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February 15, 2005

“It’s the self-delusion.” The Corpuscle (which all of you should be reading) pierces to the heart of the “Gannon”/Guckert affair. [10:55 AM]
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Comments on "It's the self-delusion.":

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 02:45 PM:

Pfft. "What made him think he could pull it off?" How about the fact that they gave him a White House press pass?

No, no, the question which plagues me in the wee hours is how the Bush Administration hopes they can pull it off without meeting the fate of other fascists.... There's nothing more violent than a mob which has realized it was taken for a fool. Collectively, y'know, speaking.

JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 02:59 PM:

“And, please, save me from witnessing it in others. It's too awful.”

I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind this. If we didn’t witness it in others, wouldn’t it stand to reason that we were suffering from the same blindness?

Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 03:19 PM:

It's a studied phenomenon, of course: Unskilled and Unaware of It

Incidentally, is it funny or creepy that the 404 error page of the website of the American Psychological Association is titled Oops! How Did I Get Here?

julia ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 03:39 PM:

It's magical thinking, I think. It's become increasingly important these last years (decades) as people who have to know on some level that nothing they've contributed that actually justifies on merit their being the richest and most powerful people in the world try to convince themselves that there's something intrinsic about them, some shining virtue that was recognized by the meritocratic establishment who gave them the keys to the kingdom and if the poor and powerless were just as good as they are, they'd be every bit as successful.

Even the traders and the associates long since gave up on trying to pretend it was the hours they put in.

Gannon/Guckert was in the press room? He's one of them. Maybe not one of them they have any use for, but one of them. There are all sorts of stories now about reporters bracing him in private, but not word one from an entire room full of reporters who collectively have one of the biggest stages in the world.

If he didn't deserve to be there, he wouldn't have been there, right? Because you have to be the best and the brightest to be there.

I mean, just look around the room.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 04:07 PM:

Yes, when I read it this morning I said, oh yes. I thought then I should thank him for putting into words a nexus of thought/feeling/reaction that often happens inside my head. But I didn't so I am now.

If you are a Live Journal reader there's a feed for that blog here.


Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 05:09 PM:

When I read "It's the self delusion," my first thought that this would be about how Bush's supporters can continue to be supporters despite his administration being clavicle deep in cranks, creeps, greedheads, and jingos.

Is there something slicker and non-stickier than Teflon (tm)?

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 05:50 PM:

This thing about inability to assess one's level of competence has been buzzing around in my head for days now. Partly because I work beside people who read the slushpile and regularly push it towards me, because they find it entertaining when I start sputtering and then get scathing.

I have this disturbing feeling that just as the incompetent send us their pride and joy, the truly talented are burning their manuscript in their fireplaces because they underestimate themselves.

I guess a lot of decent people in journalism resign because they have made some honest mistake, leaving only the shameless to thrive.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 06:18 PM:

Stefan: >25 years ago, when I was still working in a lab, I was introduced to (IIRC) Oilon(tm), nylon mixed with a dash of lubricating oil; it was medium brown and could be machined like other medium-stiff plastics. It's not much known because it can't be used for food, but I suspect it's even slicker than Teflon -- and unlike Teflon (which can peel or scratch) it's slick all the way through

David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 07:37 PM:

And it has a really slick name, too! (Oilon).

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 09:10 PM:

It's bigger than one pseudo-reporter. Much bigger.

Many of us who achieved professionalism in our late teens or early twenties had a feeling, on the job, that any minute somebody was going to tap us on the shoulder.

"Hey, you!" the'd say. "What are you doing in this responsible position? You're a thinly disguised amateur, a snot-nosed, wet-behid-the-ears whippersnapper. And you have no idea of how to do this job right."

After a few more years, most of us stopped feeling that way. Doing the job, as well as we could, eventually led us to accept that, although we were not stars, we were at least in the game.

After a few more years of work we came to see that there were people who never had that first feeling. They were astonishingly bad at doing their jobs. But they were astonishingly confident, and kissed ass at the speed of light. We all took up the slack, and covered for the lack of work that these folks left undone. Then we were puzzled when they were promoted, by managers equally unaware of their own idiocy.

Now one of those guys is President of the Known Universe, single-handedly ridding the galaxy of evil.

Of course, that leaves the door open for more idiots at the lower levels of running the world.

Historical analogy: when the second-rate Nazis put themselves at the top of the pecking order, and chased all those annoying first-rate Jews, Communists, Union organizers, homosexuals, and cripples out of the scene, it was great news for the third rate, who now moved up into the slot that the second-rate had held before they'd taken over the first-raters' positions.

Once the Einsteins, Von Neumanns, Szilards, and the like were gone, it was ever so much easier for those scientifically researching Aryan superiority.

In the USSR, once that pesky Mendel and Darwin were adjudicated politically incorrect, what good news for Lysenko, and the doctrine that potatoes could grow in permafrost if only they followed Leninist dictat.

Now it's happening the USA. Demote the Science Advisor to the President, get rid of all those foreign grad students and visiting scholars whose backgrounds take too long to check; get rid of those annoying reports about Global Warning, Air Pollution, Water Pollution, unsafe pharmaceuticals, and replace the people who report on them with nice neonazi-neolysenko Faith Based clones, and the Known Universe is ever so much closer to total eradication of Tyranny.

Mission Accomplished!

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2005, 09:33 PM:

I think the basic reason Guckert thought he could get away with it is that a lot of right-wing media figures are getting away with it. 'twasn't the other reporters that caught him out, after all--it was the bloggers. And, at that, if his pecadillo hadn't been something so unpopular with the radical right, we might see the right of the blogosphere all rushing to defend him.

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2005, 09:03 AM:

I have to say that if anyone tried a Guckert stunt in British politics, it would take very little time before they were caught and crucified. We only allow completely unqualified people who know nothing about politics to become sketchwriters.

It also strkes me that you could not really get a better model of the Bush administrations's relationship with real soldiers than its willingness to use as a propagandist a gay prostitute posing as a marine.

Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2005, 09:25 AM:

Is there a "blog post zero" someplace that tells the whole story, or at least is the right place to start reading? Most of what I've been able to find is analysis, rather than a rundown of the facts. Which is all to the good, but I'm missing out on the prurient details, and that's no fun! If someone can point me to the starting line I can try to catch up - thanks!

Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2005, 09:43 AM:

Is there a "blog post zero" someplace that tells the whole story, or at least is the right place to start reading? Most of what I've been able to find is analysis, rather than a rundown of the facts. Which is all to the good, but I'm missing out on the prurient details...

Well, I believe the definitive source for prurient details in this matter is AMERICAblog. That's the blog that uncovered the famous invoices. It also spends some time looking at why the story might be more than just a gay hooker story.

Keith ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2005, 02:02 PM:

I laid awake late last night rolling this matter over in my head and what struck me as the real telling fact was that President Bush would rather talk to a gay prostitute than anyone else. I then realised that if only we could find a little blue dress in Guckert's closet, all our problems would go away... Then I fell asleep. Or woke up, I can't remember which.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2005, 02:42 PM:

The thing about the Guckert/Gannon thing which gets me it that it went on for almost two years. This guy got a seat at the RNC. Bush called on him to ask questions, more than once (and we know how carefully this administration pays attention to whom they ask what), he attended at least one Rose Garden event.

And his news-site/employeer wasn't paying him. Which means (unless he has heretofore unrevealed private wealth of his own to tap) someone else was.

His, nominal boss, is a mucky-muck in the Texas republican world. "Gigi" is allowed to use an alias in the press-room. But it's all a shock and a surprise?

If I were planning this sort of shenannigan (having been in a few city-rooms in my day, back when I was trying to make a living as an aspiring journalist... bad timing and insufficient fire in the belly to move to Kansas, but I degress) I'd make sure my shill had something juicy to be revealed when someone thought to peek behind the curtain, so the public would froth at the sexy scandal, instead of the meaty one.


Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2005, 12:04 AM:

The genius of Gucknon is that it's a no-lose situation for the White House.

If he was not discovered, he'd have remained available as a propagandist and patsy.

Now that his background has been discovered, the story helps provide cover for the GOP's harmful legislative activities, sucking up airtime for a few news cycles. Meanwhile, tort deform, bankruptcy deform, and other things are being largely ignored by the media. (The tort deform bill was passed by the house today, after being passed by the Senate, and got little coverage in the media or in the blogosphere.)

It's not like there'll be any sort of an investigation, so it'll do no damage to the Bush administration.

I don't know if they intentionally picked a gay prostitute to be their news conference stooge, but it turned out pretty well for them.

I also wonder if the Social Security thing is, this year, mostly a smokescreen and a lightning rod into which the Dems will expend all their resources, while the GOP screws Americans in favor of big business and the rich. Oh, and while they launch more wars.

Alex Cohen sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 08:37 PM:

It's coming in at 600 miliTurings, sir. I don't know how much more she can take!