Thursday, October 28, 2004

Aversion to reality: congenital disorder, signs of early onset dementia, or product of faulty upbringing

I with that it could be as simple as any of those.

I have been thinking over and over again about the quote from the Suskind article where he describes being told about the short comings of the reality based community (I don't feel like linking to the article right now or searching out the exact quote, that is why you have google). It makes a creepy sense to me, but in a depressing-craven-bastardization-of-something-familiar kind of way.

I am happily the friend of willful delusion and imagination and life following art. I have often felt that the truth can be a brutal and unwieldy thing if not approached with consideration, but I have no great aversion to it. But those moves and shakers out there like mr. rove and co. who consider themselves free from the constraints of reality are no artists or visionaries. They are fat, lying little pigs rewriting the rules on the side of the barn at night, adding their "...but some are more equal than others," while we sleep.

But it is not that leaders can be selfish and greedy which is so disturbing; that is not new or special. It is also how complicit our populous can be. The feeling currently turning my stomach is not just that people believe this crap because they want to support our president and don't want to believe he could be as horrible as a clear view and analysis makes clear, but that people would rather know that horrible things are happening elsewhere in their name than see uncomfortable things up close.

In particular I am going back the gay crap that I have kind of been harping about lately. Actually, not just homosexuality, but any uncomfortable social issues which are used as political rallying cries (which currently seems to be homos and abortions). I hear people who use these as their starting points for judging any candidate and rarely get any sensible statement on either subject out of them. I understand that not everyone will feel the same way about these issues and I certainly don't see either in black and white, but when someone who has a rigid take on either usually doesn't have much of an understanding of it beyond their solid prejudice. They begin and end with not liking that the issue exists at all and are insanely drawn to whoever will reinforce this bigotry.

How can a person cling so dearly to hatred and ignorance? Again, I don't mind well thoughtout disagreement, but when a person begins and finishes arguements on subjects with "it's just not right" and refuses to try for any deeper understanding, I am left speechless and horrified, whether they are talking about homosexual, black people, immigrants, Muslims, whatever. I am beginning to get this sinking feeling in my stomach that part of the reason my parents and sister have considered voting for bush is that they are more comfortable with our country being mislead into a war and then bungling along with criminaly faulty leader ship than with having a gay son. Dead bodies on tv are less disturbing than gay couples, and the leader who will hem and haw the most and act the most condescending and uncomfortable with the subject draws their attention. Their discomfort is more dire than others' pain and deaths. This is my greatest fear. This is monstrous and I pray that I am wrong.

I hope that this does not describe my parents, but this does seem to put those who don't live in the reality based community in perspective. They live instead in the bigotry based community, the land where comfort is found in not being one of 'Them' and their are easy answers because there faith in a fast and easy way-things-are-supposed-to-be. I for one will take my difficult reality; you can have your easy bigotry, but try and make it reality and you are going to get a fucking fight. People are being patient right now and praying for the best, but not damn many people take too kindly to being pushed around any more. If you think fags can't fight or stand up for themselves, in the words of the much missed Wesley Willis, "Fuck with me and find out."


tattooed heathen said...

I just watched a Chris Rock HBO comedy special. He said something along the lines of, Sept. 11 gave Americans a right to be selectively racist. Sadly, I think he is correct.

d. earl griffin said...

Hey Stacy,

Thanks for commenting. I hope your time with DH has been great for you two and wish there wasn't so much going on in the background right now.

I also saw that Chris Rock special (although I saw it a while back), and it was great, but I disagree with the contention that we need be selectively racist after 9/11. Do we need better security? Yes, and there are certainly steps we could and should take which haven't been yet, but singling out brown people as the new niggers isn't it. Visually, a Portugese or Italian man may be more 'middle-eastern looking' to American eyes than an Pakistani or Indonesian man. Unless skin color is part of a description of a specific suspect, it isn't really terribly useful as an indicator and can instead distract from more reliable indicators of dubious intent like behavioral indicators.

You can not with good conscience in this country hold an individual responsible for the crimes of others simply because of a shared skin color. I for one would raise bloody hell if someone tried to suggest that because I am white I should have to jump through more hoops to rent a moving truck than anyone else because my skin is the same color as Timothy McVeigh's. I am not him and nothing about me other than being a white, American male resembles him. I no more want to be confused with him than my friend Samir would want to be confused with Mohammad Atta.

Racism tends to veer very quickly away from caution towards vengence. Where I am from in AL is very rural, and there aren't too many folks or too many businesses. Diversity is mostly lots of black folks and lots of black folks, a few Mexican immigrants, and even fewer 'other'(Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc.). There have been a few Middle Eastern families who had lived in our county for quite a while and who people knew pretty well. One family owned one of the two gas stations in Pickensville and was well like and had a thriving business.

Until 9/11. Were they in anyway responsible for the attack? Did they say or do things insensitive to the loss? No. But the silent boycott began. And ended their business and forced them to leave the community.

Because after 9/11 we can't trust brown people. Terrorism has a color, because we like our boogy men simplified and given easily identifiably features. It doesn't matter that AL is more likely to attract a domestic terrorist than an international one and that domestic terrorist is more likely to share my skin color and religion and way of dress and hair cut. It isn't about who threatens us. Racism/bigotry never is. It is about making a target more identifiably. It is about someone for us to threaten. It is about someone to blame.

Racism and bigotry are things we all struggle with because our minds grasp for patterns (ie: hot stove + hand = burned; or dark skinned middle-easterns + airplane = 9/11), but we shouldn't identify our prejudices just to lash out because we are hurt, but as a starting point for moving on to understanding. We have to be very careful about how we extend generalizations about a large and diverse population of people out of our experiences with a very few.

Just a few thoughts...


tattooed heathen said...

Thanks. We did have a great visit.

I'm afraid I didn't word things well with my last comment. I don't agree that we should be selectively racist. I don't agree with racism in any form. However, I do think that many in the US do feel that this selective racism is OK.

Our leaders are installing fear into citizens. Which is making it too easy for people to distance themselves from those brown skinned people that practice a religion that we know little about. I find that to be incredibly sad.

At this point, I don't foresee things getting any better. I think things are going to get much worse.
I am very afraid for our country, and what it will become in the next 4 years.