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THEATER OF THE ABSURDby Miles Mathis
How is it that both sides of every debate fail to state the obvious these days? I have shown that both art and science are defined by misdirection and propaganda, so that we should not be surprised that politics is, too. Politics was the arena of invention for misdirection and propaganda, and art and science only borrowed their current forms from politics. The main remaining difference is that in art and science, the audience is assumed to have some residual intelligence: the misdirection has to be done behind a small cloak of some sort. But in politics, no such assumption is necessary anymore. The various media present us with a debate where both sides are speaking nothing but nonsense, and no one seems capable of passing through it.
Today's proof of this is the brouhaha over whether some Congresspeople were called niggers by individuals in a tea party rally. On one side we have the black Congresspeople themselves telling us it happened, and telling us that we need to “explore why this kind of divisive and reprehensible language is still making it into our political debate." On the other side, we have Andrew Breitbart saying that it never happened, and offering a reward to anyone who can prove it did.
Nonsense on both sides. To start with, seeing grown people afraid of printing a word as a word (not directed at anyone) is so infantile I never thought to see it in my lifetime. We think we have made great social progress because we can now say “crap” and “ass” on TV, but we have actually digressed since the 60's. Back then coarse language was frowned upon, but we were further from outlawing words than we are now. We are just a slight cough away from criminalizing the word nigger as hate speech, even when it is used like I am using it (undirected at anyone). This would be like outlawing the word “murder,” even in reportage. Because murder is a crime, you cannot use the word, since it might incite someone to murder. The current arguments are about that logical. We have already reached that point in airports, where you can already be arrested just for saying the word “terrorist.” For instance, if you said to a guard, “I am not a TERRORIST,” and said the word terrorist with too much emphasis or volume, you would be arrested. Speech, words, and even inflection have already been criminalized, even when there is no threat or chance of riot or incitement.
But to move on. The Congressman's argument about divisive language is also nonsense. The “divisive language” didn't make it into “our political debate.” A couple of people venting in a crowd is not a political debate. You are never going to be able to prevent people from shouting at each other, especially people who aren't capable of rational discourse. Since this describes most people on both sides of this and every other issue, this is the sort of thing we can expect. But it isn't important anyway. People who are pushed by the government are going to say angry things, and representatives should be able to take it. Anyone over 5 should be able to take it, since we are taught in kindergarten that sticks and stones, etc.
In situations like this the word “nigger” is now just a variant of “asshole,” and you can't outlaw words. Unlike Breitbart, I have no doubt some people did use the word nigger, but they were probably just looking for the most hurtful word they could find. If it had been Barney Frank, they would have called him a faggot. That is, the word was used because it was handy. And because it has been put off limits, the word has only gained in its power. The recipient has told you beforehand that he will be highly offended, so if you want to be offensive, you know where to go. The whole scene is from the theater of the absurd. If blacks really want the word nigger to lose its heat, they shouldn't outlaw it, they should use it in every sentence. As in, “Tell that nigger Miley Cyrus to nigger my nigger.” Or, “Spongebob is a nigger-deluxe and a terrorist-hugging twink.” Or, “I can't decide if Grover or Elmo is the biggest nigger. One thing for sure: the Cookie Monster is a faggot-terrorist in a blue rug!” If you read enough sentences like that, you lose your ability to take these slurs seriously: the childishness of it all becomes very apparent. Richard Pryor was on the right track in the early years, and only his meetings with Jesse Jackson or somebody convinced him that outlawing words was the way to go.
If anyone had any logic left, he or she would see that Breitbart's calling these guys liars was more important than anyone calling them niggers. There is more meat there. Judging someone for the color of his skin is ridiculous on the face of it, and most people recognize that these days. But judging someone for his truthfulness is still both logical and poignant. Which makes it that much more amusing when these Congresspeople fail to take umbrage at being called liars. They are so used to lying that being called a liar no longer seems like a slur. When someone judges them for their character, they let it slide; but when someone judges them for the color of their nose and ears, oh, that is the limit!
Like I said, I suspect these guys weren't lying when they claimed they were called niggers. However, I do think they were misdirecting, since that is what they are paid to do. They (along with all white members of Congress and the media) are trying with every card they can play to keep the “debate” away from the real issues. They are trying to keep us arguing about forbidden words and the color of our noses, so that we forget to argue about real policy. They want the headlines to constantly be about race or sex or abortion or who fell into a mine or who slept with who, so that they don't ever have to answer the hard questions about how much the Federal Reserve stole from us this year, or how many innocent people they have killed in the Middle East in illegal wars, or how they are continuing to cover up 911, or how Homeland Security is expanding into a Gestapo, or how the Constitution is evaporating from beginning to end.
In fact, any news story that includes Congress is misdirection from the get-go, since Congress is just a cardboard front. It is a cast of marginalized characters paid to look like it is doing something, so that you can send them letters they can throw in the shredder. You might as well petition the cast of Lost to do something about healthcare or foreign policy. You might as well gather and protest in front of Duncan Donuts or Chuck-E-Cheese. Congress is obsolescent. It is defunct. It is nothing but a professor emeritus, collecting a pension for filling a suit and having gray hair.
Congress shouldn't be worried about about a few harsh words. Congress should be worried that it has been hired to be the fake bad guy. Congress should be worried that when this really gets nasty, they are going to be the high profile villains. The rank and file have proved that they don't know who the enemy is, so it looks like they will go after the puppets first. Although Congress now just rubberstamps the policies made by other people, the angry citizens don't know that. The citizens still go to DC when they are angry and gather among the monuments, not realizing that DC is just a paper moon in front of a cardboard sea. It is a Disneyland of false targets, meant to attract the ignorant shooters. The real villains are in more secluded places, hiding behind layers of protection. The top brass have rows and rows of infantry and cavalry in front of them, and you can't even see them from the trenches.
You have to understand that the first line of defense for these people, well ahead of any line of pawns or privates, is the fake debate you read every day in the paper or online. You read some manufactured contest between two manufactured interests, not realizing that both interests are funded and scripted by the same people. In this particular case, Andrew Breitbart and these Congressmen are like two NFL teams, both paid by advertisers to knock heads for a few hours to keep your eyes off the main action. Any time you spend being offended by the fact that some nameless person yelled the word nigger is time you don't spend thinking about how the Feds just stole trillions from you, or how they stole these trillions to kill Iraqi and Afghani men, women and children in your name. It is time you don't spend thinking how your government, using money it stole from you, has become the worldwide leader in foreign and domestic terror, killing, torturing, jailing, and harassing anyone it wants to, including you and your neighbors. It is time you don't spend thinking about how it is even now hiring more thugs to make up more Blackwater-type private battalions that can bust into your home at gunpoint and charge you with anything they like, or shoot you dead.
I am going to let that reminder hang on that crescendo and move on to another topic. There were two subjects in today's headlines I wanted to hit, the other one being Sandra Bullock's marital problems. Here again, no sense is ever spoken in the media. The gender feminists have used this as one more bomb to drop on all men. I watched Saturday Night Live on Hulu last night, and this topic made Weekend Update on two occasions. First, Kristen Wiig flashed a T-shirt and a handsign in support of Bullock, then Tina Fey used the subject as a quick lead-in to a general slur of men. According to Fey, Bullock is not suffering from an Oscar curse, whereby the winner of a Best Actress Oscar then gets cheated on by her husband, she is suffering from the curse of “being a woman”—implying that all men cheat on their women (and that no women cheat on their men). This is patently absurd in general, and is so absurd in the case of Sandra Bullock that it passes belief. Sandra Bullock married a guy covered in tattoos, who works on choppers for a living, and who was married to a pornstar before her, and we are supposed to be shocked to discover he is not a choirboy? We are expected to feel loads of compassion for her, but what did she expect? It is like marrying a lion and being surprised when your pet lamb goes missing or marrying a policeman and being surprised when your pet donut goes missing. C'mon. Make some sense, for criminy's sake!
Beyond that, it is ironic that Tina Fey chooses this same commentary to attack Bombshell McGee (Jesse James' new flame) for being tattooed, but never asks what Bullock was thinking in marrying someone who was the male equivalent of Bombshell McGee. If I married Bombshell McGee and then expected her to be a saint, I don't think Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, or anyone else would feel a lot of solidarity with me. I don't think they would put my name on a T-shirt or flash me cutesy handsigns. They would think I was sleeping in a bed of my own making, wouldn't they—reaping what I did sow.
But it goes even beyond that. Sandra Bullock is known for being boy crazy. Nothing wrong with that, you will say. No, there isn't. There is nothing wrong with it, there is only something inconsistent in it. I lived in Austin in the 90's, and I saw Sandra around town quite often. She was always dating some new guy, Matthew McConaughey or Bob Schneider or somebody (neither of whom were known for being one-woman guys). She shopped at the same Whole Foods as me, and she would check me out as I ground my own organic free-trade Peruvian coffee or bought a bag of four-dollar pears. Again, nothing wrong with that. I have been told I look a bit like McCon or Schneider or Donovan, so I guess I am her type. But frankly I had no interest in being one in a long line of blonde-haired eye candy on the arm of Sandra Bullock. It works both ways, you know. So you can see why I might be able to see through this newest Hollywood fiasco. Women who have a lot of high-profile boyfriends, and who seem to be most attracted to the least dependable of them, don't merit a lot of compassion when their relationships blow up.
But it goes even beyond that. I can't believe actors still attack each other (male or female) for their sex lives. Actors are the biggest bunch of sluts ever. They have a lot of opportunity and most take it. Nor is this just limited to actors. When I was in Austin, nearly everyone was a slut. That is why they were there. Austin and Boston were and are known as the two best places to be single and under 35. Every night is a new encounter, and it is rare anyone refuses an opportunity. Again, I am not critiquing anyone, just stating a fact. You make choices and you have to live with them. I am not criticizing Sandra for liking alpha males, since most girls would do the same in her position. I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of dating or marrying those guys and then being shocked when they act like alpha males. They are just doing their job, and if they weren't doing it, someone else would. You might as well be shocked that dogs bark or that birds fly or that politicians lie. That is what they do, and it is your fault for expecting otherwise.
If Sandra wants to get involved with those guys, that is her business. I am only enraged when Tina Fey uses Jesse James to slur all guys. I am enraged that no one thinks to mention that Sandra Bullock may have had some responsibility in all this. And I am enraged when women imply that they are any better than us when it comes to sex. They aren't. In some ways they are different than us: they have different problems and make different mistakes. But in general they are just as confused and just as selfish and just as irrational. I know: I have dated a lot of them.
As a sort of tack on, I can't resist commenting on the inconsistency shown in Tina Fey's sketch with Justin Bieber. Tina plays a teacher with a crush on her 16 year old student, and it is portrayed as all in good fun. Women, and society in general, needs to decide how it feels about this. The sketch was funny, but the mixed signals are NOT funny. People are in jail for this. Eighteen year old guys have been arrested for dating 16 year old girls, so it is not just a matter of mores or morals or funny taboos. It is a matter of law. Real teachers, of both sexes, have spent years in jail for this.
I can understand each side in this debate. There are arguments on both sides that make sense. Europe has chosen to pretty much give up on statutory rape. Sixteen year olds there can date whoever they want to. But here, 16 year olds are still locked up in little mating pens. They can date other 16 year olds or face real jail time. If we want to keep those laws, then it makes no sense to loosen the mores. It makes no sense to joke about it as if it is no big deal. We can't be strict and loose at the same time. We need to either be loose like Europe or strict like Saudi Arabia. It is the mixed signals that are the real tragedy and that cause the real problems.
I like Tina Fey in general. I think she is smart and funny and attractive and talented, and I think politically she is well-intentioned and often correct. However, she, like most contemporary females, is sending a lot of dangerous mixed signals, obviously without even realizing it. It used to be men that were applying the old double standard in their own favor, but now it is women doing it. Women want to be free to do anything they like, but they don't want to allow men to do the same thing. Tina is free to joke about a crush on a 16 year old boy, but can you imagine Fred Armisen doing a sketch where he joked about marrying Molly Quinn or Dakota Fanning? He'd be fired first, then ripped on every talk show, then visited by the FBI.
Men being selfish are losers and cads, but women being selfish are “empowered.” Men act stupid and make mistakes, and they are dragged through the tabloid mud for months. Women act stupid and make mistakes, and everyone looks the other way. Every relationship disaster is assumed to be the fault of the man, and no one asks if the woman shares some responsibility. When Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman split, for instance, not one person asked if Nicole had anything to do with it. She was the victim from the first word, despite the fact that almost no one knew what had really happened. For myself, I assumed they were both gay or frigid, and had been paired by their handlers for that reason. After some amount of time, they got sick of looking at each other, and asked to be re-assigned. Talk about no-fault. And yet the tabloids spun it endlessly as some moral failing of Tom. Nicole went on Oprah every other week and looked shunned and shamed, but her act was even more unconvincing than Tom's jumping up and down on the sofa.
Same for Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer admitted making Brad wait nine months before they had sex. If that doesn't stop you in your tracks, nothing will. That was 1999 and we are talking about actors. Normal people in their 30's wait, what, three to five dates, if that. Actors normally wait three to five minutes. Nine months? One or both of these people is frigid, and I am assuming both. No normal guy waits nine months for sex with his girlfriend. The most likely scenario is that Jennifer's hormones finally kicked in in her 30's, and Brad asked to be re-assigned to someone more gay or more frigid. Only problem with that theory is that it means Billy Bob Thornton's whole sex thing is also an act, but Billy Bob is a good actor. Or maybe BB just wore Angelina out. I don't frickin know, or care. The only thing I know is that Jennifer wasn't anyone's victim. Hollywood relationships, like most relationships, are a series of disasters or fakes, and no one is going to convince me that the male sex is the fall guy in all this.
If women want stable relationships, they have to marry stable guys (who do exist). Why don't they? Because women are human beings, and human beings crave excitement. Stability is (often) the opposite of excitement. Women, like men, want both excitement and stability, so they waffle between one and the other. If they have more opportunity, they waffle more. Why can't the eternal problem be stated in these straightforward terms? Why do we always have to see the man portrayed as the goat and the woman portrayed as the angel? Simple: it is the woman now painting the picture. Men almost never write about sexual politics and women almost always do. There is an Oprah magazine, but there is no David Letterman magazine or Jimmy Kimmel magazine. We have no club. GQ and Esquire don't waste any copy fighting the gender war: they are too busy publishing soft porn and trying to get laid by floozies. Since the rise of online porn, no one looks at Playboy anymore, and Playboy was never a clear voice in the gender wars anyway. About the closest thing we had to a recent salvo was Christopher Hitchens' article in Vanity Fair, accusing women of not being funny, but I have already shown how pathetic that was.
It is sad when the strongest, most manly voice on our side is Camille Paglia, but I don't know where she has been the last five years. I lost track of all that when I gave up on Salon and moved into the real meat and potatoes of Infowars. The world has changed and a lot of these places like Salon don't understand it. Either that, or they have been taken over by the CIA. Camille, like Gore Vidal and lot of my old heroes from the 90's, still takes the Democratic party seriously. Vidal said recently that Obama was very smart and never lied. Conclusion: Vidal died and has been replaced by a CIA pod. In the same way, Paglia still hadn't seen through the whole charade as late as 2009, so she either hit an intellectual wall or has been visited by the spooks. Even Nader signed onto that whole cap-and-trade nonsense for a while, indicating a complete loss of his faculties. The world is changing so fast these older generations can't keep up. They are still functioning in the corruption levels of the 90's, and like Chomsky, they can't see the exponential increase since 911. That was the dividing line, and most of those past 60 really can't seem to get a handle on 911. Without coming to terms with that, they can't get a read on anything since then.
This is important, because Paglia, who wrote Sexual Personae, should be saying what I am saying. Instead she is letting her readers lead her, with columns that are just answers to her letterbag. It is as if she can no longer find her own feet. Worst of all, she is still looking for apologies for Obama. After a year like 2009, no intelligent person should be unclear about what is really going on. The events of the last decade have demanded that social critics become ever more critical, but Paglia was more pointed in the 90's.
It begins to appear that the next decade will not be a decade where we are led by intellectuals of any stripe. I can't say that discourages me. It is the populace that must rise up, and they are always led by their own. It will be Alex Jones and others like him that lead the sans-culottes of our own time. One only wonders where the similar counter-revolution in the gender wars will come from. What voice of non-partisan reason will rise up like Twain from the Mississippi boats, to tell these overreaching ladies to put their claws back in their gloves?
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