The Talking Dog

June 13, 2010, Department of "duh"

It's Sunday here in New York, and among the bourgeoisie, especially on an overcast or rainy day, we're supposed to curl up with our copy of the Sunday Times. The Grey Lady's op-ed page obliges us this week with a level of obvious con-ventional wisdom that outdoes its already insanely mediocre standards.

We'll start with the queen of "duh" herself, Maureen Dud Dowd giving us this stupid (there's no other word for it) assertion that Joe Biden is more press-friendly than Barack Obama. The occasion seems to be a picnic thrown by Biden where Biden was more friendly to the people covering him than the often testy (and I would suggest "petulant") President Barack Obama. Well... if true... and who the bleep cares if it is... WHO THE F*** CARES? First of all, it's not as if the President isn't receiving a continuing honeymoon from the press... he is. But this is all part of the equation designed to infantilize the rest of us into believing that what matters with Governmental officials isn't that they have (unconstitutional... as if that matters!) unbridled power to declare war or peace, or to increase our tax load, or pass laws and regulatiopns that can make our lives even more unliveably dependent on our betters in the finance, pharmaceutical, energy and similarly powerful "businesses," No... what matters is whether our betters in the press think they are nice... to our betters in the press. The personality-based-bullsh** isn't just about Lindsay Lohan and Brangelina... you see, it's about our politicians and business "leaders" and all... not what they do... but, well, whether our betters-- like Maureen Dowd-- like them. She liked Poppy Bush, you see, He was nice and polite and used the right fork and knew the secret handshake. Barack Obama, you see, refuses to get angry at the right times. As if any of it matters. Well, at least there's a new kabuki afoot about the oil spill. Perhaps if not the appropriate anger, the President will sweat on his upper lip, or "show resolve," or whatever part of showbiz is required to make us forget that our government is, contrary to what the press keeps telling us, united in proceeding with what matters to it and to those who matter,

So... moving along, we'll go to Tom "F*** You I'm A Billionaire" Friedman, who tells us "this time it's different, which in this case means some "real American" in South Carolina (real Americans can't live in places like New York, of course) finally knows that he has to give up (just a bit) on his lifestyle,.. you see, the fault dear Populi lies not in our stars but in ourselves... it's our lifestyle, and the incentives we created... as if "we" have or ever had anything to do with decisions to destroy public transportation and create exurbs and subsidize oil with millions of troops and aircraft carriers and etc., etc... In short: stfu, Tom. Our betters run us, please. Our elections among our two indistinguishable (except at the margins) "parties" are, at least, avoided by most of our population most of the time, one of the few bright spots in a nation whose system highlights intellectual mediocrity over actual intelligence most of the time. Our "free markets" are rigged by the powerful. Tom: stfu. We cannot "chose" not to have our vaunted lifestyles anymore than we can "chose" to get ouf Iraq or Afghanistan. The best we can do is try to take ourselves out, to try to "crash-proof" ourselves from the inevitable collapse that the Tom Friedmans of the world are trying to divert our attention from.

And we'll move on to the mother-lode... the Grey Lady's own official op-ed entitled "The President's Moment" noting that the kabuki exercise of a big speech over the Gulf mega-spill... well, damned if I know what the f*** the Times is talking about, with such drivel as:

It certainly should not have taken days for Mr. Obama to get publicly involved in the oil spill, or even longer for his administration to start putting the heat on BP for its inadequate response and failure to inform the public about the size of the spill. (Each day, it seems, brings new revelations about the scope of the disaster.) It took too long for Mr. Obama to say that the Coast Guard and not BP was in charge of operations in the gulf and itís still not clear that is true.

He should not have hesitated to suspend the expanded oil drilling program and he should have moved a lot faster to begin political and criminal investigations of the spill. If BP was withholding information, failing to cooperate or not providing the ships needed to process the oil now flowing to the surface, he should have told the American people and the world.

These are matters of competence and leadership. This is a time for Mr. Obama to decisively show both.

Well, that says it. WTF? We all seem to forget that without oil (gushing into the Gulf or otherwise), we couldn't support our numbers--grow our food, power our industry, make our construction materials, travel, etc. etc. That's kind of what I suggested some time ago: there ain't nothing more important in our society than oil. Not freedom. Not safety. Not human life. OIl first... everything else second. Further... the miserable reality is that I have yet seen or heard anything that this spill can be averted until the oil under insane amounts of pressure under at least a mile of seawater and who knows how much rock and sand decides to stop coming... in short, if we deem it appropriate to drill for oil under these conditions, then this has to be declared "an acceptable risk." We do so intrinsically, of course, with our various subsidies of the oil industry (such as continuing to allow building permits to create exurban dwellings and highways to them and so forth).

Where was I going with all this? I have no idea, really. Oh wait. It's all a grand and glorious misdirection: our civilization seems to be coming apart on us, and in the face of clear knowledge as to why, we chose to repeat the mistakes that got us here, such as, for example, blind faith in our betters, such as our techolology-developing betters who can give us an "ap" on our cel-phone to watch our favorite video and order our favorite pizza... but can't seem to alter our mindset that requires us to believe we cannot live in any manner other than the one we do now, notwithstanding that virtually no one at all lived this way at the time of my parents' birth (and comparatively few people around the time of my own)... damn the cost (even if it means flooding most of Earth's major cities and much of its farmland in the next 30-50 years).

But... a clear mindset is pretty much the only shot we have. And it's not merely about "factchecking their asses"... it has to do with recognizing that "our betters" are in league with each other to keep us distracted, so that they can maintain control over us. The most depressing means, of course, is pharmaceutically: a medicated population is not likely to rebel, or even ask too many questions. Throw in obesity. And high unemployment caused by an affirmative decades long intentional policy to deindustrialize this country, so that its ruling class can make money and have no rivals in any kind of irritatingly powerful proletariat (or even petty bourgeoisie).
Instead, the alleged "paper of record"... the newspaper of our elite must dumb us down with crap like that above, and believe that the obvious failings of those with power is simply some fault of personality or other irrelevant trivialities. I don't know. No, folks, we can't make the Gulf oil spill stop. We can't stop the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. We can't close Guantanamo, or make the water stop rising, or anything else that my college classmate promised us back when he didn't have the ability to do any of the above.

Because he's part of the power now. And he's doing what he wants which, surprise, surprise, is advance the interests of the rich and powerful. Who want us, of course, to focus on... something else. Anything else.