The trouble with some professions is that they lead the practitioners into believing that they know much more about life than they really know.
Writers tend to be like that. Specifically; columnists, journalists and bloggers, and especially the political brand. They've been around the block a few times. They know what's happening. They're on the ball. They've got their eye on things. They're well-informed. They're hip to the scene.
They've got the Big Picture.
But occasionally they'll criticize something that puts their limitations on display, and a recent blow-up with Rosie O'Donnell serves as an excellent example. A number of right-wing bloggers became totally unhinged, and all from not understanding the craft Rosie was practicing.
Or, perhaps more appropriately, refusing to understand it.
During the Iraq War, as we were bombing the snot out of Baghdad, I remarked in my Usenet group that it seemed like the cable news stations were releasing an amazing amount of information about our field operations. I wrote an ongoing parody of it for the group. Here's a snippet:
"Thanks, Phil. As viewers can see from Fox News' exclusive satellite coverage, the B-52s appear to be headed toward Qom Kabar. Major Roberts?"
"Well, Jane, according to Fox News' exclusive satellite coverage, if we lay the projected course…here, then it appears you're correct. Qom Kabar, it is. Most likely they're heading for the bunkers on the northeast edge of town, currently held by the Iraqi Third Brigade. Using Fox News' exclusive Quik-Trak Course Computer, it looks like they should arrive right around…7:26, local time."
"Thank you, Major. In local news, protesters have-"
"-ahk akbar! Khati jukha B-52s jah Qom Kabar al 7:26!"
Ah, I see Al Jazeera TV is back on the air.
Now, I don't know any Arabic, so I just made up a bunch of Arabic-looking words. Obviously, no insult was meant to the great Arabic language. The point is, if I had known Arabic, I would have used real Arabic words. Fair enough?
Rosie O'Donnell did the exact same thing, using stereotypical made-up words as a comedic prop, and the right-wing bloggers promptly branded her a racist.
She was imitating a Chinese TV news announcer, and, not personally being fluent in Chinese, she did a "ching-chong" thing, interjecting her joke words at the appropriate time, exactly like I did above.
Michelle Malkin led the charge. A clear example of someone getting completely out of one's depth, in this case displaying a lack of knowledge about the art of comedy, something Rosie has been professionally engaged in for decades.
And all the right-wing bloggers jumped on the bandwagon. A wonderful, shining example of the blind leading the blind. The bloggers like to think of themselves as independent thinkers, but I didn't see any of them saying, "Hey, wait a sec — isn't this the kind of thing comedians have been doing for, uh, forever?"
If you're doing a comedic skit and you want to imitate a Chinese or French or German TV announcer, just how are you supposed to do it if you don't know the language? Obviously, you just make it up, as I did above, using words that stereotypically illustrate that particular language. But, according to the right-wing bloggers, that now makes you a…
And they wonder why their blog sites aren't more popular.
And they wonder why more people don't see things their way.
And they wonder why commercial advertisers shun them.
And they wonder why the mainstream media ignores them.
Wonder no more, mon amis.