Thursday, January 04, 2007

Minority Retort

I think many lefty bloggers, myself included, probably felt at least a brief existential shift after the midterm election results were in, as we found ourselves out of our reflexive minority stance at long last. Would it be worth the effort to kick a beaten, defeated Republican party, already coated in the sewage of its incompetence, excesses, and mal-fee-ance? Would we now turn our energies toward pushing the resurgent Democratic party away from its rightier-than-thou inclinations of recent years -- not necessarily left, but simply back toward its gravitational center, away from the temptations and fleeting blandishments of cozying up to religious whackjobs and defense contractors? (Obviously, the answers are yes and yes.)

Fortunately, the entire right (that is, the far right, as opposed to the center-right, which is the Democrats) wing seems to be undergoing an existential earthquake. Tectonic plates of disregarded platitudes and played-out cynicism grind against each other with all the harmony of two stray cats fucking on an alley fence. And that's at the professional level of the commentariat; the Cheetos-and-Mountain-Dew-Battalion are even more apoplectic than usual.

But a fish rots from the head, as the cliché goes, and so does the right's complete lack of unifying ideas become exposed by their top-down hysteria. Obviously, most people's political principles are informed by their personal values, but the modern neoclown is exemplified by what can only be characterized as abject emotional investment. Nothing else explains it; no matter how many times they're proven wrong by the facts on the ground, they find another diversion to throw.

It's like the final act of any given Mannix or Starsky & Hutch, where the villain (usually played by either Anthony Zerbe or Robert Loggia) scrambles down the dead-end alley, quickening disco pulse and wocka-wocka guitars adding a sense of musical urgency, in his futility attempting to thwart pursuing cops with found objects (garbage cans, hubcaps, bicycles, etc.), knowing all the while he's caught. It's predictable, and desperate, and only marginally entertaining, and even then only if you're simply too lazy to switch over to the Spice Channel, rub one out and go to bed already.

The only thing the clowns had going for them when they were riding high was their tight electoral advantage. It wasn't their stated principles; those were flouted early and often. What kept them in the game was their efficiency at bottling and selling inchoate, random anger and sneering contempt. That the stereotypical subjects and objects of their anger and contempt frequently only had passing acquaintance with reality was not necessarily considered a disadvantage, considering their target demographic. If anything, it's a feature of their operative dynamic.

There's certainly nothing wrong with being angry, and holding your ideological opponents in contempt, in principle anyway. But when it becomes consistently more evident that the facts are working against them, and all they can do is keep playing that same old card from the same old deck, it becomes counterproductive. It bespeaks the fact that they suddenly woke up, found themselves bereft of any useful idea besides pointing across the aisle, and had no idea what to do about it.

So you have your choice of the whimsical hypocrisy of the mercenary idiots on the rent-a-screamer shows suddenly finding their civility bone, and the meta-arguments of the amateurs squinting at their rulers in their virtual pissing contest. It's the cheap prestidigitation of sixth-graders at magic camp, semiotic tricksters engaged in the online equivalent of juggling lemons on a street corner.

Politics can be either an iterative process, gaining and refining knowledge and principles, and using them to address actual problems, or it can be merely a pathetic struggle of affirmation and psychological projection. For too long certain electoral blocs of the country have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by a bunch of chickenshits still working out their daddy issues and their Vietnam-era moral cowardice. Most of them have gotten wise by now; the remainder still need their projected totems and fetishes to dance around, endlessly, mindlessly. They're all C. Thomas Howell in Red Dawn; their anger keeps them warm.

And there's no shortage of addled morons to provide that frisson of smug, sanctimonious jingoism for them, whether it's a $25 mil per year radio pillhead who picks on disabled people, a plagiarizing transsexual who openly fantasizes about shooting presidents and poisoning Supreme Court justices, or some random loser peddling "Rope. Tree. Journalist." t-shirts on the sidebar while he practices his Travis Bickle sneer into the glare of his monitor. Eventually the sugar high and the road rage run out, and common sense may start to leak in here and there, and they look around and realize what they've tethered themselves to, and how there's no more walking it back, no way to reconcile what they've said with what they thought they were. Or not -- plenty of them are no doubt content to go on bitching about the same librul government that provides them with SSI and unemployment checks.

And that's okay -- it would be a lot less frustrating in the sense of actual debate of actual issues, but also much less amusing if they came to the realization of just how utterly ridiculous they really are, scuttling around like they think they're Tolkien characters or something. Being the recipient of one of their wink-and-a-nod closet-case epithets is like having Donald Trump tell you that your hair is all fucked up.

Personally, I'd be far more worried if Trump told me he liked my hair.

[Update: It's as if they're having some kind of weird competition to see who can be the biggest fuck-up, who can play fastest and loosest with actual facts, and actual people's lives. It's not as if, now that the existence of Jamil Hussein has been proven by his arrest, these morons are suddenly going to call a cease-fire in their war on the librul media and common sense.

Nor will they, on the off chance that Hussein turns up perforated and mutilated in a couple weeks, have the fucking nards to step up and admit for once in their rotten little lives that their bellicose stupidity and chronic fuck-uppery have cost a lot of people their lives. I humbly suggest they all do us a huge favor, and go over to Iraq and seek out the truth for us that said media is withholding. Seriously. I'm embarrassed for them at this point.]

[Update #2: The other night I caught a reasonably funny new show, The Knights of Prosperity, about a group of hard-luck mooks who decide that the only way to get ahead in life is to band to together to rob Mick Jagger. It quickly becomes obvious that, because Jagger lives in a Fort Knox-like townhouse with state-of-the-art security systems, their goal of burgling Jagger's lavish pad is simply beyond them. Yet the point of it all is that the poor chuckleheads don't realize that, so they keep chipping away at their impossible dream. It is in that spirit that I dub the Limbaugh/Coulter/Malkin faction of media loons and internet squids The Knights (or, alternately, Nuts) of Prosperity™.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But WHY do you think the Right is like that? The people that vote for them aren't other politicians, you know. I'm pretty sure the problem isn't the policitians, it's the country they represent.

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