Hot Air

… It’s Strictly Business

Let’s not kid ourselves. L’il Duce asked for high-level security clearances for his spawn not because he wants their help in averting a terrorist attack but because he wants them to jam their fingers and thumbs into the entire global business pie.

He wants them to know all there is to be known about this holy land’s newest business partner, the Rossijskaya Federacija, or in Cyrillic…


… or, in god’s own American English, Russia.

This is your new, improved holy land, babies. The wedding date for the United States of America and Russia is set for January 20, 2017. L’il Duce and the blushing bride have been sleeping together for a while now.

The American Right has been gossiping — approvingly — about the pairing for a few years. The Right’s darling, Sarah Palin, swooned over Russia’s poster boy, Vladimir Putin, seemingly from the day she was thrust upon our nation’s consciousness.

The irony is beyond delicious. The Right made its bones in the second half of the 20th Century by demonizing all things Soviet, communist, socialist, and Russian. Not that they necessarily were wrong in doing so. Joe Stalin and his gang were the moral equivalent of A. Hitler. Stalin’s successors, including Brezhnev, Chernenko, Andropov, and other variously-titled strongmen, were only slightly less satanic than he. Or at least not so dramatically brazen about their mass-murdering, secret-policing, free-speech-crushing ways. But anyone here who suggested we try avoid hydrogen bombing each other — and, by extension, the rest of the planet — into the stone age was branded un-American, silly as a babbling infant, weak, and maybe even homosexual.

Putin’s Russia is now run by hyper-capitalist demi-mobsters rather than Lenin- and Trotsky-quoting apparatchiks. In other words, L’il Duce‘s and the Right’s kind of people.

The Trump/Putin Family will enjoy all the gifts, especially cash. Don’t expect thank you cards.


I Demand To Know…

As you know, L’Il Duce as a potential president has been almost wholly a corporate media creation. His was, at first, a situation comedy storyline, then it turned into a cliffhanger, and finally a heartbreaking tragedy. All the different incarnations of the Trump story were just that — stories. TV and dead-tree media these days traffic in nothing but “stories,” as defined by Don Hewitt, the creator of 60 Minutes. Stories garner audiences. Audiences beget ad revenue. To quote Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, on the Trump phenomenon, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

Studs Terkel, one of my idols, wasn’t a journalist under the accepted definition of the term today — in fact, today’s Journalism — oops, sorry, I mean Media — School professors would scoff at the notion Studs was a reporter. He didn’t, after all, go into a decades-long, crushing  debt to earn a J-school degree. He didn’t read the right scriptures  and practice the proper rites of uncovering the news, nor did he write enough term papers extolling the canon. He wasn’t accredited by the high, holy sachems of the priesthood.

But he dug and wheedled and he insisted and he demanded answers. Who does that today? I once spoke to a class of IU J-school students and said to them, “Don’t treat the mayor or the state representative or the county clerk with fawning deference. You are their equal. When you get them on the phone, address them, respectfully, by title at first and then call them by their first names.” Oh, the prof almost had a heart attack. No, no, no! he said, springing out of his chair.

My little lecture abruptly came to an end.

Studs used to say a journalist’s most important asset was the ability to ask “the impertinent question.”

Tacit in that phrase was the exhortation: Be impertinent.

Impertinence would have been one reporter, somewhere, sometime along the campaign trail demanding of Trump, “Why did you make fun of that guy with the deformed arm?”

And when Trump would deny it, to follow up with, “What makes you think you can lie about it when we have photos and video of you doing it?”

Impertinence. A lost art in the “science” of journalism.

More Than Les

Funny thing. Were I the Les Moonves of this global communications colossus, I might have a different take on the all-too-close-to-home events of yesterday. Turns out my first post yesterday was my biggest draw this entire year.

Yep. the “Sad” post, carrying the sketchy news that the Book Corner had suffered what could be a devastating blow when fire broke out overnight in the place, attracted the highest number of page views, highest total traffic, and highest number of links to this site in the year of somebody’s lord, 2016.

So, sure, I could go all Moonves-y and crow about the fire that has (thus far) crippled a beloved Bloomington institution, “It may not have been good for Bloomington, but it was damn good for The Electron Pencil.”

‘Course, I have a sense of morality at least a touch more refined than that of the Sudanese striped hyena.


A Low Moral Bar

One thought on “Hot Air

  1. David Paglis, a mariner on this sea of madness. says:

    While I don’t agree with your premise there is a bright side if I’m wrong. The more Russia is enmeshed in the world economic system the less likely she is to be disruptive. This is also the reason the Iran nuclear deal is a good one.

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