Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Lasting Resentment

From my mailbox I extract the latest agitprop claiming that Steve Bullock accepted campaign contributions from "Hanoi Jane". Wow. You have to be of a certain age to even get the reference, but when Jane Fonda went to Hanoi in 1972 it opened a wound old cultural warriors can never, will never, heal. They will hate her till their dying breath while supporting a billionaire New York con man who got a deferment due to "bone spurs". Yeah right. The ultimate "Fortunate Son", totally clueless about the meaning of the lyrics. (shocker) Fonda never called our soldiers "losers and suckers" but she did correctly point out the US as an imperialist aggressor fighting revolutionaries trying to defend their own liberation. And getting their asses kicked, despite millions of tons of bombs and agent orange and napalm. I have no problem calling those soldiers who volunteered losers and suckers. Anyone with half a brain could see the injustice of supporting a corrupt regime and slaughtering peasants. Those who were drafted faced a horrific dilemma. Either way, so many came home damaged, physically, mentally, spiritually, and have yet to fully recover. Many ended their own lives, many glorify/ reify the experience and adopt it as a permanent marker of their identity. And live each day with a bitter hate for "Hanoi Jane".

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Finger on the Pulse of America

Vindicated yet again, this time through an interview on NPR. David Green was talking to some ex-New Yorker now living in Sun City Arizona about her politics and she confirmed my suspicion (documented on this blog) that much of Trump's support comes from the fact that he is a great entertainer. The ex-New Yorker said she and her recently deceased husband ( two weeks ago "he just dropped dead") loved sitting around together and laughing hysterically at Trump's schtick, his comedy routine. They also loved that "he pisses people off"- according to this woman, a very New York thing. Which affirms my theory that it is the Donald's Rodney Dangerfield impersonation that most inspires loyalty. This is a woman who voted with the Democrats her whole life but she fell in love with the Trump Show. Green, trying hard not to condescend, kept asking if comedic brilliance was enough to qualify a person for the Presidency so she struggled to come up with another good reason: "He's a builder". Then she said there were "many, many people just like her" there in Sun City and I have no doubt this is true. When pressed, she said she was worried about "our cities"; the rioting and looting and anarchy ( code for shwartzers) that was consuming the places she used to enjoy shopping in, dining, the theater, etc.. Welcome to democratic capitalism. We miss Huntrt S Thompson and William Burroughs ( both great gun enthusiasts) and we miss Frank Zappa and Kurt Vonnegut and the list goes on. People who could capture the horror and obscenity, the grief and the terror, the fear and loathing of an underbelly that no longer cares to hide. Just go to UTube and dial up Rodney Dangerfield / Caddyshack and you will witness how Trump rose to power.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Great Awakening

The Group just listened to Michelle Alexander talk about mass incarceration and the new Jim Crow where at the end she hopes that American's can experience a "Great Awakening". I'm always a little skeptical at these vague, religious prescriptions for social change (there was an Enlightenment but that's a different story). Then I was reading a piece in the Atlantic on Q anon and the author was saying The Great Awakening is a big meme in that miliue as well. Then I started thinking: what if Michelle Alexander is Q ? Yes, there are events when great intellectural and cultural shifts occur, disruptions, ruptures, etc. often preceded by technological innovation. But given the ecological timeline and the new media landscape of memes and influencers, an Idea isn't going to sweep humnity to a new understanding- in time. And it certainly isn't going to convince the power elite to surrender their wealth and status and property.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Always Wrong

The thing that distiguishes the political majority here in my little community is that they are always wrong about everything. And the fact this does nothing to temper their trust in their opinions. If you just go back as far as the Sagebrush Rebellion days and Montana Militia, they were wrong about the cause of the demise of the local timber industry and about taxes and the Constitution. If you jump ahead to wolf and bear re-introduction, they were wrong about wolves coming into town to snatch children. During the invasion of Iraq they believed it was connected to 9/11 and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong about Sharia Law being imposed on our community by immigrants. They have been wrong about climate change and Obama's birth certificate and now they are wrong about the Covid virus. But always being wrong never deters them in the slightest from forming strong opinions and trusting them. Yesterday I did a little early grocery shopping and was glad to see the large notices on the window asking people to wear masks. But I was dismayed to watch the Proudly Ignorant climb out of their giant pick-up trucks, adjust their camo hats and then smirk as they saw the signs and those of us obeying the ask. Because these obese, slack jawed rubes know the pandemic is a hoax. As with all the issues I have listed, these local "patriots" have inside knowlege, a knowlege far superior to the kind you get from scientists or "experts". They have common sense. Common to their type, that is. In the other examples of "wrongness", these flag-waving morons are exasperating. But in the case of Covid and masks, they are threatening my life and the lives of my loved ones. If it is true that this is a type unable to ever learn anything, incapable of self-reflection and perfectly willing to risk my life to promote their ridiculous ideology, then we now have a REAL antagonism. And we can now easily identify the enemy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Enough Rope

This post was going to be about the inevitibility of Trump hanging himself, given enough rope. And bringing the Grand Old Party down with him. But after hearing the report on NPR about the looting in Chicago, I think we can expand the syndrome beyond knucklehead "conservatives" and include the Black Lives protesters. According to the journalist, a group gathered after a police shooting of an armed black man ( a few of those in Chicago)inspired a night of looting. The Group, organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago, carried a banner which read: "Our Futures Have Been Looted From Us; Loot Back". The leader was interviewed and opined: "I don't care if somebody decides to loot...that's reparations." Now, maybe NPR got it all wrong. But if this is how it went down all I can do is shake my head and spit. Here, have some rope. I am not saying I have any moral objections to looting. But it is one shit tactic if you are trying to build a movement for social change. It's the lifestyle anarchist credo in all its absurd form. Hey, anybody can do what they want, like, diversity of tactics, man, like, whose streets? Our streets! Whose stuff on the store shelves? Our stuff! This slogan is really going to go over big out here in the Rocky Mountain west. Either these people lack the capacity to come up with a strategy AND ENFORCE IT or they just don't give a fuck. Looting is not the Revolution, it is not "reparations", it isn't "justice". It's idiotic. And sets the cause back who knows how far. Abolish The Police So We Can Grab Shit! Send IN the Social Workers when a black guy shoots a cop! They are as incoherent as the Trumpists, just not as dangerous. Let's see what poor Kamala Harris says.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Me

While bicycling yesterday, I saw a big sign in a yard that said "Only My Life Matters". On one level you have to admire the brutal honesty. Most people who have so completely assimilated and internalized capitalism's "Prime Directive" make some attempt to couch it in irony. Of course the person could be racist (like all of us, according to White Fragility) or he could just be a serious libertarian, we have both in our quiet community. The real question is, with gun sales going through the roof, which side will the person be on? This is when the "Friend/ Enemy" difference gets real.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Bring It

Another one of history's favorite themes: democracy vs totalitarianism. This one has lain dormant for a while; capitalism defeated communism and history ended, or so the story went. But with Bernie and others talking socialism, the new Cold Warriors have sprung into action, throwing down McCarthyite threats and invoking all the patriotic symbols at their disposal. What has been called the "culture wars" has now morphed into a deeper, hardened conflict best symbolized by the Virus Mask. If you read the subtext in Pompeo's latest speech or Trumps ratcheting rhetoric over China and de-regulation, if you understand the signalling the anti-maskers are doing over liberty and the "deep state", if you feel the tension around confederate monuments being torn down and "law and order" under fire and whiteness and all the rest, you understand very real battle lines are being drawn. Add to this tension a pandemic and economic crash and ecosystems coming apart at the seams...

I find it refreshing that Capital is displaying its profound unease after decades of triumphalist bravado. Because this multiple and ever-expanding crisis has finally forced the much needed confrontation between openly antagonistic forces and the battle is joined. Just as the Empire loves weak states but fears failed states, it also loves weak citizens but fears failed citizens; those unable to form coherent positions, unable to distinguish adversary from enemy, unable to articulate grievances or establish representation.

None of this appeared overnight. The liberal order has been eroding for some time, but at a pace that was made it more difficult to define or describe. Now everything is acclerated, mimicking the climte effects as they begin to cascade. "The worst are filled with passionate intensity..." but they have no plan. The Center cannot hold and "the situation is excellent".