Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Surfers of the Blood-Dimmed Tide

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity...

--  The Second Coming
Now that Conservatism is finally embracing its Inner Klansman, dropping its mask and running through the streets of America in all its naked, fascist glory, certain things have become inevitable.

It is inevitable that the few, ragged Liberals who still write about such things will continue to fruitlessly document the atrocities, remind our tiny readerships how predictable and predicted this all was and, every now and then, we will get a little too drunk and do a snarky little "I told you so dance" along the distant margins of the American media because nobody wants to fucking hear it.

It is inevitable that Conservatism's well-paid representatives and collaborators in mainstream media will continue to smile and smile and lie and lie and deflect and dismiss every Republican atrocity with the shield of "C'mon people!  It isn't really that bad" --

SE "Sippy" CUPP on CNN's "State of the Union": You've got a lot of Republicans come out against what Donald Trump has said. And I think it's pretty irresponsible to paint the entire party as xenophobic. He's got 35 percent of the vote. That means 65 percent of the party is not with Donald Trump
and the sword of "and anyway, Both Sides Do It".
Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press: ... Despite their problems with the truth, Trump and Clinton remain their parties' frontrunners.
And now that everyone knows the media has fled the watchtower and abdicated its most basic and sacred duty of informing the public without fear or favor,  it is inevitable that purest fascists among all the Republican candidates for president -- those who have most successfully adapted their political metabolisms to the nonstop business of spreading monstrous lies and flag-swaddled terror and harvesting the wingnut's paranoia and rage -- will rise to the top of the GOP shitpile, while the merely wannabe Birchers and me-too blackshirts will fall because they always screw up lyrics to "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" -- 

-- and forget to shout that Barack Obama is the Jihadi Antichrist into every open mic in Christendom.

And thus did the return of Susan Smith become inevitable.

Or, more precisely, the return of Susan Smith-ism:  that state of cultural barbarism when an amoral scumbag can use the most horrific lies imaginable for political advantage and suffer no political consequences for his action.

The year was 1994: an era now nearly lost to history but which our modern Beltway Media assures us was an Age of Comity and Courtesy when bipartisan politeness and collegiality were the norm and vituperative partisanship was not tolerated.

Except, of course, it was nothing of the sort (for those of you unfamiliar with the Smith case, what follows is a SparkNotes version of what happened courtesy of the Eugene Register-Guardian, July 30, 1995 as archived by Alternet):

Gingrich & The Susan Smith Case

Even after a South Carolina jury declared Susan Smith guilty of murdering her two sons, reporters are not pressing Gingrich about the Smith case. Many seem to have forgotten that nine months ago, he loudly proclaimed the infanticide to be a campaign issue.

Newt Gingrich has gotten away with it.


Even after a South Carolina jury declared Susan Smith guilty of murdering her two sons, reporters are not pressing Gingrich about the Smith case. Many seem to have forgotten that nine months ago, he loudly proclaimed the infanticide to be a campaign issue.

Back in early November, the motor-mouthed Gingrich had much to say about the case -- offering a treatise so wrong-headed that it's almost laughable. Except there's nothing funny about the Susan Smith tragedy...or Gingrich's attempt to exploit it for election-eve advantage. Here's what Gingrich said three days before last November's election -- in response to an Associated Press reporter who asked him how the campaign was going: "Slightly more moving our way. I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things." Gingrich concluded, "The only way you get change is to vote Republican. That's the message for the last three days." 

Two days later, less than 24 hours before the polls opened, Gingrich defended his comments on the Smith case as no different than what he'd been saying for years -- that violence and related ills arise from a Democratic-controlled political system: "We need very deep change if we're going to turn this country around." Asked if the change he was offering the country would stop killings like those in South Carolina, he replied, "Yes. In my judgment, there's no question."
The article goes on to suggest what should have happened next.

For example, journalists might have asked Gingrich about the role Smith's rapist Republican stepfather played in turning her into a monster: a stepfather who "...was a Republican leader in South Carolina and local organizer of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition"  and a public champion of "'family values' and 'school prayer' as partisan Republican issues" while at the same time was "still having sex with his stepdaughter as recently as two months before she killed her kids."

Or journalists might have asked about the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act which "was dismembered [that] year by Gingrich-led 'pro-family' forces in the House".

But of course, journalists asked none of these things because journalists never ask these things of powerful Conservative degenerates like Gingrich.  And so the article leaves off with Gingrich "[c]urrently talking up a storm on his book tour" and "getting the red carpet treatment on America's biggest talk shows."

And 20 years, that moral-disaster-which-walks-like-a-man still is.

In fact, the art of not asking hard questions of powerful Conservative degenerates like Gingrich has become so ritualized and codified that even a lowly Liberal blogger can reduce them to a few, simple-to-understand rules.

Which brings us around at last to this exchange between Failgunner Ted Cruz and Hate Radio host Hugh Hewitt, presumably from the abandoned meth lab/Oath Keeping training camp where Hewitt conducts the business of his awful, awful radio show (from Media Matters):

On The Hugh Hewitt Show, Ted Cruz Parrots Limbaugh Smear, Claiming "Majority Of Violent Criminals Are Democrats"

HUGH HEWITT: I have never met -- not once, a single pro-life activist who is in favor of violence of any sort. Have you, Senator Cruz?

TED CRUZ (R-TX): I have not. And I would note that this whole episode has really displayed the ugly underbelly of the media. You know, every time you have violent crime or mass killing, you can almost see the media salivating hoping -- hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so they can use it to try to paint their political enemies. Now, listen, here's the simple and undeniable fact: the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. The media doesn't report that. What they report -- and there's a reason why the Democrats, for years, have been viewed as soft on crime because they go in and they appoint to the bench judges who release violent criminals. They go in and they do what Barack Obama tried to do, which is appoint a lawyer who voluntarily represented for free a cop killer to a senior Justice Department position. They go in and fight to give the right to vote to convicted felons. Why? Because the Democrats know convicted felons tend to vote Democrat, and so the media never reports on any of that, doesn't want to admit any of that. But you can see in every one of these -- every time there's a terrible crime, they're so excited, come on, please, one of these be a Republican so we can try to paint the other side. It is one of the more egregious examples of media bias, and it's something we see over and over and over again.

HEWITT: There are lots of other egregious examples. Stay with me, Senator Cruz, through the break. I'll be right back, America.
I would remind the court that this is the same Hugh Hewitt who is now being sold to the public as the reasonable, thinking-man's Conservative and Chuck Todd's newest BFF on NBC's Meet the Press.

20 years ago, with a little effort and a little integrity, the media could have put this kind of rank, bottom-feeding, skinhead bar talk in check.  Yeah, you can jabber like this to your heart's content on the White Power Hotline with the rest of America's dateless, bunker-dwelling gun-fetish freaks but here at the grown-up table we will never countenance such filth.

But the media did not do that.

Instead, they squeegeed the unhappy memory of the outright Republican treason of Iran/Contra from their collective memories, re-labeled hate hustlers like Gingrich as "provocative" and gave them permanent place on national teevee, and spent eight years happily chasing Bill Clinton's penis and the ghost of Vince Foster around and around DuPont Circle.

By the time they groggily began to notice that all was not quite right with the world, the Clinton surplus had been transformed into the Bush deficit, the global economy was in full collapse, we had been lied into and were clearly losing the wrong war, and Rush Limbaugh and Bastards of Jefferson Davis owned clear title to the Party of Lincoln.

And it's too late now for gentle suggestions and tsk-tsking rebukes.

Far too late.

Excuse me now while I inevitably get a little too drunk and do a little "I told you so dance" along the distant margins of the American media.


Niccki said...

After I read this I had to go brush my teeth, as I threw up a little. Hewitt and Cruz, WTF and OMG is there anything more disgusting except maybe Limbaugh. I swear it gets more and more unbelievable as the days go one, and no one, except a few rational people and the fake news such as the Daily and Nightly show is willing to loudly call "Bullshit". Larry Wilmore said it quite well, "OK people, enough, this isn't f****** funny anymore." When you look at the Cowardly Lion and Cruz, I get visions of an early Jim Jones, and we all remember how that turned out.

Jimbo said...

As an Irishman, I appreciated the hat tip to WB Yeats at the top of the post though TS Eliot's "The Wasteland" is the benchmark for me for the expression of the madness of war. I liked your version of Cruz as the Joker because it is brilliant - he is a smart, cynical and utterly soulless individual; a dead man. Dead, like the GOP is as any kind of political movement that addresses the future. The Milleninals, at least seem to understand that.

Lawrence said...

For anyone who thinks IT could never happen HERE, we're about to find out. The Arc of History is a really nice sentiment, but not much more than that. Another way the future could go is 'A boot stamping on a human face. Forever.'. I find both propositions equally plausible. The Republicans are openly campaigning on fascism. Police kill who they will, and find their apologists in the Republican base. Police rob the people more than criminals. The head of the FBI is constantly auditioning for a Fox gig. His agency does pro corporate, anti labor, anti populist spywork, when they're not framing dim disaffected brown people. And that's just what I can read on the internet. Who knows what the deeper state is doing? BLM protesters get shot by white supremacists. Planned Parenthood gets shot up. But he lived. And Cliven Bundy lives. But Tamir Rice is dead. I could make a list, but you know.
It's going to get worse. Much worse. White people don't care. They think they are part of the US. And until they are made to see that they are most emphatically a part of the THEM nothing will change. I am usually hopeful about the ability of American society to deal with these stresses. Not feeling it right now. The fucking conservatives are waiting for an excuse to start shooting their Enemies. They will make horrible things come true. Things that need not be. All of their worst nightmares, or mine, depending on how it breaks. It's like 12 Monkeys, where everything they do to stop the plague makes it happen. Fuck. I don't believe in the decency of people anymore. Not some of them, at least. What remains is to see how many of them there are.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"Forever", if fascism wins out?

An unpleasantly long time, yes, but fascism would include the perpetuation of our current physically unsustainable economic system, and that can't last forever.

Fiddlin Bill said...

You might want to read the well researched bio piece on Mr. Dear, Colorado Planned Parenthood cop killer and Iraq vet and mother murderer. His background is similar to Mrs. Smith's stepfather's.

Lawrence said...

Ivory Bill,
The boot line is Orwell, I think 1984. And I realize authoritarian systems are wasteful and energy intensive propositions, as is anarchy in it's own way. Technology may change that calculus on the authoritarian side. But, we humans really need to be working on preventing an ecological disaster of global scale. And I don't see that happening unless a lot more of us start acting like civilized people.

proverbialleadballoon said...

So, the media gave Reagan a 'pass' for Iran-Contra, I suppose because after Watergate, they didn't want to seem biased against republicans. That should have been the republican party using its Get out of Jail Free card, and that's that. But no, as you point out, the media allowed Limbaugh-Gingrich fascism to germinate, rather than suffocate it in the crib. Then you got the Clintons killing Vince Foster, panty-sniffing blue dresses, smearing Gore as some sort of liar, and besides, what's the difference between Gore and Bush anyway even though one says he'll put the surplus towards shoring up social security and the other says he'll send you a check for 300 bucks heh! yada yada until today, and if the media can allow something as ridiculous on its face as Death Panels to go un-refuted for a year, it can carry any water for the republican party.

regarding the boot in the face, forever: there's millions of people in the United States that would happily provide that boot. And the media dropping inconvenient facts down the memory hole allows it to happen.

ChicagoPat said...

Here's a post from vox that should be filled with links to you, driftglass:


EPA said...

A few days early for Zappadan, but I feel that this is appropos