Friday, November 05, 2004

Cocooning Redux

God bless 'em. They really need to take a step back. My mom used to say that you should take a deep breath and count to ten when mad. Do they say that in blue states? Or is that just more dumb rube talk? Let's ask Jane Smiley... (more below)

"Slate asked a number of wise liberals to take up the question of why Americans
won't vote for the Democrats."

Brilliant! Come on, you know where this is headed. Surely they are going to calmly reflect. Maybe we are out of touch with middle America. Maybe we need to examine who we are and what we stand for? What is our foreign policy position and how can we show people that we are serious? Or maybe:
Why Americans Hate Democrats: A Dialogue The unteachable ignorance of the
red States

Yes, friends. Maybe the problem is we are too good and righteous while evil forces oppose us. Note: "A Dialogue". Isn't that precious. I can't wait. Incidentally, I include the link to this one because I was accused of making up yesterday's New York Times story. It doesn't mean you actually have to give Slate a hit. Trust me; its all in there.

I say forget introspection. It's time to be honest about our antagonists.

Good call. There has been sooooo much introspection on the part of the democrats. Introspection like: I don't know anyone who voted for Bush. Or: I can't believe how many redneck bigots are in my country. Yeah, let's get past that introspection and get to the dialogue.

I suppose the good news is that 55 million Americans have evaded the ignorance-inducing machine. But 58 million have not. (Well, almost 58 million: my relatives are not ignorant, they are just greedy and full of classic Republican feelings of superiority).

Choice. Where to begin. Let's start the "dialogue" off by accusing over half the country of begin ignorant. The nice thing about this tactic is that it reduces the need to ask their opinion later (that would diminish Ms. Smiley's dialogue). Then note that the one group of red state voters that is not ignorant is her family. How convenient. But she then manages to insult them too.

But the insult is the key. They are full of classic Republican feelings of superiority. Get it? Her "dialogue" is titled: The unteachable ignorance of the red states, and in the first paragraph she has not only laid out the ignorant claim but degraded her family. But I am the one with "feelings of superiority". Quick quiz. What is worse: her staggering lack of self reflection or the fact that presumably some editor let this through?

Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states.

That is soooo true. When my wife and I had our first child we said: "Hey, should we move to a kind, peaceful caring community like New York City, or should we find a place with a rich tradition of ignorance and bloodlust like, say, Hannibal, Missouri? It was a tough call, but we had juuuust the right amount of ignorance.

Here is how ignorance works:

She then goes on with three paragraphs of stylized stereotyping of evangelical Christians (who I guess were all 59 million of Bush's votes). I'd reproduce it here, but frankly it lacks the punch and drive seen in her takedown of her family.

The reason the Democrats have lost five of the last seven presidential elections
is simple:

She actually got a full, rational, true clause out here, but then she blows it with her explanation which is actually quite complex and revolves around a SPECTRE-like cabal. Some bonus points for the following thoughts:

A generation ago, the big capitalists, who have no morals, as we know...

They know no boundaries or rules. They are predatory and resentful, amoral, avaricious, and arrogant.

We have to give them more to think about than they can handle...

Well, that shouldn't be hard, I guess...What were we talking about?

Then she ends with a punch line:

Whatever their short-term appeal, they are borne of hubris and hatred, and will
destroy their purveyors in the end.

Damn, I can feel the humility and love from Jane causing my cold, cold heart to grow three sizes. She is right. Only purveyors of kindness and decency like herself can save me from my life of intolerance, ignorance and bigotry. But don't do it for me, Jane, do it for the children.

Update note: Just figured out that the dialogue is between Slate's collection of wise liberals. Since a dialogue is simply two people speaking, not necessarily two opposing views, I have to retract some of the snideness above. On the other hand, I love this dialogue:

Why [do] Americans Hate Democrats?
(Sullentrop) Because we are too smart.
(Smiley) because they are too ignorant.
(Noah) I don't know.

Full marks to Noah for not being a total tool.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that Ms Smiley's rant is one of the least "intellectual" pieces of fundamental dishonesty I've ever had the misfortune to read (although I do get a certain masochistic pleasure out of being labeled a "stupid redneck ignoramus"). What she doesn't understand is that not all of us have had the privilege of living in a place where we are not afraid daily - which I have not. I lived in a "people's paradise" and can honestly say that, generally speaking, conservatives tend towards thoughtfulness and liberals tend towards intolerant sloganeering. In fact, where I lived, they tend towards intolerant sloganeering after they put a bullet in your head.

I am continually amazed at the "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" of the democrats.

12:50 PM  

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