Thursday, April 07, 2022

Update on Policing Your Own

It occurred to me while out walking that this ties in to my previous posts about humor, and being able to make fun of your own as well being a sign of health and reliability. There was a time until the mid-80s, that as hateful to conservatives as he could be, Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury could still make fun of liberals.  This allows his usual opponents to sit with him much longer, and sometimes even be influenced, as in Y'now, this time he has a point.  That guy IS ridiculous.  

My best example has always been Garrison Keillor, who I very much enjoyed even though he was on NPR and clearly preferred liberals. I thought some characterisations of conservatives were over-the-top but I could stay with him. But when the change came, it was in both directions and made him intolerable. He made fun of anyone on the left only in that Reduced Shakespeare Company way, of accusing liberals of being over-intellectual, and his criticism of those on the right went from affectionate accountability partner to vindictive prosecutor.  It is not accidental that these changes occurred simultaneously.

It matters, and similarly in serious material where no humor is intended.  When you can't turn around and criticise the nutcases on your own side, it is not merely a matter of reduced effectiveness (though that is worth noting), it constitutes ceasing to be reasonable.  On the left, it is often valuable to criticise America all the way back through its history.  But when you cannot endure hearing even a mild approval of the country that you learned these elevated values in, reflexively pointing out some vaguely-related criticism at every turn, it is not just that you are being insulting and are losing your audience in a tactical sense.  It means you have become unreasonable, even stupid, however smart you were when the whole discussion started.


Grim said...

Now that reminds me of something. You’ll like this.

HMS Defiant said...

I enjoyed his show for decades. The wife of one of my more dismal CPOs sent him audio tapes of the show on my forward deployed ship back in 1984. And then he went nuts. So did all of the radio shows of the weekend that I used to enjoy listening to. The last one was the last one. I liked the Tappet brothers. They seemed to have fun and shared it with people like me. All the rest twisted into foul showers of slime and I stopped listening.

On the gripping hand, I used to drive from San Diego to San Francisco twice a month and tune the radio to Art Bell in his secret bunker somewhere. Honestly, the story about the deer and the dog made it worth listening to. Aliens, in a BMW 328i with the top down roaring up I-5 in the old days before it turned to crack, with the galaxy spinning by overhead at 0300 in the morning. Priceless.

Anonymous said...

It must be fascinating to have a side to be on. Does it never seem a bit childish?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

This from a person whose black box is utterly predictable? Whatever data comes in, you declare any support for American decisions to be wrong, and any support for Russian or Chinese decisions to be right. I am not recalling a single counterexample over the last three years. You picture yourself as the cat who walks alone, who takes in information and intuits new opinions from that. A lovely, comforting thought, I am sure. Except it's never a new opinion. You are frozen in space, a dead, predictable hand. Your own question back at ya.

Fish. Barrel.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I am dealing with reality, its not amenable to opinions, so I have to deal with it directly. So one can have all the opinions one wants, but they don't mean much. What happens does.

I have a dislike for America that does cloud my judgment, but I'm leaving it like that. Your country is by far the most dangerous force on the planet. It know no morality and does what it does, solely to advance its power. A good example is ... there are so many, the difference between the Russian approach to dealing with Syrians and the American's. Russia negotiated over 1000 settlements with various groups they were fighting with and largely made deals instead of flattening the place. Aleppo is a good example, where the brutal Russians finally got the bad guys to leave. In Raqqa America just flattened the place. In Mosul the same thing. You are a criminal nation.

So compared to regular humans you are awful as a nation. Why would I change my opinion about this? It am the fact.

Change the facts and I will change my opinion.

Grim said...

Shut up, hippie. Even I’m tired of listening to you, and it’s not even my place.

I spent literal years in Iraq negotiating with the tribes. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about, and if I could drag you out of here by your half bald gray ponytail I’d be doing it right now.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

There is also the fact that the communist nations have killed 100,000,000 of their own people, exclusive of whatever wars they were in. It's going to be just plain tough for America to approach that.

It is, I believe, a lesson that is taught as early as third grade what the difference is between an opinion and a fact. Your insistence, while getting this wrong makes me look better every time. Perhaps I should be grateful. I offered an explanation what I thought was the weakness in your approach but it seems not to have been absorbed. I'm not sure I could do a better sock puppet.

Thos. said...

OK, I laughed out loud at this. Maybe the best response ever to Pengun's chronic stupidity.

Grim said...

We’re studying St. Thomas Aquinas on anger this week at the Hall, and as I mentioned I’ve been warming to the subject.

Thos. said...

When PenGun said, "I am dealing with reality," I heard Humpty Dumpty saying, "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

From this day on, I shall never be able to see any comment from PenGun without thinking of Humpty Dumpty. (an improvement, by and large)

Anonymous said...

"while getting this wrong makes me look better every time."

Which is the point of this blog. Your pride.

The Russians spent 25 million people killing 80% of the German soldiers killed in WW2, but it was America that won the war.

America has taken that, and is now losing control for the first time since that war, which made America the hegemon. The brutality shown since that war, often for little reason, is why I dislike America. That the control is largely broken is encouraging.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You write this as if it is some new revelation I should understand, not something trite that I have heard since the 1960s, and known the speakers and their other habits all too well. I even somewhat agreed with it then. It's that petty spite so accurately described in Perelandra and The Great Divorce,* which cares not whether it is accurate or balanced, so long as it can spew its hatred. You are angry at America for reasons you do not see. You fasten on to other things. Those have a good deal of truth in them. And yet...

It is somewhat reassuring to me that forcing you out into the open has confirmed exactly what I predicted about you, but it is also terribly sad. America has indeed done terrible things, but it has not done all the bad things. Yet it earns your primary contempt, and other places get a pass. That someone near you should have any excess conceit is infuriating, and animates you for the rest of your life! People far away who have done worse are of no account. How Frank Zappa of you, how superficial and fashionable. What a small world you live in. I should move as best I can to Chesterton's observation in Orthodoxy, "...we should be chiefly concerned not so much to give it arguments as to give it air, to convince it that there was something cleaner and cooler outside." I am not yet of so good a character, but I will do what I can to give it a go. Come out of the prison and isolation. We have beer, and bread, and good cheer.

*I do often say that the solution to everything is that people should read more CS Lewis. Thus here.

Anonymous said...

I live in the open. The thing about cats as an analogue, is that they really don't care what you think.

As for spewing hatred, the Russians have said they are prepared, after defeating Ukraine to then defeat the NATO equipped forces being prepared in the west.

Everyone has done terrible things. America has done them from a position of overwhelming power, where they really did not have to. Compare and contrast the war against Iraq and the present war in Ukraine. ;) To get you started, one was completely optional.