Midterm Meshuggana

If you’re not a Jew or from New York, then I need to explain “meshuggana.” It means crazy and refers to someone who is off the wall, unhinged, not playing with a full deck, having a screw loose, not having all their marbles, being short of a full load, or–sincere apologies to Mel Blanc–Looney Tunes. The word is often accompanied by a circular finger gesture beside the temple. Think of certain family members or, unfortunately, redheads. I say unfortunately, because I love red hair. According to my mother, meshuggana also refers to the kind of people I am interested in romantically, but that’s best left for another post.

It should not come as a surprise when I say that the midterm elections have turned meshuggana. I am happy to see them end this Tuesday. Actually, I take that back. Not my happiness but the likelihood that they will end on Tuesday. Many Armani and Prada-clad experts on network and cable news tell us that the elections will be so close the results may not come for days, even weeks. That gives them more time to scream at each other, lob insults like mud pies, and make such outrageous claims that they look like jackasses.

If you’ve never seen a jackass foaming at the mouth in moral outrage, flip through some channels. Better yet, go on YouTube or Twitter. Just make sure you’ve got hours to spend. It’s a Minotaur’s labyrinth in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if some ambitious underlying at Netflix hasn’t already mined both for the next “original series.”

It has become cliche to complain about news not being news but editorial. I blame socialists and journalism schools. Socialists, because in their quest to undermine the patriarchy, they ended up rejecting what used to pass for logic, reason, and facts. Journalism schools, because telling the story replaced reporting. Instead of opening with who, what, where, and when, the focus became what the subject was wearing, the weather, or the mood of the interviewer. Thank you, but I’m not interested in any of that.

If, as Victor Davis Hanson has said, we are living in the Age of the Kardashians, then journalism has entered the Era of Cosmopolitan (e.g., Justin Bieber just got a tattoo). To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, where have you gone, Walter Cronkite?

This is not to say that real journalism doesn’t exist. Obviously, it does but it is a dangerous profession. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 324 journalists have been murdered in the past decade, Jamal Khashoggi being just the latest and, perhaps, most famous. Last year, investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, who worked on the global Panama Papers scandal, was killed by a car bomb in Malta.

I don’t expect Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow to put their lives at risk. I just wish they could be more objective, less ideological, and shut up every now and then. But maybe that’s too much to ask. I guess I should be grateful. At least they do not stoop to the level of late night television, which is what you’d get if you put television cameras into a junior high school boys’ locker room, minus the wit.

The problem is that the vitriol and ideological sludge seep into the consciousness of the public, which is whipped into a frenzy. Of course, it isn’t just media people with perfect teeth doing the whipping. There are plenty of irresponsible dolts in Congress and former government officials doing it, too. You know who they are. If you have any doubt, just go back to Twitter, which seems to be a wasteland of junk thinking. It’s as if they couldn’t care less, and maybe they don’t.

As Nancy Pelosi warned, if there are some people who end up being “collateral damage…well, so be it.” That’s the price we must pay for her Utopian society. In the meantime, from Kavanaugh to caravans and Korea to Corey (Sen. Spartacus), we have been carpet bombed with propaganda. Tell me that’s not meshuggana.

Haven’t had enough? Go to Robert Brancatelli. Feature image by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash; midterms photo by Mirah Curzer on Unsplash; “Error 155” photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash. The Brancatelli Blog is a member of The Free Media Alliance. My prediction: Republicans hold both chambers, gain in Senate.


  1. Thank you, Robert. I find the reality that you describe so well, dispiriting and grievous beyond measure. The only antidote to this brew of shooting and public spirit killing occurs when I see actions of compassion and kindness. I am so thankful to see an abundance of persons engaged in these actions. Noticing the goodness and mercy following, reminds me to spend my day wisely. Again, my gratitude, Robert, for your writings. The weekend of the shooting in the synagogue, I looked for your writing, believing that you were the person I most wanted to read. I also understood that as I had no words that terrible Saturday, others would feel similarly. Blessings. Susan de la frontera.

    1. Thank you, Susan, for your thoughtful comments. I did not specifically address the synagogue shooting, but I hope the post was helpful to you to some degree. I am honored and humbled by what you had to say, which reminded me of my own responsibility as a blogger. Maybe if I never forget that, I will add in some small way to the solution rather than the problem.

  2. P.S. I have often entertained the idea to test the depth of the pond by casting a write in vote for the infamous Seymour Heinee. Boy wouldnt that be a political statement in the name of tradition.

  3. Lately Ive been looking forward to election day to cast my write in ballots for every office up for election short of dog catcher. It affords me expression of my sense of humour and also sends a staunch message to the candidates that I dont take their nonsense seriously. The results become public record and The Board of Elections are more than happy to ablige to send you a copy of the listed results. In previous elections I had to hold back a chuckle to see a local reputed gangster vote for Districy Attourney. Or Max Baer jr. ( Jethroe Bodine) cast as a tally for House of Representative. Usually my amusement results in 1 official yea for the candidate I wrote in, but I am open to the possibility there may be more. It is all in the name of meshuggana Rob, Shalom sir.

  4. Great piece…and I agree with your election predictions, alas. One small comment: The adjective is meshuga. And can you believe it, Spell Check is down with this!

    1. Thank you. I’m grateful to have someone agree with me. It doesn’t happen all the time…
      How about if I call it a participle, in which case it functions like a noun? It’s either that or ask you to be my Yiddish adviser…

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