From Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's October 9 column:
Whether it was rewarding Jimmy Carter for criticizing the Iraq war or supporting Al Gore in his crusade against global warming, the Norwegian parliament, which chooses the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, has sought to use the award as a political tool to influence American politics.
Its prestige and moral power make the prize a potent weapon with which to help steer the direction of the colossus beyond the seas that controls a quarter of the world's economy and most of its military power.
Now, the Norwegians have weighed in to support Barack Obama in his bid to reshape America so it looks more like, well, Norway, or at least like Europe.
European socialism cannot succeed without conquering the United States.
The Nobel Prize is really Obama's payback for disciplining the unruly United States and taming it to be a member of the European family of nations. Europe wants to reverse the American Revolution and re-colonize us, and it sees in Obama a kindred spirit willing to do its bidding.
All this heavy lifting, this conversion of America into a European state, deserves a reward. And what is a more fitting one than to give Obama than the Nobel Peace Prize?
He obviously doesn't deserve the award for economics or, given his healthcare ideas, for medicine. But the Peace Prize expresses Europe's longing: to take back the nation its overly ambitious and uppity children founded.
Given the gleeful mocking of President Obama over Chicago's failed effort to host the 2016 Olympics, and shameless smears of his unexpected Nobel Peace Prize, let's pause and ask: Is there anything conservatives won't turn into a cudgel to bludgeon the president? Take, for example, the art hanging on the White House walls.
As AFP reported earlier this week, the president and first lady have borrowed 47 works of art from five galleries to decorate the White House. AFP went on to describe the art:
They include pieces by seven black artists, including one by Glenn Ligon, a conceptual artist who explores issues of politics and race in works made of text, photos and neon.
A vertical piece selected by the Obamas was "Black like me No. 2," a riff on a 1961 book by white journalist John Howard Griffin who darkened his skin and then wrote about his experience as a "black" man in the racially segregated US south.
"Harlem Renaissance" painter William Johnson is favoured with four pieces, while Alma Thomas, a top African-American woman artist, is represented on the abstract painting front.
In addition, many earthenware pieces and other works by Native Americans were chosen.
On the more classical side, there is a melancholic "Sunset" by Winslow Homer, and two bronze dancers by Degas. Abstract artists like Mark Rothko, and Josef Albers, and conceptual stars like Edward Corbett and Jasper Johns also made the White House grade.
From across the Atlantic, in addition to the Degas, there are a still life by Italian painter Giorgio Morandi and a depiction of Nice by Nicolas de Stael.
William Allman, the White House curator, told The Washington Post that the Obamas' picks express "probably more interest in truly modern art."
So Winslow Homer, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, William Johnson -- seems pretty eclectic. In fact, it seems pretty benign.
Alas, nothing is benign with the contemporary conservative smear machine, as right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin amply illustrates with her attack on Alma Thomas, and -- by extension -- Obama. Taking her cue from Free Republic, Malkin complains:
Alma Thomas's "Watusi" (1963) looks to be an almost exact reproduction of a 1953 piece by Henri Matisse titled "L'Escargot:"
Malkin even provides a helpful illustration -- "side by side, with 'Watusi' rotated and on the left" -- to make clear the similarities in the two works to drive home her point -- that Obama picked art created by a fraud to hang on the White House walls. But the real fun gets underway over at Ann Althouse's blog:
Anyway, it's really sad to see this sentimental stretching to identify African-American artists. There are plenty of real ones, and mistakes like this make it seem as though there are not and that patronizing -- which really ought to be called racism -- is necessary.
So the Obamas chose a fraudulent African-American artist to display at the White House -- "sentimental stretching to identify African-American artists," a "mistake" and "patronizing," since all Alma Thomas did was knock off Matisse. This does sound bad -- and, of course, it's wildly off the mark.
Art historian Ann Gibson discusses the political message inherent in Thomas' "mimicry and revision of Matisse" in her contribution to Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings:
The close resemblance between Watusi and L'Escargot (especially evident when Thomas's painting is turned ninety degrees to the right) suggests an overlap between Thomas's determination to comprehend the lessons of modernism and her identification -- and perhaps her sense of rivalry -- with one of its principle figures. However, the title Watusi, which refers both to an African people and to a hit tune of the early 1960s (Chubby Checker's record "The Watusi" was released in 1961), suggests that she used elements of Matisse's art not only as models of abstraction but also to refer to African people and their representation in popular culture, just as elements of art made by Africans could reflect, in Western modernism, European desires and European high culture. Thomas's radical revisions of Matisse's colors (but not the values of his collaged shapes) to their near opposite on the color wheel, as well as her opening of the "frame" -- blues in her painting, oranges in his - are also noteworthy. By permitting the white shapes to penetrate the frame, Thomas animates and frees both the white areas and the colored forms: The frame no longer contains the central organization, and the framing shapes join in the "dance" of the shapes inside. When Thomas's mimicry and revision of Matisse is read in the context of her entitling her painting Watusi, one sees more than an implicit defiance of modernism's creed of originality. What does it mean for an ambitious but comparatively unknown artist to appropriate in paint an important recent work by an internationally recognized master? Especially when she changes the title from a word that suggests not only a sluggish mollusk whose movements are drastically curtailed by its shell but also an epicurean dish whose very name connotes elite privilege? And when the title she selects is the name of a people legendary for their height and strength and after whom, during the civil rights struggle, a popular song has been named? With the title Watusi, Thomas sets her critique (and homage) in the context of early-twentieth century borrowing from Africa by such revered modernists as Matisse, visually loosening his frame and conceptually replacing his upper-class European reference with one that connotes both African and popular American culture. The similarity of forms in Thomas's painting and Matisse's collage suggests the interchangeability, and thus the equality, of social, national, and economic values.
Wait. It's almost as if Alma Thomas intended to create a work of art that looked kind of like a Matisse. She even might have had a message in mind. Whoa. But, see, understanding Thomas' civil rights era message is not the point. The point is that Barack Obama did it, therefore it must be bad. You know, like the Olympics and the Nobel Peace Prize.
From an October 9 New York Daily News article:
Mathias Kiwanuka loves his former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, but the Giants' defensive end says he will never play for Spagnuolo's Rams if Rush Limbaugh purchases the team.
Kiwanuka and the Jets' Bart Scott made it clear Thursday that they would never play for the Rams or any team owned by the controversial conservative radio host.
"All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama's America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting 'right on,'" Kiwanuka told The Daily News. "I mean, I don't want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He can do whatever he wants, it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play."
"I am not going to draw a conclusion from a person off of one comment, but when it is time after time after time and there's a consistent pattern of disrespect and just a complete misunderstanding of an entire culture that I am a part of, I can't respect him as a man."
Scott says players remember what Limbaugh said, and adds that the NFL would be wise not to allow the nationally syndicated host into the league. "It's an oxymoron that he criticized Donovan McNabb," Scott said. "A lot of us took it as more of a racial-type thing. I can only imagine how his players would feel. I know I wouldn't want to play for him. He's a jerk. He's an
. What he said (about McNabb) was inappropriate and insensitive, totally off-base. He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn't play for him. ... I wouldn't play for Rush Limbaugh. My principles are greater and I can't be bought."
Limbaugh, who grew up in Missouri about 100 miles south of St. Louis, is an avid sports fan who once said that "the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons."
Kiwanuka cringes at the idea of Limbaugh becoming an NFL owner. "They are flat-out racist," Kiwanuka said of many of Limbaugh's statements. "He jumps on Obama and he jumps on other people for being racist. But a lot of the comments that he said, I feel like they have no place in journalism. It is just an opinion show that should be only be taken for shock value. I liken it to 'South Park' when I am listening to him."
"I love Spags and would play for him in a heartbeat, but under that situation ... obviously trades you have no control over, but if it was a free-agent thing, I wouldn't care if I only had one offer on the table, I would rather stay a free agent."
You know what'll ruin your day like nothing else?
Winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Time magazine explains, in two separate pieces:
This is so true. Sure, some people may think finding out you have cancer is the last thing you need. Or that your kid has cancer. But not me. I spend every day of my life grateful that I'm never going to win a Nobel Peace Prize. 'Cause that would really be terrible. It's literally the last thing anyone needs. You know, what with it being the most prestigious award in the entire world and all. Nobody wants that.
In his response to the announcement that President Obama had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, Glenn Beck sounded at times like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, all while continuing to willfully ignore the currents of racially motivated violence flowing within the 9-12 "movement" he is working to build.
BECK: These progressives are extraordinarily powerful. And this campaign of Barack Obama, this global campaign for Barack Obama, is done by global interests that have extraordinary power. They're very well connected.
Point taken, Glenn. Everyone knows that the Nobel Committee has been in the pocket of the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations for years. It's all part of the New World Order.
But here was where Beck really showed his disregard for reality:
BECK: The Nobel Peace Prize should be turned down by Barack Obama and given -- you ready for this? Oh, this one's gonna make headlines -- should be given to the Tea Party goers and the 9-12 Project.
Yes, when Alfred Nobel established a prize to be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations," he was definitely thinking about the individuals who held signs like these at the 9-12 march in Washington:
Beck, of course, refuses to acknowledge the undeniable existence of such ugliness, let alone denounce it. Rather, he has said the Tea Party march last month consisted of nothing more than "hugging" and "singing."
It was perhaps the last portion of Beck's statement on the Nobel news that was most revealing, in which he railed against the "arrogance of the progressives."
BECK: Two weeks into his presidency, they nominated him for it, and said, oh, this is gonna be a slam dunk. And because of the Tea Party goers and the 9-12 Project people that stood in his way, and stopped him from accomplishing the things that he thought, please, I'm the Messiah. I'll be able to accomplish that.
So let's be clear: Beck is proud that his movement is deliberately standing in the way of those who seek to promote world peace. And he is ecstatic that his supporters are hurting President Obama's chances of manifesting the aspirations of Alfred Nobel and all those who have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
This isn't the product of a cogent political philosophy. It's politically expedient nihilism.
Here are Beck's remarks concerning the 9-12 rally:
And here he is talking today about the Nobel Committee's decision:
Lots of reaction today to the Time piece about the White House pushing back against what it sees as a press corps that's failing to do its job; that's not adhering to traditional reporting standards. The main take-away is that the White House is targeting Fox News. But it's not Fox News exclusively.
For instance, Politico reports [emphasis added]:
Time White House correspondent Michael Scherer writes that in the face of criticism from the right, "the White House decided it would become a player, issuing biting attacks on those pundits, politicians and outlets that make what the White House believes to be misleading or simply false claims."
But if you read the Time piece, White House advisers pointed to three specific examples of very bad journalism-- three examples that convinced them something was seriously wrong with political reporting--and two of the three came courtesy of the New York Times and the Washington Post. (The third example was more general and not attached to a specific media outlet.)
From the administration's point of view, the Beltway press corps in general is failing, and a lot of those failures seem to be driven by Fox News and the GOP Noise Machine. Meaning, those players are being allowed to push the Times and the Post around, and getting them to cover completely bogus stories, such as Obama-wants-to-indoctrinate-school-kids.
So while most of the noise today centers around the White House pushing back against Fox News, it's clear that the effort, and the administration's concern about journalism, is more encompassing that that.
Maybe it's the right-wing haste to ridicule and condemn Obama's Nobel Peace Prize that caused Drudge to make such a sloppy error.
On the Drudge site, one of the many Nobel-related headlines reads:
MIXED REVIEWS; 'EMBARRASSING JOKE'
Boy, that sounds bad for Obama. But when readers click on the link, it takes them to a Reuters article about Obama's prize, and the "embarrassing joke" quote is nowhere to be found in the article. In fact, the words "embarrassing" and "joke" never appear in the linked report.
UPDATED: Drudge is now linking to a much longer version of that Reuters article, which includes the "embarrassing joke" quote from a member the conservative religious party in Pakistan,
From an October 9 Politico article:
Conservatives pounced on the the Nobel Prize committee's decision to award President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, with talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh calling it a "greater embarrassment" than losing the Olympics.
"This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama," Limbaugh told POLITICO in an e-mail. "And with this 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States."
Limbaugh continued: "They love a weakened, neutered U.S and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too."