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Dozens of douchebags wish Sarah Palin a happy 50th birthday


 
Dozens of Republican asshats wish reality tee-vee star Sarah Palin a happy 50th birthday in this video, including Newt Gingrich, the homophobic Duck Dynasty dude, Sen. Ted “I’m Canadian” Cruz, some cheerful NRA “mothers,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus (if that is, in fact, his real name), talk radio hate-spewer Michael Savage, SC governor Nikki Haley, thick-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump and of course, Sen. John McCain who we have to, er, “thank” that we even know this airhead’s name in the first place.

I wonder why they shut down comments on YouTube? Actually, I don’t wonder about that….
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em: Republicans pull shenanigans to confuse voters—then brag about it
02.04.2014
01:02 pm

Topics:
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Republicans

Nick Rahall
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Nick Rahall (D-WV)
 
What does a political party do when it can’t win on personality and it can’t win on the issues? That’s the problem faced by the Republican Party these days. The most visible Republicans in the last year have been Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, and John Boehner, whose dyspeptic crimson mug grimaced at every positive-sounding notion President Obama uttered during last week’s State of the Union address. To judge from that spectacle, Republicans get queasy at the thought of such radical notions as food stamps and equal pay for women.

Meanwhile, it’s been a truism for many years now that the Republicans have had to overcome perceived deficits on the issues. My favorite example of this came around the 2004 election, when polls revealed that Bush voters (that is, people who liked Bush and his issue set) were prone to attributing positions to Bush himself that were markedly more liberal than anything Bush himself believed. Here, look:
 

In particular, majorities or Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that he supports multilateral approaches to various international issues, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) (69 percent), the land mine treaty (72 percent), and the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming (51 percent).

In August, two thirds of Bush supporters also said they believed that Bush supported the International Criminal Court (ICC), although in the latest poll, that figure dropped to a 53 percent majority, even though Bush explicitly denounced the ICC in the most widely watched nationally televised debate of the campaign in late September.

In all of these cases, majorities of Bush supporters said they favored the positions that they imputed, incorrectly, to Bush.

 
The point is that conservatives frequently have to pretend to hold liberal—or at least moderate—positions in order to win national election. The Democrats currently face little pressure of that sort.

We can argue about which party’s platform has a better purchase on the issues; what’s salient here that the Republicans are the ones behaving as if they have to game the system in order to win. Republican attempts to limit voter participation in the 2012 election were well documented and even, perversely, may have actually contributed to Democratic gains due to the outraged reaction on the part of Democratic constituents, especially black Democrats.

Now there’s a brand new bit of GOP bullshittery to reckon with—Republican websites designed to look like the web presence of Democrats running for Congress. Shane Goldmacher at National Journal caught it in December; Alex Pareene at Salon wrote about it earlier today.

The websites have targeted Amanda Renteria (CA), Martha Roberston (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Domenic Recchia (NY), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Nick Rahall (WV), Alex Sink (FL), and John Tierney (MA), among others. In each case, somebody—presumably the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but we’ll get to that in a moment—has taken out an apparently “official” pro-candidate website like every candidate for Congress has, except that once you get past the deceptive optics, the content of the site is stridently hostile to the candidate whose name is on the website, and donations are solicited to defeat the candidate. (I know just what you’re thinking: At least it didn’t say, “Click here to donate to the candidate!” with the money getting funneled to his or her opponent. Although from a semiotic point of view, it kinda does say that.)
 
Martha Robertson
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Martha Robertson (D-NY)
 
As to the authorship: if you look at, say, http://martha-robertson.com, you’ll see at the bottom the following text: “Contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.nrcc.org.” If you click on “Donate” (just above the text “Fed up with Martha Robertson? – Sign up Today”), you are directed to https://www.nrcc.org/martha-robertson-congress/contribute/, where, confusingly, underneath a decently sized banner that says “Martha Robertson for Congress,” the text asks you to “Make a contribution today to help defeat Martha Robertson and candidates like her.” It’s unlikely that an imposter (i.e. not the NRCC) would be able to concoct a page at the NRCC website.

The headline and subhead of Goldmacher’s article is “Republican Look-Alike Sites Mocking Democrats May Violate Rules / Could targeted Democrats get the last laugh when it comes to anti-candidate microsites?” Goldmacher quoted Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign watchdog group, to the effect that the websites constitute a violation of election law: “This doesn’t even strike me as a close call. It’s a slam dunk.” Additionally, Goldmacher similarly cited Larry Noble, a former general counsel of the FEC and now the head of a bipartisan Americans for Campaign Reform: “Part of their attempt is to sow confusion and draw people there who would be looking for the candidate’s website. All the candidate has is their name.” One of the problems with the Federal Election Commission is that their investigations are measured in years, not weeks. By the time they administer a ruling, the damage has already been done.
 
Domenic Recchia
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Domenic Recchia (D-NY)
 
Pareene says that the Republicans have taken out Google Ads intended to direct Internet users to the fake sites:
 

As of now, there are at least six of these fake sites, all promoted with Google ads to make them appear at the very top of searches, with that barely legible yellow background (denoting paid links) that Google hopes you don’t notice. At least one person accidentally donated to the RNC while intending to donate to a Democratic candidate. The NRCC agreed to refund his donation, but obviously people who never realize they were tricked won’t ask for refunds. It may not be quite Nixonian, but yes, solid dirty trick, NRCC.

 
My attempts to generate these Google Ads on Google did not meet with success, which suggests at least the possibility that Google itself has intervened.

Curiously, the NRCC isn’t even bothering to deny the charges—it’s bragging about the technique. Last September Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, deputy chairman of the NRCC, bragged in a fundraising pitch to donors:
 

We ruined three Democrats’ campaign launches last week and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (Pelosi’s campaign machine) couldn’t be more upset.

1. Democrat John Lewis announced he was running for Congress in Montana, but we bought JohnLewis4Congress.com beforehand and have made sure that anyone who searches for him online ends up visiting our site instead.

The Democrats didn’t see that coming. In fact, they were so caught off-guard that Lewis still doesn’t have his own campaign website up yet!

2. We also did this to the Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s 3rd District with NickRahallForCongress.com.

3. Last but not least, we beat the Democrats to the punch by buying EldridgeForCongress2014.com before Sean Eldridge even launched his own campaign! The Democrats desperately want to win back New York’s 19th Congressional District but thanks to this it’s not going well.

 
The Republicans have been behaving like a a goon squad for quite a few years now. We don’t have to rehash every step of the way since the Monica Lewinsky coup/impeachment and Bush-Gore 2000 to be confident in the truth of that assessment. There will come a day when even conservatives try to win on the issues. But it looks like we’ll have to wait a while for that day.

I couldn’t find any video on this yet, but here’s a similar story from 2012 with no apparent partisan value, in which regular scammers imitated the official web presences of the two major parties for a much more basic reason: greed.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Just like punk, except it’s cars’: Subaru’s unintentionally hilarious ‘grunge’ commercial


 
The out-of-left-field commercial success of grunge in the early ‘90s took practically everyone by surprise, and produced a lot of amusing and embarrassing attempts to play catch-up (couture flannel on fashion runways and the brilliantly played grunge-speak hoax at the expense of the New York TImes were among my favorites), but watching the advertising and marketing industries in particular caught with their pants down was illuminating. Never before or since have the massive promotional machines that drive the American status-anxiety economy been caught so unprepared, and forced to scramble so publicly to chase a demographic it hadn’t yet even begun to comprehend. Some of them nailed it—Fruitopia, for example, was pretty gross, and its pandering was shamefully transparent, but they sure did sell a metric shitload of sugar-water for awhile. But successes aren’t as funny as massive public failures.

In 1992, somebody decided that it would be a great idea to sell Subaru’s newly-introduced Impreza by filming a grunge kid making proto-Dane Cook gesticulations and explaining to us that “This car is like PUNK ROCK!” Nevermind (sorry) that in spite of grunge chart successes most people still thought of punk as the milieu of unhygienic, violent, misanthropic dropouts—because IT WAS. Never mind the utter absurdity of drawing an equivalence between an explosive expression of rage against complacency and a drab, modest grocery store assault vehicle. And never mind that almost nobody who might be moved by such an appeal had money or credit for a brand new car. There were so many perfectly sensible arguments against attempting such a stupefyingly dumb marketing tactic, and yet this happened anyway… Talk about Crass commercialism (again, sorry!)

Astute readers (and people who can see the plainly visible caption on the video) may recognize the young actor in this total mistake as Jeremy Davies, who would quickly overcome all this unfortunate business with his starring role in the well-received indie feature Spanking The Monkey. He’d go on to a lauded performance in Saving Private Ryan, and he even appeared in Lars von Trier’s daring experimental films Dogville and Manderlay. His filmography is impressive, but he’s probably most widely recognized from his portrayal of Daniel Faraday in seasons four and five of ABC’s cult hit Lost.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Is the Ku Klux Klan distributing lollipops with its recruiting literature?
01.22.2014
04:47 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Race
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Ku Klux Klan

Lollipop
 
The talented Emily V. Gordon, cohost of the delightful gaming podcast The Indoor Kids and recently the manager of the NerdMelt comedy space in Hollywood, yesterday wrote a post on her Gynomite! blog in which she calls attention to a possible disturbing trend in the recruitment practices of the KKK.

It’s barely more than a sentence: “In my own hometown, the KKK is putting lollipops alongside their stupid flyers in people’s driveways. Fucking ridiculous.” Gordon linked to a gallery posted by imgur user crick3t4.

Under the image at the top of this page, crick3t4 wrote, “My daughter found this at the end of our driveway, candy and hmmmm.” The paper inside the bag is pictured below.
 
Klan literature
 
Gordon hails from the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, and the area code in the leaflet, 336, corresponds to the Winston-Salem area too. So if you live near there, tell your children to beware of intolerant white men bearing candy.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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It didn’t always suck to be a woman in Afghanistan

afghanminiskirtskabul
 

Women in Afghanistan were not always under house arrest and forbidden by law to leave their homes unchaperoned by a male relative. Once upon a time in pre-Taliban days Afghan women had access to professional careers, university-level education, shops selling non-traditional clothing, public transportation, and public spaces, all of which they happily navigated freely and without supervision.

According to a State Department report from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 2001:

Prior to the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were protected under law and increasingly afforded rights in Afghan society. Women received the right to vote in the 1920s; and as early as the 1960s, the Afghan constitution provided for equality for women. There was a mood of tolerance and openness as the country began moving toward democracy. Women were making important contributions to national development. In 1977, women comprised over 15% of Afghanistan’s highest legislative body. It is estimated that by the early 1990s, 70% of schoolteachers, 50% of government workers and university students, and 40% of doctors in Kabul were women. Afghan women had been active in humanitarian relief organizations until the Taliban imposed severe restrictions on their ability to work. These professional women provide a pool of talent and expertise that will be needed in the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Even under Hamid Karzai’s government, with the recently approved Code of Conduct for women, all of the women shown in these photographs, taken in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s, could still can be faulted with improper behavior, according to clerics and government officials. 

record store in kabul
 
A record store in Kabul

bioclasskabul
 
A co-ed biology class at Kabul University

girlsatuni1967
 
Afghan university students, 1967. Photo credit: Dr. Bill Podlich, Retronaut

afghanbus
 
Public transporation in Kabul

afghancollegegirls
 
University students, early 1970s

afghanlab
 
Women working in one of the labs at the Vaccine Research Center

afghan mom kids
 
Mothers and children playing at a city park—without male chaperones

afghanqueen
Queen Soraya reigned in Afghanistan with her husband King Amanullah Khan from 1919 to 1929. She would be slut-shamed or worse for wearing this dress in modern Afghanistan.

Compilation of vintage amateur footage of Afghanistan:

Via Retronaut and Zilla of the Resistance.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Kilroy was here: Surgeon brands his initials onto a patient’s liver during transplant surgery
12.25.2013
07:43 am

Topics:
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Horror Hospital

horrhospgough.jpg
 
A surgeon has been suspended after allegedly branding his initials onto a transplant patient’s liver.

Consultant Simon Bramhall is accused of burning “SB” onto a patient’s liver during transplant surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, England. It is believed Bramhall used a beam of argon gas, which is used to seal vessels, to brand the patient.

Perhaps Bramhall was proud of his handiwork, who knows?, but it sounds like the kind of gruesome surgery you might expect to find in a film like Horror Hospital.

Bramhall had worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for more than ten years, and it is feared he may signed his name on hundreds of other patients.

The initials were discovered by a colleague during a routine surgery on the patient.

An “insider” at the hospital told the Daily Telegraph:

“It is quite astonishing to think someone may have done this, especially someone as experienced at Mr Bramhall.

“I am hoping this is just a mistake, I don’t know what would possess someone to do that to another human being.

“What gives a person the right to do that to another?

“There should be trust between the two people, although now people may think otherwise about coming to the hospital if the allegations are true.

“I’m just a little shocked that something like this may have happened right under everyone’s noses.

“Imagine if the person died and was an organ donor, would the new owner of that liver want it to be branded? I doubt it very much.

“It could have happened hundreds of times, who knows? It was just luck that this incident was brought to light.”

It is believed the branding would leave superficial burns, which are not “usually harmful.”

Joyce Roberts of Patient Concern said:

“This is a patient we are talking about, not an autograph book.”

University Hospitals Birmingham Trust has released a statement saying they had suspended a surgeon while an “internal investigation” is completed.
 

 
Via the Daily Telegraph

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Republican Insurance Commissioner compares pre-existing conditions to car wreck that is ‘your fault’


Why—HOW—does this clown-man have a job?

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, a Republican, is the asshat who bragged earlier this year that his office was deliberately creating bureaucratic hurdles to slow implementation of “Obamacare” in his state. As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hudgens boasted to an audience of Republicans, “Let me tell you what we’re doing (about Obamacare). Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

People in the audience—presumably people who believe themselves to be followers of Christ—shouted “Amen!” when Hudgens made these remarks.

Hudgens apparently just doesn’t know when to quit and he should have quit the day he uttered those foul words in public, but instead he was just pissed off that he was videotaped and the public mockery it led to:

“I didn’t realize I was being videotaped and that got on the Internet,” he said during another speech. “I never received so many nasty e-mails. I’ve been told that they hope I die. I’ve been told that they hope my children had cancer, just all kinds of things.”

Well, what did you expect from the people that you—you personally, Ralphie boy—are keeping from getting affordable health care??? Frankly Hudgeons seems damned lucky that a few impolite emails are all that’s happened to him, if you ask me. Imagine you are the parent of a child with major health issues and you’d meet Ralph Hudgens on the street. What would you say to him to his face… with a tire iron or a broken bottle?

But like I was saying, Hudgens doesn’t know when to quit and now his very own words, caught on videotape again, are starting to percolate outside of Atlanta.

It’s positively mind-blowing, even for the most callous Republican clown to say something like this:

“I’ve had several companies come in and they have said just the fact—just the fact—that in the individual market pre-existing conditions have to be covered on Jan. 1, that that is going to double the cost of insurance. And if you don’t really understand what covering pre-existing conditions would be like, it would be like in Georgia we have a law that says you have to have insurance on your automobile. You have to have liability insurance. If you’re going to drive on Georgia’s roads, you have to have liability insurance. You don’t have to have collision. You don’t have to have comprehensive. You don’t have to have rental car or towing or anything else. But you have to have liability.

“But say you’re going along and you have a wreck. And it’s your fault. Well, a pre-existing condition would be you then calling up your insurance agent and saying, ‘I would like to get collision insurance coverage on my car.’ And your insurance agent says, ‘Well, you never had that before. Why would you want it now?’ And you say, ‘Well, I just had a wreck, it was my fault and I want the insurance company to pay to repair my car.’ And that’s the exact same thing on pre-existing insurance.”

That’s one nastyass politically poisonous phlegm ball to cough up, ain’t it? Even in a red state, that’s taking it a little too far.

Worth noting that when he was in the state Senate, Hudgens sponsored a bill that would end the law requiring insurance companies to cover mammograms. At one point a video clip went around with footage of Hudgens at what appears to be a candidate forum questioning why insurance companies should be forced to cover screenings that can help detect breast cancer before it spreads.

And yet he won the election for Georgia Insurance Commissioner anyway… Awfully counterintuitive vote there, Peach State. You might want to think harder next time before pulling that lever again for Ralph Hudgens?

Due to the policies of Hudgeons and Atlanta Governor Nathan Deal blocking the federal government from offering Medicaid coverage, they’ve denied health insurance to more than 600,000 lower-income Georgia citizens.

UPDATE: RALPH HUDGENS HAS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION HIMSELF!!!

Here’s the video taken from Hudgens’ appearance last month at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club meeting. It will be interesting to see what ‘The Daily Show’ will do with this
 

Below, watch how proud of himself this slimy Republican weasal seems to be about keeping people from getting affordable healthcare in his state!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Republicans are vile creeps


 

“Some people are shits, darling.”—William S. Burroughs

Like Republicans.

I live in Los Angeles, where I honestly don’t know ANY Republicans. I’m sure there must be at least a couple of them living here, but I’m not planning to actually go out looking for them any time soon. Let ‘em stay under those rocks. In fact, I don’t even know a single Republican who I am not related to by blood or by marriage. As in none, not one, zero.

These family members aside, I do not like Republicans. I hate them. If you are a Republican, I hate YOU. Seems like the majority of my fellow Californians might feel the same way, luckily—the GOP is a politically insignificant entity in California, where the Democrats hold a supermajority and practically every top job in the state—so Republican idiocy will probably never touch my life in any sort of meaningful way, except, of course, for reading annoying, blood-pressure raising articles about the GOP asshats we do still have here, like this at The LA Times.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act never stop producing new tricks to undermine the reform’s effectiveness. But leave it to California Republicans to reach for the bottom. Their goal appears to be to discredit the act by highlighting its costs and penalties rather than its potential benefits.

The device chosen by the Assembly’s GOP caucus is a website at the address coveringhealthcareca.com. If that sounds suspiciously like coveredca.com, which is the real website for the California insurance exchange, it may not be a coincidence. Bogus insurance websites have sprung up all over, aiming to steer consumers away from legitimate enrollment services. Just a couple of weeks ago California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris shut down 10 bogus insurance sites, some of them with names very similar to the real thing. She must have overlooked the GOP’s entry.

A goddamn fake healthcare website! How low is that? If you click on a tab that reads “Don’t have health insurance” on the homepage, you are taken to a “penalty calculator” and not a premium calculator. Shits! They’re evil shits. Imagine that you’re an earnest person with preconditions seeking affordable health insurance and you stumble into this site by accident. It would be infuriating.

The GOP site also takes careful pains to explain to the young how THEIR money will be subsidizing health care for the old. Keep it classy GOP… Hey wait a minute: I thought old people were the GOP base?

And don’t young people eventually become old people? This may have already occurred to some of them. Bit of a mixed message there, isn’t it? Not like cognitive dissonance has ever been much of an impediment to Republicans, but this strikes me as being as incompetent as it is evil and in such a small, petty way. There’s even a section devoted to scaring people that signing up for Obamacare will result in identity theft!

Shits.

Hunter at Daily Kos wrote:

If you are so nasty a person that you can’t live with the thought of insuring yourself because it means some other person might get healthcare using one one hundredth of a cent of your money, the world will certainly not be missing you much after you are gone. Godspeed!

This is yet another of the reasons the current incarnation of the Republican Party is little more than a political oozing sore. There is probably a downside to trying to kill off your own voters to score a momentary political point, but let’s just say the members of the party brain trust in my state could meet in a closet and still have enough room for the vacuum and boxes of Christmas decorations.

Yep, that’s our Republicans. How I love California.
 
 
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Racist TV commercial is really… racist!


 
Hard to believe shit like this is still being made. I mean, what the hell were they thinking?!

Meet “Mr. Wong Fong Shu” aka Jim DeBerry of Definitive Television. He’s shilling for Alabama-based law firm McCutcheon & Hamner. Presumably they approved this. And paid for it!


 
Nope, you’re just a straight-up asshole, buddy! The entire Internet thinks you’re a cretin. That’s marketing! Not good marketing, mind you, but marketing nonetheless.

HOW could this be any more racist??? (Please don’t answer that!).

Best of all have to be the YouTube comments. Of course this jackass couldn’t help himself and jumped into the fray. He seems to be as preposterously clueless as you might imagine. He also thinks all this attention will be good for his livelihood… in some alternate universe maybe, but not in this one, pal.

UPDATE: McCutcheon & Hamner released this statement to Above the Law

For the past two weeks, we have worked diligently to determine the source of this video. Within hours of first being notified of the commercials existence, we traced the producer to Definitive Television and its owner Jim DeBerry. We insisted that the video be removed and that he disclose the party that allowed my partner and I to be portrayed in such a negative and misleading light. After a personal review of our financial records which conclusively established that this video was not paid for or authorized by any party associated with our law firm, McCutcheon & Hamner, P.C. posted our response specifically disavowing the video as well as issuing a cease and desist letter to Mr. DeBerry and Definitive Television. Of course, Mr. DeBerry has refused and we are currently investigating our legal options. At this time, we have been instructed by our legal counsel to refrain from comment.

BUT WAIT: It gets even dumber! DeBerry thinks he can sue the Above The Law blog for calling his racist commercial racist! You know what they say about how a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer? Jim DeBerry deserves a SPECIAL (booby) PRIZE. Good luck suing the entire Internet, Jimbo!
 

 
Via Copyranter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Quality television programs equal income, argues horrible person


 
In what would surely be the most amazing troll posted to a serious web site in recent memory if it didn’t seem to be perfectly earnest, columnist, author, and apparently completely shameless toady to the ruling class Virginia Postrel has argued on Bloomberg View that ordinary people are better off economically today than we typically reckon - because the quality of TV has improved. I’m not even slightly kidding about the impossibly stupid thing I just told you.

On a flight across the country, you watch the playoff game on live television, listen to some favorite playlists as you catch up on work, then relax with some video poker. Arriving home, you delete the game from your DVR and consider your options. Too tired for an intense cable drama—which you prefer to experience in immersive weekend marathons of at least three episodes each—you stream a first-season episode of “Duck Dynasty” from Amazon.com, then run last week’s “Elementary” from your DVR queue. While watching, you check IMDB.com to see where you’ve seen that familiar-looking guest star before, then you jump to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. You finish the evening with “SportsCenter,” recorded just far enough ahead that you can skip most of the commercials.

Little of this customized entertainment would have been possible a decade ago—and almost none of it shows up in the income and productivity statistics that dominate our understanding of the economy. A form of progress that large numbers of people experience every day, the increase in entertainment variety and convenience represents a challenge to the increasingly conventional wisdom that American living standards have stagnated, at least for the middle class.

Hear that, middle class? Standard of living, schmandard of living, you people have TIVOS!

Now, I suspect that viewings of Duck Dynasty and SportsCenter don’t show up in income stats because TV shows aren’t income. But what do I know? I’m not the former editor of Reason. Or a shockingly tone-deaf, overprivileged asshole.

After all, it’s not as though no one has noticed the improvements. Critics often opine on whether the proliferation has produced a “new golden age of television,” while media companies and advertising agencies live in fear of what all that competition means for future profits. From the mobile-phone business to social media—not to mention movies, games, music and sports—an enormous amount of innovative talent goes into developing new entertainment goods and services.

Yet in the economic statistics that measure living standards, this real-life value goes largely ignored. For the very reason that entertainment is so cheap, the enjoyment people derive from having a better chance of finding exactly what they want, when and where they want it, doesn’t count for much. Giving consumers new features for little or no additional money increases well-being but doesn’t do much for productivity statistics.

I would venture a guess that the proliferation of the entertainment industry into every nook and cranny of American life doesn’t find its way into productivity statistics because sitting on your ass watching So You Think You Can Fart Your Life Away is the opposite of productivity. But of course, I’m just a humble pop culture scribe for Dangerous Minds, not a respected, Ivy League-educated columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times and Forbes. Or a self-satisfied, grotesquely over-rewarded libertarian tool.

But let’s skip to the money shot, huh? Does she or doesn’t she tell us to watch cake?

“Too many people presume that what the poor want from the Internet are the crucial necessities of life. In reality, the enchantment of the Internet is that it’s a lot of fun,” the Indian journalist Manu Joseph observed in a September New York Times essay. “And fun, even in poor countries, is a profound human need. Quality of life is as much an assortment of happy frivolities as it is the bare essentials of survival.”

Holy free market, she actually managed to outsource her “Let them eat cake” line to India. Got that, poor people? Quit hogging those public library Internet terminals for your stupid job searches and bill payments! There’s fun to be had - ENCHANTMENT, even!

So let’s recap - time wasted is income! We can fairly extrapolate from this that the unemployed are the wealthiest people in America - so long as they watch assloads of TV. Thinking of goosing your budget by canceling that cable subscription and using the savings for unproductive mundanities like heat and food? Not so fast! Grey’s Anatomy is health care! The Apprentice is a national jobs program! BY GOD, THE SYSTEM WORKS.
 
postrel
Virginia Postrel, totally down with the commoners—the kind of Libertarian you can have a beer with!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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