July 15, 2004

Marshalling the Spin with Chin Music

"Gimme that blah, blah.
Gimme that jaw-jaw.
Gimme that old time funky chin music!"

HERE'S A POPULAR POSE among aging Boomers and X'ers that scribble for a living. I call it "The Pondering Pundit Pose." It is very popular and is growing more so.

The pose consists of moving the hand up to the face and resting it on the chin between the chin and the camera. The chin may then be gently cradled, as seen here, or rested firmly with the forefinger extended upwards somewhat perpendicular to the jaw line.

There's no smiling once the hand reaches this positions. Instead for one must project "the perpetual pondulation of the pundit." A thoughtful gaze downward as if contemplating the precision bombing of the text with les chic bon mots d' heir soir.

Perhaps, if the shot is full-face, a somber, world-weary gaze will be offered the viewer proclaiming, "I am not a ninny, I am an Original Mind!"

A good touch, if you can manage it, is to also display a certain insouciance to the basics of chin grooming. Chief among these techniques is to shave for several days with the sideburn trimmer on your electric razor. This gives you that perpetual five o'clock shadow signals an ocean of raging testosterone seething beneath that fervid mind. We have an especially good example of this above: Josh Marshall, PunditStud.

Once you're alert for it, you see this hand on the chin pose more and more these days; especially among writers -- Tina ("I'm writing as bad as I can") Brown will do as a place holder for the female Marshalls. But why?

As a former fashion editor I once had to oversee various photo shoots of various kinds. As a former book editor, I had to either commission or review dozens of "author's photos." I love authors, but , as Internet geeks are not known for the size of their wardrobes, so authors are not generally known for 'making the pretty picture.' This is especially true as authors age, which is why an author's first book jacket photo often appears on their next books for decades. Exhibits A, B, and C: Erica Jong.

When the author's "official" photo is replaced, eight times out of ten, you see that hand used as a chin rest. Once you look for it you see it all over. I've used it myself to little avail. Here's the scoop.

After a certain age, your face falls. No shame in that. It is merely the triumph of gravity over a sedentary lifestyle. But if you are a vain person, and who isn't, you might not want your fallen face to be associated with the young vital

image you seek to imprint on a credulous public. Celebrities and those with lots of extra cash get this taken care of at the plastic surgeons', but struggling scribblers like Marshall have to be satisfied with the poor-man's chin-lift. So remember, when you see Marshall like this, he's not really pondering great political issues. He's thinking about where to stuff his second chin. Most lefty writers of a certain age have this cheap chin music playing -- except, of course, for Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times who, beneath that Homage a Trotsky beard, has no chin at all. Hence the phrase, 'chinless wonder.'

But I digress....

(We return you now to the item I intended to write before becoming annoyed by chins)

JOSH MARSHALL CONTINUES in his online imitation of the Hacked Up Black Knight in Monty Python's "Holy Grail" over at Talking Points. After days of frantic spin which has only been exceeded by the gyroscopes on our ballistic missile submarines, Marshall has only confirmed that his Talking Points would be more aptly titled " Squawking Points. "

Over the last few days, the deflation of the Joe Wilson bubble has taken Josh ("If only you knew what I know") Marshall with it. He has been hacked to ribbons from all sides. But he continues to play his silly word games trying to pull the whole Wilson kerfuffle out of the blast furnace of truth like some abandoned Terminator and set him up once more on indefatigable mission to deliver the Lie Nuke into the heart of the Oval Office. , but just as the Python Knight continues to ask for more even as his severed limbs gush goo from every orifice, so Marshalls arguments are bled dry by the sharp and inconvenient blades of inconvenient facts. The latest slash to the bone comes this morning in a lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal aptly titled The Yellowcake Con:The Wilson-Plame "scandal" was political pulp fiction. The article correctly notes that the importance of getting too and revealing the truth about the whole Wilson con is:

All of this matters because Mr. Wilson's disinformation became the vanguard of a year-long assault on Mr. Bush's credibility. The political goal was to portray the President as a "liar," regardless of the facts. Now that we know those facts, Americans can decide who the real liars are.

But does this matter to Marshall? Not at all. Instead, he cranks out more chin-music in the key of:

Stand by your con
Give him some raison d'etre
And some more lies to lean on
When the facts are cold and lonely

Stand by your con
Show the whole world you heart him
Keep sending screeds out to Salon
Stand... by... your... con!

But like the chin pose, we can always ask .... Why?

Why, alas, does not have to do with integrity but cash flow and future plans. Joe Conason made a career out of being the Booster for Bill no matter what Clinton did and is now gunning for a window seat on the Hillary Gravy Train. So that slot is filled. Marshall, however, is looking for the lifelong sinecure on the Kerry Mystery Train and nothing, but nothing, is going to keep him off it. He was on the lie early, he stays on the lie now, and he's not getting off.

As I noted last year in On Reading Hitchens, Marshall, and New Scientist

"Josh Marshall is too invested in his shtick and making too much money off of it to change his thinking. If only there were a word or an image that fit his style of subtle anti-Americanism.

But then, there is.

The very next link brought me this ground-breaking bit of news from the site of the of science:

New Scientist: Fish farting may not just be hot air

Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring's anus. No fish had been known to emit sound from its anus nor to be capable of producing such a high-pitched noise.

"It sounds just like a high-pitched raspberry," says Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Ah, Josh Marshall and his silly word games considered as "a high-pitched herrings' raspberry." There's a poetry in that as well as no little truth.

I'll go with it.

Up til now. Unlike Josh Marshall, I'm no longer sticking with that raspberry soundbyte -- too one note pony. Instead, I'm upgrading Marshall to a full-on one-man-band for his Top-40 theme song "Funky Chin Music for Dems."

Posted by Vanderleun at July 15, 2004 12:16 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

You sir, are a genius. I have been bothered by that mug shot of Marshall since the day I saw it. And after seeing it, I would catch myself in the same begrieved by the world and its idiots pose. Then I started reading Lileks. Now I sit up straight, my back doesn't hurt anymore, and I shave everyday, as I no longer need to masturbate my chin.

Posted by: sligobob at July 15, 2004 10:17 AM