F**king Mondays: Are Liberals Depressed?
Taibbi gets humiliated, the Oscars non-review, and a question about liberal mental health.
Happy Monday everyone, and welcome to your weekly does of “F**king Mondays” where we try to make sense of the world and start your week the right way!
Taibbi humiliated repeatedly
Matt Taibbi’s grilling during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the "Twitter Files" this past week was a humiliating spectacle for the once great journalist. I must confess to feeling a little sad watching him finally face serious questions over his ludicrous journalism. There were a couple of exchanges I thought were extremely illuminating, particularly the financial/ethical concerns of doing the bidding of a politically motivated billionaire.
We covered Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s brutal cross examination on the podcast yesterday where she asked Taibbi whether he profited financially from the story (Taibbi flubbed the answer, calling it “a wash” given he had hired people to help him with the reporting). I’ve asked Taibbi this several times now but have heard nothing back. Obviously Taibbi has profited from this immensely given his new profile as an Elon Musk approved journalist, and if he had any journalistic integrity he would at least admit it. I’ll update if I do hear back.
The other notable interaction was this one, where Brooklyn Rep. Daniel Goldman ripped apart the entire basis of Taibbi’s thesis that Democrats and state agencies were illegally/inappropriately monitoring social media and trying to suppress free speech:
Twitter executives themselves sounded the alarm about Russian interference on their network after 2016, so Taibbi can’t have it both ways and cite them as evidence there was no interference. I did a deep dive on this red herring last month if you want to read more on it.
Goldman also tore apart fellow Twitter Files journalist Michael Shellenberger who similarly claimed government agencies were trying to suppress free speech when they very clearly weren’t:
Sorry, didn’t watch it. I’m not really a fan of the award show for a number of reasons. I lived in L.A for many years and became so sick of celebrity culture that I stopped watching television almost completely for a very long time. The Oscars is the ultimate celebrity brown-nosing event where unfathomably wealthy and successful people congratulate each other for their achievements. I’m sure they have worked hard, have bags of talent etc, but I think society awards them enough already so I make a point to avoid watching the fawning talk shows and gratuitous awards events. I’m also fairly old school in that I like entertaining movies, not ones trying to ram home socially just messages about whatever political issue happens to be trending on social media.
Ok, old man rant over. I did hear Avatar 2 was pretty good though….
Elon Musk’s latest conspiracy theory
The Twit in Chief is now demanding Jacob Chansley be freed from jail after watching Fox News cherry picked footage of the “Q-Anon Shaman” telling protestors to go home and remain peaceful:
If Musk knew anything about journalism, fact checking, research and evidence, he might have taken this into account:
But no, Musk takes whatever half-baked, right wing conspiracy theory is currently ripping on his private social media platform as gospel, then pumps it out to his 131.2 million followers.
Are liberals depressed?
David Brooks has an interesting piece on what he calls “The Self-Destructive Effects of Progressive Sadness”. Brooks comments on studies showing notable change in the outlook of liberals in recent times:
First, smartphones and social media emerged and had a negative effect on the nation’s psyche, especially among the young. Then the election of Donald Trump darkened the national mood, on right and left.
Young liberals were hit especially hard. A 2021 study by Catherine Gimbrone, Lisa M. Bates, Seth J. Prins and Katherine M. Keyes looked at the emotional states of 12th-grade students between 2005 and 2018. Liberal girls experienced a surge in depressive symptoms. Liberal boys weren’t far behind. Conservative boys and girls also suffered from higher rates of depressive symptoms, but not nearly as much as liberals. Sadness was linked to ideology.
Brooks believes liberals are prone to “a catastrophizing mentality”, “extreme sensitivity to harm” and are embedded in a “culture of denunciation” where “if you aren’t speaking in the language of maximalist exorcism, you’re betraying the cause”.
I think there is some truth to this, mostly because I recognize these symptoms in myself on occasion. I’d be curious to hear readers’ thoughts on this.
Until next week!
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I did watch the Oscars but I have a record to keep: I've watched every single Oscar show since they were first televised in 1953. That's 70 years' worth. Some were terrible, some were just okay, and some were good. They were only 'wonderful' if the movies I was backing won, of course. I had no skin in the game for any of them this year, but I enjoyed it just the same.
About David Brooks: It annoys the hell out of me when a conservative pundit decides how we liberals (always grouped with progressives, by the way, when we're two separate and distinct entities) must be feeling. When do they ever talk about the feelings of conservatives? Is it because they have no feelings?
We liberals are classified as liberals not just because of our feelings but because of our actions. We're the givers, the nurturers, the caretakers. Damn right we have feelings. We couldn't do what we do if we didn't.
Did we gnash our teeth and grieve when Trump got that much power? Damn right we did. Did we cave? Of course not. But we talked about it. Openly. With rage and with sorrow. Maybe we need to do more of that. Maybe we need to include the young in those conversations.
One thing I know for sure: David Brooks is not going to tell us who we are. You want to know about liberals? Ask a goddamn LIBERAL. I'm 85 goddamn years old and I've been a liberal since I was old enough to sit around listening to my blue-collar union family lament about the latest labor strike and how we're going to eat tomorrow.
I've been telling you people how it is for a couple of decades now, but you wouldn't know it because you didn't read it. But I've been talking and I'm not the only one. Find a liberal and listen! You must know some. We're in every strike line, at every protest, at every rally, at every food bank, at every voting precinct. We're the ones who VOTE. We're the ones who GET THINGS DONE. We're not and never will be David Brooks. https://www.ramonasvoices.com/2016/