Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just Study It Out - an idea who's time has come!





It's a meme that captured my imagination, because it is the definitive explanation for what the hell is WRONG with people these days. It comes from this video clip, and I defy you to watch it without wincing, regardless of your political preferences or your preferences in culture or ethnic company. 



If this seems unwieldy or incoherent, please bear with me. I'm out of practice. 

I confess that I have wandered away from political blogging of late, because politics have been utterly, horrifyingly, soul-crushingly depressing. Indeed, unless I press send on this, the record for posts in 2012 will be completely blank. I even passed on the opportunity of mocking the stupid regarding The Mayan Apocolypse. It just seemed too easy.

You have to be a political junkie of sorts to truly appreciate the hilarity of Chris Matthews literally stumbling into a Palinesqe "Gotcha Moment." And I feel his pain... Because I'm embarrassed on her behalf AND his every time I see this. Poor Tweety, he may well have thought that it was respectful of him to let age express it's wisdom. Certainly she looked as if she was of a status and social position where one could reasonably expect to hear something sensible. And yet... and yet... there's nothing at all useful beneath the fur and the expensive haircut. And that is a succinct expression of why I wandered away from it all. This. Right Here. 

It had started to occur to me that I could keep blogging simply by cutting and pasting. That I was repeating myself. That there was nothing new to say and no need to be particularly clever or insightful or mindful of important affairs of public policy and the pressing concerns of our liberties and rights in this modern age because the people who are the problem are people like this. Moreover, these are the same people who have always been the problem. The very same people that H.L. Menckin mocked and Westbrook Pegler defended as "The Salt of the Earth."

Salt indeed. Uric acid is indeed a salt. And when it percolates down to the bottom of the manure pile that is the modern GOP, it can blow up for no reason at all. How's that for a shitty metaphor? 

Clearly, no volume of words, no amount of common sense, no appeal to decency or even self-interest matters. The only way to get people like this to do the right thing is to say that the wrong thing is approved of by atheist niggers from outer space who wish to fluoridate our precious bodily fluids. An evident frustration and contempt for such people has been expressed by every thinking person in history from Socrates to Twain to Mencken to Marx to William F. Buckley, Jr.

Almost equally, they railed against natalist populism and appeals to mean-spirited, racist policies - even in cases when they could arguably be said to profit from structural racism. Why? Because racists are painfully stupid and that stupidity pervades everything they do.  The only thing that matters to a racist is that nobody who is not of their race ever gets an even break - and anyone who is of their race is to be supported, regardless.  Now, this is just dumb. Because I've met people of all races that were, variably, marvellous and useless. A few managed to be both at once. The real problem with racism is that it requires people to become so simple-minded that they are the ultimate expression and indeed, the creators of every problem they attribute to "those people."

The only thing more horrifying to an honest man of conviction than being accosted by racist fucknuttery is to be applauded and praised by them as Being An Ally Of Our Cause. This can wear upon even the most cynical and least sensitive - in case you are wondering why sensible, sane conservatism is less and less evident on the "right" of the American Political spectrum.  As the Internet spreads their ... let's call them "ideas"... as expressed in their own words as opposed to the dry euphemisms of professional diplomats, two things occur. First, people everywhere start to realize how this pervasive corruption has affected their own lives and homelands. 

And second, they see how very eager their local lords and masters succumbed. Their local idiots were no better, and for the most part, there were fewer institutional structures in place to resist the corruption.  

I wandered off to Second Life, as I do when I need contact with people in a sense where I need not arrange my life around the risks of alarming all the stupid people seen above - and I do that because almost everyone there who has been there for any length of time is there for much the same reason - the ability to express who and what they are without worrying about what the neighbours might think.

Now, that doesn't always lead to warm and fuzzy insights into human nature. But since people have less motivation to lie about their motives, it becomes easier to avoid the people you don't care to associate with.

The lesson I do wish to share is that for many people, conformity and compliance with social norms stops the moment they think nobody is watching them. 
H.L. Mencken on Honorable Men Shirt

I think that even to this day, H.L Mencken has the last word on such people.

"The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he hasn't been caught."

These are also the same people who seem to sincerely believe that without  the imposition by force of Judeo-Christian values, all people would become criminals and disrespect all forms of authority.

They are the people who think that being restrained from imposing their moral views on others is interference with THEIR religious liberty!

It's something I can comprehend as an cynical appeal to the wishful prejudices of the weak-minded in the name of profit and power. It's when it's sincere and very costly that my mind boggles.

It is not difficult to imagine what H.L. Mencken would have said about the current crop of moron-Americans elected to the House with the aid of gerrymandering and compliant electronic voting machines that can always be relied upon to come up with the "right" result, for he had much to say about the Democrats of his day and their mystifying ability to convince even the dead to vote. 

But then I am reminded, this is simply a new twist on an old game and that in the perspective of history, this is not actually all that bad a time in North American history, and that very little has changed. We-all have muddled through worse - it's just that the internet and modern electronic media tells us about it immediately - and makes it impossible to forget, both how very far we have come - and how far we have to go to become as civilized as our various social conceits allege that we are. 

And that has been an ironic blessing, for this entire year, Graphictruth has been read by between 20 to a couple-hundred people every day, depending on the news of the day. Recall, I mentioned that I hardly needed to blog at all? That all I needed to do was cut and paste, for most times, I had said it already.

The Stupid, It Burns White Bump Shirts
The Stupid, It Burns White Bump Shirts by webcarve
Google agrees. That's where most of my traffic comes from - people who were looking for something they were wondering about and they were referred to what I had said. Already. So it appears that my time had not been entirely wasted. I am perversely - but I lack what Mencken had - a job that would afford me enough whisky to do it five days a week despite the Sisyphean nature of it. So perhaps you might buy a tee-shirt, as a tangible form of applause. 

...it was the small trickle of sales and the small trickle of readers that persisted dispite my complete neglect of this blog that dragged me back. Just enough to let me know that there might be something to what I was doing and that it would be a shame to let more months go by without repeating the obvious, rudely and illustrated in a way that will get you banned from all the finer establishments in Alabama and Afganistan.

If you look back on my history of blogging, you will see that my will to speak fairly much evaporated around the time President Obama was about to be elected. Indeed, rather than voting in the election, I voted with my feet, for I felt that even if he were elected, the best possible outcome would be to slow the train-wreck that the American Political experience had become. I confidently expected violence and possible outright civil war. Nor do I yet rule that out - though I see it as significantly less likely now than I did in 2008.

But I see that what I've written is still read - and reasonably frequently; often the things that seemed to go completely unheard at the time. While my readership is nothing at all significant for a modern pundit, if I put it into terms familiar to the exemplars of our past - well Socrates and Shakespeare alike were dead a very long time before they reached my current tally of 199,510 all time readers.

Many other bloggers have much larger numbers. And like them, many of those numbers include people who didn't read a single word. But the point is never those who simply mindlessly agree or disagree, or just click through to an ad for natural male enhancement. It's about the percentage chance of resonance; one or two words making a difference or changing a mind. The idea that expands a horizon. And at nearly 200,000 views as of today, I can accept that it is statistical certainty that I have. Not because I wish to feel smug - but because with such numbers, it's an unavoidable conclusion.

I say this aloud because I know there are others out there, toiling away and speaking their minds and this sort of angst and despair is commonplace. But these days, it takes no special effort for wisdom to be preserved and it's become astonishingly easy to find it. Your words or mine, there is a hunger out there and people ARE looking.

So we will call this a New Year's Resolution. I resolve to write more this coming year. I will also try to avoid repeating  myself - for did I not just say that Google will do that for me?

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