Thursday, January 13

Love And Squalor

LOVE: aimai in comments at Roy's:
I don't really agree with the Doghouse Riley quote--that our debate is about how to remove the pieces of ggshell from our omlette... I think the debate resembles a woman's magazine devoted to telling you how to pick glass and blood out of your hair after you've been attacked by your husband.

To which we reply, first, that if I'd thought of something that good I would have used it, and you can send your stuff our way anytime. And, second, that we are taken out of context; that prissy little food fussiness which never addresses the source of the problem is what the Democrats have played at all these years; the Republicans, meanwhile, have been taking a cleaver to whatever was in their way, joint of beef or bowl of soup.

And before we go on: as the howling takes the argument further and further afield--one of the intended effects of howling--leave us note, and keep repeating, that when we speak of a poisoned public discourse we are speaking of the Republican rank and file reacting to what are clearly the modest and mainstream acts of democratically-elected officials as if the Fucking Hounds of Hell had been unleashed and placed under the telepathic direction of Zombie Karl Marx. This is not the political speech of The Chimperator, or Bush=Hitler, for the simple reason that 70-damn-percent of Republicans believe Obama's a socialist. And 60% think he's a Muslim. This is not an obscure point. It's just one that the punditocracy in this country--which deserves a helluva lot of blame--choses to ignore. There is such a thing as critical mass. There is a distinction between an angry, liquored-up mob usurping the national debate and a couple of undergrads with a free hour and Photoshop.

SQUALOR: Christ, this Brooks thing has been hanging around my desktop all week, like three-quarters of an awful sandwich you didn't throw away. This is Bobo aroused: passive aggressive, careless about facts, and in full defense of the Republican vote machine while simpering his "dislike" of Sarah Palin. (Just once, you know, just fucking once I'd like to see his dislike of some Republican who embarrasses him at weekend cocktail parties expressed as dislike.)
Mainstream news organizations linked the attack to an offensive target map issued by Sarah Palin’s political action committee. The Huffington Post erupted, with former Senator Gary Hart flatly stating that the killings were the result of angry political rhetoric. Keith Olbermann demanded a Palin repudiation and the founder of the Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Others argued that the killing was fostered by a political climate of hate.

These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave. They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky. They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.

Let us not even bother asking What mainstream news organizations "linked" the attack to Palin's map, rather than brought the thing to readers' attention; let's ignore the fact that Gary Hart was arguing that inflammatory rhetoric has consequences, not that it pulled the trigger, and that among them is its effect on "unstable" individuals; let's ignore Keith Olbermann and Markos Moulitsas altogether, since that's a tradition around here almost as old as praeteritio.

Wait. On second thought, let's do consider what Hart said on the day of the shooting: "Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric." How does that differ from what's said in a thousand pulpits every Sunday in this country by self-appointed spokesmen for God? If "the gravity of the charges", if "viscousness in the pursuit of viscousness"gives such offense, and tars people so unfairly, where's all the complaints about that? And we're not talking about the comments of someone in the hours after a tragic event that made a lot of people very goddam angry, Mr. Brooks; we're talking about a stock in trade. Any event to which a readymade moral opprobrium can be attached it will be attached. Every sordid event in the tabloid press is proof of the Apocalypse, and the Liberal cabal working to tax it. Every Gay Pride parade is Babylon come to Murrica Herself, and every gay man a walking compendium of psycho death germs (sent by God, by God!) which will shorten his life and that of everyone he ever fornicates with. How often was "What Homosexuals Do" read into the Congressional Record, Mr. Brooks?

And this, of course is but the tip of the iceberg; if you manage to ban the practice FOX News is gonna be showing dead air sixteen hours a day. Every Liberal in this country is Julius Rosenberg, and has been for sixty years. How often is "traitor" bandied about? How often has 9/11 been portrayed as the work of the Left, in spirit if not in deed? Your entire political worldview, Mr. Brooks (we've been trying to tell you this for years), is based on rococo elaborations of Dirty Pinko Bastards Are Poisoning Our Water Supply which were in full cracked filigree before you were born, only you're too lazy to look it up. We don't have a single fucking political issue in this country that isn't tainted like this, Mr. Brooks: terror, immigration, health care, the budget, and all of it by your side. For years. Because votes. Sure, occasionally someone like the comedy team of Falwell & Robertson catch some flack for saying Homos brought down the WTC. Who do they catch it from? Not you. The most this warrants from you is a little uncomfortable grimace which is supposed to indicate your principled moderation, but which in fact is a measure of how little you want to discuss it.

There's a libertoonian sense in our politics that all the insanity on the Right--which you economic "conservatives" imagine you control the way you control where the line forms at the bank--is just that; that it's not real, that it will go away or collapse under the weight of its own stupidity when the time comes, and hence need not be mentioned, lest attention be drawn. But "liberalism"--even the dishwater centrism of the President--must be subjected to rigid strictures of behavior, and ad hoc rules of Unintended Consequences, or it might break out into economic justice or something. This generation, this era, is too far gone to imagine creating an anodyne version. It's too late for you to denounce rash words spoken for political ends. And it's a joke that you do so only when it comes from anyone you're not aligned with, with, of course, the dash of "I don't like Sarah Palin" as pretend leavening. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with". That wasn't the Trailer Trash Half-Term Governor who embarrasses you so, Mr. Brooks. It was the Republican Saint. Talking about people squatting in a park. Go, as they say, fuck yourself.


R. Porrofatto said...

Well said as usual. I wish Brooks would be forced to read it (and every other dissection of him you've performed).

Davy wants to peg the shooter as just another apolitical nutcase, so my how vicious of Democrats to point to hyper-extreme political rhetoric as having anything to do with his mindset. But virtually all of the shooter's published beliefs are an amalgam of anti-government looniness; much of it could easily fuel an hour-long Beck special if it hasn't already.

Not to say he isn't a nut. Wingers may point to the Communist Manifesto on his reading list as evidence the shooter is a lefty, but it's his listing of Ayn Rand that proves he's plainly out of his mind. Speaking of patently crazy, I was amused to read that Loughner believes in government power over our minds through controlling grammar. I thought it was kind of a unique and entertaining departure from your everyday Larouche or Van Mises. So it was disappointing to learn that there is one David Wynn Miller of Milwaukee, a "plenipotentiary judge" for whom this is complex, proven theory, and who hosts a surreal website and even holds seminars around the country on the subject.

It must be tough for a whacko these days, it's just so hard to come up with anything original.

D. Sidhe said...

Amen, of course. But I'd probably say that to anyone who told Brooks to fuck himself.

I hate to interrupt you when you're on a roll, and have you ever been, shattered skull similes aside, but I spent an hour watching Mike Pence on CSPAN yesterday morning and I still haven't recovered from it.

How did the people of your state manage to elect this besuited senescent lake trout? He stammered through a series of talking points, repeatedly and without any apparent enthusiasm, sounding like Bush Pere in his Halcion days. He's be asked a question by some earnest college kid and evade it for two minutes before answering it anyway, generally with a sigh and an expression that suggested he knew no one was really listening anyway.

What kills me is, he doesn't even have good hair. So why the hell does this guy get elected?

Don't get me wrong, my own state seems to go into a vegetative state when handed a ballot as well, which is how Dave Reichert keeps getting elected, that and promising to keep us all safe from sex predators unlike his opponent, etc, and also he'll let us lick the bowl when his wife makes the victory party cake.

So what's the deal with Pence? Is he, you know, cool, nudge nudge? Does he have blackmail pictures of everybody in his district? Are people just hypnotized by his voice?

I will also accept, as an explanation, "El Nino."

StringonaStick said...

Pence is window decoration, someone to fill out the group photos as the 2012 Prez race heats up. The really scary, telegenic, and incredibly good liar is Pawlenty.

M. Krebs said...

I had been exposed very little to Pawlenty until seeing him interviewed by Jon Stewart this week. Stewart tried repeatedly to get him to answer one question: Do Republicans really believe their bullshit? (I paraphrase of course.) And Pawlenty never once even pretended to understand the question, much less hint at an answer. It was truly a stunning performance. Clearly the man has a bright future in the GOP.

D. Sidhe said...

Yeah, I kind of thought that too, but then again, I dunno. Pawlenty is apparently going to a lot of trouble to demonstrate that he is macho, and after watching and listening to him for a while, I can understand why.

I can't see that making him popular with the current GOP.

Meanwhile, Pence is basically a walking plea for voter apathy, and I could see him easing into the VP half of a major party ticket, and I'm not just limiting it to the GOP. I'm sure his views are appalling, but you'd have to stay awake to care.

My partner, meanwhile, thinks Huckabee is "a nice guy. I wouldn't mind having dinner with him". I came pretty close to gagging, but my partner is a demographic sheep, so it worries me some.

R. Porrofatto said...

Can't let besuited senescent lake trout go by without cheers.

-dg said...

"simpering", a word too little used, and seemingly designed for Brooks. Wasn't there a movie about him, "The Horseshit Simperer"?