October 19, 2009

The Paul Krugman Theory of the Disparate Effect of Partisan Annoyance.

He posits:
I have a theory here, although it may not be the whole story: it’s about careerism. Annoying conservatives is dangerous: they take names, hold grudges, and all too often find ways to take people who annoy them down. As a result, the Kewl Kids, as Digby calls them, tread very carefully when people on the right are concerned — and they snub anyone who breaks the unwritten rule and mocks those who must not be offended.

Annoying liberals, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe. The rules may be changing (as Dubner and Levitt are in the process of finding out), but it’s been that way for a long time.
What? This does not connect with my observation of the world. What is he thinking of? Can we get some examples? A counter-example is what just happened to Rush Limbaugh (though I think Rush has taken names and will look for ways to take down the people who came after him).

I love the way Krugman is completely open about wanting to sic the liberals on Dubner and Levitt. And don't they deserve it for daring to look critically at climate change issues... and for pleasuring themselves with transgressiveness?
The “tell”, I’d suggest, is that once you get beyond those for whom the decision about whom to laugh at is a career move, people don’t, in fact, seem to find mocking liberals funnier than mocking conservatives.
I can't even get beyond that sentence. Krugman is never going to with the Nobel Prize for Syntax.

But here's a humor idea if we're talking about humor ideas. How about mocking whatever deserves mockery at any given time? I'm mocking Krugman right now, for example, mainly because he doesn't make too much sense. You know, that is the tell, not making sense. You must really want to take down Dubner and Levitt, because you are blogging repeatedly and incoherently against them. Without transition, you went from a theory about annoying liberals/conservatives — by questioning their beliefs and policies — to a theory about what's funnier.

Now, the Ste[v/ph]ens, Dubner and Levitt, are about to make a ton of money with "SuperFreakonomics" — as they did with plain old "Freakonomics" — and that is, indeed, pretty annoying. I think it's pretty clear that Krugman is irked that contrarianism sells and that — in a media world where liberalism dominates — there's a temptation to veer right just to be exciting. Krugman, I think, would like to make sure that that sort of transgression is punished. It's just not fair — I picture him thinking — for people who are supposed to be liberal — to reap $$$$ by hurting liberal causes, so let's damn any liberal who doesn't toe the liberal line as a careerist

***

I followed Krugman's Digby link and see "this kewl kidz and mean girls nonsense from the press has to stop." Krugman seems to have missed the "z." But he might be better off that way. I looked up "kewl kidz" and "kewl kids" in Urban Dictionary and got nothing. I looked up "kewl" and the #1 definition, by a wide margin is:
1.  A stupid way of spelling "cool". Made up by morons.
"I'm a stupid whore who spells cool "kewl"
So, I'm thinking it's not too cool to write "kewl" — and certain it's uncool to write "kewl" and link to Digby.

64 comments:

Joan said...

Topic: Shooting fish in a barrel on a Monday morning. Great way to ease into the week, or just too easy?

Peter V. Bella said...

Gee, with the White House, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid forming enemies lists- I guess that makes them Conservative. According to Krugman.

The Drill SGT said...

I think that beyond the Rush example, there are whole industries dominatd by liberals where conservatives tread lightly. For example the entertainment industry and the news establishment (ah, forgive me, I repeat myself :). There showing a conservative mindset is damaging to your long term success.

How about those academic leftists who sit on tenure panels. You think they forgot the fact that you didn't sign the Israeli divestiture petition or march in the Sharia Day Parade? not likely.

The Drill SGT said...

Peter V. Bella said...
Gee, with the White House, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid forming enemies lists- I guess that makes them Conservative. According to Krugman.


Lest we forget. How about the Gay communities targeting with threats and boycots of anyone who exercised their political rights to support Prop 8.

floridaenterprise said...

"Krugman is never going to with the Nobel Prize for Syntax.

On the contrary.

As the Nobel Committee has proven of late, one needn't provide any history of actually being able to construct sentences to win the Nobel Prize for Syntax.

If one can win the Nobel Peace Prize with the thin resume Barack Obama proffered, I think Krugman must be a shoe-in for the Syntax Prize.

ricpic said...

In every career path taken by the chattering class the slightest divergence from PC can be a career ender. It follows that self-censorship is endemic.

Florida said...

The NY Times learned a huge lesson with the Anne Applebaum column: If you're bedding down with pedophiles, turn off the comments section first or your own readers will ream you a new asshole.

That lesson was not lost on Paul Krugman.

Always remember when reading the Times it's like reading Pravda. They are attacking a book that hasn't been released yet ... that's the only point you really need to know.

They fear it. So, they'll keep readers unable to submit comments.

These gatekeepers are truly on their last breath.

Paul Snively said...

Obviously, Krugman hasn't seen Indoctrinate U. But I highly recommend that everyone else does.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Ask Larry Summers how safe it is to annoy liberals.

Henry said...

Truman got annoyed with the Japanese once. Once.

Movie Reference Here.

LoafingOaf said...

Florida says: Always remember when reading the Times it's like reading Pravda. They are attacking a book that hasn't been released yet ... that's the only point you really need to know.

They fear it. So, they'll keep readers unable to submit comments.

Uh, Florida, the NY Times also publishes the blog by the Freakonomics dudes. Yesterday, they posted a lengthy reponse to their critics on that blog, and that blog allows comments. So chill out a bit, okay.

***

BTW, Althouse is kicking serious Krugman ass in these posts. Fun to read.

miller said...

Don't forget that in Washington State the libs sued to post online the names of everyone who signed the petition against same-sex civil unions. The vote (R-71) is next month, and this is one of the tactics of intimidation -- you will find that you are stalked at work by those who find your political views offensive.

All in the name of liberty, of course.

miller said...

Don't forget that in Washington State the libs sued to post online the names of everyone who signed the petition against same-sex civil unions. The vote (R-71) is next month, and this is one of the tactics of intimidation -- you will find that you are stalked at work by those who find your political views offensive.

All in the name of liberty, of course.

Florida said...

Truman got annoyed with the Japanese once. Once.

Ahem ... As I remember it, Truman got annoyed with the Japanese twice.

Henry said...

Annoying liberals, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe.

I don't think the word "historically" means what Professor Krugman thinks it means.

In an earlier era, any claim to "historical" thinking would demand a reference to the classics. So let's start with Marcus Junius Brutus. Since Shakespeare did have the capacity to think historically, I'll let him speak for the liberal:

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more, claims Brutus, which makes me wonder that perhaps Krugman can't see liberals for the fog of their excuses.

But enough of ancient history. How about a quick review of the lives of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams? There's even a movie Krugman could rent.

Alex said...

You think they forgot the fact that you didn't sign the Israeli divestiture petition....

That's the biggest crime these days. Nothing gets a liberal frothing at the mouth more then saying "I support Israel". The foam starts building up like rabid dogs.

Henry said...

@Florida: As I remember it, Truman got annoyed with the Japanese twice.

Touche.

Joseph said...

Krugman is never going to with the Nobel Prize for Syntax.

I find myself frustrated with some of Althouse's substantive political arguments, but we're totally on the same page when it comes to her stylistic critiques of other writers.

Third Coast said...

Cartman says "kewl", so it's kewl.

Tom Tucker said...

I vote GOP and live in Massachusetts. When people find out you are a conservative, it does not lead to career or social advancement. Your best bet is to tell no one. Conservatives have to have a sense of humor about these things, you'd go crazy if you let every Rush-like story get to you. I have yet to meet a liberal with a similar attitude. Where does Krugman spend his time to encounter so many vengeful conservatives?

Balfegor said...

So, I'm thinking it's not too cool to write "kewl" — and certain it's uncool to write "kewl" and link to Digby.

Well, it's not cool, I suppose -- I wouldn't know -- but "Kewl Kidz" is probably an ironic put-down of the "Kidz" by suggesting that they are the type of person who spells "cool" as "kewl," not that the speaker/writer himself would generally spell "cool" as "kewl."

raf said...

That his arguement is specious on its face is one thing, but that he makes this arguement while in the process (as a liberal) of attacking those who have annoyed him is just special.

MadisonMan said...

I have a theory here

It's hard to take something seriously when the first words immediately call to mind Ms. Ann Elk.

The Cunctator said...

Ann -- shouldn't you at least read the chapter?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Acting like Krugman usually acts is a pretty reliable way to get yourself laughed at in any context, however far removed from politics.

Robert Cook said...

"...the news establishment...There showing a conservative mindset is damaging to your long term success."

Try telling that to Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Chris Wallace, William Kristol, George Will, David Brooks, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Rush Limbaugh, to name only the most prominent names that come to mind.

I know, I know...the list is arguable...none of them are journalists, and some are simply panderers to the lunatic fringe, of course...but they all espouse various degrees and strains of "conservative" opinion and they all appear regularly in and on the various organs of the MSM and are thus making money in the journalism business.

David said...

How are conservatives treated in the world of elite academics, which Krugman knows so well?

Paul Zrimsek said...

In academic economics, conservatives are treated very well. This is one of the many, many, many things Krugman is perpetually pissed about.

From Inwood said...

Rush's detractors can force some (many/most?) of his listeners to keep silent in public (e.g., in the workplace, at B-B-Qs/cocktail parties/lunches/speeches before civic groups) about their listening to him, or at least make such listeners apologetic & force them to publicly distance themselves somewhat from him. And make me comment anonymously. This does not bother Rush &, I guess, makes him think these wary listeners are wusses. Er, up to a point, Lord Rush.

I can't tell you how many times over my life mushy moderates have tried to ingratiate themselves with other people at the B-B-Q, the cocktail party, a lunch, by saying something like

Unlike [Inwood] here, I don't get my info from X. Snigger, snigger.

From the 1950s (I'm old) through the 1990s, “X” was "The National Review".

Then beginning in '94, “X” became "Rush Limbaugh", &/or “Rightwing nut blogs”.

My stock answer has always been what turned out to be a paraphrase of Susan Sontag:

''Great. Let’s assume that here we have a guy who reads only the NYT & listens to one of the TV Nightly newscasts (a redundancy), and a guy who reads only The NR or rightwing blogs & listens only to Rush. Which guy is better informed about what’s goin’ on in the big, bad world?”

I also note that the ½ hourly news breaks during Rush’s program come from the MSM, so, yes, I do get the MSM 2-minute drill propaganda every day.

And actually, I read the NYT vicariously since I read the corrections to it in Blogs. Saves having to read the misinformation in the first place

Funny, but most of the derogatory comments come from those who have never actually, you know, listened to Rush but who listen to others who paraphrase what he says. He must be a racist because well he says racist things or criticizes Blacks & minorities, so there. And anyone who listens to Rush & who doesn’t understand that he’s a racist/bigot is one himself or an idiot. So there.

Robert Cook said...

I'm not familiar with Krugman's subject here as I am not a reader of his columns, but "Kewl Kidz" is a derisive term used by some to describe the prominent and highly visible Beltway journalists who appear frequently, if not ad nauseum on all the Sunday "news chat" shows as well as the weekday afternoon and evening newscasts of the MSM. These "kewl kidz," like the cool kids in high school who seem to set the agenda as to who's "in" or "out" of favor, often discuss serious issues of the day with the same hive mind uniformity, received wisdom, and superficiality of kids in high school deciding whom to snub because he or she is perceived as a geek or loser.

To see unctuous know-nothings like Peggy Noonan or Cokie Roberts or David Gregory or George Stephanopoulos (among others) blathering on about matters of great moment as if they had anything thoughtful or knowledgeable to say is a rather sick-making spectacle at times.

bagoh20 said...

Krugman proves my theory that when the culture considers someone smart, it tells you nothing useful about them, except who likes them.

tim maguire said...

I took Krugman's Nobel in Economics as a sign that the Nobel committee felt they had sufficiently degraded the Peace Prize that they could now move on to the soft sciences. But then Obama took the Peace Prize.

Old habits die hard? Or did they find someone somewhere who gives a crap who wins the Peace Prize and decided to give it one more kick? In any case, I will go ahead and applaud Jeanine Garofalo right now on her upcoming Nobel in Economics.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonicfrog said...

I think the summary of this post should be... Krugman. What a tool!

Ver Word: histora

bagoh20 said...

"I will go ahead and applaud Jeanine Garofalo right now on her upcoming Nobel in Economics."

and Rosie "fire never melted steel" O'Donnell for the Nobel in Physics.

Mark said...

Uh, Florida, the NY Times also publishes the blog by the Freakonomics dudes.

My guess is, not for much longer.

Ignacio said...

The blog HIPSTER RUNOFF has been usig the spelling 'kewl' for a long time. Maybe Krugman looked there once, or maybe Carles (who does that blog) saw it somewhere else.

The Drill SGT said...

Florida said...
The NY Times learned a huge lesson with the Anne Applebaum column:


For the record, Anne's work in general and the Polanski column in specfic is found in the WaPo, not NYT.

I like most of her work, at least until then

The Drill SGT said...

Paul Zrimsek said...
In academic economics, conservatives are treated very well. This is one of the many, many, many things Krugman is perpetually pissed about.


Conservative economists have an unfair advantage of course. Their world view is based on reality and proven facts. Marxists? not so much.

Robert Cook said...

"Kewl" is meant to convey the pronunciation of a surfer dude or valley girl, as, for example, the Jeff Spicoli character played by Sean Penn in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH.

Elliott A said...

How does expertise in one field make someone an automatic expert in another?

Bruce Hayden said...

How does expertise in one field make someone an automatic expert in another?

I would expect that the answer is that they are just that much smarter than you that they can be an expert in everything just by reading other liberal pundits.

Andrea said...

Robert Cook, all those people you listed (Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, et al) are insulated somewhat from the consequences of being conservative (or at least perceived as "conservative" -- is O'Reilly really a conservative, or just a loudmouth?) by their celebrity status. Malkin might get shunned from some parties but she'll always have others to go to. No one is going snub Hannity or O'Reilly at their office because they voted Republican. And so on...

But out in the non-celebrity world, there are more and more places where conservatives have to keep their ideas to themselves, especially now that the Powers That Be have decided that conservative = racist.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"I remember once (during the air phase of the Gulf War) seeing John Kenneth Galbraith making pronouncements on TV about the military situation, and telling friends that if I ever start pontificating in public about a technical subject I don't understand, they should gag me."

--Paul Krugman, 1999

careen said...

Well, that's the point of writing "kewl"...you are mocking yourself and the inherent immaturity of idea of coolness as you write it.

(Do I have to say this out loud?)

I'm not sure that Krugman understands that since he's too old and insulated to understand how thoroughly the liberals are the "powers that be", not conservatives.

Robert Cook said...

Andrea said:

"...out in the non-celebrity world, there are more and more places where conservatives have to keep their ideas to themselves, especially now that the Powers That Be have decided that conservative = racist."

I think this is mostly the imagining of conservatives, who, no matter the dominance of their ideas in the public sphere, perceive themselves as a persecuted minority. Never mind that they have been the dominant power for a majority of the past 30 years. And whatever happened to having the courage of one's convictions?

Careen said:

"...the liberals are the 'powers that be,' not conservatives."

Hmmm...I suppose this is not an unreasonable assumption, given that the Democrats have majorities in Washington...for now...but it's inaccurate. Most opinions expressed in the MSM and even among the Dems in Congress (and the White House) are defined by the agenda of the conservatives. Rather than discussing whether to remove all our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, we're waiting to see if Obama will increase the troops by the number requested by his generals; instead of discussing whether or how single-payer insurance might be feasible to consider for America, we're hearing how a feeble "public option" that Obama won't fight to insure is part of the final health care bill, is "socialist." Instead of discussion of investigations of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al for war crimes, we're hearing how "outrageous" it is to investigate even those cases were torturers "went beyond approved techniques," as appalling as those approved techniques were; instead of the Dems fighting for a decent health care bill that might prevail with fewer than 60 votes, (but still with a majority), we're hearing that the bill must be watered down enough to insure 60 votes...as if 60 votes is the only way to pass a bill. And so on.

Just Lurking said...

The interesting question to me is why is it that “pissing off liberals” is delightfully transgressive and oh-so-fun, whereas “pissing off conservatives” is boring and earnest?"

I think Krugman's answer to the question above misses the boat . The problem for Liberal baby boomers like Krugman is that they are used to being the rebels, railing against the fuddy-duddy, conservative establishment. They were the hipsters, the "cool kids".

Now that his generation dominates the media , Wall Street, the elite ivy league academia, and the current administration, they have become "the man". As such their views, which are predominantly Liberal, are increasingly becoming the object of criticism and ridicule.

Instead of sticking it to the man, people like Krugman find themselves in the not so cool position of sticking up for the man. This vexes and confuses him; and that is reflected in the gibberish he has written. Conservatives BBs, on the other hand, are used to encountering criticism of their views. They haven't sat at the cool kids' table for quite some time.

Krugman, like other aging hipsters, needs to accept that the time for adolescent rebellion is over. Now that they are in charge, they have to sit at the adults' table, whether they like it or not.

Cinco Jotas said...

Paul Krugman with a theory is like a monkey with a loaded pistol.

Alan said...

This is what I do when I see an article like this. I simply look for words like "conservatives" and replace it with the word "liberal". It almost always ends up showing a true statement since liberals are mostly suffering from Transference. LOOK: I have a theory here, although it may not be the whole story: it’s about careerism. Annoying liberals is dangerous: they take names, hold grudges, and all too often find ways to take people who annoy them down. As a result, the Kewl Kids, as Digby calls them, tread very carefully when people on the left are concerned — and they snub anyone who breaks the unwritten rule and mocks those who must not be offended.

Annoying Conservatives, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe. The rules may be changing but it’s been that way for a long time.

SEE?

Sapwolf said...

I've seen Krugman on TV a lot and read some of his columns.

He is one out-of-touch with reality goofball.

How do people like him get jobs in their field?

The guy is a foolish dinosaur these days.

Anybody see him yesterday on "This Week..."?

He's an old farm animal that needs to go out to pasture.

M. Simon said...

Krugman is exactly right. Sarah Palin was treated with Kid gloves.

As far as I can tell no major media person ever accused her of running a prostitution ring.

WV: drall - It must be my missing Southern drall.

Robert Cook said...

"It almost always ends up showing a true statement since conservatives are mostly suffering from Transference.

SEE?"


Yep.

sonicfrog said...

How does expertise in one field make someone an automatic expert in another?

It's the Chomsky Conundrum!

Werehawk said...

Excuse me a moment while I ponder just what universe Paul Krugman has been living in till now...Ah yes the Krugman fantasy universe in which any inconvenient facts are neither seen nor heard...

I also notice he is very carefully not accepting comments anymore.

Robert Cook said...

With regards to Chomsky, what "conundrum" do you speak of?

Any citizen can become as conversant as he with current and historical American policies and actions domestically and internationally simply by doing the necessary reading and research. There is no certification required or that will magically confer on one such "expertise" in public affairs as he may have.

The legitimacy of Chomsky's apparent erudition--or anyone's--will be checked by others with equal familiarity with the facts. Interpretation of those facts, of course, will be subjective, (as we see here with so many commenters who view Obama's reflexive centrism as dangerously out of control socialist tenencies).

Robert Cook said...

That's "tendencies."

Drerunner said...

As a black conservative ,the only
folks I find liberals are nice to are inner city trouble makers who rob them and call them white devils and they are also very nice to dumb rappers who call their son's red necks and their daughters #@$$ after their concerts ,but while on stage thank them for making them dumb and rich.

People who have common sense and take responsibility for their own lives (black or white) ,liberals hate with a passion and show it in that good ole passive aggressive way.

Skipper50 said...

Maybe this is too complex. the simple psycho-shrinkological concept of "projection" may be sufficient explantion of Krugman. He's just projecting himself on others.

Stephen said...

Paul Krugman is correct about one thing in his article. His use of Kewl Kids is a common way to mock a person over the internets (a series of tubes).

Eric said...

is O'Reilly really a conservative, or just a loudmouth?

O'Reilly's political positions seem mostly devoid of any principles or even thought beyond what will goose the ratings. Mostly that translates into a sort of shallow "I'm sticking up for the little guy" neo-populism, with a sprinkling of Jesuit-influenced social conservatism (such as it is with modern Jesuits) thrown in for flavor.

I don't consider him a conservative at all.

William said...

Krugman will never sell out. Who would ever buy anything from someone with such a shifty demeanor. With his earnest expression and furtive, sidelong glances, he looks like a registered sex offender applying for a job at a day care center.

Robert Cook said...

"I don't consider (O'Reilly) a conservative at all."

Your opinion is immaterial...his avid followers are conservatives and they consider him one of their own. The same can be said for most of the current gaggle of media nitwits, the Hannitys, Coulters, Limbaughs, Malkins, Becks, et al., who pander to the fears, anger and prejudices of their audience, who do self-identify as conservative.

Hoosier Daddy said...

so many commenters who view Obama's reflexive centrism as dangerously out of control socialist tenencies).

Also subjective is what you consider 'centrist'. If nationalizing the banks, auto industry and lining up bailouts for failing news organizations counts and desiring a government takeover of health care is 'centrism', you're really out there.

Seriousuly Cook, how can you stand living in this nation? If Obama is 'centrist' then it certainly sounds like Cuba is more your thing.

Robert Cook said...

Obama has not nationalized the banks, and the so-called "nationalization" of the auto industry was necessary to prevent the complete collapse of those companies, or so they themselves claimed; they begged for government money and the government is acting as their lending bank. Is is socialism that banks that give home loans "own" the homes until the mortgages are paid? Once the crisis in the auto industry is over--if it ends--the nationalization will also end. The ongoing bailout schemes were initiated by der fuhrer G.W. Bush. Was he a socialist?

That you see Obama as being even a smidgen to the left of your average local Chamber of Commerce member simply reflects your own right wing extremism.