Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Stasi-fied pundit corps?

Bob "The Daily Howler" Somerby in his post of 03/13/07 picked up on the East Germany analogy I used the other day. (He didn't pick it up from me, so far as I know, but a similar thing occurred to him. He's complaining about the Establishment pundits in general, and in particular about TV pundits Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist. The "Stasi" was the short name for the secret police in Communist East Germany, short for Staatssicherheitsamt. The Howler writes:

Yes, these clear-eyed boys are exceptionally stupid. But they’re also very good Stasi boys. Why is Stasi on our minds? Last night, after watching Tucker and Willie, we went to see The Lives of Others, a look inside the culture that had been created by Stasi by the final years of the GDR. And omigod! Having just watched Tucker and Willie, we were struck by how similar this Stasi-world was to the regime under which we now suffer. Yes, the dynamics of social control were quite different. But in each case, a group of exceptionally stupid men and boys had seized substantial control of a culture. And as with Bob and Tucker and Willie, so too with the men and boys of Stasi! In The Lives of Others, a group of exceptionally stupid men sit about all day, looking for ways to make up stories about better people, whom they happen to hate. In the GDR, they pimped their tales to the secret police; our boys pimp their concocted tales straight to the public. But the similarities are quite clear. We’ll suggest that you watch Tucker and Willie some afternoon, then go out and take in this film. Yep! Take a look at Tucker and Willie. Then check the East German police.

Late in the film, the GDR finished, a German artist who had been pursued spoke to the Stasi man who pursued him. ["]To think," he says to this empty-souled thing, "that people like you once ruled this country." When he said that, [I] thought of the stupid boys who we’d seen just a few hours earlier. Tucker and Willie are exceptionally stupid. But they’re fine Stasi boys, through and through.
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