Monday, December 13, 2010

Media flashback

We saw Bob Roberts again over the weekend, still one of the funniest/scariest satires on the rise of radical corporatism. With its 1992 release the Robbins brothers predicted with alarming accuracy what was coming for this country. I have to wonder whether even they imagined it would go as far as it has today.

Editorial: Maintain your fear, but don't be scared

With today's editorial I get the feeling that the unnamed Courier editor has been taking some writing lessons from JJ Casserly. He dumps out his terrorism file in more or less random, unexamined statements, and in the end leaves the reader with a contradictory non sequitur.

"We need to be vigilant, of course," he says, supporting the ridiculous notion that amateurs keeping a close eye out for terrorists at Wal-Mart could somehow be useful, "and secure our country the best ways we know how. At the same time," contradicting himself, "we cannot live in constant fear. If [the terrorists] smell that, they win." Did anyone else laugh out loud at this?

Having our former governor on the Wal-Mart PA exhorting us to be suspicious of our neighbors is just the sort of absurdist nightmare that lends cheer to the hearts of fundamentalist manipulators of all stripes, including (especially) our home-grown ones. Making distrust fashionable and looking for the worst in each other erodes our social fabric, dividing us, isolating us and making us easy to stampede in whatever direction they like.

Editor, having you think it's reasonable and prudent to write confused, alarmist crap like this is exactly the sort of win "the terrorists" are looking for.

What you're not seeing is who the truly scary terrorists are -- the religious fanatics, the social oppressors, the authoritarians and would-be fascist dictators who wrap themselves in our nation's flag and do everything they can to undermine our values and government from within. You soak up their propaganda from your teevee every night, editor, and here you're doing their work for them.

Surprise! Supposed radical doing practical job

On today's op-ed page, Michelle Singletary's column (reprinted from WaPo) focuses on what Elizabeth Warren is doing with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans screamed bloody murder that she would be a firebrand radical writing rules guaranteed to take down our entire financial industry. Instead we find that she's doing steady, practical work to make consumers smarter about credit.

Will voters notice that once again the Republicans, through character assassination and lies, tried to sell us a bill of goods to protect the privileges of the industry that recently tanked our whole economy? Some of us will.