Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Confederacy of Assholes
I have a longer post in mind on the general topic of proud ignorance and political narcissism and sad-stupid bigotry -- yes, besides this and this and this and whatever else -- that I am way too busy writing other things to write right now. So I'm jut going to note that Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone piece on the Tea Party is pretty freaking great. And I say this as someone who does not like how amused by his own excellence Taibbi generally seems to be, or a bunch of other things about him. But also, this. This:
It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They're completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I'm an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I'm a radical communist? I don't love my country? I'm a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.
It's not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It's just that they're shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.
You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don't see what the problem is. It's no use explaining that while nobody likes the idea of having to get the government to tell restaurant owners how to act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the tool Americans were forced to use to end a monstrous system of apartheid that for 100 years was the shame of the entire Western world. But all that history is not real to Tea Partiers; what's real to them is the implication in your question that they're racists, and to them that is the outrage, and it's an outrage that binds them together. They want desperately to believe in the one-size-fits-all, no-government theology of Rand Paul because it's so easy to understand. At times, their desire to withdraw from the brutally complex global economic system that is an irrevocable fact of our modern life and get back to a simpler world that no longer exists is so intense, it breaks your heart.
Condescendingly Taibbi-ian? Sure, yes, absolutely. But right is right, and even if dude kind of loses the thread in the last third of the piece, it's always bracing to see idiocy met eye to eye and engaged on its own shriek-y terms. I might've written it differently, but dude is not wrong.
I know you can't stop what's coming, and that this is what's coming for just about everything made of words, but I really hope Rolling Stone doesn't die. Someone needs to review Linkin Park records (just kidding, no one needs to do that) and someone needs to run good political writing with curses in it. Or at least someone out there needs to pay for writing like that. Otherwise I'd pretty much have to quit.