Monday, November 27, 2006

Hollywood High School

We've all heard the saying that D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people. But what is going on now seems to me like what you would expect to see at Hollywood High. Greenwald again nails it:
(Jane) Harman supported the most disastrous strategic decision in our nation's history and repeatedly defended the administration's worst excesses. That ought to be disqualifying on its face. But the Beltway media are guilty of the same crimes, so they want to pretend that Harman -- just like Steny Hoyer -- did nothing wrong and the only reason not to anoint her to her Rightful Place is because of petty, womanly personality disputes that have no place in the public arena.

For the same reason, they decree that Pelosi must prove that she's a "responsible" and serious leader. How does she do that? By embracing the Beltway establishment types, including those -- especially those -- who have been so wrong about so many things.

That's why the media has taken such an intense interest in the otherwise mundane matter of who will be House Majority Leader and House Intelligence Chair. Jane Harman, like Steny Hoyer, is the symbol of official Washington, the broken, rotted, corrupt Washington that propped up this war and enabled this administration in so many ways. Pelosi has to prove that she's one of them, or else suffer the consequences of being mauled and scorned.

Now that we have helped the Democrats take Congress, I am beginning to think the next critical battle is the overthrow of the mainstream press.

Update: Frequent commenter/gadfly TA wonders where the hell I've been on this issue. The poorly chosen language above, taken alone, certainly suggests that I am late to the party. But I've been spitting nails about the press for a long time now. From my 2005 column Miasma of Putrefaction: don't you dare call me a journalist:

The Platonic form of journalism – Edward R. Murrow taking on Joseph McCarthy, Walter Cronkite taking on Lyndon Johnson after the Tet Offensive, Woodward and Bernstein taking on Nixon – is today a fantasy unrecognizable in the flickering phosphors on the walls of our contemporary caves. Perhaps journalists once took risks in order to share dangerous truths with readers and viewers, but that time seems to have passed into history. What passes for journalism in Washington and New York today is in large measure as corrupt and despicable as the subjects it glosses.
If what Judith Miller and the New York Times and CBS and Time and NBC did is journalism, if what Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell and Robert Novak continue to do is journalism, then I want no part of it. I find far more honor in the term “blogger” than in the charred, empty husk of the word “journalist.”

So call me a blogger, please. Journalists turn my stomach.

What I meant to say today is that, now that we have finally got a team suited up that has at least expressed interest in preserving the Constitution, our political triage should move from tearing down Republicans to tearing down the press. They were bad before, too, but the damage they do has now risen to the top of the list of remaining threats.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How's that again?? You supported putting the "other" guys into power (as though they might be different, or at least some of them) and now you are shocked, SHOCKED you say, to find out that the only ones of the "others" that will be allowed any power are just exactly the same as the ones whose defeat you are still celebrating. And, and, and THEN you say we should go after the press??? This sounds dangerously like "Well, fellas. It ain't working out in Iraq (congress) like we thought it would, so lets try startin' sumpin' in Iran (the media)." Puhleeze.

The problem is them that's got power/money. Period. Full stop. End of story. Until they get the idea that it could be dangerous to amass too much of either, why in Disneyland hell do you think they will stop? We are not talking about redistribution of wealth, rather we need equity and equality in LIFE, while we're STILL ALIVE, not by-and-by… NOW!! The single greatest motivator is self-aggrandizement. The absolute proof is the new/old regime in Washington, or the media, or…any high school you care to name. What weapons you got against ego?

Get it?


4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They, the beltway media, want to make decisions for America. They are the ones who decided that Howard Dean shouldn't be president -- that the present retard-in-office was the one they wanted. Now they want to undermine Pelosi (or anything democratic) and second guess any decision she makes. They, the beltway media, are a treacherous lot full of pustules.

By the way, this new Congress is officially seated January 3, 2007.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Eric Soderstrom said...

OK, how do we go after the MSM? You have to watch to comment, and watching is a bit like voting for them in terms of advertising dollars. We can't vote them out. What do we do?

On TA's comments, I'm reading People's History of the United States again. I'm in the middle of the populist movement in the late 1800s. We are still right there, and what I'm learning is that we get close and then something goes wrong. Even those who took up arms were defeated then - either killed or arrested and imprisoned and then sometimes killed.

What can people rally around when things ain't but so bad for most people and you can get a ridiculously big HDTV at Wal-Mart for under $500?

9:05 AM  
Blogger bluememe said...

Esoder: I don't know the answer, but I have a few thoughts. They are cowards, so they can be bullied. They are vain, so they can be flattered. And they are lazy, so they can be led down the easiest path. The problem is that, with rare exceptions (Olbermann), they are also herd animals, and that makes using the other characteristics to lead them out of the thicket difficult.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as I was posting this, I saw Blue's comment. Are you seriously proposing herding cats in a room full of rocking chairs?


I was really hoping you would get it. Esoder is doing his homework, but coming to some conclusions that are off the mark. Perhaps.

There is one question that needs to be answered by the masses before any real headway can be made, but who will be able to provide that answer and how is that poll going to be taken? The single question on that questionnaire is: If you can get sort of, like 15% of, what you want, and you aren't starving, do you feel you have the right to bitch? I.e., can you be bought? Or does it take 20%? This is certainly the question for the American public, but who will conduct that poll, with big-screen HDTVs going for less than $500 and people too busy shopping to answer?

The answer to this question might determine for you if there is any point to struggling on for the "greater good" without a hell of a lot more encouragement. There is, however, another point of view. The basis of that view is: How can people know what they want, what a principled stand is, what they might willingly fight for, if they've never been given a real choice and never seen anyone doing that? Knowing something is wrong is not the same as knowing what to do about it.

However unattractive it might be, the idea of willing, voluntary, 3-monkeys dupes, who will not see their own self-interest even when exposed to broad daylight, means that there isn’t much point in trying to help anyone else. Certainly not by appealing directly to them anyway. It really is that simple. Now, if you think that "they" just need many, much clearer examples of how it could be, then the real question becomes: How you gonna do that in the face of demonstrated shortsightedness, addiction to self aggrandizement, ego games, etc.? In short, most people never left high school.

The discontent that liberals and some others feel is not really about who's in the positions of power per se, not about the application of democratic or republican principles, or who controls of the media, who is corrupt, or, or, or. It's just about feeling helpless, because as esoder is reading, revolution, the old kind, tends to get you killed. Kerry said it: Stupid gets you stuck in a war or dying in a war. You can seldom win by dying for your cause.

The discontent is about what you might be able to do, what you CAN do that might really be effective. To work, this must be done with intelligence. Nevertheless, if there are certain potential actions that you want automatically taken off the table before you even begin looking at the possibilities, then you aren't really willing to play the game. That is not using intelligence. You're just back in high school where the "authorities" make the "hard-and-fast rules", which (surprise) change as soon as you figure out how to get around them (hanging chads become electrons, ha-ha). And, the "in-crowd" doesn't have to worry because daddy will make sure the (environmental/election/drug/armed service) rules don't apply to them.

So, it's really about what YOU will do as an individual, what you will risk, what you take as principles to defend, because they make a real difference. If you won't do those things, take those stands, etc., how in hell can you urge others to do that stuff? And, if you are only willing to do those things that fall within a predefined set of guidelines, you can bet the other side will play outside those guidelines and you will lose every time. That's what Esoder has been reading. Losing with principle. That's old history. Reminds me of the Middle East.

What I am proposing is a new way of writing "history", in advance. The history that's about to be written. In this version of history, it's not enough to be smarter than the other guys, or more principled, or better financed. What's needed is to be WAY smart enough to figure the true, lasting impact of your own actions (which certainly takes into account the likely response of the guys who don't want changes), in advance, and let that guide one's choice of what to do. If freedom isn't about getting and keeping the freedom to think what you want, including how to irrevocably change the rules of the game, for all time into the future, then what use is it? The right to buy a second or third HDTV is not really worth fighting for, which is why there aren't riots in the streets. This history "game" is way more fun than chess and to win you need to think a lot more moves ahead, on more dimensions than chess could ever contemplate, because IT'S REAL.

Predict history by making it come true. This has been tried before, but never by principled people who were smart enough to accurately predict the impact of their actions. Still, there is no reason you/we can't. And practice makes perfect. It's not like we could possibly screw up a perfectly good, existing, functioning system or anything by making a few mistakes. Mistakes are ok if you know what you are doing and learn all there is to learn from each one. In that case, there won't be enough mistakes to matter. As we're seeing in the recent press, it’s the unlearned mistakes (e.g. Vietnam) that are costly.

What's important here is to understand that writing future history depends on individual decisions, responsibilities and life lessons. You can recount them to others, but they cannot be shared. If that sounds interesting, DO NOT WRITE TO ME. Just go do it. Mobs are real and groups are not (except in psychotherapists' offices where money/prestige is involved). Each person needs to act like a mob, individually.

BTW, that's professional gadfly to you Blue. My purpose is not to provoke, but to change by provocation. You seemed to have left the two major questions in my previous comment unanswered, and they were not rhetorical:
1) If no one EFFECTIVELY challenges deluded powerful people, why should they stop having visions and controlling things? (Disneyland hell)
2) How ya gonna counter ego? Not with worn out toothbrushes and ideas or a reborn press. The book esoder is reading tells us that that already didn't work.

If you are acting smarter, you won't be dying for your cause because the other side won't see you and can't stop you. That is what is meant by actions smart enough to predict and ensure the future. Ask Mohammed Ali. He'll tell you about guaranteeing your own outcome. Sting like a bee.

For what it's worth, the blogosphere is as crappy, biased and bought as the MSM. It's just easier to filter for the stuff you want and avoid the stuff you don't want. Thus, it can seem more intelligent, principled, etc., but it ain't so. Ego, ego everywhere and not a thought to think.


4:44 PM  
Blogger Eric Soderstrom said...

Hey BM, don't worry about the MSM - Michelle is on the case!

Thank goodness!

TA, can you expand on this concept of writing future history? I don't think I get it.

Also, I think if people had more honest history, it would have an enormous impact on what the people allow those with power to get away with. I took "Honors" or "AP" history in high school and we NEVER touched on this stuff. Everyone keeps comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Why not compare it to the Spanish American War?

Because nobody fucking knows about the Spanish American War. I went to college for five years to get a four year degree, and I didn't know this stuff until very recently. What kills me is how easy it is to find if you are at all inclined to look.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the actions taken in the future are built of the same material, the context is the same and the thinking that sponsors those actions depends solely on what has already taken place, the history that is written about those actions will be just like the history that has already been written about the in-fact past. And why should it be different?

It is necessary to step outside the context and thinking of the past if you will escape the results of the past. While history can offer some insight into what not to do (notice how they always say "condemned to repeat the mistakes" and never mention the success, perhaps because there wasn't any) a view that is capable of seeing the whole is needed to modify one's actions in a way that successfully changes the world, for that is what is being sought. And, let's be clear, Hitler (for example) did NOT change the world. That is simply more of the same history. Anyway, an external to everything view is what I meant when I wrote: ... writing future history depends on individual decisions, responsibilities and life lessons. You can recount them to others, but they cannot be shared. ... That is because you must be god-like without having god's ego problems.

The job is so difficult that it is only when you are continually pressed to take some action, and you really, really, really can't stand any of the seeming choices, that you will do the heavy (mental/ethical) lifting needed to see the world as a true whole. Ethics are unrelated to morals and when you have digested the difference you will see what god sees.


4:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

see web stats