40 thoughts on “ASSERTION.

  1. I blame the poor quality of public education, the popular glorification of the relentless pursuit of money, and the lack of government spending on jetpack research. Because dammit, it’s 2006 and I still don’t have a jetpack yet. The future kinda sucks.

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    1. Won’t ya know it, earlier today I was actually thinking about the jetpack gap, but I decided that in light of the ubiquity of cell phones, mp3 players, blog culture, etc., things really are pretty futurey.

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  2. I don’t. I blame the Knights of the Five-Sided Castle.
    I do, however, blame progressives for completely failing to grok what the passing of the Fairness Doctrine meant and refusing to take up the long and the short and go to battle with the Wingnuts when it became clear what they were going to do with talk radio.
    I remember back in 1988— 1988, fergawdzakes!— trying to get my lefty friends to pay attention to what Rush Limbaugh was doing and take seriously the threat his style of talk radio posed. It was more than ten years before I could get anyone to listen to me without laughing.
    Being able to say “I told you so” is cold comfort.

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    1. It’s not just that talk radio is right-wing and I’m not. Talk radio by its very nature is angry, self-justifying, ignorant, and hectoring. It’s all about having your prejudices confirmed by some pissed-off person who is willing to bend the truth and happy to abuse the people you don’t like. Everything about it makes me depressed.
      Loud, stupid, and chauvinistic: pick 3.

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    1. I despise the whole medium. As I said in my reply to above, it isn’t just that most of the talk radio people don’t share my views. It’s that the medium itself consists of angry people yelling slogans and catchphrases at each other. I’m sure there are people that aren’t quite as bad, but the growth of this cancer has turned millions of people into quote-spewing angerbots.

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      1. It does indeed seem as though, there are more “spewing angerbots” about these days… however can that really be blamed on Radio, TV, Comic Books or anything other than the individuals themselves? It’s really upto people isn’t, who should be responsible for their own thoughts, emotions & reactions?
        I can definitely see why you’d feel that way about talk radio, especially “conservative” talk radio.

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      2. Of course people are responsible for their own thoughts. But media are responsible for a lot of things too. You know, before the ’92 war, hostility between Serbs and Bosnians was on the level of bar fights most of the time. And then Milosevic and his buddies spent some time pushing the hate message on TV and radio really hard. Boy, did that work well!

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      3. Re: There’s nothing new under the sun.
        I disagree. Thirty years ago the airwaves weren’t crowded with hate-filled demagogues. Now that’s all you get.

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      4. Re: There’s nothing new under the sun.
        Rhetorical questions really aren’t so helpful.
        I think talk radio is both a symptom and a problem of a social decline. Talk radio is about yelling at people and abusing them and talking over them as a way of winning an argument. It’s about dumping your empathy and hating as hard as you can. It’s about never leaving your own point of view, even for a moment.
        And 90% of the time it’s about entitled rich white guys explaining to each other how much they deserve their entitlements, and how anyone who hasn’t made it as big as they have is a loser, and how brown people in faraway countries are cool to kill. It’s a bully pulpit for bullies, and it legitimizes the worst kind of behavior.

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      5. Re: There’s nothing new under the sun.
        That, I’m not so sure of. I only know about one in particular – Father Coughlin – but that’s radio back in the 30s, if I recall correctly, and that makes me wonder how many others there might have been.
        Granted, there’s a sight more channels to choose from now, and that shit’s on most of them. But it’s on message boards, too – and television – the late and unlamented crossfire springs to mind.
        The cultural footprint of this kind of drek is both bigger and older than the Limbaughnnabies.

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      6. Re: There’s nothing new under the sun.
        Coughlin was shut down for cheerleading the Nazis. Nowadays… oh, no need to finish that sentence.

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    1. Of.
      It’s the Century of Contempt: The Zeitgeist made them do it!
      Or they made the Zeitgeist do it!
      Or it do made them Zeiggeist the!!!
      I just want to bring Adam Smith back from the dead and have a frank discussion with him about the Invisible Cloven Hoof. Is that so wrong?

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    1. It’s all about rage, and it feeds people’s rage and makes it bigger. And it programs people. I hear people repeating these ridiculous slogans and catchphrases all the time, or spewing out an argument they obviously just heard 100 times on the “Yell at People” show.

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      1. Re: Sooo….
        That’s a rhetorical question for fight-picking, and I’m not taking the bait.
        You’re really on my ass now, and I know why. Why not be honest about it?

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      2. Re: Sooo….
        Dooode…. it’s just a super vague statement. I fuckin’ hate it when people talk about how stupid the masses are… and that’s presicly how that statment hit me. WTF… I don’t get to play too?

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      3. Re: Sooo….
        I didn’t say that that masses were stupid. I said that talk radio was a bad influence. Surely you don’t believe that mass media don’t have influence? If you care about what the schools teach, or what gets printed in the newspaper, then you should care about what goes on in talk radio too.
        People listen all day long to chauvinistic, bigoted, self-justifying, entitled jerks who tell them that their worst impulses are really awesome and should be celebrated. They then repeat that crap to each other. And they act on it, and vote like it.

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      4. Re: Sooo….
        ::Huff::
        neverrrrrmind……
        I really didn’t mean to start a fight…
        was just asking for elaboration on things….
        thought it was kinna fun, for a while.

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  3. I blame the 1948 Electoral College, for its failure to put Strom Thurmond in the White House. Maybe we wouldn’t have had all these problems for all these years.
    Seriously though, after reading a bunch of books about stuff I didn’t live through, I think a lot of the problems go back to the white middle class’s reaction to the civil rights movement. The realignment of the political parties, exurbanization and disinvestment in the cities, the gutting of the New Deal, even the central problem you cite: the erosion of consensus and coarsening of our discourse. All of it. In the long run, being on the right side of history has cost a lot of good people very dearly.

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