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Posts Tagged ‘Sexism’

Your opinion is completely irrelevant. So’s mine. And your neighbor’s, and your grandmother’s. And your schmuck friends who fancy themselves politically and informationally superior because they majored in PoliSci and read blogs all day.

Don’t believe me? Head on over to RealClearPolitics or any other nonpartisan political op-ed aggregator. Look over the day’s offerings.

Try this: Read all the pieces whose headlines appear pro-(your candidate). How do you feel? Great, right? Now read all the columns supporting the other guy. Life sucks, doesn’t it? Step away from the cliff.

(This is also a great experiment for investigating the short-term effects of bipolar disorder.)

Contrasting opinions – political ones, especially – can certainly set the head to spinning. You start to wonder how one person can be so convinced of this or that position, while elsewhere the very opposite mindset has so equally strong an advocate. Indeed, sometimes compelling cases are to be made for both sides. Excuse me while I lapse into violent, convulsing fits of anxiety and befuddlement.

True, not everyone is vulnerable to the persuasive forces of argumentation. (These hardliners live on both ends of the spectrum. We’ll take everyone to task, regardless of ideology. But don’t blame us if the balance starts to tilt in one direction.) There is undoubtedly a comfort in going through life gifted with unflinching clarity and conviction. But this can come at a price – the more invested in one position a person becomes, the harder to shift from that stance. And as the evidence mounts, those who’ve dug their heels in the deepest look all the more foolish for their stubbornness. Toss in the world’s strongest dose of executive and military authority, and now we’re not just shaking our heads in detached, knowing pity – we’re ducking for cover and wondering whether it’s time to kiss our asses goodbye.

All this is to say that, for us, political opinion isn’t good enough. Talking points aren’t good enough. Campaigns, pundits, The Fourth Estate – they cannot be relied upon to deliver straight, unfiltered information. More importantly, we know that they can in fact be relied upon to be either the source of or conduit for misinformation, deception, distractions or outright lies. We subscribe to the crazy notion that no one, of any political stripe, should tolerate that.

But to be honest, this puts us in a potentially awkward position. See, our job here at Bandit Pulpit will be to wallow our way through the crap and misdirections being bandied about this election season and give you something akin to sensible, fact-based analysis and …

(wait for it …)

… opinion.

Whoops.

While plenty of things (Sarah Palin’s meandering stance on the Bridge to Nowhere, just to take an example) are subject to that inconvenient thing called fact-based scrutiny, still others live in that gray zone where – shudder – opinion is about the only alternative to playing the he-said-she-said game.

Example: Was Barack Obama really slyly calling Sarah Palin a pig when he used the older-than-John-McCain “lipstick on a pig” metaphor to compare McCain’s proposals to Bush’s record? Ultimately, only Barrack Obama knows the answer to that. But can we opine (hey, that rhymes with “porcine”) that only the most conspiracy-minded shit-stirrers would go down that road, given how asinine the argument is on its face. (John McCain used the same metaphor about a Hillary Clinton proposal once; Obama had not mentioned Palin at all in the speech at that point; it’s a damn colloquialism; and so on.) Not to mention the fact that the McCain ad crying foul on this “insult” went so far as to identify the out-of-context Obama quote as “Obama on Palin,” and then use a months-old Katie Couric remark about sexism during Hillary Clinton’s campaign to imply that Couric was castigating Obama for his alleged sexism in “the Campaign” – which reasonable people might foolishly assume meant “this Current Campaign, the One Going On Right Now.”

So things like Pig-gate may not be 100% cut and dried. But can we offer a reasonable fact-and-opinion-based analysis of this kind of scenario in the interest of calling out BS where it rears its stinky, fly-infested head? You betcha. (Say this last line with a charming Wasilla accent. And watch America’s heart melt.)

We’ll try to check in every so often with some of the more eggregious crap-peddling being offered under the veneer of “political analysis.” (Notice how that second word carries such a more authoritative air than “opinion”? Any dumbass can have an opinion. But only experts – who you should listen to – can offer analysis.) It should be fun. Having to swallow your own vomit for lack of a proper recepticle usually is.

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