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Pity the Fool! Rachel Maddow Frames the A-Team for Warping Her Mind (True Twit, Part 11)

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Posted on April 1 2011 12:30 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.

Rachel Maddow probably puts on more pseudo-intellectual airs than any show on cable news.  Her promos proclaim her “geeky” supposed attention to detail and show her researching her specs off to bring the story “nobody else is talking about.”

Well, there may be a good reason nobody else bothers.

Wednesday night, she brought Denver Post (and sometime Nation) columnist David Sirota to talk about his book, Back to our Future: How the 1980s Explained the World We Live in Now, Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything.

And we “learn” that America is in 3 wars now because of … Mr. T?

SIROTA: … We learn from movies like “Iron Eagle,” from “Top Gun,” from TV shows like the “A-Team,” like “The Dukes of Hazard,” that the government can‘t do anything right, that the military is the ultimate institution in society, and we have created this monumental idea that everything we did in the 1980s was good and everything that we did in the 1980s we should keep doing.

MADDOW:  One—on that one reference you just made to the “A-Team,” I have to tell you, I was born in 1973.  I know you‘re a little younger than me.  But every reference in the book is something that I emotionally get.

And I have to tell you, I watched every single second of the “A-Team” that was ever put on television.  I was absolutely obsessed with the “A-Team.”  Can you explain to me how that warped my mind?

SIROTA:  Yes.  Well, you were like many young people.  The “A-Team” was one of the top-rated shows among preteens in the mid-1980s.  It had a big effect on people.

Yes, Rachel, that’s probably where you got the idea that if wars are not bungling quagmires, they will be over in 45 minutes and no one will die.

And in case you think I took it out of context…

MADDOW:  One—on that one reference you just made to the “A-Team,” I have to tell you, I was born in 1973.  I know you‘re a little younger than me.  But every reference in the book is something that I emotionally get.

And I have to tell you, I watched every single second of the “A-Team” that was ever put on television.  I was absolutely obsessed with the “A-Team.”  Can you explain to me how that warped my mind?

SIROTA:  Yes.  Well, you were like many young people.  The “A-Team” was one of the top-rated shows among preteens in the mid-1980s.  It had a big effect on people

SIROTA:  Yes.  Well, you were like many young people.  The “A-Team” was one of the top-rated shows among preteens in the mid-1980s.  It had a big effect on people.  And think about the story of the “A-Team,” right?  The government unduly incarcerates our heroes, they escape because the government can‘t even keep them incarcerated, and they solve the problems that the government refuses to solve.  In fact, they are solving problems while the government is trying to apprehend them for solving society‘s problems.

Obviously, we can see the analog now.  This is how political culture talks about government, that you can‘t rely on the government, you have to rely on outsiders.  You have to rely on the outsiders.  You have to rely on the private contractors, the Blackwaters, the Hallburtons, to solve our society‘s problems.

I‘m not making a direct link between Blackwater and the “A-Team,” but what I‘m saying is, is when kids, when you and I as kids and 7 million other preteens are taught that government can‘t do anything and that we have to hire the outsider, that becomes the way in which our government now speaks to us, our politics now speak to us.

MADDOW:  And it makes—it makes those arguments now resonate in a way that is emotionally satisfying and that we can‘t necessarily explain because it sort of shaped our subconscious.  It is a deeply conspiratorial book that you have written, David Sirota, but it is also one that I have to say rang as true to me on just about every single page.  I think it‘s a real achievement.  And I‘m really happy you had so much success with it.  Thanks, David.

SIROTA:  Well, thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW:  The book is called “Back to our Future: How the 1980s Explained the World We Live in Now, Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything.”  I will tell you, this book made me remember the muscle memory of how to win the Atari games that I was good at.  I was really good at Kaboom.

That last kaboom you heard may have been your credibility…

But this was satire, right?  Everybody was smirking… yes, but no more than usual for the True Twit Variety Hour.

Nope, Sirota thinks people “learn lessons” from The A-TeamThe Dukes of Hazzard, and Iron Eagle.  Of course on the Amazon page for his new book, he also thinks Blackwater came out of attitudes created by Ghostbusters, blames Rambo for Americans thinking we can beat terrorists, and says Rocky is one big racist fantasy.

Well Rache, if the A Team was really that influential for you, maybe you can take some good advice from Mr. T:

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