Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No more Mr. Nice Guy

The blogosphere has it's own weather, and while proper classification of the various phenomena and, more remotely, the power to predict await the development of a true blogosphereological science, I can make a descriptive report that we are currently experiencing an Infundibulum Storm* over the issue of Civility. A lot of it has to do some guy named Cohen whose idiocy is apparently more offensive than the idiocy of the average idiot because he has a column in the same newspaper that thinks that selectively leaking classified information that was known to be false, while intentionally blowing the cover a CIA operative working on counterprofliferation, was a major triumph of statecraft. Since, like 99.9999% of the American people, I do not read the Washington Post, it doesn't seem all that important to me.

Still, to put my own oar into the maelstrom, I got over the civility thing a long time ago. Let's see, when was it? I started to feel kind of uncivil when the corporate media turned into a pack of rabid dogs over a decade-old land deal in which the Clinton's got scammed out of a few thousand dollars, on the premise that they couldn't have been victimized if they hadn't done something wrong although nobody ever seemed to have the slightest idea of exactly what that was. But that was not enough to cause me to start using the wrong fork or slurp my soup.

Nope, I think I really started to get significantly uncivil when they spent the 2000 electoral campaign telling us that Al Gore was unfit to be president because of the color of his suits and because he had claimed to have invented the Internet, uncovered Love Canal, and to have been Oliver in Love Story, none of which he had ever actually claimed but it was fun to keep saying so. Meanwhile George W. Bush was a really nice guy, and a straightshooter who we should vote for because we wanted to have a beer with him. Were there, you know, public policy questions confronting the country? Evidently not.

So by that time I was wiping my chin on my sleeve and using mild epithets such as crap and damn in front of the ladies. But I would have to say that I really became downright rude when the corporate media joined the government of the United States in a campaign of lies, to lead the country into a war of agression for the purpose of gaining control by military force over the petroleum of the Middle East, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, destroying the reputation of the United States throughout the world, and by the way failing to achieve its objective. I didn't particularly like it either when the President of the United States asserted that he has the absolute, unaccountable power to make people disappear forever into secret prisons, there to torture them, even torture them to death, and that neither the Congress, the courts, nor international treaties can restrain this power in any way. I actually got ticked off enough to bang my fist on the table and say stuff like "fuck those assholes" when they gave massive tax cuts to rich people while trying to take housing, health care, retirement income, and even food away from poor people, while stealing hundreds of billions of dollars they borrowed from foreigners to enrich their cronies at Halliburton and Raytheon and make our grandchildren pay it back, which they won't be able to do because they will be impoverished by the collapse of our oil-fueled economy.

I'm definitely uncivil about stuff like that and I get even more uncivil when people who pretend to be liberals and to agree with me that oh yes, tut tut, all that just isn't right, tell me that the real problem is that I'm angry about it. If I would just calm down and pay the proper respect due to the office to the man who is, after all president, all that bad stuff would go away. To that I say, uncivil as it may be, you are a coward, and a fool.

*Infundibulum is the Latin word for funnel. In a meterological funnel cloud, all kinds of random shit such as houses, cows, and '57 Chevies gets scooped up and spun around together. In a blogospheric infundibulum, in contrast, it's all about people furiously quoting, insulting, and responding to each other in a whirling boil of indissoluble interconnected referentialness.

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