in Candorville, Lemont has been having a bit of an early midlife crisis this week, realizing that his assigned Madison Avenue demographic, Gen X, has shuffled off the stage and that even Millennials are beginning to lose their place in the limelight.

Sic transit, baby.

His use of “the average Millennial” seems redundant, given that declaring yourself part of a demographic group means declaring yourself average, which can mean socially accepted as “part of the group” or perhaps is more in the Biblical “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot” sense of the term.

Assuming there’s a distinction.

As often noted here, I have never identified as a Boomer and I certainly never considered myself — for better or for worse — “average.”


Granted, I came of age at a fleeting moment when being average was like having missed the last bus out of Squaresville.

Still, the older people within that 1946-1964 age spread had nothing in common with younger people, while even within much narrower slices, there were straights and freaks and radicals and jocks and politicos and more.

I remember having dinner with an extremely smart woman a decade or so ago, and, when we discovered how close we were in age, I asked, “So, Beach Boys or British Invasion?” and she spat back “British Invasion” so quickly that I think she wanted to slap me for the insult.


Anyway, I don’t think the next group up has any interest in being average, and I get a strong indication that they’re not interested in playing ageist bullshit games, either.

It feels rewarding to be on the wisdom end of the familiar exchange, and seeing this picture, and talking to my granddaughters about life, and about my experiences in it, reminds me of when we all but worshiped Benjamin Spock and Bucky Fuller and how, when I was visiting a GF at the University of Toronto, we walked past Marshall McLuhan‘s offices as if we were at the Vatican.

Many of those “teach-ins” you’ve read about involved literally sitting at the feet of our elders.

And god bless Maggie Kuhn for standing up to ageist bullshit and founding the Gray Panthers.

Powerlessness and alienation from society affect young as well as old in ways which can be destructive but which have great potential for creative action. Both groups have only to gain when they combine their energies to form a new power base from which to challenge the forces that oppress them.

Maggie never tried to be average.

Being average is a load of malarkey.


10 thoughts on “CSotD: ‘Many Say’ and other journalistic malarkey

  1. I find the whole “OK, Boomer” thing hysterical as a piece of generational denial. It’s like everyone suspects the Boomers of some grand conspiracy to screw up the planet, no matter where or how. And it’s like everyone else fell into that craftily made little trap: Boomers forced everyone else to use untold millions of single-use plastic water bottles and untold millions of single-use Starbucks latté cups and billions of plastic take out containers and plastic bags and single potatoes wrapped in Saran Wrap to make microwaving them easier. The Boomers clearly foisted “fast fashion” and totally whiz-bang “smart devices” that must be discarded and replaced after two years. Ah yes, the evil, evil Boomers, who might have brought civil rights and questioning the nature of war and the government to the table, but apparently also, magically, somehow co-conspired to bring on the financial crisis and the most recent recession.

    Yup, they all did it, every single little Boomer out there. They purposely put their retirements plans in a loss-situation and saw the value of their homes plummet… just so they could stick it to the Mills and the GenXers. Yessir, makes all the sense in the world.

  2. FWIW, Thom Hartmann has been talking about the McGovern campaign, saying he lost not because he was more progressive, he was just a lousy campaigner. Certainly he never inspired the excitement of Bernie at his best.

  3. McGovern was what was left after the White House Ratf*ckers had destroyed Muskie with the forged “Canuck Letter.”

    He was a bad campaigner, yes, but he was also a bad candidate.

    But, yes, if you want to see if hitting yourself in the head with a hammer still hurts, by all means ….

  4. Sean, At 66, I am a “boomer.” As I hear the use of the term “Boomer”, I hear it as a justifiable expression of exasperation at many of my generation (and I am going to point largely at the cult of our Dear Leader formerly known as the Republican Party) who engaged in gross misuse of our natural resources, denial or ignorance of the science of climate change and crazy running-up of an obscene national debt. When it became clear (at different times for each problem) that these events were occurring, many of my generation (particularly those in power) engaged in either denial, willful ignorance or just plain greed to cause my generation to do little about these existential threats … just kicking the can down the road for the following generations to deal with the issues.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. It is what happened. My grandchildren are going to pay the price tag. My generation has failed them.

  5. Where in my post did I say “many said”?

    I used the phrase “many of my generation” in an attempt to not lump all boomers into one lump group of people. There have been many in my generation who tried to call the alert … to make a difference. But, those in power were too much in control.

    And virtually all of them were/are 1%ers and members of the cult of Trump formerly called the Republican party. There. That was what I wanted to say … but I was trying to be civil.

  6. “Many said”. (or) : “People are saying that you…”

    Or, of course, “It has been reported that….”

  7. David Spitco – I believe the folks referring to “many said” are not responding to your posts at all, but to Mike’s multiple uses of the phrase in his column. Please note the first section on Joe Biden.

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