Kathy Shaidle

Joe Klein, TIME ‘Too Dumb to Thrive’?

Posted on January 27 2010 12:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Joe Klein at TIME is feeling extra super cranky these days.

Are you an ordinary (dare I say it — “teabagger”) American? Are you daring to question the wisdom of the great Obama, by wondering aloud where all your money disappeared to?

Shut up, Joe Klein explains:

Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it’s been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package–$288 billion–is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you’ve been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills.

Yes, he really did write $787 — no zeros. On Monday, at 11:30 AM. It’s still like that. But remember: you’re the idiots, and the editors and writers at TIME are your moral and intellectual superiors!

Klein continues:

This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed…and, for those watching Fox News, misinformed.

It is very difficult to have a democracy without citizens. It is impossible to be a citizen if you don’t make an effort to understand the most basic activities of your government. It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you’re a nation of dodos.

A few hours later, Klein “clarifies” his original post in another, entitled ” Dumb or Just Badly Educated… Or Maybe Just Lazy?” You can almost hear him sighing as he types, apparently without irony:

The gap between the numbers who watch American Idol and those who watch the Lehrer News Hour will always be massive–but the number of people who don’t pay any attention to the news at all continues to grow….and all too many of those who do try to follow the news get their information from sources that feed their prejudices. I don’t think you can run a democracy or remain prosperous in a situation like that forever.

Like Mr. Klein, I have some “thoughts”. They may not be able to match his in sheer brilliance, because I am a mere dodo.

  1. If America is a” nation of dodos”, and they elected Barack Obama, then…?
  2. How are we poor dodos supposed to “understand the most basic activities of our government” if Klein et al don’t get their facts straight, or correct their own mistakes within 48 hours?
  3. Is calling potential customers “idiots” and addressing them in the most patronizing tone imaginable really the, er, smartest political and business strategy you’ve got?
  4. Likewise: if a journalist writes an article in TIME magazine moaning about how few people are reading TIME magazine, does it make a sound?
  5. Would it be possible for professional journalists to stop lazily using the “American Idol” trope in their seemingly endless stories about “stupid Americans,” and at least be, er, smart enough to employ a fresher reference? Articles with fewer stale, lazy cliches might just inspire “dodos” to start reading your stuff again.
  6. Leher is still on? Wow. Anyway: when was the last time you watched it, Mr. Klein? Just asking.

Don’t be so sad, Joe. There’s still hope for America!

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