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Ed Driscoll

Chris Matthews’ Pauline Kael Moment

July 3rd, 2013 - 4:15 pm

“All my family, my liberal sons, my liberal wife. Everybody thinks the guy, Zimmerman’s the bad guy,” Matthews blurts out on NBC/Comcast-owned MSNBC, Noel Sheppard writes today at Newsbusters:

For the second night in a row, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews made a stunning admission.

After telling his Hardball audience Tuesday that Democrats “believe in illegal immigration,” Matthews said Wednesday, “I’m surrounded by people who think he’s guilty, Zimmerman. All my family, my liberal sons, my liberal wife. Everybody thinks the guy, Zimmerman’s the bad guy” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Suppose everybody – and by the way, I’m surrounded by people who think he’s guilty, Zimmerman. All my family, my liberal sons, my liberal wife. Everybody thinks the guy, Zimmerman’s the bad guy. So I live in that world. I have some other people that have different views too.

Chris isn’t sure who they are, but he can feel them out there in the audience somewhere. Or as liberal film critic Pauline Kael said in December of 1972:

“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

Kael’s quote is often bastardized along the lines of, “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” But as John Podhoretz noted in 2011, the actual quote is in many ways more damning:

Obviously, the paraphrase is far juicier than the original, but actually, if you think about it, the version quoted by Brody is even worse, as it indicates that Kael was actually acknowledging her provincialism (“I live in a rather special world”) and from its perch expressing her distaste for the unwashed masses with whom she sometimes had to share a movie theater. What this indicates is that, even then, liberal provincialism was as proud of its provincialism as any Babbitt.

Of course, give Kael some credit — she knew bad editing when saw it, which is why she famously panned Michael Moore’s maiden agitpropumentary Roger and Me in 1989, because Moore played fast and loose with the timeline of actual events. I wonder what Pauline Kael would have thought about the hacks in NBC’s editing bay these days?

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