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Smart Alec

Ever noticed how RUDE Conservative pundits* are on TV? They constantly interrupt, especially if the person arguing the other side is making a good point. It's like they want to shout down some reality they object to. I keep hoping that somebody will just pull one down to the table by the ear and say "Shut your trap when I'm talking, OK?"

But no, just like reasonable people have a bias towards facts and politeness, it never happens. However, I've been taking note of what they are objecting to, and from what I can tell, it's because the discussion has become a violation of one of their sacred cows. Here are the cows I've been able to suss out. The things they hate the most, and can't stand thinking about are:

  1. Questioning the wisdom of the Bible

    From what I can tell, the "Bible" is what it says it is, "some books". It's like what was left when somebody's house was burning, so they grabbed an armful of books and legged it to safety with a lawbook, a family history, a volume of Mother Goose stories, a songbook, a bundle of letters, a collection of memorable quotations, an underground comic book, and a porno mag. Not even its editorial committee was sure about it, and even wrote "not so sure about these" on a couple of volumes.

    If the Bible was literally, miraculously, the word of God, then, based on the contradictions alone, God is either certifiably insane or a liar or both, and so I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who makes any claim to holiness for the Bible. It makes me think they never read it, or if they did, they didn't really think about it, or if they both read it and understood it, then they're selling a hoax of some kind.

    So why do people fall for this shit? Some hoaxter has convinced them that they're going to hell for eternity if they don't. But the hoax outlived the hoaxter, and now only the fear is left. That fear is a tool for conservatives, to they protect it like a child. I's a built-in weapon to control people with, and the most valuable tool in the conservative repetoire.

  2. Pointing out instability and unfairness in the free market

    The market is not fair, balanced, or stable. It never has been. There is the mental illusion that a bunch of random trading will balance out in the long run by a rule of averages, but markets are anything but random. They very much follow the intent of the investor, the bigger investor (or event affecting a group of investors) causing more of a trend.

    History is the best witness of the instability of markets: Every market-driven uptick in history has simply been a reflection of the boom and bust cycle of innovation. Something new comes in for trade, it becomes sought after, the market becomes saturated, and the wealth that can be made from it bottoms out. The bubbles are not the exception, they are the rule, and quite appropriately, the model in nature that most closely resembles the market is the bubbly kind. Yeast starts small, grows like crazy, takes over the medium, and then dies in the alcoholic waste of its own consumption.

    But in the end, the real winner is always the one "with more toys". The bigger the pool of cash, the more probable its ability to increase its size. In fact, the more deregulated the market, the more likely it will be that those that have will get more, and those that don't, won't. That's why conservatives can't stand having the sanctity of the free market challenged. It costs them.

  3. Pointing out flaws in the U.S. Constitution:

    I know, non-Americans: You're thinking, yes, but what does this have to do with me? Well, A LOT. Everything that comes out from the U.S., from news reports to movies to music has in the unexamined core of it, the core values of free speech, access to firearms, people being created equal, etc., etc. Most American values ultimately rest in this document of revolutionary thinking.... well, revolutionary for 1760.

    Problem is, over 250 years have intervened. I'm not just pointing out that it took over fourscore and seven years to get African-Americans included, and even longer for Women... but my GOD this is an out-of-date manuscript. You don't need MONTHS to decide who's President, because we're not delivering results by horseback anymore. Regular elections only entrench the politicians into a never-ending campaign cycle, distracting them from regular work. The lack of rules about how to manage the Legislature have turned the intentional crippling of government into total paralysis. Not to mention the Bill of Rights! How a bill of rights can fail to include humans without dicks or with melanin in their skin is mind-boggling in itself, but to still be founded in the idea of "No Standing Army", (because of which maintaining sidearms is a duty, not just a right), and "Freedom of Speech" including incitement to hate crimes?

    No, I think we've grown up some as a society since the late 18th Century. You know, despite its flaws and the fact that it was often not properly enforced, I think you can see that other democracies have more modern and relevant charters of citizen rights, for example Canada's. I'm sure there are other, better ones out there, but please.... PLEASE, Americans, update your idea of human rights for the good of the rest of us. Because through your money, your influence, and your media, we're getting a pretty fucked-up message here.

So, yeah. That's why I find conservative pundits so rude. And those are the three areas where I think reform could best happen.

*In America. Your experiences may vary on location, but "rudeness under the guise of plain speaking" is a general rule.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
Kind of remembers to a late talk show on the state channels here.
If you ever have any person in that round speaking some truth about society or politics, they also barely let him talk to the end - and make fuzz about something that is real.
If they ever invited someone to one of these talk show rounds who would possibly talk a bit of truth...
May. 30th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
I suspect their PR coaches actually train them to interrupt. As if it was some kind of skill.
May. 30th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
At least I find, if you take a closer look, say at least at who's been invited to such shows, who never gets invited to such shows, what kind of political movement they come from, perhaps even what type of person they are - you do not get rid of the impression that all these shows are well planned from the beginning to the end. Even by the tv channel.
May. 30th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
Loved your description of the books of the Bible, and I really liked your yeast comparison for the market, too.
May. 31st, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I wish Gilbert Shelton would take a page from R. Crumm and do the last book like the latter did the first. Or maybe Manara would do The Song of Solomon.
May. 31st, 2014 01:12 am (UTC)
Re the Bible, this is why Martin Luther demanded it be translated, and did it, so people could read it for themselves. I suspect that most of the fundamentalists who claim Bible inerrancy haven't actually read it. They just listen to the bits picked out by their leaders that justify their positions. Or they would be stunned by how jaw-droopingly radical the early Christians were, their "accept everybody" unsettling in its inclusiveness.

Which books of the Bible got included? Like the books themselves, the discussions about what forms the Bible reflect in a distant way human struggles toward civilization. A struggle, of course, still going on. And so much of our literature is still in conversation with the Bible, even in arguing that everything in it must be questioned.
May. 31st, 2014 12:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, I occasionally have the misfortune of having one of those fundie Christian TV shows on at the gym. I've been paying attention in the writerly-observer-poker-of-things-with-a-stick kind of way. There's very few quotes used by the preacher out of the gospels, and an awful lot of Paul, especially the ones full of the "God has made you disciples" crap.

I can't tell whether it's dangerous groundwork for crusaders, or it's a Sunday-school feel-good-about-yourself affirmation show. I suppose that because it's on that most passive of devices, it's more anodyne than anything.

For me, I'm still waiting for that conversation to include all the religious texts in some sort of Zensunni mashup. There's a conversation worth listening to!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )