But in the end it seemed like it would have been as much a tedious reiteration as a recapitulation. Does anyone need to be reminded that Richard Bruce Cheney is a loathsome tool who needs to be frog-marched off every cable-news podium onto which he skulks; that Nadya Suleman is a parasitic head case who needs to be forcibly sterilized; that Joe Lieberman is an unprincipled ratfucker who should be thrown from a bridge into a vat full of pig parts and droppings; that Barack Obama turned out be just another dime-store politician after all, even with all the populist political winds at his back? They're all loathsome in their own special way, but it's nothing new to readers of this or any other blog. It's just a matter of breaking out the thesaurus and finding innovative ways of saying "You really suck" to people we already disparage on a routine basis. Who needs it?
That said, it is somewhat useful for everyone to take stock of what the last year or ten years or whatever held for them, their families, communities, etc. I think most of us, unless we happen to be oil futures speculators or hedge-fund thieves, would like a do-over on many things. And yet, what would "we" do with it, Kemosabe?
Probably the most salient point to really be driven home over the past decade is how brute stupid so many people really are, and how technology has tended to empower them in that, rather than to allow or encourage them to unscrew their heads from their sphincters. It has enabled them, counterintuitively I think, to wallow in it and become even dumber and meaner, just when that seemed impossible.
Blogs and chat fora at least had a fairly equitable chance of raising or lowering discourse; for every virtual room of tubthumping dipshits, you had decent odds of finding people who could argue substantively, and even with some measure of intellectual honesty and good faith. Even a blog maintained by a halfwit troglodyte at least requires some small bit of discipline and persistence. All you need with a Twitter account is a lack of self-awareness, the assumption that someone, somewhere, actually gives half a shit what you had for breakfast. (Me, I had the usual Sunday Special of tequila and Pop-Tarts. Don't knock it till you try it, preferably with your taste buds pre-coated from last night's bender of hydrocodone washed down with RBVs and purple drank.)
Knowing that yahooism reigns and having it confirmed in ever more ways with ever more frequency are two different things. You can grok the dilemma of understanding just how dumb the average American is, and that by definition it means that half the people aren't even that smart, and still have be almost a surprise just how high it turns out you had that "average" bar set. The rise of Twitter and the prevalence of cable news networks attempting to keep pace with that nonsense only drives home the sad fact that all this technology democratized the people's ability to speak their mind, only to demonstrate that most of them had nothing useful to say, nor the means to even comprehend it.
What kind of moron watches CNN to listen to the news reader recite viewers'
In the end, maybe that's what the Naughts were all about -- confirmation, not revelation. They confirmed that there are vast swaths of people that really will fall for or put up with anything, and some of them are college-edumacated Democrats. There's a difference between them and the unrepentant yahoos of the Palin/Beck set, but only in degree. No one seems able to quite explain this compelling reason why the Democrats must retain Ted Kennedy's Senate seat or regain California's goobernatorship, seeing what they've done this past year.
So the Democrats are spineless and flaccid, even with a supermajority, and the Republicans are openly gleeful at any prospect to profiteer and make war on the backs of the poor. (Not that the Democrats aren't fine with those prospects as well, they just have the good grace to not be as open about it.)
The latest class I'm taking has begun with a rather protracted discussion of ethics in general, and the corporation's need to be socially responsible in particular. Snapshots of overworked South Asians and Caribbeans slaving for six cents an hour amongst piles of $120 logo shirts proliferate next to scenes from the ritual death of the factory farm. Woven throughout is the plaint that the eeeevil corporation squeezes its profits out of the hides -- sometimes literally -- of the weak and powerless, abusing them mercilessly to find that extra one-tenth of a cent per unit in profit.
What's ignored is how deeply symbiotic this ugly scenario is. Every successful business has gotten that way by giving people what they want. Anyone who is still in the dark about where their clothes or their meat or their kitchen cleansers come from is either too stupid to breathe, or knows exactly what the deal is, and is just fine with it.
It's not exactly a secret that people tell themselves little lies to get through the day all the time. So will they bravely put up with abused chickens and exploited Pakistanis and unbelievably polluted rivers in China, in order to save a buck on the next Costco run? Hell yes, even at the expense of the jobs and communities they used to have. It has always been thus, but the past ten years seem to have compacted and accelerated that nasty dynamic.
Oppression and malfeeance, lies and chicanery, in whatever nefarious forms, simply cannot continue without the complicity of some portion of the victims of those tactics. For example, violent pro-life activism would not exist without the involvement or tacit approval of at least some women. Fox News and its ordured heap of screeching daemons could not thrive without the viewership of the bamboozled, the very people who are being tricked into voting against their own rational self-interest over and over again. The Democratic Party would be thumped without the support of dead-ender bien pensant libruls who will back them at any and all costs -- as they are about to find out the hard way later this year.