Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Cult of Willful Ignorance: Part 2

Previously, on "The Premature Curmudgeon..."

 In the final decades of the 20th Century, the battle cry of the willfully ignorant was, "I don't know how to set my VCR."

In the early decades of the 21st Century, as technology has rendered that motto obsolete, a new motto is born...

"I don't pay much attention to politics. But..."

There is a difference between the old motto and the new.

The old one was, mostly, harmless.

The new one is, decidedly, ugly and dangerous.
I'm not going to suggest that bragging about one's personal ignorance on a subject, as if it's a virtue, is a new thing. 

I don't even want to give the impression that I think it is, neccesarily, a partisan thing.

"I don't watch television."
Really? None at all?
"I don't even own a television."
 (The above brag is, actually, more common among Liberals than Conservatives.
 See? The Blog may not be "fair and balanced," but The Blog is fairly balanced.)

The voice in my head replies, "Did the butter churn and loom cost so much that a television wasn't in the budget?
 "I can't cook."
 No? Can you read?

                                                                   Because, cookbooks.
 "Math wasn't my strong subject."

Wait! That was me. But, it's okay, because I have a phone in my pocket that can do math for me.

And then there is the loud and proud brag that "Part 1" was intended to address...
 "I don't pay much attention to politics."
The thing that all of the above ignorance brags, except the last one, have in common is that they are mostly harmless. Except to the ignorant braggart and, maybe, their immediate families and friends.

(If you have ever endured a Thanksgiving dinner at an "I can't cook" person's home, you know what I'm talking about.)

But, The Blog's focus tonight is on the people who brag about knowing nothing about politics.

They would be pretty much as benign as the others if they said,
"I don't pay much attention to politics. So let's talk about something else."
 Some of the novels that we consider classics today, (Alice's Adventures, Gulliver's Travels, Animal Farm, to pull a few from the top of my head,) and even a lot of our nursery rhymes, were political satire, during their time. And they worked because...

People were paying attention to politics.

Our modern culture has been conditioned, for at least a century, to not pay attention.

Even some of our greatest wits, like Mark Twain, Will Rogers and George Carlin, (all of whom would have had a field day with the Tea Party and today's Republicans, if they were here to see them,) spent a great deal of time telling us that politics is a dirty business best left to politicians. 

"I don't pay much attention to politics."
 And hey, that's great, if that is your choice!

It's a free country.

In spite of what Glenn Beck tells you.

But, this is the Information Age.

Hell, this is the Golden Age of Information.

Here in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, we have unprecedented access to facts, opinions and instantly breaking news. Not to mention proposed bills and settled law.

So, while you have every right to loudly proclaim that you don't pay attention to politics, I just can't understand why you are so proud of that.
"I don't pay much attention to politics." = "I don't know how to set my VCR." = "I have never mastered tying my shoes," or "I drool a little when I eat." 
You have the right, but it's kind of sad.

But, that's not the real problem.

The real problem is that, "I don't pay much attention to politics," is almost inevitably followed by..
And here we go.
"But, I will now regale you, with an evangelical fervor, with my opinions about...

{Politics, government, Welfare, ObamaCare, Benghazi, Muslims, secret Muslims [like Obama.] the debt ceiling, the debt, the U.N. gun grab, government shut down, monument shut down, climate change and global warming, the I.R.S. scandal, socialism, 9/11, Social Security, ACORN, death panels, birth certificates, Hillary, Nancy, Maxine and Barbara. Liberal Media, Hollywood elitists, University Liberal elitists. Fast and Furious. A Christian nation and the founding fathers. And socialism. And Benghazi.}


"I don't pay much attention to politics."

"I know what I know because, I believe what I believe. And, your elitist research, education and knowledge are invalid. Because elitism. And liberalism. And, Benghazi."
Do you see what I am getting at here?

A portion of American society has been thoroughly conditioned to "believe" and "feel" and mistake those things for "knowing."

The Blog's education in the area of psychology ended after his college "Psych 101" class.

But, as a layman, armchair psychologist, diagnoses this state of mind as a pathological denial in the face of facts that conflict with ideological certainty.

A liberal, fellow traveller, F.O.T.B. posted something on Facebook, yesterday, about the failure of the far right Republican Tea Partiers as the government shut down ended.

A self-proclaimed "WhackoByrd" had this to say...

That about sums it up.

In his mind, a fringe minority constitutes "motivated troops." And, damage be damned, the base's short term memory will win the day.

Got that? Delusional, pathological denial.

And, this is their king...

Speaking of delusional TeaPublican delusion...

The queen of denial, the half-term governor of Alaska, went on TeaLoony friendly Fox "News" last night and (I'll have to confirm this with Guinness) set a new world record for a run-on sentence that contained no facts.

The Blog apologizes in advance for any ear bleeding.

Watch it here. And, pay attention to Megyn Kelly's face while Caribou Barbie goes rogue.

Seriously, when your canon has broken so loose that the hardcore crew panics and ducks for cover, something has gone horribly wrong.

And, (and I ask this out of serious concern,) is Sarah on something?

Because, what the fuck was that, exactly?

The Blog is not a doctor, nor does he play one on TV.

(I lie. I did play a doctor on TV, once. But, that is not relevant here.)


Blinky eyes, slurred speech, an unusually relaxed and laid back demeanor.

Is Sarah on something? And, if it is prescribed, does it need to be adjusted?

If you weren't paying close attention the first time around, go back and watch it again.

Tell me I am off base here.

The PC could get into dissecting the whole interview. But that would require a whole new thread.

But, I do feel compelled to comment on one thing that Half-Gov Palin says here...

Late in the clip, she says, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

(I took shorthand notes here, so I am paraphrasing.)

"That is what any common sense Conservative believes."

Got that?

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

That was, certainly, the philosophy under the conservative Saint Ronnie, when we armed and trained a guy named Osama bin Laden and his Al Queda band of "freedom fighters," against Russia.

That same philosophy, (again) under Reagan, had us propping up Saddam Hussein and Iraq against our enemy Iran.

That went well.

Are you detecting a theme here?

How about one more example?

Last night, I shared a graphic about proposed cuts to the SNAP program on Facebook.

Several of my friends passed it on.

One of my friend's friends responded, thusly...

Do you see the denial?

$24 billion wasted by the shutdown is irrelevant, when the FLOTUS wears $200 shoes.

That makes perfect sense.

If you are willfully ignorant.

I think that I have made my point.

That is enough for tonight.

But, just to wrap it up...

A couple of links that you, my bloglitts, might find interesting.

I mentioned the antics of Teabagger Larry Klayman a couple of posts back.

Here is a really good post about him.

And, to wrap this up...

Go check out today's Washington Post op-ed about "10 Lies About Obama that People Actually Believe."


Tomorrow is Saturday.

The PC's day off.

I probably won't post tomorrow night, unless something comes along that compels me to do so.

Right now, my plan is to sleep till noon, run some errands, then, maybe, go see "Gravity" or "Carrie."

You all have a great weekend.

I'll see you in a couple of days.

No comments:

Post a Comment