Friday, May 15, 2009
The blogosphere is all a-twitter of the confrontation between Ambush Journalist Ken Pittman and Janeane Garofalo.
I shall leave all of the commentary on this aside, to simply observe, trenchantly, that there is a certain basic intent behind ambushing someone.
The idea is to use the element of surprise to get the victim to blurt out something embarrassing and awkward for them.
Regardless of the journalistic ethics or the intent; the form has been variously practiced for good or ill and can elicit many things.
Unfortunately, sometimes it can elicit your own ass, handed you on tape.
At times like this, an actual journalist - or at least, a proper news director, would guffaw, observe with some degree of professional commiseration that "that didn't go well" and suggest that the tape might be improved by being demagnetized, lest someone with a different editorial slant use it to impeach one's journalistic credentials, integrity, judgment, discretion, intelligence, political affiliation and, in my particular case, make innocent-seeming speculations of possible ties to racist organizations.
Surely stupidity alone could not explain this tape being run by both Sustren and Hannity on two separate, high-profile programs. Clearly there must be an agenda. And it seems to be to defend people standing around with racist dinks holding racist signs as "patriots."
I understand Garofalo's confusion on that point, myself. As, well, would anyone with the wit to understand why mixed messages cannot be unmixed using a naked assertion and stirred with rightious indignation.
But that would be the intelligent perspective. This is Sean Hannity and Fox News.
Hannity alleges - and with such a straight face and contemptuous sneer that one cannot question the sincerity of his delusional state - that this exchange PROVES that Garofalo is a "dangerous radical." Then he runs the same footage with only minor editing that does nothing whatsoever to support that assertion.
If it's "radical" to think that a bunch of people standing around chatting with those holding blatantly racist signs may be reasonably presumed to also be racists, paint me a "radical."
I'd refer to it as "common sense," or possibly "situational awareness." But this observation that it's quite impossible to have anything sensible survive association with such visible idiocy is lost on Sean Hannity.
Nor is it in any way a political observation to say that it should hurt to be this stupid.
But that meant that all I got was television pop-culture. Well, I'm late to the gate with the Peroxide Christian Conservatism of Carrie Prejean, Also-Ran Queen for Miss Trump USA.
But it seems that while the story ain't fresh, it's a great BIG pile of cultural carrion, and the Usual Vultures are far from reaching the bone.
Palin defends Carrie Prejean Miss California USA
What I find remarkable is that Palin's apparent belief that those who react to public stupidities with derision are doing it for political reasons. Sometimes a really stupid remark is just a really stupid remark!
Carrie Prejean news of the day! Sarah Palin is defending Carrie Prejean.
“The liberal onslaught of malicious attacks against (Miss California) Carrie Prejean for expressing her opinion is despicable,” Palin said in a statement.
Gov. Palin said that her and Prejean spoke right after Miss California expressed her honest opinion regarding same-sex marriages during the Miss USA pageant.
At that point, the circus began thanks to gay-activist and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
“What I find so remarkable is that these politically-motivated attacks fail to show that what Carrie and I believe is also what the President and Ms. Clinton believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Palin added. “Our Constitution protects us all — not just those who agree with the far left.”
This week, Palin announced that she is woking on her memoir, saying that she wants to be “able to tell (her) story unrestrained and unfiltered.”
Perez Hilton explains why the bimbo lost and what she could have said that would not have insulted anyone's moral values, something he "meanspiritedly" observes, is appropriate for someone who wishes to be an icon for all Americans - including, of course, truly fabulous drag queens and Christian Reconstructionists alike.
Sometimes, when people say that your remarks are some form of bigoted incoherence, it's not because they are radical liberals out to foist Teh Gay upon all Ghod Fearin' Chromefishtians - it's because they are repulsed by your choice to tie YOUR politics with bigoted incoherence and a set of publically defended ethical positions that Jesus Himself would personally kick your ass for attaching to His name.
Sadly, she either does not understands this, or sees some personal advantage in choosing to not see it. But if she'd been smart enough to note the distinction, I suspect Carrie would be the current Miss USA, not Miss Also-Ran.
I think she needs a little help with her Inner Voice Recognition Software.
Bluntly, correlation does not equal causation. One does NOT have to be a flaming liberal who wishes to tax and spend and impose "moral clarification" classes in public schools just after the morning flag burning and right before The Rainbow Pledge to think that Carrie Prejean is the cartoon example of Cultural Conservative Values. She's a "Whited Sepulchre" made of remarkably cheap materials; a marketable commodity of short term value - a person who by choice has stepped into a glass house and who chose to throw stones of self-rightious judgment regarding the moral values of others from her vitreous front porch.
We are supposed to credit with the intelligence that should distinguish her from a common whore - even as she publicly demonstrates a lack of wit and an incapacity to lie convincingly that would get a stripper laughed off her pole. This leads me to presume that she lacks even the virtues associated with the World's Oldest Profession.
Let me speak even more sharply to the point. Carrie Prejean is simply a peroxide opportunist, but one without the wit to actually sieze the day. I don't actually blame her for positioning herself to fulfill her ambition to be a pneumatically-enhanced status symbol, and even in that role, she has no defect that could not be corrected with a ball-gag.
Once the fact came out that the pagent had paid for her "enhancements," I believe that anyone with two neurons to rub together and the insight to be a real liberal or the cyincal realism to be a real conservative realized what was going on.
To cite a possibly apocraphal exchange between Winston Churchill and a nameless woman of the sort Ms. Prejean aspires to become:
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
Which leads us into the starkly surreal landscape of Barbie from the Taiga defending this Vaseline-toothed centerfold tease as a legitimate and important voice for Conservative Values.
I agree, of course. She is the Perfect Republican Female, just as Joe the Plumber is the Perfect Republican Male. Together, they exemplify exactly what is wrong with that version of American Family Values.
Wake up, America! Wake up and smell the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
I think that she is, indeed, the perfect spokesmuffin; an absolutely accurate exemplar for what passes for the culture that Palin would like to conserve. A set of unconnected, mindless reflexes, a literal bimbo who can be trusted to say whatever needs to be said to please whoever needs to be pleased in order to be awarded the Tennis Bracelet of Social Correctness.
But, well, I have nothing against a girl rocking the assets she has to offset deficits of birth. I'm not so charitable as to suggest that setting a high price on flesh makes the flesh trade any less ethically questionable.
I of course absolutely defend her right to say any damn-fool thing she wishes to say in public. But - while the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights carve this precept in stone and inlay it with imperishable metal, that consideration extends equally to the response to such free speech.
She said a damn-fool thing in public. People reacted by saying she IS a damn fool.
I will simply sweep away all the clutter of all the various reflexive moralists and boil it right down to essentials, and then allow you readers to figure out why she, Palin and everyone stupid enough to defend her words as being not merely protected, but informative speech deserve an equal measure of eye-rolling derision.
A moral position cannot be ethical if it mandates harming those who merely disagree.
Compliance is not moral behavior. It's merely compliance - and that is the best possible outcome.
A valid moral position is one that is - by definition - ethical, and we know it to be a moral and ethical truth because practicing it is obviously and inherently beneficial; first to the individual and by extension to all of society.
It feels good to do good things and doing good things produces good results. It takes all manner of bad political theory and rotten theology to produce a system of brainwashing and propaganda that can obscure this truth, to appeal to the basest lusts and fears of the people while attaching those lusts and fears to false virtues.
When you choose to say hateful things and do harmful things to others - like, say, refusing to allow them to be with their loved ones in hospital, because you don't approve of their relationship choices, or tearing up prescriptions for emergency birth control in a fit of self-righteousness - you are choosing to do a harmful thing in the supposed service of good. This is not just true, it's intuitively, obviously true and neither legislation nor sermonizing can argue against such truth. To make the argument in the first place is to illustrate your own moral failure in public.
This sort of moral vision, this sort of willful confusion between good and evil deeds makes it easy to defend the use of torture against strange brown people from the pulpit.
Thank you, Ms. Prejean, Mrs. Palin, and of course, Mr. Cheney. May you reap the rich rewards awaiting you in the next life for your service to the spiritual principle you have chosen in this one.
Now, you may say that it's "Liberal Politics" that makes people object to such expressions of personal views. Me, I think it to be revulsion for a set of affirmative beliefs that people like Palin assert as being essential, core, conservative values, and the result of seeing such acts Republicanism committed in public.
You don't have to be a Liberal to see crap, smell crap and decide not to consume crap; you just have to trust your own senses. But if Palin wishes to associate Republicanism with being deluded enough to confuse crap and chocolate pudding, there are obvious political benefits to parties and movements that do not inspire such revulsion. That, however, is not a "Liberal Plot" or a smear campaign. No, when you are being "smeared" by your own words - that is your problem. Nor is it a political issue.
Or at least, forgive me for saying so, but there is a level of intelligent discorse and a certain basic understanding of reality, of causes, of effects and of human needs and nature that should be expected of anyone who has ambition toward public, political service. Niether Palin nor Prejean qualify - by the standards they have established by their own words.
Some of us may continue to feebly argue that Conservatism does not require one be stupid, that there ARE virtues and traditions that should be upheld - but unfortunately, none of those virtues and traditions are the ones the Palindromes insist upon, either in principle and practice. And, rather than give such creatures any comfort or support, I'd much rather be mistaken for a flaming liberal. It's far less insulting than anyone presuming I stand for what has come to be thought of as "conservative."
These "conservative values" have been applied upon us ruthlessly and relentlessly since the dawn of the Regan era, and with every decade that has passed, the cost in human and social terms has become clearer and clearer.
One hardly needs to assert that "Godless Liberalism" is better to observe that it's time to put an end to this chapter before the current Conservative Value Set has done it's worst. When the authoritarians have become so obviously bereft of the ability to recognize that what they are saying in public is morally and ethically repugnant as well as being offensive and stupid, many will say that we need different and better Authorities in charge.
"Public Service" should actually be just that; as opposed to being "Large and In Charge."
Authorities should be equipped to inform and advise while citizens should make informed decisions in the contexts in which they live - including within the field of elective, appointive and professional public service. I see a general trend away from blind acceptance and trust of such folks - including a healthy skepticism toward the omniscience and omnipotence of the Obama Administration.
Alas, I have little faith that after such long a time under such a head of steam, that the shoals ahead may be entirely avoided.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A Classic Canadian public service commercial that advises children that they can't believe everything they see on Television.
It could probably go with out saying that house-hippos are far less dangerous to have underfoot that Becks and Limbaughs - but things that go without saying don't really fit into my blogging reality.
Oh, and I don't just want one house hippo. I want three.
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