Two major changes during the Reagan presidency contributed significantly--if not wholly-- to destroying the country in which I believed. One was the changes to financial structures/regulations, and the other was ending the fairness in broadcasting law. Both are still eating away at the foundations. A recent article in Salon made this clear.
I made a mistake on my birthday: I read that article, which spoiled my day. This explains inklings I have had for years.
If you fear being unable to stomach reality, here are few choice quotes (my underlining) to sicken any thinking person...
“For a huge portion of contemporary conservative media, the broadcast begins and ends with the fear card, and it is often played in extraordinarily incendiary ways.”
“Fox News is the business model of tabloid journalism: dispense with actual reporting, which costs a lot of money to do well, and replace it with far less expensive pontificating that will attract audiences.” (This makes Al Jazeera a threat, which means that all stops will be pulled to prevent this medium from being successful in the US. Look forward to it being tarnished as “terrorist”, even though it is owned by a staunch US ally).
“Research demonstrates that the more a person consumes conservative media, the more likely she is to dismiss any news or arguments that contradict the conservative position as liberal propaganda and lies.”
“Between the cocoon effect and the shameless disregard for consistency and intellectual honesty, it is not surprising that professional surveys tend to find regular viewers of Fox News to be more ignorant about what is actually happening in the world compared to those who watch other networks.”
“...deliberate propagation of falsehoods by Fox and other powerful media outlets is responsible for mis-arming otherwise adept Tea Partiers, feeding them inaccurate facts and falsely hyped fears.”
“For conservatives, Fox means never having to say you’re sorry—even when you are massively, publicly wrong. That’s because, like most of the right-wing echo chamber, Fox is not journalism. It’s what fills the void when journalism disappears.”
And, finally, the scariest quote:
“But if there is a basic premise that unites Limbaugh, the folks on Fox, and the vast infrastructure of regional right-wing talkers, it is this: conservatives should never bend to the demands of the voters; voters should be made to bend to the demands of conservatives.”
That is not democracy, as promised by that holy document conservatives wave, when arguing for guns. That is life under Stalin, any dictator, or in North Korea. History has proven that masses are stupid enough to fall for the siren-song of false promises.
Happy my children went to school elsewhere...
BBC is showing a multi-segment production of Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End. Although I own the book, I have yet to read it (it’s bloody long!) Production values are excellent, with sets, costumes, and acting evoking a period long past: the early 20th century around WW1. This is far more subtle than Downton Abbey and requires paying attention; some might consider it superior. One enjoys each if one does not compare.
I was struck by one section of dialogue, in which two characters are discussing different reactions to England declaring war against Germany. The man, who is high-ranking government employee, still dwells in the Victorian era, He does not want to lose that way of life...although it has ended, which he seems to not grasp. The woman is a suffragette, fighting an uphill battle against entrenched conservatives...such as this man. She has accused him of not loving his country (sound familiar, Obama fans?).
Man: “Don’t believe that. I love every field and hedgerow. The land is England and once was the foundation of order...before money took over and handed it over to the swindlers and schemers. Tories at the pigs’ trough.”
Woman: “Then what is your toryism?”
Man: “Duty. Duty and service to above and below. Frugality. Keeping your word. Honoring the past. Looking after your people. And beggaring yourself, if need be, before letting duty go hang.”
Anything sound familiar or appealing?
I wrote awhile back about my screwed-up political inclinations. It's not my fault that the world has become so crazy. My mother worked for the Republican Party; she would be appalled by what has become of that gaggle of blowhards and obstructionists.
As with another earlier post, here is something written on the subject by someone (unfortunately I don't know a name to credit) that does it more justice than I could...
"Expressing what must be the angst felt by a great many people who once proudly called themselves "conservative," if not "Republican," once-proud conservative Andrew Sullivan wrote this week, "Conservatism cannot be defined as whatever is the most extreme right-wing narrative of the moment. Time matters. Conservatism needs to be flexible enough a governing philosophy to be able to correct for conservative ideology itself. When such an ideology threatens fiscal balance, a prudent foreign policy, and a thriving middle class, it has become the enemy of real conservatism, not its friend."
He's right. However, the exigencies of time and the actions of fools change things. 19th-century liberalism is nearly the mirror opposite of today's liberalism. Eisenhower Republicans would think that today's GOP is filled with barking mad idiots and then wonder why in the fuck would leaders pay attention in any way, shape, or form to the maddest of them all. Sorry, dear, once-loyal opposition, but "conservative" has been co-opted and remade in the image of the extremists, much in the way that "Christian" now generally means "fundamentalist" in the United States. Whatever Buckley-esque resonances of decades past you may want it to have, "conservative" now means a devotion to untenable financial policies, obeisance to the needs of corporations and the very wealthy, regressive social policies, and, indeed, belief in things that are demonstrably false. The word belongs to the nuts and to the imbeciles and to those who profit off their devolved sense of the nation and the world.
What do you do, in such a relationship, where you have been abandoned by the progress of the world beyond your reach? If you have any sense, you break up. It's that simple. And you try to figure out how to make your life have meaning again."
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.