The Face of Shrillness

The Mayor of a unionized Michigan city violates one of the principal rules of our political discourse: genuine anger directed at our political class is prohibited.

By Glenn Greenwald

Published February 19, 2009 11:51AM (EST)

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

This Fox News interview with Virg Bernero -- the Mayor of highly unionized Lansing, Michigan and himself the son of a retired GM worker -- is, for several reasons, really worth watching (h/t Brainwrap).  The glaring discrepancy he notes -- between (a) the consensus of our political class that workers must endlessly give up wage, health and other benefits even as (b) we shovel trillions of dollars in government subsidies to Wall Street for ongoing massive executive bonuses and the like for the very people who caused the collapse -- is one that (whether you agree or disagree with it) is rarely heard in our mainstream debate with such clarity and passion.   

Even more notable is the dripping condescension directed at him by the Fox personality at the end of the interview for having committed the sin of exhibiting genuine passion and anger over something as trivial as the disappearing middle class and the massive and growing rich-poor gap.  That's the crime of Shrillness, one of the prime hallmarks of Unseriousness -- failing/refusing to suppress one's anger towards our political and financial establishment:


UPDATE:  As Eric Boehlert, among others, has documented, the claim that automakers earn $70/hour is pure myth.  At the very best, that figure encompasses total labor costs, which include health care and all other benefits (and even then, it's misleading).  Nonetheless, note how the Fox "journalist" asked the Mayor about this $70/hour figure -- which indisputably includes health care costs -- and then excoriated him for defending worker health care benefits on the ground that health care benefits are irrelevant to the $70/hour issue.  It's just not possible to overstate the stupidity both of our political discourse and of the TV actors who lead that discourse as they play the role of journalists.


UPDATE II:  John Cole suggests a way to watch this video that sheds even further light on the behavior of the Fox actor in the role of journalist.


UPDATE III:  This is the grotesque discrepancy that the Rule Against Shrillness is designed to keep concealed.   More on that here.

Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

MORE FROM Glenn GreenwaldFOLLOW ggreenwald

Related Topics ------------------------------------------