Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I stand by my (a)morals

A common problem among journos who fancy themselves as political commentators is that they confuse satire with personal mockery.

If you're smart (unlike me) you'll try and remain voluntarily ignorant about politics full stop. But try to avoid, at least, thinking that all political bents are the same. Take the 1970's socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky for example. His book Rules For Radicals, a step-by-step handbook on how to rise to power, has been used frequently by various US Democrats.

This useful instructional tome reads like it's a workshop manual for VW Beetles, but with bigger words. It has some marvelous pointers on stuff like; how to discredit and personally destroy your opponents, how to deflect criticism, how to create job vacancies (i.e. "push" people out of your way) and such like. It even contained an "over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: Lucifer". Quite the magnanimous hat-tip coming from a militant atheist.

It has been long since proven that Obama was a student of Alinsky's method to the letter. It shone in his election campaign, and continues to be so in his governance.

Here's one of Alinsky's famous methods, paraphrased somewhat: Force your opponents to live up to their own standards. When they don't, attack them.

Matthew Littman was a Democrat strategist and a speech writer for now-VP Joe Biden (which may explain why Biden so often strays from his script. Tragically, he's even worse at ad-libbing). In an article in the factually-challenged news portal Huffington Post, Littman wrote of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 US presidential race...

I am offended by the attacks on Senator Clinton because there is no question that the slams against her are hypocritical and come because she’s a woman...

Such a nice thing to say albeit where his grammar is slightly awkward because also the lack of punctuation makes the sentence look a little strange and because he can't write quite right.

Yes, as speechwriter for one of Clinton's opponents, it's really quite sweet of him to be worried about Hillary mainly due to her scary woman-parts (that's a feminist term so don't get snarky). I totally agree with him.

But wait. The same Littman, in a recent interview, made comments about resigned Alaskan governor Sarah Palin which were, by his own logic, misogynistic and sexist. And, of all the media-driven twisted, sick and depraved mockery of Palin, Littman excused it, and joined in. The bi-partisan feminist website New Agenda has the story. He even talks down to a female co-interviewee in the most hideously patronising manner, clapping at her like a dog.

Okay, so the guy is a low-brow, bigoted hypocrite who enjoys being nasty. Check. But isn't he running contrary to the much-heralded, Democrat-practised Alinsky method?

Not at all. He's adhering to it fastidiously, actually. Because, like many of his political allies, he has no moral standards at all. So there's nothing to hold him to. In the US, Republicans lose when they have standards, but can't hang on to 'em.

In that light, I would almost have to disagree with the Sarah Palin response to "comedian" David Letterman's jibe about her daughter, were it not for the fact that the media generally incited Palin into responding. You see, Letterman had nothing to apologise for. He has no standards to adhere to. So, building a "joke" around statutory rape of a 14 year-old girl is just another day at the office for Dirty Old Dave.

Likewise, when the leftist gossip site made fun of republican nominee John McCain's daughter recently. Megan McCain was desperately trying to help an unknown person who sent her a twitter message saying that he wanted to kill himself. She contacted Twitter, and even the Seattle Police, such was her concern. mocked her for it, calling her "hyper-emotional" and saying she was going "progressively nuts" for attempting to help some guy who was just "writing some sadsack stuff about wanting to die".

Nope., a gossip site who desperately want you to think that their brand of personal mockery is actually savvy politcal satire, have not done anything wrong. To call anything "wrong" is so yesterday.

That last example resonates somewhat more than usual. You see, down here in Victoria, a 14-year-old girl and former classmate of my daughter's best friend, committed suicide after repeatedly receiving demeaning comments on the internet.

Any suicide is a tragedy. That it was someone so young is exceedingly heartbreaking.

But then, my broken heart is my own fault. If only I didn't have standards....

Chanelle Rae.


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