“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Embrace the contradiction

Out of the bowels of our compassion, LI has some advice for the Dems running in this upcoming election.

The Dems perennially run as cowards, and the Republicans as bullies. This is partly because the world is upside down. Dems feel that they have to sneak their support for programs that are actually widely popular – such as nationalized health care – while Republican testosterate about doing things that are widely unpopular – such as shrinking the government. In the event, the Reps expand the government every chance they get, while the Dems hunker down with K street’s finest insurance lobbyists.

Given these inversions, if I were the Dems, I’d run against the war in Iraq under the slogan: “We won.” Or: “Mission accomplished.” Since the war was popular enough (wars, like blockbuster movies, start out popular among bored Americans), the Dem message should be that the Bush administration’s problem is ‘they won’t take yes for an answer.’ Say that last phrase in a pithy, husky way, just like President C. would say something about that dog not hunting. What was popular about the war, in true blockbuster style, was finding last year’s Hitler in a spider hole and manfully frogmarching him to prison. What is unpopular about the war has been the hanging around uselessly for the last two years. One of the things about being anti-war is that you can always usurp the moves of the most bullshit prone of the hawks, since – as anyone who has brushed against Marx’s notion of the dialectic would expect – the rhetoric encodes the contradictions on the very surface. Just as one wants to universalize the chickenhawk notion that somebody else should actually fight the war, one can also take up the banner of the ignoramus Bush fan club – the Instaborg cheering, the AEI’s brownnosing, all the propaganda spewed by all the D.C. types – and use it against the inevitable seductions of the Rep testosterators. The Dems can say that the war they (patriots all!) voted for, the war against S.H., was the war that we all just loved. Every act of it. Remember Jessica – was it Jessica? – the martyred woman bravely rescued from a hospital, just as brownskinned fiends were about to do her unspeakable harm? Yeah, sure you do. It was the most significant thing ever reported in a newspaper, and immediately made docudrama of the week. And remember how they cheered when we pulled down the statue of whatshisname in Baghdad? It was like the Berlin Wall coming down plus the fourth of July. We cheered until we shit! It was that touching.

But the key to victory is to modestly accept it, goddamn it. We won, everybody loves us, goodbye. That should be the motto of the marine corps. So, Democratic candidates if you are out there, gnawing your nails, not sure if you should even talk about the war – maybe you should talk about, say, your support for school uniforms! – embrace the contradiction. Oppose the war by supporting it.


new york pervert said...

Hate Hillary all you (we) want, but I think this is the kind of thing that ought to be said, although even truer of Gore. It's totally obvious, but people haven't been saying it. That doesn't mean I think she knows how to get rid of Republicans, not everybody's deepest wish, but I could live defeating them as a giant baby step.

“I’m certain that if my husband and his security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,’

new york pervert said...

Unfinished quote, sorry:

“I’m certain that if my husband and his security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team,”

Brian Miller said...

Sorry, NYP. All's another Clinton administration would mean is more efficient, more effective evil. Unless putting the gun-and-drug-running KLA in power is really WORTH all that collateral damage. Show me a real "humane intervention" since about, say, 1950, and maybe I'll support a War Democrat like Hillary. I'll take the nasty approach and say that maybe it's better for the rest of the world, over the long term (or medium term, even) for the U.S. empire to keep its current crew of incompetents in power. It makes us less effective at damaging other people and nations. We are a wicked people who deserve to be punished (Kunstler) and the punishment will occur more quickly and effecitvely if we keep the maqniacs in power.

My cynicism draws me more and more to this view of things. I'm too broke, lazy, and unskilled to relocate to New Zealand, and I have little hope, frankly.


roger said...

Mr. NYP -- I'd be more impressed with the Clintons if they said this back in 2003. It is almost painfully funny, a replay of that moment in the Kerry campaign when the issue became what Kerry did or did not do in Vietnam. Little fucker shouldn't have emphasized his Vietnam days anyway, but the more courageous days of protesting the war -- but if he was going to play soldier, Kerry or his machine should have been competent enough not to lose that issue to a man who skipped completely out of going to Vietnam, doing god knows what. The lack of political skills, the inability to go for the jugular when it is offered to you on a silver platter with garnishings - it, of course, infuriates us peons out in the hinterlands.

So, here we have the Clintons attacking only after another stunt -- almost admirable -- in which the Reps, with Bush's horrendous record, chose to attack Clinton for, of all things, not getting rid of OBL. The gall, the vitriol, the balls - but hell, the huge vacuum there, which the Dems just whistle by, has to be owned by somebody. One of the most puzzling aspects of the last crazy five years is the way the Democrats have enabled the story of the heroic Bush response to 9/11. Why? Because they don't want to be 'dividers'? Because -- I think -- the leadership is so saturated with D.C. culture that they have lost contact with political reality? It is one of those puzzling collapses, like the rout of French forces to the Germans in 1940. I think one of the Democratic party's problems is that the leadership of the party really doesn't like the rank and file of the party. The leadership is desperate to protect their own status, and to do that they have become totally risk averse. Thus, the Democrats have drawn artificial and extremely silly lines around opposing the administration, out of fear that they will look extreme. The thing is -- the lines keep pressing in, and they keep accepting it, so that extreme soon gets defined as anything to the left of ABC's the Note. This is a death by a thousand self inflicted cuts.

new york pervert said...

I'd have more impressed with it earlier too, but it is not important why it is finally being said. It needs to be said, period. I haven't got time to worry about minutiae about how much better something worse will be than something only slightly better. Something slightly better is better than something worse. Of course I'm voting for the Democrats no matter how disgusting they are. The other way means you deserve your suicide. More disgusting is more disgusting. Slightly less sick is still less sick than more sick. But I'm hardly irate. I mean, do y'all's own thing, babe. Maybe y'all 'deserve' something shitty, but I don't, so I hope y'all get it and I don't. I am just not into punishment.

roger said...

Mr. NYP, I think you are missing the dynamic here. Do you think, without constant bickering, you'd even get the half a loaf? I don't. Slightly better than slightly better is even better! And so- let a thousand strategies bloom, until we get to slightly better than slightly better than slightly better. Life will be good!

Amd if it isn't -- there's always art.

Brian Miller said...

I understand your argument, Mr. P. It is the practical approach. For instance, in the end, I will vote for the callow machine politican that is Angelides over the Gubernator (here in Cali).

But, the problem with your argument is that the "incrementally better" approach has meant the destruction of options and choice, as well as the the steady and alarming movement of the political spectrum farther and farther to the right. "Well...Rohm is still a better candidate than Hitler...so I have to vote for Rohm." Over even the medium term, how do you suggest lesser-evilism as really allowing us to address the serious problems-and theya re cultural and social problems-this country faces? Certainly not through the debased political party system we currently have? A Democratic Party that is willing to support changing legislation that retoractively permits torture and violation of law and treaty-how is this even incrementally better? To me, it's almost more evil, because they pretend to offer a choice while expediting and facilitating the destruction of this country's Constitution. If they were really an opposition, they would be staging walk-outs of from Congress. Refusing to participate in sham bipartisanship. Creating a shadow cabinet that clearly explains why they are different. Of course, they do not, and cannot....because there are few substantive differences.

I cannot, however, pull any lever with the name "Clinton, H" beside it. She wants more money, more troops, more belligerance. Why in the world is it even incrementally better to vote for Hillary?

new york pervert said...

Now, y'all...I know what you are talkiing about, but that's really something else than what I was saying. It was really less that Hillary said that about the 9/11 intelligence wouldn't have been ignored by her husband or Gore than that anybody said it. Maybe other people have been saying it, but I just have missed it. I think Kerry needed to say it. He could have said that he didn't think Gore would have ignored the intelligence without also adding other facts like 'if y'all hadn't fixed the election.' So y'all are just real interesting the way the word 'Hillary' will piss y'all off.

It truly was that she's just the first one I've heard say it about how the Bushies really did fuck up there. I think Bill Clinton and Gore should have equally said that neither of them would have missed such a thing--and I've always thought that neither of them would have. I mean, it's just unimaginable somehow. Whatever else is shitty about the Dems, I just don't think at least either of those 2 guys would have allowed 9/11 to happen, they wouldn't have had CIA in Crawford and said 'Now you've covered your ass.'

Whether the opaque horror of the Republicans will lead us to this Little Light of Mine sooner than the dirty translucence of the Dems you may both well be better qualified to judge than I am, but I was not politicking for Hillary. Although if she gets the nomination, I'll pull that li'l lever, but I can't make the Dems be decent, so I still vote for them as the only default position. Yes, it's the practical position, but I don't know what else I'd do; it's not like there's some 'beautiful position' I'd know how to take.

Anyway, just wanted to clarify that I just don't know why people haven't said long ago that brainier, vaguely compassionate people like Clinton and Gore would not have known how to ignore info about planes coming to NY to blow it up. They just aren't that stupid. I don't think Giuliani, even though a Republican could have been this form of stupidity either. Maybe the difference is that the Dems are 99% self-centered all-politics and the Republicans 100%. I don't know.

Brian Miller said...

Of course, maybe the Arepublicans aren't "stupid" at all. I'm not convinced that some of the arguments about conspiracies and the like don't have....some merit. I probably go beyond roger here. I think much of our foreign policy establishment...Rumsfeld, Cheney, Eliot Abrams, John Negroponte, etc. are objectively evil-or insane and power-maddened men. But then, I am told this is an irrational position to take, so what do ya do?

roger said...

Pulling the lever is fine, Mr. Nyp - but in my opinion, it isn't voting that makes politics. It is things like, well, your comments. And this little blog of mine. Sure, according to technorati, I rank down at the 80,000 level - and I don't think I am being avidly read anywhere for my brilliant insights in politics. But... Johnny Appleseed, rather than Lenin, is my political idol. The lord is good to me/ and so I thank the lord/ for givin' me, the seeds I need ... da da da da da da. I drop my little seeds, day after day, week after week, year after year, and maybe one or two will grow into something other people will say and act upon, etc. etc. All most everything I said in the buildup to the war, on this blog, and in the first months of the occupation has now -- three years later -- become the liberal Conventional Wisdom. Is that cause of me? No, but I could, unbeknownst to me, have influenced someone else, and that person someone else. I'm taking my chances in the whispering gallery of the net.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

Voting is for Christmas and Easter Christians. All well and good, if that's your thing, but little more than an affirmation of the church's existence and a tacit legitimization. Roger's bigger questions and the give and take are worth much more.

That being said, please don't feed the squirrels and please do annoy them as much you can.

new york pervert said...

Scruggs--you have now reached the point where clever has become dumb. That is purest horseshit. However, I did look today for candied fruit for an Iced Italian Panettone for Xmas and they don't have it in stock yet.

You can't feed squirrels usually because the pigeons will get it instead, but even though the signs say 'Do Not Feed the Pigeons' you owe it to yourself to run into one of the Full-Time Pigeon Feeder Employed, as they will kill you if you question their law-breaking motives, which filthify the drunkard-laden small parks and enable the pigeons to shit on you almost anywhere you sit. The spectacle of me having to move from bench to bench so as not to get my salad bar material doo-doo-ed in would warm yo' mean li'l heart.

I agree that Roger's bigger ?'s are more important than the church's existence and my thereby tacit legitimization. However, I plan to do a turkey on Thanksgiving because this Italian girl wants me to, and I think I will make a special Easter Scruggs Salad followed by a French Paque Cake. Don't you be tellin' me to murdalize cathedrals...

Brian Miller said...

roger...you are indeed fighting the good fight here...even when you meander off into the realm of literature and thinkers that my mediocrely educated mind can no longer follow :) Not that it has inspired me to the kinds of action that Mr. Scruggs' cohorts engage in (some of them, though, I wonder about. "Indigenous justice" murders adulterous teens and clan enemies and buries alive gays and apostates. So....I'll disagree with a certain commentator over there, thank you very much.)

My last comment on this, though: what if the Democratic candidate in question is "pro-life" and mutters darkly about the need to "send more troops to Iraq" and "bring competence to the invasion" or even bring back the draft. Along with eternal, ever billions of dollars support for Israeli policy. Remind me again why said candidate is fundamentally better than the Party of God forces? I just don't see it. I myself uttered the immortal words "Thanks, Ralph."

roger said...

Okay, okay, now you boys done asked for it. Now, I'm about to get fuckin' MYSTICAL!

Look, as for voting and for parties, myself, I think people should vote for liberal candidates. Obviously, I'm a liberal.

But I have this sense - yes, from Sun Tzu, goddamn it - that the wise man tries to work on the conditions of the possible, rather than submitting to the actual. Ho ho ho, now I'm flying. It is as if, saith LI, a man were playing a game of charades in which he were trying to portray a man playing the game of chess. Nooo -- scratch that. Start over. Well, I can't think of anything wonderfully allegorical, so: voting is a good thing in a republic so long as one has a proportional sense that voting is just one minor act of ownership in said republic. As we know, the representatives who we vote for are going to be moved to do the things they do by much more than the vote. So operate on those things. And operate, as well, on other levels. For instance (I'm not sure if this is an example of good citizenship or the fact that blogging has driven me around the bend) - I bought a coffee the other day at the grocery store. A full cup of coffee. The clerk, a fine upstanding young man, made a joke about me suing the store if I spilled the coffee on me, like that case that happened to McDonalds. So very quickly I informed him that actually, it wasn't silly liability suits that were a problem in America, but the fact that industrial and environmental accidents are almost always unrecompensed. And that by spreading the urban myth of how dumb our liability laws are, ha ha, he was cutting his own throat if he ever had a workplace accident, since the state was simultaneously deregulating workplaces, making them more dangerous, and limiting liability, making suits harder to pursue. Passing on the dumb coffee spilling meme was simply participating in his own oppression, which he would someday regret.
Now, I could tell by the astonishment on his face that nobody had ever said something like that to him before. Yes, there was a bit of "who is this crazy codger" in the look, but there was also the dawning of a ... thought.
So, there are tons of ways to interrupt the flow of bullshit in our lives that have nothing to do with the state.
End of sermon. Shanti shanti shanti.

new york pervert said...

'Remind me again why said candidate is fundamentally better than the Party of God forces?'

Because she's married to Bill Clinton, for chrissake. You don't think he's gonna give up the opportunity to be a 3rd term president if he can. He's not going to let Lesbianism get in his way any more than lipstick fellatio got in hers. I mean, they'll all be hauling ass again, Streisand, Web Hubbell, Susan MacDougal, Monica Lewinsky, and Paula Jones. What more nostalgic than this? On the other hand, Cheney outed as waterbrain with Bush as his beard is in the way of total destitution and Blade Runner scenarios. And there's something wrong with a homely twosome who are reducible to Dick and Bush (but can't cornhole.)

T. V. said...

You know, over the last fortnight I've seen the birth of a second son, gone three days without sleep, used strep throat as an excuse to watch Billy Jack, showed off the surgery scars on my fat belly to a room of probing students, and singlehandedly made the vanity lobe of Michael Berube's brain explode. But I haven't enjoyed any of that as much as I have this thread.

roger said...

Congrats on your son, T.V.! That's so cool!
Hope your wife forgives you for tearing yourself away from important business to hop around silly blogs.
Really, congrats.

Brian Miller said...

Congratulations, T.V. You, Mr. Scruggs, and roger are my intellectual heros.

And, Mr. P, I am not so foolish as to believe that had Al Gore taken office as he should have, the United States would not be a better place. I just hate...to borrow TV and Mr. Scruggs' phrasing...the constant triangulating. Maybe said triangulating is necessary in a country where one out of five adults still beleives the sun moves around the earth (cause the Good Book says so). And, I know Joe Bageant is right about one major reason for such ignorance, but he lets us off too easily as a people.

new york pervert said...

Congratulations from me too, mistah TV. I think fairly well of Mistah Scruggs too, although he's somewhat vicious and probably has rabid squirrels and calls them 'Willard.'

Yes, this li'l blog is Mightee Fine.

Amerigo Sciurofascista said...

Mr. NYP, I'm afraid you're right. If it makes things any better, I was bilked of my life savings by Vermin Direct, LLC, the brand managers who promote Dick Cheney's buttwax.

ms_xeno said...

Everyone's invited to J. Alva's house for Thanksralphing this year. I'm bringing pie. And a nice Gerwurtztraminer.

new york pervert said...

Mistah Scruggs--indeed that does make me feel better, if you are going to try to get jobs telling chillun Dick Cheney Fairy Tails (is that sort of like Saddle Soap that he uses)..I also meant to ask what has happened to 'his/her bandwidth' that y'all 'has exceeded' at the UFO for roun' heah 'bout 3 days now. Probably y'all have stored up too many nuts for winter in one of y'all's big old water oaks, which means you committed perjury about your life savings. I am going to call up the authorities and see if I can get your squirrel nuts repossessed.

I think blog invention is now at the rate of 2 per second, 3 more than at the same period in the 2005 fiscal year.

T. V. said...

invited to J. Alva's house for Thanksralphing this year. I'm bringing pie

See, now that's just so wonderful it makes me cry.

Thanks everyone.

We haven't figured out what's horking the bandwidth, though we have intelligence suggesting it may be a squirrel enclave at Swarthmore.

roger said...

You see, this is why this blog is going to win that vocabulary award they hand out to blogs every so often.
Who else give you horking, baby!

new york pervert said...

'invited to J. Alva's house for Thanksralphing this year. I'm bringing pie

See, now that's just so wonderful it makes me cry.'

Okay, so it's just more virtual stuff, I first thought. But--wherever--you do this shit without me. Maybe it makes you cry, but it makes me puke.