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Looking into The Dead Zone - The Ex-Communicator

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October 11th, 2008


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08:50 am - Looking into The Dead Zone
I have promised myself I won't blog too much on the American presidential campaign; mainly because for those who are interested in it there are plenty of blogs which can offer more informed comment than I can. I know I am merely an outside observer. I like pandagon and digby: both, now I think of it, written mainly by women. Group blog metafilter also has a lot of interesting threads at the moment.

I said about six months ago that I thought we would see tactics and abuse the like of which we have never seen before in this election. And now McCain has unleashed an evil force, both through his own actions, but most culpably by giving Palin a national platform. And he can't control it. Here's a youtube clip of McCain telling his own supporters that he intends to treat Obama with respect - and being booed. Later he tells the crowd - and he sounds folorn - that Obama is not an Arab. There are, if you care to find them, clips of Palin smiling complacently while supporters shout 'Kill him!'.

It's the way she appeals to evil brutalists* and also to kindly but uninformed traditionalists that makes her so dangerous.

There have been a number of SF stories about America sliding into fascism. One of my favourite is The Dead Zone, by Stephen King. Actually I must re-read that.

* Evil brutalists:

Man walking by: ”Commie faggots!”
Woman: “Socialism! Communism!” (random people yell “Go to Russia!” “socialist swine” and “European socialist!")
Filmmaker: “You think they should die?”
Man: ”Everyone dies, don’t they?”

Protestor: “Palin voted to have women pay for their own rape kits. My friends shouldn’t have to pay for their own rape kits. How would you feel about that?”
McCain supporter: ”She should die!” (he means the raped woman)
McCain supporter #2: ”She should pay double!”

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:coalescent
Date:October 11th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)
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On the other hand, Obama is currently projected to win better than nine times out of ten, so it's not all bad.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:October 11th, 2008 08:44 am (UTC)
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Yes. It's a good point.

What about when he does - you whip up this sort of hatred, where does it go? Many of those people feel the man should die, that he deserves to die. I hate to say it but they have lots of guns, and they do think shooting people can be morally justified in some circumstances - it's a central part of their credo.
[User Picture]
From:coalescent
Date:October 11th, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)
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Eh, the US secret service is pretty good. I can't get myself as paranoid as some people about Obama's prospects of serving out his term.

In other positive-ish news, McCain has taken to trying to calm the crowds.
[User Picture]
From:astrogirl2
Date:October 11th, 2008 09:40 am (UTC)
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My mother is one of these bizarre undecided voters. She was apparently hoping that the choice of VP would help her make up her mind, but apparently she loathes Biden and Palin equally. I pointed out that, if that's a consideration, McCain seems way more likely to die in office. She replied, quite matter-of-factly, that she figured Obama had about the same chance, since he'd almost certainly be the target of assassins.

What a world we live in...

Edited at 2008-10-11 09:40 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:October 11th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC)
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I hope that people like your mother will be turned off voting McCain by his association with these shrieking fascists, so the more publicity they get the better.
[User Picture]
From:archbishopm
Date:October 11th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
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Heh heh. Aren't humans lovely?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:October 12th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
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I think they are malleable, and she's manipulating them in a nasty way. That man who said a rape victim should be killed - what was he thinking? On film with his face in view, for people all over the world to see him? Did he set out that morning to the rally thinking he'd say something like that, let alone to camera? I can't believe he did. I mean it was obviously in him, but the rally made it come out.
[User Picture]
From:archbishopm
Date:October 12th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
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Did he set out that morning to the rally thinking he'd say something like that, let alone to camera?

Dude, these people are my people. Yeah. He did.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:October 12th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
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I just read this quote from Sartre (about anti-semitism but more widely applicable) which I think fits very well

"The rational man seeks the truth gropingly, he knows that his reasoning is only probable, that other considerations will arise to make it doubtful; he never knows to well where he's going, he is 'open,' he may even appear hesitant. but there are people who are attracted to the durability of stone. They want to be massive and impenetrable, they do not want to change: where would change lead them? This is an original fear of oneself and a fear of truth. And what frightens them is not the content of the truth which they do not even suspect, BUT THE VERY FORM OF THE TRUE-- that thing of indefinite approximation. It is as if their very existence were perpetually in suspension. They want to exist all at once and right away. They do not want acquired opinions, they want them to be innate; since they are afraid of reasoning, they want to adopt a mode of life in which reasoning and research play but a subordinate role, in which one never seeks but that which one has already found, in which one never becomes other than what one already was. ONLY PASSION CAN PRODUCE THIS. Nothing but a strong emotional bias can give instant certitude, it alone can remain impervious to experience and last an entire lifetime. The antisemite has chose hate because hate is a religion: he has chosen to devaluate words and reasons..."


Interesting that he was talking about French culture, but it is so recognisable: 'they want to be massive and impenetrable' - very powerful choice of words.


Edited at 2008-10-12 08:36 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:irfikos
Date:October 12th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
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Sounds like my family reunions. My immediate family is made up of moderate to liberal black sheep. My extended family tends to be religious conservatives who read too much spam email.

I usually just go hang out at the kids table in an effort to keep my mouth shut.
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From:communicator
Date:October 12th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
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I'd do the same. I think it's pointless trying to fight it head on. Those spam emails are a bizarre cultural phenomenon. There a slacktivist post about them, that I'm reading at the moment: 'Snopes.com is necessary but not sufficient'. He's slightly preachy in that one, but it's an interesting subject.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:October 13th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
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You are quite right that it is offensive, and I suppose it's an indication of how degraded the discourse is that is constitutes a step upwards towards decency nevertheless

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