Monday, December 29, 2008

Lap Dogs and Lackeys

Sorry for the late blogging today--there are times when blogging, alas, has to take a back seat to other pursuits. Such as the obligatory post-Christmas pre-New Year's house cleaning. (Chant with me: Flylady is our friend. Flylady is our friend. Flylady is...)

I'm starting to think those little plastic ties they use to keep toys secure in the packaging (lest you should be silly enough to want actually to play with the toy, instead of keeping the toy in its original box as a potential E-bay investment) will reproduce if they are left alone on the family room floor long enough. Either that, or the toy companies have a secret arrangement with vacuum cleaner manufacturers; those things can be death to an inexpensive vacuum (and maybe to expensive ones, too, but I don't know that personally).

So what with gathering all the twisty little vacuum-killers off the floor (which we thought we'd finished doing on Christmas, but those little suckers hide better than victory from the Detroit Lions) and doing a wide assortment of other chores, I thought I probably wouldn't get out here at all today. But that would have been a pity, because I really, really wanted to share Michelle Malkin's truly scathing look at our media's predilection for Obama's physique:

Ah, the perks of media affection. On Christmas Day, the Washington Post delivered a front-page paean to Barack Obama’s workout habits. The 1,233-word ode to O’s physical fitness read more like a Harlequin romance novel than an A-1 news article.

Sighed smitten reporter Eli Zaslow: “The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.” Drool cup to the newsroom, stat. [...]

For adoring journalists, you see, Obama’s workout fanaticism demonstrates his discipline and balance in his life. Apparently, what’s good for Obama’s glistening pecs is good for the country. Zaslow quoted Obama Chicago crony Marty Nesbitt, who offered this diagnosis: “He doesn’t think of it as something he has to do — it’s his time for himself, a chance for him to reflect. It’s his break. He feels better and more revved up after he gets in his workout.” [...]

Former Washington Post writer Jonathan Chait famously attacked Bush three years ago in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times headlined, “The (over)exercise of power.” Recounting how President Bush ran 3 1/2 miles a day and preached more cross-training to a federal judge, Chait fumed: “Am I the only person who finds this disturbing?…What I mean is the fact that Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy.”

Chait argued that Bush’s passionate devotion to exercise was a dereliction of duty. “Does the leader of the free world need to attain that level of physical achievement?” he jeered. “It’s nice for Bush that he can take an hour or two out of every day to run, bike or pump iron. Unfortunately, most of us have more demanding jobs than he does.” [...]

“Bush says exercise helps sharpen his thinking. But some of his critics view his exercise obsession as an indulgence that takes time away from other priorities. Among them is Cindy Sheehan, the Vacaville, California, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who until late last week was camped out down the road from Bush’s ranch seeking a meeting with him to discuss her opposition to the war. Sheehan, who left her vigil on Thursday to tend to her sick mother, has said she believes Bush should take fewer bike rides to have more time to focus on the “the nation’s work.”

Fit Republican president = Selfish, indulgent, creepy fascist.

Fit Democratic president = Disciplined, health-conscious Adonis role model.

This truly is amazing, isn't it? Amazing, but not really all that surprising.

The mainstream news media continues to act toward Obama the way a second-tier high-school junior acts toward the football star senior who has inexplicably asked her to the prom; of course, everyone but the deluded girl knows that the hunky athlete has only done so because all the guys in the locker room swear she's easy. And Obama's counting on the media remaining easy; not even the Blagojevich matter could get the press to drop their defensive attitudes, or stop publishing articles in which the fact that Obama says nobody on his team is guilty of improper conduct is highlighted and the fact that Obama spent a few hours with a federal prosecutor is waved aside as something that every president has to do, sooner or later (though most of them are actually president, not merely president-elect, at the time).

The fawning obeisance members of the media continue to give Obama is sickening in its sycophancy. But the MSM is forgetting how increasingly irrelevant they are, and how little attention Americans pay them; in the next year, as the economic impact of a growing recession is felt by more and more American citizens, the MSM may find that their powder-puff paeans to the epic greatness of the first leader in nearly a decade who shares their ultimate values (roughly described as abortion, more abortion, and still more abortion) don't sell all that well in what is called the Heartland when ordinary people are listening, and Flyover Country when they aren't.

If the traditional MSM decides to remain the lap-dogs and lackeys of the Obama administration, they'll only be hastening their own acrobatic slide into insignificance. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.


Anonymous said...

Thank heavens, I have too much to do in just keeping up with the daily grind in my professional duties that I hadn't even heard of this silly frou-frou. Must be what Mr. Obama was talking about when he mentioned the media intrusion on 60 Minutes Sunday night.

I hadn't heard that Mr. Bush did running or jogging, but supposed he had to do something physically active as most people who are workaholics (or are required to bring the office 'home'). There aren't that many white collar jobs out there that allow regular exercise to be incorporated into the work routine e.g. the bike ride to work, exercise every hour, and the walk or ride back home. (But, I don't believe in that treadmill in front of the desk either; how can trying to remain walking at a steady pace allow one to accomplish anything of mental complexity?) On the other hand, (I believe I read it somewhere) Mr. Obama mentioned that he'd struggled with his weight as a teen-ager, I do think it necessary and honest for him to address it (for himself), so that he can keep ahold of what needs to be done. I have a feeling that the chafe of restricted physical activities that he is used to may make the struggle more difficult. And, also, mention of his exercise in the public forum does bring part of the national obesity epidemic to the forefront of our country's health discussion. I do think that Mr. Obama's public actions will be set up (either intentionally, or perhaps not intentionally by him) as examples of 'current issues', especially in light of his pre-election identification with the masses of electorate.

Whether or not the topic in question is an attempt to understand the winds of media, how the politician handles/is manipulated by/is victimized by the many forms of readily accessible media (radio, TV, newspapers) is certainly a subject of study, and any attempt to understand what is going on, requires this (Red's) type of reflection and opinion, otherwise some of us might not even be aware of the insidiousness of thinking one is reading unbiased 'information'. But, as my English teacher once told us in expository writing, everyone who writes (or speaks) something has an underlying purpose, and it's up to the writer to find that purpose.


the booklady said...

This writer has certainly found your purpose Zircon and it's not 'under'lying anything.

I've been busy too--working full-time and with out-of-town family--but that's completely beside the point when it comes to the way the media fawn all over our president-elect. One's obligations don't prevent observing the obvious, if you care to look. Nor does one have to look far to note the way our current President has been abused from the beginning and is being hounded right up to the very last. Now even his dedication is a strike against him? He's a 'workaholic' now too? Give me a break!

And while Mr. Obama is dealing with issues 'necessary and honest for him to address' . . . '(for himself), so that he can keep ahold of what needs to be done', why is it that he hasn't 'dealt with' his smoking? I find it very interesting that he is never shown with a cigarette. Could it be because those 'masses of electorate' don't like the habit of smoking and they just might not identify with him so much as the media would like -- on this and other issues -- if those issues were ever fully and completely explained and revealed?

I can state uncategorically that here is one of the masses of the electorate who does not identify with Mr. O and never will.

Nice article Red! Love the Flylady too, although she's been on vacation around our house recently. Good luck with twisty-ties. If you ever find a use for used ones, you need to patent it!

New Year Blessings! booklady

Anonymous said...

"Whether or not the topic in question is an attempt to understand the winds of media, how the politician handles/is manipulated by/is victimized by the many forms of readily accessible media (radio, TV, newspapers) is certainly a subject of study, and any attempt to understand what is going on, requires this (Red's) type of reflection and opinion, [and analysis] otherwise some of us might not even be aware of the insidiousness of thinking one is reading unbiased 'information'."

It's rather interesting, that people e.g. Booklady, 'assume' that just because one does not agree with Red's view on a majority of previous columns, that one automatically disagrees with ANYTHING Red proposes. Shouldn't one believe in that independence of thought so obviously relished, that might be a prerogative of those that attempt to correspond in some fashion. (Yes, I'm not always politically correct or particularly conciliatory, or even diplomatic, but I do distinctively have my own point of view, from what I have observed. And, no, I had not even heard of vox nova until it was suggested in this forum that I ascribed to their views--which I don't on quick once-over of Googling that terminology, and do not have any intent on delving into further of what they are. And, I'm sure there are those that believe with my air of superiority that I'm facilely 'attacking' them, or Red, or don't even believe in what I've suggested.)

Many people are workaholics and bring their work home, which prevents a more active lifestyle, leading to weekend warrior syndrome and contributing to the national obesity epidemic. Obesity contributes in a major way to death from diabetes, cardiovascular problems, kidney failure, etc.

There isn't much one can do about altering the visual impact or perception of being fat, or obese, and for a public official in a prominent position to be photographed or discussed in terms of the exercise required necessarily to keep in shape, especially for those in white collar jobs, rather plainly 'puts it out there' that exercise is something that needs to be factored into the national health reforms.

(Surely, one should believe that had Mr. Bush been particularly interested in promoting exercise as a national agenda item, that he would've chosen to be seen engaging in exercise, but then, this is part of what Red is attempting to suggest, I believe--that we don't know what part the media has in promoting what is portrayed by the President-elect of the US in the press. And, I do not believe that Mr. Bush is/was or had criminal intent, but was merely a pawn in many regards, of the media or whoever was in control of the media. I certainly NEVER voted for him, but that was because he didn't appear very intelligent, and his father surely seemed very responsible.)

There are many factors in American life that contribute to the ongoing trend of obesity, and whether or not Mr. Obama has influence on the media, or some other 'forces' are affecting the media mention of his exercise routine e.g. AMA, etc. remains to be seen, but use of a slightly provoking blogging topic rather promotes discussion.

Red didn't mention smoking, I don't think. Second-hand smoke is a major cause of cancer (probably, in the case of people who never smoked, yet die of lung or breast cancer). Cancers will soon replace effect of heart diseases as the major cause of death in developed countries, etc., but as we have not seen photos in the press of Mr. Obama with a cigarette in his mouth (just like TV was restricted by the FCC some time ago), it is not the major issue in implication of the blog topic, I think. Personally, I am of the opinion that Mr. Obama does not expose his family to second-hand smoke, either.

But, hey, it's the end of an 'old' year and soon to be a new one, let's call a truce 'Booklady' and compromise on periodicals? I like Scientific American, lots of lovely informational illustrations, too.

Great column, Red, and compliments to the developing adroitness in contemplative essays and dealing with us cantankerous bashibazouks.