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February 12, 2005

Storytelling time with Dr. Dean

I wrote earlier that if I'm going to pop a cork at every piece of post-Nov. 2 good news, it looks like I'll have to buy at least a case of champagne. Howard Dean's ascendency to the DNC chairmanship is just the excuse I've been waiting for to break out another bottle.

In fact, when I read Powerline this afternoon, I realized I might need a magnum. Dean appears to have fallen victim to the "storytelling" meme that seems to be mass-hypnotizing the left. (CNN's Jon Klein recently proudly pledged allegiance to "storytelling." This was, of course, before Eason's fables tarnished whatever was left of their good name.)

(And what a tragic idea to base your strategy on. "Storytelling" — wasn't that what BusHitler was doing when he read "My Pet Goat" to a classroom full of children as the WTC burned? Isn't that what you do when it's bedtime for the kids — tell them a nice little story?)

So this appears to be the brilliant new Democratic strategy: spoonfeeding spin to the childlike American people. Those Jesuslanders will learn to love the Democrats as soon as they understand liberal ideology as a "story." Suddenly, all those failed mid-20th century ideas will seem different, new, and wonderful! And the nice storyteller will tell the audience who the good guys and bad guys are. None of that tiring "deciding for yourself." And we'll all live happily ever after.*

Today, I raise a glass of champagne to Dr. Dean's idea that it's not the contents, it's the wrapping. It's not the facts, but the light in which the facts are conveyed. To Dr. Dean, for believing that all the Democratic Party needs is a more efficient way to polish the turd it keeps offering us every two years. Keep polishing, Dr. Dean! By 2008, I'm sure it'll look like gold! Cheers!

*Just as soon as Princess Hillary vanquishes the bad man, BusHitler.

Posted by EtherPundit at 03:31 PM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2005

Barnes & Noble cooking the books? Part II

I posted a while back about the glaringly obvious liberal bias in my local Barnes & Noble’s book displays. I wondered whether the bias was dictated by market forces, or by a political slant coming down from local or national management.

"AkRonin," an Alaskan, responded to my post, saying that there was evident bias even in the B&Ns in Alaska, a red state. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it suggests a political, not commercial, motive. Now I have a bit more information to add to the mix.

First, a friend saved this shocking, yet somehow expected pre-election conversation (.pdf file) from a Borders employee bulletin board. (The site deleted the thread when it started receiving unwanted blog-scrutiny.) Brief sample:

You guys don't actually HAVE to sell [Unfit for Command]! Just "carelessly" hide the boxes, "accidentally" drop them off pallets, "forget" to stock the ones you have, and then suggest a nice Al Franken or Micheal [sic] Moore book as a substitute....

I don't care if these Neandertals in fancy suits get mad at me... Anything you can do to make them feel unwelcome is only fair... And they would censor your speech, your books, your music in a heartbeat, so give them a taste of it!

Borders, of course, is not Barnes, but it’s reasonable to think the same kinds of things might go on, at least at the employee level.

Second, for some time I’ve been noticing the books displayed at the Brooklyn Costco, about 35 blocks from the Barnes & Noble. Costco is famous for its fiercely strategic buying and inventory control. They only keep about 50 or so current titles in stock at any given time, and book inventory flies out of that store; you know they keep a sharp eye on every unit moved. I’ve watched their book selections change over countless visits during the last few years, and their selection seems scrupulously balanced politically. For every “Deliver Us From Evil,” there’s a “Bushwhacked.” For every Al Franken book, there’s an Ann Coulter book.

Could Costco be stocking conservative books just for appearances, even though they don’t sell? It doesn’t seem likely. I think conservative books are selling, at least as well as liberal books, and that’s why the new ones keep getting stocked.

Finally, I’ve been using Amazon for about 4 years now, and I’ve never noticed much of a bias. Sometimes they get some kind of bug up their butt about promoting a certain book, and often these are liberal. (Lately it’s been Jon Stewart’s “America.” I assume they have some sort of sweetheart deal from the publisher in these cases.) I haven’t made a study of it, but it appears that, over time, conservative books have been just as common as liberal books on Amazon’s top-seller lists.

So what other explanation could there be for the Barnes & Noble stock and display policies other than political bias? I hate to believe such a thing of a bookstore, but it’s hard to think of any other motives on their part.

Posted by EtherPundit at 08:05 PM | Comments (7)

November 20, 2004

Kerry: Warmer, but still kinda cold

PowerLine has some good news: John Kerry is still floundering around, trying to understand why he lost the election. In a way, I'd prefer if the Dems kept up their "We lost to Jesusland, which hates gays" drumbeat, because the further they are from the truth, the easier they are to defeat. To Kerry's credit, he sometimes seems to be getting close to the right idea, sort of. Of course, this quote is kind of sad:

"It was that Usama tape — it scared them [the American people]."  

Did it? Did it actually scare anybody? Because even though I work one block from one of the world's biggest terrorist targets, I actually felt reassured by the tape. I don't recall a video preamble before any of Al Qaeda's actual attacks, so my assumption was that a video was all they would be able to deliver. If they'd had an October surprise in them, they would have delivered it and skipped the chitchat.

Rivera said Kerry said the tape came out too late for his camp to rebut and the Democratic campaign couldn't counteract it in time for the Tuesday election. "

See, Johnny, this is one of the places where you really went wrong. You had the idea that terrorist threats were to be responded to ad hoc, based on perceived public reaction (presumably determined by focus groups). You never did get it. It's not a tape here, a ship bombed there, a building blown up somewhere else: It is a WAR. A WAR. For a supposed war hero, you seemed to have a terribly hard time comprehending this. But most of us do get it. Even some of us blue staters. Even some of us here in Jesusland, Brooklyn, where we can remember seeing office memos drifting down in the breeze for hours after the buildings that had housed them had ceased to exist.

Yep, war.

Posted by EtherPundit at 03:02 PM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2004

Bush Dolly: Trampled Underfoot!

Dean Esmay says he's boycotting Canada because a Canadian MP squished a Bush dolly under her boot.


"I show my power to you, KKKowboy! I crush a little dolly that nominally looks like a teeny, tiny plastic version of you! Ha! Take that, you basket-flaunting, phallocentric, JDAM-hurling oppressor of Islamic women and babies! This is grrrrrrrl power! Tremble before my might, KKKowardly AmeriKKKan fascist!"

All power to Dean, and I certainly respect his decision. But I personally found this incident hilarious. So this is what our foreign opposition allies are reduced to? This is it? This is all you got? Playing with dollies? We've got the Marines mowing down Zarqawi's men thousands of miles away, and you've got a child's doll pinned helplessly on the floor? Bring it, Canuck.

Also... you know, I never intended this blog to be so focused on sexual matters... but am I the only one who wonders whether this MP, Carolyn Parrish, is a Crush or Trampling fetishist? (Yes, there are at least two sex fetishes that focus on women stepping on things. I believe the "trampling" fetish involves stepping on men, and the "crush" fetish involves stepping on objects or small living creatures.) There's just something both laughable and weird-kinky as all-get-out about that photo. The Mrs. Peel boot doesn't hurt either.

I tell ya... those long, cold, winters up there... and they have to wear boots, don't they? I mean, with all the snow and all? I mean, I guess it's only natural that they should learn to express all their emotions with their feet....

Update: The Crusty Curmudgeon notes that the MP in question got sh!tcanned. Apparently she'd been a problem for the Labour party for a while. Such a shame, though; we get Chirac-style hissy fits from just about every "ally" these days, but it's rare to see such a kooky, kinky, key-rayzee, and downright entertaining form of dissent.

Update: Citizen Smash links to an interesting response from a Canadian.

Posted by EtherPundit at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

The new Newspeak: Making wicked thoughts unthinkable

Ace of Spades makes an important point about the slow, stealthy redefining of words like "diversity," which has now come to mean "abundant presence of certain so-called 'minorities'; which ones specifically are to be determined by your betters." One can't help but notice that this bears virtually no resemblance to the dictionary definition of diversity.

Nor, come to think of it, does the accepted (read: deviate and you're a racist) definition of "minority" bear much resemblance to its dictionary definition. Women, for example, are not actually a minority. They're virtually the only natural subdivision of people that are not a minority; there are more adult females than adult males. Jews are a minority, yet one never sees hiring quotas for Jews. I suppose you could say that "minority," used in certain contexts, means "group believed to need favors for political or cultural reasons." Fine; then why not say "favored group"? Why take an existing word and Newspeak it? Why not call "diversity" "favored-group presence" instead of sucking the marrow out of a perfectly useful, necessary, ancient English word? Is the reality of what these words mean thought to be so ugly that the public would recoil in horror if the truth were spoken?

Come on. I think we're all used to the idea of racial quotas, "affirmative action" and such. I think we can all tolerate the truth at this point. Can we have some of our words back now?

Posted by EtherPundit at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)