Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hell in a hand basket

I get aggravated by the hatred of modern society that permeates some sub-sections of the internet culture.  You get it from both the left and the right.  The right thinks it's lack of God that's doing it, the people on the left blame everything other than their own interests or fascinations.  People are fucked up--it's television, or video games, or rock music.

Think again.

You do understand that we've always been like this, right?  The world isn't going to hell in a hand basket.  It's been there the whole time.  What period of time are you comparing us to where we're coming up short?  When we fought to keep the races separated?  When we kept them as slaves or killed them and stole their land?  When we treated women as chattel, or other races as children we needed to "civilize?"  When we would pack up and go to the town square and have a picnic while they hang someone?  It's so interesting how much we value diversity up until we have diversity of taste.  Maybe it's heavy metal causing the kids to kill each other.  Or rap.  Or television.  Or maybe it's the fact that every time we've built large cities--throughout the whole of history--we've had the same goddamn things going on behind the scenes.  Theft, murder, rape, prostitution (of all varieties).  That's mankind, and that's "civilization."  We've vicious little monkeys at times.  But it's not modern society making us that way.  We're built that way.  As says the Police song: there is no political solution for our troubled evolution.

We do what we can to drag us out of the hand basket.  And fail as often as not.  But every time we're getting a little closer to some sort of enlightenment.  Don't think so?  History disagrees.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Three sides to every story

Can we stop playing the "Obamabot" and "Firebagger" cards now?  Please?  First of all, if you're reduced to nicknaming your opponent (I refuse to use the word "enemy" here) to reduce his or her stature, you've already lost your way.

Granted... there's a lot of different things we can choose to criticize this administration for.  (Though, in all fairness, Congress is possibly the bigger failure in this regard).  But if you do so while ignoring the things they've done right, you're being a pissface.  Right--you're acting as though someone just pissed in your face.  If you use the term "Obamabot" what you're actually saying is "I can't be bothered to debate with you--I'm late for a trolling date on a conservative page."

But--all you "obamabots" aren't off the hook either.  There are several things not easily set aside, ranging from security policies maintained through the change of administrations to epic failures with regard to medical marijuana and wildlife conservation.  I know you all think some of this is overblown but the fact is that we're fighting a hydra, and nearly every progressive out there is battling a different head.  It's all the same beast... those with money and influence using it to the detriment of the environment, the economy, and the average American.  Medical marijuana, for example, is strongly opposed by liquor companies, agencies that make money through prohibition--including drug testing and law enforcement agencies, among others.  And the wolves?  Well, they're opposed by ranchers, and, frankly, ranching is a far more lucrative profession than being a wolf.  Those who stand up for the wolves have no dog in the fight.  They're just fighting a battle in the name of creatures who have no idea there's even a battle being fought.

Does Obama come off as weak and conciliatory?  Sometimes.  Do his more loyal partisans stretch logic in order to excuse some of this?  Sometimes.  Do more strident progressives sometimes get a little carried away with their criticisms?  Sometimes.  Do we have to accept that we have very little choice right now, that we cannot afford to allow the Republicans to control the dialogue?  Yes, but this also applies to the Democrats.  We must, as a group, refuse to accept Republican framing and terminology--that's the progressive wing and the Democratic loyalists alike.  If we see or hear a frame or term that is designed and floated by the Republicans in order to influence the dialogue, it is our responsibility to reject it and try to work up a way to reframe or refute it.  If a term is likewise prejudicial, it behooves us to attempt to replace it.

We fight with words, with ideas. And with mockery.  Studies have shown that emotion works better than logic or facts when it comes to bringing people around to your way of thinking.  The Republicans have dibs on the emotions of hate and fear.  We are left with mockery and humor.  The most striking thing about mockery is that the right wing really has no defense against it.  They don't understand mockery, since it's a weapon that can be wielded easily by the powerless against the powerful.  This "does not compute."

The French Philosophs were instrumental in reducing respect and admiration for the nobility and the clergy leading up to the French revolution.  I suggest that we become American Philosophs working tiredly to put pinholes in the inflated egos of our own aristocracy.  Maybe with a little wisdom we can avoid making the mistakes the French did.

Well... with a little wisdom all the way around.  Otherwise all bets are off.