More Unforcced Errors

« January 2016 »

Memo to the media: STOP MARTYRING TED CRUZ.

Here's the thing. Ted Cruz is awful. We all know Ted Cruz is awful. The only people who don't think Ted Cruz is awful are people who like Ted Cruz, and those fuckers are lost causes anyway. So ifyou're part of the mainstream media, and you feel the need to try to tell everyone that Ted Cruz is awful, could we maybe try to do it in such a way that doesn't let ol' Ted make a somewhat valid case that you're being a dick to him?

Under normal circumstances, I would endorse being a dick to Ted Cruz. Key his car, leave a bag of flaming dog shit on his doorstep, elect Texas senators who aren't Ted Cruz, whatever. But don't feed a narrative that makes him a "target of the left", becuase he's running for President, and the goobers in the base eat that shit for breakfast. And for breakfast for dinner.

Case in point. Last month, the Washington Post briefly published an editorial cartoon, because apparently it's 1982. For more than a decade, the only time anyone's noticed an editorial cartoon is when it's been particularly wrong-headed or offensive. And it's been longer since anyone's noticed one for being particularly insightful or incisive. Sometimes, society makes art forms obsolete, and that's OK. If editorial cartoonists want to cartoon in private, as a hobby, and maybe once a year draw bad caricatures of elephants with the words TAX CUTS on the side during a local parade, like an even less interesting version of Morris dancers, that's fine. But it shouldn't be an occupation.

But I digress. In this editorial cartoon, Ted Cruz, dressed as a weird Santa, but the Santa is also an organ grinder, and the two monkeys ar Cruz' daughters. No, seriously. The Washington Post paid someone (Ann Telnaes, not that it matters) to draw that.

Problem number one. In the post-Obama era, the clear and relevant distinction between depicting white people as monkeys and black people as monkeys has been obliterated by eight years of false equivalency. Which means that drawing people as monkeys has been effectively ruined for everyone because racists are stupid and enabled by society. Since it's been ruined, maybe don't draw people as monkeys unless society gets smarter again.

And second, it attacks Cruz' kids. Is it a valid argument that Cruz, by using his kids in campaign videos as a clear political ploy, has made them fair game? Yes it is. Is a valid argument synonymous with an argument you can win in the court of public opinion? Nope. Not sure it ever was, but even if it ever was, it sure as fuck ain't now. You will never win an argument that hinges on you explaining why it's OK to be mean to a five year old girl, no matter how justified you may be. That's just science.

So Cruz got to play the victim, which is nothing new, but he got to play the victim and be seen as in the right by people who aren't necessarily rabid partisans. All eight of them. That's an unforced error. If Ted Cruz wants to pretend to be persecuted, you fucking well make him work for it. You don't hand it to him, giftwrapped in a weird hybrid Santa / organ grinder outfit.

Similarly, yesterday. Newsweek's Alexander Nazaryan tweeted that Cruz had a "strong ground game in Iowa", accompanied by a picture of Nazis marching. Funny? Absolutely. Accurate? Sure. I mean, technically, Trump's getting more of the Nazi vote than Cruz is, but we all know Cruz would be getting them if Trump wasn't. But "defensible" is once agian not the same as "helpful". And once again, Cruz gets to complain that people are being mean to him and fundraise off the fact that people are being mean to him.

I get it. It's fun to shit on Ted Cruz, because he's a horrible, horrible human being. I love it. But unlike me, as members of the media, you have a responsiblity. Not to be fair, not to be impartial, but to understand what you realistically can and cannot get away with, and to not push that particular envelope without making an incredibly compelling point int he process. Which pretty much includes both editorial cartoons and tweets in their entirety.