The Dim-Post

July 31, 2016

Various Sunday morning thoughts which don’t deserve their own posts and probably don’t deserve this one either

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:49 am
  • We saw Midnight Special at the film festival last night. Unlike seemingly everyone else on the internet we actually bought our tickets. It screened at the Lighthouse Petone, which I’d never been to before and is a very nice theatre. And was a pretty good movie. Although, as always with films motivated by interesting ideas, I’d much rather have watched a TV show about it than a two hour film.
  • RNZ is included in the radio ratings for the first time since the Paleolithic era! And they’re killing it! I hope their success doesn’t send swarms of media lobbyists into the Beehive demanding National cut RNZ’s funding even further so that commercial media can grow their audience base!
  • It again makes the case that what is interesting to audiences that advertisers want to advertise to (generally the dumbest people in the country, hence most persuadable) is not what’s interesting to most of the rest of us.
  • There’s speculation on the internets that Donald Trump might not debate Hilary Clinton. Which would be a shame, but got me wondering: who would Hilary’s practise adversary be for those debates? Obama prepped against Romney by debating Kerry, which was perfect. But Trump? I’m thinking Danny McBride. He had this line in, I think, Eastbound and Down where he described himself as ‘King Shit of Fuck Mountain’, which seems like the kind of A material Trump is likely to bring to the US Presidential debates.
  • I am not worried about the US election. I think Trump is too flawed as an individual to win the election, and I think the contest from now on will start to amplify those flaws in a way that makes him quite unpopular, and that Clinton will win easily. I am a little scared by the idea that Trump is a kind of John the Baptist figure for a future, more sophisticated messiah of white identity politics.

48 Comments »

  1. But Trump? I’m thinking Danny McBride.

    I’m thinking Denny Crane.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — July 31, 2016 @ 10:56 am

  2. Either she’ll pulverize him, or he’ll go turn his crazy all the way up to full and she won’t know how to respond. She’s a good debater…against *normal* politicians. So is Rubio, and look what happened to him.

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — July 31, 2016 @ 11:35 am

  3. Huh. No way will Trump lack the confidence to debate the empty-headed woman. All he needs to do to pull 5% ahead in current polling is to get it into his thick head that fronting as a narcissist isn’t a vote-winning strategy. She will, as usual, present her string of platitudes as if it were a debating style. To win, all he need do is front as sensible & on the ball, a combination he has yet to master.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — July 31, 2016 @ 11:41 am

  4. My worry about the US election is that a lot of (white) people who don’t usually vote will turn out and vote for Trump, while a lot of others will stay home because they assume he’s far too insane to win and they don’t like Hilary.

    Comment by RHT — July 31, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

  5. I wish I was so confident that Trump won’t will, unfortunately the comments about “a charismatic narcissist who feeds on the crowd to become ever stronger, creating a cult around himself.” in this article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11684369 in the Herald ring too true. To my way of thinking there is a real risk that Trump will get in by the same mechanism that Brexit happened: many people, and especially many young people feel disenfranchised and excluded from the society they were born into. They either don’t have jobs, or have poorly paid or casualised ones, and often they are carrying huge burdens of student loans. Their takeaway (rightly or wrongly) is that society doesn’t support them so they won’t support society, and in fact will opt out of it conventions and simply won’t vote, as that would be seen as supporting a system that is fundamentally flawed, at least from their perception. When people are hurting, and a huge percentage of the worlds population is, then they want to lash out, and one way they can lash out is by supporting the likes of Trump and Farrage and Le Pen and Putin

    Comment by Nick — July 31, 2016 @ 1:33 pm

  6. @RNZ ratings winnings: funding cuts? don’t you mean more corporate hand-outs?

    Comment by torrentshill — July 31, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

  7. Number of people who voted for Hillary in 2008 primaries 17.8 mill (Obama was less at 17.5mill) Number who voted in 2016 primaries for Hillary 16.8 mill . Number of people who voted for Trump in GOP primaries 14 mill- yes it was a parallel race
    . Shes won the the popular vote in the democratic primary for the last 2 times she entered. beating both Obama and Sanders
    There thats the idea the people dont like Clinton and wont vote for her – killed stone dead.

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — July 31, 2016 @ 1:38 pm

  8. “It again makes the case that what is interesting to audiences that advertisers want to advertise to”.

    It used to be accepted wisdom in publishing that the ABC1 audience was the one to go for. That would be more in line with Radio NZ’s deographic than any commercial station. If that still holds true – and who knows in these crazy times – then the ratings could put pressure on NewstalkZB et al to be more like RNZ.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — July 31, 2016 @ 1:56 pm

  9. The risk of Trump isn’t that he will win the election, but that he will be a Barry Goldwater figure who launches a toxic transformation of the Republican party despite not winning which nonetheless leads to ideological hegemony 20-odd years down the track. Just as Reagan’s regime was the final manifestation of Goldwaterism, it’s plausible that some horrific US President in 2036 will be boasting about how he was a footsoldier in the Trump campaign. More plausible than Trump winning, anyway.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 31, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

  10. ABC1 was the demographic to go for ??. Ask the Guardian how thats worked out for them

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — July 31, 2016 @ 2:05 pm

  11. That second point warms the cockles of m heart.

    Comment by Elliot — July 31, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

  12. “RNZ is included in the radio ratings for the first time since the Paleolithic era! And they’re killing it!”

    Why wouldn’t they? They are the only offering of their kind on the airwaves whereas the commercial market is divided many times.

    I curse Mark Weldon for canning John Campbell. You knew a client was going to survive anything when they could withstand a few minutes of Mary Wilson at full interrogative blast. Her interviews were often infuriating because too often she could not recognise when she needed to change tone, but usually she did elicit some information that shed light on a subject. John, on the other hand, does a full on imitation of a wet, hand-wringing Anglican Vicar who is far more interested in preaching his own sermon than eliciting information that might be useful or interesting or illuminate an issue. A total waste of radio space.

    Ask your mate James Shaw about Jamie McKay of the Farming Show on Radio Sport. A totally different style to RNZ’s petulant Year 13 student approach. I learned more about James and his views in a couple of minutes – including that he’s a citizen of the UK – than in any other media interview. And I doubt that RNZ has a host smarter than Martin Devlin. His listeners, myself included? Maybe not so much.

    Comment by Tinakori — July 31, 2016 @ 6:49 pm

  13. I think you underestimate the number of American voters who will vote for Trump because at least you know who he’s bought and paid for by.

    Comment by Robert Singers — July 31, 2016 @ 7:07 pm

  14. “I am a little scared by the idea that Trump is a kind of John the Baptist figure for a future, more sophisticated messiah of white identity politics.”

    Does this fictitious fear trump – no pun intended – the very real fear that many normal people have of Islamic terrorists running people over in trucks, drowning people in cages, burning people alive, cutting people’s heads off, throwing accused homosexuals off tall buildings, or murdering Catholic priests?

    You seem to be afraid of something that may or may not happen at some distant point in the future while totally ignoring something that’s happening somewhere in the world every single day.

    Trump has every chance of winning the election and not because he’s a great candidate. I think many Americans are sick of having such porous borders and of the many heinous crimes committed by the 11 to 30 million illegal immigrants currently residing in their country.

    Comment by Jimmy — July 31, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

  15. You seem to be afraid of something that may or may not happen at some distant point in the future while totally ignoring something that’s happening somewhere in the world every single day.

    Yeah, Danyl … why aren’t you more afraid that islamofascist monsters who are also illegal immigrants streaming in through our porous borders will kill your whole family, and what are you going to do about it? Where’s your wall, Danyl? WHERE’S YOUR WALL?????

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 31, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

  16. There thats the idea the people dont like Clinton and wont vote for her – killed stone dead

    She’s been on the receiving end of one of the longest most successful character assassination campaigns and not just from the right but from liberal pundits as well – including here in NZ which was quite disturbing.

    It’s hard not to think that she was targeted in such a manner because she’s a woman. She is a bit odd and not the greatest speaker but there was never any thing to justify the labels of “entitled” (a man would be “confident” and “ambitious”) and “divisive” (is it unusual as a politician to have vociferous critics?).

    Comment by NeilM — July 31, 2016 @ 10:46 pm

  17. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html

    It’s not the US’s white we people we should be worried about , it’s the really, really white people in Russia backing Trump. that are more of cause for concern. When last week I said Slate sucked I hadn’t read the above.

    Comment by Tinakori — July 31, 2016 @ 11:16 pm

  18. Tinakori: That Slate article is hilarious. I haven’t had such a good laugh in a very long time. Superb piece of propaganda.

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 1, 2016 @ 12:34 am

  19. “It again makes the case that what is interesting to audiences that advertisers want to advertise to (generally the dumbest people in the country, hence most persuadable) is not what’s interesting to most of the rest of us.” But directly contradicts Gordon Campbell’s assertion (in a link from Notes towards a Red Queen hypothesis of New Zealand politics) that “People are not stupid.”

    Comment by Eltalstro — August 1, 2016 @ 8:16 am

  20. But directly contradicts Gordon Campbell’s assertion … that “People are not stupid.”

    It actually doesn’t. Stupid-to-smart is a bell curve, so people can be in general “not stupid,” but the bell curve still has a “dumbest” end.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — August 1, 2016 @ 9:07 am

  21. What is the takeaway from the Slate article? That they really, really want you to vote for Clinton.

    I don’t share Danyl’s confidence that Trump won’t triumph. I’ve read reports suggesting that Bernie supporters will not vote for Hillary. Some reports suggest that they may vote for Trump, on the same basis that many Republicans don’t like him: that he will be so awful as President that the Republicans will be punished by not getting hold of the oval office again for “a generation”.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 10:36 am

  22. I think I saw Nate Silver recently suggesting that the probability is about 60:40 in favour of Clinton. Which is a bit close for comfort…

    Comment by Dr Foster — August 1, 2016 @ 10:42 am

  23. RNZ: yes it’s nice not having to listen to those god-awful radio ads. It’s also nice to listen to most articles/stories in double-quick time (well, at least 12% faster) via podcasts (that also allow one to rewind). “No one watches live TV these days, in my case because of the ads: you can fast forward through them. And even if you can’t, you can at least lower the volume a tad. The main reason I can’t listen to commercial radio: the fucking awful advertisements that seem louder than the programme. Another reason: when you are driving, many commercial stations seem to have a weak signal, so you constantly have to rescan. But I seem to be able to (mostly) receive RNZ National as I drive around the hills and suburbs of Wellington.

    Listening live to RNZ, I can handle the odd 20 minute interview of the man who spent 20 years studying Panamanian nose flutes, in order to NOT listen to radio advertising. Rest assured, if RNZ went “full” commercial, even without any programming changes, I would probably resort to CDs in the car.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 1, 2016 @ 10:45 am

  24. @12 – one of the great things about this blog is sooner or later you find yourself agreeing with everybody about something – btwn campbell and wallace chapman I feel like i’ve woken up with a hangover in the back of old st pauls – suzie ferguson – `okay ….’ way out of her depth – can’t wait to hear jesse mulligan interview his wife and kids – people who have been on commercial tv are like kiwi bands who move to aussie they come back severely damaged and never sound the same again – god i miss mary wilson….

    Comment by rodaigh — August 1, 2016 @ 10:57 am

  25. I’ve read reports suggesting that Bernie supporters will not vote for Hillary.

    Not enough to make a difference though.

    I don’t see Trump as some precursor to an even worse White Messiah. I think this is the turning point away from that. Trump will lose and Clinton’s victory will seal the defeat of those white patriachal tendencies. Supreme Court appointments etc.

    The demographics aren’t with Trump and can only get worse for people like him.

    More worrying is Putin and it’s interesting see the alt Right&Left Greenwald and co. go into spasms of aggrievement over Trump being linked to Putin. Seems more like desperate attention seeking than any force of influence.

    Comment by NeilM — August 1, 2016 @ 10:59 am

  26. “I don’t share Danyl’s confidence that Trump won’t triumph. I’ve read reports suggesting that Bernie supporters will not vote for Hillary.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/25/1552338/-90-of-Sanders-Supporters-Now-Back-Clinton-Pew-Research

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 1, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

  27. I’ve read reports suggesting that Bernie supporters will not vote for Hillary

    During the primary campaign, it was clear Sanders’ was speaking to two groups of supporters:
    (1) “social reformers” who were focused on economic inequality, environmental advocacy, and other social policy interests
    (2) “political reformers” who were focused on restructure of the political system

    During the primary, it wasn’t clear how many people belonged to one, the other, or both of these groups. Now we’re seeing most Sanders’ supporters backing Clinton, which suggests the former was much larger than the latter.

    Comment by Phil — August 1, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

  28. Clinton campaign is way richer than Trump campaign.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/campaign-finance/

    Comment by unaha-closp — August 1, 2016 @ 12:38 pm

  29. t’s not the US’s white we people we should be worried about….

    There is a novel theory that voting for Trump will actually make the world a safer place based on Clinton’s record, inasmuch as she’s an R2P figleaf hawk and he holds very isolationist positions (at least in terms of vote catching)
    I’d say that might be putting lipstick on a pig, but it’s certainly not reaching any more than Trump=Putin’s stooge which is a patently absurd proposition.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 1:21 pm

  30. @Gregor: Thing is, if Trump is a genuine isolationist, that’s good for Putin. Trump doesn’t have to be directly or even indirectly under Putin’s control to be beneficial to him.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 1, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

  31. unaha: Then again, Trump supposedly has his own fortune to dip into… or not.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 1, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

  32. Thing is, if Trump is a genuine isolationist, that’s good for Putin.

    Sure! It’s also good for a bunch of other Europeans, Middle Eastern folk, Far East Asians, North and Central Africans, Central and South Americans.
    In fact, pretty much everyone.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 3:22 pm

  33. Trump=Putin’s stooge which is a patently absurd proposition.

    Trump is a vain con artist with no polical experience. Putin is an intelligent sociopath who has ruthlessly supported tyrants. I’d say it was obvious who would be the stoog.

    I think one of the main reasons Trump is running is he’s as wealthy as he likes to make out and would like to to emulate Putin’s line in kleptocracy.

    Comment by NeilM — August 1, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

  34. not as wealthy

    Comment by NeilM — August 1, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

  35. I’ve noticed in US political circles those who think Putin is misunderstood and if we only talked with we’d understand what nice guy he is, generally also believe Hillary is a lying, corrupt war monger.

    Comment by NeilM — August 1, 2016 @ 4:12 pm

  36. I’d say it was obvious who would be the stoog[e]

    I’d say it was obvious that if you were to be suckered in by this rot, you’d need your head read. It’s a modern variant of classic McCarthyist Red Baiting.
    Trump is certainly a vain con artist but to seriously consider him as a Manchurian Candidate is risible.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 4:15 pm

  37. Actually, Manchurian Candidate isn’t what I meant (silly me.) I meant sleeper.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 4:21 pm

  38. Thing is, if Trump is a genuine isolationist,

    It’s a yuuuuge call to say Trump is an isolationist. I mean, this is the guy who has:

    1) advocated a policy that is basically the extortion of NATO allies before supporting them.
    2) called for pulling out of bases in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia, but at the same time says “We will spend what we need to rebuild our military… We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned”.
    3) described himself as pro-Israeli: “There’s nobody more pro-Israel than I am.”
    4) taken a hard line on ISIS and says he would “knock the hell out of” ISIS, and criticized the U.S. for “fighting a very politically correct war.”… whatever that means.

    How can a person advocate positions like this and still be considered isolationist?

    Comment by Phil — August 1, 2016 @ 4:27 pm

  39. How can a person advocate positions like this and still be considered isolationist?

    Trump is the apex of post-truth populist.
    I don’t think he actually genuinely advocates any particular positions on anything other than what pops into his head during his confused, rambling, stream-of-consciousness monologues / what he believes will appeal to whichever audience he is hectoring at the time.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

  40. “Sure! It’s also good for a bunch of other Europeans”

    A lot of countries in Eastern Europe have banked on US protection to protect them from Russia’s expansionism. It’s not exactly in their interests for the USA to decide it can’t be bothered all of a sudden.

    “It’s a yuuuuge call to say Trump is an isolationist”

    There’s a general incoherence around a lot of what Trump says but most of things you’ve mentioned are examples of isolationism. The whole charging-allies-for-protection is a move towards isolationism from the current policy (e.g, not to charge). Spending money on the military and building up the military is not incompatible with isolationism – many isolationists want isolationism because they think it will increase the USA’s military power. The pro-Israel thing and fighting ISIS things are non-isolationist, it’s true.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 1, 2016 @ 5:46 pm

  41. Spending money on the military and building up the military is not incompatible with isolationism – many isolationists want isolationism because they think it will increase the USA’s military power.

    You’re making the same argument that the big-5 European powers made before 1914! No-one will mess with our interests, because we have the biggest army.

    Thought experiment; how would anti-Hillary commentators react to a similar “build up the military” statement from Clinton?
    Surely there would be a cacophony of cries like: ‘what other reason could she possibly have building up the military than starting wars and using it against other countries?!’

    But seriously, every second sentence out of Trump’s mouth is a contradiction with the first. I just find it bizarre that a large portion of the public seem to be so willing to ignore Trump’s comments directly advocating war crimes, his enthusiastic support for Ted Cruz’s plan to “make the sand glow”, an advocacy of more troops on the ground in Syria, and a stated plan to “declare war on ISIS” , in order to protect their narrative that he’s the candidate less likely to take the US to war.

    Comment by Phil — August 1, 2016 @ 6:04 pm

  42. “You’re making the same argument that the big-5 European powers made before 1914!”

    I’m not making any argument, I’m describing an argument made by others.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 1, 2016 @ 6:14 pm

  43. Phil – I think the counterfactual is that Clinton actually has been instrumental in cooking up a couple of low intensity conflicts (Libya, Ukraine, Afghan surge) and has indulged in a fair amount of sabre rattling in an attempt to ratchet up other US interventions (Syria, SCS), not to mention the usual dirty tricks in the Central and South America.

    We don’t really have a clue what Trump might do beyond the rhetoric.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 1, 2016 @ 6:47 pm

  44. I agree with Gregor re Trump. Reminds me of that cowboy of legend, the one who leaps into the saddle & rides off in all directions, firing wildly. But I often get the impression that there’s more to the guy than theatrics. The scattergun rhetoric approach to campaigning could be a ruse to lull the opposition into over-confidence.

    Maybe he has a strategic vision deficit. Maybe he doesn’t, and is deliberately playing his cards close to his chest. Maybe he really is a loose cannon, as Bloomberg has warned. Maybe he sees an alliance with Putin as sensible strategy to counter the rise of China. I await signs of intelligence, and agree that failure to display any suggests that he is indeed merely hot air.

    If the election is to be a lose/lose scenario, we need Aotearoa to abandon all ties to the USA. We don’t need any relationship to a toxic bunch of losers. And yes, those communists in China are indeed even worse. I haven’t forgotten Tibet, even if most others have…

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 1, 2016 @ 9:17 pm

  45. In 2014, Kim Dotcom received endless media coverage and it all came to naught – his face constantly on the television being ridiculous only drove voters toward Key. And yet the media were sure Dotcom would be the “kingmaker” of the election. Likewise, Trump generates a ratings yarn that fires up viewers and keeps them watching. It’s not wonder he gets so much media coverage. But he has no ground game, no sign of a data operation of any way of actually turning out voters on election day. Clinton has inherited Obama’s data driven field organisation and I’m sure they are quite happy for him to keep saying disastrous things on TV while they quietly vacuum up those votes of quietly horrified white moms in the suburbs of swing states. But no one is telling that story.

    Comment by Anna Hamill — August 2, 2016 @ 12:14 am

  46. Putin has also been giving money to far Right parties in Europe. He’s actively undermining the democratic process in a number of countries and backs one of the most brutal regimes.

    When Trump calls on the Russians to hack his political opponents and wants to undermine NATO that’s a pretty clear indication of his attitude to Putin.

    The idea that there would be any benefit from Trump being in power as opposed to the continuation of Obama’s internationalist approach under Clinton is very odd but seems to be being promoted by the alt Right.

    Comment by NeilM — August 2, 2016 @ 8:00 am

  47. The Obama administration has allegedly been giving money and support to far right organisations in Ukraine and Venezuela and definitely in Honduras, Brazil and the Philippines.
    I haven’t seen you bemoaning that, NeilM.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 2, 2016 @ 8:36 am

  48. “But no one is telling that story.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-why-hillary-clinton-will-probably-win/

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 2, 2016 @ 9:24 am


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