Friday, December 16, 2016

My Response To Timothy Egan's "The Narcotic of Trump"

The title of this post is a lie.

This is not a "response" to Mr. Egan's article in The New York Times today framing the mindless and unreasoning relationship between the Republican base and their President as a dangerously co-dependent form of addiction.

Instead it is an opportunity to shameless reprint of my own post from 2008 in which I explain that the reason the GOP base cannot be reached by reason is because of a mindless and dangerously co-dependent form of addiction between them and their depraved leaders.

From Mr. Egan:
The Narcotic of Trump

Timothy Egan DEC. 16, 2016

For Trump, the debasement of Romney was just another hit of dopamine — the neurotransmitter once called the Kim Kardashian of molecules. He needs a jolt several times a day. But in turn, he gives it back to you, the millions in his personality cult, and certainly the click-bait web and cable press, who need it just as much.

Earlier this month, Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, took to the floor of the House to plead for one thing from the incoming leader of the free world: “Stop tweeting, Mr. President-elect.” Not a chance. His tiny fingers can launch 140 predawn characters from the fortress of his gilded tower and mighty Boeing will lose more than a billion dollars in stock value a few hours later.

At the other end, his 17.3 million followers wake up every day eager for a shot of unfiltered Trump. It’s a dangerous codependency. “Saturday Night Live”? “Unwatchable!” Vanity Fair, after a scathing review of a Trump restaurant? “Dead!” The slaughter of civilians in the ancient city of Aleppo? Nothing. The real-world consequences of weaponized hatred are no concern for a man with a shameful incuriosity and a profound lack of empathy.

Pay no attention — it’s back on the road with the thank you tour. This traveling gloat-fest is an excuse for more of the Trump narcotic. He is having trouble getting A-list musicians to perform at his inauguration. The sound of an angry mob is music enough. The rallies are a contact high for both sides and — as in Wisconsin the other day — a chance for one more chant of “Lock her up!”...
From me in 2008:
Junkie logic.

The last lie a junkie tells himself isn't "I’m not an addict."

The last lie a junkie tells himself is "My being a addict doesn't matter."

And 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, and waking up the next day -- that horrible, horrible sun-also-rises morning after -- broke and twitchy, arguing over what more they can sell off to keep the party going and who they can blame for their gone-to-shit lives.

So what is the last lie a Conservative tells himself? The last lie that the junkies and their suppliers both fight like hell to keep alive and twitching?

That, whether or not their ideology is depraved or deluded, it doesn’t matter because:
“Both side are always equally wrong about everything all the time.”
Doesn’t matter the who or what. The when or how. Doesn’t matter who was driving the bus towards the cliff and who was waving the red flags, throwing their bodies in front of it, trying to make it stop. Doesn’t matter who was trying to douse the conflagration with hoses shredded by 20 year of Reaganism, and who was lobbing milk cartons full of jellied gasoline onto the bonfire.

It is the lie that David Fucking Brooks pushes in the pages of the New York Times.

It is the lie that made David Broder the “Dean” of the Villagers; the lie on which the quarterly profits of the entire Murdoch media empire now rests.

Because these people and thousands more like them are not journalists or “pundits” or expert who offer facts or interpretation or a philosophical framework for illuminating and contextualizing the events of the world.

They are pushers, selling that last, nihilistic lie to the junkies on the Right who will pay any price and cut any throat to escape the fact that they are personally and specifically responsible for the destruction of the country they claimed to love in the name of a God they claim to believe in.

Which is why November 4th is so much more than an election.

November 4th is an Intervention, because the junkie-pusher spiral of the Republican rank-and-file and their leaders has finally hit bottom: we need to heal this country or lose it, and arguing -- "reasoning" -- with wingnuts and their enabling shills and hacks is as pointless as trying to reason with addicts and dealers.

The only way this country is going to be saved is by taking it away from them, school board by school board, city council by city council, congressional district by congressional district, state by state, election by election until they are driven back into the political sewers from whence they came.
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And in 2008, we did take the needle away from them.  For a little while.  But we did not take away their school boards or city councils of control over the statehouses. We did not drive Fox out of business or pauperize Rush Limbaugh and all his hundreds of imitators. And so, in 2016, the same mindless wingnut junkies came crawling back over broken glass to sacrificed their country and the lives of their children and mine to get their needle back.

Just substitute the word "Trump" for the word "Dubya" and it reads exactly the same.

And what the hell, while I'm shamelessly reposting narco-analysis stuff, here's me again, from 2011:
Shattered Like a Glass Reagan 
This ten-gallon jug of dollar-store, popskull Teabagger Lethe is actually a perfect externalized representation of how Conservatives have trained their memories to function:
  1. Invent a completely fictional Reagan. A Cartoon Reagan who never raised taxes, never blew up the deficit, never grew government, never traded weapons to terrorists for hostages, never funded an illegal war with the profits of the sales of weapons to terrorists, never presided over a massive financial collapse caused by radical deregulatory policies, never...never ...never ...never

  2. Get all droolly and tumescent and idolatrous over your Cartoon Reagan. Pour into his empty, CGI-ed suit every dram of white entitlement fury and every maudlin ounce of knee-walking-nostalgia-blitzed longing for a Better America that their own, awful ideology has crippled almost beyond recognition.

  3. Entomb any remaining memories of the last 30 years of catastrophic Conservative failures beneath a vast, lobotomizing sarcophagus so they can get on with the business of pretending none of it ever happened.

  4. Invent a completely fictional Obama and offload onto the backs of the sinister Imaginary Liberals and their Scary Cartoon Negro Leader all of their rage and racism and ferociously intractable ignorance about what has really gone wrong with America, and who is really to blame for it.

  5. Stick Cartoon Reagan and Cartoon Obama in a boxing ring so the Right can watch their Great White Trope kick the Swarthy Kenyan Usurper's Commie ass while they jerk off to "America, Fuck Yeah!"

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.
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.
In manic pursuit of that first, ecstatic, Reagan Rush, the Right has at long last lost everything.

Including its mind.

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Once again, nothing further to add and no point to make.

Just trying to coat-tail my way into the footnotes of some future edition of the "History of the Crazy Years".


duquesnepdx said...

I find your optimism that there will be a future in which to write history strangely comforting.

But you're right. The high of real power has been returned to these cretinous drooling wreckers. They're so high on Derp Fuhrer and having the trifecta within their reach that they're openly talking about things that only 2 months ago were permanently off of the table. The end of welfare, Medicare, Social Security. These in addition to the ACA, apparently the source of all evil within the country.

I can hear someone now saying, "But they're going to replace it!" Funny how that deadline keeps getting pushed out. Four years now to come up with a plan. I can't imagine why they'd push it out that far, unless it was to pre-kneecap some poor President the day after they take office in 2020. Leverage against an (quite impressively, for the moment) intractably hostile Democratic minority in both the House and Senate.

They're going to get everything, this time. There's very little we can do to stop it. The moment the filibuster is killed off for real, we lose even that much.

This is your pre-welcome to the hellscape ruins of what used to be a pretty nice country. Shame it's gonna get stripped to the bone, and the bones set on fire.

pdore said...

Brilliant as usual, but quit lying about your titles. You're just like Trump.

SamB said...

There appears to be overlap, geographically and demographically, between opioid addiction and fake news addiction. Is that right? If so, what can we make of that? Beyond reinforcing the idea that we have to isolate these people from the mainstream media commons and wait for them to die off.

Lawrence said...

Alex Jones has a cameo in A Scanner Darkly as "Street Prophet".

Rusty White said...

My hope is that Derp Fuhrer will be distracted by bigger issues and thus continue to allow those of us who disagree with his faux populism and scary autocratic agenda a way to express ourselves either in the public square or online given him and his acolytes' notoriously thin-skin and resulting egomania. The problem that continues to hamper any real discussion about our numerous societal problems has been the normalization of the pig people and their boorish behavior by our worthless media, who like DG has mentioned several times, is the one institution that needs to be humbled and broken up if we are to save what's left of our democracy.

Neo Tuxedo said...

I find your optimism that there will be a future in which to write history strangely comforting.

Seconded. I hope there will, but I worry that what passes for the history of our time will read like this:

Wen Mr Clevver wuz Big Man uv Inland thay had evere thing clevver. Thay had boats in the ayr & picters on the win & evere thing lyk that. Eusa wuz a noing man vere qwik he cud tern his han tu enne thing. He wuz werkin for Mr Clevver wen thayr cum enemes aul roun & maykin Warr. Eusa sed tu Mr Clevver, Now wewl nead masheans uv Warr. Wewl nead boats that go on the water & boats that go in the ayr as wel & wewl nead Berstin Fyr.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good evening, Mr. Glass.

"Instead it is an opportunity to shameless reprint of my own post from 2008"

So, you Drift-rolled us? You motherfu...


Be seeing you.

mike said...

awesome post. Carry on, we're going to need you!!

Unknown said...

Not sure what's happening out there in the Village media. On Thursday afternoon I looked at my google news "feed" and saw an NYT lede saying Tex Drillerson was a pragmatist while the lede below from Faux Noise was saying he was unqualified and should not only not be confirmed, but investigated. And both articles "supported" their lede premises.
So Mother Times is normalizing the slide while Scratch Murdoch is against Manafort's pick?
It's upside-down cake day for all.


- lifeat45rpm

The Fool said...

I remember reading this post back then. It gets even better with age. Fantastic post. This is what makes driftglass the best.