Monday, August 23, 2010

Special Sensitivity

Right wing commentators (and even a few liberals) are asking that those in support of a Muslim Cultural Center a couple of blocks from Ground Zero show "sensitivity" to those in opposition. In this line of reasoning, it is understood that the patriots were so damaged and traumatized by the events of 9/11 that they deserve special consideration for their feelings.Yes it is private property, yes there are strip clubs in the same vicinity, yes our position is over-the-top dramatic, but show us special sensitivity. Heightening our sensitivity for these quick-to-tears Americans ( see Glen Beck) might mean suspending the Constitution, civil norms and universal rights, but we are in effect being asked to acknowledge that yes, they are a little deranged, but, hey, cut them some slack because of the Spectacular nature of the Event.

Remember, "everything changed" on 9/11. This narrative is crucial for the struggling Empire and it's ideology and so even civil rights may be suspended to honor the Change, the broadly historical nature of the Event and the Citizens ( the Sensitive Ones) who seem to be most affected. Those most deeply affected (the ones with the signs and such) are given special status as victims. Israeli Jews know all about this provision.

Henry Giroux writes: The visual theatre of terror, fear and humiliation aestheticizes politics..." It took me a while to see his point about this subtle method for hollowing and further formalizing politics but it relates back to the Spectacle and the visual logic (bypassing the analytical functions) which is so incredibly dominant. He suggests that "We need to start from somewhere other than a market-driven language" but that is much easier said than done. Language is one tough institution!

I sense that the "Left", such as it is, is in a state of perpetual waiting; waiting for the next Seattle, the next Copenhagen, the next G40, the next crisis. Waiting for Godot. Waiting for the tide to fall. (While sitting in limbo) This is reactionary and more than a little Spectacular. Puppets and tear gas are the new Mc Donalds and Fries.

In a plea for funds, the editor of Dissent Magazine writes: "Forty years ago I scorned Dissent for casting doubt on the revolution my New Left comrades and I thought we were making.But gradually that emotion was replaced by admiration for the way the magazines writers articulated the best principles of the democratic, socialist tradition- what Michael Walzer calls a "decent left"."
They want a revolution without a revolt. I gave up on Walzer over his stand on Israel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hell House

I had some fishing clients from Alabama last week who were the most polite, helpful, and friendly guys I've guided in a long time. They were also big into the Tea Party and convinced the nation needed a "big change". I don't let myself get drawn into political discussions so I just nodded and obfuscated-circumvented. ( my labor makes me self-censor and silence myself, one of capitalisms most pernicious attributes)

They were of course Christians and way into college sports, not particularly well read and avid watchers of Fox so they bought into all the "anchor baby" and "sacred ground" narratives. They didn't like "either Party" but were especially critical of Obama and his "leftist" policies. But as I said, they were super-good natured and treated me with respect, even comradery, in that particularly Southern way of class-blindness that is a trait of the New Rich. I grinned and joked about making them fish off the "left" side of the boat.

On my way home I passed a signboard over a local business that read : Watch Fox News- Be Honest- Vote Republican. There was also a huge billboard asking me to vote out the County Commissioners who were "against Private Property Rights". (in other words, saw a need for land-use planning) I also drove by a yard filled with junk vehicles and old single-wides, tractor parts and scrap lumber that had a huge sign saying : Protect Your Liberty- Stop Zoning.

The Tea Party Patriots sent me a message saying: "This year 9/12 will again be a day that is remembered by future generations as a symbol of our nations decision to reject socialism and return to the founding principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets."
Bolstering my argument that behind all the blather over Mosques, guns and immigrants it is really all about profit. And individuals can be sweet as a Georgia peach as they promote a system that spreads death and misery worldwide.