Over at the City Pages - our local freebie lifestyle handout - they seem to start young writers out on the "Facile Stereotype" beat.
Molly Priesmeyer is the CP writer perhaps best known to us in the NARN. She appeared at our January "MOB" party, and she also showed up at last Wednesday's Center of the American Experiment party.
Judging by this bit on the CP's house blog, Twin Cities Babelogue, Ms. Priesmeyer is still in the middle of the training program.
Priesmeyer has had a bit of a career writing as (a Google search shows) mostly a music critic for a bunch of the local twentysomething lifestyle boutique freebies.
Before we start going over her Babelogue post, let me drop a couple of observations:
Is it really white in here, or is it just me?Answer: Priesmeyer is, indeed, caucasian. Her hair and clothing scream "Saint Olaf [or Dinkytown, or Macalester] via The Wedge".
Why would her clothing and hairstyle be important? Read on.
En route to the Power Line/Center of the American Experiment Dan Rather retirement party, I rode in an elevator filled with white men in suits who made observations like "I can't wait" and "This oughtta be good." These were received with hale-fellow-well-met white-guy laughter that abruptly stopped when the elevator doors opened to reveal a group of young black men in Roc-A-Wear gear who were apparently not attending the same event. Then the elevator doors closed and took the bunch of us back to 1952 for an event that felt like a dinner at a segregated country club in the days when Perry Como ruled the airwaves.The "white guys" reactions - assuming they happened as written - were not a whole lot different than those I've seen from people very similar to Ms. Priesmeyer when surprised by groups of bikers or aggressive rednecks.
And what does Ms. Priesmeyer notice about the black guys? The brand of their clothes! It's of a piece with the shallowness of the rest of her observations, which amount to a checklist of mealy-left stereotypes. Golf. Three car garages. White entered via hotkey.
What of the black men? Their ages? Their speech? Their actions? Was there anything about them besides that shallowest of features, their clothing labels, that the reader could divine from Priesmeyer's piece?
Of course not. Like the white people that Priesmeyer sat among (and matched) in the CAE dinner, they are mere props, used purely as symbols in a story that was, by all appearances, written long before Ms. Priesmeyer left her apartment Wednesday night.
That’s not exactly correct: Inside, I spotted a total of three non-caucasians, and one of them was hunched behind a television camera recording the event for history's sake.Actually, it was C-SPAN.
Just the facts, ma'am.
Over a paltry buffet ($35 for iceberg lettuce and cruddy bow-tie pasta?),Since we're wallowing in stereotypes - whining about the food at a buffet for a fundraiser for a non-profit is a characteristic of upper-middle-class kids from three-car garage land.
But again, I'm sure that's a stereotype.
Rather's farewell, however, included a moving tribute to September 11, which pretty much killed any hooting ovation.There was never a hooting ovation, at least not before the final signoff (and that was more a round of joyous applause). I observed the vast majority of the crowd was more interested in the conversation than the newscast. The show was barely audible until the last segment.
(Don't you just hate it when public figures exploit 9/11 for their own ends?Actually, it did bother me when Rather wrapped imself in the 9/11 victims, the troops in Iraq, and the Tsunami victims, yes. His final broadcast was the first time I'd seen footage of the collapse of the WTC on CBS in years - they didn't even show that footage on the anniversary of the attacks. For Dan Rather's retirement, they trot it out? CBS dropped the tsunami story the moment it wasn't sexy enough for ratings, and Dan Rather was little short of an enemy of democracy for the Iraqi people. But for his signoff - which was forced by his and his news division's own politically-motivated dishonesty - suddenly we break out those searing images?
Yeah, it did bother me.
"Courage" might have gotten the biggest laughs, but "hero" was the watchword of the night. "You guys are just heroes," one woman from the Center of the American Experiment told the Power Line and Fraters bloggers. And Sen. Michele Bachmann offered praise for blogger Mitch Berg: "You're my hero!" she exclaimed, while hugging him from behind. Apparently, "hero" now means anyone who savages the president's many detractors. Then again, this is 1952, and those commie bastards deserve it.Neither I nor any of the guys I spoke with recalls Senator Bachmann "...hugging me from behind". I'm a single guy. I remember these things.
And is Priesmeyer seriously comparing the bloggers present - a bunch of middle aged family guys with full-time jobs and mortgages and kids to raise, who write a bit in their limited free time (and still write more, and better, than the likes of Priesmeyer or Nick Coleman), people like Rocket and Trunk and, by the way, me - with the House Unamerican Activities Committee? With a megalomaniac Senator who used the full weight of the US government to (let's take the lefty canonical tale of the events at face value for now) squash the reputations, livelihoods and lives of innocent people for political gain?
I had no idea I was such a big cheese!
Sorry, Molly. You're going to be on the "facile stereotype" beat for a while longer.
Ed noticed the McCarthy angle, too:
Here we have an event that was open to anyone who wanted to buy a ticket, held in a public place with plenty of notice, and obviously used no particular barriers to entry other than a ticket-taker. The issue of the evening had nothing to do with race. Dan Rather, obviously, is white. So is Les Moonves, Sumner Redstone, Mary Mapes, Bill Burkett, and everyone associated with the topic. The only person talking about race in relation to the Rathergate debacle appear to be Molly Preismeyer -- which says a hell of a lot more about Molly's state of mind than anyone else's. It also reveals the character of Babelogue that they would reprint such a transparent smear, such a vulgar non-sequitur, such disgusting tripe.But then, the City Pages are a place where the editor thinks the Strib is conservative, a place where the blogmaster openly called for armed revolution if Bush won the election, a place that linked to a site that showed a flash animation of Michele Bachmann dancing with Hitler to support an article about te candidate.
As for the McCarthyism, accusing a roomful of people of being racists without providing the least bit of evidence for such except a headcount at a well-publicized event that was open to anyone with $35 (as Preismeyer's own presence demonstrates) is a sterling example of the practice. Preismeyer and City Pages prove themselves to be disciples of McCarthy in their smear of political opponents with unsubstantiated and vile allegations. If they consider themselves journalists, they are deluding themselves. The City Pages has sunk to the level of parody, except no one's laughing at their hatred.
Maybe it's time for the City Pages to declare intellectual bankruptcy.Posted by Mitch at March 13, 2005 08:34 AM | TrackBack