The Little Tale of The Boy Who Cried “Wolf!” and The Leftist Who Cried “Censorship!”

“Non-Sequitur” has always been a poor man’s “Far Side.” Gary Larson’s uncanny genius for the simple, one panel joke that still has the amazing ability to occasionally run through your head and elicit a chuckle (“Remember the…Remember the…Remember that place in Texas!”) has been imitated by Wiley Miller with only periodic success. Furthermore, to say the least, the daily funnies have never been an optimal place for trenchant political commentary – which is something else Mr. Miller dabbles in that would be beneath Mr. Larson. Such commentary in comic form always falls flat – seeming like a hit-and-run style of political insinuation that riles nerves more than raises fists. Perhaps I feel this way because comic writers, like the majority of artists, are almost always resolutely on the left. They tend to make a ghostly allusion to a massive political pathology that I frankly suspect they lack the intellectual cojones to place in a more vulnerable setting – that is, one not espoused through an animated conversation between a monkey and a cat.

And I feel that way about [today’s “Non-Sequitur,”](http://www.ucomics.com/nonsequitur/2004/12/13/) that I can only describe, in my more lucid moments, as vacuous hit-and-run punditry that is self-contradicting and, in my less lucid moments, as utterly silly. Take a moment to reflect on the number of papers “Non-Sequitur” appears in everyday in America. It is syndicated in every major market in the United States. It has won numerous awards including the coveted Reuben Award: the best picture Oscar of syndicated comics. Now, apply these facts to the none-so-subtle message of the comic. I don’t believe I need to say more.

Like the magpie that wakes me up every morning, the left has been chirping up lately, and loudly, about being censored. However, this is a very special definition of the word “censor” that is often used by the elitist left. When the population doesn’t want it, when they aren’t willing to give their money to something so that it can have the requisite funds for wide-spread circulation, it is censorship. However, this view is perfectly inline with an ideology that doesn’t respect, nor desire, public choice and constantly attempts to thwart the institutional vehicles that convey those choices.

Thomas Sowell, in [The Vision of the Anointed]( http://www.symbolicorder.com/store/046508995X/The_Vision_of_the_Anointed_Self_Congratulation_As_a_Basis_for_Social_Policy.html), gives particular clarity to this tendency: “One of the high priorities of the anointed is to destroy the myths and illusions which they presume to abound among the public…To those with the vision of the anointed, the public serves not only as a general object of disdain, but as a baseline from which to measure their own lofty heights, whether in art, politics, or other fields. Systemic processes which offer channels of expression of the public’s views and values are to be circumscribed and circumvented…discretionary preferences are inevitable and the First Amendment does not guarantee either an audience or money.”

This outcry of “censorship!” has most recently occurred with the deliciously unpopular [“Air America”](http://www.airamericaradio.com/) radio network, which, despite claiming an impressive number of popular hosts (i.e. Janeane Garofalo, Al Franken, and musician Steve Earle) has failed reach as many people as it hoped. In all fairness, Air America has been gaining in popularity through mostly select markets (the internet and satellite radio), but has still certainly failed to be the “breath of fresh air” that they felt Americans were vociferously demanding and would subsequently suck-up like Beluga caviar. But, like caviar, Americans have generally found the message excessively salty and tasting suspiciously of rotting fish and wondering why any elitist asshole would think this crap tastes good.

This is likewise true of criticisms of the Bush administration which, as the left claims, are being curtailed and drowned-out by the powers-that-be. The fact that they claim this on nationally televised programs, in enormously popular magazines, throughout the nation’s newspapers (ala Mr. Miller’s “Non-Sequitur”) is a self-contradicting point to which they are conveniently immune. However, any non-ideologue, either on the left or right, who walks a relatively simple path through the American political debate (i.e. most Americans) is inundated with anti-Bush rhetoric. It is everywhere, but 51% of the American people don’t buy it.

As for the cries of election fraud, and the supposed censorship of this issue, these claims are more tenuous and gossamer than Christina Aguilera’s wardrobe. And of all of the claimants, I think [this guy](http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/indexback145.html) has the best data.

As for the need for ‚Äúindependent,‚Äù non-corporate news sources, this is where leftists have to make a choice about their opinions of corporations ‚Äì a combatively dualistic view that shows its colors on many issues. On one side we have money-grubbing corporations whom are out to fleece as many hard-working Americans as they can. On the other we have corporations run by heartless right-wingers who consciously foist hegemonic propaganda upon an unsuspecting public. However, these two interpretations are clearly incompatible. Any election fraud story that had credibility would severely scoop the defiant conservative corporations and create eye-popping profit margins. If the public will pay for it it will be supplied by greedy corporations. But, if corporations aren’t interested in money, just ideology, then they will take unprofitable chances in order further conservative viewpoints. It is one or the other.

As for Mr. Miller’s “Non-Sequitur:” the character in the comic wonders, “I’m just curious what an independent press questioning its government looks like?” Mr. Miller, immersed at his drawing table, has evidently never picked up a paper and looked at his comic.

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One Response to The Little Tale of The Boy Who Cried “Wolf!” and The Leftist Who Cried “Censorship!”

  1. Lotharr says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. I thought it was well constructed and flowed nicely….however:

    As decisively inclusive as a having a left leaning comic strip buried in the middle of a paper is, some assholes are just not satisfied with this meager offering.

    Your analysis falls far short in a fundamental misunderstanding of the anti-corporate / business-media model criticism leveled by some on the “left”. This is highlighted well by your conclusions that eye-popping scoops of electoral fraud will have the market function of propelling sales. Profits for traditional media come primarily from advertisers. Advertisers and investors want secure investments. This creates a deep conflict of interest where the purpose of a lively press is contention. At this point you may feel the urge to start singing the battle hymns of the adventure capitalist but please spare us. The fact is that times of national insecurity, the last thing investors want is contention….and this is precisely when a aggressive and lively press is most needed. This breakdown happened in Election 2000 and 9/11 facilitating and perpetuating the occupation of Iraq. There was an excellent case study of the critical two weeks of media coverage before the invasion of Iraq that showed an overwhelming bias to pro-war pendants‚Ķ.overwhelming. I don‚Äôt need the study, I remember watching the coverage of the non-debate. Also, go ask some people what happened in election 2000. I‚Äôve done this and found mostly confusing or outright false explanations.

    Your dubious dualistic distinction rests on an assertion that is deeply flawed or at least highly debatable. Actually, these two caricatures of legitimate criticism support each other rather well….even after you mangle them. The subtle twist of “right-wingers” is of course demonstrably false. While executives and managers usually self identify as conservative (gee I wonder if that could impact content?) we know that some of the big wigs are “liberals” like Dick Parsons and Soros etc. The best part of that paragraph is the assertion of “money-grubbing”. We know this is true…it is called greed and we all know greed is good right? The next step is a little less clear but easily addressed. I’m not going to fight the class war, that can be left (sorry) to the various groups forming around the world that live at the broken end of the structural reform bottle. The days of Ford are over. Wal-mart doesn’t want employees to be anything other than cheap and unorganized. The concerns of working people can be ignored at your peril but that is precisely what is happing in America today.

    I appreciate that you provide such overt evidence of your denial of basic fact that demonstrate the kind of fundamentally flawed assumptions so rampant in political discourse these days.

    “who walks a relatively simple path through the American political debate (i.e. most Americans) is inundated with anti-Bush rhetoric. It is everywhere, but 51% of the American people don’t buy it.”

    Lol, over half this country didn’t even vote. I mean, it must be the defining characteristic for elitism to present a reality that is quantifiably false. Truly, the best part of the left elite nonsense is that now the right is dominating the national political landscape. Yeah you guys keep talking about the elite….dig your own grave…

    I’m tired of this…see you in the funny papers commissar.

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