Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Odds and Sods: The bitter edition

Someone left a Jack Chick comic on my windshield! I figure this has something to do with the Pope's visit to the US.

The frame at left is from This Was Your Life, one of his most famous, and the exact one left on my car. It's been years since I've read the whole thing, so I was tickled pink to get it! (I heartily suggest the Jack T. Chick Parody Archive, for an afternoon of fun!)

And speaking of the Pope (great segue!) I confess to being an unabashed fan of Politico's SHENANIGANS, where this week, Anne Schroeder Mullins tells us:

Scalping tickets to see the Pope — oh, the irony. But it's goin' on. A quick search has the price up around $100 a pop. We asked your thoughts:

*"Seems fairly sinful, but I think if you leave face-value of the tickets in the plate on Sunday you're cool." — MSNBC's Willie Geist

*"If you want the Hallmark moments you got to pay ballpark prices." — Dem Hill staffer

*"The Pope hasn’t played Washington since ’79. It’s like the Stones returning to Baltimore after 40 years.” — Senate staffer David DiMartino

*And, "Of course there is scalping, he’s the Hannah Montana of religious leaders." — High level senate staffer, understanding free market economics.
This explains so much!


Meanwhile, the media continues ravaging Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for his much-repeated (and rather tepid) statements about how some working class people are "bitter" and cling to religion and guns. I didn't initially blog about this (like a lot of lefties, I notice) because I didn't regard it as any big deal and assumed all related foofaraw would blow over quickly. I mean, everyone knows this, yes? Didn't Pat Buchanan build his entire presidential campaigns (in both 1992 and 1996) on these same proto-populist, anti-NAFTA sentiments? Hasn't Ron Paul said as much?

Ohh, wait. I get it now. THOSE ARE WHITE PEOPLE!!!

The Angry Black Woman breaks it down, in a piece aptly titled Is it still an insult if it's true? She discusses a fascinating book (that I've just ordered)--Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War, by a fellow named Joe Bageant:

[Bageant] points out, for example, that the American educational system was initially designed to produce good workers — specifically, people who were just educated enough to handle complex industrial labor, but purposefully not educated enough to question authority. Educational methods which would promote critical thinking have historically been de-emphasized versus rote learning, and few American school systems have endorsed subject matter that gave equal time to global versus local knowledge, complete versus Eurocentric history, etc. We’ve heard this before, of course; IMO, it’s the main reason America’s schools are crap, and yet too many are blaming that poor performance on immigrants and PoC. What Bageant points out is that this “teach them to be good, unquestioning, America-first workers” trend disproportionately affected rural and small-town communities, simply through scarcity of resources. After all, a 2000-person town can hardly support both a Montessori school and a regular kindergarten. It’s not going to have the wealth of options that larger cities provide via charter schools, etc. And since fewer parents in such communities went to college versus parents in cities (where often there were low-cost educational options available, like New York’s CUNY system, which was free until 1975), the likelihood that those parents would then encourage their kids to seek higher education was low, versus the population in cities.

The result of all this, according to Bageant? People from rural, poor communities have been virtually programmed for generations to listen not to their own reasoning, but to whoever speaks loudest and most authoritatively on any subject. They respond to simple, emotionally charged messages — even when the the issues that the messages involve are complex and nuanced. They resent, and therefore distrust, those Americans who had greater access to education, or who were taught to question as they were not; Bageant believes this is less about anti-intellectualism/anti-elitism than it is simple schadenfreude towards the more fortunate. And they’ve developed the perfectly reasonable survival mechanism of listening to whoever seems willing to help them, regardless of whether those people actually are helpful. Bageant notes cases of conservative politicians who visited rural areas and shared a beer with poor constituents — then turned right around and instituted policies that made health care, housing, food, and education unaffordable for those same people. Frequently these politicians got elected multiple times in spite of this. Loyalty, after all, is one of the values their constitutents were taught in school.
She links a bunch of people, so go over there and read the whole thing.

Similarly, Nicholas Von Hoffman brings the facts and figures over at THE NATION:
Last week Barack Obama, destiny's tot, suggested blue-collar Americans are feeling bitter about their financial condition, which has been on a bit of a decline during the last five, ten, fifteen, twenty years or so. Rival politicians immediately pounced and they've been whaling on him ever since.

How dare Obama suggest people are bitter? Americans are not bitter! Americans are happy, proud, peppy, content and optimistic!

Maybe. But if millions of them are not bitter and/or angry at this point, there is probably something wrong with them.
Hoffman's piece is titled Bitter? You Should Be! Why Obama Is Right.


Octogalore defends feminism! She makes it clear why it must be done. I just love her for it:
I hurt when I hear someone I respect opting out of the principle that says: these people deserve better.

Because that’s all it is. That’s all feminism is. There are tens, hundreds of different varieties. But feminism is very simple. No matter how dominant-seeming, no matter how vocal, no group can define for any individual woman what comes along with believing she is equal.

Listening to: Uncle Tupelo - Chickamauga
via FoxyTunes


Octogalore said...

Daisy, thank you so much! I know this is (strangely) a somewhat controversial position, so I much appreciate your having my back.

Even though my dance card's fully booked in a different direction, I'm a big fan of your political analysis, BTW. Keep it coming!

Mandy said...

well done, well said, wonderful post!!!

karloff said...

I wish someone would leave me a chick tract.

Anyhow, about the Obama thing, I thought this was particularly instructive:

karloff said...

Hmmm. this?

white rabbit said...

Never heard of this Jack Chick guy before but did a bit of research after reading your blog...

What a headcase!

The Catholic Church invented Islam?

Um, righty...

Sure it did.


Sillygeuse said...

I'd read about Obama's statement on a message board or two, BUT I had not gotten such great insight as what you've linked here. Thank you for once again getting the truth out there. Politicians should fear you!