David Fincher: The soul of the American liberal

April 2, 2012

I just finished watching Fincher’s remake of the Swedish book/movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The movie works well for the first two hours and then devolves into a tedious Occupy Wall Street revenge fantasy. The subtext of the movie is that powerful capitalists are all corrupt; all men are monsters or feckless; women are more or less heroic victims of male monstrousness and/or fecklessness.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that the defining characteristic of the American liberal worldview is that the powerful and successful in free capitalist societies are actually secret monsters who maintain their privilege by dirty dealings and entertain themselves with perversion and horrific secret crimes. It’s pretty close to a blood libel against businessmen.

Dean Koontz, the horror thriller writer, wrote a terrific book called Twilight Eyes. A race of alien werewolves lives among human beings, looking just like the rest of us, except to a few humans who can see the beast underneath. The werewolves delight in causing human misery and tragedy: they make boilers explode in grade schools, cause train wrecks and so on. The typical liberal thinks he sees through the thin veneer of humanity painted on the capitalist monster. He can tell that capitalism is really about exploitation, not free trade between free adults. He knows that all the wealth created is really just a ruse to replace real human values. It’s Soylent Green all the way down.

What I haven’t been able to figure out is why liberals come to see the world this way.

I was raised by crackpots. My father was a political crackpot–a John Bircher conspiracy theory Christian fundamentalist. My mother was a medical crackpot–not just homeopathy and laetrile and anti-flouride and the medical establishment is out to drug us to death, but really crazy stuff like color therapy (wrap mylar film of various colors around bottles of water, leave them out in the sun for a day and the water would be transformed into medicine).

It’s too easy to say that liberals just have the crackpot gene. But the liberal conviction of the fundamental evil of every free market outcome is pretty crack-potty.

My daughter (yes, I am skipping around a lot in this post–I’m thinking by typing) was raised without religion. I was indoctrinated in Christian Reconstructionism, but had made a break for it by the time she was verbal. When she was 7 or 8, a couple of her little Christian friends, egged on without doubt by their parents, made my little heathen a pet project and started taking her to church. This lasted a few months before they gave up. Near the end, she came home and said something like, “Dad, they pretend they’re drinking the blood of Jesus. WTF?” She was shocked and revolted. Like only an 8 year old girl can be revolted by something unexpected and gross.

I started out immersed in Christian metaphorical ritual cannibalism. Seemed perfectly normal, perfectly healthy, to me. Even after I decided it was BS, I didn’t fully grok how fucked up and weird it was till I saw it through an innocent 8 year old’s eyes.

So here’s my theory the first, and it is the first theory that is mine, and it is the theory I am saying right now–

Liberalism is as crack-potty as the Eucharist. Liberal tropes have become so embedded in our culture that we don’t notice now weird they are. Lots of people who aren’t crackpots at heart just breathe this stupidity in.

Liberalism spreads too because it’s useful. It’s an excuse. Not just as an excuse for failure, but an excuse for hating. “The Man” is keeping you down. Really? In America? You can’t overcome Richard Nixon or George Bush or Monsanto? If “The Man” were Robert Mugabe or Vladimir Putin, I could sympathize with your plight. Liberals hate like teens hate their parents. Liberalism is Will Smith singing “Parents Just Don’t Understand” writ large. Liberal hate is even more petty and laughable than liberal life excuses.

Case in point: the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. Barack Obama behaved like a douchebag. Obama is to politics what Michael Jackson was to plastic surgery. He can’t be taught. You’d think after the Beer Summit debacle Barack would shut his stupid mouth about law enforcement issues before the facts are known. You’d be wrong. I have yet to hear liberals walking back the Trayvon Jesus Christ Who Died For Our Sins narrative. Like the sulky teens they are, liberals don’t apologize.

And they live in a dark world where their privilege and pampering is really just manipulation by people who do stuff they can’t understand. Like a Fincher movie.

I do feel sorry for liberals. Like other crackpots, they live 24 x 7 with a sense of impending doom.

 

 


Collapsing Personality Disorders

December 2, 2010

DSM5 will collapse Narcissistic, Paranoid, Schizoid, Dependent, and Histrionic personality disorders into a single category, with N/P/S/D/H characteristics.

Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive categories remain intact.

Clinicians are up in arms. They say each of these collapsed disorders have unique syndromes and shouldn’t be conflated. Maybe they’re right, but at first glance, from my experience, and I am not a professional, just someone who’s dealt with a lot of assholes, it seems that all the collapsed disorders can be put under the heading of “known asshole, various flavors.”

The diagnostic criteria overlap for a lot for the collapsed types. There is no agreed-on etiology, course or therapy for these types. 

I’m for listing the new category as “I’m an Asshole Disorder”.

The categories that the DSM5 keeps intact do have clear syndrome features, ones that the rest of us realize are abnormal. Think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.

The collapsed categories are people like your boss, your contractor, that crazy bitch in the cube next to you….Being an asshole is not a psychiatric disorder, it’s a life strategy. Narcissism, neediness,  weirdness and attention-whoring need to be declassified. And that is what DSM5 is doing.

Clinicians are bitching because up till now they can milk treating assholes and now the DSM5 is rounding up all the assholes under one category and it’s going to be a lot harder to justify $200 an hour for asshole therapy under a single code.

BTW, therapy doesn’t fix assholes. Shocker.


HATRED

November 29, 2010

There’s a big difference between hatred and “hate speech.”

The left in America is marinated in hatred. Go back to how they treated Reagan. The protests, the violence, the rage.

Bush took less shit than Reagan did from these foul little Ivy League totalitarians and their thuggee proletariat orcs. And what they did to him was howling limbic rage.

These people now wave the grey poupon and whine about implicit racism in a few Tea Party protest signs while ignoring–no, cheering–anti-Semitism and Marxism and terrorism from leftist protesters.

“Hate speech” is now anything these reptile haters hiss at.


Yeah, I know my glass is full but I still feel half empty

November 29, 2010

Anthony Lane, film reviewer for The New Yorker, writes this about the new wave of 3-D movies:

3-D will ravish our senses and take us on rides that no drug can match, but my guess is that, like so many blessings, it won’t make us happy. It will make us want more.

Ok, so what? Another self-important self-conscious mopey New York asshole who thinks he shits gold nuggets raining down rhetorical pyrite,  working it wringing deep sigh-laden meaning out of the mundane and trivial.

The formula is simple:  Bitch about a cool new bit of technology or other progress by waxing eloquent about any one or more of:

  • Pining nostalgically for the previous status quo, having instantly transmuted a previous annoyance into a lost spiritual ritual.
  • C0mplaining about side effects, lost jobs, obsolete business models and all the dmage done
  • Moping that the improvement will only temporarily break the surface tension of everyone’s ordinary, inevitable ennui. What is that only me?
  • Bemoaning the impact on global warming, social cohesion, childhood obesity, traffic congestion, traffic accidents, distracted driving, ADHD, toxins, landfills, autism, and, the last refuge of an effete, pampered, attention-whoring big city liberal scoundrel–becoming an option glut slut.

This kind of whining is really easy to imitate, once you see the trick. Watch:

  • Microwave ovens have ruined the American dinner table, robbed kitchens of their rightful aromas…
  • Double-paned windows lock Americans away from neighborhood sounds, make them more alienated from seasonal changes by saving them enough money that they can afford to turn the thermostat up to 70 in the winter…
  • eBooks take away the wonderful smell of mildew, the pleasure of having your whole house overrun with bookshelves, the joy of marking up books with post-it notes, underlines, dog-ears, and then still having to look for 20 minutes to find the thing you needed….I fear nobody will be able to add numbers in a world where paper books disappear like slide rules…

This attitude is more than annoying, it’s dangerous. From the Franken-phobia of the “precautionary principle” to the world’s-smallest-violin framing of the health care debate  to the asinine control-freak measures proposed to deal with global warming, the dreary liberal way of seeing the world completely rejects “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because if you’re a liberal everything’s fucking broken.

That’s really the essence of the Democrat party and mainstream liberalism today: no matter how cool it looks, whether it’s America or a new IMAX 3-D movie, it actually sucks and it’s suckiness is in direct proportion to how much it doesn’t seem to suck. Everything chafes them. All underwear binds. Each new thing threatens some old thing that now that we think about it doesn’t suck anymore because the new thing is what really sucks. Liberals aren’t conservative: they’re Luddites.

The left/liberal establishment has adopted a reflexive piss-in-your-own-punchbowl attitude toward everything except The Other. Everything new in their culture is fraught with Frankenstinianism (I just made up that word–pretty good word, huh?) Everything in other cultures is Whole-Foods-cool.

The only thing old that they don’t like is Western values.

They’re allergic not only to their own blood, sweat and tears, but to the Western idea of blood, sweat and tears. The result is a perpetual sneer and rejection of actual progress in favor of defining progress as government programs that promote MY ideals with YOUR money.

This goes beyond grievance politics or identity politics to having a Grievance Identity. America is a miserable, racist place with a (half) black President where children grow hungrier and fatter, and the greedy super-rich cause accidents by trying to drive their hummers while texting and beating their servants in the back seat. Thank god for Me days or I don’t know how I’d survive in Thunderdome Amerika.

Listen to liberals snarl the word corporation. Or business interests. Or America. No need to modify these terms with adjectives like  greedy, heartless orcorrupt anymore–the meme has firmly taken hold, and liberals spit the word corporation like Nazis used to say Juden.

Look at the Obamas, poster children for resenting where they eat.

Both Michelle and her consort have played their race cards skillfully, graduating from top schools, taking faux jobs like “community organizer” or finding soft featherbeds like “community affairs officer” for $300K a year. They are among the most privileged in the country they scold for rewarding the over-privileged. They show no indication of noticing or appreciating or wondering why they have been given so much for giving so little.

Affluent liberals drive SUVs and have big screen TVs, plant their big fat carbon feet-prints in far-flung places on regular vacations, move into bigger and bigger houses, all the time griping about how it doesn’t really fulfill them. The only actual lifestyle choices I see liberals making that are different from their conservative SES peers are buying expensive organic edible status symbols at Whole Foods instead of normal food at Costco and religiously sorting their trash like they’re worshipping at a curbside shrine.

Jackwagons.


Terrorizing the TSA

November 26, 2010

I’ve been thinking about what punishment, if any, TSA front line workers deserve from us. Eric Schneie’s Classical Values blog has helped me come to a firm conclusion.

Front-line TSA workers deserve all the contempt, ridicule, harassment and non-cooperation that we can heap upon them. Let’s make their jobs miserable. Well, even more miserable.

Amazing as it may sound, the government is trying to get people to feel sorry for the TSA screeners.

“Our concern is that the public not confuse the people implementing the policies with the people who developed the policies,” said Sharon Pinnock, the union’s director of membership and organization.I love it.

“Don’t blame me! I was just following orders!”

 It would be nice if Ms. Pinnock could have at least provided a few names of those who deserve blame. As she says, “the people who developed the policies.”

But of course, the “the people who developed the policies” are anonymous apparatchiks too.

Because they have created an insular and near-anonymous system, no one is really accountable and there is no one to blame — as even members of Congress discovered when they tried ever so gently to ask TSA administrator John Pistole if he might consider backing off just a little.

The answer was NO!

 I’m not saying everyone should get kicked off flights or get themselves arrested. But the right thing to do is to make sure every TSA goon knows exactly how you feel. If they decide to give you extra crap for having a bad attitude, what of it? Be sure you have your cell phone recording every time you go through gate-rape. Give the system a little heartburn every time you encounter it.

It doesn’t matter that TSA agents didn’t make the policy. It doesn’t matter that many of them are perfectly nice people. It doesn’t matter that were you in their place, you probably wouldn’t quit your job either over the new policy.

People keep saying that they don’t want to be treated like cogs in a machine. Let’s treat TSA workers like adult moral agents. They have also earned the contempt that everyone up their chain of command deserves too.

But wait a minute. Isn’t this a little like Tim McVeigh holding accountable the day care workers and little kids in the Oklahoma City federal building? Uh, no, not really. There were probably very few people who died in that bombing who supported or contributed to Ruby Ridge or Waco. Had McVeigh gone after Lon Horiuchi (the federal sniper who murdered Vicki Weaver and whose trigger-happy behavior probably sparked the Waco disaster), I would certainly have not considered McVeigh a moral monster, even if I might have disagreed with him about vigilante justice.

And I’m not talking about killing TSA agents. I’m not even advocating here for civil disobedience. I’m only talking about shaming them.

All TSA agents are fully aware of the new policies and are participating directly in their enforcement. In deference to Godwin’s law, I will omit analogies to concentration camp guards and will skip pasting in Hannah Arendt quotes. Instead, I’ll just ask, What kind of a dumbass do you have to be to think that TSA front-line agents aren’t actively morally involved and accountable for this?

I’ll let Eric Schneie deliver the coup de grace:

In the old days, people didn’t go for that “just going my job” crap.” They held the guys who did things to people responsible for their actions and they resorted to things like tar and feathers.

What else could they do? Petition King George? A lot of good that would have done.

Might as well petition Congress, which lacks the authority to petition John Pistole, because after all, he is only doing his job, and he really isn’t ultimately in charge. (As to who really is in charge, they’re anonymous as well as interchangeable, and for their own safety you little people have no right to know who or where they are.)

 

POSTSCRIPT. Just to be very clear, I’m not advocating the assassination of Lon Horiuchi. But if I ever met him, I wouldn’t shake his hand and I’d tell him to his face he’s a miserable little murderer. Remember all the shit people gave OJ Simpson after he was acquitted? Horiuchi should be similarly ostracized. He probably would be were he as instantly recognizable as the Juice Monster.

Horiuchi’s behavior at Waco very probably was the proximate cause of all those deaths. He was accused of firing several shots without orders, but denied it and got away with it. Tim McVeigh was seriously pissed and blamed Horiuchi for Waco. Then Horiuchi gets assigned to Ruby Ridge, and he murders Vicki Weaver, shooting her dead while she’s holding a baby. Horiuchi claimed “oops, I missed–I meant to kill one of the men. Lucky shot, wasn’t that?” Sorry, that second bite gives me all I need to refuse Horiuchi the benefit of the doubt about the malice of the first one. The government finally settled a wrongful death suit for millions with the Weaver family, refusing any admission of wrongdoing. And, once again, Horiuchi kept his job.

Now, imagine you’re Tim McVeigh, convinced, and probably correctly so, that Ron Horiuchi’s bloody recklessness caused the deaths of 74 people. The government protected its own and let him get away with it scot free. Then, a little while later, Horiuchi kills a woman who is literally holding a baby. And, once again, the federal government turns a blind eye. Had McVeigh taken out Horiuchi, we’d have understood. We cheer this kind of revenge in the movies.

Take this thought experiment a step further: Assume that McVeigh understood the points quoted above–that the problem wasn’t just Horiuchi, but the faceless, unaccountable Borg bureaucracy that used him as a weapon and protected him when he misfired. The bureacracy doesn’t care about collateral damage, and are attacking his friends purely because of their “radical” beliefs. Why not tit for tat, an eye for an eye? I’ll see your 20 children and raise you 19…

Here’s where McVeigh turned into a terrorist. When you start seeing it as ok to target and kill people only because they are associated with an organization or group you don’t like, you’ve crossed a bright line. You are a terrorist at heart if you believe some people deserve to die just because they’re “part of the machine,” not because of having personally committed actual crimes worthy of capital punishment. (Yes, this applies to Muslims who support suicide bombings, even if they’d never strap one on themselves.)

McVeigh wanted to kill random federal law enforcement officers, preferably from multiple agencies, and either he didn’t care or he thought it was poetic justice, to blow up a daycare center to get the job done. At the end of the day, the genocidal mindset is just a subset of the general terrorist mindset, and there’s no logically limiting factor in who you can justify killing once you push off and start tobogganing down this very slippery slope. McVeigh went very quickly from wanting Ron Horiuchi brought to justice to condemning all federal law enforcement officers to it being ok to murder their children too. Why not keep going and indict all taxpayers who voluntarily pay salaries to the feds?

This is what demonization means, and how it works psychodynamically.

Now, ask yourself , was the government behavior at Waco and Ruby Ridge consistent with the terrorist mindset as I’ve described it above? Reckless disregard for collateral damage; a belief that any level of violence is justified to deal with the problem; Demonization of a hated group of people that you treat as an existential threat to your own culture and goals; reckless disregard for collateral damage, or perhaps even an ugly satisfaction in inflicting it.

Under Janet Reno, the US Justice Department really was a terrorist organization.



Adulthood’s End, part 2

April 6, 2010

Jonathan Rauch, in The Atlantic April 2010, writes about “Letting Go of My Father”. He tells about the hardships and challenges of dealing with his octogenerian dad’s decline and falls.

The article resonates with me, perhaps more so than it might have before  because I may be facing the same things soon. Rauch eloquently talks about how isolated he felt until he started blurting out “inappropriately” what was going on. Then he found many people who were or had been in the same place. 

This is an experience common to people going through everyday issues that are touchy or embarrassing. Failing parents, failing children, suddenly gay spouses, divorces, depressions, mental illnesses, horrific abuse… If you don’t break silence, you’ll never know how many other people near you have been there done that.

Rauch writes poignantly about his dad’s fierce independence and how he tried to preserve his dad’s illusion of independence way after it was obviously illusory.

I’m walking a difficult line here. If you like the usual tone of this blog, you may not be impressed with this post. I’m going to suspend the “take no prisoners” rule for a minute. Well, somewhat. In the next paragraphs, I’m going to savage the grief-stricken. But even I have some sense of decorum. So I’ll try to make a clean kill.

Several years ago, a teenage girl got herself killed skiing because she didn’t wear a helmet her parents didn’t make her wear a helmet. Her grieving parents started a crusade to make it illegal for anyone to ski without a helmet. I don’t ski, so I don’t know how successful they were. Does everyone who skis now have to wear a helmet?

The parents of this girl got a respectful, credulous listening because (1) the media are vultures who lick up spilled blood like mother’s milk and (2) who dares to disagree with the grief-stricken when they may go hysterical at any moment?

If you suffer tragedy, you get a penalty shot on the rest of us to work out your grief and need for control. Any stupid thing you think the rest of us should be forced to do, we have to listen to you demand we do it, and show decent respect. Up to a point. When it turns into a public bully-pulpit thing, I don’t like it.

Jonathan Rauch ends his article in full-on bully-pulpit-mode.

In terms of his actual decency and compassion and caring for his dad, I’m a Rauch fan. But….

Rauch says:

How can it be that so many people like me are so completely unprepared for what is, after all, one of life’s near certainties?

There are resources out there to tap, to be sure. Once you begin looking, you can find them….What I needed was for the experts to find me and tell me what I needed.

Rauch found abundant resources once he overcame his reticence to talk about the fact that he might be having a hard time. What the hell does Rauch really mean? Do we need yet another stupid over-produced PSA? A hotline? “Does your life suck? Call 1-800-CRY-BABY and we’ll tell you why and what you need.”

At one point….I joked to friends that we should all be given time off work at age 40 to take a course on elder care. I no longer see this as such a joke.  Surely [paragraph ends with advocating that multiple programs, courses and hotlines should be set up to force-feed everyone about this].

I’m not even going to comment about this. Except to say hell, yeah, I’ll take a free day off work.

Here’s Rauch’s last paragraph, unedited:

What we need even more than that, though, is for our nameless problem to be plucked out of the realm of the personal and brought into full public view, where help can find us. In the years after Betty Friedan named their problem, women who work in the home (formerly “housewives”) demanded and got a new infrastructure for support:  opportunities to study and work at home, part-time job opportunities, public and private help with child care, social networks, and so on. Perhaps more important, they demanded and got society’s recognition that they were providing an indispensable public good. As a result, they are not isolated or silent anymore, and they do not need to put up with being lonely or bored. Keeping today’s invisible infrastructure of caregivers out of sight is as stressful and wasteful and pointless as leaving millions of women feeling stranded at home once was. My mother’s friend and the feminsts of ther generation fundamentally had it right. There should be no need for anyone to go through this alone, and no glory in trying.

Rauch embodies everything wrong and right with America. No matter how much Americans talk like helpless oppressed victims, and whine like little girls about needing support groups and hotlines, Americans don’t just sit there like a Frog would and wait for rescue.  Rauch manned up and took care of his dad. I just wish he’d have been proud of it. Ain’t that America: we git ‘er done, and then we whine like little girls about it.


Stupid Liberal!

November 14, 2009

Liberals like to play the stupid card even more than the race card.

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but calling a conservative stupid is the first tactic of most liberals. American liberals think they’re smart because they’re liberal. This is like how most conservatives think they’re righteous because they’re conservative.

First, I’m going to harsh on the conservatives, even though this post is about liberals, because I’m hoping that liberals might have a pot/kettle moment from it.

Forget that Catholic women are twice as likely to have abortions as the average (because Catholic women ignore birth control and have huge incentives to hide out-of-wedlock pregnancies). Forget Sarah Palin’s slutty little daughter and Carrie Prejean tweakin’ her bean, and Newt Gingrich bangin’ his mistress. Ignore Jim Bakker and all the other fakers. Ignore the fact that conservatives get divorced more than liberals (probably because they marry younger).  And let’s ignore the closeted criminality, from the wide-stanced Mormon in Minneapolis to the predatory page dater in Pensacola.

No doubt about it, conservatives are a hot moral mess. On their main claim to fame, it’s epic fail.

Now, let’s talk about liberals. They think they’re smart, enlightened and compassionate. As SNL says, Really?

You liberal guys think Joe Biden is smarter than Sarah Palin? Really? You think John Kerry is smarter than George Bush? (Look up their SATs and college grades. Think about what it takes to fly a fighter plane before you call Bush stupid again.) Really, you think that Keith Olbermann is smarter than Bill O’Reilly? Pelosi would beat Gingrich on Jeopardy?

Liberals get a thrill up their legs from glibly articulate incompetence. They have no understanding that smart and articulate don’t always go together.

You liberals all are still laughing at Bush for saying, “Heck of a job, Brownie!” while defending the feckless fuckups that Obama has surrounded himself with. They’re taking credit for saving the economy like an Indian rain man takes credit for the fact that if he dances for 9 months, it eventually fucking rains. (Oh, and all Barack’s boy geniuses shouldn’t get all happy just yet–the crops ain’t in yet. Y’all have been out pissing in the fields for 9 months, and the rain we’re getting now may not be enough to wash all of your smartness away.)

Liberals created a welfare system that incents the stupidest to reproduce the mostest, and then you justify expanding it because the mostest are now birthing the stupidest?

No matter that nearly every blue state is on the verge of bankruptcy and nearly every red state is doing ok.

No matter that you’re going to try Khalid Mohammed in a civil court. OJ the Sequel. How fucking stupid do you have to be to be this fucking stupid?

No matter that Iran has played Lucy to your Charlie Brown all year, with a nuclear football.

No matter that you’re all starry-eyed about your big-eared Charlie Brown who’s knuckled under and hired a bunch of wrinkled Marxists and Maoists to tell him what to do now that he’s King of the World, Ma! 

To be continued.