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The Revolution Will Be Kuhnian.

Annoying Middle Brow Liberals


This headline at New York Magazine's Daily Intel blog is really annoying!!!!

CNN's 9 Most Deplorable Flight 370 Moments

The complaints about CNN's coverage of the missing plane started, not coincidentally, when it was revealed to be a hit in the ratings. Here, "deplorable" refers to popular items like speculating about black holes and shooting from a flight simulator.

Do the critics know what "to deplore" even means? CNN's coverage is:

A. True;

B. Quite popular; and

C. Pretty silly.

Get that: when TV news is silly, that is deplorable!!!

It's not just the word "deplorable" that these critics don't understand. They clearly are not familiar with the concepts of "TV" and "news". Nick Kristof publishing Dylan Farrow's childhood memories and claiming rape is deplorable. Judith Miller is deplorable. Non-stop coverage of a plane that mysteriously disappeared? That's just television in all it's natural glory!

Unfortunatly, this belief that there is a lack of "serious" TV news and that "newscasters" who fail to spend their days being serious and sober about death and disaster, is part of a bigger phenomanon I call "middle brow liberal moralizing". Basically, it's the list of what a regular viewer of Charlie Rose might complain about.

The super annoying thing is that the people who hold these beliefs are often the cool kids: the writers and performers on Saturday Night Live, or even Jon Stewart on some issues.

Here are some of the things they get wrong, in no particular order.

  • Doctors are trained in science and the scientific method.
  • The US is in "hock" to China and someday they might "call our debt".
  • There is an unserved American desire for serious television news.
  • All money in politics is corrupting, including legislator salaries, lobbyists are all bad, "campaign cash" and "lobbyists" are interchangeable and must be stopped!
  • Disposing of household trash at landfills is a serious environmental problem. Recycling is a big deal!
  • Renewable means good, which is why converting food producing land into fuel producing land is good.
  • Paper is always better than plastic.
  • Supporting inefficient local farmers helps feed the world.
  • Humans interacting with the biosphere is, by definition, unnatural and bad.
  • Big, efficient agriculture has to be bad for "nature".
  • A dead animal that rots somewhere is better off, in a way the animal can perceive, than a dead animal that becomes food.
  • Americans are morally blameworthy for not learning the location of countries that they will never visit and languages they will never be required to use.
  • The percentage of eligible voters who turn-out is a good measure of the health of democracy.
  • At the end of the day, private companies are more efficient than government.
  • Pensions that aren't 100% funded are insolvent.
  • The world would be worse off if not for the tax deductibility of donations to the arts.
  • It's true that small town values are better than big city values.
  • There was a time in history when buying and selling Americans was less obviously wrong than it is today.
  • It victims of a crime are especially sympathetic and frequently do not "get justice" changing the standard of proof is a reasonable option.

Update: Paul Krugman adds "believes economic growth to be unsustainable" to the list here

and also makes asked the important point that liberal wrongness is impotent whereas GOP wrongness is devastating. 

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