Wu You Gonna Call?

By Frank Wu: I knew Brianna was a fighter the weekend we met. It was 2007, at MileHiCon. Even though we had hit it off and even though the con was totally fun (partly because I was AGOH), she totally abandoned me on Saturday afternoon. Why? Because she had a date… to go protest George W. Bush and his pointless, destructive wars.

Years before that (back in 2004), Brianna had a throw-down with her ultra-conservative dad in Mississippi. The conversation went something like this:

Dad: “Why is there a John Kerry bumper sticker on your car? George W. Bush is the best president we’ve ever had.”

Brianna: “No, he’s the worst. And you know how I know that? Because I don’t watch FOX NEWS and let it tell me everything’s OK.”

I’ve seen her stand up to bullies, to Gamergate. To sexists and racists. To liars. To people who’ve sent her rape threats. People who’ve sent her death threats.

Why?

Because she cares. And she’s not willing to back down from a fight.

People ask me when Brianna decided to run for Congress. I tell them: The day Donald Trump was “elected”.

I really look forward to my chance to introduce her on stage at a rally. This is what I am going to say:

“Who here is a billionaire? Anyone? Anyone? Well, do you know that billionaires now run all three branches of the government? Pick any random three people on Donald Trump’s cabinet and they have more money than all the people of Massachusetts combined. Do you think that billionaires have your best interests in mind? Or do you think they’re going to lower their taxes, so they can raise taxes on you… you… and you? Who’s going to stand up to them when they do that? Brianna Wu, that’s who!

“Or when they try to take away the rights of people who don’t look like them? Who don’t go to the right church? Or have the right skin color? Or the right chromosomes? Or people whose only crime is loving whom they want to love? Who’s going to say, ‘Not on my watch!”? Brianna Wu, that’s who!

“And when Donald Trump picks the former head of Exxon to be in his cabinet… do you think this guy cares if our drinking water is fit to drink, or our breathing air is fit to breathe? And do you think this guy gives a flying flip about climate change? Do you? Well, what’s going to happen when sea levels rise and Dorchester Bay is flowing into your basement and Rock Island and Fort Andrews are washed away and Cohasset is underwater? What is the former head of Exxon going to care? No, he’ll just float away on his yacht. And then Wu gonna call? Brianna Wu, that’s who!”

I can’t wait to take these people on.

18 thoughts on “Wu You Gonna Call?

  1. Brianna: “No, he’s the worst. And you know how I know that? Because I don’t watch FOX NEWS and let it tell me everything’s OK.”

    Soooooooo……instead she let’s the NYT and WaPo tell her everything is rotten????

  2. I will support the people who will stand up to the bullies of Wall Street, and the theocratic oligarchy that is trying to do its best to run this country. Go Brianna!

  3. @Dann –

    I accuse you of false equivalency. Fox News doesn’t believe in objectivity, while the NYT and the Washington Post try to aim for objectivity in their news coverage. It just happens that Reality has a liberal bias. Ask the Bush II Administration.

  4. @Rob

    It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

    Or perhaps ideological echo chambers may exist inside every ideology?

    http://deadline.com/2016/11/shocked-by-trump-new-york-times-finds-time-for-soul-searching-1201852490/

  5. @ Dann

    You forgot the next line:

    Reality usually had a way of intervening.

    Meanwhile the Bush II Administration had a different attitude towards reality. As Karl Rove, who was on Fox for a while, put it:

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

  6. Wu’s candidacy will be serious when:
    1] She files to run.
    2] She gets enough money to make a credible run.
    3] She has enough supporters in the district to have a viable campaign organization in the primary.

    Until 1-3 occur this is not news. It takes a lot of passionate supporters within a district to encourage enough turnout in a primary to defeat an incumbent who has not made enough mistakes to make their constituents angry with them.

    So far this seems like a pipe dream or a publicity stunt.

  7. Mr. Purcell:
    How do you define “theocratic oligarchy” for the USA?

    I could understand it if you were describing say Iran or Venezuela but not for the USA.

  8. “Soooooooo……instead she let’s the NYT and WaPo tell her everything is rotten????”

    NYT and WaPo at least insists on mixing in some facts in their reporting. FOX is more like The Onion. But my guess is that the Wu is not limited to two newspapers for her worldview.

  9. To be honest though, all US Tv-stations are catastrophic on reporting news. MSNBC, CNN, FOX… That FOX is the worst (because it makes up its stuff from scratch) does not make the others better. C-SPAN is the only one remotely watchable as something different from a parody.

    If you get your worldview from a US channel, you’re lost. Go for the newspapers instead.

  10. @Hampus

    To be honest though, all US Tv-stations are catastrophic on reporting news. MSNBC, CNN, FOX… That FOX is the worst (because it makes up its stuff from scratch) does not make the others better. C-SPAN is the only one remotely watchable as something different from a parody.

    If you get your worldview from a US channel, you’re lost. Go for the newspapers instead.

    Yes, this. US news reporting is woefully awful. The first time I saw Fox News, I thought it was a parody of CNN and laughed my arse off. Then I realised it was supposed to be serious.

    @airboy
    “Theocratic oligarchy” fits Iran and a few other countries, but while Venezuela may be an oligarchy, theocratic it’s not.

  11. waaa waaa waaa.

    I’m 100% behind potential Congresswoman Wu’s campaign. She’ll be one state over – so I can maybe help to some degree (I’m good on strategy, hint – helped my HS class president win his bid during an election rigged by the other side, so solid credentials on that score). I know BRianna and Frank -great people.

    But what’s most important is, Brianna is a fan and understands the world from perspectives that include a fannish one. She’d be a congresswoman that I know how to talk to. Someone who understands where I’m coming from.

    Poo Poo to all the nascent haters. At least she’s TRYING to do something.

  12. At least she’s TRYING to do something.

    I’d be more impressed if she was trying to do something more practical.

    Things don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s nice that she wants to stand up for the people of her district, but if she’s running for the 8th district, as reported, then to do that she’s got to defeat the guy who’s already been standing up for the people of his district, and doing a reasonably good job of it.

    So the question isn’t “Is Brianna Wu better than nothing because she’s determined and passionate?” it’s “Is Brianna Wu a better choice than Stephen Lynch, who’s got 15 years experience as a Congressman (and another six years before that in state government), and has risen to positions of power (including being ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on National Security and co-chair of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus) that Wu, as a freshman Congressman, would not have?”

    So the benefit of having her do it seems less valuable when you look at it in context, rather than painting it as if it’s a choice between Wu Goes to Washington and nothing. Because if the choice is between Lynch and Wu, the question for me would be whether she’d (a) do a better job and (b) have a realistic chance at winning.

    On the matter of whether she’d do a better job, she says she’d focus on economic issues, which is what he’s focused on, so it’d mean replacing him with someone aiming the same direction but with less experience and clout. There are issues where I’d expect I’d like her positions better than his, but not so many that I think it’s worth throwing away all that seniority.

    On the matter of whether she has a realistic chance at winning, I think that a hometown incumbent with a good track record is far more likely to win the primary than a no-experience game developer with an international band of assholes smearing her at every turn, no matter how passionate and principled she is or how much I dislike the assholes. Moreso, I think that if she managed to win the primary, it would create an opening that might allow a Republican to win the seat by putting a weaker Dem in contention for it, which is a higher level of risk than I’d want to see.

    So (a) I don’t think she’s likely to win the primary, (b) I think she’d be likely to make the seat more vulnerable if she did and (c) I think she’d be running to replace someone who’s been doing a decent job already and who’s liked by the voters. That doesn’t seem like a good bet to me, regardless of whether she’s passionate and principled.

    She could run for state Senate or the state House of Reps, as has been noted, and seek to unseat a Republican. That might not work either, but at least she’d be trying to improve the situation, instead of trying to win a seat that would result in Democrats having less power than they do now.

    I don’t think that’s being a nascent hater, I think that’s being pragmatic. But then, I haven’t lived in Massachusetts for 34 years, so I won’t be voting for or against her.

    Still, the value of “TRYING to do something” lies not merely in the TRYING, but in the something, as well. Trying to replace an experienced, popular Congressman who’s already focused on economic issues with a freshman who’ll aim at much the same goals with far less clout doesn’t seem to me to be that valuable a something.

    So for me and my non-vote, I’d prefer she was trying something else. Heck, if she was out here running against my Congresswoman, I’d support her. I don’t think she’d win, but at least she’d be trying to take down someone who I’d like to see defeated.

  13. @Rob

    Reality usually had a way of intervening.

    Well yes, of course. There isn’t a monolithic media out there taking orders from a few selected people. There are many reporters that do focus on where the facts lead instead of form fitting the facts to the narrative.

    Nonetheless, there are folks in the media that forget to put the facts first. They are successful far too frequently, IMHO.

    FTR, I do try to sample many different sources. NPR’s news programming generally is the least biased; political coverage and opinion programming aside.

    I don’t recommend a news diet of FoxNews to anyone. That doesn’t mean that Fox (or the WSJ, or any of the few other non-left leaning outlets) aren’t worth the effort to include them in the mix.

    Regards,
    Dann

  14. “I don’t recommend a news diet of FoxNews to anyone. That doesn’t mean that Fox (or the WSJ, or any of the few other non-left leaning outlets) aren’t worth the effort to include them in the mix.”

    It is absolutely worth the effort to NOT include Fox in any mix. It is a channel that makes you more and more stupid the more you watch it. Or – perhaps – watch it for the same reason as you would watch Alex Jones or Ancient Aliens. To laugh and be horrified that people actually takes the stuff seriously.

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  16. “Well, do you know that billionaires now run all three branches of the government?”

    No Supreme Court Justice has a net worth of over $20 million. And there are some very wealthy people in Congress, but none whose net worth cracks $500 million. Donald Trump and his cabinet do not run all three branches of the government, even if he’s a member of the dominant party.

    Many of the wealthiest in both branches are also Democrats; in fact, the average in the Senate has been over 2x higher for Democrats than Republicans over many years: https://ballotpedia.org/Net_worth_of_United_States_Senators_and_Representatives

    Of particular interest is Rep Stephyn Lynch, Brianna Wu’s 8th district MA incumbent competitor. His net worth (http://patch.com/massachusetts/salem/massachusetts-royalty-states-richest-congressional-member-0) is a mere $410k, a rather modest figure for a 61 year old congressman. Also a figure similar to the amount Brianna Wu says was spent developing Revolution 60. If her campaign is going to focus on plutocracy in federal government are you sure she picked the right target?

    Somehow I think that the Wu household income is not exactly sitting within the median tax bracket and it certainly won’t be if Brianna Wu secures a career as a representative from MA (or even higher office). I’d like to think that government officials can make determinations on taxes regardless of whether or not it’ll personally benefit them. Can Brianna Wu? Or should we vote for people who are destitute and promise to donate most of their congressional income to charity?

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