E.J. Dionne Jr.’s 2500-commented column on what he terms the Armageddon Caucus of Congress and conservative punditry has collected the same arguments about Obamacare and its discontents we’ve been seeing for years. But the argument in the comments expanded today to the nature of the Internet as a metaphor for Congress’s decline, a proposed new word and an introduction to an old phrase PostScript and other readers had never encountered before. It got, some commenters argued, very postmodern.
Dionne marveled that such a large contingent of America’s federal government can be rhetorically so against America’s federal government.
GaryEMasters argues that voters don’t often care whether a politician’s strategies make internal sense:
EJ. This is postmodern or perhaps post literate. Nobody thinks any more. At least not some of the voters. All they need to get votes is have slogans. The more the better. The “know nothing” voters select. And we lose. At least some see it that way. So they march to a fall showdown.
BBWeekly thinks that might be the problem. If extreme minority viewpoints can be shouted just as loudly as general consensus, how can we get an accurate picture of general consensus?
The fundamental flaw with a postmodern outlook is that it tends to add a lot of voices, so many that a cacophony is created. If you hear everyone at the same time, you can actually listen to nobody. Straight up, majority opinions get lost in the shuffle. And while “otherness” might be temporarily fun, ultimately it’s the here and now, and majority opinion, that really matters.
Trouttastic isn’t sympathetic:
Well, that is the model the Internet cultivates, so get used to it.
Geezer4 makes a very mean and hurtful pun:
A new name for a group, like a pod of whales. We can have a cacaphony of Congressmen, or perhaps journalists.
elsnera investigates an unfamiliar word Dionne used — “Big Magilla:”
What’s a “magilla?” I’ve heard about a Megillah meaning scroll as in Megillat Esther which is read at Purim. When a writer doesn’t take the trouble to check spelling and meaning and editors fail to catch and correct, the whole megillah loses credibility.
pjjacobs comes to Dionne’s and our editors’ defense:
It can be spelled both ways.
And xwordplayer offers a differing analysis.
I thought it was from the “Magilla the Gorilla” cartoon in the 60’s.
Interestingly, the cartoon explanation was the first suggestion Google had, but it turned out (according to pjjacobs’ linked article, written by Michael Quinion) to be untrue. Which backs up the previous commenter’s theory re: postmodernism — that it becomes hard to analyze the validity of a statement purely by counting the number of voices of agreement. Two commenters posited theories on Magilla, and Google declared one the winner based on number of hits. If no extra validity is given to the Worldwide Words site, the gorilla hypothesis seems more valid. But if there is power of authority, such as Post copy editors and word Web sites, that should trump raw number of arguments. PostScript doesn’t have a name for this theory yet, but unless Geezer4 has a better suggestion, she might consider PostScriptModernism.