Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've deliberately avoided blogging about the Big Election. Not merely because it's a colossal bore, but because it's one of a handful of subjects with the potential to make me almost physically ill when I try too hard to make sense of its appeal ("Dancing with the Stars" ranking a close second).

At least there's the cold comfort of knowing I'm not alone. Novelist Peter Watts has the following to say:

Fuck all of them. May drug-resistant syphilis saturate their bloodlines, may their genitals wither and drop off. You especially, Obama. You alone offered hope for real change, you alone made the unrepentant realists among us think Hell, if that guy is making it work, maybe we can turn this thing around after all. You actually made an optimist out of me, for a little while. And because of that, you suck harder than all the rest.

Lest you think Watts is overreacting, I implore you to take a closer look. A political system that shuns science and reason in favor of sound-bites and faith suffers a defect with no cure short of meltdown and subsequent reinvention. But the even bigger problem is that we're running out of time in which to invent a system relevant to our era; instead we're content to remain shackled to a dead Goliath.

Watts also points out an op-ed piece that dares to question the obscene spectacle of the Pope's friendly chat with the Decider:

Sanctimonious monsters

Yesterday, two great pious leaders of the world met in Washington DC. President Bush has immense temporal power, leading one of the richest countries on the planet with the most potent military force. Pope Benedict is a spiritual leader to a billion people, with immense influence and the responsibility of a long religious legacy. What could they have talked about? Mostly, they seem to have patted each other on the back and congratulated each other on their commitment to superstition.

I, for one, honestly wonder why Americans feel obliged to let the Pope within our national borders. In theory, the United States is predicated on equality, justice and freedom from religion. The Pope stands for nothing of the sort. He's a raging bigot who condemns homosexuals and has the audacity to demonize birth control in world already reeling from human excess. This is the sort of medieval pathology one might expect to find among the very Islamic extremists we take such costly pains to torture and kill, yet we welcome this costumed fuck into our country out of the oh-so-pressing need to address our nation's "spiritual" needs.

Maybe it's time we put the spiritual needs the media assures us we have on the back-burner for a while. Perhaps there are other subjects more demanding of our attention at this particular moment in history. But hey, "Dancing with the Stars" is on. We'll have to talk later.


mr. intense said...

"...and healthy intolerance of religion."

What? Don't you mean separation of church and state? "Healthy intolerance" is a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it?

But, I think I understand your anger and frustration. Things in America, and elsewhere, do not look good for the near-term future. Time is running out.

Mac said...

"Healthy skepticism" might have been better, but it's not quite on the mark. I may or may not change it. Good editorial catch, though. I suppose "separation of church and state" is the way to go.

Mac said...

(I went with "freedom from religion.")

Anonymous said...

Yes, "freedom from religion" is the operative phrase. If people wish to believe in an all powerful, omnipotent being that created the all and everything, that is of course their option. I wouldn't restrict their right to believe what they wish and meet in groups and sing songs and even play with snakes if they like. But please, leave me alone.


Tony F. said...

When the Pope leaves, can we direct some of this vitriol in the direction of evangelical pastors, who are already within our borders and who, for decades now, have been poisoning minds and instilling fear and hatred into the populous with a ruthless disregard for decency, sanity and reason? I know this subject has been covered before, but if we're going to talk about freedom from religion, I think they're the first ones we need freedom from; from their vulgar, roadside monuments, ten-commandment billboards and ridiculous churches to their hate-speech and devoted, delusional followers.

Katie said...

I agree with Tony... clean up should start here at home.

First we can get rid of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. Next we can finish what Texas is already working on with that group of creepy FLDS folks in Eldorado, TX.

dedroidify said...

Excellent quote by Peter Watts, what a poor show for a sham election.

Anonymous said...

For the first time ever, you guys have got a woman, and a black man running for prez-and still you gripe and complain. Will they win? Probably not, but at least they'll make history. Does the world suck? well, duh, has been for ages.

Hey, here's a weird thought, and this is coming from a cynic (myself-here, I'll even give a name-Bryce-yes, my real name)who has been through years of the nasty:try a little something called hope. Yeah, it works. And anyways, my unscientific observation is this-that pessimism reeks of romanticism to the intellectual middle class.

strange days indeed said...

Let's see--we've covered religion and politics. Shall we now move on to sex, so that all three of the topics one is supposedly not to discuss in polite society are included? I'm looking for a trifecta of controversy.

I know, let's discuss the sexual politics of religion in America!

Until I seriously started studying the issues, and reading their position statements, I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Now, I support Barack Obama as the better choice. I'm afraid Hillary, in her desperation to stay in the race, is going to divide and tear the Democratic party apart at the convention in August, thus guaranteeing the election of John McCain, who would be another Republicanoid disaster for this country, continuing many of the terrible policies of the Bushites, including staying much longer in Iraq than we should. Hillary should get out now. Comments?

Let the games begin!

W.M. Bear said...

Folks, folks. I think many of us expect too much from politicians. Politicians are politicians because they seek power in its purest form. And, as the truism has it, power corrupts, even NON-absolute power. Pols basically have to violate their own souls to get elected unfortunately, and that's what you're always seeing. But the point is, it goes with the territory. You can expect too much from politicians. You will always, always be disappointed.

Therefore, my approach has always been, take what you can get. Go with the best of a bad lot, otherwise (as we've seen with the current administration) you're likely to get the WORST of a bad lot.

Personally, I would much prefer to have to pay NO attention whatsoever to politics, since I find it basically depressing. Unfortunately, we'd don't really have that luxury. I am not a huge Obama fan, but when you consider the alternatives.

(And don't start talking to me about Ralph Nader. A vote for Nader is a vote for McCain, just as if was a vote for Bush in previous elections. I hate to say, but we have to learn to think this way. It's just the nature of the beast....)

Mac said...

Hey, here's a weird thought, and this is coming from a cynic (myself-here, I'll even give a name-Bryce-yes, my real name)who has been through years of the nasty:try a little something called hope. Yeah, it works.

Bryce --

Let's talk about hope for a minute.

First of all, hope is not some abstract virtue you can ask people to entertain on faith. Hope doesn't exist in a contextual vacuum; it's dependent on the given situation, like any other proposition.

Passengers aboard an airliner plunging into the ocean are welcome to hope all they want; they're still going to die.

Likewise, what's the utility of hoping when confronted with a sociopolitical milieu that's not only broken beyond repair, but immune to sentimentality?

It's really easy to invade a discussion you personally deem negative or depressing and try to enliven it by professing to be hopeful. But you know what? I'm not impressed. Hope is predicated on a context amenable to positive change. We don't have that.

I'm hopeful about many things, but the state of informed democracy in the US isn't one of them. Don't like it? Then shove off. I don't like seeing "hope" equated to a self-aggrandizing gesture, which is precisely what it is to you.

"I'm hopeful. You're not. Therefore you're nasty and need to be like me." That's the message you sent, and it's a repugnant one, far more self-absorbed than any other comment in this thread.

If you want to maintain "hope" that things will turn out OK in the end, then by all means do so. But for everyone else's sake, please refrain from dreary "more hopeful than thou" pomposity.