Often we run around looking for validation in the form of other people who agree with us. Note the high school popularity contest aspects of the blogosphere.
Blogger 1: [Insert opinion here.]
Blogger 2: That’s just fucked up.
Blogger 3: I couldn’t agree more. With…whose blog gets more hits?
Blogger 4: I love that complete stranger and bask in his/her reflected glow.
Blogger 5: I couldn’t agree less. I am contrary!
Blogger 6: Shut up, dork!
Blogger 7: Girl cooties!
Blogger 8: If I say “cocksucker” do I sound tough and not at all homophobic?
A lot of blogs cite one another’s posts and call it a day. This is kind of a big, dull circle-jerk but it has the obvious effect of circulating one story in a matter of days. It’s a game of Telephone in writing, where sometimes a reporter’s or columnist’s words get to the end of the line intact. Hoorah! Our password or phrase? “White phosphorus used on Iraqi civilian populations in violation of international law.” Bonus!
The left political blogs in particular are full of the bravura and outrage of a group out of power for five years and unable to effect change. On the one hand, this shelters the left from any responsibility for the pilfering of the Treasury. On the other, the Democrats – the de facto Vichy opposition that a la Biden couldn’t sell out its electorate fast or often enough – have long since surrendered any pretense of courage or vision. This is a painful time to be a human being hopeful that justice will prevail on earth, that the worth of all human beings will become self-evident, that compassion and wisdom may be one and the same in our time. Our best defense is laughter at ourselves; our best weapon against rage and depression is a firm punchline. In my email today came:
Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. -RD Laing, psychiatrist and author (1927-1989)
This week, Jesus’ General bowed to the blues. It’s not easy to keep firing off letters of encouragement to our worst-behaved citizens while wishing someone would follow up with a swift indictment. The General rebounded almost right away, but the comments tell even a casual observer a few interesting things:
1. A lot of people are so demoralized the current political situation moves them to tears;
2. The General’s Point&Laugh technique has been used by his readers to teach their acquaintances to connect the dots;
3. Nobody wants to be the weakest link or the one who first says, “I can’t take it anymore.”
Finding out that you’re not the only person considering putting your head in the oven is reassuring. Validation is validation:
Blogger 1: War is stinky. Have you seen my new Ford Excoriator?
Blogger 2: I like trees, animals and the great outdoors but environmentalists are evil fashion victims!
Blogger 3: I’m middle class, no matter how stifling my credit card debt.
Blogger 4: Keep your laws off women’s bodies! Notify me of my wife’s abortion!
Blogger 5: Peace, love and understanding to all. Please search me and violate my rights!
We’re conflicted. It’s easy to see why. Even the dullest bulb in the package can see that a time is coming when our lives and America itself will change drastically. With oil running out, our lives will change. Change can be great when we are the authors of it, but change that happens to us is terrifying. In another few years, life as we know it will be substantially different. I could be up all night worrying about this if liquor stores weren’t open holidays.
But listen: it’s Thanksgiving. More than most holidays we celebrate, Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates a desperate, no-holds-barred fight to the death for religious freedom. Some people misinterpret this struggle as one for Jesus but they’re – excuse me – dead wrong. Not a little bit wrong. Wrong. The people who persecuted the Pilgrims thought they had Jesus on their side, too. Believe it or not, this same story recurs over and over in history and nobody fucking learns from it. So you’re full of green bean casserole, taking a momentary break from your search for validation. What is the meaning of this day? Your people have come to a country where, in theory, you get to worship any deity you want in nearly any way you want that doesn’t hurt other people. Much. And if you choose not to worship a deity, good for you.
Besides a gut and a turkey coma, Thanksgiving should remind you that a whole lot of people thought religious freedom was worth starving, freezing, fighting off rightfully perturbed indigenous persons and burying each other for. Lately, a whole lot of people are saying to you it’s their way or the highway. Isn’t it time we grab hold of the cultural narrative and tell the Jerry Fallwells, the Pat Robertsons, the James Dodsons and the Fred Phelpses to go to Religious Persecutionland, back to the cold, dark little holes they came from? Back to Hell?
Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t take any crap, my darling.