Babelty Babbley Blab

Jeff VanderMeer • May 16th, 2008 @ 11:02 am • Videos

I’m not a huge fan of Chris Mathews–I think he’s a bit of a pompous ass much of the time, but here we see him nailing an idiot to the wall.

17 Responses to “Babelty Babbley Blab”

  1. Terry Weyna says:

    Oh, my. I’m embarrassed for that guy. And while I’m not a fan of Mathews, either, I’m happy he at least knows some history.

  2. Felix Gilman says:

    Ha! I just posted that myself. It’s Humiliate-Kevin-James Day all over the internet today. Look at ‘im squirm!

    Important fact I have learned about Kevin James: he’s a former AUSA, a federal prosecutor. Which means that he isn’t actually a bona fide idiot, and that he is in fact perfectly capable of knowing what he’s talking about, if he wants to.

    He doesn’t have the excuse of being born an idiot; he has deliberately chosen to cultivate idiocy as a career strategy.

  3. Terry Weyna says:

    Sort of like Ann Coulter, who kinda sorta started out halfway smart and turned into an idiot about her second day on the air.

  4. Corey Redekop says:

    It’s the usual tactic of the ignorant – yell loudly enough, and no one will question you.

    And before you ask, no, I didn’t know anything about Chamberlain either. But I’d at least read up on him if I was going on freakin’ television.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Terry–did she really start out half-way smart?

    Felix–wow, that’s fascinating. So basically he just didn’t prep. He seemed very flustered.

    Corey–yeah, it’s funny to me that the guy just thought he could keep yelling and CM would let him off the hook. Amazing.

    Jeff

  6. Brendan says:

    So so so so funny. Kevin is a total fool.

    As for Ann Coulter . . . I can’t think of a single intelligent thing she has said.

  7. Felix Gilman says:

    Coulter graduated near the top of her class from a good law school, and clerked on a federal court of appeals for a judge who I will not name because he’s dead now and I do not wish to bring shame to his family.

    I’m not saying that means she’s a genius, but she’s not stupid. She’s just chosen to make a career out of saying stupid things.

    Just to be 100% clear, I’m not offering this as a defense of either Coulter or James, both of whom are vermin. My point is that if they were just born stupid and didn’t know any better they would have a kind of excuse.

  8. Brendan says:

    Felix— I get your drift, but then are we to equate how someone does in school with intelligence? I don’t think so. Many times people who do well in school are complete boobs, while those who do poorly are brilliant (like myself and Einstein).

    But seriously . . .

    I don’t think accademic credentials are really worth much. If you take ten illiterate sheep farmers from Nepal and ten people with University degrees from California, Boston or Oxford and talk to them, the conversation of the sheep farmers will not be any less intelligent.

  9. Matt Staggs says:

    Commenting on Felix’s thoughts regarding Coulter, I’d like to add that I actually think that she’s a performer of some sort, and her public persona is a contrived alter-ego that she uses to make a few bucks at the expense of idiots. Not that this lets her off the hook, mind you.
    I really don’t pay her any more attention than I do the half dozen other caricature-like talking heads that populate prime time television, and this includes Chris Matthews in my opinion. These folks and their programs are to civilized discourse as cock fights are to petting zoos. It’s like we’re back in the Dark Ages and we have to have our “Punch and Judy.”

  10. Felix Gilman says:

    Brendan — There are all sorts of different things that we mean by intelligence. In this context, I mean mainly (1) “the ability to construct a coherent abstract argument about politics, e.g. what happened at Munich and why it matters,” and (2) “the ability rigorously to distinguish between fact and myth, and to understand how to back up what you’re saying with fact.”

    James and Coulter choose not to do either, but they can do both — they would have been fired from their early jobs if they couldn’t.

    But sure, so can a lot of people who for whatever reason didn’t do well in formal education, and I didn’t say otherwise. There are — in this culture — other ways of picking these skills up than formal education.

    An example of a horrible right-wing radio/TV pundit who I think probably doesn’t have the mental equipment to understand that he’s talking nonsense: Glenn Beck.

    I’d rather not talk about illiterate sheep farmers in Nepal because I don’t know anything about them and one or probably both of us is going to end up appearing horribly insulting or culturally condescending to them. “Illiterate sheep farmers” covers a wide range of cultures, now and in history, and some of them are quite scare-quotes-modern in their culturally ingrained habits of mind and capable all else being equal of skills (1) and (2) and some of them are definitely not.

  11. Brendan says:

    Felix—-

    Yeah, I understand what you mean. But honestly, with Ann Coulter, I have never seen form a coherent political argument. Of course I haven’t read tons of her stuff, but what I have read has never been terribly coherent.

    On the other hand, another right wing pundit who I don’t like but who I do consider intelligent, is David Brooks.

    So I am not saying she is stupid because she is right wing, but more because I haven’t actually heard her say anything that has any real insight to it. And I don’t think she has been fired for the very simple reason that she has a huge following. She is basically the Maureen Dowd of the right wing. Neither of them seem terribly brilliant to me, but they are popular.

  12. Felix Gilman says:

    I think we’re talking past each other — Coulter has had two careers: an early (quite successful) legal career, and a subsequent career as a horrible right wing hack.

    In her current capacity as a hack she has never said anything intelligent because that’s not in her job description. Coherence and nuance would be a liability to her.

    In her former capacity as a (successful) lawyer she may or may not have ever said anything “intelligent” or “creative,” but she must at least have known how to say things that were “consistent with the evidence.” When I say she would have been fired if she weren’t aware of the distinction between fact and nonsense, I mean she would have been fired from those (highly competitive) legal jobs.

    Brooks is an improvement on Coulter but I’m not a fan.

  13. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Wow, Felix–that’s an insanely insightful piece you linked to. Brooks comes off, frankly, as a total douchebag.

    jeff

  14. Brendan says:

    Felix–

    Actually, I only know Coulter through her work as a right wing hack. And, as you said, her job description does not include saying intelligent things.

    I misunderstood your meaning on your previous post though, so thanks for clarifying.

    And, yes Brooks is a douchebag.

    Occassionaly though, he has made sense, even if I probably have almost never agreed with him.

  15. Brendan says:

    Felix–

    Yeah, I see I misread your previous post when you said “previous jobs”. My fault.

  16. Felix Gilman says:

    no problem

    It’s Coulter’s fault, she spreads confusion wherever her name is invoked, like Beelzebub.

  17. Andrew says:

    Hilarious, yet so sad…

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