Thursday, November 06, 2014

Silly Shit Charles Blow Says*

Charles Blow -- with whom I often agree -- got paid actually money to write this claptrap in the New York Times:
On the Republican side, they have a conundrum. As the saying goes: “Be careful what you set your heart upon — for it will surely be yours.”

Republicans ran against Washington, but now they are Washington. Now that they control both houses of Congress, they must demonstrate that they are capable of solutions, and not just sullenness. They have to pass actual legislation and not just demonstration bills that the president will be sure to veto.
No, Charles.  No they really don't.  In fact, if the modern history of the GOP can be said to conclusively prove one thing, that thing would be the exact opposite of what you just said.

By Jesus, Wellstone and Cesar Chavez, can we please have some smarter Liberals.

Mr. Blow continues:
The American people, for their part, are eager to have their faith reaffirmed that Washington is not irreparably broken and that our politicians aren’t implacably insolent.

There is only a small window for politicians in Washington to provide some proof.
Who the Hell is this "American people" of which you speak?  There are no "American people" in the political sense anymore.  There are the wreckers and cannibals and their dupes and fellow travelers. There are those who think wrecking and cannibalism are, y'know, bad.  There are those who want to blame "politicians in Washington" because they're either idiots...or they are too terrified by the moral burden which comes with acknowledging that one American political party is run by wreckers and cannibals...or they are David Brooks.  And then there are those people -- maybe half of all adults in this country -- who are so checked-out that despite having a $100 billion in campaign advertising dropped on their heads, they are barely aware we just had an election.

What makes Mr. Blow's (who I usually agree with, but fuck am I tired of these delusions) flapdoodle slightly more grotesquely hilarious is that it puts me momentarily in agreement with Andrew Sullivan who -- in case you haven't been paying attention --  has spent the last few years building a helluva cottage industry for himself by purloining what Liberals have been saying for the last 40 years, filing the serial numbers off, and re-selling it at a considerable mark-up as "True Conservatism".

Thus proving, if nothing else, that I have no head for how to make money in this racket.

My own view is that this complete nihilism in terms of governing is actually quite emblematic of the most powerful forces in the GOP today. Fox News and the entire conservative media-industrial complex have no real interest in Republican governance. They thrive on conflict and on opposition. How many ratings-rich shows are they going to produce on tax reform? They have created an alternate cultural universe for the right where the craziest tub-thumpers get the most attention and where the boring, necessary act of governing is anathema.

It’s a politics in which voters are denied the chance to compare varying responses to particular challenges and expect their representatives to reach an agreement. It’s a politics designed to make deliberative self-government close to impossible. It’s factionalism gone mad. Waldman sees no political incentives, in our current climate, for the GOP to govern...
This is the terrible harvest that has grown from the seeds which men like Ronald Reagan planted in the toxic soil of the Once and Future Confederacy.  Predictable...and predicted by the same people no one ever listens to because, frankly, there is no place in the American Marketplace of Ideas for any Ideas that do not come with major corporate sponsors.

And when confronted by Conservatism in the raw -- naked, grinning, its fangs and claws red from conquest -- people like Mr. Blow have zero cognitive ability to comprehend what they are looking at. It is simply beyond their capacity to imagine that Republicans -- having spent billions of dollars and decades of effort to achieve power by cultivating every atavistic, fearful, bigoted instinct of their Base -- would not set aside to tools of paranoia and rage and bigotry in order to get on with the business of prudent governance.

And so, like Winston Smith in 1984, Mr. Blow looks into the face of his conqueror and says, "But you can't!"

And like O'Brien, the GOP leers back at him and says "Why?"
Winston had recovered himself sufficiently to speak. 'You can't!' he said weakly.

'What do you mean by that remark, Winston?'

'You could not create such a world as you have just described. It is a dream. It is impossible.'


'It is impossible to found a civilization on fear and hatred and cruelty. It would never endure.'

'Why not?'

'It would have no vitality. It would disintegrate. It would commit suicide.'

'Nonsense. You are under the impression that hatred is more exhausting than love. Why should it be? And if it were, what difference would that make? Suppose that we choose to wear ourselves out faster. Suppose that we quicken the tempo of human life till men are senile at thirty. Still what difference would it make? Can you not understand that the death of the individual is not death? The party is immortal.'

As usual, the voice had battered Winston into helplessness. Moreover he was in dread that if he persisted in his disagreement O'Brien would twist the dial again. And yet he could not keep silent. Feebly, without arguments, with nothing to support him except his inarticulate horror of what O'Brien had said, he returned to the attack.

'I don't know — I don't care. Somehow you will fail. Something will defeat you. Life
will defeat you.'

'We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us.  But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside — irrelevant.'

What Mr. Blow cannot wrap his head around is the fact that paranoia and rage and bigotry are not the tools of Conservatism; they are Conservatism.

*Now with 80% fewer glaring typos


Anonymous said...

I read that Blow piece and had the same immediate reaction you did. Then, giving Blow the benefit of the doubt, I decided he must have arrived at his conclusion in a doomed effort at framing the conversation and creating a media narrative that the GOP will be punished if they don't try to govern.

Of course, no such narrative will ever take hold. As we discovered in about 2008, the only conditions that force the media to reluctantly report on GOP arson and incompetence is after a long, uninterrupted period of total GOP rule has created such an abominable landscape that they know they can't sweep it under the rug or pin it on some Democrat somewhere anymore.

Then, when the Democrats are given power just as everything falls apart, they're given two weeks to fix the world and branded as failures when they don't.

So, yeah, we don't need to worry about the GOP being held responsible for anything until they've had 6-8 years of unified control of Washington again. The clock on that may well start ticking in January 2017. I'm already trying to plan out how I'll ride out the next 10 or so years of GOP sabotage, followed by GOP-led destruction. Fortunately, I live in the People's Republic of California, which has so far managed to inoculate itself from the red plague of stupidity infecting the rest of the country.

Monster from the Id said...

Orwell, inevitably given the time in which he wrote, overlooked one thing which would surely have doomed his fictional alternate world.

Its system, like ours, was prodigiously wasteful of natural resources and otherwise disruptive of the natural environment, so "Gaia's Wrath" would have eventually destroyed Oceania and its two great frenemies, even if they could have withstood or prevented any human rebellions. The three great tyrannies would have yielded to neo-feudal patchworks of petty tyrannies, assuming humans survived at all.

Also, Isaac Asimov wrote a largely debunking review of 1984.

stickler said...

Let's strive for 100% fewer typos by never again spelling the third person singular neutral possessive as it's.

You would not spell hi's or her's or their's or our's or your's, would you? So, stop it!

driftglass said...

I am familiar with some of the more popular rules for writing :-) However I am unable to "see" my own mistakes until what has come pouring out of my fingers has cooled off for 24-48 hours, giving my writing brain a chance to move on to something else so my editing brain can treat my own writing as just another submission from the slush pile.

By which time, even if I am within arm's length of a computer I can use, the conversation will have moved on down the road.

Monster from the Id said...

"Slushpile", as one word, would be a great name for a rock band, especially of the '90s "grunge" variety. ^_^

CM said...


These are things people have to say (even if they do not believe) to stay relevant in mainstream media.

Pinkamena said...

MftI, it's been done.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that it's really really hard to settle into a state of acceptance that the GOP on the national level truly has no agenda, no ideas to help this country, no self awareness of their own raging hypocrisy and in general are selfish bilious ignoramuses. I believe there's a wide spectrum of human nature and that even the most ignorant and stupid have a blip of empathy and a desire to do good. From Bush the 2nd on I've been doubting this belief (with the exception of the hope I had for a short while when Obama got elected) and now with this election I feel deflated. I feel sick. I don't think the results reflect the beliefs of Americans but the fact that the electorate didn't come out to vote with the loonies salivating to get their talons into congress says a lot about what battered wives we all are.

waldo said...

D.G., at the moment, you're the king of the blogs. No-one is laying it down clearer, more succinctly and with such passion. I'm glad to see the spirit of Winston still kicking.

Robt said...

I have some ideas for the GOP controlled Congress.

*The Federal Christian Religious Compulsory Act of America.

*Stoning for Sin Pre-School Act.

*The 2nd Amendment Rights of prisoners Act.

*Federal campaign donor reimbursement Act.

*Congress speaking in fact and truth while in official congressional capacity Act.

*Creation of a House and Senate fact checker Act.

*Federal Revenue marketing Act.

The Federal Revenue marketing Act is my favorite.
Under this Act.

The U.S. Postal Service offers a wide assortment of audio listening..

Specially selected N.S,A. collectibles.

-Assorted audio of your favorite liberal villains talking to one another.

-n.s.a.'S greatest Terrorist suspect hits.

-N.S.A. bloopers from secretly taping the Amish.

-Get your own N.S.A. secret copy of the House of Representatives public hearing on Benghazi, (starring Darryl Issa as Chairman). Official N.S.A. copy with identical clarity as seen on CSPAN.

Neo Tuxedo said...

In the Asimov piece linked by MftI, the Good Doctor says:

The London in which the story is placed is not so much moved thirty-five years forward in time, from 1949 to 1984, as it is moved a thousand miles east in space to Moscow.

Anthony Burgess made a similar point in the essay portion of his novel 1985, when he stated as fact that Orwell had written Nineteen Eighty-Four about 1948. (This may not be literally true, but I consider it basically accurate.)

I can't remember the exact phrasing of Burgess' critique of the "picture of the future," not even in enough detail to find it via Google, but I was able to find William S. Burroughs' similar critique from The Western Lands (1987)

The program of the ruling elite in Orwell's 1984 was: "A foot stamping on a human face forever!" This is naive and optimistic. No species could survive for even a generation under such program. This is not a program of eternal, or even long-range dominance. It is clearly an extermination program.

waldo said...

"No species could survive for even a generation under such program."
Challenge. Many, many generations of people in the Middle-East have been living like this for decades, if not centuries. People under the domination and in the sphere of Czarist and 'Communist' Russia have endured it for similar periods.
Brutal oligarchies have risen in every society and are only defeated by revolution. Unfortunately this usually requires the destruction of that society, a step not lightly taken. (...the horror, the horror'...)
Finally, if you're outside looking into the US, the gradual progress of this corruption is pretty obvious.

Monster from the Id said...

Thanks for the 411, Pinkamena.

Maybe I encountered it randomly somewhere in the Intertoobz and forgot the source.

Pinkamena said...

MftI, the Law of Averages works with band names - a name that good HAD to be in use already.