Quotes of the Day

August 16, 2013   
Posted by Jay Livingston

Just a couple of quotes – way too long for Twitter

1.  TV political talk is to politics as reality TV is to reality.  Off-camera producers are always trying to goose up the action. Robert Reich tells this story:
 Not long ago I debated a Republican economic advisor on a cable TV program. During the brief station-break, the show’s producer told me to “be angrier.” I told her I didn’t want to be angrier. “You have to,” she said. “Viewers are surfing through hundreds of channels and will stop for a gladiator contest.”
Back in the 60s, Paul Krassner* made the same point reporting about his appearance on the Joe Pyne show.  Pyne was a nasty right-winger, an ex-Marine who had lost his lower left leg to cancer.
Pyne: So I guess your long hair makes you a woman.
Krassner: So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table.
The audience loved it. Said Krassner, “It doesn’t matter who wins – the lions or the Christians – as long as there’s action.”

2. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Crystal Meth. Dylan Matthews at WaPo’s Wonkblog looks into the accuracy of Breaking Bad’s picture of meth and finds that because of low wages, meth can be an “economic necessity” for working people trying to get ahead or just get by.
Guides to identifying and treating meth addiction, like Herbert Covey’s “The Methamphetamine Crisis,” tell readers to look out for “workaholics or low-income adults who use it to stay awake and perform in multiple jobs. Working, low-income individuals find meth attractive because they must work several jobs or long hours to support themselves or their families. They find that higher energy and alertness (ability to stay awake for prolonged periods) helps them cope with the demands of multiple jobs.”   
That’s also true for working-class women, whose second (or third) job is home and family.  Matthews quotes researcher Ralph Weisheit:
Women who have to have a job and then do traditional homemaking, they’re just exhausted and meth is a pick-me-up, a powerful one.

* Krassner was an Abbie Hoffman-style lefty – smart, funny, and willing to be outrageous. He was editor and chief writer of The Realist, a satirical magazine, and creator of the red-white-and-blue “Fuck Communism” poster.


Richard Brenneman said...

It wasn't Paul Krassner. Frank Zappa came up with the comeback

Jay Livingston said...

The Wikipedia entry on Pyne says, "While it sounds plausible, no one who was around at that time recalls it happening, nor is there any evidence that Frank Zappa was ever on the Joe Pyne Show." Wikipedia also has the quote as "makes you a woman," which sounds right to me, whoever it was who said it.
My own memory is of reading it in The Realist -- Krassner writing about himself -- but my memory is hardly perfect.