2 answers

"Just what exactly are you trying to say about socialized medicine?" - Jed

Nothing, honest. That is just a drawing (the RAMBO pinup here) that evolved out of my head as I was drawing it. I actually have a supply of Tamiflu, and it's kind of an inside joke at work. The company set up a program for employees to get Tamiflu at company expense - which is a GREAT program and I appreciate it, don't get me wrong! It's just a funny word, and the likelihood that I'll ever actually use it is pretty small, and the whole pandemic flu thing seems ridiculously overblown. But hey, it's possible, and I'm glad I have my Tamiflu! I think a big part of the humor we derive from having our Tamiflu is a case of whistling past the graveyard.

I got my Tamiflu as a benefit at work, not from any Universal Health Care. If that drawing has any real meaning, it's buried in my subconscious.

"Why is Naomi Wolf an idiot?" - bonzogal

Of course, bonzogal is asking why I THINK Naomi Wolf is an idiot.

Somebody sent me a link to this lecture and said "Wow! Whaddya think?" It has been a while since I actually did my homework and watched one of these kooks, so I started watching this lecture and taking notes, to give this friend an honest opinion of what I think.

No, wait, let me back up and be totally honest. Full disclosure. The FIRST reply I sent back to my friend was this:

"Oh for fuck's sake. Do I really need to watch this whole thing? Can you just give me one example of this so-called "fascism" in America? Is it the same old laundry list?

The words fascism, poor, health care, nazi, etc get thrown around so carelessly now. If you want to deny terrorists access to free legal aid in the US courts you're a fascist. If you can't afford to go out to a nice restaurant you are poor. Bla bla bla.

What does she say that is new?

I may watch it later. But I am really fed up with this fascist crap. UNLESS she is calling ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS fascist - is THAT her point?"

After THAT was when I decided I'd really give this thing my ear. And I tried. I admit that I have not watched the entire lecture. The lecture is her 10-point list of evidences that we are witnessing a despot crushing democracy. She goes through the list of tactics that have been developed and refined throughout history by the likes of Pinochet, Hitler, Mussolini. She attempts to wake us all up to the fact that It Can Happen Here. And It Is!

I made it through point #3. I'll go through those points in a minute, but first let me tell you that I wrote my friend and told him that I was watching the lecture, but I'm stuck here and don't want to waste my time on nonsense. I asked him if there is anything stunning and revelatory that I am missing. He said no, it doesn't get any better and at the end she states that the only solution is to impeach Bush/Cheney. He's not sure how much he agrees with Wolf, but is disturbed by the Religious Right mindlessly going along with The Program and all that crap. On THAT note he said he personally knows hardcore Christians who think that if you don't vote Republican you are going against God's will and on the fast track to hell. I said "Are you sure you're not just assuming that? Can I talk to one of these insane people? I'd really like to talk to somebody who actually believes that." He said he thinks he can get me in contact with one or two. I can't wait for that!

ANYWAY - Here are the 3 (out of 10) tactics that are being used right now under our very noses to overthrow our way of life.

1. Hype and manipulate a threat

You know, the way Bush and Giuliani exaggerate the threat of terrorism. Stalin talked about sleeper cells! It was a hyped threat! Didn't exist! And now Bush talks about sleeper cells! And he uses the word "homeland" - just like the nazis! And who pioneered the embedding of journalists? Goebbels! At some point she goes off on a tear and compares the burning of Dixie Chicks CDs by a buncha loony toons to government-enforced Nazi book burnings.

2. Secret torture prisons

Gitmo etc. Sorry, I'm not freaking out about Gitmo. I don't like it, but I don't particularly like war itself for that matter. USA has been in several wars and there are always human rights violations, and they have been much more horrendous in our colorful history. Wolf tries to establish that the State is establishing a pattern of abusing people, by starting with marginal people that nobody cares about, and working their way up the food chain. They go over there and torture those "brown-skinned" people, according to Naomi, to numb us to the horrors of abuse. Before you know it, they're pulling Naomi Wolf's fingernails out because she is a journalist.

3. Paramilitary force established...

... to scare and intimidate civilians. Last summer in the Portland Airport, people were asked to drink baby formula and even human breast milk by the TSA! She compares this to Mussolini forcing people to drink laxatives at gunpoint.

Here's the money quote: "This is a new scene for America, armed agents forcing people to drink gross liquids at gunpoint!"

That's when I stopped watching. That's where I felt sure that I was wasting my time.

But I totally respect and defend bonzogal's right to like Naomi Wolf's books!

(At what point did human breast milk become a gross liquid?)


Jed said...

I'm still not finished listenning to this Naomi Wolf thing, but so far my impression is that she'll occassionally have some good points, but then will undermine her own arguments with over generalizations and lame pop culture references (burning Dixie Chicks CDs=book burning, portrayals of torture on the show 24--which she characterizes inexplicably as "funny", or at least she says they're seen as "funny"-- are the equivelant of anti-semitic editorial cartoons in Germany).

I happen to agree that Gitmo and the U.S. Patriot act, fascism or not, are very bad signs and very bad precedents.

It's true that nobody's calling soccer moms "enemy combatants", but it's also true that people are being imprisoned without benefit of trial, and that our government does engage in torture. Mark, I'm not sure how you can so easily dismiss GITMO as just more of the same.

It's also true that the war was started on false pretenses.

I find her references to Crate and Barrel and America's Top Model in this context just mildly irritating, but these seem to go along with the general suburban middle class tone of her arguments. But, you know, she's preaching to the choir--the suburban middle class left--and I think that the idea that Bush and his cabinet are fascists is attractive to many of us because Bush is so dangerously inept. The fact is, I think she's giving Bush too much credit.

The idea that there are trends in our current government that are analogous to the precursors of fascism is neither new, or something I'd dismiss out of hand. Though we may not be on the verge of a fascist goverment, this doesn't mean that there aren't relevant comparisons to be made.

Jed said...

You know, I'm starting to agree with you on some of this stuff Mark--she makes some strange circuititous connection between Jeb Bush and that guy getting Tasered at the University of Florida, as if somehow Jeb Bush is personally responsible. And this is all of course, a direct parallel to Goebels.

Her logic is just fucked.

And can she possibly go more than 60 seconds without making air quotes?

HemlockMan said...

My only reaction to her lecture (what I watched of it), is that she's a typical limp-noodle liberal. Willing to whine, but not willing to say what actually needs to be done.

Other than that, I agreed with virtually everything she said.