Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Culture War 2.0? Gee, who could've seen THAT coming...

From now on, when people ask me "Bob, how come a guy like you who calls himself something close to a libertarian is so dismayed by the rise of the Tea Party and the not-unrelated return of Republicans to power in the U.S.Senate?"; THIS is my answer.

I anxiously await the explanation of how getting rid a video-piece from 1987 that's been hanging without incident in the National Gallery since October became a vital component of improving the economy, or stimulating jobs, or whatever it's being called this time...

Incidentally, I'm sure someone is champing at the bit to dress me down about how this is "about" wasteful government funding of the arts, NEA, NPR, etc. Please save your breath. Whether or not The State should be funding creative works is a cute little freshman year poly-sci debate topic, but here in the real world we know there will ALWAYS be some level of state-funded art/media. It's always existed, it always WILL exist, pretending otherwise is right up there with privatized-sidewalks in the realm of psuedo-Objectivist fantasies that will never come true. Deal with it.

This isn't about art-funding, it's about the mask dropping sooner than expected on the "New" American Right. For over a year now people have been proclaiming that the "new" conservative-uprising was about taxes, spending, government-size, etc. It's NOT about religious-idiocy this time. It's NOT about God Guns n' Gays this time. It's NOT about fetuses and family-values this time. It's NOT just the Angry White Men again. It's NOT just the same backward-looking superstitious anachronistic flat-earther creationist anti-intellectualists as before sneaking back in with a fresh coat of paint.

Yes it is.

Welcome back to the Bad Old Days. Can't wait to see what The Faithful will get up to next...

28 comments:

Alexander said...

Well said. It amazes me what people from all over the political spectrum are willing to overlook so long as they get told what they want to hear.

Adam said...

Speaking as a person who believes in higher taxes (for all) and less spending (mostly on regulation of business practices) I will never understand why we allow people to vote as we currently do.

Most 'small government' types love to fall back on the old saying of 'your rights extend to the point they infringe on mine' however voting is the ultimate expression of infringing on other peoples rights. Are you telling me a family of 12 from the backwater whos only medical experience was keeping lil johnny's gash from bleeding on the way to the hospital has MORE right to decide how medical research is conducted than a panel of 4 doctors?

People have been catered to for so long that they have literally forgotten what reality is. I'm not a fan of Regan (I feel neutral, did some not so good things but considering the situations during his presidency...) but when his financial staff is literally going on the liberal networks to explain why we need to raise taxes and the republican party is still arguing for them there is a Problem with a capital P.

Republicans have never been the party of financial responsibility. I don't know what publicist they have to get out the contrary. Simply stating 'less spending less taxes' is extremely irresponsible. As always, they go into elections saying 'we'll fix the economy' but what are the first orders of business? DON'T attend a meeting with the president about the economy, calling for 'hundreds' of hearings, and trying to sabotage relations with Russia in vain hopes to rekindle a bitter rivalry with someone we aren't deeply in debt to.

Republicans will never fix the economy and you can thank Bush, George H. W. Bush. Who had to break his largest political promise, something he obviously did because it was the only option, and he lost the next election. It sent a clear message that buzz words and promises were more important than performance and results.

untra said...

I seem to be lost. Can someone point me towards the political party that caters towards fiscal conservatism and social liberalism? You know, a party that advocates for leaner, more effective government, but one that isn't too religiously fueled or composed of war-hawk machismos?

...

Wh-whats-why are you laughing? Please, it was a serious question! Come on, do you know where I can find them?! Its really confusing out here... Come on, I just want a political party that caters to the rational thinking and fiscally careful- Oh forget it!

untra said...

Serious post now, I gotta agree with you, Adam. It has always bugged me that Republicans claim they are the fiscally responsible party, when their most recent president racked up a huge debt in his eight years, completely undoing most of Bill Clinton's intentions of reducing Americas debt.

I don't hate any of the past (or current) american presidents (except for Nixon that fucker can rot in hell), but I can look at a lot of legislation and think to myself, "God that person is really bad at math."

I sometimes imagine the reason Bush's tax cuts were so steep and kept for so long was because he learned from his fathers mistake. He saw how his father raised taxes, and watched as he lost reelection. I know this can't be true however, because it presumes that GW bush was more influenced by the 1992 election than 2001 economic statistics.

I still wonder though...

Dave said...

@ untra

A very smart but utterly evil man once said something about the big lie. A big lie, repeated long enough and loud enough, becomes the truth.

It doesn't matter how half baked your idea is or even if people can provide proof that the truth is the exact polar opposite of what you are saying with video evidence of you admitting such, as long as you stick to your message, enough people will believe it. Every dictator and wannabe pundit worth his or her salt knows this.

People still think iraq was involved in 911. People still think 911 is an inside job. People still think obama was born in kenya.

None of them are even close to being true. But the people who belive them don't care.

I read a study that found that the minds of conservatives and the religious (exponentially more in the case of those who are both) actually REINFORCE belief in the face of contradicting evidence. IE, by proving your innocence, they just think you are guilty even more.

With that in mind, the tea party is fairly easy to understand.

What I find most distressing is that for a while it seemed religious fanaticism and homophobia were the last remaining fashionable bigotries. Now it seems even overt racism is a political asset.

It almost makes me wish for the inevitable chinese ascendancy as unchallenged global superpower to come early, so I can watch them begin to dick over the one group in history that seems intent on deserving it.

Q said...

Conservative fiscal responsibility is a lie plain and simple. It's just another word for censorship. No one's really into the idea of absolving debt. They're only interested in removing 'entitlement' programs to fit in line with their zealous ideology. Why? Because America is currently on a castle made of sand.

The political right lies, always. They'll do anything to get in power because they believe they're the best for the job. And even if they're right, they're still frauds.

Maybe. I don't know. Maybe I just read too much Gore Vidal.

mirage said...

I remember the first time I saw Glenn Beck on Fox, and I realized instantly what they were trying to pull. Pretend to be the libertarian candidate that they themselves eviscerated in 2008 primaries. A new marketing ploy to get the new small govt brand that Ron Paul forged, and that the young and new to politics embraced. Freedom works followed soon afterward, and I thought the tea party of dick army was brilliant, and that they would use small govt as a means to give corporations free reign, christian conservatives something new to hate, and neo-cons... well no one was going to fuck with them so war was still going to be big business, libertarian views be damned. I understood this immediately back in early 09, rather proud of that. I knew that people would never understand that this was the same bullshit in a new wrapper, the problem I have encountered though was how left, right, and center journalists went along with this circus. Those on the right were making rallying calls, no surprise, but the bland CNN was reporting this as a quirky grass roots movement cause that narrative was what they thought would sell. And then the Lefty journalists did nothing but poke fun at the morons, making giggling little remarks about their tea hats for a YEAR and a HALF, before they started to report any substance on how elegant and effective this tea party propaganda was at giving cover to corporate cock sucking whores who hid behind God and "common sense". Ask yourselves american people how many times you have heard that phrase "common sense solutions" or "jam it down our throats" these phrases are not repeatedly echoed by coincidence! They are built by think tank assholes to make you believe that the outrage you feel at certain issues (cap and trade *cough cough*) is your own idea. Fuck it, just understand that Frank Luntz could make you pay for cancer. I really shouldn't be allowed on the internet while drunk.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Pffft. I say get rid of that stuff for being bad art. Art outta be something you WANT to look at and enjoy.

Norman Rockwell? That was art.

Leonardo Davinci? Art.

Andy Warhol? Interesting and interest piquing, but still art.

Ant covered Jesus, boob-covering Ellen Degeneress, and incest kissing? That someone with no ideas trying to stir the shit. Controversy isn't art, its a headline, an ply for attention. LOOKITME!LOOKITME IM CONTROVERSIAL LOL!

This is a passing fart in the wind, the usual kind of lip flapping that church go-ers I associate with tend to get worked up over every once in a while. By this time next week, this will be a non-issue, no one will remember, and no one will care. Pick your fights better, GOP. Fight something worth fighting.

Still, that art is crap.

Luc said...

Thanks to reading your post, I sent Mr. B. and angry comment on his official site. I've had it up to here with the GOP's hypocrisy.

Thanks, Mr. Chipman

Smashmatt202 said...

You know what? I just don't like Republicans, all the do is slow us down as a society and as a species.

Adam said...

Republicans suck. Democrats suck. They bitch about different things but the only thing they ever meet in the middle on is how much they don't care about the people they're supposed to represent. Same ol', same ol'.

untra said...

@smashmatt202
Republicans aren't terrible. It may be surprising, but at one point, the democratic party was composed primarily of racists and southern slaveholders, while the republican party preached for tolerance, as well as a progressive society and proponents of internal improvements.

Its the exact opposite now. But not all republicans are bad. And not all democrats are terrible either.

I imagine you might agree with your own senators opinions on a number of topics. I imagine you might disagree on a few as well. It should be remembered that the only way they got elected in the first place was by PICKING A PARTY.

When you have to pick a side, and label yourself as such for the rest of your career, its the only way you stay elected. Its sad how modern politics has ruined the whole purpose of democratic representation, when we see our elected officials through such tinted lenses.

/digression

Smashmatt202 said...

I guess I'm more prone to disliking Republicans because I don't see as many Democrats doing the sort of thing Republicans are doing, even though I know both parties are as stubborn as Hell.

I just find Republicans to be even more stubborn with their views... Part of this might be because of my dad, who's not completely blind to just following the party, but just tends to tune out anything he doesn't want to hear. And that's what I think of when I think about Republicans, they only what to hear what they want to hear. I wish I can say the same about Democrats but I haven't really seen that many Liberals acting like that...

And that's why I usually don't get involved in politics, it's all very confusing and it only results in people getting offended somehow.

Adam said...

@smashmatt202
Oh the Republicans engage in a lot of asinine behavior to be sure, but the Democrats are just as bad. They just have different button-pushers.

Not too long ago San Francisco, which is about as left as any city in America gets, instituted a law that made it illegal for restaurants to include toys with their meals unless they met certain nutritional standards. In simple terms they banned McDonald's Happy Meals.

http://www.empowher.com/obesity/content/san-francisco-s-food-justice

They're justification: it was another step in the fight against childhood obesity, calling it "Food Justice".

Smashmatt202 said...

What? That's bullcrap. I was wondering why they weren't advertising the toys anymore...

Either way, though, it's not like I'm supporting Democrats, I prefer not to pick sides or parties. I'm just think that I find Republican flaws and faults more noticeable and easier to make fun of than Democrats.

Adam said...

No worries. I understand that right-wingers are easy to mock since so many of their lame stances involve religion in some way. Just know that if you really are paying attention their opponents are just as ludicrous in their own arenas of choice.

Popcorn Dave said...

Damn, that's low. One of the Gawker comments points out that the actual artist died of AIDS years ago, so basically the Republican shitheads can spunk all over his grave and the poor sod can't defend himself. Even the friggin' GALLERY isn't defending him, they're just rolling over and asking for more. The sheep will take their word for it when they tell us his work is "obscene" and it'll get locked away in storage, and six months from now he'll be forgotten while the WASP power structure marches on. It'll be like the guy never existed, just like dictators burying their enemies in unmarked graves. The message is clear - you say anything against The Order, even death won't save you (but don't worry, we'll only piss on your memories if we think we can make a buck off it).

:(

Dave said...

@ Adam. explain to me what part of that is bad? Oh no! Fast food restaurants might have to start IMPROVING QUALITY! THE HORROR!

Adam said...

Number of things.

1. While I don't think businesses should be completely unregulated I do in general think government should keep its nose out of it. You don't like their food? Don't eat there.

2. It's behavior control. It's not the government's business to tell me what I and my family should eat.

3. It doesn't work anyways. Most everybody knows fast food isn't all that healthy. They still eat it because they like the convenience and taste. McDonald's and other places have tried introducing healthier options many times. The majority of consumers continually reject them because that's not what they go to fast food for. They've even displayed calorie and fat contents on their menus in many areas where they're required to. And studies have shown people often pick the worst food when they see that.

In the end this is America, and we were founded on the principle of individual freedoms and liberties, and part of that means people are free to make legal choices that others don't agree with. If you want to change that, go ahead. But then this is no longer America.

Arman said...

No ideology has been more regressive and destructive to society, to liberty, to civilization and to individual human lives than leftism.

And yes, I maintain every right to be pissed off that my tax dollars are being spent on such garbage that fails to reach any standard of art.

And yes, art funding should be scrutinized and limited. Art should remain in the free market. If people like your work, you can make a living. If not, get another job.

Rarer Monsters said...

@Arman: I think the most utterly offensive thing about you people is that you don't know what the words you're using mean.

You talk about the "Free Market" but this is by no means an example of that. This artist HAD passed the Free Market, his work was displayed and well received, what happened was that a few people in government stepped in and bullied him out of business. That is not the free market, that is censorship.

And before you complain about "my tax dollars" let's start with the fact that you contributed less than a cent to this project and that this has nothing to do with the tough economy, it's that a minority is offended by a work of art and is using its position of political power to engage in strong arm censorship; if you want "Big Governement" government does not get bigger. They're not trying to pull funding for art to free up money, which they could have done, they are specifically going after specific pieces of art, the idea of "tax money" is just the buzzword du jour.

We all know that if the NAACP was trying to pull a piece of art because it offended them and used the same justifications that you'd be complaining about "leftist PC censorship" so get off your Teatard high horse and face up to the fact that you're the one who's destructive to society, liberty, and civilization in trying to build your grand artless America.

Arman said...

@Rarer Monster

That painting would not have been displayed were it not for tax payer dollars. The building that it was hung in was funded by the public. 65% of the Smithsonian's funding comes from the U.S Government. The National Portrait Gallery received $5.8 million in federal money just this fiscal year. Therefore, as a taxpayer, I have very damn right to object to that painting should I choose to. Had this been a private museum, it would have been none of my business. However, its not.

(Funny that the Ten Commandments are too offensive to be hung in a public building but that portrait should have special protections. )

And of course the classic accusations from the left. Oppose a specific portrait, you're anti-art. Oppose unions, you're anti-worker. Oppose a mosque at ground zero, you have some sort of phobic neurosis regarding Muslims. Do you ever wonder why the left has no credibility?

Sara Pickell said...

@Arman

It's not a painting. You are ignorant. Fix this.

If 65% of the Smithsonian's funds are from the government, then 45% of the funds are not. We could just as easily say that all of the actual dollars spent to acquire and display the video in question were not federal money and therefore the government had no say in this particular piece. Except the world is not so cut and dry, so easily malleable and categorized.

The simple truth is the actions being taken are in accordance with the opinions of the two public figures stated. Yours has nothing to do with it, and it never did. You can freely object just as any person has a right to piss into the wind, but don't pretend that what you do or do not object to has ever mattered in the slightest. Just as I can freely object to their removing the video as a basely offensive act against my fundamental religious beliefs. But then I'm just pissing in the wind here.

What credibility has the left lost? With yourself who rushed in to speak in ignorance? Nobody can earn the respect of people who choose not to be respectful. The respect of fools is neither required nor desired.

I do find it fascinating though that you can make the connection that opposing a single piece of art does not make you anti-art, proving that you realize individuals and sub-groups are not equal to a larger group. Seeing as how you then turn around and defend an action that's entire foundation was the inability to acknowledge that one sub group of Muslims might in fact not be exactly like another sub group. I'm sure your hypocrisy does wonders for your credibility.

Rarer Monsters said...

@Arman: Mosque at Ground Zero? I'm sorry, I've never heard of that. I've heard of an Islamic community center a few blocks away, but I guess loudly misidentifying something is a lot more credible than assuming there is a link between promoting censorship and being pro-censorship.

And you're right, the Smithsonian receives public money, and that money goes in to an art endowment and is entrusted to take care of that. The idea that you have a personal say in every single action that's at all funded by tax-money is pseudo-conservative retardedness. No government has ever functioned that way ever in the history of the world.

People pay taxes, that money goes to the government, and the government then spends it. You have a means of controlling it (voting for elected officials) and you do NOT have a personal say over how it is spent. That is how our government has always worked.

Arman said...

@ Sarah

Apparently its not a painting. I apologize for assuming that something in the National Portrait Gallery was automatically a Portrait. Perhaps in that regard I was mistaken. It does not change my point. Are we done with semantical arguments now?

It is my understanding that the building in which it is displayed is Publicly funded. Therefore the art in question would not have an audience were it not for tax money.

Do you honestly believe that only two people had issue with the art in question? I find it difficult to believe that the Smithsonian removed an image simply because two congressman were ruffled over it.

Not to digress too far, since its not related to the topic, opposition to the Mosque had nothing to do with an inability to identify a moderate Muslim from an Islamist. It had everything to do with the fact that the leader of the project is a radical, that the sight was specifically chosen for its proximity to Ground zero (Or do you believe they picked the closest place available out of coincidence?), and that its opening ceremony is on 9/11. You might as well piss on the graves of the dead, its in that poor taste. The Majiv Manhattan, on the other hand, has existed for years and it openly denounces all violence in the name of Islam. That I can support.

@ Rarer Monsters

Again not to digress, but a Mosque is a community center, and its a ground total of two blocks away, and high enough to overlook the site.

I never said I had a say. I said I had a right to object as a taxpayer. I do however have a vote.

And I would avoid cheapening the term "censorship". Nobody is preventing the art from being viewed. They are choosing not to display it at a specific museum. I am certain that if its as good as everyone seems to believe it is, another museum will be dying to have it in their gallery.

Rarer Monsters said...

@Arman: Yet not all community centers are mosques.
Learn basic logical concepts: all poodles are dogs but not all dogs are poodles.


You oblivious twit. They are choosing not to display it because senators threatened them with repercussions if they continued to do so. Can you really not see the difference?

Arman said...

@Rarer

Again, I don't wish to digress. Indeed, your logic is correct. But alas, prayer room plus community center equals Mosque. However, even ignoring the semantical argument all together it is still funded by an unknown source, it is still headed by a known radical, and it is still being built with explicit intent of provoking Americans, especially those who lost loved ones. For that reason I oppose its construction.

Yes, two senators are threatening to work to remove funding from a museum for putting up a tasteless work of art. Up to that point you are correct. However, there is a saying that comes to mind...oh what was it..."He who pays the piper calls the tune".

Janell said...

It concerns me that this argument is being had in such a manner. Both sides are clearly stubborn and will not be swayed by anything I say.

First, art is very subjective. It is very hard to claim that something that made it all the way to museum of this high a stature is simply 'not art' is counter productive. If it wasn't art then it shouldn't be there.

Next I would like to point out that this display is funded, by part, by Congress, and that in this instance, when they have do make do with what they can get for funding, it is most likely the smart thing to do to take it down. They can not afford to fight over funding and have to do what it takes to stay open.

As for being a taxpayer and complaining, that is stupid. Your right to complain comes from the first amendment. It being a taxpayer has nothing to do with in. People have the right to say whatever they want and with whatever terms they want.

Which leads me to my last point, if some one follows the rules of law, then they can build whatever they want, where ever they want. They have that right whether you like it or not. Say what you will but know that by disallowing then to do so you would take away their rights. As someone who is so concerned about their own rights, it worries me that you think so little of other.