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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 31, 2006

 
Money

by tristero

Ah, money. John Aravosis brings the subject up again. A few comments on his post, which is well worth reading:

1. No one should be surprised that, one-on-one, politicians are really, really nice. It's their job to be nice. If you think about it for twenty seconds it becomes patently obvious that only someone with a nice personality could get anywhere in politics - which, after all, is all about working with other people 24/7. The Nazi-loving Schwarzenegger is really nice. By contrast, The Great KAT, who makes the young Bob Dylan look like a docile interview subject, is likely never to be elected... dogcatcher (couldn't resist). I'm told even Nixon was nice, even if I find that incredibly hard to believe.

Why is being nice essential to political success? Why is being nice as important for a political leader as being well-read and intelligent? My friends, if you have to ask those kinds of questions, then my advice is to pursue that degree in advanced statistics you've always wanted. I couldn't possibly begin to explain it to you. (Irate statisticians, please note: Musicians easily rival you for the title of professionals with the worst social skills.)

It also goes without saying that because nice-osity is such a critical skill, politicians are exceedingly adept at turning up the charm in order to disarm an opponent, or modulate the niceness in all sorts of subtle ways to suit their ends.

Therefore, John is absolutely right to report on the behavior of the politicians he meets. It is a crucial part of understanding who they are. So we can crush them at the polls.

But John is mistaken, when he writes about the charming Katherine Harris, "That doesn't mean I think she's a wonderful human being, it simply means that whatever she is, it's a lot more complicated than folks would like to present." It's not complicated at all, John. One-on-one Harris is professionally nice and she's so good at it, it looks sincere. It may even be sincere. That is her job. That's why she has supporters. What's so hard to understand?


2. The question readers of John's blog should ask is this: If John goes to these affairs - and why not, since he didn't have to pay for it, so, hey, the food's free - will being nice to Katherine Harris help advance the liberal causes John so passionately believes in? Well, it can't hurt. Being mean to her in that situation gets you nowhere.


3. Point 2 above notwithstanding, he should have kicked Katherine Harris in the shins. Hard.


4. Regarding money, it's painful to read John's justifications. That anyone as smart and savvy as John Aravosis would waste his time defending his desire and need to be paid for a job well done! That anyone could object to competent people being paid well to do their job! This just blows my mind.

Phil Glass put it succinctly - you pay me money. I give you music. There isn't a composer who ever existed (with the exception of Charles Ives) who would disagree. Don't like Phil's music? I assure you: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven (to name just three) had exactly the same attitude.

5. To clarify point 4, please understand: I think John Aravosis is absolutely right about money. It is a crime that he should be wasting his valuable time defending his need to be paid. However, it clearly is necessary for him to educate his audience in reality. Hopefully, they'll get it. But if they don't, John will simply have to learn to ignore them. (For the little that it's worth, full disclosure: I've never been paid to do any political writing, or political work, of any kind, including blogging. Nor am I seeking payment. This makes me morally superior to nobody who does earn money - honestly, duh - from political work.)

6. John really should have kicked Katherine Harris in the shins when he had the chance.

7. John's last point is the most important. From the small involvement I've had with "real" politics, via blogging, attending conferences, interviewing and talking to politicians and diplomats, I am certain that politics has the potential to be enormously enjoyable.

Yes, indeed: Confronting the far-right - and destroying their ability to influence mainstream American politics is a moral obligation, I believe, for any American that cares about the well-being of his/her family, friends, and neighbors, not to mention the rest of the world. It's also potentially a lot of fun (and yeah, it can be dispiriting; no one said it was gonna be easy fun).

There simply is nothing wrong to be paid well for fighting effectively for liberal causes AND having fun. In fact, that's also part of the fun. Only crazy puritans think you should be miserable when you do good.

8. God-DAMMIT, John! Crutches! I want to see Katherine Harris on crutches! I want to sign the fucking cast on her leg! How could you pass up the chance?!??!

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