Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Your silence is deafening, Mr. Hannity...

Hannity demonstrates a usage of the term "troll" I had previously been unaware of. (Credit to asgardshill on this digg thread)

Think Progress » Eight days of silence since Hannity volunteered to be waterboarded: Is he chickening out? (|mi.rror)

Over a week ago — on Thurs., April 22 — Fox News’ torture enthusiast Sean Hannity agreed to be waterboarded for charity to prove that it is not torture. Though he dismissed waterboarding as simply taking someone’s head and “dunk[ing] it in water,” he has remained notably silent on his promise ever since, perhaps regretting that he volunteered to subject himself to the intensely terrifying suffocation experience. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann offered last week to donate $1,000 to military families for every second Hannity is waterboarded. In the face of Hannity’s silence, Olbermann repeated the offer this week:

OLBERMANN: Sean, my offer still stands, 1,000 dollars a second. This is not a stunt nor game. Prove to those families you are a man of your word. In fact, prove you are a man.

Hannity, we await your reply.

As they say at Gitmo - "Don't hold your breath, Keith." While I myself encouraged Mr. Hannity to live up to his own bluster, I can't say I ever expected it, and I doubt Kieth Olbermann did, either. Frankly, getting Hannity to wimp out, to fail to live up to his own "Machismo by Proxy" was the entire point of the exercise.

Hannity has acted exactly as bullies and cowards always do - run like hell when met with a serious, dedicated, determined opposing force. He also proves that his convictions only apply when they are applied to other people - which of course puts him squarely within the fold of modern US social conservatism.

You might find a visit to amusing - though probably charities would find direct contributions less potentially ephemeral.

Of course one absolutely should consider the source and the outcome as definitive of the character, motivation and intents of the speaker. As an individual, Hannity is odious but insignificant. The real problem is the fact that he's permitted a public platform, is paid well, and is clearly influential among a section of the American people that are quite unashamed of demonstrating a very strong, attachment with the idea of torture - often going so far as to suggest that "squeamishness" about torturing one's enemies is "unmanly." My. What a very convenient cultural meme to foster - if you are Dick Cheney - good friend and political ally of Rupert Murdoch.

On digg, ami6htywind shares this nugget of wisdom.
"Why Do American Christians Approve Of Torture?"
Maybe it is because us Christians do not feel the need to offer our throats to these outworld savages, unlike moronic liberals.
I'd comment further - but really, if you can't get from the point established so viscerally above to where you need to be in order to be a functional, rational individual that deserves the maximum of liberty within the context of a functional, rational culture, I'm not sure there is a point.

But just let me state for the record that if you say things like that to a psycologist or psychiatrist, and they had the slightest suspicion that you had the occasion, inclination and desire to act on such beliefs, you might experience a 72 hour interruption in your ordinary life. It's an insane perspective - and when a blatantly insane perspective becomes shared by a very large number of people, little good can arise from pretending that it's merely a difference of opinion or disagreements between persons of concience. Not when conscientious and principled objections are rejected as unmanly, gutless and "liberal."

There are many illustrations available for what happens when the crazy people are permitted to run the asylum. Large swaths of the Middle East - and not omitting the state of Israel - are examples of various examples of toxic mindsets coming into conflict. Or you could have a look at North Korea. Gee, what a lovely place it is, to live under the loving protection of The Dear Leader.

Let us not forget the piles of skulls that are the memorial to the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Let us not forget where a tolerance of such views can lead us. There is a line, it's been crossed, and the uncrossing of it will entail some degree of painful social rearrangement.

I see nothing inappropriate in stating that the greatest pain should be borne by those who most cheerfully chose to incur such great moral debt on your behalf. Sadly, things rarely seem to work out that way in practice, but my observation is that the greater the physical and social distance between you and those deserving of consequence, the less collateral consequence will fall your way.

The first step is simple. Change the channel, or just turn off the TV entirely. You can safely assume that anyone trying to gain a benefit of the doubt in favor of torture or an "aggressive foreign policy" has no intentions that benefit your interests - or the long-term interests of your family and children.

If you have the common sense required to enjoy a situation comedy - well, the phrase "Nothing good can come of this" should resonate with you. And you see, there's no ability to watch with detached amusement. Audience participation is integral to this particular comedy of errors and may yet influence the ultimate outcome of the play.

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