Unreality Bites

Each day lately that I look around at the news pouring forth, I see less to write about, since the miasma of unreality that obscures every discussion makes any comment seem both untimely and unnecessary.  Great matters of past and future, war and peace, and everything else, are decided from above and merely served up fait accompli to the audience.  The only subjects up for consideration are the skill of the presentation.  I think I’ve hit upon the reason that news is so boring… the utter futility of the whole enterprise for the average American is just too soul-destroying to deal with morning and night.  News is something that happens to us, no matter how we vote, what we read, or what we care about….    We don’t get to see Democracy until it’s already in reruns, so why not watch American Idol instead?

The vacuous babble surrounding the war is probably the worst example.  Washington had long ago decided that McChrystal’s victorious escalation would not be denied, and all the theater in between then and now was just that.  No poll, no demonstration, nothing short of turning the entire war effort over to ACORN could have stopped the war from continuing, but the pseudo-suspenseful “dithering” was nonetheless relentlessly treated as news anyway, since it provided lots of cheap fodder for snappy soundbites and offered a needed rebranding of an unsettlingly shopworn war that had long since stopped selling as many commercials as it used to.  And as luck would have it, though, the media had long since stopped meaningfully covering these wars, since they provided so much cheap local content without the annoying need for actual reporters “on the ground,” so any costs associated with another decade or so of war was somebody else’s problem.  Ratings gold for free!  Well, almost.

Similar clouds engulf the climate debate, and of course for the same rea$ons.  While the great majority of the earth contemplates drought, fire, and inundation, we soberly query as to whether the whole thing is just the product of hippies’ stoned imaginations, basking in the glow of their sand candles and thinking how much pot and patchouli those “billions of dollars” in research grants would buy.  Of course, the interesting part of the story: that some shady corporate funders have moved into “opposition research” and are manipulating the media with timed barrages of fake “evidence,” is completely lost, while three sentences from the purloined emails are dutifully and exhaustively parsed to see if they really make thirty years of climate science inoperable.  Can you blame me, or anyone else, for tuning such shit out?

Again and again, self-defeating and aberrant political behavior is rewarded and continued, whatever the polls and voters say, and we are gradually being taught that even bothering to talk about it is like pissing up a rope.  By our guardians in the Fourth Estate, no less.  They choose a narrative and dedicate their lives to making it play out, which it generally does, the rare exception like the near-survival of the Public Option only proving the rule.

But now that we know that each morning we open yesterday’s paper, and each evening we turn on last week’s news, and these bozos have the gall to further insult our intelligence by blaming us for not exercising our rights as citizens, when the products they offer are clearly designed to produce just that result.  When they speak grandly of “ordinary Americans” they speak only of those they have successfully misinformed, a group always fewer in number than they imagine, and who always turns out to be stupider than the most “ordinary” American anyone has ever encountered.

To a thinking American, turning on the TV or opening a newspaper to hear, yet again, that (A) is based on logic, facts, and evidence, but (B) is better theater and a lot of stupid people seem to like it, so we went with (B), is the real reason for the decline of the Mainstream Media.  No one needs to watch to know how it ends, and for that sort of entertainment, I’ll take “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” any day.

We report, you decide, indeed.

43 Comments

  1. skeptic says:

    Remake: The Grinch who killed Democracy.

    But who would star (from real-life) Newt, maybe? He certainly gave it a go when he issued that list of words, epithets, really, for Republicans to use whenever they discussed or described a Democrat or a Democratic value. Very Ayn Randian.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Oh, I don’t know, what about Rush? He’s fat enough to make the climactic scene on the top of Mt. Crumpet turn out differently…. Remember, the Grinch wasn’t successful. The Village had a better tactic, and it worked.

  3. rmp says:

    Great post. I was watching Repug senators today on c-span who normally come across as buffoons with idiotic messages question Bernanke and they sounded intelligent and well informed. It revealed what is most wrong about congress today. They are actors in scripted plays who don’t give a damn about America or its suffering people.

    All these phony characters care about is the audience they are feeding and they will do whatever it takes to fool the fools. I don’t think that departs much from what Faux News and other TV stars do. Do whatever it takes to feed the fools and raise the ratings.

    If you watched the YouTube video of fools at Palin’s book signing try to describe why they liked Sarah or her poltiical pals, you saw how pathetic their attempts at understanding why they like Repugs and what they stand for were.

    There is little hope to educate these fools, but they are not the majority, only a 20% or less minority. Those of us who want a community feeling to return to America and for facts and logic to really matter need to not give up. We have to find ways to rally the troops and bring about system change.

    I’m heading off to our county Dems Holiday Party where I will meet a lot of wonderful people who feel the same as I do. It is a lot easier to not lose heart when you keep contacting people who have your same beliefs and have a mutual determination to do something for our grandchildren before it is too late.

  4. mikeinportc says:

    OT, skeptic , re rmp’s Georgia professor, I had a history profesor who put forth ~ the same idea. He didn’t( & still doesn’t- I see him occasionlly) believe in inevitability, or predeterminaton, but did think that the Treaty of Versailles sent everything in that direction. The conditions set in the treaty were so punitive and disabling for Germany, that Hitler, or someone like him could use the resentment engendered, to further his career.That treaty,or at leat those parts,btw, were mostly written by, and chiefly sold by, John Foster Dulles.I’d guess he’d be a charter member of the neocons, if he was around today. Just read this short account of his life,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Foster_Dulles
    to see how much of an (bad!) influence he had on the growth and course of the empire. (Instrumental in the overthrow of Mossadegh, fer-just-one-damn-instance!) Also, I seem to remember some connection between Prescott Bush( & his father-in-law?) and JFD. (The law firm, & dealings with the Nazis? Don’t remember for sure.) Might have had some influence on recent history, from that direction . ???

    • dirigo says:

      As far as exploiting the onerous Allied demands for German reparations after WWI, Hitler promulgated the “stab in the back” theory.

      Same game by the right in this country after Vietnam: “Our boys were betrayed by socialists; feminists; gays; sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll; and CBS News.”

      Much has been written about these things.

      Ho hum …

  5. sysprog says:

    http://www.nrbookservice.com/products/SearchResults.asp?ProdCat=KIDSGIFTS&ProdCatName=Gifts+for+Children
    National Review Book Service
    Search Results for: Gifts for Children

    * The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus

    Isn’t it just like liberals to diminish genuine racial and cultural diversity in the name of respecting it? That’s what they’ve done with Huckleberry Finn, perhaps the greatest anti-slavery novel ever written, now tarred as “racist.” And that’s what they did with the tales of “Uncle Remus” — a collection of African American folktales, many with roots in Africa itself, adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris in the 1880s. Beloved by generations of Americans, black and white, these funny but pointedly moral stories about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer B’ar and Brer Wolf were akin to – and on a par with — Aesop’s fables. The problem, as modern liberals saw it, was the use of black dialect, and the fact that the title character and fictional narrator of the stories, Uncle Remus himself, was a kindly old slave.

    * The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

    * Brave Deeds of Confederate Soldiers

    The Confederate soldier was revered by Northerners and Southerners alike long after the war ended for what Philip A. Bruce calls “the high, the gallant, and the romantic aspects” of his character. Examples of character traits like these are rare in public life nowadays, but they abound on the pages of Brave Deeds of Confederate Soldiers. Bruce’s vivid account of numerous deeds of daring, bravado, cunning, and selfless courage by Confederate partisans during the great conflict will fire your children’s imaginations — and impress upon them the all-important lesson that some causes are worth risking everything to advance.

    * We The People by Lynne Cheney

    * Help! Mom! The Ninth Circuit Nabbed the Nativity

    Katharine DeBrecht and Jim Hummel – creators of the bestselling HELP! MOM! There are Liberals Under My Bed! and HELP! MOM! Hollywood’s in My Hamper! – bring you their funniest adventure yet.

    * Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners by Karen Santorum

    • cocktailhag says:

      Won’t someone think of the children? Once I ran across a righty hagiography of Reagan for children, and couldn’t believe it….. What induces people to want their children to believe BS when contrary facts are widely available?

      • sysprog says:

        For alerting us all to the entertainment available at the web site of the “NATIONAL REVIEW Book Service”, I should have credited Roger (“NOT affiliated with Fox News Channel !”) Ailes:

        http://rogerailes.blogspot.com/2009_11_29_archive.html#7221587193760084810

        Of course, while we mock their grim, relentless, unending propaganda war, they’re winning their grim, relentless, unending propaganda war.

        I just sent my (step-) grandson some toys, NOT a bunch of Richard Dawkins books.

        My unserious attitude in the war for/against science leads to results like . . .

        Acceptance of Evolution in 34 countries, 2005:

        .

        http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c148211/publicAcceptanceEvolution.jpg

        According to a survey published in SCIENCE in 2006, over the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, the percentage of U.S. adults accepting the idea of evolution declined from 45% to 40%.

        The Reaganauts are winning.

      • Someone on the board of my local Democratic Party organization proposed selling a children’s book to raise funds. The title was Why Mommy Is a Democrat.

        A furious argument ensued among the board members over the morality of propagandizing children. To my great relief, the board voted down the proposition, and the book was never seen again.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Well, I admit that I’ve subtly propagandized children by giving them “1984″ and the works of Lewis Carroll.

          • I read 1984 for the first time when I was 13. I remember being depressed by the grimness of it all, which in some ways resembled the grimness of my own existence as the first-born son of an authoritarian father, which only got worse as puberty wore on. The most striking thing, though, the thing which kept me reading, was that wonderful moment when Julia removed the red sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League, and got in bed with Winston. (I was a horny little devil at 13, I admit, and there’s no more furtive pleasure than those found in books.)

  6. nailheadtom says:

    “Similar clouds engulf the climate debate . . . blah, blah, blah, blah . . .Can you blame me, or anyone else, for such shit tuning out?”
    _______________

    If you want to believe it, it must be true. The P.T. Barnums of climate change get caught lying, cheating and stealing but they’re still credible to CH ’cause doncha know they’re up against those evil rich people that want to see the women and children of Tonga subside beneath the waves. A graph of your advancing mental illness would closely resemble a hockey stick.

    • cocktailhag says:

      And if you believe Exxon and Fox News, that’s your privilege, too. Given the paltry amount of incriminating data from thousands of emails, I’d say you’re hanging on a pretty thin reed.

    • dirigo says:

      This is fine. There are frauds operating within the climate debate, as there are within various levels of the national security debate, the health care debate, or any other public row at the national or local level.

      So what, and who cares about ideological axe-grinders?

      As for the climate debate, why not continue to insist on the establishment of a credible baseline for action, with the idea of protecting the planet rather than doing nothing, being proactive rather than sitting in a lawn chair watching the water rise to your toes?

      • sysprog says:

        For the denialist movement, the driving issue isn’t whether climate change is real, or whether it’s anthropogenic.

        No – - the issue is that, when fossil fuel prices jump (as they will) and then jump even higher (as they will) and then jump insanely high (as they will) . . .

        . . . it’s all the fault of liberals and atheists, who prevented GOD and the FREE MARKET from delivering cheap gas forever as promised by PROVIDENCE.

        • dirigo says:

          I’ve been meaning to post something with quotes – primarily on evolution – from the one and only G.B. Shaw.

          Nail in the Head is getting me pissed off enough to do it.

          Stand back …

          • cocktailhag says:

            Go for it, Dirigo…. I’ll hit the bottle early.

          • dirigo says:

            Well it’s either that or an imagined meeting between Tiger Woods and Max Baucus, chaired by Silvio.

          • sysprog says:

            The wingnuts do embrace Social Darwinism.

            Survival of the fittest! I’ve got mine!

            So why their scorn for Darwin?

            Could it be that they actually comprehend that natural selection might favor not only aggression and Matthew 25:29 style values but also altruism and cooperation and Matthew 25:40 style values?

            Nah.

          • cocktailhag says:

            That’s the other Darwin.

          • dirigo says:

            Yes, I recall Tom speaking warmly of “culling” the human herd, so no one would make a monkey out of him.

            Say! – here’s something to chew on:

            “Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it. Something similar happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advance somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have cause to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening a man or a race.”

            – Friedrich Nietzsche

          • dirigo says:

            Sounds like a theory of how to make poets.

            Leave them alone!

        • cocktailhag says:

          Another heads we win tails you lose strategy from the right. Sigh.

  7. consuela says:

    “Time wounds all heels” -John Lennon

  8. Meremark says:

    Hag, there is some sense of flattery maybe most sincere, by imitation, as was longsaid, and now by infiltration — having your own assigned distaff troll snagging on your blog … tweets, or book of faces. Some even feign an air of Rent-a-Security patrollers, or parolees, as if on paid assigment and a barrier limiting your blog-in-fluence, although such accessorizing is so declasse whether it’s a self-assigned masochist or an assigned slaven by a sadist.
    Damn, nailhead is such pure pukery. Like he thinks he’s saying something. Nobody can be that incidentally stupid and still be able to click a mouse.

    • cocktailhag says:

      As Glenn Beck said, “Believe in something. Even of it isn’t true.” Righties have to believe dumb things, because the whole belief system is so interconnected. I don’t think they’re as dumb as they think everyone else is.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Again another, albeit even more overconfident, article that attempts to support your point of view. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that only these types come to this conclusion. Even so, given the scarcity of oil and the hideous air quality that comes from burning hydrocarbons, why not try to slow down? If there’s the slightest chance of global warming, what is lost in burning less fuel?
      From a purely pragmatic standpoint, any fossil fuels we don’t burn now remain for future generations, while the world breathes less toxic air.
      The social and economic dislocations that will result from running out of fossil fuels will be considerably less than those resulting from conserving them. Even China, and BP, see this.
      Why risk planetary destruction for something so intrinsically dumb and short-sighted even without it?

    • sysprog says:

      The Torygraph isn’t all bad and I’ve linked to it sometimes, myself.

      But Christopher “Asbestos is Good for your Lungs!” Booker?

      Give me a break.

      Give our lungs a break.

      There are actually some decent climate change skeptics, out there.

      And then THAT’s the one you choose?

  9. dirigo says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yQJOLqfIs4

    A tad from G.B.S. on Darwin and the rise of Neo-Darwinism:

    THE ADVENT OF THE NEO-DARWINIANS

    “If Darwin had really led the world at one bound from the book of Genesis to Heredity, to Modification of Species by Selection, and to Evolution, he would have been a philosopher and a prophet as well as an eminent professional naturalist, with geology as a hobby. The delusion that he had actually achieved this feat did no harm at first, because if people’s views are sound, about evolution or anything else, it does not make two straws difference whether they call the revealer of their views Tom or Dick. But later on such apparently negligible errors have awkward consequences. Darwin was given an imposing reputation as not only an Evolutionist, but as the Evolutionist, with the immense majority who never read his books. The few who never read any others were led by them to concentrate exclusively on Circumstantial Selection as the explanation of all the transformations and adaptations which were the evidence for Evolution. And they presently found themselves so cut off by the specialization from the majority who knew Darwin only by his spurious reputation, that they were obliged to distinguish themselves, not as Darwinians, but as Neo-Darwinians.

    “Before ten more years had elapsed, the Neo-Darwinists were practically running current Science. It was 1906; I was fifty; I published my own view of evolution in a play called Man and Superman, and I found that most people were unable to understand how I could be an Evolutionist and not a Neo-Darwinian, or why I habitually derided Neo-Darwinism as a ghastly idiocy, and would fall on its professors slaughterously in public discussions. It was in the hope of making me clear the matter up that the Fabian Society, which was then organizing a series of lectures on Prophets of the Nineteenth Century, asked me to deliver a lecture on the prophet Darwin. I did so; and scraps of that lecture, which were never published, variegate these pages.

    POLITICAL INADEQUACIES AND THE HUMAN ANIMAL

    “Ten more years elapsed. Neo-Darwinism in politics had produced a European catastrophe of a magnitude so appalling, and a scope so unpredictable, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is still far from certain whether our civilization will survive it. The circumstances of this catastrophe, the boyish cinema-fed romanticism which made it possible to impose it on the people as a crusade, and especially the ignorance and errors of the victors of Western Europe when its violent phase had passed and the time for reconstruction arrived, confirmed a doubt which had grown steadily in my mind during my forty years public work as a Socialist: namely, whether the human animal, as he exists at present, is capable of solving the social problems raised by his own aggregation, or, as he calls it, his civilization.”

    – George Bernard Shaw
    – from …”The Infidel Half Century”
    – Preface: “Back to Methuselah”

  10. nailheadtom says:

    From WSJ:

    “Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias,” Politico reported. The effort to get Liasson off Fox was contemporaneous with President Obama’s efforts to discredit Fox for reporting on scandals involving his administration:

    However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.

    Do you believe that? Neither do we. But whether Obama was behind NPR’s move or not, it goes to show that so-called liberals are much more inclined to censorship than conservatives. After all, Fox never asked Liasson to stop appearing on NPR.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Fox never asked such a thing because it has no ethics. As for “censorship,” I hear all the righty talking points, and many of their spokesmodels, on NPR and all of the “liberal” media even though they’re usually unmitigated BS. On Fox, BS is presented as truth, but everywhere else, it’s presented as “maybe” truth. Cry me a river. If your types are being censored, I’d hate to see what “freedom” means.

    • dirigo says:

      Liasson is employed full-time by NPR. She’s a contributor to FOX News. NPR can rein Liasson in if it wants to. It may, or may not, follow that a conspiracy exists if that is what’s happening.

      Liasson of course could quit NPR if she wanted to and try to get hired by FOX. But then, FOX might not want her, since she’s damaged liberal goods and all.