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Friday, August 3, 2012

O Puerile Meme: "But What Do They Want?"

Futurama Nibbler
Image purloined from futurama fan art & scans

While going through my weekly ration of hate comments, including a veiled death threat, from my ultra-left readers, I wondered what they expect if their actions—or inaction—result in the defeat of President Barack Obama.

How will they feel on election night and the arrival of four years of Mitt Romney and maybe four years after that?
So goes the lede in Bill Boyarsky's Anti-Obama Animus on the Left Reaches Hysterical Proportions.

Ah, the "lesser of two evils" complaint. A cliche that, like all cliches, contains that sand of truth that nourishes and escorts a simple idea into hoary old age. The nugget of knowledge acknowledging, at the very least, that it is indeed evil that we are talking about here.

Those of us sympathetic to the #Occupy phenomenon are familiar with the "What's their message?" media assault that followed the movement's attempt to avoid mimicking the very structures it was straining to remake. While somewhat successful, the gross obviousness of the problems besetting The People prevented this patronizing condescension to inflict mortal damage to its (non)message.

"Lesser of two evils," and other "realistic" admonishments from "practical" and "serious" mongers of realpolitik should be no less impotent, and don't deserve the column inches that they receive, especially from liberal New Media outlets like the oft-admirable truthdig.

To argue against a frame is to inadvertently adopt it, so I will limit my efforts here to merely point out the bounds of the frame - leaving it to the intelligence of the reader to make out, for herself, the sinister sheepherding messaging ensconced therein.

You see, certain things are "impossible," goes the meme, and woe unto the foolish Utopian who panders to the impossible, for then we leave the gates of reality unguarded so that the most Draconian of the cynical manipulators of the world may reign. "Practical" and "serious" men are the ones who shepherd the dissatisfaction of the herd away from the open pastures of such frivolity, and into fields bounded by friendlier fences than those electrified and barbed-wire compounds that the "greater evils" will trick us into.

The ascent of the neo-liberal Democrat was abetted by such sentiment. We can't ignore this fact - a fact that will eventually shatter the pretensions of these practical advisors. This may come, regrettably, as an accompaniment to the shattering of life-as-we-know-it. However, one hopes for an earlier ripening of comprehension.

But what are the contours of this change? What does it look like? Can I dip my toe in the water before I dive?

These are questions asked by those who are mesmerized by the better fence. Do not mistake these quaking shepherds for visionaries.

"Yea, Obama's not ideal," they coo in their best Church Lady voice, "But, whaddaya want... Romneyyyyyyy?"

Well, no, Church Lady - but many of us understand that, for all of your lovely intentions, that's not the end of the conversation.

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