Monday, October 18, 2010

Fine. Politics, Then.

I'm not giving to fondling my blog's navel like some of my beloveds, but I have given some thought, after my late summer outburst of rage on local politics, to what national stories might make me passionate enough to write. We have not one, but two winners.

Let's start easy: Joe Miller (Batshit Crazy-AK), Teatard candidate for Senate in the utterly insignificant1 great state of Alaska, had some utterly insignificant2 blogger/journalist handcuffed and illegally detained (one link of gajillions) by private security goons after the guy tried to ask Miller questions at a public forum. Seriously, Alaska? You might really elect this? What the fuck ever.

What's worse, people actually want to argue about this fucking nonsense. It was a public event. The guy was surrounded by security goons after he tried to ask questions. He shoved one of them. There's no assault here (Anchorage PD didn't arrest anyone, but referred the case to the local prosecutionary)--at worst, there is an assault with a far more serious countercharge of kidnapping against the goons. Let's stipulate to the worst, even. You think, in that worst case, only one's guilty? You're a partisan hack, shut the fuck up a whole lot.

Miller, a candidate for national office, refuses to answer questions about his background (which includes behavior antithetical to his professed beliefs). Blogger Dude pursued him. Shit ensued. Miller is a hypocrite running for public office. Case closed.

In other news of Teatards versus Reality (it's an ancient literary conflict device, they taught it to you in 11th grade, look it up, fool), Rand Paul (Seriously Certifiably Insane-KY) doesn't like that his opponent, Jack Conway (Smug Fratboy-KY) called him out on some alleged hypocrisy (other links ad infinitum), though he wasn't smart enough to deny the alleged hypocrisy that started it all. Paul is a racist creep, and a remarkably stupid one to boot. Conway is the elected nominally Democratic Attorney General of a state that couldn't be more in love with the Bible. Without party labels, I'd probably think he was a jackass. Because he's the only thing standing between me and having Rand Paul as my neighbor, I think he's the precious baby Jesus.

Oddly, enough, neither of them is the biggest loser moron in this whole affair. No, those were waved in by Senator Claire McCaskill (Prissy Pseudoprincipled Losercrat-MO), who called the ad "very dangerous" for reasons that escape me, as they might anyone with a sense of perspective, but then had the decency to say nice things about Conway. Senator McCaskill was the tip of an iceberg well-characterized by Jon Chait, who deliberately ignored every bit of context about the ad and Conway's tactic to try to appear to be reasonable, twisting Conway's attack on Paul's hypocrisy into a perception of religious bigotry in some tortured unintentional parody of trollish concern about means and ends. Except he wasn't smart enough to finish the equation. In a state like Kentucky, if you want to get elected statewide, you need to be a fucking Christian. That's not an appealing reality to those of us who aren't. But it is reality. Shorter Chait: An asshat racist Christian like Rand Paul is better than a mean Christian like Jack Conway, now watch me twist and flail to avoid looking like I just wrote that.

Fail. Politics are dirty, and Teatards have made them dirtier. It's time to pull out whatever can be pulled out (and shut up, multiparty Obamapostates, shut the fuck up a whole lot, stand on your dumbass "it's better to not vote for 0.00000006% better because they need to learn a lesson" horseshit and watch fuckwits like Rand Paul show you how hypocritical they really are). Jack Conway's a bit of a dick running as a Dem in a state where dicks get elected. He called Rand Paul on some hypocrisy. Case closed.

Is it? Of course not. I've reflected on this notion of hypocrisy quite a bit. We're all guilty of it, the kind of complicity that makes the aforemocked beloved throw up in his mouth a little when he looks in the mirror or stares at the fuzzy space in his blog's midsection. There's a valid question here: How bad is hypocrisy, compared to, say, beliefs underpinned by a black hole of moral values?

As it happens, I've got my answer (to a question that I admittedly framed to my advantage). It's not original; I stole it from one of my very favorite novels ever, Neal Stephenson's3 The Diamond Age:

"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others--after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?"
"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices...Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy."
"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception--he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."
"It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved--the missteps we make along the way--are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human..."
Oops. I lied. I don't have an answer at all, I just really like that passage as an examination of the issues threading through the stories I've linked tonight. It doesn't work as my answer, because I'm almost certainly a moral relativist (and I say that as an observation of objective reality, not as the insult that some moral absolutists would pose). It works as my answer because I don't believe that Joe Miller or Rand Paul are bound to some strict code of moral conduct (or even, for that matter, to the Constitution, except as a thing of convenience--the very sort of hypocrisy that Lord Finkle-McGraw dismisses as uncommon in the prophesied New Atlantean society). They think their beliefs are underpinned by morals, but they're the same morals Thomas Jefferson had when he wrote the Declaration of Independence while banging Sally Hemmings like a screen door in a hurricane, and the same me-first horseshit that they espouse while accepting government benefits and decrying governmental solutions for brown people and rights for anyone not Uhmuhrukin. Their hypocrisy is repugnant, but their values are worse.

It sure lays it all out, though. Are Joe Miller and Rand Paul hypocritical pieces of shit? Yeppers. Is that the worst of their crimes? Fuck no, and both their values and their hypocrisy render them unfit to hold office. But hypocrisy is the crime that resonates, with two weeks left in an election cycle. Bang the gong, Blogger Dood and Precious Baby Jesus.

1 Fuck. It's the Senate.
2 Fuck. Every sperm is sacred.
3 And favorite book ever or not, Neal, fuck you to death with a splintered broomstick for The Baroque Cycle, one thousand pages of shriekingly bad navel-chewing wrapped around about forty nonconsecutive pages of interesting prose. Forgiven, of course, given what preceded it. But really, dood. Fuck you.

(Passages quoted from Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age utterly without permission, without commercial intent, and only for critical purposes. I'll hope that's pure enough of heart to be legal.)

(Edited ten minutes after initial post to correct typos, complete a thought, and make the ending a tad more coherent, which is not to suggest that any of this post should be taken as coherent.)


GrizzlyPlaytoy4Rent said...

"...which is not to suggest that any of this post should be taken as coherent."

Whew, thanks for the warning! The stream of consciousness nature of your political rants was beginning to make me feel as though certain recreational activities embraced in the 80s and early 90s might really have had a detrimental and lasting effect on my cognitive processes. Good to know it's you and not me.

Sasha said...

I can't say most of what I want to say because I fear that Blogger will ban your blog. So, in passing, I need to mention that Rand (who likes to call himself "Randy") must have the smallest organ east of Asia. And that I am so sick of Democrats being afraid to say what they mean that I could puke right here and now.

Oh, yeah. You failed to mention that the brown people are really Asians from Canada.

Purplestate said...



Wait, so - there's an army of . . . children? That do, what exactly?

I much, much, much prefer the Baroque Cycle, where at LEAST you get a battle on the steps of the Paris Opera, the culmination of (as you correctly point out) nearly 1000 pages of moderately interesting fiction based on the idea that Leibniz is cast as Judas in JC Superstar. Fucking Epic.

Not that I don't like the Diamond Age, mind you, but what the fuck? I lay you $ against round pastry with holes in the middle you never bothered to try Anathem, on the grounds that it couldn't possibly be worth the trouble.

And, no shit, "podule."

Sasha said...

No need for that. Anathem is neither A Clockwork Orange nor Snow Crash. It seems that Mr. Stephenson has gotten a bit taken with himself. Not without reason, mind you, but his self-consciousness comes, sadly, at the cost of fluid prose. Not awful, mind you, but it doesn't soar either.

Landru said...

As I mentioned to both of you privately last night, I read a little about Anathem and realized that, if our man Neal has nothing better to do than to sit in his attic and reinvent language, I can give him a few years to come back to the world of comprehensible meaning, while I reread The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon a few hundred times (I'm okay with Snow Crash, but it's not my favorite).

I'm also sympathetic to an argument that the man had his final orgasm over that line of thought with the Baroque Cycle, and he needed to strike off in a different direction. But again, that doesn't mean I have to follow.

Not the tangent I expected to be off on, after such a post of tormented, self-eviscerating spew with such an unsatisfactory conclusion. But I'm not the master baiter I used to be.