Friday, May 12, 2006

"Let's Help Ourselves to a Roof of Bones"


in which, for the sake of the blogsphere, I dispense with the notion of respectable discourse once and for all

Jennifer Nix and Tristero have recently dug up some liberal corpses and induced them to speak by the necromatic power of the internets.  What these corpses have to say from beyond the grave is sobering.  Even with a majority, we cannot win.  That's what they have been taught by their enemies, and that's what they have come to believe themselves. 

They work for Karl Rove ... for free

71% of America knows Bush is a failure, and yet the Democrats won't act.  Maybe the Republicans were right about the Democrats, maybe they are the effete elite

Obviously, the Democrats are disconnected from what the right likes to call "Real Americans."  Real Americans hate Bush

But, since the Democrats don't know anything about Real America, they give Bush a pass, allowing his joint assault on our people and our principles to rack up victory after victory of the minority over the majority.  They'll tell you that Democrats must act like a minority even though we're a majority

The failing print and TV media are at war with the blogsphere for the same reason:  we are the America they don't know anything about

Respectable Democrats are as weak, clueless, and ineffectual as the GOP needs them to be.  A respectable Democrat wouldn't dare to be anything else.  Who, after all, would be so uncouth and shrill as to actually take a stand for American values at a time when the enemies of those values are so weak? 

"Values"?  They will laugh in your face.  Apparently the Republicans were right:  Democrats have no values.  Or at least the respectable ones don't.  You see, it's important for any Democrat who wants to be taken seriously, by the GOP, by the media that's owned by the same people who own the GOP, and by the DLC, which is owned by the same people who own the GOP, it's important, I say, to live down to the stereotype of the wimpy, nihilistic Democrat. 

Anything else would be uncivilized. 

I’d shown up for dinner with a bounce in my step, charged up by a number of conservatives-with-cajones stepping forward to take the Bush administration to task over its unwarranted domestic spying program, and claims that W can break any law he finds inconvenient. Republicans like Bob Barr and Bruce Fein were even using the “I” word (and the very next day, George Will would weigh in with his two cents likening Bush to a monarch). I expected that my dinner partners, as progressive thought-leaders and  purveyors of information, would be fired up, too. I looked forward to a rousing discussion of how to explain Bush’s law-breaking ways, to connect the dots, and bring historical perspective to recent events.

Alas, I found no urgency, no fervent desire to inform the citizenry of what all was at stake. Instead I was treated to smug defeatism, of the brand so popular today in Washington, DC, even though we were hunched over a tiny table at the House of Nan King in liberal San Francisco. You know the stuff. The political posturing: It’s a losing proposition for Democrats to support censure or impeachment. This Congress will never impeach Bush. We’ll look weak on security. Or the ever-comfortable, elitist stance: People don’t care about these issues. They only care about American Idol. I paraphrase, but you get the idea.

maybe the chandeliers should have tipped her off?

“Are we supposed to stand by and do nothing?” I asked.

They looked at me like I was a five-year-old. Or, perhaps the radical fringe. I remember the book editor saying, “We can only do what we can do.”

If, for instance, we were talking about Arabs in French Algeria learning to think of themselves as French (in French) and to show disdain for their ancestral culture, language, and people, we'd say such sad colonial converts have been "colonized."  They have absorbed the values of their oppressors. 

This is what's happened to the establishment Democrats in both the press and the government itself.  They are incapable of fighting the GOP because they believe what the GOP has told them.  You must endorse Bush's failure before you're allowed to talk about it.  You must not challenge the premise.  By refusing to challenge Bush's disasterous failure on national security, they live down to the stereotypes the GOP has carved out for them. 

And they don't dare step outside. 

Hazel:  Dandelion, why don't you tell us the story of El-ahrairah?

Cowslip:  El-ahrairah and his trickery don't really mean very much to us, charming as it is.

Hazel:  Rabbits will always need tricks.

Cowslip:  No, we need dignity, and above all, the will to accept our fate.

As one of our poets is fond of saying, if I may quote...

Hazel:  - Yes, of course. - Please, do.

Cowslip:  "Where are you going, stream?

Far, far away.

Take me with you, stream.

Take me on your dark journey.

Lord Frith, take me far away, to the hearts of light.

The silence. I give you my breath.

Respectable Democrats are offended that our response to the GOP's kind offer was nothing more than a sarcastic retort:  "Yes, let's help ourselves to a roof of bones." 

Such shocking behavior, to refuse the table-scraps offered us by that nice man Karl Rove.  He's never as mean to us as the big bad blogsphere, so long as we stay in our place. 

This is the meaningless discourse we call "respectable."  It's meaningless because it's simply marketing, nothing more.  To participate in it, you must reproduce its caricatures and ignore anything that doesn't already fit.  You cannot and will not be admitted to the ranks of the professional journalists, commentators, or media consultants unless you are willing to merely repeat the approved story

repeat the approved story, O Tom Bevan, and your name will echo here for eternity!

Polite people know that you cannot be strong on national defense unless you support the use of Iraq to strengthen our enemies and exhaust our military.  The blogsphere knows this and this is why we are so profane.  When polite discourse is merely used to discipline an otherwise useless generation of sops and milquetoasts to chant in unison, when it is a weapon used against you, the first thing you must attack is polite discourse itself ... which the blogsphere, instinctively, did. 

Why am I so unimpressed with the respectable Democrat act?  Why am I not taken in by the phony armchair geopolitics of the "liberal hawk"?  Why do I not know my place as someone outside the halls of no doubt well educated power brokers?  Well, like all the other regulars at Eschaton, I hold a Ph.D.  I am intellectually intimidated by no one.  Never have been.  My training is in the historical application of religious and other discourses to the legitimation or de-legitimation of authority.  I specialize in one country in one century, but I have to be able to teach matters spanning three continents over more than a thousand years.  This makes me relatively bullshit proof.  While I will always defer to the practical experience of the professional, I know what educated discourse sounds like and let me tell you, it's not polite, it's almost always confrontational.  That's how you weed out the weak from the start.  People in the Natural Sciences shout a lot, for some reason.  Medievalists and archeologists are notorious drinkers.  Math people are strangely impatient.  The literary types almost never say what they mean, but rather expect you to glean what they mean by asking yourself "why did they say that?" 

And, what's more, I'm an educator.  All of us eggheads are equally engaged in the challenges of teaching (though some are more equal than others).  What I know is useless unless I can apply it and pass it on.  There is no excuse for not being able to explain anything to anyone, no matter their educational background.  This is why I have nothing but black rage for the phony elitism of the pundits and the Democratic establishment:  elitism is always a coward's cop-out of an argument he can't handle. 

But, I guess, for phony intellectuals like George Will and Richard Cohen, we don't look like the intellectuals they see in the movies, so they're confused.  They, at least, have the decency to act how they think an educated person would act. 

So it doesn't matter how wrong they are. 

We've been right and they've been wrong for years.  Doesn't matter.  We're not respectable. 

If respectability means surrender, the first thing you must do is reject, in no uncertain terms, the prison your enemies are writing for you. 

You must, in short, get in their fucking grill

This made the wimps who flatter themselves that they are our leaders and gatekeepers very, very nervous.  Their arrangement with their abusers is ... complicated and fragile.  We who rattle their cages don't know what we're getting into. 

We are mocked by those who have surrendered for not surrendering.  They have access, in the sense that they have what their abusers see fit to give them, and they think that's the beginning and end of all status.  Respectability. 

But I will not respect a corpse

He told us he supported the Bush/Iraq war because 9/11 was a wake-up call and it was inconceivable to him that the Bush administration would lie the United States into an invasion. Another reason: he had been in Cambodia and seen firsthand the capacity of human beings to do evil.

Well, I've never been to Cambodia, but I already knew about the capacity of humans to do evil.  That's why I was never stupid enough to support this war. 

"Okay, you were right. I 'll grant you that. You were right when the rest of us were wrong..."

Actually, only a minority of Americans supported the invasion (until the shooting actually started).  Most of America and all of the world knew better.  Here, the corpse is simply chanting one of Rove's satanic psalms. 


"No, no, let me ask you a question. How come you, a musician, maybe a good one, maybe a well-read one, but a musician with no training in affairs of state - how come you of all people were right about Iraq but the most respected, most experienced, most intelligent, most serious thinkers in the United States got it wrong?"

A mere musician?  You know, someone who words with their hands?  How could they possibly know anything?  We, in our infinite wisdom, will tell you what's going on and even if we're wrong, at least we're respectable. 

This is what I meant about elitism.  When they realize the status they've humiliated themselves to attain is nothing but air they'll try to intimidate you with their Grandiose Nothings. 

But "serious thinkers" like this idiot are just a bunch of mandarins.  That's what their "training in affairs of state" reduced them to.  They don't dare think at all.  They read the same things, they say the same things, they look alike, they act alike, they dress alike, and all because they're scared shitless to think or act for yourselves.  Those among "the most respected, most experienced, most intelligent, most serious thinkers in the United States" who came forward to oppose the war, for instance, were disciplined and marginalized and this "liberal hawk" is participating in that Stalinist excercise by pushing them down the memory-hole. 

He honestly can't remember them. 

They're easy to scare, easy to discipline, easy to exploit.  Therefore, as intellectuals, they're useless.  As weaponized wimps, aimed at their own country, however, they are the IED of the mind.  They are deployed in a war of attrition against you. 

We, the great unwashed, are better informed and more educated than our sniffing so-called superiors in the press and the Democratic establishment.  This they can ignore by pointing out that we use the f-word a lot. 

Yes, that's what passes for argument in the press and the Democratic establishment. 




Linda C. said...

I feel really tired tonight, and after reading this post, I realize that I am, additionally, "SICK and tired". Frustrated. Powerless. Unheard. Angry.
We have a Vichy in Florida and his name is Bill Nelson. He is up for re-election to the U.S. Senate this year and he is thoroughly Democratic-establishment. In his mind, every country in the world (particularly Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran) are threatening to destabilize America. I know that
my progressive views, when e-mailed to him, go in one eye and out of the other. Bill Nelson needs a viable Democratic challenger just as Joe Lieberman has found one in Ned Lamont.
A few words from Senator Nelson of Florida regarding '?? Nuking Iran'.

"Dear Ms. Carraway:

Thank you for contacting me about the growing crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have a particular interest in this issue, and knowing the thoughts of my constituents is very important to me.

Iran has sparked an international crisis over its nuclear program through a long history of dishonesty and deception concerning its enrichment activities. Although Iran is legally prohibited under its international treaty agreements from pursuing a nuclear weapons program, Iran has consistently lied to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Inspectors have not been given the free and open access to Iranian nuclear facilities that is required to build the confidence of the rest of the world. Just the opposite, Iran has deliberately tried to hide the full extent of its nuclear facilities and operations from public view.

Iran has now thrown the IAEA inspectors out of the country, and refuses to permit anyone to observe its reactors. We do not know the size of the overall Iranian nuclear program, and without independent inspectors, we cannot be sure that Iran is not building a nuclear arsenal. Iran’s actions have shattered the confidence of the international community, and the stakes are too high for complacency.

At the same time, a new and more radical leader has taken power in Iran. He has increased the country’s anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric, including giving assistance to insurgents attacking U.S. troops in Iraq, and making an inflammatory public commitment to “wipe Israel off the map.” With our closest Mideast ally and over 100,000 U.S. troops now in range of Iranian missiles, we must not sit idly by while this real threat continues to develop.

I view Iran as one of the most serious threats to the United States and our allies. I support pursuing diplomacy and negotiations as long as they are productive, and I believe that Russia and China can and must play an active and responsible role in heading off the crisis. But I must agree with the President--we cannot take military options, as a last resort, off the table. To do so would render our diplomatic negotiations feeble, dooming them to failure, and might also prevent us from taking decisive action should it become necessary. Please know that I will continue to monitor the Iranian situation closely, and I will keep your views in mind as it develops."

lucretia said...

linda c.: You must be very frustrated. He sounds just like Bush!

It't nice to know Florida feels this way. Sad,but they've got Jeb so it's understandable.

The three countries you mention Cuba,Venezuela and Iran constitute the latest Bush focus for Americans. And particularly Cuba for Floridans, right? Never ending.

In your last governor's election in Florida an effective Democrat ran quite well against Jeb Bush. He would be good for this race, but obviously the DCCC will not go for this. They are probably quite happy with Bill N.

Anonymous said...

I don't like Bill Nelson much, but you'll notice that I haven't said much about him since his dismal performance during the Alito nomination. That's because, contrary to some people's perception of anti-Vichys, I'm willing to play a little practical politics: his opponent, Katherine Harris, is SO abysmally awful that I'm happy to have Nelson win. The next time there's a primary with an electable Democrat challenging Nelson, on the other hand, I'm likely to come out fighting for the progressive.

On a different topic: ain't Grand Moff Texan the best? I just love cuss-mouthed, sideways-thinking intellectuorabble. GMT, I'm honored as hell that you condescend to pitch in here from time to time. I haven't read a klinker from you yet.

boB said...

Bravo - just bravo.

lucretia said...

Katherine Harris has been bad mouthed by her partner in crime for 2000 election, the one and only lil ole Jeb Bush. This little rat does't want her for senator because she's not too popular, bad job, etc. What a loyal buddy!

I wish the two of them would meet a hungary alligator in a Florida swamp, while Katherine is putting on more lipstick.

Linda C. said...

Thersites-- the thing about Harris is that she has little chance of winning. Her behavior has sometimes been goofy and even the Republican establishment is less than lukewarm about her candidacy. Last I heard, the Repubs were considering having another candidate in the primary-- a man, but I can't remember his name. So, I believe that FL progressives could have safely been offered a better choice in the
Democratic primary.

plattecohighschooler said...

I'm tired too, Linda. Tired of being called an idiot for supporting Bush. I know. You're dissenting. Or are you? Dissenting involves not only disagreeing with someone, but proposing a better solution to a problem RESPECTIVELY and without calling the person a moron. I propose that the people who do this stop and try intelligent arguing. I'm not charging you with making a cheap shot, but putting out a warning for those who do. Enough said. Let's respectfully disagree and help this great country move forward.

Rob said...

You might be interested in my recent posting, an interview I had with author Robert W. Fuller. Fuller just published a new book entitled All Rise about the social dysfunction of "rankism" in society and the need to replace it with a "dignitarian culture." He sees this as a potential reform movement that progressives can rally behind while appealing to a cross section of race, gender, and class demographics.

Anonymous said...

Where were those pictures taken?

Anonymous said...

I believe that's a cathedral in Italy, built by monks who were celebrating their freedom from fear of death. Really a wonderful, Buddhist approach, don't you think? To take the macabre, and celebrate it because you're utterly confident in the Universe being good and therefore free from fear?

Check out Grand Moff Texan's blog, though (link on my home page) and ask him for sure.