Saturday, October 13, 2007


The insight that I shared recently continues to gnaw at me -- the one about the uncomplicatable simplicity (the inverse of their hobby horse irreducible complexity) of their world views. And, as with the theory of evolution, the world keeps presenting more examples that support the hypothesis. Think, for example about the TV show "24."

We know "24" is a silly, overwrought cowboy serial. We know that there is as much overlap between the real world and the simulacrum of Kiefer Sutherland's "24" as there was between Vietnam and John Wayne's "Green Berets." The authoritarian wingers -- not so much. Think about the prominent place "24" has held in the Republican presidential debates. Candidates for the nomination of one of the two major parties are actually pointing to TV characters as guideposts for their foreign policy.

The inability to distinguish between teevee torture and the real thing is not limited to fools like Tom Tancredo or my internal dyspepsia. A few days ago intelligence expert Colonel Stuart Harrington talked on "Fresh Air" about this exact problem and its effect on real events and real people.

And it isn't just "24,"of course. You might remember when Digby point out this from a February 2007 piece in the New Yorker:
Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!”
In isolation, this anecdote is merely a bit creepy. In the context I have been talking about, I think it is pretty strong evidence of the very mental infirmity I am talking about. It seems pretty obvious to me that these contrived Hollywood victories occupy far more real estate in Senator Lieberman's head than all the bloodshed and immorality that define the reality of Iraq.

We know that a defining distinction between Hollywood propaganda and reality is the fact that the outcome in jingostic nonsense like "Behind Enemy Lines" is never in doubt. But think about how Dubya and his crusaders talk. It is painfully evident that the possibility that the "good guys" might lose simply eludes them. They simply cannot distinguish between Hollywood and reality. They are somehow missing the filter that divides the library into fiction and non-fiction -- for them, books is books.

There's more. I think this same pathology is what is behind the way they always accuse us of hating America simply because we dare to find fault. We know that it is possible to both love and find fault with our country. But for the those who, as Jon Stewart pointed out don't have gray matter between the ears (they have black and white matter), love and criticism are simply incompatible. Our ability to simultaneously hold conflicting thoughts must seem as foreign to them as a bird's ability to see magnetic fields is to us.

Except that we are not up in arms about "Winged Migration."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, it looks like you might be missing the point. This is not an issue revolving around small matters, like the ability to distinguish between war and peace, life and death. Oh no! This is far more serious. It is about the conservative mind's inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality on ANY level.

The problem raised by this discussion is that it shows many people to be conservative who would otherwise claim liberal credentials. For example (and there are lots), there is that nagging little problem of distinguishing between god (clearly a figment) and the rest of the universe. And that inability makes for a lot more conservatives than one might otherwise guess. There is neither a need for, nor any evidence of, god. But we sure as hell can't do our thing without the universe. How many democrats will stake their own lives on there NOT being a god?

Until there is a significant group of adults, not just children in big people's bodies, it will be impossible to hold a meaningful discussion. No discussion, no group influence. In other words, it’s the same as it always has been: DO IT YOURSELF or shut up. Nothing else actually changes things. It's not for nothing that the more intelligent a blog is, the fewer participants there are in the comments. Feel better now?


11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just noted that esoder was thinking of me while reading "Game, set and match". His comment was V-liscious. Then it occurred to me that you'all might wonder why the FBI or some other big brother hasn't bothered to come knocking on my door. I know that at one time there was speculation that I was a plant, a provocateur. But that was just fluff and it's not the reason I haven't been bothered. It's because the stuff I write about is all too familiar to the strategists who direct the men in blackandblue. Sadly, they know there is no real threat from me stating the obvious about control mechanisms, about revolution, murder and mayhem. It's sad because my theoretical target audience can't puzzle it out, and they KNOW it. Therefore, I am not a threat nor can I be made an example of. To make an example of me would be to validate what I write about. Even if the example is only me disappearing. But, they're NOT WORRIED because you'all can't work it out. Sad. Thought you might like something to read while sitting on the crapper that somebody else is about to flush.

That's my raspberry at the world for today. Phhtttttt!


3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine commentary!

5:27 PM  

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