Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Al Gore backlash

Al Gore has a new book out called The Assault on Reason, which is very critical of our current political system with an obvious angle on the disastrous presidency of the man he defeated in 2000, George W. Bush. The number of historians, and former presidents, arguing he is the Worst President Ever would be funny if it weren't so sad.
He seems to have hit a nerve with his assessment of what ails our democracy –
the unchecked power of special interests backed by big money, the pervasive
influence of mindless and addictive television, and the relentless triumph of
image and style over content, which makes us read more articles about John
Edwards’ haircuts than about our failing education system.

The book got strong reviews coming out of the gate last week, and Gore has been interviewed in all the usual sites. Naturally, this week there has been a backlash among the Right Wing because if people start using reason and logic instead of emotion from being pumped full of fear, we might not elect morons anymore and corporations might have to do real work instead of profiting off the war or some other government contact BS. Keeping people "doped with religion and sex and tv" as John Lennon sang, is going to be a priority. Speaking of which, I'm going to quote all of Working Class Hero sans choruses because I think it was the most profound thing he wrote in a prolific career. In many ways, I think it is one of the most profound things ever written.
As soon as your born they make you feel small, By giving you no time instead of
it all, Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all, A working class hero is
something to be,They hurt you at home and they hit you at school, They hate you
if you're clever and they despise a fool, Till you're so fucking crazy you can't
follow their rules, When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can't really function you're so
full of fear, A working class hero is something to be, Keep you doped with
religion and sex and TV, And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see, A working class hero is
something to be, There's room at the top they are telling you still, But first you
must learn how to smile as you kill, If you want to be like the folks on the
hill, A working class hero is something to be, If you want to be a hero
well just follow me

I open the New York Times website and pull up a story on the backlash, and I just love criticism of this book. As usual, it hardly addresses the issues, because the Right Wing loses on the issues, but focuses on the man, who like all successful Democrats, they've managed to demonize. I love the email about Obama being basically a terrorist floating around the net. David Brooks, the token right wing stooge at the Times, wrote something about Gore being a "Vulcan" aka devoid of human emotion in his denunciation. His other criticism is he's "pompous" an "exceedingly strange individual" a "radical technological determinist" who reacts to machines. He says Gore is "imperviousness to reality," while being the errand boy for someone who says "the jury is still out" on evolution, pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol and has done nothing on Global Warming and invaded the wrong country. Thanks for your shrewd takes on reality, David. The whole thing was beneath the dignity of the paper of record. Here is Matt Taibbi's take on David Brooks, which does have ideas in between the ridicule:

Brooks is the perfect priest of American conservatism, and by conservatism
I don't mean the bloodthirsty, gun-toting, go-back-to-Africa, welfare-bashing
right-winger conservatism of the NRA and Sean Hannity and the Bible Belt. I mean
the dickless, power-worshipping, good-consumer pragmatic conservatism of Times
readers and those other Bobos in Paradise who have exquisitely developed taste
in furniture, coffee and television programming, but would rather leave the
uglier questions of politics to more decisive people, so long as they aren't
dangerous radicals like Michael Moore or Markos Zuniga. Brooks worships the
status quo because he has no penis and wants to spend the rest of his life
buying periwinkle bath towels without troubling interruptions of

One reviewer claimed that Gore isn’t promoting better democracy, but aims for “the suppression of free political debate.” Others compared his writing style to “congressional testimony,” concluded that he’s “not American” and that “his every utterance and every persuasion is European socialist with considerable training in propaganda.”

I get it, he's not a real American, so he must be wrong since foreigners are never right, and Europe is so wrong, since you know, those people can all go to the doctor and they don't owe $9 trillion and the national meal isn't McShit. At least the comment on his writing style fits the topic of a book review, though it certainly does nothing to counter Gore's argument.

It would be nice not to have to write on the endless focus and obsession with bullshit, but it is impossible. The establishment media are a bigger disgrace than the politicians they cover.

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