Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bullshit Baffles Brains? Maybe not forever.

The bullshit is so deep out there that hip waders aren't enough. You need a dry suit and a self-contained air supply. Let's show what toxic waste is doing to people...

It's not often that you see Bill Moyers get upset. Heck, it's not often that you see Bill make an unconditional statement. Bill is just sick to death of the bullshit.

Canadians are getting fed up with their health care system being demonized. The bullshit fear-mongering annoys us. It makes us cranky enough to make definitive statements. This is how a Canadian says "You are so full of shit."

It's done politely - and it burns all the worse for that. But, sweet John A. McDonald, how attached to your ignorance must you be to believe so many stupid things simultaneously, oh Right Wing Umurikins?

And lest you state that it's none of our business - you morons are flushing the hemispheric economy down the toilet. Health Care Reform is critical to rebuilding a robust middle class with a flourishing diversity of small businesses, which, by the by, is one of the reasons Canada is not actually circling the drain right now. It's not the result of "socialism" - not alone. It's at least as much due to some hard nosed Conservatism, of the "grounded in fiscal reality" variety of conservatism and not of the "there's a homo nigger commie with a tube of flouride toothpaste under my bed" variety.

Hell, over at MSNBC, John Harwood just doesn't care any more. As far as he's concerned, there's just no word for stupid better than "stupid."

H/t The Joshuablog for all these videos. (Follow him on Twitter - he collects such nuggets quite reliably)

I really understand the impatience.

Is it too much to ask of you nutbars to come up with an INFORMED opinion?

Ron Paul has done so. William F. Buckley did. Pat Buchanan does. Whatever I or you may think of their opinions is immaterial - their positions are arguable, and each of them is well known and justly famed for being willing and able to assert them. Not one of them has to "cut the mike" of anyone in disagreement. They can mix it up. They can bring it.

They are based in reality, fact and reason; they don't resort to the argument from authority, they are - legitimate - authorities in their realms.

But your average wing-nut would be hard pressed to explain in their own words how and why Noam Chomsky and Ron Paul differ on, say, campaign finance reform, much less come to an informed decision as to which was the more persuasive argument.

And that makes said wing-nut's opinion bullshit. It's crap, and you should ignore it, for truly, they have pulled it out of their ass.

I treat that handful of bullshit in exactly the same way I would treat an offering of crap pulled out of a toddler's diaper, for the exact same reasons. It's unhealthy and the only sane response is to commit an act of sanitation upon them. I will certainly not celebrate it as an artistic expression. It's poo. And it doesn't belong on my walls.

When I see a public-policy debate - ANY public policy debate - and everyone on the one side is being fairly sensible, while everyone on the other side is flinging poo and flaming straw men, then the odds are very good that even if I can't follow the argument on it's merits, the sensible-sounding side is more likely correct than the one losing it's water into it's shoes.

Pick your social media outlet of choice, and you will see exactly that sort of consensus developing on a wide range of issues, from health care to drug policy to prison reform to foreign policy, all against the backdrop of shrill whining about how "unfair" it is to be "dug down" for calling Obama a "Socialistic Fascist."

You see, when you say that, you reveal a complete ignorance of socialism, fascism and Obama's on-record policy statements and legislative history. It's not that you are being dug down for criticizing Obama. You are being dugg down for being fucknuts. You are uttering nonsense with such total conviction that ignoring you is only sensible thing to do.

It's impossible to usefully argue with someone who believes that a provably false idea is just as good as a provably true idea if enough other stupid people agree. Wishful thinking - and that's the kindest way to put it - is no basis on which to run a country. Or deploy armies. Or make really important economic decisions.

It's really not that difficult to inform yourself, to develop an expertise about an issue that matters to you, and then develop an intelligent position from any reasonable political perspective. Therefore, an intolerance of stupidity and conspicuous impatience with aggressive, loutish behavior is - well, I'd commend it more were it not so long overdue.

For myself, here's a discussion over on digg that I think illustrates the point. It's about the "radical" proposition that we should just legalize all "illicit" drugs, and then regulate them, according to our models for alcohol and legal drugs.

Quickly skim and evaluate both sides. One side makes quite sound-seeming arguments that you can fact check - and the other side makes accusations, appeals to authority and moralistic predictions that, if they were actually true, would have come true with the repeal of Prohibition.

And, far more in line to the general thrust of what I write, these comments often reveal a chilling indifference to the impact of policy on individuals; they show a heartless, mean-spirited and cruel mindest. Truthout just ran a rather good piece on that very point.

A right-wing spin machine, influenced by haters like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter, endlessly spews out a toxic rhetoric in which: all Muslims are defined as jihadists; the homeless are not victims of misfortune but lazy; blacks are not terrorized by a racist criminal justice system, but the main architects of a culture of criminality; the epidemic of obesity has nothing to do with corporations, big agriculture and advertisers selling junk food, but rather the result of "big" government giving people food stamps; the public sphere is largely for white people, which is being threatened by immigrants and people of color, and so it goes. Glenn Beck, the alleged voice of the common man, appearing on the "Fox & Friends" morning show, calls President Obama a "racist" and then accuses him of "having a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." [2] Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh unapologetically states that James Early Ray, the confessed killer of Martin Luther King Jr., should be given a posthumous Medal of Honor, [3] while his counterpart in right-wing hate, talk radio host Michael Savage, states on his show, "You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That's what I see - how do you like that? - a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children." [4] He also claims that Obama is "surrounded by terrorists" and is "raping America." This is a variation of a crude theme established by Ann Coulter, who refers to Bill Clinton as a "very good rapist." [5] Even worse, Obama is a "neo-Marxist fascist dictator in the making," who plans to "force children into a paramilitary domestic army." [6] And this is just a small sampling of the kind of hate talk that permeates right-wing media. This could be dismissed as loony right-wing political theater if it were not for the low levels of civic literacy displayed by so many Americans who choose to believe and invest in this type of hate talk. [7] On the contrary, while it may be idiocy, it reveals a powerful set of political, economic and educational forces at work in miseducating the American public while at the same time extending the culture of cruelty. One central task of any viable form of politics is to analyze the culture of cruelty and its overt and covert dimensions of violence, often parading as entertainment.
Underlying the culture of cruelty that reached its apogee during the Bush administration, was the legalization of state violence, such that human suffering was now sanctioned by the law, which no longer served as a summons to justice. But if a legal culture emerged that made violence and human suffering socially acceptable, popular culture rendered such violence pleasurable by commodifying, aestheticizing and spectacularizing it. Rather than being unspoken and unseen, violence in American life had become both visible in its pervasiveness and normalized as a central feature of dominant and popular culture. Americans had grown accustomed to luxuriating in a warm bath of cinematic blood, as young people and adults alike were seduced with commercial and military video games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "America's Army," [8] the television series "24" and its ongoing Bacchanalian fĂȘte of torture, the crude violence on display in World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship, and an endless series of vigilante films such as "The Brave One" (2007) and "Death Sentence" (2007), in which the rule of law is suspended by the viscerally satisfying images of men and women seeking revenge as laudable killing machines - a nod to the permanent state of emergency and war in the United States. Symptomatically, there is the mindless glorification and aestheticization of brutal violence in the most celebrated Hollywood films, including many of Quentin Tarantino's films, especially the recent "Death Proof" (2007), "Kill Bill" 1 & 2 (2003, 2004), and "Inglorious Bastards" (2009). With the release of Tarantino's 2009 bloody war film, in fact, the press reported that Dianne Kruger, the co-star of "Inglorious Bastards," claimed that she "loved being tortured by Brad Pitt [though] she was frustrated she didn't get an opportunity to get frisky with her co-star, but admits being beaten by Pitt was a satisfying experience." [9] This is more than the aestheticization of violence, it is the normalization and glorification of torture itself.
Personally, while I applaud Truthout's treatment of the issue, I don't see this as a new phenomenon. I see it as simply becoming more and more obvious. It used to be that the sadism was cloaked a bit more, a rationalization or two presented for the viewpoint - but the Authoritarian brutality celebrated in Hawaii 5-0, Kojack or the Dirty Harry movies was aimed for the very same, visceral target; the idea that all of the "moral failures" of society could be resolved with the right amount of pain applied to the right target.

The difference is that these days, the need to justify the urge seems to have worn threadbare. Hurting people and reveling in the suffering of others has become normalized, and not without a lot of help from supposed Christians who really ought to know better. In this transcript of an interview with Max Blumanthol, author of the newly-released Republican Gomorrah, lays much of our current sociopolitical problems with torture, violence and outright depravity at the feet of James Dobson, of Focus on the Family.

Where did Dobson’s fortune come from? How did he erect this empire? It came mainly from one book, which I quote from extensively in my book, Republican Gomorrah­Dare to Discipline, which is essentially a manual for corporal punishment, for beating your child. In this book, he says pain is a marvelous purifier that a child should be­that pain goes a long way with a child, that pain should be dispensed sufficiently enough to make a child cry, but then the child will crumple to your breast, and you should welcome the child with warm, open arms. This is a recipe for sadomasochism. And sadomasochism, as I discovered in­ [lost chunk in rush transcript]

JUAN GONZALEZ: And he saw himself originally as the antithesis to Benjamin­Dr. Benjamin Spock.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Dr. Benjamin Spock, who tells you to basically pick your child up and cradle it. And, you know, I mean, I was­you know, for whatever it’s worth, I was raised along those guidelines. When your child’s crying, you pick up the child.

By creating a belt-wielding army of millions, Dobson created the next generation of Republican shock troops, who are more radical than before. And sadomasochism­I know this sounds a little strange­is what defines the essential character, you know, that­this is what­at least what I’ve discovered­of the Republican follower of today. They’re sadistic in that they want to lash out at deviants, at people who are weaker than them, homosexuals, immigrants, foreigners, socialists. At the same time, they’re masochistic. They are followers of a higher cause, of a strong leader, a magic helper like Dobson or George W. Bush or the macho Jesus archetype that they worship. And this is what defines this movement.

So many of the people that Dobson has been able to get close to and work with in the Republican Congress and in American culture have been viciously abused as children. And he understood that by advocating violence against children, deliberate violence, he was creating this sensibility, which would produce a radical generation of political followers.

Tom DeLay, for example, who Dobson converted from Hot Tub Tommy, a dallying, philandering, no-name legislator in Texas, you know, who lived in a house that was nicknamed “Macho Manor,” Dobson converted him into this hardcore­you know, into “The Hammer,” the man who whipped the Republican Congress into shape and turned it into one of the most radical congresses in history.

Ted Bundy, who I write about extensively in my book, Republican Gomorrah, who is the most notorious serial killer in American history, Dobson helped convert Ted Bundy on death row into a born-again Christian and then got the final interview before Ted Bundy was executed and sold tapes of this interview to raise a million dollars for his political empire and to generate national renown.

Unrestrained sadomasochistic lust does not translate into sane public policy. It doesn't create a workable society. Those who take delight in the suffering of others and who see punishment of the weak this as part of the definition of a powerful State are made incapable of making rational, ethical decisions either on their own behalf or as rational participants in a democratic society, if for no other reason than this - in order to create the pain to revel in, you must become indifferent to the absolute cascade of bad outcomes that will surely pile up to the point where society shatters. For there is no earthly reason to expect that people will generally put up with such crap.

They WILL resist, they will retaliate, and there can no reasonable expectation that they will be as stupid about going about resisting authority as Conservatives have been in justifying it's cruel excesses.

The right wing answer to this, of course, is to call for a theocratic state. There are words for that sort of thing... but frankly, "Stupid" is more succinct.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I left the USA 6 years ago to go to medical school in a more civilized country. You know, one that actually knew how to give proper healthcare. I haven't watched America media in 6 years and coming back now I can see that pretty much everyone has gone batshit nuts. Those who speak reason are silenced by the shouting of brainwashed fearmongerers.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular Posts

News Feeds

Me, Elsewhere