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.
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.
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.