"WHEN FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA IT WILL BE WRAPPED IN THE FLAG
AND CARRYING A CROSS." -SINCLAIR LEWIS

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Something Someone Else Said

"Wherever it may have resided before, the brain in America has migrated to the region of the belt—not below it, which might at least be diverting, but only as far as the gut—where it has come to a stop. The gut tells us things. It tells us what’s right and what’s wrong, who to hate and what to believe and who to vote for. Increasingly, it’s where American politics is done. All we have to do is listen to it and the answer appears in the little window of the eight ball: “Don’t trust him. Don’t know. Undecided. Just because, that’s why.” We know because we feel, as if truth were a matter of personal taste, or something to be divined in the human heart, like love. I was raised to be ashamed of my ignorance, and to try to do something about it if at all possible. I carry that burden to this day, and have successfully passed it on to my children. I don’t believe I have the right to an opinion about something I know nothing about—constitutional law, for example, or sailing — a notion that puts me sadly out of step with a growing majority of my countrymen, many of whom may be unable to tell you anything at all about Islam, say, or socialism, or climate change, except that they hate it, are against it, don’t believe in it. Worse still (or more amusing, depending on the day) are those who can tell you, and then offer up a stew of New Age blather, right-wing rant, and bloggers’ speculation that’s so divorced from actual, demonstrable fact, that’s so not true, as the kids would say, that the mind goes numb with wonder. “Way I see it is,” a man in the Tulsa Motel 6 swimming pool told me last summer, “if English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for us.”" -Mark Slouka, Harper's Magazine

This is why Joe the Plumber is famous right now, and it's embarrassing.

8 comments:

Intrepid Californio said...

Jesus spoke English?

JBW said...

Of course Jesus spoke English, dude. Jesus was an American.

Reed said...

blond and blue!

Van Zan said...

There's another way to look at it...
Public education and multiple media channels have opened people's minds, and we are seeing a flowering of human participation in worlds that are quite removed from them. And yes that leads to a stunning amount of uninformed debate and misconception, but at least it shows a spark of intellectual curiosity. A lot of the time, having no opinion at all - just not caring and thinking that all the world has to offer can be found between your front door and the pizza shop - is worse than having the 'wrong' opinion.

And even the ignorant can know something we don't...
If I speak to sea gypsy off the coast of Myanmar and Thailand, he may have never heard of climate change. But he sees the certain types of fish dwindling in number, reefs crumbling, pulls a can of Pepsi out of his nets, notes more of his people are getting malaria.... and he won't likely call you nihilist, leftist, whateverist and blame your ideas for all that is wrong in the world.

JBW said...

I'm not saying that people outside of a realm of study can't have good ideas but if I were an expert on a subject (and my own expertise on several subjects is highly debatable) I wouldn't want to spend most of my day defending and explaining it to every idiot with an opinion who hasn't even read "Subject for Dummies" yet. That's all I'm saying.

Van Zan said...

yeah I get what you are saying..
I was speaking wistfully of course. In the hard punching blogosphere people express opinions that are based on non-fact or self-serving agenda, and are wrong, not just 'wrong'.

I was just reading on a Right-wing site how America should kiss off all her allies "Except for a few trusted, expert killers like Aussie Land and Great Britain". Oh and how my heart swelled with pride and went all pitter-patter that my country and my father's country both should be named as the American Empire's trusted murderous thugs... Like "tribes friendly to Rome".
Made me sick.

Confirmed dead among we "trusted, expert killers" (grandparents, mums and dads, school kids) is 181 now. Obama rang our PM this afternoon to offer assistance (we sometimes send people to help in California, where the terrain is similar) and prayers. Nice touch. I do like the man.

JBW said...

It's becoming clearer why so many Americans went for W's "bring 'em on, you're either with us or you're against us" cowboy bullshit, huh VZ? And I hate to say this mate but I strongly suspect that the only reason you and Old Blighty are even in that commenter's good graces is because you both speak English and are predominantly white; makes you seem relatively less foreign (read: different, and therefore bad) than the rest of the world. You're lucky, I had to grow up with many of these assholes.

I wasn't living here yet when the Oakland Hills fires were raging and most of California's recent blazes have been down nearer Don's neck of the woods so I have no frame of reference for how crazy it must be for you guys down under right now. You and your lady keep staying safe, amigo.

Intrepid Californio said...

Just as a frame of reference: Although I don't think that here in Cali we have had anywhere near the death toll that you have down under, we have definitely had our fair share of fire storms. Check it:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_2008_California_wildfires

Prey for the rain.