“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Epidemiology of a cliche

Hendrick Herzberg at the New Yorker had the cleverest idea. Why not apply the  Kubler Ross stages of grief to the Romney defeat? I don’t know why nobody else has ever thought of this. 

“… the House. The Republicans will have seven or eight fewer seats in that body, but hold it they did, and this fact is what those among them who are stuck at Stage 1 of Mme. Kübler-Ross’s five-stage topography of grief (“Denial”), and even a few who are tentatively assaying Stage 3 (“Bargaining”), are clinging to. (Talk radio is permanently tuned to Stage 2, “Anger,” and Stage 4, “Depression,” hangs heavy.) In the view of these Republicans, the election was a tie; and on the legitimacy of their most cherished goal—keeping rich folks’ taxes at their current historic lows…”

Meanwhile, Will Oremus at Slate had the cleverest idea ever to brighten that mag: why not apply the Kubler Ross stages of grief to the Fox News perception of the Romney defeat? I can’t believe nobody ever thought of this!

In Fox News' election coverage Tuesday night, there was little pretense of fairness or balance. What there was, from the start, was a glum tone that turned downright funereal by the time Mitt Romney finally conceded, near 1 a.m. To watch the network's anchors and guests work through the dawning realization that their candidate was doomed was to witness a textbook case of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief.

Meanwhile, in the Guardian,Richard Adams and Tim McCarthy had the brilliant idea of comparing the conservative reaction to the Election to – Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief! I don’t know where these pundits get their ideas, but isn’t that just brilliant and unexpected? 

“On the Kübler-Ross model, Red State's Erick Erickson is still at stage one:
The odds were never with us historically. It has nothing to do with an embrace of one world view or rejection of another. It is just damn hard to beat an incumbent President who is raking in millions and laying a ground work for re-election while your side is fighting it out in a primary.That's like wandering around saying "I'm fine, honestly."
Meanwhile the RedState site itself seems to at stage two”
The NYT’ is unfortunately behind the curve this cycle in brilliantly and unexpectedly pairing  Kubler Ross and the election. Perhaps this is because Frank Rich, in 2008, was already using Kubler Ross to talk about the Republicans. Or perhaps it is because in the analysis of the 2010 defeat by the Democrats, political reporter Henry Alford compared the Democratic reaction to… Kubler Ross!
Then of course there is Jordan Bloom at the American Conservative, who analysed the GOP reaction  to their loss in terms of … Kubler-Ross! The Daily Kos thread which analyzed the GOP loss in terms of… Kubler-Ross! And the columnist for the Albany Union-Leader who analyzes the GOP loss in terms of… Kubler Ross!
This collection almost makes me think – almost! – that we have about done to death the comparison with Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief and elections. And having done it to death, are we going to grieve?
Perhaps. My grief will take the form of wondering if there is anything – burning the eggs, missing your bus – that can’t be subsumed into the Kubler-Ross grieving process. And whether that process with its supposed order cherrypicks reactions to create a pseudo-universal.
But I wouldn’t want to knock the sheer genius of the political analysis we have had during this election cycle. That would be anger and denial, and I won’t do that!

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