My effort to get the phrase "Cletus Safari" adopted into the lexicon proceeds apace with this piece in The Baffler comparing the media's zeal for covering old white Trumpers to their relative indifference to covering the most significant and largest labor action in the U.S. in decades.

And I didn't write this one, but Drew Magary has a good rundown on the absolutely baffling decision by more than a dozen Senate Democrats to gut Dodd-Frank and deregulate massive lenders. In case you forgot what a bad idea that is, you may want to add David Dayen's Chain of Title to your reading list.

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18 Responses to “SURFIN' SAFARI”

  1. Michael Says:

    Your Baffler piece hits on SO many great points.

  2. Brian M Says:

    Ah Dembots:

    The lovely tone of the Magary article is just more purist snowflakeism, amiright?

    BIPARTISANSHIP is the answer.

  3. Leo Artunian Says:

    After you, Tovarich.

  4. John M. from Ct. Says:

    Very good piece about the strike coverage, except for the final line. A music teacher is a threat to no one's power; the ongoing cuts to arts and music in the public school systems are a symptom of the decline of the humanities in the eyes of the power elite.
    Substitute math teacher or science teacher, whose absence or unavailability leaves the next generation innumerate in the all-important STEM economy to come, even in West Virginia, and I agree completely with your conclusion

  5. sluggo Says:

    The actual "Heartland " in America are the suburbs.

    A ton of economic activity, a huge population across the country, the basis of popular culture, a shit ton of swing votes.

    Who cares if it doesn't play in Peoria, but it damn well better play in Orland Park.

  6. robert e Says:

    Your Baffler piece is, as usual, a great pithy read, and I understand it's a gloss on many issues in a short space, but you barely hinted at what I feel is a fundamental one: Any owner, manager, or employee of a non-tiny media organization has a conflict of interest when it comes to labor issues. Not an excuse, but a possible explanation, for a reticence-paralysis-denial pathology at every level of even well-functioning mainstream news outlets, let alone those in an industry in turmoil with apparently almost no job security.

    The one solution I can think of is, ironically, outsourcing: i.e., put a freelancer on the story, or republish an alt-media piece. To really do it right, assign an independent editor, too. I know–none of that's gonna happen, thanks to other issues that you wrote about. I'm just sayin'.

    Thanks for prodding my brain, again. I'm adding Dayen's book to my reading list.

  7. BruceJ Says:

    @JohnM "A music teacher is a threat to no one's power;"

    No, but a music teacher who WENT ON STRIKE AND WON, is very very MUCH a dagger at the heart of our rapacious oligarchy. It's a stark reminder that there are a hell of a lot more of US than there are of THEM, and if we decide to do something about it, they'll have as much chance as a snowflake in a Saharan dust storm.

    Or more to the point, a French Noble in 1789 or so…

  8. Safety Man! Says:

    But, but, Hillary’s emails?

    I’m pleasantly surprised that the strike worked, I half-expected the current Administration to call in the paratroopers.

  9. FMguru Says:

    My favorite contrast is the amount of ink/pixels/airtime the various Tea Baggers got in 09-10 compared to the coverage the #Resistance has received in 17-18. It looks like the wave that is going to crash against DC in the fall is going to outdo the one in 2010, but you'd never know it to watch most media, who are still busy sending reporters deep into Trump Country to tell us that old white Trump voters in rural Fentanyl Springs, Arkansas wearing MAGA hats still love their Trump.

  10. Major Kong Says:

    In the alternate universe where Hillary won and is now polling at 35%, are they sending reporters to Berkeley?

  11. mago Says:

    Ha Ha. Good one Kong.

  12. John M. from Ct. Says:

    BruceJ, I agree with you about the power of a teachers' strike succeeding, as a threat to the rapacious oligarchy. But it wasn't a music teacher, or all the music teachers, who "went on strike and won". It was all the teachers. Solidarity forever, thank goodness.
    But my point to Ed – a niggling one, as I am a humanities teacher myself – is that if *only* the music teachers of this world went on strike or disappeared, no one in power would miss them. Probably not even the kids' parents would miss them. Thus using a 'music teacher' as a symbol of the power of schoolteachers seems misguided.

  13. jcdenton Says:

    Extra-political actions often have more power than political ones, particularly in a two-party system.

  14. Jack the Cold Warrior Says:


    "Fentanyl Springs Arkansas." Brilliant! LMAO…

  15. Tim H. Says:

    In the Baffler piece "Cholera Creek, PA" might've worked better, Cholera being associated with human waste contaminating water, and Tetanus being soil bacteria. I only found that nit to pick.

  16. Katydid Says:

    Great point about the Cletus Safari somehow missing all the W. Va teachers (who tend to be some combination of female, young, and/or minority). A good friend of mine teaches music in a little town just above Wheeling. They've got to do something with nothing, and many of her students have never even been to Wheeling (20 minutes away) much less had any sort of cultural training at home.

  17. Alice Says:

    Re DOD-Frank – one word: elections.

    This is not complicated. Just get out of your ideological box. Senate is important in the last 2 years of Trump rule. Not only for impeachment. For SCOTUS, filibuster, blue slips. For investigations of the Trump administration. To stop the corruption before it becomes institutionalized. To look into military appropriations and engagement size. To start looking into treason. For future elections. For future wins.

    This is not about some illusion of bipartisanship. This is about breathing space. Stopping the destruction. Or slowing it down.

    Or do you have some strong progressive outpost in ND I don't know about?

  18. democommie Says:

    "Or do you have some strong progressive outpost in ND I don't know about?"

    If they do, they don't know about it, either.

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