Friday, February 20, 2009

DOCUMENTARY ON HEEVAHAVA




Alexandra Pelosi's Right America: Feeling Wronged is now available for select view on HBO. Consider it a professional version of the home video, "Sidewalk to Nowhere," taken outside the Stabler Arena south of Bethlehem on the day of a McCain/Palin political rally back in October. (DD blog referenced the material here and here.)

In other words, it was a trip back to Pennsyltucky. Or, if you're not from southeastern Pennsy, some place -- anywhere but Austin -- in Texas, or Zanesville, Ohio, or ... well, you can place it.

Before the election, the US media couldn't get enough of the white heevahava. It led to an impression the election was going to be much closer than it actually was. So it comes as something of surprise to DD to read reviews aggravated over Pelosi's doc, coming from the same sources.

"[Pelosi] never - not once - gets beyond the Red State cliche," opines someone at Newsday. "I suppose all of us supposedly smug liberal East Coast media types are meant to find this parade of right-wing malcontents confirmation of our own biases. But it's not. It's just a parade. A numbing one at that."

At the Post, a political writer whined, "Dumb always has a market -- so long as something or somebody fries," continuing that Pelosi had merely concentrated on putting self-impeaching yahoos before the camera.

But it was OK to treat yahoos as serious people, in a "numbing" quantity of news stories just a few months ago.

At the time, I wrote:
DD doesn't put much stock in outbursts furnished for color in current news coverage of the race. While it looks ugly, stupid and desperate -- ugly, stupid and desperate people are a dime a dozen in the US. Many of them vote. And perhaps many of them, as your host has reckoned before, while liking a good symbolic hate party, will be found face down and mumbling in some bar on election day rather than in the voting booth.

It's way too easy for reporters to record the spew of cranks and send it worldwide.


So by media standards, Pelosi's 45-minute helping of heevahava is brief, tame fare. And a couple months after the election, it strengthened my opinion that although the idiots and fools are an aggressive bunch and plentiful, a good number of them were probably facedown in a bar mumbling imprecations on election day. Certainly the white NASCAR power drunks in "Right America" were. And if you're a TV critic at Newsday, maybe it does seem too merciless or gratuitous to show some guy who mutters that he's thought a bad person in America because he's a white man who enjoys titty bars and beer, and then starts crying.

Me? I thought it was dry and funny. But I was tortured for years for living among 'em, so I don't mind seeing wings pulled off these flies. Since it's only a doc on HBO, it's not like they're being humiliated in primetime.

And at three-quarters of an hour, Pelosi's doc isn't too long. She wraps it up just as it goes over the top, with warnings about Barack Obama being the anti-Christ and young Dem voters called Hitler Jugend. One reasonable-looking man seems not to believe he's uttered the tripe the camera's just recorded and which the documentarian has rather gracefully called him on.

But "Right America" is still a humiliation. And there's value in that process, one in which viewers are reminded the GOP is stubbornly the exclusive club for the bunch.

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