Sunday, August 15, 2010

Those trashy political rags

So many trees killed to express so very little. As we flipped through one lefty and 'lefty' mag after another, a horrifying thought emerged: "This trash is killing the rain forest!"

Poli mags

First up, Mother Jones which continues to be a cesspool. Stephanie Mencimer's August cover story demonstrates how very shallow the cesspool is: Glenn Beck. How stupid are these beggars? If you don't want someone to be popular, you ignore them. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. Try grasping that especially when choosing a cover and maybe it's past time for the left to realize they need to use their covers to advance ideas in the public square?

Mencimer article includes this descriptive sentence: "How Glenn Beck and other right-wing talkers use paranoia to talk fans into entrusting their savings to shady gold dealers." How Glenn Beck and others use paranoia to fleece people? Mother Jones really wants to go there? Not only is ever lefty and 'lefty' mag on the newstand selling fear (especially on the covers) but this is the same Mother Jones we were calling out in April:

In fact, the cover of the April 2010 issue alone gave us pause. "AGE OF TREASON" screams the headline. Is this Mother Jones (named after the muckraker who herself was accused of treason) or The National Review? The subheading continues, "THIS SOLDIER IS READY TO TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. HE'S NOT ALONE." This is what keeps the Mother Jones crew too busy to write corrections? Staff meetings where they dream up these fear mongering covers?

Just holding the cover leaves you feeling unclean, as if Lucianne Goldberg had cornered you in an elevator while insisting did she have a boy for you!

Mother Jones offers nine pages of crazy passed off as a cover story. We'd first point out that MoJo wasn't interested in 'exposing' (or covering) resistance in the military under Bush. But if it has to do with loverboy Barry Obama, they just will not abide it

In search of further useless crap, we picked up the July issue of Extra! from FAIR and couldn't stop laughing as Ava and C.I. did dead-on impersonations of the CounterSpin on-air staff reading the articles. Peter, Janine and Steve are so very ripe for parody. As a humor magazine, as a spoof, it works. But the laughter dies away as you grasp these people are serious.

If nothing else, The New Republic can claim to be serious in that they devote the August 12th issue to Afghanistan with nine writers weighing and only one having anything remotely worth saying. At least they tried for smart. International Socialist Review's July-August issue is probably the worst thing they've ever published. While ISR usually has many things worth saying, not in the issue.

Things get off to a bad start early on, page two in fact, when Sharon Smith crosses a line that Honkey Mama might want to check herself on. Whatever you think of the Arizona law (most Americans favor it), it is not the "new Jim Crow" or, as Sharon tries for pith, "Juan Crow." In fact, that's really offensive to compare Jim Crow laws to the Arizona one. You can feel it's xenophobic or any other thing you want. But when you compare it to Jim Crow, you're grasping for a comparison that doesn't exist but will likely offend many African-Americans.

Sharon Smith needs some homework assignments on Jim Crow. It's such a disgusting comparison, that even the Noam Chomsky interview can't save it. Then again, maybe David Barsamian might try remembering the Iraq War. Page after page and scan in vain for Iraq -- the ongoing, illegal war. Does the Iraq War bore David? Really, because David bores us.

The only magazine that remembers Iraq is Fifth Estate. In their summer issue, they offer "Q&A with Dahr Jamail, Resistance to Iraq war inside the military." It's amazing to grasp how many magazines we made it through (more than are mentioned here) and how only Fifth Estate weighed in on the Iraq War.

For that reason alone, it's worth purchasing; however, there are many other articles in the issue worth praising. Outside of that magazine, the only other thing we'd praise is Washington Monthly. We don't often encounter original thought in Washington Monthly and we certainly don't expect it but the July/August issue was a real move towards independent thought and original thought. This was best exemplified by Malcolm Gay's article; however, it's true of so many of the articles and, please, make a point to read John Gravois's "The Agnostic Cartographer."

Two magazines worth reading, one not even worth wrapping a codfish in (that would be the current issue of ISR). The Progressive should be very glad that ISR sucked so bad or they'd be the worst of the current cycle.

As if it's not bad enough that Robert Redford's trying to (yet again) play Paul Bratter (Barefoot in the Park), he's trying it in print. As Legal Eagles demonstrated, he can no longer carry off that role. He's not believable in it. And that sums up the story.

Actually, the entire issue. If Matthew Rothschild wanted to get smart, he'd start hiring his readers (not us!) because they continue to be the only bright spot. Take Steve Burns of Madison, Wisconsin who writes:

While the lunatic ravings of Glenn Beck provide good fodder for magazine articles, we should remember that it wasn't Beck who nearly tripled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
And it's not Sarah Palin who claims the right to assassinate anyone in the world, including U.S. citizens, without even a pretense of due process.
And it's not Rush Limbaugh who causes millions in our nation's immigrant communities to live in daily fear of raids by agents of Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
Yes, there is the potential of violence coming from the right, but we shouldn't allow the fear of rightwing violence to distract us from the greatest instigator of violence in the world today -- and the greatest threat to our civil liberties -- a nice, well-spoken liberal Democrat named Barack Obama.

Someone send that letter to Mother Jones.
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