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Tell me how does it feel?

Some months ago I had a chance to hear P. J. O'Rourke speak at the Independent Institute in San Francisco.  Afterwards, I had a question for him: 

"Are we living through the counter revolution to the 1960's counter culture."

His reply?  "Yes, without a doubt."

Ed Driscoll has reached the same conclusion.

Napoleon in Rags and the Language That He Used

By Ed Driscoll,

Imagine a journalistic source that became very financially profitable very quickly, by blending news and opinion, and aiming both its tone and its coverage towards a very specific niche of the American public that was long despised by the mainstream media when it wasn't outright ignored entirely.

Of course, you knew who I was talking about all along right?

Rolling Stone magazine. Who did you think I was talking about?

Oh right. And at the Daily Caller, Mark Judge has a great take on why Rolling Stone blows a gasket whenever it covers Fox News:

Still, [the] paranoia of [Rolling Stone's Tom Dickinson] about Fox is so extreme that it has elicited mild criticism on the left. Jack Shafer, Slate's liberal press critic, shrugged off Dickinson's piece. He notes that Hillary Clinton was feeding opposition research about John Edwards and Barack Obama to Fox. He also points out that Fox's audience is still relatively small -- not microscopic, like MSNBC's audience, but smaller than the old networks' audiences. Then Shafer offers this sentence: "I've never understood why Fox News' shenanigans rattle liberals so."

What could so threaten the Left and the LSM (but I repeat my self) so?

OK, Jack, since you have no curiosity about that, let me give it a shot. If you read the histories of journalists over the past 40 years or so, certain patterns emerge. Most of them -- like the folks at Slate -- are liberal and got into the business to "change the world." Further, most of them are losers who did not play sports and could not get dates in high school and college. When Fox came along, with its chutzpah in allowing conservatives an actual voice, its bombshell anchors, its joyful ridicule of the self-righteous left, its outright sense of fun -- well, this was just too much. Liberal journalists -- now there's a redundancy -- didn't just see their empire collapsing. They saw the cheerleaders who ignored them. They saw the conservative jock they hated and his country-club parents. They saw these people, these ogres, moving into their turf. And they went absolutely batshit.

And they continue to do so. Liberals can't just ignore Fox; they find it too fascinating. They are like the kids in high school who absolutely despise the pretty, popular girl, then spend hours on the phone every night talking about her. At the core of it is jealousy, as well as the rage, paranoia and resentment that Tom Dickinson attributes to Fox. I mean, journalists were going to help the left change the world. And you can't do that by giving dissenters a voice.
But that's the problem with wanting to change the world -- sometimes it changes all by itself, without your help. And you find yourself working for a magazine that once considered itself "countercultural," now comfortably part of the bourgeois, and hating the real counterculture. To coin a phrase, how does it feel?


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Comments (20)

Silly simple-minded claptra... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Silly simple-minded claptrap.

If "liberal journalists" are "losers who didn't play sports and couldn't get dates in high school," (there's an accusation not backed by documented fact, the very thing Judge is bitching about) does that make Judge and Driscoll the Popular Kids? They wish.

This guy talks about projection. Hoo boy.

I've seen polls of J School... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I've seen polls of J School students and the number one reason they went into journalism was "To change the world". They went through school and started in the paper or the TV station they were in an environment dominated by liberals who thought the same way on virtually every issue.

Fox is a break in the facade they have created that they speak for the majority of the entire world. Like Pauline Kael they don't know anyone who disagrees with them so they think that such dissent must be extremely marginal and ultimately phony.

They have become so insular that they have lost touch with the American public. The reason that the left has free markets is that the free market demonstrates what people want and what hey think. Fox is successful not because they dupe the American public but because they reflect what the public already thinks.

I'll agree about the stereo... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I'll agree about the stereotypes Bruce. However, the fact remains that journalists are overwhelmingly liberal.

Gotta be tough. You spend 3... (Below threshold)

Gotta be tough. You spend 30-40 years being the anti-establishment street fightin' man and one day you wake up with a pot belly and a bald pate, living in an echo chamber. And worse, bunches of those folks you were going to change the world for aren't listening to you. They found this Internet thingie and go right around the gatekeepers.

The only thing dumber than ... (Below threshold)
Caesar Augustus:

The only thing dumber than a liberal journalist is a liberal journalism student.

That said, the left-wing obsession with Fox News is to put it mildly totally insane. In the greater scheme of things Fox's audience is miniscule. Hell, there are TV shows on the major networks that get canceled for low ratings instantaneously and those shows garner 3x Fox's audience.

Reading between the lines, the left's irrational hatred of Fox in essence is a function of the mental disorder that is leftism. Simply put, Fox bursts a leftist's bubble. Every day. Day in, day out.

When a leftist tunes into Fox they see beautiful conservative women giving brainy opinions on topics for which their understanding is zero. They see conservative racial minorities who not only are not ashamed to be Republicans they've won elections as Republicans. They see Republican elected officials with 3x their own credentials and 5x their intellect. A leftist's tiny mind can't handle that. It shatters their world views so completely the only remaining defensive mechanism is to lash out with venom. Fox News to a leftist is akin to truth serum to a pathological liar.

Bruce Henry @ 1 engages in ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Bruce Henry @ 1 engages in silly simple minded argument by assertion.

What happens when people re... (Below threshold)

What happens when people reject the 'revolution' you started?

Ran across this the other day...

The American people aren’t perfect yet and never will be — but by the standards that matter to the Establishment, this is the best prepared, most open minded and most socially liberal generation in history. Unsatisfactory as the American people may be from the standpoints of Georgetown and Manhattan, this is as good as it gets. Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman could only dream of the kind of sophisticated and cosmopolitan understanding that folks in Peoria have now compared to the old days.

The American people are less prejudiced, more globally aware and more willing to meet other cultures and societies halfway than ever before. Minorities today are better protected in law and more fairly treated by the public than ever in our history. No previous generation has been as determined to give women a fair chance in life, or to attack the foul legacy of racism. The American people have never been as religiously tolerant as they are today, as concerned about the environment, or more willing to make sacrifices around the world to promote the peace and well being of humanity as a whole.

By contrast, we have never had an Establishment that was so ill-equipped to lead. It is the Establishment, not the people, that is falling down on the job.

Here in the early years of the twenty-first century, the American elite is a walking disaster and is in every way less capable than its predecessors. It is less in touch with American history and culture, less personally honest, less productive, less forward looking, less effective at and less committed to child rearing, less freedom loving, less sacrificially patriotic and less entrepreneurial than predecessor generations. Its sense of entitlement and snobbery is greater than at any time since the American Revolution; its addiction to privilege is greater than during the Gilded Age and its ability to raise its young to be productive and courageous leaders of society has largely collapsed. (There are, of course, many honorable exceptions to generalizations this sweeping; anyone wise enough to be reading this blog can safely assume that none of these terrible things apply to you.)


It's worth reading. The 'Progressives', by basically tossing everything out they disagreed with, and ridiculing those who believed in such archaic ideas as patriotism, the hoary old idea of right and wrong, pushing the idea that there isn't (or wasn't) ANYTHING good or worthy about America have set themselves up as masters to rule over those that aren't as 'enlightened' as they are - they are (as Walter Russell Mead said) a walking disaster.

Would anyone argue that the excesses of the Kennedy clan were worthy of emulation? That the rampant journalistic double standard shown about tolerance of Democrats vs Republicans is even-handed? That screaming "RACISM!" at even slight criticisms of Obama's policies is a sensible reaction?

You have a self-styled 'elite' that the rest of us wish desperately to ignore - not because they're exceptionally bright and intelligent, but because they're so damned driven they've scrambled into positions of power and influence over us all, and are intent on making everyone act as THEY want us to - not as we would choose or what is actually best for us. They feel entitled to that control by the sheer virtue of their educations at the proper institutions and/or by their longevity in Congress - and no other ideas need apply.

You have journalists out to change the world, yet ignoring issues that don't fit their established narratives. They'll go after the bad actions (by their opinion) of politicians they don't like, but ignore the same actions of politicians they do. You have politicians and high level officials who see themselves as essentially untouchable royalty (again - look at Kennedy, Rangel, Franks, Geithner) who have no problems whatsoever with exempting themselves from laws that apply to the little people. And if they'd been Republicans - the press would have hounded them out of office.

We have a Beltway elite who see no problem with passing law after law with no regard to existing legislation, no sense of what is even realistically possible, and no concept of the law of unintended consequences. When something they pass turns and bites them on the ass - they don't rescind the lousy legislation, they try to find some magical fix that allows them to continue with the 'intent' of it.

Because it's intent, after all, that's really important - not the results that actually come from anything they do.

We have a tax code that's so complex and arcane that even the IRS won't guarantee advice they give out. We have entitlements programs that are straining the budget way past the breaking point - yet none of them can even be considered by the elite as something which can get by on less. Cut back? Hell, no! If we do that, we won't be loved by the peasants!

The progressive elite wanted slaves that'd do their bidding without question. What they're creating is a class that won't see them as anything but credentialed idiots, who need to be shoved over into a corner, handed some crayons and paper, and told to amuse themselves HARMLESSLY while the damage they've thoughtlessly created is cleaned up and repaired.

When the money runs out - the 'elite' who set the conditions for the debacle will be expendable. There was a revolution and they 'won' - for a certain definition of 'winning' - but that was then.

This - is now. And their ideology simply isn't up to the job.

They saw the cheer... (Below threshold)
They saw the cheerleaders who ignored them. They saw the conservative jock they hated and his country-club parents. They saw these people, these ogres, moving into their turf. And they went absolutely batshit.

I think this analogy is backwards. The MSM are the jocks, the cheerleaders and the country club liberals who have had a hold on power for years. Fox is the upstart, the nerd, the Bill Gates, the Steve Jobs who was despised by the popular kids in school and grows up to be a billionaire.

JLawson @ 7,Ayup.<... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

JLawson @ 7,


The reason I love P.J. O'Ro... (Below threshold)

The reason I love P.J. O'Rourke so much is because he's the one who taught me about libertarianism while he was writing for Rolling Stone. I can honestly say it is because of his writing about libertarianism in Rolling Stone leading up to the 1980 elections that the very first vote I cast in a presidential election was for Libertarian candidate Ed Clark (with the supposed evil and notorious David Koch as his running mate).

Then, I went to college and learned the importance of not throwing my franchise away based on principle. I had to choose. Like many other libertarians, I started to view myself as a small "l" libertarian (as opposed to a supporter of the the Libertarian Party) and a capital "R" republican (meaning I would usually vote for the Republican candidate).

I'm not as sure as P.J. is that we're a counter-counter culture phase. We've gone way too far leftward to go back to true, unadulterated freedom. It's unrealistic to think that all the people who are dependent on the "the government" (meaning the productive members of society who pay taxes) will vote away the benefits the politicians have promised them. The politicians promised them a deal, and the voters paid into S.S. and Medicare their whole lives. Who can blame them for expecting the promises be kept, even if it means bankrupting the country or imposing punitive tax rates on the current producers?

No, the history is that once we've gone left, we may periodically make very tiny moves back right, but the path leftward continues until the empire collapses. Since we've embarked on this leftward course, I see no reason to expect the U.S. empire will survive in the long run. We betrayed our founding principles generations ago.

Scott,I think you ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:


I think you misunderstand my position.

I am not asserting (nor even suggesting) that the counter-revolution is over and the "counter-culture" has been sent packing. What I am suggesting is that the Tea Party is a grass roots counter-revolution which seeks to overturn the worst excesses (at least) of the baby boomers.

#1I think B... (Below threshold)


I think Bruce is 3 Kool aids over the limit.

So, just to clarify...... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, just to clarify...

If a conservative writer states,without any facts to back him up, that liberal journalists are "losers who didn't play sports" etc. etc. (with the implication being that because they are losers, they shouldn't be listened to) is NOT argument by assertion.

Bruce Henry pointing out that this is silly IS argument by assertion.

Got it.

Oh, and FOX really does suck.

bruce thinks that george st... (Below threshold)

bruce thinks that george stephanopoulos is a real journalist.

Boy, are the kids in the AV... (Below threshold)

Boy, are the kids in the AV club gonna be mad at you guys!

There is a reason they call... (Below threshold)

There is a reason they call them "the liberal elite". They actually believe they know better than anyone what is best for us.

Those of us who have lived through decades of just three networks and PBS know there was only one voice for decades. Then Rush came along, then Fox News and then the internet.

Now since the elites think they are CERTAIN they know what is best for us, they attack Fox News and any dissenting position as lies, hate and the racism.

It doesn't matter now, they lost the battle they are just too stubborn to acknowledge it. ww

bruce @ 13,Just to... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

bruce @ 13,

Just to be clear, when you show up here damning as unsupported a cited article which runs counter to your prejudices yet cite no sources in refutation, you will get called for argument by assertion, just as you got called for commenting at length on a book you have not read.

Feel free to peddle your tripe on HuffPo or DU. They would seem to fit your style of "commentary" much better.

A further thought...<... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

A further thought...

There seems to be an important parallel between two institutions which are currently failing. Both Education and Journalism have qualification tracks which emphasize the "profession" while doing little or nothing to educate the "professional" on the subjects to which their "profession" will be applied.

It would be difficult to design a less effective (if one is measuring effectiveness by accurate information being passed to and retained by the audience of the "professions" in question) set of systems.

I figured I'd leave out the... (Below threshold)

I figured I'd leave out the educational elite, Rodney. Again, they've reached a point where theory has become much more important than results.

It's kind of understandable, actually - after all, you get folks going through e-school, learning all the 'right ways' to teach - and, of course, the 'right things' - and then some of them go for Masters and PhDs - which require the generation of even more theories which get implemented to see how they do.

But in all the eagerness to play with new theories - what gets forgotten are the children. The time scale to see whether something works or not is so long that when it's evident a theory works or not... it's too late for a LOT of kids.

The educational elite, again, are far more concerned with theory and intent over results. You take solid education in math, science and history, and you end up with kids who are somewhat capable. Interleave it with trendy subjects (I remember one from high school in the '70s - "Rock and Roll Lyrics and Their Meanings") to keep the kids interested and attending - but to what effect? The concept that every kid should go to college ignores the fact that not all kids are equal in intellect, and that not all are well served BY going to college.

Maybe the Germans have it right - separate the kids at a certain point into scholarship and apprentice tracks, and get the ones who are good with their hands out where they can learn something useful and practical.

Unfortunately - to our elite practicality doesn't seem to be much of a consideration.

This article made me think ... (Below threshold)
Jeffrey Carlson:

This article made me think of my brother Dann's more creative days (the 70's) when he created the "FLA" (Formica Liberation Army") in response to the newsworthy "SLA" (Symbionese Liberation Army", think Patty Hearst). He called it the movement for a "Kitchen Counter Culture". Brilliant stuff, truly. The FLA lasted for many years, okay, it was just one more reason to party, but we had an enormous amount of fun and frolic. I believe there is a revolution going on in America. Families all over the country are gathering in their kitchens talking about the need to "counter" what Obama is trying to do to our country. Long live the FLA!






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