Don’t run, Hillary, don’t run: Amy Sullivan: “Jill Lawrence, one of USA Today‘s campaign correspondents in 2004, has observed that very few political reporters wrote about the way Kerry used religious language—even though, she noted, it occurred every week on the campaign trail—because they assumed that Democratic candidates weren’t deeply religious. ‘The stereotype of the Democratic Party is so deep that it never broke through,’ she said. That’s already happening with [Hillary] Clinton, whose religious references and comments on abortion generated headlines early in 2005. Most news outlets characterized her remarks as a distinct break from the past—implying that she was transforming herself for a White House run—even though she is a former Sunday School teacher who has spoken publicly about religion for decades.”
“Taking It” the liberal way: Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, knows what gay sex is all about — “man-on-dog.” Now he announces that he knows how liberals are “taking it,” too — the “wrong way,” of course. And that, says the Senate’s sage of sexuality, explains the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church (widely known for its liberal sexuality).
Oh, my. The story of Santorum’s latest sex advice wouldn’t merit Revealer comment were it not for the fact that it begs the question: Why does the press take this man so seriously? That’s not a partisan question. After all, we asked the same of liberal God guru Jim Wallis, who, to be fair, never speculates on the favored sexual positions of those he disagrees with. The question is: How many dumb things does a powerful man have to stay before the press starts laughing? And the answer is: Mix in a little religion, liberal or cro-magnon, and the press will kiss your ring until it catches you with a prostitute. Or a dog.
Digital fetishistic Hasidic graffiti: Artist Elliott Malkin writes The Revealer to inform us of his construction of a semacode eruv. One of these two words is Hebrew, one is digital. Visit Elliott’s site to find out which is which!
Pop goes the Times: Press critic Michael Massing turns his eye on The New York Times‘ pop culture coverage in the latest Columbia Journalism Review. Only, he’s not very critical. Sure, the piece poses as a hard-hitting analysis of the Times‘ failure to take seriously the Volk’s frustration with pop cult’s luridness, but the sum of Massing’s investigation — which includes lengthy ruminations from the Times‘ Frank Rich, the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mark Pinsky, and Kansan Tom Frank — falls short of the punch of any of these individual critiques. Massing’s premise is fundamentally prudish. It’s the opposite of Adorno: Massing seems to think that the masses are in possession of essential truths that, were they to be listened to, would remake culture coverage in a more family friendly fashion.
Here’s another approach: What if the problem with the Times‘ culture coverage is that it doesn’t include enough sex and violence? What if the Times decided that the best response to the concerns of religious conservatives was to take them seriously — by focusing more on the sex and violence of cultural production? Let’s look at the eroticism of the Christian men’s movement. The fetishization of violence in wholesome sports movies. Let’s examine porn as culture, for better or worse. Instead of handwringing about Desperate Housewives, how about writing on the relationship of television to real-world sex lives?
Pinsky, author of a forthcoming memoir of his years as a Jewish religion reporter in evangelical Orlando, points us in the right direction. “I have no problem with my son watching [Deadwood],” he says, referring to the most brutal, foul-mouthed, and brilliant show on TV. “But I won’t let him watch a dumb-ass sitcom.”
Why? NYT, start with that question. “Quality” is not an adequate answer. Report culture.