Featured Post

It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

Asshole is the key word, kiddies. First up is little Davy Brooks who tries to think with his brain for a change instead of his nether regions. To nobody's surprise, he fails.

Getting Trump Out of My Brain  - The Old Gray Whore -

Last week The Washington Post published transcripts of Donald Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders. A dear friend sent me an email suggesting I read them because they reveal how Trump’s mind works. But as I tried to click the link a Bartleby-like voice in my head said, “I would prefer not to.” I tried to click again and the voice said: “No thanks. I’m full.”

For the past two years Trump has taken up an amazing amount of my brain space. My brain has apparently decided that it’s not interested in devoting more neurons to that guy. There’s nothing more to be learned about Trump’s mixture of ignorance, insecurity and narcissism. Every second spent on his bluster is more degrading than informative.

Now a lot of people are clearly still addicted to Trump. My Twitter feed is all him. Some people treat the Trump White House as the “Breaking Bad” serial drama they’ve been binge watching for six months. For some of us, Trump-bashing has become educated-class meth. We derive endless satisfaction from feeling morally superior to him — and as Leon Wieseltier put it, affirmation is the new sex.

But I thought I might try to listen to my brain for a change. That would mean trying, probably unsuccessfully, to spend less time thinking about Trump the soap opera and more time on questions that surround the Trump phenomena and this moment of history.

How much permanent damage is he doing to our global alliances? Have Americans really decided they no longer want to be a universal nation with a special mission to spread freedom around the world? Is populism now the lingua franca of politics so the Democrats’ only hope is to match Trump’s populism with their own?

These sorts of questions revolve around one big question: What lessons are people drawing from this debacle and how will those lessons shape what comes next?

It’s clear that Trump is not just a parenthesis. After he leaves things will not just snap back to “normal.” Instead, he represents the farcical culmination of a lot of dying old orders — demographic, political, even moral — and what comes after will be a reaction against rather than a continuing from.

For example, let’s look at our moral culture. For most of American history mainline Protestants — the Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and so on — set the dominant cultural tone. Most of the big social movements, like abolitionism, the suffragist movement and the civil rights movement, came out of the mainline churches.

As Joseph Bottum wrote in “An Anxious Age,” mainline Protestants created a kind of unifying culture that bound people of different political views. You could be Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, but still you were influenced by certain mainline ideas — the Protestant work ethic, the WASP definition of a gentleman. Leaders from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama hewed to a similar mainline standard for what is decent in public life and what is beyond the pale...

Ugh! I can't read this drivel any longer. Obviously, none of Dave's organs are coherent.

Here comes Eliza June Dionne, Jr. (who talks to the same cretins at the same parties every week) lecturing us on our narrow-mindedness. Why do I torture myself with this offal?

 There are happier stories about those who travel the nation trying to find buyers for their wares than Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Just ask Marc J. Dunkelman.

In an essay in the summer issue of the Hedgehog Review, Dunkelman recalls a conversation two decades ago with his grandfather, a retired salesman, about how people discover good restaurants. Dunkelman was enthusing about then-developing technologies that would widely share information on great eateries and even tell people about how to get to the ones located nearby.

His grandfather wasn’t impressed. On his sales trips, he said, he regularly sought out “a friendly looking stranger” to learn where he might find a decent bite to eat. In the process, he would often make a new friend and see him again on a return visit.

“That’s how I got to understand the world — by talking to strangers,” the older man said. “With all these fancy technologies you’re telling me about, how are people going to get to know one another? You ask me, I think it’s going to make everyone lonely.”

Dunkelman, a fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute, is no Luddite when it comes to technology. But the author of the 2014 book “The Vanishing Neighbor” has a healthy obsession with how people connect with each other (or fail to), and his essay asks an important question: In the great revival of cities we are seeing all over our country, are we creating places “where neighbors remain strangers”? Are we thus robbing ourselves of “the crucial ingredient of a thriving American community”? Are we building great places to live (at least for those who can afford them) that are not actually neighborhoods?

He cites findings from the General Social Survey that “the percentage of Americans reporting a social evening with a neighbor has plummeted” and suggests that “cities may be coming back to life — but they’re being rebuilt with a very different social architecture.”

And our social architecture is playing a powerful role in deepening the political polarization we regularly complain about. We know the basic facts about 2016. Thriving metropolitan areas leaned toward Hillary Clinton while less affluent and less diverse places in the interior of the country voted for Donald Trump. As my Brookings Institution colleagues Mark Muro and Sifan Liu pointed out after the election, the 472 counties Clinton carried represented 64 percent of our gross domestic product. Trump’s 2,584 counties accounted for only 36 percent of the nation’s economic activity.
These facts are important, but so are the more subtle issues Dunkelman underscores. The ways in which we arrange ourselves, even within the big metro areas, reduce the likelihood that we will encounter, as a matter of course, people we disagree with but nonetheless like or, at the least, have reason to work with on common problems.

I will confess to a certain romanticism about the kinds of interactions promoted by smaller cities because I grew up in one. We shouldn’t be blind either to the benefits of the openness that today’s urban patterns encourage or to the sometimes vicious forms of exclusion, particularly along racial and ethnic lines, that could characterize relationships in older, tightly knit localities. We shouldn’t pretend that the past was a time of perfect comity.

Nonetheless, Dunkelman is right to worry that we may be weakening the connections that strong neighborhoods can nurture among those of different views. These links can take the edge off political divisions.

“You might not like or agree with your neighbor, but you could understand why someone might hold an opposing viewpoint,” he writes. “You might want to raise taxes to pay for a new amenity, or to reduce environmental regulation to attract new business — but neighborly relationships would help you appreciate any argument’s flip side. Often, such familiarity leads to compromise.”
No doubt the kinds of conversations Dunkelman describes still take place in localities around the country, but we are, more than ever, segregating ourselves along the overlapping lines of class, values and ideology. Our technological interactions, about which Dunkelman’s granddad was so skeptical, create a connectedness among like minds that is also leading to even sharper forms of separation from those who think differently.

No federal program can solve this problem, and no app can force us to have dinner with people whose views we don’t share. But we would do well to ponder whether our social geography is aggravating our already pronounced tendency to treat so many of our fellow citizens as strangers.

I'd like to force you to have dinner with Matt Boermeester and his girlfriend   you fat clown, so they can explain to you how you and your fascist buddies killed AmeriKKKa.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


Blog Archive