Posts tagged politics
Posts tagged politics
This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. “Respecting the grief” of Thatcher’s family members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person’s life and political acts. (…)
But the key point is this: those who admire the deceased public figure (and their politics) aren’t silent at all. They are aggressively exploiting the emotions generated by the person’s death to create hagiography. Typifying these highly dubious claims about Thatcher was this (appropriately diplomatic) statement from President Obama: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.”. (…)
Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.
… [H]ere we have not Republicans but the most loyal establishment Democrats denouncing Obama’s secrecy obsession in the harshest of terms. “President Obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from its earliest days.” He is “acting in opposition to the democratic principles we hold most important”. “The administration clammed up again and went directly back to the way they were from 2001-2 to 2007.” “What could be more destructive to an informed citizenry than the threat of the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for whistle-blowers?”
This hardly means that Democrats are now ready to pose meaningful challenges to Obama’s radical policies: to release the OLC memos would be simply to disclose the White House’s claimed justification for the powers it has seized, and would not mean there would be meaningful opposing to those powers. Still, secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power and transparency is a necessary (though not sufficient) antidote; as Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1804 letter to John Tyler: “Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”
It is telling indeed that even Democratic loyalists are losing their patience with Obama’s secrecy obsession, as it reveals just how extreme it is. And all of this from a president who not only centrally vowed in his campaign to usher in a new era of transparency, but who still praises himself for having done so. [++]
It’d be very interesting to examine the contemporary male identity (or a variety of them) from the perspective of Prometeus vs. Narcissus-Orpheus principles (see below Marcuse on that). The need to exhibit performance, achievement are some of the typical features of the contemporary male identity, which is why there seems to be a need to always justify something that may appear to be a mere narcissism. One needs to find a rationale for doing so, which gives this appearance a depth, thus transforming it into “performance”. It’s not about looking pretty, enjoying in beauty; what matters is that there is a process.
This was posted back in summer, but it’s even more actual right now. the media brain-washing seems to be so strong that hardly anyone seems to be bothered by the content of wikileaks, what bothers people is how fair it is that they got out. similar to this guy who was complaining that his ex told people he was an asshole. jeez. what is wrong with this world???????
This reminds me of when a female friend of mine’s ex-boyfriend got mad at her for telling people that he’d cheated on her. He informed her that it was all her fault that people were losing respect for him due to his cheating ways, because if she had never told anyone that he’d done it, they’d never have judged him for doing it. I
Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project
that Sonic Youth article over at Pitchfork is disheartening.
“Perhaps more importantly, though, I think this minor online kerfluffle, as blown out of proportion as it is, serves only as evidence for a broader cultural shift. The fact that Albini’s ideas— as idealistic and inherently positive as…
I feel pretty similar about the whole thing. However, I think pitchfork itself played and plays a major role in this development. Often the ones who claim to be the most “ideology-free” carry in a dialectic turn (if consciously or not) just another ideology which is just as deep as the one they turn away from. The post-post-age is not so post-post as it pretends to be.
I think one of the ways that pitchfork helped/helps to back-up this shift (from albini-driven ideology to the “away-for-good”-age) is through a latent historical deeply blind-spotted revisionism by which they distorted the view on the roots of the historical process that ended up in coca-cola financed indie and rooted (also) to a large degree in (more or less) authentic protest music. Of course, this would need some rigorous analysis. However, I think this is an impression shared by many people who are from generations reaching further back, people that have lively experienced a rather different indie/punk/hc/yoyo-a-gogo/etc past.