Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Time magazine, April 20, 1992:


Also, since I guess we're still talking about the Michele Bachmann Newsweek cover image and cover copy (here are Paul Waldman and Ta-Nehisi Coates having their say), I was searching for the use of the word "rage" on covers of newsweeklies and found this, from October 25, 1993:

There's "rage" being used in a non-negative way -- but as a reference to youthful feelings. I think one criticism you could level at the "Queen of Rage" tagline for Bachmann is that it suggests that, in Tina Brown's view, Bachmann isn't sitting at the grown-ups' table.

Some right-wingers would nod in agreement at that. But I think it cuts both ways. It suggests that, in Brown's view, Bachmann and the teabaggers are unwashed and immature, so serious people don't really need to take them seriously -- when, in fact, the 'baggers just cleaned the left and center's clocks in the debt negotiations. It's a judgment based on style rather than content; to me the frightening thing about modern-day rightists isn't that they yell a lot or act crazy, it's what they want to do (and actually will do if they're not stopped).

Coates says, alluding to one of Bachmann's most reprehensible pronouncements:

It goes without saying that I would have picked a different picture, mostly because I don't enjoy spectacle. Everyone takes unflattering photos. But not everyone believes that emancipation would have been inhumane. I don't much like watching media go for the face. I've always prefered the jugular.

In other words, attack her on ideas, not on superficialities. That was the point Jon Stewart made last night as well, in a segment that began with a critique of the cover image, but ended with a recitation of some of Bachmann's most chilling pronouncements.

(By the way, did whoever uploaded the Stewart clip to The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog actually watch it to the end? The blogger praises the first part -- "It's a rare moment when Comedy Central funny newsman Jon Stewart agrees with his faux Fox News Channel foes" -- then acts as if the last part doesn't exist.)

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