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‘Confederate’: Save your ammo for the real battles ahead of us, snowflakes

I find it ironic that I recently wrote about what I called “the cultural war on white people” and that with the piece I used a graphic from “Game of Thrones” (specifically, the Night King, a blue-eyed devil who leads the “white walkers.”)

Because this past week’s tempest in a teapot was the fact that the creators of “Thrones” plan to create next an HBO television series called “Confederate,” which examines an alternate universe in which the South successfully seceded from the Union.

This would be no big fucking deal if we didn’t live in an era of smug, pearl-clutching outrage addicts, but we do, so it is.

So addicted to their self-righteous outrage are the snowflakes supposedly on the left that now they don’t hesitate to engage in attempted prior censorship — the dooming of a creation, of an expression, before it even has been substantially started by its creator or creators.

These aren’t true leftists, because true leftists value the freedom of expression.

“Confederate,” if and when completed, might suck ass. It might be corny. It might turn out to be tone-deaf, although I rather doubt that it will. I mean, “Game of Thrones” over the past several years has matured. Sex scenes apparently meant to appeal mostly to young heterosexual males have diminished with each passing year as the show has grown more serious, which includes the development of its female characters from sex objects to the show’s true leaders (heroines and villainesses and somewhere in between).

And despite criticisms apparently from those who haven’t seen the series, “Game of Thrones” is diverse. True, it’s set in a Medieval-like place and time and so you see a lot of white characters, but it has important black characters (but, if we’re keeping count, not any Asian characters that I can think of, and while the series has featured at least one Latino actor, it hasn’t had any explicitly Latino characters, since there is no Spain or Latin America in Westeros, the mythical land in which most of the series takes place).

But if “Game of Thrones” isn’t racially diverse enough for you, snowflake, well, go yell at George R.R. Martin, on whose series of books the television series is based.

But that said, no creator of a poem or a short story or a novel or a song or a television show or a film or of anything has to practice affirmative action in his or her creation.

We can and should argue for a diverse workplace and for the equality of opportunity in our society and in our daily lives, but artistic creations are something else. They exist in a special realm that needs to be protected, even from “harmless” snowflakes.

If you want to create something that features predominantly or only black people or Asian people or Latino people (or gay people or women or men or transgender people or…), knock yourself out; maybe your story or your movie or your song lyrics are focused on that group of people and you don’t want to drag a lot of other people into the mix just to make some snowflakes happy.

If you want to create something that features predominantly or even only white people — gasp! — you can do that, too, especially if the time and the place depicted in your creation warrant it.

And the “Thrones” co-creators seem to be well aware of what they’re getting into with “Confederate.” “Thrones” co-creator D.B. Weiss recently told Vulture:

… [I]t goes without saying slavery is the worst thing that ever happened in American history. It’s our original sin as a nation. And history doesn’t disappear. That sin is still with us in many ways.

“Confederate,” in all of our minds, will be an alternative-history show. It’s a science-fiction show. One of the strengths of science fiction is that it can show us how this history is still with us in a way no strictly realistic drama ever could, whether it were a historical drama or a contemporary drama.

It’s an ugly and a painful history, but we all think this is a reason to talk about it, not a reason to run from it. And this feels like a potentially valuable way to talk about it. …

Many black Americans say that they’re beyond sick and tired of the slavery theme. I can understand that; as a gay man, my entire life I’ve seen that in most movies gay male characters are acceptable only as flamboyant, easily identified, non-threatening nelly queens, as the deserved victims of violence (up to, of course, murder), and/or as the mentally ill perpetrators of violence (up to, of course, murder) and/or of other depraved crimes, and usually the only acceptable ending for them is to commit suicide, to be murdered or to die of AIDS.

You want a happy ending from time to time.

But the Civil War never ended. Look at “President” Pussygrabber, his Nazi elf of an attorney general from Alabama, his oily secretary of state from Texas and the rest of his Cabinet members who hail mostly from the South, and the map of the 2016 presidential election results:

Image result for map 2016 presidential election red blue

This is a valid, still very relevant topic, and “Confederate” would, I think, only further the discussion. And on board “Confederate” are the husband-and-wife television-writing team of Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman.

As Malcolm Spellman told Vulture:

… For me and Nichelle, it’s deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members.

And I think Nichelle and I both felt a sense of urgency in trying to find a way to support a discussion that is percolating but isn’t happening enough. As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion. …

Nichelle Tramble Spellman said:

… I think what was interesting to all of us was that we were going to handle this show, and handle the content of the show, without using typical antebellum imagery. There is not going to be, you know, the big Gone With the Wind mansion. This is present day, or close to present day, and how the world would have evolved if the South had been successful seceding from the Union. And what was also exciting to me was the idea that in order to build this, we would have to rebuild world history …

Malcolm Spellman adds:

This is not a world in which the entire country is enslaved. Slavery is in one half of the country. And the North is the North. As Nichelle was saying, the imagery should be no whips and no plantations.

Read the entire Vulture interview with the four creators of “Confederate”; I think that it’s clear that, as “Thrones” co-creator David Benioff put it, “anyone who thinks that Malcolm and Nichelle are props have never met Malcolm and Nichelle,” and that, as the interviewer worded it, “Confederate” is not going to be “almost pornography or wish-fulfillment for white supremacists and the alt-right.”

If “Confederate” sucks for whatever reasons — if it’s artistically lame and/or it’s tone-deaf or even offensive to the reasonable members of its audience — then let it die deservedly in the marketplace of ideas, but let’s not kill it in the crib.

As Benioff said:

… [W]e haven’t written any scripts yet. We don’t have an outline yet. We don’t even have character names. So, everything is brand-new and nothing’s been written. I guess that’s what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It’s just a little premature. You know, we might fuck it up. But we haven’t yet. …

Coming from the creative minds behind “Game of Thrones” and the Spellmans, I expect “Confederate” to be more like “Game of Thrones” in quality than like “The Man in the High Castle,” Amazon.com’s series that imagines that the Germans and the Japanese had won World War II and that I have tried twice to get into but just haven’t been able to, as it’s just not that good.

I hope that these what-if-history-had-turned-out-differently television series don’t proliferate too profusely, but I don’t recall Amazon.com being called anti-Semitic for having resurrected Hitler, so I think it’s incredibly bullshit for the creators of “Game of Thrones” to be called racist for planning to resurrect the South.

Pick your battles and save your ammo for the battles that matter, snowflakes. You’re only turning off far more potential allies than you are doing yourself any good by attacking popular culture that is enjoyed by millions of Americans — and that is not actually “racist” — such as Bill Maher’s show and the not-even-born-yet “Confederate.”

It’s pretty clear that you’re making it all about yourself and your supposedly easily hurt pwecious widdle feewings, and that’s not a winning strategy. Nor is prior censorship in a nation that has valued the freedom of expression since its inception.

Keep trying this bullshit; you’ll see.

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No queer duck for the American Taliban!

Interview Creates Controversy For Duck Dynasty Star

Culture war heats up over 'Duck Dynasty' controversy

“Duck Dynasty” “patriarch” Phil Robertson looks a bit like Osama bin Laden to me, which isn’t that shocking, I guess, given that you could call him and his ilk the American Taliban — “Christo”fascists instead of “Islamofascists.”

I’ve never watched A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” and probably never will. A “reality” show is bad enough, but a “reality” show about rednecks is even worse.

Go into a Wal-Mart (yes, I’ve seen the insides of a Wal-Mart — recently) and you’ll see “Duck Dynasty” merchandise all over the fucking place, and given Wal-Mart’s main target audience — the redneck — you don’t have to have seen the show to have a good idea about what it’s all about.

So, was I shocked to learn that the “patriarch” of the show, 67-year-old Phil Robertson — who, on top of being a redneck, is a baby boomer — is a homophobe?

Um, no.

Does Robertson, who has been suspended indefinitely from “Duck Dynasty” apparently primarily or entirely for his homophobic remarks to the magazine GQ, have the First Amendment right to publicly vocalize his bigoted views?

Absolutely, yes, he does, just as the members of the Ku Klux Klan do, but does A&E, which is a joint venture of Disney and the Hearst Corp., have to keep Robertson in its employment, especially if Robertson, as I suspect he did, violated the terms of his contract with A&E?

Fuck no.

The Associated Press notes:

… Sarah Palin posted a picture on her Facebook page of her with the reality show clan with the message, “Free Speech is an endangered species.” And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also lamented the suspension on free speech terms.

“It’s a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,” said the governor in a statement [today] (the show is filmed in his state). …

Well, of course, to my knowledge, Miley Cyrus never publicly made an offensive, bigoted statement about an historically oppressed minority group — she might be a bit skanky, but I’ve never heard that she has uttered hate speech publicly.

But Bobby Jindal is a stupid fucking piece of sell-out shit who can’t lick the asses of the whiteys who hate him because he isn’t white ardently enough — you know, in order to “show” them that he’s one of them — so that’s to be expected from the likes of him.

But what about the whining and probably-faux hand-wringing about “free speech”?

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fact is, only the government may abridge your free-speech rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Did Phil Robertson have to accept a gig with A&E? No. But he signed some contract, I’m sure, and when millions of dollars are at stake, I can’t imagine that the team of lawyers who drew up his contract did not cover what A&E and/or its parent companies may do in the event that Robertson should make public statements and/or commit certain actions that A&E and/or its parent companies deem damaging to them.

If Robertson has been legally wronged, then, of course, he can sue his employer. (I wish him luck with that…)

I find other comments of Robertson equally as interesting as his homophobic ones, which include his apparent assertion that the definition of “sin” begins with “homosexual behavior.” (Wow! Does he really think of “homosexual behavior” that much? I, a gay man, don’t think of heterosexual sex all that much, so why would an alleged heterosexual man think of male homosexual sex so much?)

According to the AP, Robertson also stated in an interview published in the January issue of GQ “that in his Louisiana youth he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw ‘the mistreatment of any black person. Not once.’

“‘We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, “I tell you what: These doggone white people” — not a word!’ Robertson told the magazine.”

Wow. 

So blacks in the South didn’t need the Civil Rights movement because they all loved whitey? They were all “singing and happy”? Really?

Assuming that Robertson’s report is true — that he heard “not a word” uttered by a black person against “these doggone white people” — could it be that they were so powerless and so terrified of retribution that of course they were very careful about what they uttered around whitey?

Could it be that Robertson’s memory is faulty? (He does, after all, admit to having done his share of drugs during the Sixties.)

Robertson also reportedly said this to GQ: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

Um, did he omit female prostitutes from his list of the hell-bent on purpose? What about heterosexual “offenders”?

Straight white men seem to benefit an awful lot from Robertson’s selective list, don’t they?

What’s most shocking of all, I think, is that A&E ever decided to put this man and his family on the tay-vay in the first fucking place.

P.S. In more good news for equal human and civil rights, it’s great to have heard today that former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano finally came out (we all knew, but it’s great that he now has talked about it openly), and it’s hilarious that he and out lesbian athletes Billie Jean King (the tennis great, of course) and Caitlin Cahow (a medalist in women’s hockey) will be part of the United States’ delegation to the homophobic Russia’s 2014 winter Olympic games in Sochi, of which no high-ranking members of the U.S. government will be a part. (The Associated Press notes that “For the first time since 2000, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympics.”)

And, of course, today the state of New Mexico became the 16th state to institute same-sex marriage.

The “Christo”fascists and other assorted haters can slow progress down, but they cannot stop it altogether. It marches on!

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I’m a PROUD left-wing ‘censor’

I love the Internet. I still believe that the Internet is the best way for the average citizen to get his or her voice heard. True, the sheer volume of citizen content on the Internet — and, of course, the huge corporate presence on the Internet — make it incredibly difficult for any one citizen to get a large audience, but the alternative to the Internet is the way that it used to be: mostly corporately owned and controlled mass/mainstream media putting out virtually all media content, most of it in the one-way communication form of television.

If nothing else, citizen media force the mass/mainstream media to address those issues that the citizens — rather than only the mass/mainstream media’s corporate overlords — want addressed.

In their infancy, blogs were mostly ignored by the mass/mainstream media, as blogs weren’t considered a threat, but no more. Anything that grows legs and takes off in the blogosphere is going to make it into the mass/mainstream media, and these days, sooner rather than later.

And once blogs proved to be successful, of course the capitalist swine decided to jump on board and co-opt blogging. Recently at a major chain bookstore I saw a book on blogging for business purposes and I wanted to barf, since I’ve always believed that blogs were meant to topple the man, not to be used by the man in his ongoing conquest of us wage slaves in the capitalist slavery system that so many of us slaves, being thoroughly brainwashed, actually call “freedom.”

But opening up the forum to anyone — anyone — has its problems.

On one hand is the common but misguided belief that a blogger should allow anyone to leave anything on his or her blog’s comments section — and that to do otherwise is “censorship.”

The legal definition of censorship, actually, is when a governmental entity puts controls on speech. There is no right to leave anything on anyone’s blog — indeed, a blogger may turn off the comments function altogether at any time. But few would call that censorship, and those who would are just dipshits.

I have three main types of comments trolls, and the older and crankier that I get, the more I’m just prone to delete their comments, which don’t add whatsoever to the enlightenment of the subject matter at hand. Their predictable protests of “censorship” don’t deter me. I can’t simply hit a button to delete them, but I can simply hit a button to delete their bullshit.

First there is the Common Troll. This person is just miserable and leaves what I call “drive-by” comments on blogs. He or she (it’s almost always a he, though) probably doesn’t have very many people to shit and piss upon in his life, so he shits and pisses upon people online, because it’s anonymous and thus safe. He probably never would have the balls to treat people like this in person. Because in reality he’s just a fucking coward.

The Common Troll usually leaves no more than a sentence or two, and, because the Common Troll is not bright, often his comment doesn’t even make any fucking sense. And usually his comments are rife with misspellings. (Ted Rall had it right when he once commented that the future belongs to those who can spell.)

On Open Salon, strangely, the Common Trolls usually are stupid white men of baby-boomer age or older (you can tell by their avatars, which are photos of themselves, and they virtually never are attractive). These old Common Trolls, having nothing better to do, jump online with the youngsters to “prove” that they’re still “youthful” too, and they leave comments that are in the spirit of “You damned kids get off of my lawn!”

It’s unfortunate that medical science has enabled people to live longer and longer, with an emphasis on the quantity of people’s lifespans instead of on the quality of people.

Seriously — it’s fine if someone doesn’t like a post of mine, but to leave a juvenile personal attack that doesn’t contribute whatsoever to the topic at hand? I don’t get that. I can’t imagine just trolling blogs and leaving personal attacks. I have much better things to do with my time. (If I am going to engage in anything like a personal attack, I at least also am going to address the topic at hand; there will be some substance in my comment.)

Then there are the Proselytizer Trolls. They apparently think that if they go around and around with you just enough, they’re going to convert you to their fucked-up belief system (or, at the very least, “prove” you “wrong”). Either they’re going to convert you to their wingnuttery or they’re going to convert you to their “Christo”fascism (or both, since the two are so intertwined).

The Proselytizer Trolls are “nice” at first, but gradually, when it’s clear to them that what they believe are just brilliant “arguments” in support of their “cause” aren’t going to move you an inch, then they usually get verbally abusive, showing their true colors.

For whatever reason(s), I get most of my Proselytizer Trolls on my WordPress and AlterNet blogs. The way I usually handle Proselytizer Trolls is to tell them, after we have gone around and around to no avail, that I am ending the discussion, as it is going nowhere and as they’ve had more than their fair say, and that any further comments of theirs on the post I will delete. And then I follow through on that promise.

If I didn’t do it that way, I can see these losers going pointlessly back and forth with me infuckingdefinitely.

Then there are the Spam Trolls. I refer not to the apparently automatically generated spam that we bloggers get in our comments sections on occasion (hopefully filtered out, such as WordPress does), but to those who leave comments on blogs primarily in order to promote their own gig, usually their own blog. They’ll give a passing mention of the post on which they’re commenting, usually, and then go right into promoting their own gig/blog.

Most bloggers figured out long ago that this is a major breech of “blogiquette,” and so Spam Trolls (as I have defined them) are rare.

There are Combination Trolls.

This dipshit, a Combination Troll, tried to leave this dipshit comment (this is an unaltered copy and paste of his own words) on my post about the bullshit computer-generated images of what the corpse of Jesus Christ supposedly looked like, based upon the fraudulent Shroud of Turin:

Wouldn’t Jesus relates have washed the blood off, you’re an idiot running at the mouth. Abrasion and lacerations, such the extent Jesus suffered would be open wounds that would still secret blood.

This guy calls me an “idiot,” yet writes “Jesus” instead of the possessive “Jesus'”; spells “relatives” as “relates”; uses a run-on sentence right off; misuses the comma in his second sentence; and spells “secrete” as “secret.” Really, if you don’t have a grasp of your mother tongue, how can you have any credibility?

But forgiving his illiteracy, if you look at the photo that I referred to and that he was commenting on —

BIG REVEAL: Information

— that clearly appears to be surface blood that just wasn’t washed off, not blood that would “secret” later. I blame it on the artist/artists just not having paid attention to realistic detail.

So, as is common for a troll, this Combo Troll not only can’t write correct English, but his “argument” is whack.

Now, WordPress is set up so that a first-time comment is not automatically posted. Only after at least one comment has been approved by the blogger can a person leave more comments on a WordPress blog without those comments first having to be screened by the blogger.

Now, I’m at the Internet too much, probably, but I’m not at it 24/7, so it can take some time before I screen a first-time comment on my WordPress blog. But this dipshit Combo Troll apparently believed that I have it set up so that his dipshit first-time comment wouldn’t immediately be posted to my blog, because his second attempted comment was this one:

Awaiting moderation, just like a loud mouth liberal to want to censor opinions.

So here he is, calling (in another run-on sentence, and it’s “loud-mouthed liberal”) what is beyond my control — the fact that the WordPress program automatically subjects all first-time comments to the blogger’s moderation — my “censorship.” Oh, and it’s not just my “censorship.” It’s “liberal” “censorship.” (You know, vast left-wing conspiracy, socialism, tyranny, blah blah blah…)

So of course I approved neither of his comments. I spammed them instead, because spam essentially is what they are (were…).

The first comment I probably would have approved and responded to, had he not then immediately and incorrectly accused me of “censorship” because his ignorant comment didn’t show up on my blog immediately and because he is ignorant of how WordPress works.

I just don’t owe anything to assholes like this Combo Troll, who gives his e-mail address as josephjgates@gmail.com, by the way.

Let’s talk about “liberal” “censorship,” though.

Fact is, the right wing has engaged in censorship, unabashedly, forever. And most of the right wing’s censorship is fucking structural, in that because the corporations own and control most of the mass media outlets, there’s no fucking way that their plutocratic owners and controllers are going to allow anti-corporate messages to get out there. No, it’s quite the status quo, baby, because the status quo has been pretty fucking good for the plutocrats.

Even censorship as it is commonly conceived (structural censorship is quite real, but because it’s structural, most Americans don’t notice it any more than fish notice the water that engulfs them) isn’t a problem when the right-wingers do it, but should the left do anything that has even a whiff of a hint of “censorship,” the wingnuts are the first to cry “censorship” foul.

But the truth is, the more that the left and the right become polarized, and the more hell-bent on Armageddon the wingnuts become — to the point that they seriously would consider handing over the Big Red Button to Sarah Palin-Quayle — the friendlier to the censorship of the right wing I’m getting.

The right wing in the United States of America and its corporately owned and controlled media propaganda machine helped George W. Bush steal the White House in late 2000 and were complicit in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjustified launch of its Vietraq War by acting as cheerleaders for the “shock and awe” instead of as journalists. (Yes, an “embedded” reporter is in bed with someone, and it’s not in bed with us common citizens who need unbiased, critical, accurate information in order to make our democracy — or what we call a democracy, anyway — function.)

FOX “News” and several individuals on the far right, including Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Palin-Quayle and Glenn Beck, have incited death threats against and the hurling of epithets, spittle and bricks at Democratic lawmakers who voted for a “socialist!” health-care overhaul.

At what point does an individual or group of individuals pass from legally protected free speech to illegal incitement of violence? And cannot free speech meant to promote freedom and democracy be perverted and abused in order to establish right-wing fascism, such as in the case of FOX “News”?*

And a central if not the central idea behind opposition to “censorship” seems to be the woefully misguided belief that all opinions and ideas are of equal merit and quality. Under this thinking, an opinion is an opinion and an idea is an idea, and the opinion or idea of a highly intelligent, educated individual is no better than the opinion or idea of an uneducated dimwit.

That absolutely is untrue.  

Take the recent media coverage of Palin-Quayle’s criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of nuclear arms policy.

OK, first off, Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle doesn’t understand how the system works. She and John McCainosaurus lost the election in November 2008. Lost it. Lost it by seven percentage points — a significant margin.

Fifty-three percent of Americans voting in November 2008 chose Barack Obama to be in charge of the nation’s nuclear arms policy. Fifty-three percent of the popular vote is higher than George W. Bush got in 2000 or in 2004 (election fraud committed by the Repugnicans in both of those presidential elections aside).

Sarah Palin-Quayle is a fucking loser. She fucking lost. But to hear her tell it, she fucking won. Indeed, Emmy-Award-winning Tina Fey’s recent impersonation of Palin-Quayle on “Saturday Night Live” — in which Fey-as-Palin-Quayle identifies herself as having “won the silver medal in last year’s vice-presidential election” — seems to be an accurate statement of how Palin-Quayle views herself.

When Palin-Quayle criticized Obama’s nuclear arms policy — comparing nuclear arms brinkmanship to a schoolyard fight, which is so fucking clever, except, of course, that a schoolyard fight never ends up in the nuclear annihilation of the entire fucking planet (but I guess that we have to forgive the simple-minded Palin-Quayle for having to make complicated things simple for her simple-minded followers) — she remarked that a “community organizer” doesn’t know anything about nuclear arms policy.

Of course, Palin-Quayle conveniently left out the fact that before 53 percent of the American voters elected Obama as president of the United States, more than who ever “elected” George W. Bush, Obama not only was a U.S. senator but he also was a professor of law at the University of Chicago for 12 years (and please tell me what, exactly, is “wrong” with having been a “community organizer,” because I still don’t know) —  and that while Obama was an evil “community organizer,” she was a Miss Alaska beauty pageant contestant. (Um, I am guessing that she didn’t dote on “world peace” during her beauty pageants…)

So let me rephrase the question this way: Would you prefer a former University of Chicago law professor or a former Alaska state beauty pageant contestant to be in charge of the Big Red Button?

Um, yeah…

Not all opinions and ideas — and not all politicians — are equal. Some are superior to others, some are inferior to others.

And it’s the inferior ones that can completely destroy our nation, and if I had to choose between the total ruination of the nation at the hands of the right wing and the “censorship” of the right wing in order to prevent that ruination from coming to fruition, I’d pick the latter, hands down.

As Abraham Lincoln knew during the nation’s first civil war, and as is becoming clearer as the nation’s second civil war approaches, desperate times call for desperate measures.

*This happened in Venezuela in April 2002 — the right-wing media there used the airwaves to lie about President Hugo Chavez having stepped down when, in fact, he had not stepped down but had been the victim of a short-lived right-wing coup — and it can happen here in the United States too, and, as I have written recently, I don’t fully blame President Chavez for having clamped down on the right-wingers in his nation, because they gladly would try another fascistic takeover if they could get away with it.

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War on right is war on ignorance

 

My boyfriend and I were in a Borders bookstore last night, and in the politics section I saw a paperback copy of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism on a shelf right above Glenn Beck’s hardcover Arguing with Idiots. (That Glenn Beck should accuse others of being “idiots” with “small minds” — that’s mind-blowing…)

I picked up and placed the copy of The Origins of Totalitarianism immediately to the right of Beck’s Arguing with Idiots, giving something of the effect above, as it seems so appropriate: If Beck wants to dress and act like a Nazi, well, then, if the jackboot fits, then he should wear it (and he probably does wear jackboots, prancing around in them in private…). And further, it seems to me that Beck and his ilk indeed could be the originators of an American totalitarianism that would make the Taliban jealous.

Of course, the battle between the left and the right rages beyond the politics sections of bookstores, where it’s common to see books representing the political opposition (usually progressives) turned around so that their covers are obscured. (Books featuring the visages of our lesser-evolved primate cousins also have appeared juxtapositioned to books whose covers feature Barack Obama’s face. Ha ha ha! Racism is so funny!)

President Obama has even chimed in on the national political “vitriol,” but the common assertion that the left is just as guilty as is the right in denigrating the national political discourse — a myth that even Obama himself occasionally parrots, in an apparently well-meaning but woefully misguided attempt to be fair and balanced, to spread the blame around, whether it’s actually factually accurate to do that or not — is fucking bullshit.

The right always has been more rabid, more racist, more ignorant, more hateful and more willing to resort to aggression to get what it wants than has the left. In the past decade alone, the American right resorted to stealing presidential elections, started a bogus major war, and gave the rich such tax cuts that, coupled with the hundreds of billions of dollars sunk into the bogus Vietraq War, resulted in a record federal budget deficit that the right now blames on Obama, and the right has created a surreal, down-the-rabbit-hole national political climate in which it’s deemed perfectly fine to piss hundreds of billions of the taxpayers’ dollars away on the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, but it’s “socialism” to actually spend a fucking penny of the taxpayers’ money on the taxpayers

And I don’t recall any leftists having spat on Repugnican lawmakers on Capitol Hill during the eight long nightmarish years of the Bush regime’s unelected rule, or calling them epithets, or hurling bricks through their office windows. I don’t recall any Democratic politicians talking about “reloading” and using the symbol of a gun-sight crosshairs to target their political opponents.

I only wish that the peacenik lefties were nearly as guilty as are the wingnuts in being rhetorically or even actually aggressive.

Lefties almost always have to remain above it all, such as how Al Gore had to remain above it all and just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000.

The results of “remaining above it all” and just allowing the wingnuts to wreak their havoc upon the nation are plain to see in the smoking ruins of the nation that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime left behind when they finally were forced from the White House. There comes a point where “remaining above it all” no longer is remaining above it all at all, but is a dangerous dereliction of duty to democracy.

Also at Borders last night I saw a copy of Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, the premise of which, I understand from its back cover, is that the switch from a primarily print culture to a primarily audiovisual culture has resulted in a dangerous dumbing down of the United States of America, a danger to the nation’s democracy, which cannot survive when so many of its citizens are dumbfucks. (I’m buying Hedges’ book on amazon.com, as paying full cover price when I don’t have to pains me too much.)

I’m all for greater literacy, but just as it has hijacked our democracy, the right wing has hijacked what remains of the print culture. Chillingly, I long have seen far more wingnut books than progressive books on amazon.com’s top-100-selling books list.

The right wing is busily rewriting American history to suit is ideology in a way that would make George Orwell’s history-revising Big Brother jealous. And the stupid-white-male authors and broadcast pundits who have the audacity to liken themselves to the nation’s founding fathers are as much like the founding fathers as the likes of Pat Robertson and the pedophile-protecting Pope Palpatine are like Jesus Christ.

Sure the wingnuts read books, you say — but they read right-wing revisions not only of American history, but right-wing revisions of American principles. And then they inflict their ignorance upon the rest of us.

In their “tea party” bullshit, the wingnuts actually equate the nation’s declaration of its independence from the oppressive English monarchy to their dislike of the democratically elected American president whom they don’t like primarily because he’s black and because their old-white-guy candidate lost the election, 46 percent to Obama’s 53 percent. 

The wingnuts also have hijacked the term “common sense,” both as a noun and an adjective. Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle can’t shut the fuck up about “common-sense” this and “common-sense” that, and, of course, Glenn Beck put out a book titled Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, as though a dry-drunk baby boomer like Glenn Fucking Beck is really on the same level as is Thomas Paine.

And that’s what the term “common sense,” as the wingnuts use it, is meant to achieve: It’s meant to say that you don’t have to be educated, that you don’t have to work at attaining knowledge and wisdom. “Common sense,” as Beck and Palin-Quayle and their ilk use the term, means that whatever utter bullshit that you pull out of your mentally lazy, ignorant, wingnutty ass is the gospel fucking truthbecause you say so.

In her chapter titled “Junk Thought” in her worthwhile The Age of American Unreason, author Susan Jacoby talks about “the folk belief in the superior wisdom of ordinary people.”

“Folk belief” there is the key.

Ordinary people can become intelligent and wise — but not without doing the work.

There are no shortcuts, although that is what the right wing promises its followers: Simply wearing a lapel pin of the U.S. flag makes a politician “patriotic,” and simply reading a book by Sarah Palin-Quayle or Glenn Beck makes one “politically educated.” (And, of course, simply declaring onself “saved” makes one “saved.”)

Listening to — or even reading — the likes of Beck or Palin-Quayle or Rush Limbaugh, because their retrogressive, reality-evading worldview is comforting in rapidly changing, rapidly diversifying times, doesn’t cut it.

Ignorance will destroy the nation, and the fight against the right wing ultimately is the fight against ignorance.

A return to a fact- and reality-based print culture, as many authors (such as Jacoby and Hedges and yes, even Al Gore) have recommended probably is the answer. The Internet, I suspect, already has been playing a large role in bringing Americans back from the purely audiovisual, purely one-way medium of television to an interactive print culture. Sure, there’s plenty of garbage on the Internet, but there’s plenty of quality stuff available, too. 

I, for one, stopped watching television years ago, after all of the major, corporately owned and operated TV networks treated the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust March 2003 invasion of Iraq as an entertainment or sporting event (“shock and awe!”) instead of covering it journalistically — that is, critically, intelligently and objectively. And I credit the Internet with having facilitated my political knowledge and activism.

Of course, the wingnuts are on the ’Net, too.

But the more that the nation returns to a fact- and reality-based national political dialog, the less the right wing can survive.

Ignorance is the right wing’s oxygen, and the way to snuff out the right wing is to deprive it of its oxygen.

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