CSotD: ‘Being a cynic is contemptibly easy.’


Clay Jones backs up his cartoon with a furious screed about conspiracy theories and sore losers, worth reading for the anger as well as the message:

Congratulations, Democratic conspiracy theorists. You’re on the same level of thinking and paranoia as Donald Trump. Voting or endorsing is not a coup. It’s democratic. It’s politics.

And today’s headline is a quote from Molly Ivins who I dearly wish were still here to cut through not just the fog but the whiny, self-serving horseshit.

Then again, you can buy a copy of “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” and it’ll make you wonder what she might have written that she didn’t already, because she was right 25 years ago and it’s not like anybody listened and changed anything.

I see several threads on social media this morning about the interview Rachel Maddow did with Elizabeth Warren in which people whinge about how both women used big words like “vituperative” and “pernicious.”

Molly had that covered, in a piece on reporting originally written for  The Houston Journalism Review in 1973:

Any good teacher will tell you that aiming at the lowest common denominator is poor practice. In communicating anything, you do better if you aim slightly above the heads of your audience. If you make them stretch a little, they respond better. If you keep aiming at the dumb ones, you never challenge them and you bore the hell out of the bright ones. You also commit the grievous and pernicious error of thinking that ‘the people’ is dumb. One of the most horrific results is that the people start to think so themselves.

If in fact you hold that the people is dumb, if that attitude is not a pose, you’re in the wrong business. Go join an ad agency.

Later, she adds, “Also, in cultivating your regard for the people, the readers, it helps if you don’t read the letters-to-the-editor column.”

If we’d had Facebook and Twitter and such back then, she surely would have included them in that caution.


Tim Campbell points out the gap Bernie faces, and it’s really the gap between the vocal minority on social media and the actual people they claim to represent.

Bernie needed a major turnout among the under-30s and he still needs it and he didn’t get it on Tuesday and I don’t know how he’s going to get it in the immediate future.

It reminds me of a confrontation during the Student Strike in 1970. Strikers had taken down the American flag on campus and raised a handmade “Strike!” flag, but, after the rally, a Cuban exile began to take it down, only to be challenged by a campus radical.

It became an argument about life in Cuba, between a Vinceremos veteran and someone who had lived there, until a half dozen black teenagers walked by, at which point the radical turned to them, addressing them as “brothers,” and asked them which flag they preferred.

They laughed that their mommas didn’t have no white kids and opined that his flag was a f***ing bedsheet and walked on.

If you judge things by the people in your own bubble, you’re gonna find out that the larger world can be an awfully cold place.


And speaking of appeals to your “brothers,” the best way to work across racial lines is to be yourself.

With all due respect to Mike Smith and any number of other white male cartoonists drawing similar cartoons, I don’t consider my race or my age to be a disqualifying factor or anything to apologize for.

That’s not to say I fail to recognize the advantage, aka privilege.

But I’m not going to stop wishing for a day when Barack Obama can win the presidency and Cory Booker can fall short. Which, you’ll note, is here.

As for the age thing, if the people who are now 70 failed to nurture those who are now 50, that is a problem, or, at least, it’s a problem of perception.

But time will solve it.

Julian Castro is 45, for instance, and his shot at the presidency sputtered, but he’ll be around in four years, as will Andrew Yang, also 45, and Kamala Harris, who is 55.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are all roughly the same age (Warren isn’t much younger), so I’m predicting that candidates in 2024 will not face an incumbent of either party.

Though maybe one of them will be facing a vice-president, and let’s hope it isn’t Nikki Haley.


Meanwhile, Kevin Siers offers a respectful hail and farewell in place of promoting a conspiracy theory.

Warren did well, and there are any number of reasons it didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure and it doesn’t erase her from the stage.

She’s still positioned to raise hell in the Senate, and those who are calling for her to be vice-president should consider that the governor of Massachusetts is a Republican and would choose her replacement.

I like where she’s at.

And maybe it’s because I’m from a state in which 75% of our congressional delegation is women, but the cries of “Misogyny!” are not persuading me of much.

Or maybe I believe women can be successful because Hillary won the popular vote.

Or maybe because my definition of misogyny springs from when the first Congressional rep I ever voted for later ran for president, and would have been a damn good one, but fell short.

Which is politics.

But teared up in announcing the end of her campaign whereupon the hipsters at Saturday Night Live jumped on it and mocked her tears, portraying her as an unstable lightweight.

That, dear friends, was misogyny.

Misogyny is a real problem. As is racism. As is ageism.

Tell us something we don’t already know.

Molly Ivins would be happy to point out how women are treated unfairly in the media, but Schroeder does a good job of that, herself.

Neither of them need cynicism to make a point, particularly since wit, humor and perspective — along with truly giving a damn — are so much more effective.


(I’m still proud of my first vote, 50 years ago)

2 thoughts on “CSotD: ‘Being a cynic is contemptibly easy.’

  1. If Nikki Haley is VP, there will no longer be much point in voting.

    And the top of the ticket will still be a Trump.

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