Friday, June 17, 2005


In Which Fafnir Channels a Famous Opinion Columnist

******SPECIAL FEATURE***** This is Fafnir, but not the real one. The real Fafnir lives at Fafblog with the real Giblets and the real Medium Lobster. The Fafnir on this blog is just a cheap imitation, probably manufactured at $1.15 an hour in Saipan in one of the fortresses of freedom that Tom DeLay helped build to defend underage Malaysian women from the evils of the minimum wage and the Voting Rights Act. But! And-- heeeeeere's the big selling point!-- fake Fafnir is capable of channeling a famous opinion pundit!!! The real Fafnir is much too honorable to permit the lich-like spiritual remains of the being occupying any pundit's body, much less the one in question, to be granted more media shelf space than he gets by merely appearing in an obscure newspaper published on the fringes of the Mojave desert. And lack of honor creates a business opportunity! Just ask Ken Lay! So, here we go! Liftoff approaches, and with it new life! Charles, initiate the channeling! Charles: Well, I'll try, Fafnir, but I have to admit this is risky. Normally we'd want to have a few kegs of of holy water bunkered around in case something went wrong, and we evoked Lawrence Welk or Richard Nixon. But I'm all out. Who do you want to channel? Fake Fafnir. A man who writes opinion for the obscure metropolitan paper on the fringes of the Mojave desert. Charles: Are you talking about the Los Angeles Times, Faf? Not what I would call obscure. Fake Fafnir: But they will be! Look at all the steps they are taking to become obscure. Bold, daring steps like threatening the staff on pain of being purged to report in all seriousness that abortions lead to breast cancer! Steps like firing Brian Robin for daring to treat Bill Thomas like a servant of the public. Steps like publishing Michael Kinsley! With acts like this, they should become unread in no time! Charles: Did you say Kinsley, Faf? Is that who you want to channel? Fake Fafnir: Yes! Charles: That's pretty dangerous, Fafnir. Just reading Kinsley is likely to damage the brain. Channelling could have more serious effects, like becoming a member of the 700 Club or learning to like music from The Carpenters. Fake Fafnir: Miiiiichael! Miiiiiichael! Miiiiiichael! Charles: (covering ears) Ok, ok, Faf! I'm not responsible for the consequences. (long pause) Let your mind go back in time. You're slipping backward from the Los Angeles Times....(pause)... to Slate, where you managed to divert large amounts of Bill and Melinda's money from curing AIDS into producing Mickey Kaus pieces so bad that Roger Ailes (no, not the one on FOX) typically required no more than three minutes and Google to reduce to ashes. Where you actually argued that editorial fact checking is pointless because writers become sloppier, a point which you confirmed by pointing out to readers that safety belts do not save lives. Fake Fafnir: (growls and snorts) Charles: Slipping back, back in time... to Crossfire, where you convinced those thousands of Americans who watched the show that liberals whine, pontificate, and have no real beliefs...where you taught America to accept casual lies by saying you were "from the left" while everywhere else saying you were a "wishy washy moderate." Fake Fafnir: (squish squish) "..from the leeeeeeft..." (squish squish) Charles: Slipping back even further in time to The New Republic, where you helped make it into the sort of a publication where Stephen Glass's fabrications would be welcomed because they were entertaining, a publication where Ruth Shalit felt free to plagiarize... a veritable journalistic Enron ... a place where Kondracke, Barnes, and Krauthammer displaced genuine liberal voices. Fake Fafnir: (whinnies) "...all whiiiiiiiite staaaaff..." Charles: Which published Betsy McCaughey's fabricated analysis on the Clinton health plan.... Fake Fafnir: (purrs) "...celebrated, influential, inaccurate and unfair... (uninsured people are so droll)" Charles: Back through your tenure on Firing Line. Fake Fafnir: Tailgunner Joe's pal, such a niiiiice man, so sweeeeet.... Charles: Back all the way to Oxford, back even to Cranbrook school, where they did their best to teach you to "Aim High. To enter to learn. To go forth to serve." Michael Fafsley: (snicker) "Enter" like Howard Hunt and the Cubans, yes. "Serve"-- serve myself, sure. Thirds on pickled okra, at least. Enter, serve, high.... what do they mean? Words mean what we tell them to mean. Charles:, Michael, I wanted to ask you about the article you published in The Washington Post. The one in which you say that believing that the Bush Administration may have decided to go to war against Iraq while it was publicly claiming to be trying to resolve the situation peacefully is "a paranoid theory." Michael Fafsley: Ha ha! Stupid readers! They actually pay us to spit on them. Or at least they pay me. Charles: You then go on to say that the Downing Street memo isn't anything new, because everyone knew we were going to war. Michael Fafsley: Right! Saying two mutually impossible things is better than one! Sell one and keep the other, invest the proceeds and see what you have in 20 years. That's the power of compounding, my boy! Look at the sinuous, yet structurally elegant logic here! Conservatives tell readers one thing. It proves to be false. Readers see it is false. Then people who play liberals on TV tell them that anyone who actually recognizes they were lied to is mentally ill! Wouldn't that make you paranoid? And so that makes me right again, smack on the money! Our readers become paranoid thanks to reading the Los Angeles Times! Charles: Aren't you concerned that readers might start throwing their newspapers back on the steps of the Los Angeles Times, as actually happened to The Washington Post when they offended their African American readers? Or just cancel their subscriptions and spend their time reading blogs? Michael Fafsley: Blogs? Bah! Those people are just.... well... people! You can't trust them at all! They sometimes say things that are wrong, instead of lying in a trustworthy manner! We've earned the public's confidence by lying every day, year upon year, decade upon decade, in a perfectly consistent manner. What blog can claim that? Charles: Well, there's Glenn, but I take your point. Michael Fafsley: And if readers start throwing papers back at us, why, we will just have more for ourselves and less for them. That will fix them! Charles Joe Conason went back and looked at what you were actually writing before the war. It seems you were saying that Bush might be bluffing, trying to coerce Saddam without actually planning for war. So apparently not everyone knew Bush's intentions because at least you were still deceived. Michael Fafsley: Ha ha ha! See why you should never check facts? You might find you were wrong and then where would you be? That Joe is even more stupid than my readers, because he thinks I care about being wrong. No no no! What matters is who knows you are wrong and as long as you keep talking loudly and confidently and with stern resolve to use military force on people who can't fight back, very few people are likely to hear any whispers of correction. Who will know? Not Jon Carroll, who is my love and earthly desire and every pink star in the galaxy as long as his signature appears in the lower right hand corner of my weekly remunerative rectangular piece of paper. He is too busy purging liberal bias from the newsroom! (At the end of time, angels will sing of how he bravely fired Brian Robin for daring to call a Congressman an ass.) Charles: You say in The Post that "Fixing intelligence and facts to fit a desired policy is the Bush II governing style..." Michael Fafsley: Yes times three! And we need presidents who will destroy the CIA and corrupt the Pentagon. In fact, I recommend hiring two more presidents of equal skill because the demand is too much for Dear Leader. Charles: Isn't falsifying intelligence an impeachable offense? Michael Fafsley: (snicker) They only impeach presidents over lying about sex. Lying to Congress is ok because they lie to us. Oh, wait. That's Rush who said that. There are so many people in here, I never know who I actually am. Charles: Do you know that Robert Parry says you must either be a sloppy reader or a liar because you so substantially misrepresent what the Downing Street minutes actually say? Michael Fafsley: You know, what is truth, reeeeally? Can you buy anything with it? It's soooo last century. I got my own teevee show. What did truth get Parry? Not even free lifetime lemonade! Charles: So... exactly how did you happen to write this article? Michael Fafsley: I had 20 spare minutes on the plane. Fred Hiatt said he'd print anything that was spelled correctly, five hundred bucks, as long as it supported the editorial page. Charles: It sounds as if being a fake liberal pays very well. Michael Fafsley: Am I fake? Am I liberal? Am I even Michael Kinsley? I have been so many people, so many different things. (in rapid succession turns into Andrew Sullivan, Margaret Carlson, Robert Novak, David Broder, Blanquita Collum, Alan Colmes). Next week I may even be leading the pack, screaming for impeachment, telling everyone who will listen that no one paid any attention to me when I said the Downing Street minutes proved that Bush lied. Or maybe not, depending on what pays better. Charles: I am going to begin the process of bringing you out from this. Slip forward in time, from Oxford and a life of so much privilege and promise... to The New Slate... to The Los Angeles Times... Fake Fafnir: (opens eyes and shakes self, a spray of carrion flying across the room) Oboy! Oboy! Being a pundit is great! Lots of money, say anything you want because no one will remember next week! At least no one who wants to keep getting lots of money! And who cares about dead people in countries with strange names? Charles: Welcome Back, Faf. Are there any last lessons you can give our readers? Fake Fafnir: This is the takehome lesson. We all knew George Bush was going to war even though he might be bluffing to avoid a war. Top secret minutes documenting the deliberations of the British government don't prove anything because it all depends on what the meaning of "invade without provocation or justication" is. Whoop! Whoop! Happy days! We have turned the corner and are almost around the block! Go west, young man. On to Syria! Or Venezuela, whichever is closest! These are the deep matters of arcane knowledge I now know. But remember! Aim high, especially when kissing the rear end of power. That's where all the tastiest stuff is!
Fake Fafnir is still more authentic than "real" Friedman. I could walk into the left-wing side of the blogosphere and grab at random five bloggers, and guaran-damn-tee you that my five random choices would ALL be much better qualified than Friedman is to discuss the issues of the day.
Ah, I meant the "real" Kinsley. But really, they're interchangeable, aren't they?
Thanks for this comment. I see that I neglected to include a few lines of the interview dealing with bloggers. I have added them in.
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