Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Jimmy Dore vs Sam Seder

So there are two "progressive" video bloggers in the USA who I've been following. The first one I encountered is Sam Seder's "Majority Report" and the second one is Jimmy Dore's "The Jimmy Dore Show." I've since discovered that Seder was originally the co-host of the show with Janeane Garofalo and that it ran on "Air America" and Dore began as part of an ensemble cast of a show on "The Young Turks" network.

These two guys have developed an acrimonious dispute as to the proper strategy for progressive citizens in the USA. Seder insist on focusing upon changing the Democratic Party from within, at the local, state and federal levels, while Dore says that the Democratic Party is hopeless and that a third party led by Bernie Sanders or some other charismatic [is Sanders charismatic?] figure is what is needed.

I have to say that I side with Jimmy Dore. While Sam Seder is clearly more knowledgeable about the mechanics of the US political system and is more scholarly in general, he is, essentially just offering a more intellectual version of the whole "lesser evilism" shtick that has seen decent people lashed to the super-corrupt Democrats in decades of deluded servitude. In the comments section to a video where Dore was actually debating (via telephone) with Seder, somebody wrote how Seder has no illusions about the Democrat leaders being his, or any progressive's friends. The party is a tool for people to try to get what they want. "The art of the possible" in other words. The problem is that Seder, for all his intelligence, is the tool that people like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are using to get what they want.

Dore is a much more simpler man. And he repeats himself a lot. But his outrage at the entirely disgusting state of the USA's political culture is very real and very necessary. He is genuine when he says that he supports people like the Democratic Socialists of America in their efforts to challenge Democratic corporatists from within. (Indeed, his show was one of the first to provide an outlet for the campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.) But in the end, he correctly insists that the Democratic Party is hopeless. He does not let up from pointing out the abominable scuzziness of Hillary Clinton and the entire team of anti-democratic filth (such as the revolting Deborah Wasserman-Schultz) who sabotaged Bernie Sanders in the primary, betrayed the party, and foisted Clinton as the party's candidate.

To deliberately pick a candidate associated with the status-quo at a time when the status-quo was (and remains) loathed by all, and on top of that, a candidate with decades of baggage from right-wing attacks (most of them stupid) was just indicative of Hillary Clinton's massive set of entitlement. In one of his videos, Dore describes an exceptional New York Times article [I tried to link to it but too many goddamned ads started loading and crashed my browser.] wherein Black citizens of Milwaukee explain why they didn't vote or cast a protest vote. Two guys (I think) wrote themselves in, and one guy voted for Trump as a protest against Hillary Clinton, whose husband's policies put him in prison for 20 years. [This is probably a reference to Bill Clinton's "Three Strikes" policy that Hillary enthusiastically campaigned for in her attempts to combat "super-predators" and "bring them to heel."]

I mention this because some of Seder's fans, who imagine themselves progressive pragmatists, have tried to accuse Dore of enjoying white, male, affluent privilege. I don't know what Dore's net worth is. It's probably well above average but nothing spectacular. But the argument is bullshit because the people who are hurting the most have been ABANDONED by the Democrats. Is it that much of a stretch to believe that the president who told Wall Street criminals that he would protect them from the mob with the torches and the pitchforks might also be responsible for those same criminals enjoying 90% of the GDP growth since he came to power? And mighten't some of that wealth have been extracted from the poorest? Partisanship can make fools of us all and liberal partisans are just as capable of disgracing themselves as the stupidest Trump fans.

Finally, I have to say, that even before I was aware of the Dore-Seder rivalry, I was already iffy about Sam Seder. His video titles are often pure "click-bait" and while they might be parodying the way that right-wing shit-heads title their own videos, it's still off-putting to watch a video entitled "Sam Seder DESTROYS [name of right-wing shit-head here]" and watch it for 9 minutes and not hear anything even remotely relevant. Also, when Seder is the host, it means there are 3 other people interjecting trying to be witty and too often failing. (Sometimes the co-host, whose name escapes me, is in the chair and then there's only two other people competing with him.) With Dore, he clearly runs the show, and his co-hosts (often his wife Stefane Zamorano, aka. "The Miserable Liberal", and young comedian Ron Placone) show much more restraint when they interrupt, and then he asks for their feedback at the end. It might appear more domineering and/or narcissistic I suppose, but it makes for a smoother presentation. I will say though, that Zamorano's comments are often more profound than Dore appears to give her credit for. This might be misogyny or it might be just the way people take their spouse for granted or it might be my imagination.

And, at the root of it all, I see a lot of myself in Jimmy Dore. I'm a working class guy. I'm unpolished. I have a highly developed sense of outrage. I'm not a partisan. I often don't have all the facts immediately on hand. I watched his stand-up special a week or two back when I was high and remember thinking that I enjoyed it.


e.a.f. said...

The problem is the U.S.A. has only two political parties. Most people have given up and the largest political party in the U.S.A. are those who no longer vote. In my opinion the two political parties are happy with the way things are.

Bernie Saunders as a leader of a new political party will simply be another party like the Democrats and Republicans. Don't even know why they let him run under the Democratic ticket. He isn't a Democrat. The U.S.A. would be much better off to start a third and fourth political party, at the civic, state, level and go from there.

thwap said...

Hi e.a.f.,

In a recent podcast, Dore mentioned something about Cent Uygur calling for a new constituent assembly for the USA. And that's something that I started thinking about myself in the past two weeks.

The US-American people should have a referendum as to whether they want to come up with a new way to govern the USA. (I stopped myself from saying "new way to govern themselves" because they don't govern themselves. They're an out-right oligarchy.)

Basically, their system doesn't work. A Republican Party that is full of the most debased, obnoxious psychopaths and/or morons, lavishly services the oligarchs and stays in power through gerrymandering and other forms of corruption and relies on the most ignorant and/or stupid 30% of the population as its voting base.

This allows the Democrats to likewise service the oligarchs as the "good cop" that isn't as totally vicious as the Repugs. But they remain the enemy because they continually serve the oligarchs at the expense of the majority.

Responding to your comment has made me decide to search for Uygur's proposal:

Hmm. It appears that he's been talking about this for a long time and it's only in reference to election financing:

I rather think the USA (and Canada for that matter) needs a new constitution. At present, power is centralized at too high levels for ordinary people to have any control over their lives. For a long time I've been thinking about bringing decision-making down to the municipal level, but within a framework that has nation-wide guarantees of basic principles. For example; the healthcare system remains national and standards are enforced uniformly across the nation. Minority rights are guaranteed across the nation. (There are no local referendums to ban non-heterosexual marriage or ethnic intermarriage for example.)

Of course, this holds for public matters. Internal workplace matters are also de-centralized and democratized via "Workers As Citizens."

LanceThruster said...

I appreciate the unpolished reference. Jimmy may have some rough edges, but he gets justifiably outraged at things that deserve it.

thwap said...

Hi LanceThruster,

Yes. It's important to point out what is not acceptable. Even if your target is a so-called "lesser evil."