"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Sep 16, 2010

As The Play Moves Off The Stage...

Over SMBIVA way, the good Mr. Smith has hit upon the latest Democrat rebranding scheme:

"The Democrats have an interesting approach to marketing. I've said for years that their marketing pitch is that they're the un-Republicans. But they seem to have taken a step or two beyond that. What the new logo seems to suggest is that they're the un-party -- not to say the non-entity." 

You might sum up the collective Dem mode as "Don't blame us, we're staid, sane and boring. We compromise. We're civilized. We pay our dues. We like libraries and seating charts. When we bomb people, we apologize and wear contrite grimaces. Unlike those nasty Republicans, who bomb people and brag about it. But, you do have to blame someone for your woes, so blame the crazy, angry people with interesting lives and off center ideas."

And it seems that they have decided to take this anodyne approach to its logical conclusion, in dealing with the "Tea Party" phenomenon, especially in the person of its latest star, a delightfully uncouth and astroturf-free firebrand by the name of O'Donnell, who has begun in earnest her quest to Scottbrown the Biden Seat.  Instead of addressing the concerns which compel people to take Movement types seriously - a pathology in its own right - the poobahs and panjandrums of the Other Corporate Party insist on attacking her...


Now I don't profess any belief, don't believe in any god, and don't care much for faith or theology. I also know that this places me in a distinct minority of Americans. Obviously so.

Americans do religion with gusto.

Americans also have a number of stupid ideas about sexuality - a range of idiotic and regressive so broad as to positively define the term "all encompassing."

GOP Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell (who, as of twenty four hours after her primary "upset" claims to have raised nearly a million dollars in donations) appears to have that oletimey American gusto for religion. And for stupid ideas about sex. Let's get that out of the way, right now. Her Jeebus doesn't approve of masturbation and he might even think Teh Gays've got the AIDS coming to them. Admitted. Noted.

As a barely read, pseudonymous blegher with no interest in campaign outcomes, except to note that the nameplate change on the Senate door does not result in a policy change, I still feel a wee bit dirty airing out my disdain for O'Donnell's faith assertions.

From where I sit, I can plainly see that my atheism and sexual flexibility stand outside the norm. Full stop. The majority of Americans have prurient-prudish sexual views and get hopped up on some sort of God with a grudge.

An obvious thing. A no brainer.

So, what do the Democrats and professional liberals decide to do, with this available data set? Do they choose to play smart moral judo, and turn their opponents momentum against them?


Do they opt for a narrative steal - taking more seriously the ills and concerns of the people they would rule, the better to undercut the appeal of outsider firebrands armed with passion and an uncompromising hatred?


Because they can't.

In much the same way that institutional Republicans cannot violate their public commitment to the "free markets and small government" myth cycle, despite their repeated policy betrayals of the same, the Dems cannot discover passion, fury and rage in their own bleak, managerial, pliant selves. If they had it, they wouldn't join the Democrats and compete for electoral power and corporate sinecure. They wouldn't agree to the terms of the Arrangement,* in the first.


Politics dramatizes reality. 

Republicans do berserker, bloody handed slash and grab. They go a'viking. The Dems sail the ship back home again, guard the loot, normalize the law, sell off the captives, and repair relations with the viking victims, in preparation for next year's summer season of Republican looting and rapine.

Politics - the law, media production, campaigns, embedded entertainment, the high courts, public scandal, public redemption - reproduces the hard reality of government, rule and power as theater, as stories for public consumption. As the play that takes attention off the king.

And this production has an iron clad contract: No one improvises. No one goes off script. The Republicans play expansionist, business friendly conservatives at ease with casual violence. The Democrats play solidly civilized bureaucratic incrementalists with inclusive and United Colors of Benetton notions about all the people Republicans would casually violate.

They stick to the script.

Until someone doesn't.

And then, like good employees, the players band together to enforce the rules of the play.

And this means that the Democrats and their professional progressive allies will approach people like Christine O'Donnell (or Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney) according to the script:







The message? Christine O'Donnell is a dangerous, flighty, moronic, unkempt, ill governed chick with bad habits and questionable finances, probably at best a semi-skilled waitress who has forgotten her place. She makes scary noises to top off her funny faces and thinks masturbation is icky and offensive to Jesus. She probably even farts in front of men. Or worse, she doesn't fart at all, because her Jesus hates flatulence. God knows she doesn't appreciate Proust or the angsty anti-irony of the Kierkegaardian Pose. Like Sarah Palin, she has no respect for the fourth wall. She even gives asides to the audience. No doubt she spanks her children...

You know - what they tried on Sarah Palin.

They can't help themselves. They don't have any choice.

Or - they do have choices. But, they'd pay too big a political, personal and financial price if they actually made one. They'd lose access. They'd get booted off the stage.

Not that it matters, really. Once someone goes off script and successfully holds the attention of the audience, the rules of the play have changed. The play has changed. They story itself mutates. Once a player crashes the fourth wall, and invites the audience to participate, even only as wider eyed spectators or an ad hoc Greek Chorus, those who inhabit the formal roles either adapt and improvise - or they lose control of the future of the story.

The producers - to push the analogy further - have lost control of their production. Instead of adapting and riding the momentum (as the Republicans seem ready to do), the Democrats and pro-prog allies stomp their feet and insist instead that everyone follow the script.

And when some of the jumped up extras refuse to get off the stage, the Dems do what the script requires. They stick to their roles. They scoff and posture and sneer, exactly as privileged and skeptical courtiers might do, armed with the Western canon and a civilizing mission, when faced with a bumpkin who doesn't know that court politics is theater, or that the audience ought to stay in their seats.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want the Sarah Palins and Christine O'Donnells of the world running the show. I don't want anyone who actually wants the job to ever get a shot at holding it. I don't want the job to exist at all.

But, if someone has to have it, it tickles me to think that the Democrats face real problems because the Republicans lost the script and got gate crashed by a cast of extras who don't know that angry Jesus is a stage prop, or that they're in the middle of the third act of a staged production...

* - see MJS'  "The Ratchet" for a fuller explanation.


Anonymous said...

That's some good shit right there, Jack.

mike flugennock said...

Just before the 2002 mid-term "elections", a lot of TV talkers were babbling about how we'd find out what the Democrats were about. Shortly after the '02 "elections", we found out.

It was at that point that I started referring to them as the Seinfeld Party -- the Party About Nothing.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you, Charles.


That's their role, no? To provide cover for the nastier factions of the ruling class, to consolidate the less savory gains under the "rule of law" about which they so like to prattle - by appearing to do nothing...



Anonymous said...

Well put and good to see you back a little more regularly. O'Donnell and her kind see some problems, its her solutions that rankle, but at least she sees problems. Her opponents only see their investiture as the solution to an unnamed catastrophe. They say things aren't right but they will be worse if (McCain, Bush, Palin, etc.) has some power. Its not much of an argument if you've been running things and less so if you've done nothing much different than what the previous folks did.


Jack Crow said...

Thank you, drip.

I think we're fucked no matter who wins, but I can a least appreciate the proto-fascists' honesty.