Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Tribe That Rubs Shit In Their Hair ™

From Mr. Coates, last week:
"If you are not around people who will look at you like you are crazy when you make stupid claims about other people's experiences, then you tend to keep saying stupid things about other people's experiences. It is not enough to pay a political price, or even to be shamed into silence. You have to come to believe -- in your heart -- that sincerity itself is not the same as accurate information. It is not enough for you to not be "the party of stupid" or to "stop saying stupid things" you must show some active commitment toward being less stupid."
Me concurring a year ago:
The entire Conservative enterprise is built on delusion and old dynamite, which is why every clock much forever remain stopped at one minute after Reagan's inauguration, every fact must be smothered under the stasis field of Rush Limbaugh roaring, rage-drunk bluster.  It is the sarcophagus of a dead ideology where the walls are now so densely postered and palimpsested with the detritus of Conservatism's lurid, lying history that its denizens cannot find the exit anymore, and its floors are so sticky and pitted with the grue of its savage, tribal, beat-in rituals that no one bothers to even look for the door.

Which is why  no deviation can be permitted, no error can be admitted and no apologies can be allowed.

As I wrote last year, this catastrophe all began as a headlong dive into the best fucking high the Right would ever have -- 

Shattered Like a Glass Reagan

Reagan was the opening coda of a long, wretched orgy of pure, barbaric, fuck-it-all that has roared along on adrenaline and borrowed money for more than 30 years now. Reagan was the first mountain of coke the Right piled onto the national coffee table; the first, chilly bottles of champagne bought with stolen credit cards being popped. Reagan was the promise that the peak moment of frenzied, stomping, tribal, rage-drunk Wingnut Worldfuck -- the moment when everything was beautiful, and everyone was gonna get laid -- could be made to last forever and ever if they all just clap-clap-clapped loud enough, hated hard enough, and all agreed to never under any circumstances look back at the ruin they were leaving in their wake. As I wrote three years ago: ...in the Conservative Crack House of Many Doors, Ronald Reagan was that first cocktail. The first line of coke. The first needle. The first "Holy Mother of God!” WOWGASM that shotguns right through the blood/brain barrier, reformats your entire ethical hard drive, and scrimshaws a brand new Prime Directive on the inside of your skull. Listen to any aging wingnut sighing and jerking sadly off to a tattered photo of Saint Ronnie -- despite the fact that the catastrophes we are now reaping were sown by his ruinous ideology -- and you can hear every addict who ever lived pining for that first Perfect High. The one they spend the rest of their days chasing, regardless of the size of the debts they run up or the ruined lives they leave in their wake.

Clinton? Objectively, Clinton qualifies as the greatest Center/Right President in history, and with balanced budgets, GATT, welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, record surpluses, foreign and domestic terrorists brought to book, and an actual military victory, he arguably delivered to the wingnuts more of everything they ever said they wanted than anyone else.

And they hated him for it.


Because Clinton was mere addiction maintenance delivered in measured doses under adult supervision: all policy-wonk that wasn’t cut with that industrial-waste-grade bigoted, psychotic bloodlust that gives Conservatism its wild, freebasing edge. Clinton was methadone, and for the hardcore lifestyle junkie, that shit is for babies.

And Dubya? Dubya was meth with a ketamine chaser delivered hammer-and-anvil directly to the lizard brain.

Dubya was 40 million Pig People tired of the hard, fussy job of being a tolerant, powerful democracy finally once-and-for-all blowing America’s family inheritance on an eight-year, blood-drunk bender.

Dubya was the United States crawling through dumpsters at our national soul’s midnight, killing anything that moves, licking out the contents of random baggies, hoping the little white flakes clinging to the plastic is crank and not rat poison. ...

Reagan -- that perfect, luminous Cartoon Reagan of their Limbaugh-addled minds -- is the greatest high the Right ever had: the one they have been chasing down the rathole of Conservatism ever since. He represents a genuine, revolutionary moment in American history: the moment when the Base came to believe --really, viscerally believe -- that they were now the Masters of All Things. When their eyes began to sparkle with a special, crazy light of certainty that they had finally found the Christian Warrior who would sweep aside the whiny, nagging, shabby carpenter-God of caution and consequence and compassion for the least of these...and place on that righteous throne a New, Muscular, Almighty Yahweh of unlimited consumption, White American Privilege, and kicking the motherfucking shit of anyone who said otherwise.

Fuck solar power.

Fuck turning the fucking thermometer down.

Fuck fuel efficiency.

Fuck sweaters.

And while we're at it, fuck pushy women and uppity Negroes too!

Those things and all the others were for fags and tree-huggers and the French, and we were Americans God Damn It. And as Americans, Reagan told us that we had a divine right to an unlimited supply of everything we ever wanted.



Reagan promised the Right that those scary rules about of cause and effect and action and consequences they always been taught were primal and immutable were really just fictions invented by smarty-pants Nanny-state Liberals. That their souls were troubled and lives were being slowly pulverized not because they were being slow-roasted by Ronnie's corporate friends and backers, but because Imaginary Lefty Elites had been holding them back all these years.

And salvation was at hand! All they had to do was stop fearing Hunter Thompson's assay of the dark side of the American character --
...a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
-- and instead wallow in it. Fling themselves into its arms like the embrace of the wildest, kinkiest lover they had ever dreamed of.


Reagan was the first, few vivid hours of the binge that is now shuddering to its squalid ending like something that crawled off the last page of Harlan Ellison's "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" 
Now the bender is over.

Outside, Reality's beating sun is stationed in the treetops, so bright and close to the Earth that it vaporizes shadows inside of pockets and purses, and through the sodden walls of their fragile fastness Conservatives they can feel its slippery photons circling their ideological clubhouse, sniffing the hinges and lintels like wolves, looking for a way in. 

This time, there is no trick-or-treat scamper to safety for them in the kindly, Tea Party gloaming: no way to scuttle off to the next wingnut spider hole in a tri-corner hat and tights pretending they'd never even heard of George W. Bush. No, the rotting hulk of the Party of Lincoln has become their crypt, and inside of it there is nothing left for them but to sink forever deeper into the shadows until they become one with the darkness.

And from deep inside their narrow house, you can hear the terrified squeals of Conservtism's pasty, self-righteous, rigidly ignorant, sexually-terrified wingnut child-men trying frantically to spackle up the little holes through which modernity, complexity and reality continue to leak...


steeve said...

"Reagan is the greatest high the Right ever had"

That's because, for a sixteen month period, conservatism actually looked like it might be correct.

Every other minute of their lives - regardless of how long that life is - is spent rationalizing failure, and that shit's exhausting.

Clinton's tax hike didn't kill jobs? Must be because they took congress in 1994. Bush's tax cuts didn't create jobs? Must be because of that tech bubble. Over and over again, day after day for decades, rationalizing away the fact that they're dumber than everyone else.

It's a dead giveaway whenever they talk about Obama's Katrina, Obama's Iraq, Obama's 911, Obama's Watergate. They passionately and wholeheartedly defended the actual Katrina, Iraq, 911, and Watergate. But they know they were all fuckups. They know it.

The high they want to get back to is simply being right about something. But no matter how many times they flip that coin, it never comes up heads.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Actually, down here in North Carolina the people you so accurately describe in your quote of yourself have spent the last six months doing exactly what you describe legislatively and otherwise. As our current state Democratic leader said in a speech in January, North Carolina is being raped by the Republicans in the Legislature. He was nearly fired for saying it too.

Unknown said...


More of this, please; less of that other stuff!

olandp said...

If the conservatives don't like the world we have now, they have no one to blame but themselves. It is the world that THEY created.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Fiddlin Bill, the Lege up here in Wisconsin has been doing exactly the same thing, with anti-democratic glee. Rage-drunk bender is a pretty good description of how they are doing it, in all it's retrograde glory: environmentally destructive mining, rolling back water protection, rolling back worker's protections, tax cuts, mandatory invasive ultrasounds for sluts, unnecessary and ill-planned road building while all other infrastructure goes begging, eliminating Medicaid expansions and rolling back public health care, eliminating fair pay and labor, oh, and did I mention tax cuts?

And just for shits and giggles, retracting the nomination of a student for a largely honorary position on the UW Board, just because he signed the recall petitions four years ago.

All while racking up bottom-of-the-country standings on jobs and economics. AND barely managing a 44% truthful rating even at the kind-of-biased Politifact.


Anonymous said...

Drifty, good to see you are back. I agree with Lumpy. When you're hot you are red hot. This is you. The prose soars. The colours burn the retina and the after images vibrate and sting. Absolutely delicious writing and crystal clean analysis. More please.

casimir said...

Beautiful rant, indeed.

Markh said...

Hey DG. I LOVED this piece! Lord it got my blood boiling. Thanks for another fistful if fighting words and roiling images. I need to hire you to ghost write my letters to Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch.

Anonymous said...

...and so this is a long term war for all the marbles? Being fought against an enemy that has demonstrated they are willing to burn the whole house down with everybody and everything you have ever known and loved inside?...and that its awfully hard to win that war in the long term when people keep popping up behind you lobbing cannon balls at your back??
I get it...but what about those people behind me?

mahakal said...

Driftglass really is an outstanding writer.

การปฏิวัติฝรั่งเศส said...

Mojo Excelente. Gracias.

Bisham said...

All that and you didn't use 'gibbering' once? Even so, epic driftglass.

Jesus California said...

Wow.....word.Should be required reading somewhere.

Potatohead said...

Oh my fucking god!

Driftglass. Buddy. Holy shit! I bow in humble awe at your ability to paint lucid pictures like that.

Thank you for just being you.

For years I have struggled to put these things in basic human terms and here I find you knocking it out regularly, with this piece particularly notable.

Count me as a fan. I've been a listener of TPL for some time and I first caught wind of you through Blue Gal and her Blog Against Theocracy --an event that I entertained for a year or two with a simple message: Just listen. Find another, hear their beliefs and just work to understand them, that's it.

She got me to see how doing that builds bridges and helps to break down lots of insane shit --vilification through personification. When you really know people, it's a lot harder to be an ass because when they call you out on it their words actually resonate.

(smart girl, good call on your part)

But you have brought me the awareness that we can paint these things in simple, clear terms that punch right through pages and pages of garbage aimed right at already saturated, addled minds through bright, clear, potent and frankly painful metaphors.

Well done!