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An Abusive Relationship of Convenience. Some Notes on David Simon and The Guardian.

In the four years since David Simon declared his allegiance to the contortionist wing of liberalism and offered to give the Orwellian police state a jaw shattering blow job by dismissing Edward Snowden’s revelations as a bunch of empty hype The Guardian, which Simon attacked as a gang of hysterics for their coverage of Edward Snowden and his revelations about the NSA, has printed almost a dozen articles about him.

For a look at Simon’s hysterical moral contortionist routine:

And in almost every one of The Guardian’s advertisements on his behalf, he is lathered up, festooned and presented as a prize liberal heifer at a cyber state fair. With two limp exceptions (a tepid editorial response to Simon’s hand job on behalf of mass surveillance and an editorial slap on the wrist in response to his plantation mentality admonition that post Freddie Gray people should stop protesting and “just go home”) The Guardian has uniformly worshiped at the altar of The Sage of Baltimore 2.0. He is in a sense the perfect stalking horse. He was a working class grunt from one of the worst cities in America. He covered the crime beat and speaks with a classic hardboiled authority wrapped in lamentations for unions and a sense of ethics that are all about nostalgia. Yet this is no Steve Bannon looking into the rear view mirror of a lost American Arcadia. This is, as The Guardian maintains, an honorable lug who is as at ease with fat HBO contracts as he is with the thinning herd of Baltimore dock workers.

At least, that’s the myth. The reality, which The Guardian seemingly refuses to address, is that Simon is a hypocrite demanding justice for the downtrodden on the one hand and on the other demanding fealty to the surveillance state. And ridiculing anyone (like The Guardian) who points out that mass surveillance conducted in secret by the government and the local cops is as safe as juggling plutonium.

For The Guardian the dilemma is a straightforward moral conundrum. Praise Simon for his claims to street cred while ignoring the fact that his support for mass surveillance eliminates his credibility. And the credibility of The Guardian as well. Intellectual rigor, consistency and integrity are not only matters to be addressed to the subject of a newspaper’s articles. They are matters for the newspaper as well. Simon attacked The Guardian and he attacked Glenn Greenwald when he wrote for The Guardian and he labeled them both as unreliable hysterics. The idea that a writer can demand allegiance to an Orwellian system of order by employing Darkness at Noon shadow and fog justifications and be described as an honest broker who offers penetrating assessments of the ugly side of contemporary society can not be taken seriously but it can be seriously taken as an example of a failure of nerve and conviction on the part of The Guardian.

We have already dealt with Simon’s contrivances on behalf of the Stasi and his work as an apologist for the regime but here our attention is focused on the collaborationist hypocrisy of The Guardian.

We begin with the fact that in defending mass surveillance Simon rhetorically napalmed the media in general and The Guardian specifically. In his Louis Ferdinand Celine-esque defense of fascism and his hysterical assault on journalism Simon described the Guardian as follows:

“And to that, the Guardian and those who are wailing jeremiads about this pretend-discovery of U.S. big data collection are noticeably silent. We don’t know of any actual abuse. No known illegal wiretaps, no indications of FISA-court approved intercepts of innocent Americans that occurred because weak probable cause was acceptable. Mark you, that stuff may be happening…”

“Pretend” discovery? “This stuff may be happening.” (notice the use of “stuff” as if the colloquial makes it less vile) There is something Trumpian in the nerve and the blatant who you going to believe me or your lying eyes abuse of the rhetoric. This is the language, the tactics of the wife beater and the misogynist thug who terrorizes his partner into stammering at the ER doctor – I’m clumsy and I fall down all the time.

One could we suppose, grant The Guardian the premise that news being news they should not engage in what no doubt, they would describe as a petty feud. They could, one assumes, argue that Simon doesn’t sound like a neo-fascist hack coughing up faux journalistic Potemkin Village bromides. They could even pretend he doesn’t sound like a fool covering up for his pals on the Baltimore Police. After all they did publish a limp editorial that said they think Simon was wrong about the dangerous impact of mass surveillance and gosh if that didn’t sting. No doubt, chastised to the point of donning sackcloth and ashes Simon went into some sort of monk like retreat in Baltimore’s Federal Hill and begged forgiveness…In other words, Simon is newsworthy and therefore outside of a pair of wafer-thin editorials that chastised him, they are obligated to report the news. But that’s a tautology at best and just shallow pettifogging and cowardice at worst.

Because of course Simon didn’t repent and instead The Guardian has since then gone on to give Saint Simon ample space to pawn his soul on the altar of consumption – blasting capitalism while cashing its checks. And for The Guardian they can promote a liberal voice that seems to attack rampant American capitalism and wears the mantle of a postmodern Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler…Down these mean streets one man with a fat HBO contract must go…

Speaking of his latest piece of financial porn Simon told the other half of his co-dependent and abused partner The Guardian the following:

“What I stumbled into seemed to be a ready-made critique of market capitalism, and what happens when labour has no collective voice, and that seemed to be apt for this moment because I think a lot of the lessons of the 20th century are going to have to be learned all over again thanks to Reagan and Thatcher and all the neoliberal and libertarian argument that has come after,” says Simon, 57, unfailingly intense as he leans forward on a sofa.”

And let’s also consider that the puff piece begins by telling us:

“Amid rows of houses and a sprinkling of bars, coffee shops, convenience stores and restaurants in Riverside, an unpretentious corner of Baltimore, one building stands out: a redbrick townhouse that was once an old church. It is the office of David Simon, a master of the medium of television.”

You see – he’s still got it; still unpretentious. Never mind that he lives in the gentrified corner of Federal Hill and that the building with his office used to be a church that closed precisely because Baltimore has been colonized and the working class both Simon and The Guardian claim to speak for have been shuffled off into even deeper corners of the economic gulag. And never mind that as an example of “reporting” the entire paragraph fails precisely because it tells us nothing but creates an illusion. The truth is that Riverside is so large that the description is useless except as a con on behalf of two lies – Simon’s working class honor and The Guardian’s integrity.

Riverside includes the expensive and gentrified areas of Fed Hill, as well as burnt out and abandoned factories. It contains upscale cigar shops and sushi bars and overpriced pubs selling premium drinks and premium drugs. But as with The Wire, why let unpleasant facts get in the way of a good story. Or a marketable reputation.

And why do actual reporting when you can give yourself and the subject a hand job instead.

We’re not sure who is more pathetic. Simon certainly is greasier in the way typical of a formerly not wealthy middle class liberal conservative who suddenly finds the golden ticket and is able to transform himself into an ambulatory statue celebrating commerce in the tradition of Lord Baltimore’s camp followers and the rapacious colonizers of the New World. In telling the Freddie Gray protesters to surrender Simon was saying: Yes I’m fucking your wife but I bought her at the slave market, it’s god’s will, and after I’m done with her I’ll come out against slavery; write a television show about it and make a pile of cash off your misfortune. But in the meantime, shut the fuck up and go home.

But then what to say about The Guardian? Having been called by Simon, irresponsible, hysterical and essentially a gang of unpatriotic hacks working if not on behalf of “terrorists” than certainly not on behalf of the patriots fighting to save civilization, The Guardian has spent years lubing Simon’s ego and boosting revenue by riding his coattails.

The answer would seem to be to stop taking The Guardian seriously as a newspaper and to instead add it to the vast archipelago of the corporate media as essentially compromised, committed to paid advertising and clickbait disguised as journalism, and brimming with analysis a mile wide and an inch deep.

Or as Woody Allen put it in a slightly different context: Yes, I’m a bigot but, for the left.

You can read The Guardian piece here:

Update: 7/28/19

As Robin Williams would say, under irony in the dictionary, see irony:

2 comments on “An Abusive Relationship of Convenience. Some Notes on David Simon and The Guardian.

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