Thursday, August 25, 2011

Would Mother Jones read Mother Jones?

I'm not going to pretend this is some recent, tragic downfall; we're talking about a publication that fired Michael Moore after just four months because he refused to publish -- amid a U.S.-backed right-wing insurgency that left 50,000 dead -- a liberal hawk's hit piece against Nicaragua's Sandinistas, after all.

It's nonetheless worth noting, however, the incongruity of a magazine named for a radical activist who embraced civil disobedience in defiance of unjust laws and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the state's legal actions against her hiring a careerist Democratic pundit, Adam Serwer, who explicitly rejects the notion that those who kill as part of unjust wars of aggression are moral actors who bear any responsibility for their actions, morality being the sole province of our betters in political office. He even maintains that one's support for members of the military ought to be "unconditional," just as soldiers themselves, in his view, ought to kill and be killed without question, anything less than blind allegiance to authority being a potentially grave threat to the republic. Serwer also defended on narrow legal grounds the U.S. government's extrajudicial killing of an apparently unarmed, detained man -- an argument he defended with ripped-from-The-Weekly-Standard Chomsky and pacifist-bashing -- and, rather than respond to actual arguments that were made, mocked yours truly because I work for an antiwar group that is nowhere near as "prestigious" in his view as, hold your laughter, The American Prospect.

Unfortunately, Serwer's brand of smug apologia for the Democratic Party, mixed in with a healthy dose of condescension toward those who fail to see the electoral system and the law-making process as the be-all and end-all of political agitation, will fit right in at the modern Mother Jones. This is a formerly radical magazine, remember, that employs the invasion of Iraq-supporting, bailout-defending Kevin "I'd literally trust [Obama's] judgment over my own" Drum (warning: his writing may cause drowsiness) and which attacked Ron Paul, not over his odious views on immigration, but because the latter wants to end the war on drugs, stop arresting sex workers and would have "sought Pakistan's cooperation" in the arrest of an international fugitive, things that were once known as Standard Left-Wing Positions.

So no, I'm pretty sure that, were she alive today, Mother Jones would not be reading Mother Jones.


  1. Granted, the top 4 are really not so great. Also, there's this

    And to their credit, they highlighted the abuses of Lynda Ressnick's company Fiji.

  2. dSquib10:26 PM

    I'm not much of a Moore fan, but that's surely interesting.

    Note also Mother Jones' reaction to "Cablegate", as good a litmus test as I know, and how Clara Jeffrey spent the months after digging up "embarrassing" stuff about Assange, like a bad rap song he wrote and a dodgy looking dance-floor shot of him rather than, say, digging through the wikileaks archives and building pieces around them.

  3. I find myself rarely reading Serwer, and I doubt that'll change since he's moving to Mother Jones. He's just too stained as a partisan loyalist.

    Very interesting that Michael Moore once worked for Mother Jones. I didn't know that.

  4. Mike V.7:07 AM

    I had a subscription to Mother Jones a few years ago, but I let it lapse. I was constantly frustrated by their omission of any solutions other than those offered by the state.

    I thought there was a particularly sharp decline in quality (and corresponding increase in their pro-government solutions messaging) around the time they were opening their "Washington bureau". Any one else notice this?

  5. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Hey at least Steve Benen doesn't write for them! yet. There is no bigger hack than Benen.

  6. Mother Jones is a Cornhole of vanilla liberalism.

    btw The Triumph of the Revisionary Will opening of the MLK Memorial, hosted by Mrs. Greenspan and sponsored by....(retch), was World Historically(Hegel, bien sur--late Prussian State as Ideal stage)nauseating.

  7. Hey, really great blog post… I've enjoyed reading through your blog because of the great style and energy you put into each post. I actually run, a blog of my personal research and experiences. If you're interested, I would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Please send me an e-mail: bobshiller78(at)aol(dot)com, and I can give you more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  8. Nice post on Mother Jones. I feel the same.
    Counterpunch had your article on "liberals' and Ron Paul. I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

  9. Anonymous6:48 PM

    More likely Mother Jones would read BAR.

  10. jcapan12:07 AM

    These jokers are always self-grooming for the next "prestigious" stop on their career arc, painstakingly shedding whatever leftist convictions they once possessed. Good heavens, do you know Michael Scherer over at Time once wrote for MJ? And I'm sure they were all DFHs when in college.

    After their metamorphosis is complete, something out of a Cronenberg film is the result: a horrifying Matty Woodchuck-Better than Ezra Klein wonk.

    Thus the "Vanilla liberalism" and never saying anything that might offend village sensibilities. Staid establishment guardians stand poised like bouncers at the gates to WaPo et al, checking their data for heresy.

    How could they possibly endorse the work of Mary Harris Jones or Howard Zinn or a dirty pacifist Noam Chomsky. Why risk losing such a wonderful future.

  11. Anonymous6:51 AM

    This is a formerly radical magazine, remember, that employs the invasion of Iraq-supporting, bailout-defending Kevin "I'd literally trust [Obama's] judgment over my own" Drum (warning: his writing may cause drowsiness) and which attacked Ron Paul, not over his odious views on immigration

    I agree. Ron Paul's support for a permissive immigration policy is rather odious.


  12. zilcho11:12 PM

    She'd be watchin' it on tv!